Mudcat Café message #3667870 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #155631   Message #3667870
Posted By: GUEST,henryp
10-Oct-14 - 12:52 PM
Thread Name: fifties popsongs that started as folk
Subject: RE: fifties popsongs that started as folk
Ronnie Ronalde! Wikipedia says;

Ronnie Ronalde (born Ronald Charles Waldron, 1923, London) is a British music hall singer and siffleur. Ronalde is famous for his voice, whistling, yodelling, imitations of bird song and stage personality. His crystal clear yodelling gained him acceptance with connoisseurs of Alpine and Western music around the world.

"If I Were a Blackbird" (1950) is among Ronalde's most famous songs from this period. This rendering of Delia Murphy's Irish folk song had him in the British top 20 for 6 months. She would later jovially express her thanks for boosting her income.

Delia Murphy Kiernan (16 February 1902 11 February 1971) was a singer and collector of Irish ballads. She recorded several 78 rpm records in the 1930s, 40s and 50s. In 1939 she recorded The Blackbird, The Spinning Wheel and Three Lovely Lassies for HMV.

The modern version is clearly related to a traditional song, with one verse transformed into a chorus;
Now if I were a blackbird I'd whistle, I'd sing
I would follow the ship that my true love sailed in
On the top of his mainmast I would build my nest
That long night, sure I'd gaze upon his lily white breast.

From Mainly Norfolk; If I Were a Blackbird / I Am a Young Maiden [Roud 387 ; Ballad Index FSC38 ; trad.]

Albert 'Diddy' Cook sang Blackbird in a recording supervised by A.L. Lloyd in The Eel's Foot Inn, Eastbridge, Suffolk, on May 13, 1938 (BBC 2168). This recording was included in 1998 on the Topic anthology As Me and My Love Sat Courting (The Voice of the People Volume 15).