Friday, December 06, 2019

Friday Music: Scarborough Fair Revisited

My brother sent this to us the other day, and I cannot tell you how much we love this music. A song that sends us back to our younger days being performed by such talented young people. Sometimes I think music is the one thing that gives me hope about the world. It just seems to transcend borders and boundaries, beliefs and ideas, religion and politics. When we listen to this we both sing the words from so long ago. Roger said, "You know Bob Dylan had some of the same lines in Girl From the North Country." It's true. These words, "Remember me to one who lives there, she once was a true love of mine." So then we wondered who wrote the lyrics first, Dylan or Simon and Garfunkel. Well, surprise surprise for us, those words were written much longer ago and according to Wikipedia may have actually been inspired as far back as 1670. Ah music, we so love the art and poetry of it all.

28 comments:

  1. Know of the folk song and have listened to some of Bobs songs never been to SCarborough though, for som ereason I've never ventured ti the East side of our country.

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    1. Billy-- If you get a chance to listen to Simon and Garfunkel sing it, it's beautiful.

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  2. There's something very beautiful about the sound of a cello and this is a very fine version of the song. This wasn't the only traditional British tune that Dylan...err...repurposed. He spent some time here in the early 60s and was influenced by Martin Carthy among others. His "Restless Farewell" is the song "The Parting Glass". "I Pity The Poor Immigrant" has the tune of "Come All Ye Tramps And Hawkers". "Bob Dylan's Dream" is a reworking of "Lord Franklin". "Ballad in Plain D" is "I Loved A Lass", also known as "A Week Before Easter". "Masters Of War" is based on the N American song "Nottamun Town" which in turn also had its roots in England. "Pretty Peggy-O" on his first album was another song which originated over here and was called "The Bonny Lass O' Fyvie" in Scotland. I'm sure there are some others too - a case of "love and theft" I'm sure.

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    1. John-- I love that cello too. It's what made me want to post this song here. I'm so surprised to read the list of Bob Dylan's repurposing of old tradition tunes. Wow! I would have never guessed such a thing.

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  3. What a lovely version!

    I first heard this song "live" in 1976 at a small bed and breakfast place on the Dingle peninsula in the west of Ireland. The teenage daughter of the owner sang as she cleared the breakfast dishes.
    It was my first visit to Ireland and little did I know that one day I would be living there for many years and hear this song countless times: live, on the radio or even sing it myself and my daughter.

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    1. Sabine-- I first heard this song in 1966 when Simon and Garfunkel released it on their album, "Parsley Sage Rosemary and Thyme." I've loved it ever since.

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  4. Thank you for a lovely tune to start off Friday morning. Beautiful playing. I play celtic music in a couple of sessions -- have been doing that for several years -- and as John has mentioned above, many tunes are reborn as others. Some of the traditional Irish session tunes borrow from much older tunes, sometimes from quite distant places. There's a lot of discussion TheSession.org website where irish trad players post settings (versions) of tunes they know or have heard, so that these may be be a resource to all players. I believe the site is up to something like 20K tune settings in its database. Anyhow, that's just the sort of thing people discuss - and how some of these tunes have been reborn again in other tunes in eastern Canada or the Appalachian music in the U.S. And then the tunes have been reborn again in 20th C. folk music in the UK and NA. It's all quite fascinating - at least to some of us!

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    1. bev-- It truly is fascinating to follow the route and history of music, songs, and genres. We're all so connected in that way. And yes, it is all quite fascinating!

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  5. Surprising. I think if we do some research on music we find it goes a way back. It's surprising when you find out who wrote a piece of music.

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    1. Red-- This one was a true surprise. I love finding the history of songs like this.

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  6. yes, our folk music from the 1950s and 60s often was taken from the old country. Did you ever see the movie "Song Catcher"? Shows the hill people of Appalachia were singing the songs of their ancestors across the pond. This is a beautiful version of this very old song. It sounds Elizabethan.

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    1. Tara-- I haven't seen the movie "Song Catcher." I'll check if it's on Netflix or Amazon. It would be great to watch people singing the songs of the ancestors. I love our musical connections.

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  7. I never realized those two songs had those lyrics in common, but now that you point it out it seems so obvious. I've often wanted to go visit Scarborough now that I'm in England. One of these days I'll get there!

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    1. Steve-- I hadn't ever realized either until Roger mentioned it. What an interesting thing, to have listened to both Scarborough Fair and Girl From The North Country and not recognized the common lyrics. I hope you do get to visit Scarborough. I'm already looking forward to the pics!

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  8. As soon as I saw your title, the song was in my head. A favorite from long ago and funny how with just the instrumental version, the lyrics all came back. Beautiful.

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    1. Patti-- Isn't it wild how song lyrics stay with us while other memories fade fade away. Glad you liked this.

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  9. Thank you so much for this beautiful music. I think that this lovely music with its very old roots isn't so much as stolen but shared among artists and songwriters. It is deep within and a part of so many of our common roots, and defines our shared humanity.
    Thank you again,
    Mary

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    1. littlemancat-- I so agree with you. This music is a shared bit of ancient history. It's wonderful to recognize the old roots. I'm so glad you liked this, and I thank you for stopping by and commenting.

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  10. That is absolutely beautiful and performed with such feeling.

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    1. Catalyst-- I am so glad that you liked this. I agree, it is absolutely beautiful.

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  11. You took me right back to the summer when I was 12 and visiting my aunt and uncle in New York, already suspecting that when I was grown, I would choose to live there, and all that summer I played and sang Scarborough Fair, it haunted me, made me feel something wide and yearning and true.

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    1. 37paddington-- It really is such an evocative song. I love that it's been around for so long.

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  12. I remember hearing this for years after the Simon and Garfunkel version came out, and over and over it has never been a boring bit of music. Many sing-a-longs as I drove around!

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    1. Barbara-- It really is quite a memorable piece of music. It just gets right into your heart.

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  13. I took up singing lessons at age eighty (four years ago) and became a different person. But this different person - rubbing shoulders with Schubert, Schumann and Dowland - needs a time-out now and then. I downloaded the score of Scarborough Fair without the say-so of my teacher. She's a soprano by the way. During one of our rare ten-second breaks (Heck, the lessons only last an hour, once a week) I began to murmur those inveigling words: "Are you going to Scarborough Fair..." being careful to emphasise the UK pronunciation: It's Scar-boruh, not Scar-borrow (I was born in the same county). My teacher shrugged, joined me, singing an octave up and improvising on the piano. It was one of those moments you crave as an octogenarian singer. Had you encountered me pre-singing, you'd have hated me. Now you tolerate my presence in your comments column. Not just different but better.

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    1. Roderick-- I would have loved to have heard you and your teacher singing this song. I can only imagine how great it must have been. You make me wonder why I would have hated you in your pre-singing days. I more than tolerate your presence, kind sir, I invite it with joyful anticipation of your erudite comments.

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  14. I'm seeing this post long after the fact, but feel compelled to post on the subject of authorship of the song. In folk music, you are supposed to credit your source when you collect a folk tune. In this case, Martin Carthy had given him the song (and evidently the arrangement) but Simon never gave him credit until years later. BIG no-no. I think it was just crass American ignorance of the respectful norms of trad music.
    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/4722968/Friends-again-with-Paul-Simon.html

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    1. CCorax-- Thank you so much for this very enlightening article. I had no idea of this history. It's so good to read the back story of things. Thank you.

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