Notes/Lyrics

All the songs on this record are traditional and in the public domain.

The field recordings of Alice Snow Bailey and Lester Fairbanks were recorded by Margaret, and used, with permission, from the Vermont Folklife Center and the estate of Margaret MacArthur.

Artwork, "Milkweed," by Helen O'Donnell.
Web Design by Robin MacArthur.

Produced and recorded by Tyler Gibbons & Robin MacArthur in Marlboro, VT.
Mixed and mastered by Tyler Gibbons in Marlboro, VT.

Notes/Lyrics:

1. Mother’s in the Graveyard
This song was sung to Margaret in Brattleboro by Hildreth Brown of Hancock, NH, who learned it from her aunt, Caroline Lewis Gordon, who had learned it from slaves on the Flint River Plantation in Georgia. (MM, Folksongs of Vermont, Folkways, 1963.)

2. Gypsy Davy
An instrumental version of a song Margaret learned from the singing of Alice Snow Bailey of Readsboro, VT. (MM: Folksongs of Vermont, Folkways, 1963.)
Ending; Gypsy Davy (Performed by Alice Snow Bailey). Recorded by Margaret MacArthur in 1961.

3. The Lakes of Champlain (Laws Q33)
The manuscript of this song was given to the Vermont folklorist Helen Hartness Flanders by Winifred Haley, of Cuttingsville, VT, who received it as a girl from Etta Safford, whose family remembered it as a local event, not knowing that it was a traditional Irish song entitled, “The Lakes of Cool Finn.” (MM: Make the Wildwood Ring, Living Folk, 1982.)

4.  Single Again
Margaret recorded Mrs. Austin Nichols, of Guilford, VT, singing this in 1961. (MM: Folksongs of Vermont, Folkways, 1963.)

5. The Braes of Yarrow (Child 214, Ft)
A traditional ballad as sung for Helen Hartness Flanders by Belle Luther Richards of Colebrook, NH. (MM: Ballads Thrice Twisted, 1998.)

6. Carrion Crow (Sh 222)
A traditional British ballad; my grandmother learned this version from the singing of Frederick Turner of Marlboro, VT. (MM, Folksongs of Vermont, Folkways, 1963.)

 7. Stratton Mountain Tragedy (Laws G 18)
This poem was written by Seba Smith in 1843, and collected by Helen Hartness Flanders. The family in this tragedy were former residents of Marlboro, Vermont. From my grandparents’ kitchen windows you can see Stratton Mountain in the distance and Margaret wrote that she, “Often thought of this incident on cold, snowy, winter days.” (MM: On the Mountains High, Living Folk, 1971.)

8. Locks and Bolts (Laws M13)
Margaret learned this song from Florence Fowler, a dear friend and neighbor of her parents in Nortonville, Kentucky. When listening to my grandmother’s field recordings I came across Lester Fairbanks of Colebrook, Mass singing a version of the same song entitled, “Rugged Rocks.” A comparison of the first lines of the “same” song is a wonderful study of what happens to these songs as they’re passed across oceans and along roads and over mountains. (MM, Them Stars, 1996.)

9. Rugged Rocks,(performed by Lester Fairbanks)
Field recording by Margaret MacArthur, 1962.

10. Gorion-Og
Margaret learned this song from John Serkin and/or Tony Brown, both of Marlboro, VT. (Her notes say Tony; John remembers teaching it to her. )This is a traditional Scottish song, also known as “Scottish Highland Lullaby.” (MM: Folksongs of Vermont, Folkways, 1963.)

11. I’ve Courted Thee Before
Margaret learned this also from Florence Fowler in 1961. Our singing of this song will never compare to the sweetness and sincerity of my grandparents’ duet. (MM, On The Mountains High, Living Folk, 1971.)

12. My Dearest Dear
A common traditional folksong, versions of which have been found throughout New England, Appalachia, and the Ozarks. “I wish my breast was made of glass and in it you might behold/Your name in secret I would write in letters of bright gold/In letters of bright gold, true love/ pray believe me what I say/you are the one that I love best until the dying day.” (MM, Old Songs, Philo Records, 1975.)

Lyrics:

The Lake of Champlain

Twas early one morning Willy Lannard arose
Straight to the chamber of his comrade he goes
He says wake my comrade let nobody know
It’s a fine summer morning and a bathing we’ll go
They walked and they talked till they came to a lake
There they met with a keeper of the game
He said go back Willy Lannard do not venture in
There’s deep and false water in the lake of Champlain
Willy slipped himself off and swum the lake round
Swum to an island but not to dry ground.
He said go back my comrade, do not venture in
There’s deep and false water in the lake of Champlain
It was early next morning Willy’s sister arose
Straight to the chamber of her mother she goes
She says mother, mother I had a true dream
I dreamed I saw Willy in the cold watery stream
It was early next morning Willy’s mother was there
Wringing of her hands and tearing of her hair
Oh murder, murder, is nobody nigh
For to venture that lake for my own darling boy
It was next morning Willy’s uncle was there
Swum the lake round like a man in despair
Oh was he sure drownded or did he fall in
There’s…
To see Willy’s funeral twill be a great sight
There’ll be four and twenty young men all dressed in white
They’ll take him to the graveyard and lay him in the clay
They’ll say farewell Willy and go weeping away
To see Willy’s sister will grieve your heart sore
To see Willy’s mother will grieve your heart more
To see Willy’s true love will give your heart pain
There’s deep and false water in the lake of Champlain
Single Again
When I was single I lived at my ease
Now I’m married with a husband to please
Three small children to maintain
I wish in my heart I was single again

One cried Mama, I want to go to bed
Another cries, Mama I want a piece of bread
Wash them undress them and put them all in bed
In comes husband, wishing them all dead
When young men they first fall in love
It’s oh my little honey and my little turtle dove
But when they get married it’s no such thing
It’s get up and get the breakfast you cross ugly thing
When all young men they strut about the town
One would think was worth a hundred pounds
Look into their pocket not a penny would you find
Now how fickle is a young man’s mind.
Carrion Crow
An old crow sat upon an oak, derry derry derry, day co
An old crow sat upon an oak watching a tailor sew a coat
Sing hi, ho, carrion crow, derry derry derry day co.
Oh wife bring me my old bent bow…
wife bring me my old bent bow
that I may shoot yon carrion crow
Sing…

The tailor shot and he missed his mark…
The tailor shot and he missed his mark
he shot his old sow through the heart
Sing…
The old sow died and the bells did toll
The old sow died and the bells did toll
The little pigs prayed for the old sow’s soul
Sing…

The Braes of Yarrow

Oh Sister I, can read your dream
Read in it grief and sorrow
Your true love John, he lies dead and gone
In the dewy dales of Yarrow

She wrung her hands, and tore her hair
In mortal grief and sorrow
She tore a blue ribbon from out her hair
That she had received in Yarrow

Then over hill and over dale
And through the streams so narrow
Till she came upon he-r true love John
A Dead and gone in Yarrow

Her hair it was three quarters long
The color it was yellow
She tied it round his middle so small
And she bore him home from Yarrow

Oh daughter dear, her father cried
Don’t weep in grief and sorrow
I can marry you to a much nobler man
Than the one you loved in Yarrow

Oh father dear, you have seven sons
You can wed them each tomorrow
But the fairest flower of them all
Is the one I loved in Yarrow

Gorion-Og
I found the track of the wind in the trees, wind in the trees, wind in the trees
I found the track of the wind in the trees, but never a trace of baby o
Hovan hovan Gorion-Og, Gorion-Og, Gorion-Og
Hovan hovan Gorion-Og, but never a trace of baby o
I found the track of the mist on the hill…
I found the track of the swan on the lake…

Locks and Bolts
I dreamed last night, of my true love
All in my arms I held her
Her long yellow locks like strands of gold
Came tangling round, my pillow

When I awoke, she was not there
So I had my dreams without her
That pretty little miss I love so well,
they call her rainbow Ella

I went to straight to her father’s door
inquiring of my lover
There’s none such here, the answer came
Which set my heart to weeping

I heard a voice, come from the above
Descending from her window (winder)
My heart it is to go with thee
But locks and bolts do hinder

I stood a while all in the wind
To hear my true-love’s answer
My passion flew, my sword I drew
Up to those doors, I ventured

I made those locks and bolts to fly
Those winders for to clatter
The prettiest little miss I love so well,
So soon I did come to her

Her uncle and five other men
Straight after me did follow
They swore before they’d let her go
In my hearts blood should wallow

I meet them all both great and small
I carried that day, amongst them
But on brave boys such prizes now
Don’t yield until you win them

I had her not for house and land
I had her not for treasure
I had her for right goodwill
And now she’s mine forever

The prettiest little miss, I love so well
They call her Rainbow Ella.

I’ve Courted You Before

I’ve courted you before miss
And now I’m just from sea
There’s nothing else to do but to quickly marry me
Sing fal de ral dal day, sing fal-de-ral-dal-day

Don’t mean to wed at all, sir
Deceitful as yourself
It’s very clear to me that
You’re fit for nothing else

I’ve never deceived you yet, miss
and this you well do know
You frit and fret and scold
But the storm will soon be o’er

My nonsense please excuse sir
And bid me not adieu
though I did refuse, sir
I meant to marry you

Then dearest miss surrender
Yes I’ll be your wife
I’ll be your defender
I’ll be true for life

My Dearest Dear

Oh my dearest dear the-time-has-come when we must part
No-one knows the inner grief of my poor aching heart
Or what I set sail or sank
for the one I love so dear
I wish that I could go with you or you could tarry here

I wish my breast was made of glass and in it you might behold
Your name in secret I would write in letters of bright gold
In letters of bright gold true love
pray believe me what I say
You are the one that I love best until the dying day

The crow that’s black my dear-est dear will turn its colors white
If ever I prove false to be the brightest days to night
The brightest days to night true love
all elements shall mourn
If ever I prove false to be the raging seas shall burn

Your company my dearest dear your company to me
Makes me think when you’re away that every day is three
Every day is three true love and every hour ten
Makes me weep when I should sleep and say I’ve lost a friend

So when you’re on some distant shore think on your absent friend
When the wind blows high and clear a line or two pray send
When the wind blows high and clear pray send a thought to me
That-I might know by your hand write how time has gone with thee