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katy cruel/robin rowell info?

10 Feb 19 - 01:37 PM (#3975954)
Subject: katy cruel/robin rowell info?
From: GUEST,mag at library

I have always liked the song "Katy Cruel" -- lyrics a d tune of refrain are so captivating
when I started digging around to find out more about it, it seems to have many lines in common w/ an old Scots ballad, Robin Rowell, about which I can find nothing.
Some things about Robin Rowell make sense of parts of Katy Cruel.
Does anyone know where I can get more info?

writing in not from home, MAG


10 Feb 19 - 06:26 PM (#3976009)
Subject: RE: katy cruel/robin rowell info?
From: PHJim

My favourite version is Karen Dalton's: Katy Cruel - Karen Dalton


19 Feb 19 - 03:47 PM (#3977835)
Subject: RE: katy cruel/robin rowell info?
From: GUEST,MAG as guest

I know this "Robin Rowell" is obscure - Malcolm would have known.
Can anyone point me to less known sources of old Scottish ballad?
is not in Child's

tia. MAG


19 Feb 19 - 04:15 PM (#3977838)
Subject: RE: katy cruel/robin rowell info?
From: Steve Gardham

Okay 'Katy Cruel' Roud 1645 and Roud 3182.
Relates to other titles as follows some of which will be in the DT.
The Lightbob's Lassie
The Ploughboy's Lassie
The Leaboy's Lassie
The Light Bob's Honey
Lingboo's Lassie
Rob's Lassie
All of the above are in the Greig-Duncan collection
The Light Bob's Honey
Fancy Lad (broadside on the Bodleian Ballads website, type in that title to the search box)

Aye for Saturday Night

Harry Newell, A New Song called (broadside in the Madden Collection reprinted in Holloway and Black, Volume 1 'Later English Broadside Ballads'
Regimental Song in Vermont Folk Songs and Ballads
Nancy Newell
The Hexhamshire Lass
The Cobbler's Boy in Cox's Folk Songs of the South p491
Jess MacPharlane (Broadside from 1796)


All of these are closely related songs containing stanzas in common with Katy Cruel. If you can't source any I will have a look at my collection and post the ones most relevant.


24 Feb 19 - 01:58 PM (#3978762)
Subject: RE: katy cruel/robin rowell info?
From: GUEST,MAG

Thank you. Steve
this gives me more locations to pursue.

It may not be relevant, but I hope it is: Derivation of the name "Rowell"
and Robin = Robin of the wild Hillsides. This would make the verse about entertaining children relevant: unfortunately, once upon a time the odd were objects of ridicule by children.

any thoughts on that?

tia, MAG


24 Feb 19 - 02:18 PM (#3978767)
Subject: RE: katy cruel/robin rowell info?
From: Steve Gardham

Newell>>Rowell>>Cruel
Proper names are notoriously fickle in folksong especially over long periods, e.g. Andrew Barton morphs into Henry Martin. And where a single Christian name occurs over similar periods some songs have more different names than same ones from version to version.

Not sure what you are suggesting with the 'Robin' connection. Quite a few versions have Rob and Bob in them. A good start would be trace all of the American versions and then try to link back the earliest to British relatives.

In oral tradition almost anything is possible, and this is compounded when we factor in the conscious rewriting of the broadside writers. Stanzas are shifted around almost at random from song to song especially with songs like this that have little cohesive narrative.

Another early piece that shares some stanzas with the family is the Scots song 'Aye Wauking 0'