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Help: American songs from Scotland?

Desert Dancer 19 Oct 01 - 01:09 AM
GUEST,Boab 19 Oct 01 - 02:25 AM
GUEST,MC Fat 19 Oct 01 - 06:28 AM
Maryrrf 19 Oct 01 - 10:30 AM
GUEST,Boab 20 Oct 01 - 12:52 AM
Stilly River Sage 20 Oct 01 - 01:55 AM
John MacKenzie 20 Oct 01 - 11:42 AM
GUEST,Mars Burnside 20 Oct 01 - 12:29 PM
weepiper 20 Oct 01 - 01:59 PM
Mary in Kentucky 20 Oct 01 - 05:10 PM
GUEST,ParaHandy 20 Oct 01 - 06:08 PM
Dave the Gnome 20 Oct 01 - 06:15 PM
GUEST,Boab 21 Oct 01 - 02:45 AM
Desert Dancer 21 Oct 01 - 04:06 AM
GUEST,Mars Burnside 22 Oct 01 - 12:09 AM
GUEST,Mars Burnside 22 Oct 01 - 12:12 AM
GUEST,Boab 22 Oct 01 - 02:57 AM
GUEST,Guest 22 Oct 01 - 04:12 PM
Art Thieme 22 Oct 01 - 09:49 PM
toadfrog 22 Oct 01 - 10:12 PM
Malcolm Douglas 22 Oct 01 - 10:43 PM
Stilly River Sage 16 Jun 06 - 11:57 PM
Chanteyranger 17 Jun 06 - 01:45 AM
GUEST 17 Jun 06 - 02:57 AM
Leadfingers 17 Jun 06 - 08:17 AM
GUEST,Jack Campin 17 Jun 06 - 04:26 PM
GUEST,Julia 18 Jun 06 - 12:18 AM
Malcolm Douglas 18 Jun 06 - 01:03 AM
Stilly River Sage 18 Jun 06 - 01:13 AM
Malcolm Douglas 18 Jun 06 - 01:37 AM
Stilly River Sage 18 Jun 06 - 11:27 AM
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Subject: American songs from Scotland?
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 19 Oct 01 - 01:09 AM

A friend has put in a request, on behalf of his Scottish ceilidh singing group, for 'songs that everyone thinks of as "American" that have Scottish roots'. Off the top of my head, I can only think of obscure ballads, like Lamkin, but they're looking for things to do at a fund-raising performance and so probably would like more recognisable songs.

Any suggestions?

~ Becky in Tucson


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Subject: RE: Help: American songs from Scotland?
From: GUEST,Boab
Date: 19 Oct 01 - 02:25 AM

Aff the tap o' ma heid, the only one I can think of that's associated with America is "Dumbarton's Drums"; I believe Jean Redpath claimed to have found the song in Montana. The tune does have a mid-western lilt to it-----


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Subject: RE: Help: American songs from Scotland?
From: GUEST,MC Fat
Date: 19 Oct 01 - 06:28 AM

Coming from Dumbarton, I can tell you Boab that at least the song is good, the town's a load of pish


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Subject: RE: Help: American songs from Scotland?
From: Maryrrf
Date: 19 Oct 01 - 10:30 AM

"Barbara Allen" has been claimed as originally Scottish (although I've heard it attributed to English and Irish origins as well).


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Subject: RE: Help: American songs from Scotland?
From: GUEST,Boab
Date: 20 Oct 01 - 12:52 AM

Maryrrf---songs can go back over eons. One thing can be said; Samuel Pepys, the English diarist of the 1600s mentions having heard "Barbara Allen" in Scotland. Strangely, the closest version I ever heard to the Scottish one I was brought up with was one I heard Nic Jones sing 'way back in the mid-60s. [Nic did tend to sing much undeniably Scottish material, mind you---"Lochmaben Harper"etc. Perhaps he had actually chosen to sing that version.]


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Subject: RE: Help: American songs from Scotland?
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 20 Oct 01 - 01:55 AM

These things have moved back and forth so often; are you looking for actual words, or the tunes? Songs like >i>The Old Settler Song (also called Acres of Clams uses the tune Rosen the Bow. I was told this as a child, when my father was learning it. So where does Rosen the Bow come from? I have it on at least one Clancy Brothers album.

I seem to remember a traditional song to the states called Springfield Mountain that I read had English/Scottish roots. Is this true? Or did it just migrate from one state to another in the US? How many venomous snakes are there in England or Scotland to worry about in the fields?

It went
On Springfield Mountain there did dwell
A love-ly youth, I knew him we-e-el. . .

(I've extended the words as they were sung, but I'm not sure how it is written on the page)

Good thread, but one that is destined to become as entangled as the folk music itself.

m


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Subject: RE: Help: American songs from Scotland?
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 20 Oct 01 - 11:42 AM

Hedy West used to sing a song called "The wife wrapped in wethers skin" (I think)which is a recognisable version of "The wee cooper o' Fife".

Jock


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Subject: RE: Help: American songs from Scotland?
From: GUEST,Mars Burnside
Date: 20 Oct 01 - 12:29 PM

Thanks all for the input so far. Becky was kind enough to post the original question for me. I had not been aware of this web site. What we are looking for are songs that everyone thinks of as American, but which have Scottish roots. These will be perfomred at the Southern Ariozna Scottish Society's annual winter concert and will be part a program that includes highland dance, Scottish country dance, of of course bag pipes. We don't need words or music, just names. If they are songs we all know as part of our American musical background, we will be able to find the words or music if we don't already have them.

Barbara Allen is of course a good one and we will definitelly do some version or other.

Auld Lang Syne qualifies. Bobby Burns wrote it back in the 1700's but a lot of people think of it as American.

Four Nights Durnk is a possibility.

Any others.

Mars


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Subject: RE: Help: American songs from Scotland?
From: weepiper
Date: 20 Oct 01 - 01:59 PM

Stilly River Sage,
We have adders in the UK which are pretty venomous. Not very common now though.


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Subject: RE: Help: American songs from Scotland?
From: Mary in Kentucky
Date: 20 Oct 01 - 05:10 PM

The Water is Wide/ Waly, Waly/ Lord Jamie Douglas - but be careful - read about it here. Also search the discussions here using the forum search.

Turkey in the Straw - read about it here.

Also check out what Lesley (the Contemplator) has to say about various Child Ballads here. Many of them have numerous variants, some American, ie Billy Boy/ Lord Rendal. Jean Ritchie has a couple of tapes, Child Ballads in the Appalachians.


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Subject: RE: Help: American songs from Scotland?
From: GUEST,ParaHandy
Date: 20 Oct 01 - 06:08 PM

The Streets of Laredo is an Americanised version of the Pills of White Mercury. If you need the words I ccan get them to you. Email me at parahandy@aol.com.


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Subject: RE: Help: American songs from Scotland?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 20 Oct 01 - 06:15 PM

Considering that all US songs come from Europe originaly (apart from native American songs of course) this is a pretty daft question...;-)

DtG
Ducking and running


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Subject: RE: Help: American songs from Scotland?
From: GUEST,Boab
Date: 21 Oct 01 - 02:45 AM

A point of interest; Robert Burns claims to have COPIED the words of "Auld Lang Syne" from the singing of an old guy in a pub![ He did actually collect, rather than compose, many of his works. For instance, of "Killiecrankie' he says "the words of -verse and -verse are mine; the chorus is very old."]


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Subject: RE: Help: American songs from Scotland?
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 21 Oct 01 - 04:06 AM

Sage, sorry, Springfield Mountain is one of those songs which is entirely American, dating to an actual event in Wilbraham (formerly known as Springfield Mountain), Massachusetts, in 1761. It evolved into comic forms, such as "Fod."

A factoid, but only useful in elimination in answer to the question...

My difficulty in trying to answer this question is coming up with things that are definitively Scottish, as opposed to being one of those songs that wanderered around the isles as well as across the pond, but I guess if Barbara Allen qualifies, then it needn't be strictly Scottish.

And I don't know what to think of people who think "Auld Lang Syne" is American!

Hey, Mars, are you trying to find songs for which you've got a good Scottish version to give a sample of, or letting the audience take your word for it??

Anyway, here's a couple more:

Froggy Went A-Courtin' first shows up in a 1549 Scottish broadside.

The Riddle Song ("I Gave My Love a Cherry") is a fragment of Captain Wedderburn's Courtship (Child No. 46) which has a lot of Scottish versions.

~ Becky in Tucson


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Subject: RE: Help: American songs from Scotland?
From: GUEST,Mars Burnside
Date: 22 Oct 01 - 12:09 AM

Becky (Desert Dancer),

You are right; I am looking for songs with Scotch roots, not just British Isles or European. These will, after all, be performed for the Southern Arizona Scottish Society's winter concert in between sets of bagpipe tunes, highland dancing, and Scottish Country Dancing. For the most part we will probably just do the American versions and simply tell people that the songs have Scottish roots. However, if we can pull together material that shows how the song evolved as it crossed the "pond" I think that we be good too. We don't' really need all that much, as we will only be a small part of the program.

Of the stuff that has come in, I think we can use Turkey in the Straw, Froggie Went a Courting, I gave my Love a Cherry, and if Samuel Pepys, heard it in Scotland in the 1600s, we should be able to use "Barbara Allen". I am not familiar with Dumbarton's Drums, but I will bring it up to the others and see what they know. I would love to use Streets of Laredo, but although I have a Scottish version of the Unfortunate Rake from which it derives, the Unfortunate Rake appears to be older, the oldest version being a fragment from County Cork, Ireland from1790.

(Anyone who is interested in evolution of Streets of Laredo should get a hold of Folkways FA 3805, The Unfortunate Rake, which was originally published as a very full two sided LP with excellent liner notes with different variations of the song. Some versions are in a minor key, some in a major key, some about young men, others about women. The early ones deal with death from sexually transmitted disease. The American version, Streets of Laredo, of course, cleans this up to a wholesome death by gunshot. I originally taped this from a record in the Berkeley Public Library in the early 70's. More recently I was able to get a copy on a CD-R from the Smithsonian. They do have it, although I don't know if it is listed in their catalog.)

No, Becky, a lot of people don't know where Auld Lang Syne comes from, and Guest Boab is right. Much of Burns stuff was collected, not original. His intent was to collect, starting with songs he learned from his mother. When he couldn't find a whole song, he added to it or modified it as he saw fit. The idea of collecting the stuff was kind of new, much less preserving it without modifications. Lucky for us he did collect these songs. We will be performing a number of them for the annual Burn's Dinner here in Tucson on Burns' birthday. I find these events kind of futsy, but I love the music.

Mars


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Subject: RE: Help: American songs from Scotland?
From: GUEST,Mars Burnside
Date: 22 Oct 01 - 12:12 AM

Becky (Desert Dancer),

You are right; I am looking for songs with Scotch roots, not just British Isles or European. These will, after all, be performed for the Southern Arizona Scottish Society's winter concert in between sets of bagpipe tunes, highland dancing, and Scottish Country Dancing. For the most part we will probably just do the American versions and simply tell people that the songs have Scottish roots. However, if we can pull together material that shows how the song evolved as it crossed the "pond" I think that we be good too. We don't' really need all that much, as we will only be a small part of the program.

Of the stuff that has come in, I think we can use Turkey in the Straw, Froggie Went a Courting, I gave my Love a Cherry, and if Samuel Pepys, heard it in Scotland in the 1600s, we should be able to use "Barbara Allen". I am not familiar with Dumbarton's Drums, but I will bring it up to the others and see what they know. I would love to use Streets of Laredo, but although I have a Scottish version of the Unfortunate Rake from which it derives, the Unfortunate Rake appears to be older, the oldest version being a fragment from County Cork, Ireland from1790.

(Anyone who is interested in evolution of Streets of Laredo should get a hold of Folkways FA 3805, The Unfortunate Rake, which was originally published as a very full two sided LP with excellent liner notes with different variations of the song. Some versions are in a minor key, some in a major key, some about young men, others about women. The early ones deal with death from sexually transmitted disease. The American version, Streets of Laredo, of course, cleans this up to a wholesome death by gunshot. I originally taped this from a record in the Berkeley Public Library in the early 70's. More recently I was able to get a copy on a CD-R from the Smithsonian. They do have it, although I don't know if it is listed in their catalog.)

No, Becky, a lot of people don't know where Auld Lang Syne comes from, and Guest Boab is right. Much of Burns stuff was collected, not original. His intent was to collect, starting with songs he learned from his mother. When he couldn't find a whole song, he added to it or modified it as he saw fit. The idea of collecting the stuff was kind of new, much less preserving it without modifications. Lucky for us he did collect these songs. We will be performing a number of them for the annual Burn's Dinner here in Tucson on Burns' birthday. I find these events kind of futsy, but I love the music.

Mars


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Subject: RE: Help: American songs from Scotland?
From: GUEST,Boab
Date: 22 Oct 01 - 02:57 AM

Likely I'm up the wrong tree again---but is Springfield Mountain sung to the melody of "The Butcher Boy"?


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Subject: RE: Help: American songs from Scotland?
From: GUEST,Guest
Date: 22 Oct 01 - 04:12 PM

See Vol. II- Ballads, Frank C. Brown Collection of North Carolina Folklore for "The Wee Wee Man", "Roy's Wife of Aldovaloch" and "I wish my love were in a ditch [mire]".

"The frog came to the myl dure" is mentioned in "The Complaynt of Scotland", 1549, and folklorists think it was probably a version of "Froggie went a courting", but there is no known Scottish broadside of it of the 16th or 17th centuries.

"The Riddle Song" is given in facsimile from an English manuscript of c 1440 (BL Sloane MS 2593) in the Opie's 'Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes'


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Subject: RE: Help: American songs from Scotland?
From: Art Thieme
Date: 22 Oct 01 - 09:49 PM

The main source of "Dunbarton's Drums" for many on the American folk scene was the family singing of Bob and Evelyn Beers and Bill and Janet Boyer. (Bob Beers in New York and Janet Boyer in St. Louis were brother and sister.) I believe their source for the song was their grandfather, GEORGE SULLIVAN, of North Freedom, Wisconbsin. That would/might indicate that the song was Irish in origin even though it was about Scottish doings.

"Springfield Mountain", I've always thought, was from Springfield Mountainin Massachusetts where a lad named Timothy Myrick (or something similar) was bitten by a snake. This was in the very early American colonies. The song was later used on the vaudeville stage where it was given a risque moral tacked onto the end.

A warning take each lad and lass,
Don't you get in trouble in the long tall grass !

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: Help: American songs from Scotland?
From: toadfrog
Date: 22 Oct 01 - 10:12 PM

If you are going to eliminate "obscure ballads like Lamkin," you may be shooting yourself in the foot. Probably just about all the old traditional songs from the Southern Appalachians have Scottish roots (except of course the "native American" ones). Bronson did an analysis of a few hundred of those songs by mode and structure, compared them to traditional Scottish and English ones. The American songs differed from the English ones in the same respects as the Scottish ones, only more so. Also, that part of the country was mostly settled by the "Scotch-Irish" and Germans, who came down the hollers from Pennsylvania in the Eighteenth and early Ninteenth centuries. "Barbara Allen" is surely a good example. I'll bet you Sally Ann or Soldier's Joy are also examples.

On the other hand, you are going to find it very tricky to find old Scottish songs of which versions don't also exist in England.


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Subject: RE: Help: American songs from Scotland?
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 22 Oct 01 - 10:43 PM

The original question was about songs which are assumed to be American, but "which have Scottish roots", a point which most contributors so far seem to have ignored.  I fear that, knowing little about what is assumed in America to be American, I can only add this postscript to Art's earlier comment:

Though I don't doubt that Dumbarton's Drums was known in Ireland, it seems to have been known rather earlier in England (Playford's Apollo's Banquet for the Treble Violin, 1690) and earlier still in Scotland (Skene MS., c. ?1615-?1630, though possibly later); there seems to be no question but that it originated in Scotland.


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Subject: RE: Help: American songs from Scotland?
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 16 Jun 06 - 11:57 PM

I had an opportunity to add some clarifying remarks to a western (U.S.) literature thread via this discussion as it pertained to "Streets of Laredo." And while I'm at it, I'll bring it back up on the list to see if there is anything new to be added.

SRS


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Subject: RE: Help: American songs from Scotland?
From: Chanteyranger
Date: 17 Jun 06 - 01:45 AM

The old timey song and tune "Hop High Ladies," aka "Uncle Joe," is from the Scottish tune "Mrs. McLeod's Reel." Mrs. McLeod had a sex change operation on the boat from Scotland to America, becoming uncle Joe.

Chanteyranger


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Subject: RE: Help: American songs from Scotland?
From: GUEST
Date: 17 Jun 06 - 02:57 AM

Any half decent collection of American folk songs should give you as many 'Scots' songs as you could possibly want, though describing them as of Scots origin is not necessarily accurate.
To start at the beginning of Cox's West Virginia collection 'Folk Songs of the South' you have; lady Isabel and the Elf Knight, Earl Brand, The Twa Sisters, Lord Randall, The Cruel Mother, The Three Ravens.......... et al
Likewise with 'British Ballads From Maine' (Barry, Eckstorm and Smyth)
You could do worse than to get hold of the Texas Gladden CD from the Lomax collection where you will heaar a number of them superbly sung.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Help: American songs from Scotland?
From: Leadfingers
Date: 17 Jun 06 - 08:17 AM

The Farmers Curst Wife ( She goes to hell but the Devil brings her back ) - The Appalachian version I heard YEARS ago was virtually identical to the The Ian Campbell Group version !


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Subject: RE: Help: American songs from Scotland?
From: GUEST,Jack Campin
Date: 17 Jun 06 - 04:26 PM

"Rosin the Bow" is related to a tune published by James Oswald, c.1750. It isn't at all clear to me that Oswald's tune was the original, as the second parts are rather different. Maybe they both derived from a common ancestor.

"When Johnny Came Marching Home" is basically "John Anderson my Jo" in a different rhythm. That one is pretty uncontroversially Scottish, from the 17th century.

But "Turkey in the Straw"? What's that from?

And the tune for "I Gave my Love a Cherry" is not a Scottish one. The idea of that riddle is known all over Europe so there's no particular reason to suppose any aspect of the American song is Scottish.


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Subject: RE: Help: American songs from Scotland?
From: GUEST,Julia
Date: 18 Jun 06 - 12:18 AM

Some quick thoughts

The Water is Wide is often labelled as American
Scarborough Settlers Lament is Canadian with a Scottish melody
Fireside Book of American songs lists Banks & Braes and Barbry Ellen

Folk Songs of Old New England has quite a bit including
Over the water to Charlie,
Gypsy Daisy (Seven Gypsies),
Jenny Jenkins (Will you wear Red) is a kids songs from Galloway
Our Goodman (seven nights drunk) This shows up in some 18thc Scottish collections
Three Crows (Twa Corbies)
more

American Songbag has some
Who will shoe your pretty little foot (Fair Annie of Lochryan)
Weevily Wheat
Gypsy davey
The Brown Girl
more

Cowboy songs are a good source
Roll on little dogies has the same tune as "My Bonnie"

A lot of Stephen Foster's stuff sounds suspiciously Scottish

Good luck and let us know what you end up doing

cheers- Julia


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Subject: RE: Help: American songs from Scotland?
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 18 Jun 06 - 01:03 AM

In a way it's a pity that SRS revived this old thread (please all note the date of the original question), as a lot of it is superceded by later discussions. Back in 2001 I didn't know, for instance, that the Beers set of 'Dumbarton's Drums' uses a completely different tune from the Scottish one.

Other misapprehensions corrected elsewhere include the suggestion that Pepys heard 'Barbara Allen' in Scotland (he didn't; he heard it at a posh do in London, sung by an actress he was keen on. When he described it as a "little Scotch song", he was probably referring to the genre, not the country of origin; as at other times he might have said "northern song" or "country song". It was likely written in London for the stage. It's been found in tradition in Ireland, naturally; but it has also been found almost everywhere else where English is spoken, including Tristan da Cunha. Nobody, I think, has suggested on the strength of that that it originated there.

'The Water is Wide' is, in the form most people know it, very specifically English: again, see other threads for full details.

There are more misapprehensions, but for now I'll just address a new (for this thread) one brought up by 'Leadfingers'. Although forms of 'The Farmers's Curst Wife' have been found in Scotland (Burns re-wrote one, quite extensively, as 'The Carle o' Killyburn Braes'), it's also been found practically everywhere else as well. The earliest recorded text is an English broadside registered in 1630, and there seems no particular reason to think that wasn't the "original".

A great many Scottish songs were enormously popular in the USA from its earliest days, of course, but these are usually pretty obvious. There's no particular need to grasp at speculative straws when there is so much genuine information available if you care to look for it.


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Subject: RE: Help: American songs from Scotland?
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 18 Jun 06 - 01:13 AM

Perhaps Joe or one of the clones will link some of those other threads up at the top of this one. That's an easy cure for the revival that ails you. Or you could provide links to the comments you consider most cogent in regard to what was discussed here before.

SRS


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Subject: RE: Help: American songs from Scotland?
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 18 Jun 06 - 01:37 AM

I'm a bit too busy with other things just now; perhaps you would do it instead? I'm sure you would enjoy the research.


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Subject: RE: Help: American songs from Scotland?
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 18 Jun 06 - 11:27 AM

You've already done it--the honor is yours since the complaint is yours!


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