Ballads & Songs of Southern Michigan-songbook

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

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Dark-Eyed Sailor," "The Soldier's Boy," "The Banks of Claudy," "The Green Beds," and "The Rich Young Farmer." Another popular theme of which there are many variations is that of a girl who, dis­guised as a man, follows her soldier or sailor lover. Examples are "The Handsome Cabin Boy," "The Maid in Sorrow," "Pretty Polly," "The Banks of Brandywine," "Lady Leroy," "The Weaver Is Hand­some," and "William and Nancy."
(6)  Some Michigan songs, originally ballads, have lost the dis­tinct narrative element which characterizes a ballad and have tended to become lyrics of disappointed love. This process occasionally re­sults in such fusions as "The Drowsy Sleeper" with "The Silver Dagger,"28 "Fair Lady of London" with "The Death of Queen Jane,"29 and "The Sweet Sunny South" with "The Rebel Soldier."30
(7)  A number of songs and ballads already indicated in Section II and sometimes designated as American have been adapted or de­rived from similar British ballads.
(8)  By reason of their historical background and internal evidence, a goodly number of songs and ballads referred to in Section II show that they are of American origin. Moreover, pieces like "Floyd Col­lins," sung in Michigan along with many other older ballads and folk songs by a present-day citizen of Virginia, clearly demonstrate that both folk-song creation and folk-song transmission are not closed accounts. But such evidence as we have assembled shows that these processes are commoner in the South than in the North.
(9)  As may be expected, there are more tragic than humorous folk songs of various sorts.
(10)  More song ballads concerning wars in Europe are remem­bered than concerning those in America. Of the latter, except many sentimental songs associated with the Civil War, most of which are too frequently printed to be included in our collection, we have found only "James Bird," which seems to have had its origin in the War of 1812, and "The Texas Rangers," interpreted as an echo of the fight at the Alamo in 1838.
(11)  We have found only a few old and interesting traditional religious pieces. The church hymns which are well known by most churchgoers are generally printed in hymnals, and, although some of them are of great age, have no value for our purpose.
wFor a discussion of the fusion of these two ballads see No. 22 ("Who Is Tapping at My Bedroom Window?") and No. 23 of the present collection.
20 See Michigan text No. 52 and A. K. Davis, Traditional Ballads of Virginia, pp. 419-420; 537-543.
*° See Michigan text No. 97 and J. H. Cox, Fol\Songs of the South, pp. 279-280.

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