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Cruel Mother (Redpath)

24 Feb 03 - 11:38 PM (#897956)
Subject: Cruel Mother (Redpath)
From: GUEST,Murray on Saltspring

The version in the DT of the ballad "The Cruel Mother" says it's a combination of the Jean Redpath and Joan Baez versions. The tune is as I remember it (though I can't find it in Bronson), but the words are not quite as I remember - actually I can't say if it was the Redpath or Baez version that I'm thinking of. Anyhow, question is: where are the words of those versions (individually), and does anyone know where the tune comes from?


25 Feb 03 - 12:15 AM (#897977)
Subject: RE: Cruel Mother (Redpath)
From: Malcolm Douglas

The words seem to be a vague collation from memory, with no specifics given; Baez and Redpath being named just as singers from whom bits of it might have come. The tune, I think, is more-or-less that recorded by Ewan MacColl; he reckoned to have got it from his aunt, Maggie Henry Logan (Ailie Munro, The Folk Music Revival in Scotland, 1985, pp 135-8; she suggests that MacColl may have "adapted" it).

Quite a few revival performers have recorded forms of the song, to that tune, subsequently; learned either from MacColl or from Gordeanna MacCulloch, who got her text from Norman Buchan: who in turn probably got it from Last Leaves.


25 Feb 03 - 10:43 PM (#898821)
Subject: RE: Cruel Mother (Redpath)
From: sharyn

Murray on Saltspring, I could transcribe the Baez words for you if you like. I'm not sure that I have the Redpath version, but I might have that,too. Jon Bartlett of Vancouver keeps a big ballad archive and may be able to help you, too.