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Remembered More in Song than History Books

Doc John 24 Mar 08 - 09:25 AM
GUEST,Chicken Charlie 24 Mar 08 - 10:11 AM
McGrath of Harlow 24 Mar 08 - 07:40 PM
meself 24 Mar 08 - 07:52 PM
Gurney 25 Mar 08 - 01:10 AM
GUEST,PMB 25 Mar 08 - 05:38 AM
GUEST, Sminky 25 Mar 08 - 06:07 AM
Mr Happy 28 Mar 08 - 11:00 AM
Santa 28 Mar 08 - 11:08 AM
davyr 28 Mar 08 - 11:39 AM
Escapee 28 Mar 08 - 11:51 AM
GUEST,Chicken Charlie 28 Mar 08 - 11:54 AM
GUEST,The Mole Catcher's unplugged Apprentice 28 Mar 08 - 12:03 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 28 Mar 08 - 12:29 PM
theleveller 28 Mar 08 - 02:43 PM
Willa 28 Mar 08 - 03:13 PM
Gulliver 31 Mar 08 - 01:28 PM
ard mhacha 31 Mar 08 - 01:53 PM
topical tom 31 Mar 08 - 03:25 PM
LeTenebreux 31 Mar 08 - 03:34 PM
Mr Happy 01 Apr 08 - 09:44 AM
Mr Happy 01 Apr 08 - 09:55 AM
GUEST,Arnie at work 01 Apr 08 - 11:27 AM
Mr Happy 07 Apr 08 - 05:10 AM
GUEST,PMB 07 Apr 08 - 05:34 AM
LesB 07 Apr 08 - 05:38 AM
JeffB 07 Apr 08 - 08:55 AM
GUEST,Chicken Charlie 07 Apr 08 - 12:08 PM
Jim Carroll 07 Apr 08 - 02:44 PM
An Buachaill Caol Dubh 08 Apr 08 - 11:13 AM
Ruth Archer 08 Apr 08 - 11:20 AM
An Buachaill Caol Dubh 08 Apr 08 - 11:47 AM
GUEST,squeezeboxkc at work 08 Apr 08 - 11:56 AM
Ross Campbell 08 Apr 08 - 03:02 PM
The Mole Catcher's Apprentice (inactive) 08 Apr 08 - 03:48 PM
John MacKenzie 08 Apr 08 - 04:04 PM
Ruth Archer 08 Apr 08 - 04:11 PM
An Buachaill Caol Dubh 09 Apr 08 - 11:31 AM
Ross Campbell 09 Apr 08 - 01:59 PM
Doc John 09 Apr 08 - 02:20 PM
GUEST,The Mole Catcher's unplugged Apprentice 09 Apr 08 - 02:27 PM
Ross Campbell 09 Apr 08 - 04:25 PM
DannyC 09 Apr 08 - 06:43 PM
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Subject: Remembered More in Song than History Boo
From: Doc John
Date: 24 Mar 08 - 09:25 AM

There was recently a thread about Admiral Benbow. I'm sure he's remembered more in the songs than in the history books; in fact if you look him up in Google, there's more information about the pubs! Sir John Franklin may well be another example of this effect. Can 'Catters think of any other examples - people, events, places etc.
Doc John
NB None of those young people who in a recent survey in the UK thought Sherlock Holmes existed and Winston Churchill was a fictitious character should add to the thread!


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Subject: RE: Remembered More in Song than History Boo
From: GUEST,Chicken Charlie
Date: 24 Mar 08 - 10:11 AM

Personally, I admit to being rather obsessed with railroad songs. I was rather startled recently to discover that one of my close musical colleagues, who is a teacher and very much interested in history, had no idea that Casey Jones was a real person. So were George Alley (Engine 143) and "Steve" Brody (Ol' 97). But yes, I can believe that survey. And we have to put up with hearing that not only did these people never exist, but that the songs about them are "irrelevant." Right. Heroism is irrelevant. Maybe where they come from.

CC


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Subject: RE: Remembered More in Song than History Boo
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 24 Mar 08 - 07:40 PM

The Marquis of Granby. Pubs up and down the country with his name and with his picture painted on the pub sign. Achieved immortality by the thoughtful action of buying pubs for non-commissioned officers who had served under him.


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Subject: RE: Remembered More in Song than History Boo
From: meself
Date: 24 Mar 08 - 07:52 PM

Sue R-----, who broke my heart.


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Subject: RE: Remembered More in Song than History Boo
From: Gurney
Date: 25 Mar 08 - 01:10 AM

The Corn Laws. Press gangs. Transportation. The Tolpuddle Martyrs, etc etc.
Almost everything that I know about social inequity, I learned from folk songs.

Not too surprising, when you think about who wrote the books, and who wrote the songs.


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Subject: RE: Remembered More in Song than History Boo
From: GUEST,PMB
Date: 25 Mar 08 - 05:38 AM

Admiral Benbow
Border reivers
The Cycling Champion of Ulster
Sean South of Garryowen
McPherson

I often wonder why ceratin song types survive when others don't. Few significant songs about the entire Napoleonic wars survived in the English tradition, whereas General Wolfe stayed in memory.


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Subject: RE: Remembered More in Song than History Boo
From: GUEST, Sminky
Date: 25 Mar 08 - 06:07 AM

The Cotton Famine. Peterloo.

McCafferty.

Miles Weatherill (plus various other murder tragedies).

A host of pit/ship disasters.

History written by the losers. Great stuff.


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Subject: RE: Remembered More in Song than History Boo
From: Mr Happy
Date: 28 Mar 08 - 11:00 AM

Davey Crockett [anybody else have one've those hats with a tail?]

The grand old Duke of York

Captain Kidd

Robin Hood [riding through the glen!]

[Come away, Come away with] William Tell

Ivanhoe

Jesse James

Uncle Tom Cobbley et al

Tom Dooley


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Subject: RE: Remembered More in Song than History Boo
From: Santa
Date: 28 Mar 08 - 11:08 AM

It depends which books you read. All these things are to be found in history books. You just have to read the real books not just the "Dummies guides" and the "coffee table" specials.

For example, there's not exactly a shortage of books about Jesse James - although I can only think of one about Ivanhoe, and Scott's novel is not to be regarded as a guide to real history!


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Subject: RE: Remembered More in Song than History Boo
From: davyr
Date: 28 Mar 08 - 11:39 AM

It certainly does depend on which books you read - E P Thompson's "The Making of the English Working Class" being at the top of my list.

Ivanhoe was a purely fictional character, btw.


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Subject: RE: Remembered More in Song than History Boo
From: Escapee
Date: 28 Mar 08 - 11:51 AM

When Czar Peter the Great was in England to learn about shipbuilding, he rented a house from John Benbow. This is the kind of background that makes songs a little more interesting to me. Thats almost all I know about the guy, though. Theres a biography out there somewhere, but my local library couldn't lay hands on it. Apparently, his origins are obscured by the mists of time. At least we have the song and The Oxford Book Of Ships And The Sea, one of the all-time great books.
SKP


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Subject: RE: Remembered More in Song than History Boo
From: GUEST,Chicken Charlie
Date: 28 Mar 08 - 11:54 AM

Of course Ivanhoe was fictional. Consider the source. :)

Bye, now!


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Subject: RE: Remembered More in Song than History Boo
From: GUEST,The Mole Catcher's unplugged Apprentice
Date: 28 Mar 08 - 12:03 PM

' Theres a biography out there somewhere, but my local library couldn't lay hands on it. Apparently, his (John Benbow) origins are obscured by the mists of time. At least we have the song.......'

and a Wkipedia page and a website

Charlotte (the view from ma and Pa's piano stool)


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Subject: RE: Remembered More in Song than History Boo
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 28 Mar 08 - 12:29 PM

Books are available on most of these people. Since they are mostly minor players in world history, often mentioned only in footnotes, they are ignored in the history books for schools.

Teachers could make history come more alive by including a few of these characters in their lectures and assignments, and a song or two, but the broad lessons of history should not be obscured by focusing on minor players.

Admiral Benbow is discussed in a number of books:
John Campbell et. al, "Lives of the British Admirals," 8 volumes.
Colbert Lee, "Famous British Admirals"
Wm. A. Benbow, "The Life of Vice Admiral John Benbow, 1653-1702"
Callender, Geoffrey, "Sea Captains of Britain"
and others.
Benbow perhaps is best known because of the mutiny against him by his officers.
A good semi-fictional book is "Benbow Was His Name," Brahms and Sherrin.


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Subject: RE: Remembered More in Song than History Books
From: theleveller
Date: 28 Mar 08 - 02:43 PM

Agnes Smith and Andrew Lammie in Tifty's Bonnie Annie.


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Subject: RE: Remembered More in Song than History Books
From: Willa
Date: 28 Mar 08 - 03:13 PM

Grace Darling
Patience Kershaw


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Subject: RE: Remembered More in Song than History Books
From: Gulliver
Date: 31 Mar 08 - 01:28 PM

That great Muskerry sportsman, the bould Thady Quill.

Don


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Subject: RE: Remembered More in Song than History Books
From: ard mhacha
Date: 31 Mar 08 - 01:53 PM

Speaking off The bould Thady Quill, true enough he did exist, but, he was the direct opposite to the heroic character in the song.
I heard this song discussed on an RTE programme a few years ago, the writer of the song Johnny Tom Gleeson died in 1924, Thady Quill our hero was according to the old people taking part in the discussion, a big shy clumsy man and Gleeson was having a laugh at poor Thady`s expense.


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Subject: RE: Remembered More in Song than History Books
From: topical tom
Date: 31 Mar 08 - 03:25 PM

Johnny Cash sings
The Ballad of Ira Hayes


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Subject: RE: Remembered More in Song than History Books
From: LeTenebreux
Date: 31 Mar 08 - 03:34 PM

TMBG wrote a brilliant song about James K. Polk, hardly the most famous U.S. President.


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Subject: RE: Remembered More in Song than History Books
From: Mr Happy
Date: 01 Apr 08 - 09:44 AM

The Peel brothers, John & Ken!


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Subject: RE: Remembered More in Song than History Books
From: Mr Happy
Date: 01 Apr 08 - 09:55 AM

Trelawney in 'Song of the Western Men'

'And shall Trelawney live,or shall Trelawney die?
Here's twenty thousand Cornishmen shall know the reson why'

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sir_Jonathan_Trelawny%2C_3rd_Baronet


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Subject: RE: Remembered More in Song than History Books
From: GUEST,Arnie at work
Date: 01 Apr 08 - 11:27 AM

General Wolfe - as in the song that begins 'On Monday morning as we set sail, the wind did blow a pleasant gale" etc... Was it the taking of Quebec??

Arnie


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Subject: RE: Remembered More in Song than History Books
From: Mr Happy
Date: 07 Apr 08 - 05:10 AM

Bony [Napoleon Bonaparte] frequently pops up in many songs.

Strangely, other military leaders/empire builders don't seem to feature at all


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Subject: RE: Remembered More in Song than History Books
From: GUEST,PMB
Date: 07 Apr 08 - 05:34 AM

Wolfe was killed at Quebec after manoeuvring his army up the Heights of Abraham, which was lightly defended because the French defenders thought it was unfeasable to attack by that route. The battle was unusual in that the commanders of both armies were killed, though no one sings about Montcalm that I've heard of.

Other military leaders remembered in song- Hitler (for having only one ball) and King Caractacus (though not for his military exploits).


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Subject: RE: Remembered More in Song than History Books
From: LesB
Date: 07 Apr 08 - 05:38 AM

'The British sailor Andrew Rose'?
Cheers
Les


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Subject: RE: Remembered More in Song than History Books
From: JeffB
Date: 07 Apr 08 - 08:55 AM

There is a rarely performed "Gen Wolfe" song which has Wolfe and Montcalm talking to each other before the battle. It never happened though.


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Subject: RE: Remembered More in Song than History Books
From: GUEST,Chicken Charlie
Date: 07 Apr 08 - 12:08 PM

Guest PMB-- People probably do sing about Montcalm, but they probably do it in French. N'est pas?

CC
Trying to fake being a Francophone


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Subject: RE: Remembered More in Song than History Books
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 07 Apr 08 - 02:44 PM

Folksongs get the facts wrong as much as they get them right - that's what makes them important.
If I wanted to know how many men fought in the Battle of Trafalgar; who they were, where they came from - etc, I'd go to the Naval Records Office.
On the other hand, if I wanted to know what it felt like to be in the middle of a murderous sea battle, how a farmer who had been made drunk in order to get him to enlist was experiencing, what if felt like to be kidnapped from your home and family and put in an environment that was totally alien (a larg proportion of the sailors below decks in the navy had never seen the sea previously) - I'd go to the songs.
Quite often the facts were altered deliberately by the balladmakers as weapons (Haughs of Cromdale - Ballyshannon Lane).
As the man said "If a man were permitted to make all the ballads, he need not care who should make the laws of a nation"
Andrew Fletcher of Saltoun 1704.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Remembered More in Song than History Books
From: An Buachaill Caol Dubh
Date: 08 Apr 08 - 11:13 AM

Slight correction to that last quotation; as far as I recall, the whole thing reads, "I knew a wise man who was so much of Sir ------'s opinion that he said, if a man..&c" That is, F of S isn't actually endorsing the view he gives, simply stating it. Anyway, who could ever make all the ballads of a nation; as has been noted several times above, there are various interest-groups.

In response to the original posting:

Phelim Brady, the 'Bard of Armagh'" (he actually held a rather different position)

The Wild Colonial Boy

Mrs McGrath....


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Subject: RE: Remembered More in Song than History Books
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 08 Apr 08 - 11:20 AM

Maria Martin - hugely famous Victorian murder, all but forgotten now except in the song.


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Subject: RE: Remembered More in Song than History Books
From: An Buachaill Caol Dubh
Date: 08 Apr 08 - 11:47 AM

Was that something about a Red Barn?


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Subject: RE: Remembered More in Song than History Books
From: GUEST,squeezeboxkc at work
Date: 08 Apr 08 - 11:56 AM

Joseph Myers hung in Sheffield for killing his wife


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Subject: RE: Remembered More in Song than History Books
From: Ross Campbell
Date: 08 Apr 08 - 03:02 PM

In the case of Franklin (mentioned in the original post), I think the reverse is true. Certainly there was a burst of songs being produced during the time of the search for the lost expedition, reflecting the huge public concern raised by Lady Jane Fanklin's own efforts to find her lost husband and his crew.

But ever since then, there has been continuing interest in the mystery. I can remember as a child reading the story of the Erebus and Terror in an illustrated children's story-book. Years later, when Ron Baxter and I started researching the events for our show "North West Passage", we soon realised that the general fascination with this story had never abated all the way up to the present day. Books and papers continue to appear on the subject, and there are several websites with some wonderful material, while expeditions are still being mounted to research the land and sea areas involved. Global warming may present even more opportunities for such efforts, while the North West Passage itself becomes a political football as Canada attempts to assert its sovereignty over this potential international sea-route.

Ross


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Subject: RE: Remembered More in Song than History Books
From: The Mole Catcher's Apprentice (inactive)
Date: 08 Apr 08 - 03:48 PM

The Gresford mining disaster


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Subject: RE: Remembered More in Song than History Books
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 08 Apr 08 - 04:04 PM

Thread I started some 7 years ago, prompted by a similar thought.

G


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Subject: RE: Remembered More in Song than History Books
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 08 Apr 08 - 04:11 PM

"Was that something about a Red Barn?"

indeed. It was so famous that there were Staffordshire figurines modelled on the Red Barn, and sold in quantity. The Red Barn itself had to be torn down because so many people had come and taken away pieces of it as souvenirs, it made the building unstable.


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Subject: RE: Remembered More in Song than History Books
From: An Buachaill Caol Dubh
Date: 09 Apr 08 - 11:31 AM

Thanks, Ruth Archer.

Re. Franklin, I was initially of the same mind as RossCampbell, but didn't like to say (not being sure). Wasn't there a Television programme some ten years back, perhaps prompted by the discovery of the remains of some of his crew? It seems there had been lead-poisoning, a consequence of the preservation of foods by "canning".


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Subject: RE: Remembered More in Song than History Books
From: Ross Campbell
Date: 09 Apr 08 - 01:59 PM

ABCD - from Ron Baxter's script for Red Duster's show "North West Passage - the Search for Franklin and His Gallant Crew":-

"Then between 1982 and 1986 Prof. Owen Beattie of Alberta University made several trips to the North. At Starvation Cove he dug up bones buried by Lt. Schwatka. From these and others found on King William Isle, he discovered that it was "possible" that they could have been suffering from scurvy. But far more startling was firm evidence, from knife cuts on some thigh bones, that they had resorted to cannabalism!

However there was still no firm evidence of why they ALL died.

He then moved on to Beechey Isle, where the bodies of the three crew members who had died that first winter were buried. After gaining permission from eleven separate agencies [including the Admiralty in London, and any surviving descendents] he exhumed them. They appeared as if they had died only the day before, the permafrost had preserved them so well. There he carried out post mortems on them, 140 years after they had died.


The actual cause of death, for all three was pneumonia. All also showed the early stages of T.B. One, a stoker, had emphysema and pneumoconiosis [which he probably had before he sailed]. But by far the most startling find was that all of them had well over thirty times the normal level of lead in their bodies!

So after 138 years since the last survivors drew their final breath, the final part of the puzzle slipped into place; they had died of lead poisioning from the solder used to seal the seams of the canned provisions. They were killed by the very rations that should have been their salvation.

The "fate of Franklin and his gallant crew" at last was known."

There was indeed such a documentary more than ten years ago which covered the exhumations and autopsies described above. Lead poisoning would gradually have impaired the physical and mental abilities of those affected. Poor judgement led to bad decisions, diminishing strength left them unable to accomplish the Herculean task they set themselves in trekking overland.

Ross


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Subject: RE: Remembered More in Song than History Books
From: Doc John
Date: 09 Apr 08 - 02:20 PM

Adding to the thread I started. Ned Kelly is famous enough probably from his home made armour and two films; however I had never heard of Ben Hall until I heard Martyn Wyndham Read's excellent LP.
I suppose 'more famous in song than history books' is very subjective: where you live, who taught you history at school, did you maintain an interest in history etc. I was surprised to discover later in life that so many characters and events I had first heard about in songs as a child and teenager really did exist. Says a lot about history teaching I'm afriad: Romans, Vikings, Tudors and WWII is about all some kids get.
Charley Chicken, I too like RR songs. Do you know anything about the Wabash Cannonball? Thanks


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Subject: RE: Remembered More in Song than History Books
From: GUEST,The Mole Catcher's unplugged Apprentice
Date: 09 Apr 08 - 02:27 PM

'There was indeed such a documentary more than ten years ago which covered the exhumations and autopsies described above.'

Ross, I believe I'm right in thinking that was broadcast on CBC's The Nature of Things with David Suzuki

Charlotte R


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Subject: RE: Remembered More in Song than History Books
From: Ross Campbell
Date: 09 Apr 08 - 04:25 PM

On BBC (or possibly Channel 4) over here. I'd imagine that CBC might have been instigator or co-producer. I may still have the tape!

Ross


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Subject: RE: Remembered More in Song than History Books
From: DannyC
Date: 09 Apr 08 - 06:43 PM

By chance I had drawn a friend of mine (he's my senior by maybe 15 years) into a discussion yesterday. Got him talking about his gravedigger father up in Chicago. I knew that his father had left Ireland abruptly in the mid-1920s - many of my relations had left in the same era. His uncle is the South Chicago Trad musician, Terry 'Cuz' Teahan.

Anyway, he talked at length about his father's gravedigger buddy - a kindly man by the name of Conn Dee.   He said there was a big fuss when Conn left Ireland as well.   I was surprised today to find this story

Conn Dee's Story

and I figured it fits this thread.


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