Mudcat Café message #3242274 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #87026   Message #3242274
Posted By: MGM·Lion
21-Oct-11 - 12:51 AM
Thread Name: Barbara Allen earliest version?
Subject: RE: Barbara Allen earliest version?
"the 17th-century diarist Samuel Pepys recounts hearing the "Scotch song of Barbara Allen" sung by his favorite actress, Mrs. Knipp, and by Pepys' time it had probably already been a popular favorite for many years." ~~ programme note by The King's Noyse singing consort.
Probably so indeed; and why 'Scotch' if Pepys had not previously heard it in Scotch versions? And the diary entry suggests it was clearly a song familiar to him. Theories about its being a new song inspired by the Plague (and so, of course, likely to be cheerfully sung at social gatherings just afterwards!) do not seem entirely convincing to me.