Jon says, ”I heard this first from Australian duo Cloudstreet, who I’m excited to see have now launched an Australian folk song a day. I think I’m right in saying that Martin Carthy pretty much wrote this, presumably based on a folk tale. I’m not sure though.”
Martin Carthy doesn’t take the credit for this and his notes at Mainly Norfolk give that to Ray Fisher for marrying Child Ballad #6 with a Breton tune. You may want to research Ray more and should start here. She looks to be an important figure in the revival and Martin Carthy obviously thought highly enough of Ray to seek her permission before following her lead. It’s the wicked mother involved here and some heavy cursing afflicting the unfavoured bride of her son. The Billy Blind character is interesting too, possibly a throwback to Odin he makes regular appearances under various names in song and folklore. This tale too is found around Europe, particularly Scandinavia, but has elements of the birth of Hercules (or should that be Heracles) from Greek mythology involved. High-brow stuff this, you know! As for the Australian Folk Song A Day, it’s John Thompson of Cloudstreet fame behind it and you can link here.