Apr
2014

Strawberry Lane (The Elfin Knight)

TITLE: Strawberry Lane (The Elfin Knight)
AUTHOR: unknown
CATEGORY: Traditional, Public Domain
KEYWORDScourting, magic, bargaining, dialog, paradox, tasks
EARLIEST PRINTED OR RECORDED REFERENCE: 1673 (broadside)

images-1Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme is, of course, well known because of Simon and Garfunkel’s hit from 1966. Simon’s source is a song of many variations, The Elfin Knight, dating back to the 17th century.

Strawberry Lane is another variation. Alan Lomax, in Folk Songs of North America, categorizes Strawberry Lane as a song from American colonial times. It is a dialogue between a man and woman. In the man’s arrogance he gives nearly impossible tasks to the woman to complete, to become his true love.

The fifth verse beginning, “Now since you have been so hard with me,” changes to the woman’s POV. She gives equally impossible tasks to the man. And in one of my favorite of the Elfin Knight variations the woman ends by saying “And when you finish these tasks, come get your cambric shirt.”

OTHER TITLES AND VARIATIONS:

  • The Elfin Knight
  • Every Rose Grows Merry in Time
  • An Acre of Land
  • The Cambric Shirt
  • Scarborough Fair

RECORDINGS: (mp3′s available through Amazon.com)

YOUTUBE VIDEO:
YOUTUBE AUDIO: download
LYRIC & CHORD PRO CHART: download
PPT LYRICS FOR THE CLASSROOM: download
BONUS YOUTUBE VIDEO: Peter Coe, An Acre of Land

Strawberry Lane

As I was walking up Strawberry Lane,
Every rose grows merry and fine,
I chanced for to meet a pretty fair maid
Who wanted to be a true lover of mine.

You’ll have for to make me a cambric shirt,
Every rose grows merry and fine,
And every stitch must be finicle work
If you want to be a true lover of mine.

You’ll have for to wash it in a deep well,
Every rose grows merry and fine,
Where water never was nor rain ever fell,
If you want to be a true lover of mine.

You’ll have for to hang it on yonder green thorn
Every rose grows merry and fine,
That never bore a bud since Adam was born.
Who wanted to be a true lover of mine.

Now since you have been so hard with me,
Every rose grows merry and fine,
Perhaps I can be as hard as thee.
If you want to be a true lover of mine.

You’ll have to buy me an acre of land
Every rose grows merry and fine,
Between the salt water and the sea sand.
If you want to be a true lover of mine.

You’ll have to plough it with a deer’s horn,
Every rose grows merry and fine,
And plant it all over with one grain of corn.
If you want to be a true lover of mine.

You’ll have for to thrash it in an egg-shell,
Every rose grows merry and fine,
And bring it to market in a thimble.
If you want to be a true lover of mine.

If you want to be a true lover of mine.

TEACHER PAGES

SOURCES:

  • Folk Song Index: A Comprehensive Guide to the Florence E. Brunnings Collection, Florence E. Brunnings, Garland Publishing, Inc., New York and London 1981—Amazon Books

SONGBOOKS:

NOTICE: I’m not the best guitar player or vocalist, but no one loves these songs more than I do. The tune and lyrics are in the public domain unless otherwise noted. The recording © copyright 2013 by Stephen Griffith and may be used by permission of the copyright holder. The variation of the song I’m posting is the version I perform and is not exactly replicating the sources cited, but is always in the same song family. If anyone has more details about this song, or believes I’ve stated something in error, please let me know. I’m also open to suggestions to improve the site. Thanks. sgg

Apr
2014

Reuben and Rachel (Parodies)

TITLE: Reuben and Rachel (Parodies)
AUTHOR: original, Harry Birch / Music: William Gooch
CATEGORY: Author Known, Public Domain
KEYWORDS: dialog, transportation, courting, love, humorous, marriage
EARLIEST PRINTED OR RECORDED REFERENCE: original1871 (sheet music published by White, Smith & Perry of Boston)

200Silly parodies of Reuben and Rachel.  Continue reading

Apr
2014

Reuben and Rachel

TITLE: Reuben and Rachel
AUTHOR: Harry Birch / Music: William Gooch
CATEGORY: Author Known, Public Domain
KEYWORDS: dialog, transportation, courting, love, humorous, marriage
EARLIEST PRINTED OR RECORDED REFERENCE: 1871 (sheet music published by White, Smith & Perry of Boston)

200A silly song made sillier in Reuben and Rachel parodies. Continue reading

Jun
2013

Mister Rabbit

TITLE: Mister Rabbit
AUTHOR: unknown
CATEGORY: traditional, public domain
KEYWORDS: animal, questions, dialog
EARLIEST DATE: 1925 (Scarborough)

Mister RabbitIn slavery, African-Americans developed a whole cycle of animal tales whose heroes symbolized for him his problems as a slave. The principal figure in these tales was “Br’er Rabbit” born and bred in a briar-patch, who could always out-smart “Br’er Fox,” his white master—out-think or, at least, out-run him. Many of the secular dance songs of the slaves concerned “Old Mr. Rabbit, whose ears was mighty long.” (Alan Lomax: Selected Writings, 1934-1997)  Continue reading