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John Moulden Origins: Bonny Portmore (28) RE: Origins of Bonny Portmore 17 Sep 00

Sorry Bruce, I'm guilty of introducing confusion - Johnny Lovely Johnny or the High Walls of Derry has no relationship at all with any of the songs connected with Portmore or My Heart's in the Highlands.

Looking at the FJ Bigger version, which is clearly a longer version of that in "The Irish Song Tradition," I begin to wonder whether we are not looking at two separate songs linked by a couple of common verses. The attempt to drain Portmore lough is a very specific incident and the song concentrates on it. The Highlander's Farewell (for want of a better generic title) has little which derives from it. Which is the chicken? The draining attempt dates from c 1740 according to FJ Bigger.

Mention of "Come all ye little streamers" opens another can of worms - the ballad sheet versions I have are related in a way which indicates that the oldest versions of the song are from north Derry - "The strands of Magilligan" as in Sam Henry. Do you have anything on this Bruce?

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