maandag 15 juni 2015

Gallows Tree (1920) / Hangman Hangman Slack Your Rope (1928) / Maid Freed From The Gallows (1935) / Mama Did You Bring Me Any Silver? (1938) / Gallis Pole (1939) / Gallows Pole (1959/1970)

http://www.originals.be/en/originals.php?id=1959

"The Maid Freed from the Gallows" is one of many titles of a centuries-old folk song about a condemned maiden pleading for someone to buy her freedom from the executioner. In the collection of ballads compiled by Francis James Child, it is indexed as Child Ballad number 95; eleven variants, some fragmentary, are indexed as 95A to 95K.

http://71.174.62.16/Demo/LongerHarvest?Sort=By%20Child%20Index

http://www.fresnostate.edu/folklore/ballads/C095.html

http://members.chello.nl/r.vandijk2/ChildBallads090-099.html#095

The song was also contained in Cecil Sharp's "English Folk Songs from the Southern Appalachians"(1917)

https://archive.org/stream/englishfolksongs00camp#page/106/mode/2up

https://archive.org/stream/englishfolksongs00camp#page/106/mode/2up



The ballad existed in a number of folkloric variants from many different countries, and has been remade in a variety of formats. It was recorded in 1939 as "The Gallis Pole" by folk singer Huddie "Leadbelly" Ledbetter, but the most famous version was the 1970 arrangement of the Fred Gerlach version by English rock band Led Zeppelin, which was entitled "Gallows Pole" on the album Led Zeppelin III.

In the most known versions below, the protagonist is male. This appears to be more prevalent in the United States, where hanging of women was uncommon. The crime for which the protagonist faces hanging is occasionally mentioned. The woman may be being held for ransom by pirates; or, she has stolen something from her employer. Other instances tell of her having lost a treasured golden ball, or indicate that she is being hanged for fornication.


Bentley Ball was the first artist to record this traditional. In his version the victim is male.
The only info on Bentley Ball I could find is this: Bentley Ball was an itinerant typewriter salesman and song collector who forayed into recording. He was also the first artist to record "Jesse James" (SEE THERE) and "The Dying Cowboy".

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       Bentley Ball

These are the lyrics of the 1920 Bentley Ball version:

Hangman, hangman, hold off your rope, oh, hold it for a while;
I looked over yonder and I see paw coming, he's walked for many a long mile.

Say paw, say paw, have you brung along some gold, some gold for to set me free?
Or have you come for to see me hung, beneath the Gallows Tree.

No son, no son, I brung along no gold, No gold for to set you free,
I only come for to see you hung, beneath the Gallows Tree.

Hangman, hangman, hold off your rope, oh, hold it for a while;
I looked over yonder and I see ma coming, she's walked for many a long mile.

Say ma, say ma, have you brung along some gold, some gold for to set me free?
Or have you come for to see me hung, beneath the Gallows Tree.

No son, no son, I brung along no gold, No gold for to set you free,
I only come for to see you hung, beneath the Gallows Tree.

Hangman, hangman, hold off your rope, oh, hold it for a while;
I looked over yonder and I see my sweetheart coming, she's walked for many a long mile.

Sweetheart, sweetheart, have you brung along some gold, some gold for to set me free?
Or have you come for to see me hung, beneath the Gallows Tree.

Yes boy, yes boy, I brung along some gold, Some gold for to set you free,
And I have yet come for to take you home, home from the Gallows Tree.

Bentley Ball recorded "Gallows Tree" early 1920 in New York.
Matrix 90041.
Released in 1920 on Columbia A-3084.

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On July 23, 1928 Charlie Poole with the North Carolina Ramblers recorded a version called "Hangman, Hangman, Slack The Rope".
It was released on the Columbia-label (#15385-D)

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Here are the lyrics:

http://www.jerrydallal.com/poole/Hangman_Hangman_Slack_the_Rope.txt



The next important person in the history of this song is Huddy "Leadbelly" Ledbetter.
He recorded the song on a few occasions with different titles:
And although his first recorded version is entitled "Maid Freed From The Gallows", the victim in all of the Leadbelly versions is also a man.

1. Wilton, Connecticut January 20, 1935 (unissued at the time)
Huddie Ledbetter vocal/guitar
(LoC # 139-A-2) "The Maid Freed from the Gallows".

Listen here:



2. New York City December 26, 1938 (unissued at the time)
Huddie Ledbetter vocal/guitar
(LoC # 2501-A) "Mama, Did You Bring Me Any Silver?"

Released in 1965 on the triple album "The Library of Congress Recordings" (Elektra ELK 301/2)

Listen here:



3. New York City April 1, 1939
(Matrix GM-506 - "The Gallis Pole".
Released on Musicraft 227-A

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During 1952/1953 Jean Ritchie was on a Fulbright scholarship tour through Scotland, Ireland and England.
Ritchie sought the sources of the kinds of songs that had been in her family for several generations. She gathered some of the results on the 1954 album "Field Trip", pairing them, when possible, with her performances of American versions of the songs.

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Peggy Seeger first recorded this song in 1957 on Peggy Seeger: Folksongs and Ballads (RLP12-655, 1957), and she remains remarkably faithful to that version almost fifty years later.
Peggy says she doesn't remember where she got the song but the tune and lyrical structure are similar to the version above by Jean Ritchie.
Ritchie learned the song from her father, Balis W. Ritchie, who was born in Knott County, Kentucky in 1869.

On the next link you can listen to Peggy's version from the album "Love Call Me Home" (2005)

https://peggyseeger.bandcamp.com/track/hangman



Andrew Rowan Summers recorded a version in 1954 on the Folkways label: BELOW a scan and the LINERNOTES for his album "The Lady Gay"

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Odetta (Holmes) recorded her version in 1957 in the Esoteric Studios in New York City.
On the back-cover of the album with her version of the song, she says the following:
"GALLOWS TREE: There are many versions of this song. I think the most popular is Huddie Leadbetter's. I suppose what I sing is an accumulation of all the Gallows Trees and Poles I've heard—I'm sure I sing the song because I like the guitar accompaniment. (Ah, modesty, I've lost you) I like the song too".

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Another important person in the history of the song: Fred Gerlach, whose version was copied by Led Zeppelin.
On the back-cover of the album with his version of the song, he says the following:
1. GALLOWS POLE - This is based on one of Leadbelly's songs, which itself has a long history dating back hundreds of years in England. The rythms and finger-picking styles have taken me four years to evolve. It is my favorite number, but it is so strenuous that I must perform regularly for a week before I'll attempt it.

Here's the original imprint of the album on the Audio-Video label (released around 1959/1960) and re-released on Folkways in 1962.

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If you click on the link below you get a picture of the back-cover of this album
If you click again on that picture you are linked to a bigger picture

http://www.wirz.de/music/gerlach/grafik/gallbac4.jpg

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Cover by the Kingston Trio in 1961 on album "Make Way".

Listen here:






(c) The Limeliters (1963) (as "Hangman, Hangman") on the album "Fourteen 14K Folk Songs"

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Listen to a sample here: http://www.sm5cbw.se/limeliters/mp3/Hangman,_Hangman.mp3



In 1967 Ewan MacColl and his wife Peggy Seeger recorded an English and American version of this Child Ballad # 95 on the much praised 10 record "Long Harvest" series.

http://ewan-maccoll.info/AlbumInfo.aspx?ID=146

Ewan's (English) version was called "Prickle Holly Bush" and Peggy's (American) version was called "Hangman".
Again the victim is male. Both versions were on record 6.

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Listen to both versions on the site of Peggy Seeger

Prickle Holly Bush — Ewan MacColl

Hangman — PeggySeeger



Peter Paul & Mary (1965)  (as "Hangman")  (live on the BBC)






The most familiar version today is by English band Led Zeppelin who recorded the song in the summer of 1970 for their album Led Zeppelin III. The album is a shift in style for the band towards acoustic material, influenced by a holiday Jimmy Page and Robert Plant took to the Bron-Yr-Aur cottage in the Welsh countryside. Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page adapted the song from a version by Fred Gerlach. On the album the track was credited "Traditional: Arranged by Page and Plant".
They made a bit of change in the traditional lyrics: the brother brings some gold, the sister has sex with the hangman and still the narrator gets hanged.

HERE ARE THE ZEP LYRICS:

Hangman, hangman, hold it a little while,
I Think I see my friends coming, Riding a many mile.
Friends, you get some silver?
Did you get a little gold?
What did you bring me, my dear friends? Keep me from the Gallows Pole.
What did you bring me to keep me from the Gallows Pole?

I couldn't get no silver, I couldn't get no gold,
You know that we're too damn poor to keep you from the Gallows Pole.
Hangman, hangman, hold it a little while,
I think I see my brother coming, riding many a mile.
Brother, you get me some silver?
Did you get a little gold?
What did you bring me, my brother, to keep me from the Gallows Pole?

Brother, I brought you some silver, yeah.
I brought a little gold, I brought a little of everything
To keep you from the Gallows Pole.
Yes, I brought you to keep you from the Gallows Pole.

Hangman, hangman, turn your head awhile,
I think I see my sister coming, riding many mile, mile, mile.
Sister, I implore you, take him by the hand,
Take him to some shady bower, save me from the wrath of this man,
Please take him, save me from the wrath of this mad, man.

Hangman, hangman, upon your face a smile,
Tell me that I'm free to ride,
Ride for many mile, mile, mile.

Oh yes, you got a fine sister, She warmed my blood from cold,
She warmed my blood to boiling hot to keep you from the Gallows Pole,
Your brother brought me silver, Your sister warmed my soul,
But now I laugh and pull so hard, see you swinging from the Gallows Pole

But now I laugh and pull so hard, see you swinging from the Gallows Pole
Swingin' on the gallows pole!

Ah-ha-ha
Swingin'
Swingin' on the gallows pole!
See-saw marjory daw
See-saw knock at my door

(PS: "See-saw marjory daw" in the LAST VERSE is from a Nursery Rhyme)

CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO

Listen here for Zep's version from their album Led Zeppelin III.




Led Zeppelin members Page and Plant later recorded a version of this song for their 1994 release No Quarter: Jimmy Page and Robert Plant Unledded. They also released this track as a single. The song was performed regularly on the subsequent tour and featured a hurdy gurdy.

Here are Page and Plant in the Jools Holland Show in 1994:






Canadian singer/songwriter Neil Young has a version named "Gallows Pole" on his 2012 album Americana recorded with Crazy Horse

Listen here:




I also added a few versions of the "Prickly Bush" variant of "Child Ballad # 95" which in some cases use the literal lyrics of "Gallows Trees".

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Prickly_Bush

https://www.mainlynorfolk.info/lloyd/songs/thepricklybush.html


A.L. Lloyd 1956 on the album: The English and Scottish Popular Ballads (The Child Ballads) Vol. 2

https://mainlynorfolk.info/lloyd/records/popularballads.html#vol2

Listen here:




Cover by Judy Collins (as "The Prickilie Bush") in 1961 on the album "Maid Of Constant Sorrow".

Listen to a sample: http://www.amazon.com/The-Prickilie-Bush/dp/B00DKBREIC



Nic Jones recorded "Prickly Bush" prior to 1982. It was released in 2001 on the album "Unearthed"

https://mainlynorfolk.info/nic.jones/records/unearthed.html



Steeleye Span recorded "The Prickly Bush" for their 1996 album "Time"

https://mainlynorfolk.info/steeleye.span/records/time.html

Here are the LINER-NOTES:
"This story is allegorical, the gold signifying the maid's honour, which when lost can only be restored by one person -- her lover. Gold seems from early times to have been the symbol of integrity, appearing in Danish ballads as the virgin's insignia. So too in the Scottish ballad of Tam Lin -- "I forbid you maidens all, that wear gold in your hair.."
The 'prickly bush' is familiar in English and Scottish ballads as the symbol of unhappy love. The real question is -- do we remember the lessons learned whilst in the prickly bush?

Chorus:
Oh the prickly bush
it pricks my heart full sore
and if ever I'm out of the prickly bush
I'll never get in it any more.
Hangman, oh hangman
Hold your rope awhile
I think I see my father, over yonder stile
Father did you bring me gold or have you brought any fee
for to save my body from the cold, clay ground
and my neck from the gallows tree
No I didn't bring you gold nor have I brought any fee
but I have come to see you hung upon the gallows tree

Hangman, oh hangman
Hold your rope awhile
I think I see my brother, over yonder stile
Brother did you bring me gold or have you brought any fee
for to save my body from the cold, clay ground
and my neck from the gallows tree
No I didn't bring you gold nor have I brought any fee
but I have come to see you hung upon the gallows tree
Chorus
Hangman, oh hangman
Hold your rope awhile
I think I see my sister, over yonder stile
Sister did you bring me gold or have you brought any fee
for to save my body from the cold, clay ground
and my neck from the gallows tree
No I didn't bring you gold nor have I brought any fee
but I have come to see you hung upon the gallows tree
Chorus
Hangman, oh hangman
Hold your rope awhile
I think I see my lover, over yonder stile
Lover did you bring me gold or have you brought any fee
for to save my body from the cold, clay ground
and my neck from the gallows tree
Yes I brought you gold
yes, I brought you fee
and I've not come to see you hung
upon the gallows tree

Listen here:




SEE ALSO THE NEXT LINKS:

http://www.informatik.uni-hamburg.de/~zierke/lloyd/songs/thepricklybush.html

http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=62077

Finally I added a very interesting 78-RPM version of Asa Martin and Bob Roberts "Hang down your head and cry".

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The Martin & Roberts 1933 recording is a weird mishmosh: one verse that sounds like it's from the "Ten Thousand Miles Away from Home" family, one from "The Gallows Tree", and one more or less from "Roving Gambler."
I put it here because that middle verse is most explicitly from here, whereas the others are vaguer.

Listen here:




On his turn the 1933 Martin & Roberts version above can be traced back to September 20, 1926, when Charlie Poole with the North Carolina Ramblers recorded the song "The Highwayman", which has the same Gallows Tree middle verse.

http://www.lizlyle.lofgrens.org/RmOlSngs/RTOS-Highwayman.html

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