Mudcat Café message #1368165 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #19122   Message #1368165
Posted By: Roberto
31-Dec-04 - 11:34 AM
Thread Name: Lyr Req: Barbara Allen (different versions)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: 'Barbara Allen' different versions
Dick Greenhaus, I am not amazed that Barbara Allen has been in the tradition for centuries. It is a powerful archetypical ballad. The rose and briar motif; the grim content behind; the magic (the basin full of tears; the golden watch and the guinea gold chain, etc) and Barbara Allen being maybe a witch; her wild laughter when she sees his corpse; jealousy, cruelty and revenge; love and death; the unknown reasons for him to slight her in public; his discounsolate death, etc, etc, etc. What would you want more? And the tunes, so many different tunes, and yet sharing something in common: a family of tunes. Yesterday I was reading The Volsung Saga. The character of Brynhildr in there has a lot of Barbara Allen. She makes the only man she ever loved die, for jealousy and revenge, and for some sort of consequence she dies very soon after. She laughs when she knows for certain he's dead, just like Barbara Allen in many versions. She, instead of him, is very ill and lies in her bed (until she revenges herself). And then there are the magnificent versions of Barbara Allen we could get from traditional singers and in the revival of traditional music: the ones sung by Jane Turriff, Carolyne Hughes, Phoebe Smith, Sarah Makem, Elizabeth Cronin, Jean Ritchie, Texas Gladden, Lucy Stewart, Bob Hart, Phil Tanner, Fred Jordan, Sam Larner, Joe Heaney, Jimmy Stewart, Martin Carthy, Norma Waterson, Ewan MacColl, Gordeanna McCulloch, Jean Redpath, Mary Humphreys, Nic Jones, Jody Stecher, and many more.