After a bit of a ramble yesterday I thought I’d keep it brief today. Besides I think Jon’s comment says it all… “One of the great ballads in my view. I think we all know couples who seem to enjoy making each other miserable, but these two take it to a whole other level. The ‘rose and briar’ is one of the most enduring images to have come out of folk song.” Jon credits Phoebe Smith as his source and you’ll find a nice tribute to her here. The fact that she settled in Suffolk is probably what places this story in Cambridge, as location seems to be as the singer requires rather than permanently fixed. This Mudcat thread may or may not make things clearer. As a further note, this is a Child Ballad, referring to songs collected by Francis Child and therefore from an oral and probably Scottish source. As Jon explains “They may also need a bit of gentle modernisation/ Anglicisation for the purposes of the modern (Southern) folk singer.”
I said I wasn’t going to do this, but then again… It would take a few weeks of this before Reinhard and I got coordinated. I was a bit slow to cotton on to what a fantastic resource Mainly Norfolk was and much as I admire the Mudcatters and their incredible knowledge, it’s much more concise. I started sending Reinhard the schedules in advance to allow hiim to prepare and he’s added some great detail and today’s post is typical so have a look here.
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