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Info needed for 'Two Ravens'

DigiTrad:
SAYS THE BLACKBIRD TO THE CROW
THE THREE CROWS (BILLY MACGEE MACGORE)
THE THREE RAVENS
THE THREE RAVENS (5)
THE TWA CORBIES (7)
THOMAS O YONDERDALE
THREE CRAWS
TWA CORBIES
TWA CORBIES 2
TWA CRAWS SAT ON A STANE


Related threads:
Origins: Twa Corbies / Three Ravens / etc. (77)
Twa Corbies (46)
3 Ravens (Ravenscroft) what's it about? (72)
Three Black Crows (21)
Twa Corbies - transl. into Engl, please (63)
Lyr Req: Three Ravens, newer version? (22)
Lyr Req: The Twa Corbies (13)
Mudcatter's CD's Part 2 (16)
Help! Twa Corbies (12)
Lyr Req: Old Black Crow (6)
origins of 'Two Ravens' (4)
Lyr Req: Scot Gaelic Song - The Two Crows? (7)
Lyr/Chords Req: The Twa Corbies (Old Blind Dogs) (5)
Lyr Req: Three Black Birds (8)


GUEST,Mrbisok@aol 07 Dec 00 - 09:13 PM
Mary in Kentucky 07 Dec 00 - 09:23 PM
Mary in Kentucky 07 Dec 00 - 09:24 PM
GUEST,Bruce O. 07 Dec 00 - 09:45 PM
Malcolm Douglas 07 Dec 00 - 11:19 PM
John P 08 Dec 00 - 12:52 AM
GeorgeH 08 Dec 00 - 06:41 AM
Abby Sale 08 Dec 00 - 03:48 PM
McGrath of Harlow 09 Dec 00 - 08:11 AM
zander (inactive) 10 Dec 00 - 07:17 AM
Joan 10 Dec 00 - 09:44 PM
Abby Sale 11 Dec 00 - 09:26 AM
John P 12 Dec 00 - 07:29 AM
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Subject: Info needed for 'Two Ravens'
From: GUEST,Mrbisok@aol
Date: 07 Dec 00 - 09:13 PM

Is this a Child Ballad? The version I'm working with is by the Dransfields-- is this group reliable? Is this song the same as "Twa Corbies"? What's an appx date for the appearance of this poem/lyric/song? Thanks for your interest.


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Subject: RE: Info needed for 'Two Ravens'
From: Mary in Kentucky
Date: 07 Dec 00 - 09:23 PM

Hi Mrbisok. Normally we can use what we call SuperSearch to find songs in the DT and any discussions in the forum pertaining to that song. Just enter the song name on the main forum page in the blue box on the left just above the threads.

For some reason, right now I can't get that to work, so try this link instead, http://www.mudcat.org/@NewSSResults.cfm

I got nothing on Two Ravens, but tons of info on Twa Corbies. You might see if any of the lyrics in the DT (4 versions I think) are the same as your version.

Good luck.


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Subject: RE: Info needed for 'Two Ravens'
From: Mary in Kentucky
Date: 07 Dec 00 - 09:24 PM

...oops, not the blue box, but the one that says Digitrad and Forum Search. Usually this one will get you there.


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Subject: RE: Info needed for 'Two Ravens'
From: GUEST,Bruce O.
Date: 07 Dec 00 - 09:45 PM

The earliest version is of 1611, with music, and there's a facsimile of it, "The Three Raven", via the Thomas Ravenscroft directory on the SCA Minstrel website.


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Subject: RE: Info needed for 'Two Ravens'
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 07 Dec 00 - 11:19 PM

Mary's instructions for searching here will find you quite a lot of material: try searches for child #26, twa corbies, and three ravens.  "Twa Corbies" isn't necessarily the same song, but it is generally considered to be related; certainly, Child grouped them together.
BR>

In case you don't know how to find the site Bruce mentions, here are a couple of useful links for you:

Early Child Ballads

Ravenscroft's "Melismata"

You might also have a look at   The Traditional Ballad Index  -do a search for three ravens.

By the way, it's usually a good idea not to start two separate threads on the same subject; makes things unnecessarily complicated!

Malcolm


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Subject: RE: Info needed for 'Two Ravens'
From: John P
Date: 08 Dec 00 - 12:52 AM

We recorded a song on our last album called "The Two Ravens". I don't know if it is the one you are talking about or not. We found it in a book that I think said the song was collected in West Virginia. It is definitely related to "The Three Ravens" from the 1611 Ravenscroft collection and to "Twa Corbies" from Scotland (from Minstelsy of the Scottish Border, 1803). In our version, like the Scottish version, the "hero" wasn't the lucky man portrayed in the Three Ravens -- his hounds and hawks and lady all run off as soon as he is dead. A couple of verses are given over to strangely poetic descriptions of the ravens ripping his body apart and the world of nature going on around his rotting corpse. With more detail and more eerie beauty than "Twa Corbies". It obviously had roots in Scotland, as the melody that came with it is "Ye Bonnie Banks and Braes", a well-known Scottish tune.

My wife recently wrote a southern American sounding version called "Over the Mountain". We sometimes do three versions of the same song in the same concert . Of course, they all have different melodies and different sets of lyrics. But it gives us an opportunity to talk about the evolution of folk songs and the oral tradition and all that.

John


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Subject: RE: Info needed for 'Two Ravens'
From: GeorgeH
Date: 08 Dec 00 - 06:41 AM

And yes, the Dransfields were pretty reliable . . There's another thread about them around here somewhere!

G.


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Subject: RE: Info needed for 'Two Ravens'
From: Abby Sale
Date: 08 Dec 00 - 03:48 PM

Don't forget the American version, THE THREE CROWS (BILLY MACGEE MACGORE).

Ed McCurdy put all three versions, the English/romantic, the Scottish/cynical (or practical) and the American/comic (travesty) on one record. Good versions of all. Based on MacEdward Leach's The Ballad Book and titled The Ballad Record


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Subject: RE: Info needed for 'Two Ravens'
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 09 Dec 00 - 08:11 AM

Incidentally, the tune normally associated with the Twa Corbies is a Breton one, only used with it in relatively recent years, because someone wanted to sing a text from a book, I understand. Matches it perfectly, and most people assume it's traditional. Well, it is now.

I think now I prefer the Two Ravens version of the story. I'm less cynical than I used to be, maybe.


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Subject: RE: Info needed for 'Two Ravens'
From: zander (inactive)
Date: 10 Dec 00 - 07:17 AM

Two Ravens by Robin and Barry Dransfield is an anglicised version of the scots son Twa Corbie's.

cheers, Dave


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Subject: RE: Info needed for 'Two Ravens'
From: Joan
Date: 10 Dec 00 - 09:44 PM

Richard Chase collected a beautiful Appalachian version set to "Ye Banks..." with a verse in which the two crows cause a ship to founder by means of magic(!) and debate between themselves whether to dine on the washed up sailors or the young, slain hunter in the greenwood. They choose the hunter, "And you can pick at his soft white thighs, and I will pick out his bonny blue eyes" and decide that his golden hair and beard will do nicely to lie their nestlings in. Also mentioned is the fact that "his lady's gone to another mate..." which leads one to speculate about the cause of death.

Sounds grisly, but the language is beautiful and the tune a perfect fit...and haunting. Check Chase for this version. I have Lani Herrmann to thank for telling me about this one years ago; probably my favorite ballad.

Joan


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Subject: RE: Info needed for 'Two Ravens'
From: Abby Sale
Date: 11 Dec 00 - 09:26 AM

Joan: I've never even bothered to read it before!..It's a fine, indeed version as you say. He gives quite a history on it but I just don't recall any other US "Corbies" versions (and a quick scan through Bronson doesn't show one) except for the low comic "Billie McGee McGaw" types.

Excellent text! And, although the birds usually talk in any version, I've never seen one also narrated from POV bird. Good tune - the one in the database is as Chase gives. It seems easily singable but I'd shore like to hear someone sing it. My thanks to the good Lani too.


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Subject: RE: Info needed for 'Two Ravens'
From: John P
Date: 12 Dec 00 - 07:29 AM

Joan, that is the version we do. I love the eerie, poetic quality of the lyrics. I've often thought that the somewhat gruesome subject matter actually makes the major key melody sound minor, or at least forlorn.

Oh, cold and bare will his bed be
When grey winter storms sing in the tree
His head's on the turf, at his feet a stone
He'll sleep nor hear the young maiden's mourn
Over his white bones the birds will fly
The wild deer run, the foxes cry
Over his white bones the birds will fly
The wild deer run, the foxes cry

We play it with a lap dulcimer and a nyckelharpa; the haunting echo of all the sympathetic strings on the nyckelharpa works nicely for that melody and subject matter.

We once had an audience member suggest that we don't introduce it as a gruesome song, but rather as a recycling song.

John


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