Mudcat Café message #1100819 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #19122   Message #1100819
Posted By: Stewie
25-Jan-04 - 04:33 AM
Thread Name: Lyr Req: Barbara Allen (different versions)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: 'Barbara Allen' different versions
According to Meade et alia, the Yazoo recording transcribed by Roberto was recorded on 24 January 1930 and issued by Melotone in March 1932 and by Vocalion in August 1934 - and subsequently by a number of other labels. He also recorded a version in 1929 for Brunswick that was unissued. There is no discographical information with the Old Homestead CD so the version therein must be the only other recording that he made of the song - in Chicago in February 1928. This has many stanzas identical to the 1930 version posted above by Roberto, but there are significant differences. It will be easier to post the whole thing rather than indicate the departures from Roberto's text.


In Scarlet town where I was born
There was a fair maid dwellin'
Made every youth cry well away
And her name was Barb'ry Allen

All in the merry month of June
When the green buds they were fallin'
Sweet William on his death-bed lay
For the love of Barb'ry Allen

He sent his servant to the town
Where Barb'ry was a-dwellin'
My master is sick and sent for you
If your name be Barb'ry Allen

And death is painted o'er his face
And o'er his heart is stealin'
Then hasten away to comfort him
Oh lovely Barb'ry Allen

So slowly, slowly she got up
And slowly she came nigh him
And all she said when she got there:
Young man, I think you're dying

O yes, I'm sick, and very sick
And death is on me dwellin'
No better, no better I never will be
If I can't have Barb'ry Allen

O yes, you're sick, and very sick
And death is on you dwellin'
No better, no better you never will be
For you can't have Barb'ry Allen

Don't you remember in yonder town
When we were at the tavern
You gave a health to the ladies all 'round
And slighted Barb'ry Allen

O yes, I remember in yonder town
In yonder town a-drinkin'
I gave a health to the ladies all 'round
But my heart to Barb'ry Allen

As she was on her high way home
The birds they kept a-singin'
And every note did seem to say
Hard-hearted Barb'ry Allen

She looked to the east and she looked to the west
'til she spied his corpse a-comin'
Lay down, lay down that corpse of clay
That I may look upon him

The more she looked, the more she mourned
'til she fell to the ground a-cryin'
Sayin', Take me up and carry me home
For I am now a-dyin'

Oh mother, oh mother go make my bed
Go make it long and narrow
Sweet William died for pure, pure love
And I shall die for sorrow

Oh father, oh father, go dig my grave
Go dig it long and narrow
Sweet William died for me today
I'll die for him tomorrow

She was buried in the old church-yard
And he was buried nigh her
On William's grave there grew a red rose
On Barb'ry's grew a green briar

They grew to the top of the old church wall
'til they could not climb any higher
They lapped and they tied in a true lover's knot
And the rose grew around the briar

Source: transcription of Bradley Kincaid 'Barbara Allen' recorded in Chicago on 27 February 1928 and issued as Silvertone 5186, 8217 and Supertone 9211. Reissued on Bradley Kincaid 'Old-Time Songs and Hymns' Old Homestead OHCD-4014.