Tag Archives: love

I Will Give My Love an Apple (I Gave My Love a Cherry)

TITLE: I Will Give My Love an Apple  (I Gave My Love a Cherry) AUTHOR: unknown CATEGORY: Traditional, Public Domain KEYWORDS: riddle, love, gift EARLIEST PRINTED OR RECORDED REFERENCE: c. 1430 (British Library, Sloane MS. 2593, “I have a yong suster”) I Gave My Love an Apple, The Riddle Song, and I Gave My Love a Cherry is a read more »

At the Foot of Yonder Mountain (Pretty Saro)

TITLE: At the Foot of Yonder Mountain (Pretty Saro) AUTHOR: unknown CATEGORY: Traditional, Public Domain KEYWORDS: love, poverty, river EARLIEST PRINTED OR RECORDED REFERENCE: 1911 (Lomax, North Carolina Booklet, according to Randolph) Pretty Saro was first recorded in the early 20th century when a few academic heroes travelled through the mountains capturing songs that had been handed read more »

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: original, 1871 (sheet music published by White, Smith & Perry of Boston) Silly parodies of Reuben and Rachel. 

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) A silly song made sillier in Reuben and Rachel parodies.

Frog Went A-Courtin’

TITLE: Frog Went A-Courtin’ AUTHOR: unknown CATEGORY: Traditional, Public Domain KEYWORDS: animal, courting, love, marriage, request EARLIEST PRINTED OR RECORDED REFERENCE:  There is a reference in the Stationer’s Register of 1580 to “A Moste Strange Weddinge of the Frogge and the Mouse” This great old story song has quite a history. Some people claim that it goes read more »

Girl Volunteer, The (The Cruel War is Raging)

TITLE: The Cruel War is Raging AUTHOR: unknown CATEGORY: Traditional, Public Domain KEYWORDS: war, soldier, separation, love cross-dressing EARLIEST PRINTED OR RECORDED REFERENCE: 1914, Frank C. Brown Collection of North Carolina Folklore There is much debate about the war to which this song originally referred. It certainly is related to the Revolutionary War song (1700s) Jack Monroe and may read more »

Broom of the Cowdenknowes

TITLE: Broom of the Cowdenknowes AUTHOR: unknown CATEGORY: Traditional, Public Domain KEYWORDS: love, separation, exile, Scotland EARLIEST PRINTED OR RECORDED REFERENCE: 1725 (A Collection of Old Ballads Vol III, #69) This is an absolutely beautiful song and I count it one of my favorites. I first heard the Liam Clancy version and fell in love with it. There read more »

King Kong Kitchie Kitchie Kimeo

TITLE: King Kong Kitchie Kitchie Kimeo AUTHOR: unknown CATEGORY: Traditional, Public Domain KEYWORDS: animal, courting, love, marriage, request EARLIEST PRINTED OR RECORDED REFERENCE: There is a reference in the Stationer’s Register of 1580 to “A Moste Strange Weddinge of the Frogge and the Mouse.” SOME CONSIDER THIS SONG OFFENSIVE: Some consider the interspecies marriage offensive. King Kong Kitchie read more »

Yellow Rose of Texas, The

TITLE: The Yellow Rose of Texas AUTHOR: unknown CATEGORY: Traditional, Public Domain KEYWORDS: love, courting, separation, reunion EARLIEST PRINTED OR RECORDED: 1858 (sheet music published by Firth, Pond & Co of New York). A woman named Emily West is said to be the original Yellow Rose of Texas. She was lauded in the most beloved song of that read more »

Down in the Valley

NAME: Down in the Valley AUTHOR: unknown CATEGORY: Traditional, Public Domain EARLIEST DATE: Henry Marvin Belden, 1865-1954, compiler. Missouri Folk-Lore Society Ballads, Songs, etc., collected between 1903 and 1917 (This song in 1909) KEYWORDS: love, courting, separation, prison In Pete Seeger’s Americas Favorite Ballads, the liner notes about Down in the Valley state the song “was read more »

Clementine (In a Cavern)

TITLE: Clementine (In a Cavern) AUTHOR: unknown CATEGORY: Traditional, Public Domain KEYWORDS: death, drowning, love EARLIEST PRINTED OR RECORDED REFERENCE: The words were first published in 1863 under the title “Down by the River Lived a Maiden,” credited to H. S. Thompson The 1863 printing had a melody, but it was not the “standard” melody. The text read more »

Water is Wide, The

TITLE: The Water is Wide AUTHOR: unknown CATEGORY: traditional, public domain KEYWORDS:  love, rejection, lyric, lover, death EARLIEST DATE: 1714 (Ritson, Scotish Song) The Water Is Wide is a folk song of English origin, based on lyrics which partly date to the 1600s. It has seen considerable popularity through to the 21st century. Cecil Sharp published the song in Folk Songs read more »

Carrickfergus

TITLE: Carrickfergus AUTHOR: unknown CATEGORY: public domain, traditional KEYWORDS: love separation, drink EARLIEST DATE: partial in 1927 (Sandburg) more fully in “The Kerry Boatman” by Dominic Behan (recorded 1960) The melodies for “Water is Wide” and “Carrickfergus” probably go back to an 18th century Irish air. “Carrickfergus” seems to have first appeared as a ballad usually read more »

Shady Grove

TITLE: Shady Grove AUTHOR: unknown CATEGORY: traditional, public domain KEYWORDS: courting, love EARLIEST DATE: 1916 (Cecil Sharp collection); 1893 (Journal of American Folk Lore 6) Shady Grove is an 18th-century folk song popular in the United States. It is a standard in the repertoires of folk, Celtic and bluegrass musicians. In most traditional versions, the melody is in a minor key. Shady Grove read more »

Meet Me in St. Louis, Louis

TITLE: Meet Me in St. Louis AUTHOR: Words by Andrew B. Sterling and music by Kerry Mills CATEGORY: author known, public domain KEYWORDS: love, travel, separation, abandonment, world’s fair EARLIEST DATE: 1904 (sheet music) HISTORICAL REFERENCES: 1904 – St. Louis Louisiana Purchase Exposition (World’s Fair). The song Meet Me in St. Louis, Louis was written read more »

On Top of Old Smokey

TITLE: On Top of Old Smokey AUTHOR: unknown CATEGORY: traditional, public domain KEYWORDS: courting, love, rejection, warning, floatingverses EARLIEST DATE: 1911 (Belden) Many people assume On Top of Old Smokey refers specifically to the Smokey Mountains in the Southeastern United States, and it can and has been sung in that context. But On Top of Old Smokey is a read more »

Cindy

TITLE: Cindy AUTHOR: unknown CATEGORY: traditional, public domain KEYWORDS: love courting playparty religious floatingverses EARLIEST DATE: 1915 HISTORICAL REFERENCE: In 1904, the book At the Big House, Where Aunt Nancy and Aunt ‘Phrony Held Forth on the Animal Folks, by Anne Virginia Culbertson, published by Bobbs-Merrill, a character, Tim, “sang a plantation song named ‘Cindy Ann.’” Cindy has read more »

Alberta, Let Your Hair Hang Low

TITLE: Alberta AUTHOR: unknown CATEGORY: traditional, public domain KEYWORDS: love, hair, nonballad EARLIEST DATE: 1944 (Wheeler) HISTORICAL REFERENCES:  Sung by stevedores working on the Ohio River in the 1800’s when rivers were the primary way goods were shipped. Alberta (Let Your Hair Hang Low) is a song that has stood the test of time. I read more »

All Through the Night

TITLE: All Through the Night AUTHOR: music: unknown, lyrics: John Ceiriog Hughes CATEGORY: unknown, public domain KEYWORDS: lullaby death love EARLIEST DATE: 1784 (tune: Edward Jones, “Musical and Poetical Relicks of the Welsh Bards”) “Ar Hyd y Nos” (“All through the Night”) is a Welsh folksong sung to a tune which was first noted in Edward read more »

Whiskey in the Jar

TITLE: Whiskey in the Jar AUTHOR: Unknown CATEGORY: Traditional, Public Domain KEYWORDS: robbery, prison, love, trial, punishment, escape, outlaw EARLIEST DATE: 1855 (broadside, Murray Mu23-y1:137) “Throughout history outlaw heroes have served to provide oppressed people with dignity during their subjugation. Swashbuckling, romantic figures, they represented traditional justice as opposed to the self-interest and inequity of the state. Set in 17th Century read more »

900 Miles

TITLE: 900 Miles AUTHOR: unknown CATEGORY: Public Domain, Traditional EARLIEST PRINTED OR RECORDED REFERENCE: 1909 (Journal Of American Folklore) KEYWORDS: train, love, separation, home This is an old railroad song. The earliest known version is from 1909. I learned the song from a Cisco Houston recording which was popular in the late 50’s and early 60’s using the read more »

Polly Wolly Doodle

TITLE: Polly Wolly Doodle AUTHOR: unknown CATEGORY: Public Domain, Traditional EARLIEST DATE: 1880 (Harvard “Student’s Songs”) KEYWORDS: love, courting, nonsense, 19th century, comic HISTORICAL REFERENCE: The song appears in the existing manuscript for Laura Ingalls Wilder’s These Happy Golden Years exactly as it is used in the published version. The book spans the years 1882-1885 read more »