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Lyr Req: Cruel Mother (from Dave & Toni Arthur)

DigiTrad:
CRUEL MOTHER
THE CRUEL MOTHER
THE CRUEL MOTHER (4)
THE CRUEL MOTHER 2
WELLA, WELLA


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Roberto 20 Nov 04 - 04:14 PM
Nerd 20 Nov 04 - 06:57 PM
Malcolm Douglas 20 Nov 04 - 07:06 PM
Roberto 21 Nov 04 - 03:49 AM
GUEST,Hootenanny 21 Nov 04 - 06:31 AM
GUEST 19 Mar 21 - 04:40 AM
Felipa 19 Mar 21 - 10:15 AM
GUEST,# 19 Mar 21 - 12:41 PM
GUEST,# 19 Mar 21 - 12:57 PM
Reinhard 19 Mar 21 - 01:31 PM
GUEST,# 20 Mar 21 - 08:17 AM
GUEST,# 20 Mar 21 - 09:54 AM
Greum 20 Mar 21 - 10:36 AM
leeneia 20 Mar 21 - 12:23 PM
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Subject: Lyr Add: CRUEL MOTHER (from Dave & Toni Arthur)
From: Roberto
Date: 20 Nov 04 - 04:14 PM

The Cruel Mother as recorded by Dave & Toni Arthur, Hearken to the Witches Rune, 1970. Someone who kows the recording or can listen to it, please help correct this transcription. The main problems are in stanzas 11 and 14. Thanks. R

There was a lady came from York
All alone and a-lonely
She fell in love with her father's clerk
All down by the greenwood sidey

She loved him well, she loved him long
At last she proved with child by him

She leaned her back against a thorn
And there she had two pretty babes born

She drew her scarf from off her head
And bound those pretty babes hands and legs

She laid those babes across her lap
And swore they'd never suck milk nor pap

She drew their little dresses apart
And stabbed those pretty babes to their heart

She wiped her knife all on the grass
The more she wiped, the blood ran fast

She washed her hands all in a spring
Thinking to return a maid again

As she came to her father's hall
She saw two pretty babes playing at ball

O babes, O babes, if you were mine
I'd dress you up all in silk so fine

They said – O mother, when we were yours
You neither dressed us in silk nor coarse (???)

O you took out your little penknife
And parted us and our sweet life

O babes, O babes, what can I do
For the wicked crime I done to you?

Spend seven years like an owl (???) in the wood
And seven more like a wild (?????) in the sea

For seven years you'll ring a bell
The rest of time, you'll spend in hell


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: dave & toni arthur's cruel mother
From: Nerd
Date: 20 Nov 04 - 06:57 PM

Wouldn't Dave's Cruel Mother have been Toni's Cruel Mother-in-law?

Sorry!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: dave & toni arthur's cruel mother
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 20 Nov 04 - 07:06 PM

to the heart

coarse

I've done to you

owl
whale


I have no idea where they got that one from.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: dave & toni arthur's cruel mother
From: Roberto
Date: 21 Nov 04 - 03:49 AM

Thank you very much, Malcolm. There are no notes at all on the lp.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: dave & toni arthur's cruel mother
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 21 Nov 04 - 06:31 AM

Dave Arthur is still performing in the UK. He may also still be editing the magazine for the EFDSS at Cecil Sharp House in London. You might try contacting them if you still require more info.


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Subject: Chords required for the Cruel Mother
From: GUEST
Date: 19 Mar 21 - 04:40 AM

can anyone help me please. i cannot find the Chords for The Cruel mother by Dave and Toni Arthur.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Cruel Mother (from Dave & Toni Arthur)
From: Felipa
Date: 19 Mar 21 - 10:15 AM

Those verses about the details of the infanticide are about the goriest I've come across in the many versions of this song. The verse about breast milk is one I'm not familiar with (perhaps due to censorship somewhere along the line).


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Cruel Mother (from Dave & Toni Arthur)
From: GUEST,#
Date: 19 Mar 21 - 12:41 PM

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RZ0LQWmbhKo

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RZ0LQWmbhKo

That's the song being sung by Dave and Toni Arthur.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Cruel Mother (from Dave & Toni Arthur)
From: GUEST,#
Date: 19 Mar 21 - 12:57 PM

From Roberto's post:

"They said – O mother, when we were yours
You neither dressed us in silk nor coarse (???)"

Coarse is correct. Other version say fine nor coarse, so I assume the line refers to the grade/quality of material with which to dress a child.

"Spend seven years like an owl (???) in the wood
And seven more like a wild (?????) in the sea"

The question marks after owl should be removed. Owl is the word that was sung. I'm pretty sure the following line should read "And seven more like a whale in the sea". It's just his pronunciation of the word that throws folks off.

********************************************


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Cruel Mother (from Dave & Toni Arthur)
From: Reinhard
Date: 19 Mar 21 - 01:31 PM

That's what Malcolm already corrected two postings after Roberto's ...


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Cruel Mother (from Dave & Toni Arthur)
From: GUEST,#
Date: 20 Mar 21 - 08:17 AM

Sorry. I posted without having seen Malcolm's. Have a nice day.


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Subject: RE: LYRIC ADD (with thanks to Malcolm Douglas)
From: GUEST,#
Date: 20 Mar 21 - 09:54 AM

Cruel Mother (from Dave & Toni Arthur)

There was a lady came from York
All alone and a-lonely
She fell in love with her father's clerk
All down by the greenwood sidey

She loved him well, she loved him long
At last she proved with child by him

She leaned her back against a thorn
And there she had two pretty babes born

She drew her scarf from off her head
And bound those pretty babes hands and legs

She laid those babes across her lap
And swore they'd never suck milk nor pap

She drew their little dresses apart
And stabbed those pretty babes to their heart

She wiped her knife all on the grass
The more she wiped, the blood ran fast

She washed her hands all in a spring
Thinking to return a maid again

As she came to her father's hall
She saw two pretty babes playing at ball

O babes, O babes, if you were mine
I'd dress you up all in silk so fine

They said – O mother, when we were yours
You neither dressed us in silk nor coarse

O you took out your little penknife
And parted us and our sweet life

O babes, O babes, what can I do
For the wicked crime I done to you?

Spend seven years like an owl in the wood
And seven more like a whale in the sea

For seven years you'll ring a bell
The rest of time, you'll spend in hell


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Cruel Mother (from Dave & Toni Arthur)
From: Greum
Date: 20 Mar 21 - 10:36 AM

If it's of any interest, notes in the Dave and Toni Arthur song book say:

A song once banned on Irish radio for being too cruel. Cruel or not, it is a song widely sung by traditional singers, and Ken Stubbs in his book The Life of a Man says that claims have been put forward that the song pre-dates the Norman Conquest.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Cruel Mother (from Dave & Toni Arthur)
From: leeneia
Date: 20 Mar 21 - 12:23 PM

Widely sung by traditional singers? I didn't encounter the song until I saw it in a library book, when I was age 55 or so. I don't believe I have ever heard it in a concert.

This version, which uses five couplets instead of one to describe the killing, rather wallows in it, I think.

As for the ballad predating the Norman Conquest, I doubt it. In earlier centuries (I can't say which ones, exactly) infanticide was legal as long as any part of the fetus' body (a foot, for example) was still inside the mother's body.


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