Ballads & Songs of Southern Michigan-songbook

A Collection of 200+ traditional songs & variations with commentaries including Lyrics & Sheet music

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22          Ballads and Songs of Michigan
On pages 477-483 we give a list of the titles of songs which we have collected but not reprinted, with the names of informants and some references to parallel versions. Many songs such as "The Bag­gage Coach Ahead," "The Gypsy's Warning," and temperance songs which are survivals of the widespread temperance crusade of the seventies and eighties, are so markedly similar to those in numerous other regional collections as to suggest that all may have been derived from a recently printed and widely distributed source unknown to 0111 singers, who learned the songs from hearing them sung. But it seems that their close similarity to forms in the easily available sources which we indicate makes it unnecessary for us to reprint the texts. Other songs in the list, such as "Colin and Lucy," are of so high a literary standard as to indicate that they are close to sources known to educated persons.
Certain types of songs which were orally transmitted to our in­formants are altogether excluded from our collection because they are generally taught in schools throughout the United States and are included in numerous current song books. Some examples of these are "Yankee Doodle," "America," "My Old Kentucky Home," "The Suwanee River," "John Brown," and many church hymns. Indian songs and Negro songs, except for a very few of the latter, are ex­cluded because they are types which require special treatment. The folk songs of the Finnish, Swedish, Cornish, Dutch, German, and Polish people who have migrated to Michigan, the songs of the Great Lakes sailors and those of the French voyageurs have not been given a place because they were not known by our singers, and even if they had been known these songs would have had little or no influence on the native traditional Michigan folk song in the English tongue.
An editorial principle has been to respect diction, grammar, and expression and to record them just as they were transmitted by in­formants, with the exception of Mr. Laidlaw, or as they appear in manuscript texts, no matter how absurd the corruptions may be. For example, the Michigan text of "The Little Brown Bulls" contains the following expressions: "big spot of steers," "gourding," and "pips in his paw," instead of the more logical forms "big spotted steers," "girt­ing," and "pipe in his jaw," found in Rickaby's text of the same song. In Michigan text No. 39 "mountain brow" was sung as "mountain bow." The title "The Seno Wreck," to judge from a comparative study and the fact that the disaster described in the text oc­curred on the C. and O. Railroad, should have been "The C. and O. Wreck " "Grecian's fair home" in "The Dying Cowboy," where it makes no sense, was evidently misheard for "Tom Sherman's bar-

E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III