Category Archives: Traditional folk song

The American Stranger

Ewan MacColl suggested that this song was current before 1776. The present version is from England, but the song is particularly popular in Scotland, where it seems to have originated.

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Green Grow The Leaves

A girl in a class I taught brought this rhyme in for me one day. It’s one of many songs I collected over 40 years, and one of the more mysterious. I discovered nothing about its origins, or any more … Continue reading

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So Fair Are The Flowers In The Valley

After singing at a Dorset folk club in the 1970s I was kindly invited back to a really old cottage for the night. The next day they took me to see an artist friend living right on the beach who … Continue reading

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Jenny, Fair Jen

Max Hunter collected ‘Jenny, Fair Jen’ from Reba Dearmore of Mountain Home, Arkansas 1969. The superb photo is from The Kirsten Project – 1854.

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The Golden Glove

An elaborate way to get your man, and it worked. The gloves are from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

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The Penny Wager

The young man in our song has good reason to be sanguine if his life always runs as smoothly and carefree as this. Free lodgings and a kiss from the landlady! Incidentally, I laughed at one point in this song … Continue reading

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The Lark In The Morning

On one of David Attenborough’s programmes there was film of a lark hovering high in the sky. A hawk repeatedly swooped to attack it, but at every dive the lark swerved and the hawk missed. And all the while the … Continue reading

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Long and Wishing Eye

‘Long and Wishing’ may have been a Victorian printer miss-hearing the word languishing, but the result is an apt phrase for a delightful song.

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Husband Without Courage

James Reeves, commenting on the words of this rather sad song, wrote that over the centuries various foods have been associated with aphrodisiac qualities, but “rhubarb is less well-known in this connection”.

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The New Mown Hay

This, the epitome of English traditional song, was sung by Alfred Edgell of Chew Magna, Somerset, to Cecil Sharp on 26 December 1907. The painting is by George Clausen.

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