Song Lyrics. Review: RIFF-it. RIFF-it good. Add Comment. Blackwater Side 2. Go Your Way 3. Living by the Water 4. Martinmas Time 5. Polly Vaughan 6. Reynardine 7. Rosemary Lane 8. The Cuckoo 9. The Doffing Mistress The Recruited Collier At the end, he envisions a gangland-style funeral attended by his posse of armed highwaymen still at liberty and accompanied by a group of blooming virgins. The scene is as timely now as it was then. I got a man, he's long and tall He move his body like a cannonball Fare ye well, my honey, fare ye well.
One of these days and it won't be long You'll call my name and I'll be gone Fare ye well, my honey, fare ye well. I went to the river, sat down and cried, Heard you singing on the other side Fare ye well, my honey, fare ye well. Late last night it was drizzling rain Round my heart felt an aching pain Fare ye well, my honey, fare ye well. Sometimes called by its chorus, "Fare You Well, Oh Honey," this has become one of the enduring classics of folk repertoire since it was originally collected in by John A.
Lomax from "Dink," a woman "washing her man's clothes outside their tent on the banks of the Brazos River in Texas. The song is more often known as "Dink's Song," one of those rare occasions when an informant is forever linked to the collected song and has assumed an iconic status. Dink arrived in Texas with groups of contract laborers shipped down from Mississippi to build levees to protect the Brazos's rich bottomland soil for area cotton plantations.
The women traveled from Memphis "along with the mules and iron scrapers. According to Lomax: The two groups of men and women had never seen each other until they met on the river bank in Texas where the white levee contractor gave them the opportunity presented to Adam and Eve-they were left to mate after looking each other over.
While her man built the levee, each woman kept his tent, toted the water, cut the firewood, cooked his food, washed his clothes and warmed his bed. It was a short-term arrangement, mediated by white economic power and prevailing racial stereotypes. As the white overseer put it, this was a way to control and pacify the black male laborers lest "they hunt all over the bottomlands for women" which could mean "trouble, serious trouble.
Negroes can't work when sliced up with razors. I ain't had no time to hunt up a name for him. By the same token, it is the woman herself who actually says she will leave the man. Her decision may well be fed by economic despair, emotional estrangement, and endless drudgery. At one point, Lomax asked Dink, "Do you love this new man of yours? Den I'm goin' to roll up dese clothes in a gob an' cover de pile up right nice in de middle o' de' bed, smooth down de covers, and stick 'em all in 'round de edges.
It has been up to each succeeding singer to create this song afresh. Peggy does exactly that, eliminating the verses about pregnancy or about listening to the advice of one's mother. She adds a new verse which either underscores earlier hints of resentment in Dink's song or sets them in another light by introducing a possible premonition of death: I went to the river Sat down and cried Heard you singing On the other side Peggy's version, backed by a finger-picking blues accompaniment, is stark and reserved.
It is a hook on which all women can hang their sorrows and frustrations. Little birdie, little birdie, What makes your wings so blue? It's nothing but that old grievin', Grievin' over you. Little birdie, little birdie, What makes you fly so high? Well, I know that my little lover Is a-waiting in the sky. Well, I'd rather be in deep darkness Where the sun don't never shine, Than for you to be another one's darling And to know that you'd never be mine.
Well, I'd rather be a little birdie Sailing over the deep blue sea Than for to be a married girl With a baby on my knee. A married girl sees trouble Single girl sees none. You've caused me so much sorrow Lord, you caused me to do wrong. Fly down, fly down, little birdie, Sing to me your song.
O, sing it now while I'm with you I can't hear you when I'm gone. Brown in , as part of his collection of North Carolina folksongs. Peggy says she first heard a recording of the song played by Roscoe Holcomb from Daisy, Kentucky as collected by John Cohen. She then started playing it with her brother Mike, singing it in harmony but following his text and having him play the banjo.
Holcomb was first recorded in the late fifties, but Peggy began consciously to sing "Little Birdie" like Holcombe did in the early s. She remains fascinated by Holcomb's unusual banjo tuning for this song and there are echoes of his shifting rhythmic accents and driving pulse in her own version. The instrumental breaks and the turnarounds at the ends of her phrases show her own special taste for counter-melody, however, and her signature melodic improvisations are much in evidence.
The banjo's tempo is swift as her voice stretches out the words in a sustained legato characteristic of much Appalachian singing. The words she uses are not the same as either those of Holcomb or her brother Mike Seeger. She has not replaced them so much as she has expanded them with lines from other variants. Her "Little Birdie" is an accumulation of traditional floating verses that migrate from song to song. Peggy's version is decidedly female and adds floating verses that express a complex variety of sentiments: anticipation, perhaps for someone deceased "I know that my little lover is a-waiting in the sky" ; jealousy the singer would prefer to be in darkness rather than to know that her lover would be someone else's darling ; despair over being saddled with marriage and parenting responsibilities; nostalgia for the single life; and blame for much of her trouble on someone else.
All of these verses exist in a related form elsewhere, but through her process of selection and interpretation, Peggy has made them uniquely her own. You factory girls who hear this song Will surely understand The reason why I love you so Is I'm a factory hand.
I get up early every morn I work all day real hard To buy our little meat and bread Our sugar, tea and lard. We work from weekend to weekend We never lose a day And when that awful payday comes We draw our little pay.
We then go home on payday night And sit down in our chair The merchant knocks all on the door He's come to get his share. When all our little debts are paid And nothing left behind We turn our pockets wrong side out But not one penny can we find.
Our children they grow up unlearned No time to go to school Almost before they have learned to walk They have learned to spin and spool. The boss man jerks them round and round And whistles very keen I'll tell you what, our factory kids Is really treated mean. We work from weekend to weekend We work from soon to late We got no time to primp and fix Or dress right up to date.
The folks in town who dress so fine And spend their money free They won't look at a factory girl That dresses like you and me. As we go walking down the street All wrapped in lint and string They call us fools and factory trash And other low down things. Let them wear their watches fine Their rings and pearly strings But when the day of judgment comes We'll make them share their pretty things. This song was first recorded commercially by Pete Seeger in and is currently available on "American Industrial Ballads" Smithsonian Folkways, In the notes for that album, Irwin Silber says the song was heard by actor Will Geer from a West Virginia mountain singer who made it up herself to the tune of "Warren Harding's Widow.
She published its lyrics in The New Masses May, Like Ella May [Wiggins], McDonald had a gift for putting new words to familiar tunes, and she had transformed the "Wreck of the Old 97" into a stirring union song. And the song has gone from one worker to another and now it is known to hundreds of cotton mill hands The song usually ends as it does in Peggy's version, with a millenarian vision: Just let them wear their watches fine. And rings and golden chains But when the Day of Judgment comes They'll have to shed those things.
Will Geer, who had a starring role, had previously heard the song at a Huntington, West Virginia Baptist church social TheGelders in turn adopted it for an Alabama labor song, "The Ballad of John Catchings" , which they later recorded for the Library for Congress Pete Seeger told Archie Green that he had never heard Will Geer sing the song, but he did hear the Library of Congress recording of the Gelders, with whom he later became friends.
Somewhere along the line, Seeger must have made the connection between those two songs set to the same tune. She sings it less as a rousing labor anthem than as a solemn indictment of class injustice and exploitation.
Two sisters went fishing on a hot summer's day Cryin' the dreadful wind and rain. Two sweet sisters, side by side O, the wind and rain Both of them want to be Johnny's bride Cryin' the dreadful wind and rain. Johnny gave the young one a gold ring, etc Didn't give the older one anything etc The sisters went a-walkin' by the water's brim etc The older one shoved the younger one in etc Shoved her in the river to drown And watched her as she floated down She floated on down to the miller's dam Father, father, there swims a swan The miller ran for his driftin' hook And pulled that poor girl from the brook He laid her on the bank to dry A fiddler man come walkin' by He saw that poor girl lyin' there He took thirty strands of her long yellow hair He made a fiddle bow of her long yellow hair, He made fiddle-pegs of her little finger bones He made a fiddle of her little breast bone With a sound that could melt a heart of stone, And the only tune that fiddle could play The only tune that fiddle would play was Yonder's my sister sittin' on a rock Tyin' my Johnny a true-love's knot.
Mike picked the song up from Kilby Snow, the Appalachian autoharp master, whom Mike recorded in the mid-sixties and introduced to the broader folk revival.
If you listen to Mike's version, his autoharp certainly captures the spirit and much of the technique of Snow. On the other hand, Mike's words are quite different. Kilby Snow's song, sung quickly and dispassionately to a lively accompaniment, omits a key part of "The Two Sisters:" he eliminates the sororicide and, in a typical "murdered sweetheart" rendition, tells us how a lover murdered his girl friend when they went "fishing on a hot summer day.
Play track. Artist images 7 more. Martha Tilston 17, listeners Related Tags singer-songwriter folk female vocalists Martha Tilston born in or in Brighton, East Sussex is an English singer, songwriter and guitarist.
Her music combines many aspects of English and Irish folk music with more modern acoustic styles, and perceptive lyrics combining personal subjects with political, social and environmental themes. Tilston is the daughter of acclaimed songwriter Steve Tilston and step-daughter of singer Maggie Boyle.
She began writing songs at an early age. After attending drama school, she formed Mouse with guitarist Nick Marshall. They released two albums: Helicopter Trees and Tal… read more. Martha Tilston born in or in Brighton, East Sussex is an English singer, songwriter and guitarist. Her music combines many aspects of English and Irish folk music with more mod… read more. Her music combines many aspects of English and Irish folk music with more modern acoustic styles, and perceptive lyrics com… read more.
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