Folk Songs from the Southern Highlands - online songbook

Southern Appalachians songs with lyrics, commentary & some sheet music.

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Little Dicky Whigburn
35
LITTLE DICKY WHIGBURN
This cante-fable is reprinted here by courtesy of the Bulletin of the Folk-Song Society of the Northeast, Number 3, and of The fournal of American Folk-Lore. Mr. Phillips Barry says of Little Dicky Whigburn: "It is the fourth version, as far as I know, in English, of a cante-fable widely current in central, eastern and southern Europe, the German form of which is cDer Aire Hilde-brand.'" A slight revision of the previous printings is made in the first stanza. Mr. Harmon in the summer of 1931 added the third line as it now stands and explained that he must have forgotten it when he first sang it in the summer of 1930 and had to repeat the last line to make it fit the tune. He, of course, avoided repeating the last line in the present instance.
Cf. the version of the song in Alfred Williams's Folk-Songs of the Upper Thames, p. 293.
Recorded by Mrs. Henry from the recitation and singing of Mr. Samuel Harmon, Cade's Cove, Blount County, Tennessee?, August, 1930.
In London there was a spring noted for its healing qualities. The wife pretends she is sick and sends Dicky for a bottle of the water. She sings the first stanza as a signal that Dicky has gone and that the pastor can come from his hiding place.
Lady sings: 1. "Little Dicky Whigburn to London is gone To bring me a bottle of clear applesom; The Lord send him a long journey never to return, Through the green woods and the willows."
Pastor sings : 2. "Oh, little does Dicky know, or little does he think Who eats of his eats or drinks of his drinks; And God spare me my life, This night I'll stay with his wife, Through the green woods and the willows."
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E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III