Volume 5: Come All My Lads That Follow the Plough - The Life of Rural Working Men & Women (Topic TSCD 655)  Review

Hopping Down in Kent sung by Louie Fuller (not Mary Ann Haynes as stated in the booklet), Lingfield, Surrey, 1975.  Roud 1715.

This used to be a popular song in the Kentish hop-fields in the days when London's East-Enders would spend their summer holiday hop-picking in the fields.  Today, of course, the picking is done by machine.  George Orwell mentions hearing this song in one of his diary entries.  Mary Ann Haynes would end her version of the song with an extra verse, My Lovely Hops.

My lovely hops.  My lovely hops.
When the measurer he comes round,
'Pick 'em up.  pick 'em up off the ground.'
When he starts to measure 'em,
He don't know when to stop.
'Why don't you jump into the bin,
And take the bloomin' lot!'
It was the measurer's job to ensure that no more hops could be placed in the basket before payment was agreed.  Hence Mary's rather caustic lines.  She and Louie are joined by Phoebe Smith as the only named sources for the song in Roud's short list.

The Rocks of Bawn sung by Joe Heaney, Carna, Co Galway (rec. London), 1962 or '63.  Roud 3024.

It has always been tempting to place this song in the 'submarginal lands of the western coast' of Ireland and writers such as A L Lloyd and Alan Lomax seemed keen on the idea.  But Tom Munnelly notes that eleven Irish counties have townlands named 'Bawn', including Cavan - the home of Martin Swiney to whom Dominic Behan attributed authorship of the song.  Tom Munnelly says that he has 'frequently' been told that the rocky field referred to is on the outskirts of Granard in Co Longford.

According to the singer Tom Lenihan - Vols.  5(20), 13(20) & 15(24) of this series - Joe Heaney's version of the song is the 'modern' one; the 'older' version having the following line instead of the one about the Queen of England:

'I wish that Patrick Sarsfield would write to me in time'
Sarsfied (Earl of Lucan) was the Jacobite soldier who led the second flight of the Wild Geese.  After the Treaty of Limerick (October 1691) he joined the army of Louis XIV in the Spanish Netherlands and was killed fighting the English at Neerwinden, near Landen, on 19 August, 1693.

Other recordings:  Seamus Ennis (Dublin) - Rounder 1742, and a different Joe Heaney recording on Topic TSCD518D.

The Tarves Rant sung by Davie Stewart, Dundee(?), 1967.  Roud 4847, Greig/Duncan 576 (6 versions).

Tarves lies to the north-west of Aberdeen, between Old Meldrum and Nethermill.  Gavin Greig, writing in 1909, considered the song to be 'quite modern'.  An earlier recording of Davie singing this song can be heard on his solo Rounder CD (CD 1833).

The Pleasant Month of May sung by Sam Larner, Winterton, Norfolk, 1958 or '59.  Roud 153.

Sometimes called The Haymakers, it stems from a long blackletter broadside The countrey peoples Felicitie, or, A brief Description of Pleasures, first licenced to the printer Francis Grove on 12 March, 1656.  Most of the Edwardian collectors noted at least one version.  Even Sam Henry collected one (H697) in 1937.

Other recordings:  The Copper Family (Sussex) - Topic TSCD 534.  Levi Smith (Kent) - Topic TSCD 661.

Copshawholm Fair sung by Bob Forrester, Low Hesket, Cumberland, 1953.  Roud 9139.

The Liddesdale village of Copshawholm, now renamed Newcastleton, was the site of an important annual hiring fair until 19l2.  The words to Copshawholm Fair were written by a local man, David Anderson, and first printed in 1868.  They are set to the Northumbrian pipe-tune The Wild Hills o' Wannie.  Willie Scott, who can be heard singing elsewhere on this series, was born a few mile from Copshawholm.  He learnt his version of the song from his mother.  See Herd Laddie o' the Glen - Songs of a Border Shepherd edited by Alison McMorland, Tryst Publications, 1988, p.28.  A version of the song, titled Coupshawholme Fair, can be found in Frank Kidson's Traditional Tunes (1899) pp.97-98 and another, collected by Sheila Douglas from Dick Cowan of Liddesdale, Roxburghshire, appears in her book The Sang's the Thing pp.22-23.

The Weaver's Daughter sung by Pop Maynard, Copthorne, Sussex, 1955.  Roud 1277.

Broadsides of this song were printed by Pearson of Manchester, Fordyce of Newcastle and Harkness of Preston, among others, and we can get some idea of its age by noting that it was listed in Catnach's 1832 catalogue.  Alfred Williams was, yet again, one of the few collectors to note a set (in the Thames Valley some time prior to the Great War), but then Williams did not belong to the then 'musical establishment' and so probably held a different definition of the term 'folk-song' from the more 'established' collectors of the day.  Frank Hinchliffe of Yorkshire was also recorded singing a version (available on the out-of-print LP In Sheffield Park - Topic 12TS308), while Pop Maynard has a different recording on Musical Traditions MTCD 309-10.

The Maid of the Mill played on the fiddle by Jinky Wells, London, 1936.

According to Reg Hall, there was a 1764 play of this name by Isaac Bickerstaff.  The tune was used by William Shield in his opera Rosina, first performed in 1782.

The Grazer Tribe sung by Straighty Flanagan, Inagh, Co Clare, 1976.  Roud 2998.

Little seems known of this song, except that it was published in Galvin's Irish Songs of Resistance pp.21-22, and Colm ” Lochlainn's Irish Street Ballads pp.154-155.

The Mains o' Fogieloan sung by John MacDonald, Elgin, Morayshire, 1974.  Roud 5148.

In the old days the bothy lads used often to sit on the kist (chest) containing the horses' fodder, and dunt the heels of their big tackety boots against it while singing or diddling.  This is the sort of rollicking cornkister which carries us back to the days when farm servants went to Turra Market (Porter Fair) to look for a 'fee' on a new farm.  Fogieloan is the name by which Aberchirder is universally known in the North-East.  A Mains is a home-farm on an estate.  This John MacDonald recording is the only example of the song in Roud.

10  We're All Jolly Fellows As Follows the Plough sung by Fred Jordan, Aston Munslow, Salop (rec Altringham, Cheshire) 1966.  Roud 346.

Of this song, Cecil Sharp said: 'I find that almost every singer knows it; the bad singers often know but little else.'  It was published on a broadside by London's Henry Parker Such, which seems to have had a particularly heavy sale through the Cotswolds, where the song has turned up over and again, to sundry tunes.  Fred Jordan's tune, however, is distinct from any of those published by Baring Gould, Sharp, Broadwood, Gardiner and others.

Other recordings:  Bob Hart (Suffolk) - Musical Traditions MTCD 301-2.  Tony Harvey (Suffolk) - Veteran VT 102.  George Townshend (Sussex) - Musical Traditions MTCD 304.  Jeff Wesley (Northants) - Veteran VT 116.

11  The Farmer's Servant sung by Bob Hart, Snape, Suffolk, 1970.  Roud 792.

The Reverend Baring-Gould rewrote this as The Flail Man - 'One verse was so gross I did not take it down', he later wrote - thus confusing countless numbers of children!  And early members of the Folk Song Society noted similar versions in Hampshire and Dorset.  As well as Bob, his near neighbours Percy Webb, 'Rivets' Branch and Frank Woolnough all sang this song - and all of them used Blaxhall Ship quite frequently ... diplomacy was the order of the day!

Other recordings:  Harry Cox (Norfolk) - Rounder CD 1839.

12  I Am a Miller to my Trade sung by Davie Stewart, Blairgowrie, Perthshire, 1967.  Roud 888.

Greig/Duncan 1489 (7 versions).  Also known as The Buchan Miller and clearly once highly popular.  Davie gets the clattering effect by banging his hands, wrists and forearms on the table as he sings.

13  Four Horses sung by Hockey Feltwell, Southery, Cambridgeshire, 1962.  Roud 12929.

This is the only example of this song in Roud.

14  Nicky Tams sung by Jimmy McBeath, Dundee (rec.  London), 1967.  Roud 1875.

Nicky tams were pieces of string that the Scottish farmworkers would tie around their trouser legs at harvest time to prevent mice and rats from running up their legs.  The song was popularised by George S Morris who recorded it on an early Beltona 78 (BL2188).  A version of Morris's song Sleepytoon can be heard on track 24 below, and Belle Stewart uses the Nicky Tams tune for her own song The Berry Fields of Blair on Vol.20(23).

15  The Lark in the Morning sung by Paddy Tunney, Beleek, Co Fermanagh (rec. London), 1965.  Roud 151.

AKA The Ploughboy.  An extremely well-known song, which was collected by most of the major English collectors.  It also turns up in Scotland and, as here, in the North of Ireland.  Cecil Sharp also noted it in the Appalachian Mountains of America.  It seems that the earliest known text dates from an Edinburgh chapbook of 1778.  Some broadsides called it The Ploughman's Glory and focused more on the virtue of the ploughboy.

Other recordings:  Bob & Ron Copper (Sussex) - Topic TSCD534.

16  Lovely Molly sung by Lizzie Higgins, London, 1968.  Roud 1446.

Hamish Henderson collected this song from Jock MacShannon of Kintyre.  He then taught it to Jeannie, who substituted the name 'James' for MacShannon's 'George' in the first verse.  Presumably the name 'James' fitted better with the Stuart Kings of Scotland.  Lizzy then learnt the song from her mother.  Stanley Robertson, Lizzy's cousin, has recorded the song for me.  He too learnt it from Jeannie.  Sam Henry has a version, titled The Ploughboy (H780).  However, it was published in English Minstrel (c1810?) pp.109-114, and the majority of Roud's few entries are from England, so together with the original 'George, my King' phrase, we may guess at an English origin ... one source credits Charles Dibdin as its author.

17  The Bonnie Labouring Boy sung by Paddy Beades, Dublin, 1946.  Roud 1162, Laws M14.

The Bonny Labouring Boy belongs to that large class of broadside balladry which concern true love's triumph over family opposition.  Indeed it is difficult to imagine a more typical example of a broadside ballad - in this case one which was printed by numerous 19th century printers, including Catnach, Ryle, Fortey and Such, all of London, and Cadman of Manchester.  Collected sets have turned up repeatedly in English, but less frequently in Ireland and North America.

Other recordings:  Harry Cox (Norfolk) - Topic TSCD 512D.  Jeff Wesley (Northants) - Veteran VT 116.  Tony Harvey (Suffolk) - Veteran VT 103.

18 The Barnyards o' Delgaty sung by Jimmy McBeath, Dundee (rec London), 1966 or '67.  Roud 2136, Greig/Duncan 347 (17 versions).

According to Greig, the farm of Barnyards on the estate of Delgaty is a mile north-east of Turriff, in Aberdeenshire.  Greig believed the song to have been written sometime during the first quarter of the 19th century.

Other recordings:  Willie Kemp (Aberdeenshire) - Sleepytown cassette SLPYHT005T.  Joe Aitken (Aberdeenshire) - Sleepytown SLPYCD001.  Jock Duncan (Aberdeenshire) - Springthyme SPRCD 1039.

19  The Rich Lady Gay sung by Harry Upton, Balcombe, Sussex, 1975.  Roud 1714.

Surprisingly, no version of The Rich Lady Gay appears to have been collected elsewhere.  It is, however, clearly related to the song Cupid the Ploughboy which at one time was well-known throughout southern England.

Other recordings:  For Cupid the Ploughboy see Walter Pardon (Norfolk) - Musical Traditions MTCD 305-6.

20  The Cranbally Farmer sung by Tom Lenihan, Knockbrack, Co Clare, 1983.  Roud 2358.

Another rare song.  Joyce published it in Old Irish Folk Music & Songs pp.216-218, as did ” Lochlainn in More Irish Street Ballads (1965) pp.114-115, but Tom's is the only recording we know about.

21  Wi' Ma Big Kilmarnock Bonnet sung by Willie Kemp, accompanied by Curly McKay (piano-accordion), location unknown, 1936.  Roud 5861.

The Greig-Duncan Collection has four version of this song, which had be published as a broadside by Sanderson of Edinburgh.  Willie Kemp recorded it on Beltona 2285 in 1936.  Many of Willie Kemp's songs and instrumentals are available on 3 cassettes and a CD from Sleepytown Records, Woodend Leask, Ellon, Aberdeenshire AB41 8JY.

22  The Lads that was Reared Among Heather sung by Willie Scott, Dumfries (rec.  London), 1967.  Roud 5127.

According to Willie, this was a popular song around the beginning of the 20th century.  Originally from Dumfrieshire, although with a slightly Irish sounding tune, it has also been found in Peebleshire.  Peter Kennedy recorded Adam Jackson singing it in Wark, Northumberland, in 1954.

Other recordings:  Jock Anderson (Borders) - Kyloe CD102.

23  Tossing the Hay sung by Eddie Butcher, Magilligan, Co Derry, 1955.  Roud 2940, Sam Henry H.635.

Henry prints an additional verse that goes between Eddie's first & second verses:

Through a close hedge I watched my love, to her I was unseen,
Her beauty it did far outshine that Catherine Jane, your queen,
And all around her ivory neck, the amber locks did play,
And the diamond glances of her eye at the tossing of the hay.
There are eight versions of this song in the Greig-Duncan Collection and Sam Henry publish another Irish one from Andrew Allen of Coleraine, Co Londonderry, in 1936.  H E D Hammond encountered the only English sighting in 1905 from a Mr Bridle of Stratton, Dorset.  Broadside versions were usually titled Joy After Sorrow, although both Sam Larner (Norfolk) and Phoebe Smith (Suffolk) called it Raking the Hay.

Other recordings: Phoebe Smith (Suffolk) - Veteran VT136CD.

24  Sleepytoon sung by John MacDonald, Elgin, Morayshire, 1974.  Roud 9140.

A 'cornkister' or bothy song composed by Willie Clark, 'poet Clark', a farm servant on the farm of Sleepytoon near Kennethmont, south of Huntley, sometime c.1854, and popularised on a 78 disc by the late George S Morris of Old Meldrum.  (Reg Hall's comment that Morris wrote the piece is incorrect).  In Victorian and Edwardian days farm servants in the North-East were housed in 'bothies' (stone outhouses, where they had their sleeping and feeding quarters), and these served as fertile incubators of the ploughman's folksong.  Many of such songs provide vivid and often scurrilous descriptions of the old-style bothy life.

George Morris recorded a number of bothy songs for Beltona Records, including such titles as The Buchan Miller, The Muckin o' Geordie's Byre, A Pair o' Nicky Tams and Aikey Brae.  Many of these, including Sleepytoon, can be heard on the cassette George Morris - the Buchan Chiel ( Sleepytown SLPYHT001T).

Other recordings: John Mearns (Aberdeenshire) - Sleepytown SLPYCD011.  Jock Duncan (Aberdeenshire) - Springhthyme SPRCD 1039.

25  Back o' the Haggart played on two melodeons by the Hyde Brothers, New York, c.1928.

My dictionary defines 'haggart' - spelt 'haggard' - as a stackyard.  The term is in current usage in SW Scotland and Ulster.

 
Volume 6: Tonight I'll Make You My Bride - Ballads of True & False Lovers (Topic TSCD 656)  Review

The Raggle-Taggle Gypsies sung by Walter Pardon, Knapton, Norfolk, c.1975.  Roud 1, Child 200.

AKA The Gypsy Laddie.  Second only to Barbara Allen as the most popular ballad from Professor Child's collection, and with 464 Roud entries, including 92 recordings.  The ballad is known in print from the early 18th century, although it is probably in fact older.

Other Recordings.  Harry Cox (Norfolk) - Topic TSCD 512D.  Eunice Yeatts MacAlexander (Virginia) - EFDSS CD02.  Harry Green (Essex) - Veteran VT135.  Jeannie Robertson (Aberdeen) - Topic TSCD 667.

Here's a Health to all True Lovers sung by Belle Stewart, Blairgowrie, Perthshire, 1976.  Roud 179, Child 248.

At least four of Belle's verses can be found in the revenant ballad The Grey Cock, where the cock is asked not to crow, because this would signal the coming of morn, by which time the supernatural visitor must away.  See Vol. 3(21) for further details.  [The word 'revenant' crops up frequently in works on ballads and, for those readers unfamiliar with the term, it means 'a person who has returned, especially supposedly from the dead'.]

Other Recordings.  The Here's a Health variant is not common and few recordings have ever been available.  The BBC recorded a superb version from Mary Doran in Belfast in 1952, and Maggie McGee (Inishowen) sings another on Inishowen Trad Singers Circle ITSC 002.

Another Man's Wedding sung by Eddie Butcher, Magilligan, Co Derry, 1955.  Roud 567, Laws P31.

AKA The Nobleman's Wedding, The Faithless Bride, Down in Yon Valley or, in the case of Sam Henry, An Old Lover's Wedding (H60).  It was clearly once well-known, especially in Scotland, where Greig & Duncan found at least 25 versions (Greig/Duncan 1199).  As with many versions, Eddie's final verse seems to have 'strayed' in from another song, All Around My Hat.

Other recordings.  Daisy Chapman (Aberdeenshire) - Musical Traditions MT CD 308.  Sheila Stewart (Perthshire) - Topic TSCD515.  Belle Stewart (Perthshire) - Greentrax CDTRAX 9055.  Paddy Doherty (Donegal) - Inishowen Traditional Singers cassette ITSC 001.

The Maid of Ballymore sung by Mary Ann Carolan, Hill o' Rath, Co Louth, 1978.  Roud 2991.

Both text and pentatonic air appear to be unique to Mrs Carolan.

The Ballad of the Ewe Buchts sung by Stanley Robertson, Aberdeen, 1973.  Roud , Child 217.

AKA The Broom of Cowdenknows.  Child prints 14 versions of this ballad.  Its popularity was such that Motherwell could say, 'It would be useless to enumerate the titles of the different versions which are common', and Kinloch added, 'Each district has its own version'.  Child also mentions an English song of the mid-seventeenth century, about a northern girl milking her father's ewes, which was sung 'to a pleasant Scotch tune called 'The broom of the Cowden Knowes', and the burden is:

With, O the broome, the bonny broome,
The broome of the Cowden Knowes!
Fain would I be in the North Countrey,
To milk my dadyes ewes.'
Child believed that the composer of the English song possibly knew the refrain from the Scottish ballad, if little else of the ballad, which is clearly of Scottish origin.  Cowdenknowes is on the east bank of the Leader, near Earlston in Lauderdale, a few miles from Melrose in the Scottish borders.  As a matter of interest, not that there is a connection here, Earlston was once the home of Thomas the Rhymer.  Despite 72 Roud entries there appear to have been only three sound recordings from the oral tradition: form Stanley, Jimmy MacBeath, and Ethel Findlater (Orkney).

Other recordings.  Jimmy MacBeath (Aberdeenshire) - Greentrax CDTRAX 9005.

The Green Wedding sung by Nora Cleary, Miltown Malbay, Co Clare, 1976.  Roud 93, Child 221.

AKA Katharine Jaffray. Cecil Sharp collected a version of The Green Wedding from Robert Parish of Exford in Somerset.  We know that Sharp, great man that he was, was something of a 'twitcher' when it came to adding Child numbers to his collection and, seeing a connection between The Green Wedding and Katharine Jaffray, he was only too happy to call it a version of the Child ballad.  In fact, Professor Child was aware of The Green Wedding and he printed part of the text in his notes to Katharine Jaffray.  A Nova Scotian version of the ballad, collected in 1931 in the form of a cante-fable, was printed in Edith Fowke's book Tales Told in Canada (Toronto, 1986.  pp.  59-60).

Other recordings.  Thomas Moran (Leitrim) and Cecilia Costello (Birmingham) - Rounder CD 1776.  Joe Rae (Ayrshire) - Musical Traditions MTCD 313.

Sheet music cover - courtesy Mike YatesMarrowbones sung by Jimmy Knights, Little Glenham, Suffolk, 1975.  Roud 183, Laws Q2.

This turns up in at least two forms, the first, and presumably earlier version, with titles such as The Old Woman of Kelso or The Wife of Kelso, and the later Johnny Sands (Laws Q2).  It has always seemed to me that this should be quite an old ballad, the sort of thing that Chaucer or Boccaccio should have printed, but this does not seem to be the case.  Gavin Greig was right when he said, 'Nothing in human life and experience has supplied so many motives for the humorist as the relations of husband and wife'.  There are 11 versions in the Greig/Duncan collection (Greig/Duncan 318), plus a couple of versions of Johnny Sands (Greig/Duncan 319).  Cecil,Sharp collected at least two versions, from Herefordshire and Somerset, and there are versions in many other British and American collections.  Such was the popularity of the piece, that a Johnny Sands Quadrille was composed, complete with cover picture showing Johnny leaving his wife in the water, his hands tied firmly behind his back.

Other recordings.  John Reilly - Globestyle CDORBD 081.

The Month of January sung by Paddy Tunney, Beleek, Co Fermanagh (rec. London), 1965.  Roud 175, Laws P20.

Similar to the version sung by Mrs Sarah Makem, of Keady, Co Armagh.  Laws refers to a Pitts broadside (c.1815) by John Embleton, titled The Fatal Snowstorm, which George Gardiner heard from George Baldwin in Tichborne, Hampshire, in 1907.  Kenneth Peacock found it in Newfoundland, though he appears not to have liked it - 'It appears to be quite rare, mercifully so'.

Other recordings.  Tom Lenihan (Co Clare) - accompanying cassette to The Mount Callan Garland (1994.  ISBN 0 906 426 162).

The Forester sung by Lizzie Higgins, Aberdeen, 1975.  Roud 67, Child 110.

AKA The Knight and Shepherd's Daughter.  How times change!  Lizzie's final verse, 'When the marriage it come up, they laughed to see the fun/She was the Laird of Urrie's dochter, he was a blacksmith's son', suggests that the ballad, which essentially concerns a rape, was once seen as a source of amusement.  Child prints twelve versions, and mentions a blackletter broadside in the Roxburghe Collection.  He also sees a connection between the ballad and stories such as The Marriage of Sir Gawain and The Wife of Bath's Tale.  Nowhere do we find any sort of apology for the man's actions.

Other recordings.  John Strachan (Aberdeenshire) - Rounder CD 1835.

10  The Maid and the Magpie sung by Cyril Poacher, Blaxhall, Suffolk, 1974.  Roud 1532.

Once, before I first heard Cyril's song, I saw a framed theatre poster for an early 19th century play, titled The Maid and the Magpie.  At the time, the name meant nothing to me, and I am unable to say if this song comes from the stage play.

Talking birds abound in classical mythology.  The present song, however, concerns a rather more down-to-earth magpie which, like the parrot in the ballad of The Outlandish Knight, is privy to its mistressís dark secrets. Unlike the parrot, it is not bribed with promises of an ivory and gold cage - and so promptly spills the beans in court.  Suggestions that the magpie may simply be the rationalisation of an older and more magical creature seems, to me, to be nothing more than a wish to reinvent old mythologies.  In its present form The Maid and the Magpie was printed in the 1860s by at least two well-known broadside merchants and itís likely that Aldeman Ling's father, John (born 1823), from whom Cyril said he learned the song, had his version from one of these sheets.

11  Young Ellender sung by Phoebe Smith, Melton, Suffolk, 1969.  Roud 1750.

This appears to be a much fragmented version of Roud 539/Laws M15 The Iron Door, which also has titles such as The Daughter in the Dungeon, Her Servant Man or The Cruel Father and Affectionate Lovers. Although Cecil Sharp collected six versions of that song, it does not seem to have surfaced too often.  Nor does Phoebe's version; Roud's only instance of it.

12  Colin and Phoebe sung by Pop Maynard, Copthorne, Sussex, 1960.  Roud 512.

'With the few remaining old-fashioned singers in country places, songs of the type of "Colin and Phoebe" are still favourites.  They are a survival of the school of fashionable music and song when Mr Lampe and Dr Arne composed, and when Mr Beard and other singers delighted Vauxhall (Pleasure Gardens) audiences with these composers' productions'.  So wrote Frank Kidson in his Traditional Tunes (1891).  Kidson also includes a version of the song taken from a folio of 24 pages, titled The New Ballads sung by Mr.Lowe and Miss Stevenson at Vauxhall, set by Mr.Worgan, Book the 4th, 1755.  London: Jn. Johnson.  The song is titled Corydon and Phśbe, a Dialogue.

Other recordings.  Harry Cox (Norfolk) - Topic TSCD512D.  Bob Lewis (Sussex) - Veteran VT131CD.

13  Matt Highland sung by Liz Jefferies, Bristol, 1976.  Roud 2880.

I'm a little puzzled by this song.  Where else does a banished lover complain "And must I go without my wages?"?  This seems a very modern idea for a song dealing with a king's daughter - and the whole story-line is so complete, the plot so neatly brought to the hoped-for conclusion.  Furthermore, how is it that a song which was so appealing as to be immediately taken up by almost every singer who heard it in the early 1970s should have attracted virtually no singers in the preceding 125 years?

The song was apparently collected in c.1845 by John and Abrahan Hume in Kilwarlin, Co Down, from an un-named singer (see Sheilds, Ulster Folklife 17, p.21, 1971).  It was also printed as one un-dated broadside in the Madden Collection, where it's included in the Dublin section.  It was then collected in the oral tradition from four Irish singers in the mid 1970s, and sighted twice in the USA.  So it appears to have come to light in the mid-19th century, lain dormant for 125 years, and then suddenly been learned by hundreds, possibly thousands, of singers in the mid-1970s.  A very singular history!

14  Molly Bawn sung by Packie Manus Byrne, London, 1974.  Roud 166, Laws O36.

Please see the notes to 3(17). 

15  Bold William Taylor sung by Joseph Taylor, London, 1908.  Roud 158, Laws N11.

Boy joins the army, leaving girlfriend behind.  Girlfriend, dressed as a soldier, follows after and discovers that boyfriend has married someone else.  Girl kills ex-boyfrend (plus new wife, insome versions) and is made an army commander!  Who was it said that history was another country?  The song Bold William Taylor has turned up repeatedly on the lips of traditional singers, principally in England.  There are thirteen versions in the Cecil Sharp collection, including three sets from the Appalachians, and a further six versions in the Greig/Duncan collection (under the title Billy Taylor).

Other recordings.  Sophie Legg (Cornwall) - Veteran cassetteVT119 (shortly to be reissued on CD).

16  The Bold Trooper sung by Nora Cleary, Miltown Malbay, Co Clare, 1976.  Roud 311.

According to Steve Roud there is only one known broadside of this tale of marital infidelity, and that is without imprint and so cannot be dated.  It has turned up mainly in England but was also known in Ireland, Scotland and North America.

Other recordings.  Jumbo Brightwell (Suffolk) - Neil Lanham CD NLCD3.  Harry Cox (Norfork) - Topic TSCD 512D.

17  Kate of Ballinamore sung by Geordie Hanna, Coalisland, Co Tyrone, 1977.  Roud 5172.

This song was learnt from John Robinson, a Lough Neagh fisherman of Brockagh whose favourite it was.  He generally sang Baltimore or sometimes Kate from the Lough Shore following the impulse of singers to localize their songs.  Geordie brings the song neatly into Ulster by setting it in the Co Leitrim village of Ballinamore.  (Baltimore is in South West Cork).  No published version of the song is known, though Hugh Shields had it from Eddie Butcher and gives several archive references in his article 'Irish Folk Song Recordings 1966 - 72' in Ulster Folklife Vol.17.  Bobbie Hanvey collected it from Harry McCormick of Shrigley, Co Down, and the BBC recorded it from the traveller Winnie Ryan.  Packie Manus Byrne used the tune for his song Paddy's Green Shamrock Shore.

18  The Laird o' the Dainty Doonby sung by Lizzie Higgins, London, 1968.  Roud 864.

This appears as The Dainty Downby in Herd's Ancient Songs (1776).  Most recently collected versions have the words carried to a tune similar to Johnny Cope.  Ewan MacColl & Peggy Seeger collected a set from Maggie McPhee of Aberdeen (Travellers' Songs from England and Scotland.  1977) and note the connection between that version and ballads such as The Wylie Wife of the Hie Toon Hie (Child 290) and The Broom of the Cowdenknowes (Child 217).

Most recent collections have been from the Robertson/Higgins/Stewart group of Travellers in Aberdeenshire, but Lyle's Andrew Crawfurd's Collection of Ballads & Songs 2 (1996) pp.80-82 cites Elizabeth Macqueen singining it in Ayrshire in 1827.

Other recordings.  Jeannie Roberton (Aberdeen) - Rounder CD 1720.

19  Long A-Growing sung by Mary Ann Haynes, Brighton, Sussex, 1974.  Roud 31, Laws O35.

This is a version of the ballad The Bonny Boy.  For notes please see Vol. 3(2).

20  The Mountain Streams Where the Moorcocks Crow sung by Paddy Tunney, Beleek, Co Fermanagh (rec. London, 1975.  Roud 2124.

For notes to this song, please see Vol. 17(8).


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