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Origins: There Is a Tavern in the Town

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SHEFFIELD PARK
THERE IS A TAVERN IN THE TOWN


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Help: There is a tavern in the town (28)


Allan C. 27 Aug 99 - 08:34 AM
paddymac 27 Aug 99 - 05:13 PM
emily rain 28 Aug 99 - 04:14 PM
Allan C. 19 Jan 00 - 07:20 AM
Ferrara 19 Jan 00 - 08:00 AM
Ferrara 19 Jan 00 - 08:02 AM
Allan C. 19 Jan 00 - 08:18 AM
Dale Rose 19 Jan 00 - 10:09 AM
Joe Offer 19 Jan 00 - 02:14 PM
toadfrog 20 Jan 02 - 10:26 PM
dick greenhaus 20 Jan 02 - 11:39 PM
Amos 20 Jan 02 - 11:48 PM
nutty 21 Jan 02 - 04:55 AM
nutty 21 Jan 02 - 05:00 AM
Kaleea 22 Jan 02 - 02:57 AM
toadfrog 24 Jan 02 - 09:07 PM
Q 13 Oct 03 - 03:26 PM
Amos 13 Oct 03 - 04:19 PM
GUEST,Dale 13 Oct 03 - 09:29 PM
masato sakurai 13 Oct 03 - 09:49 PM
GUEST,Dale 13 Oct 03 - 11:00 PM
Ferrara 14 Oct 03 - 03:35 AM
Charley Noble 14 Oct 03 - 04:46 PM
Jim Dixon 14 Oct 03 - 09:19 PM
Joybell 14 Oct 03 - 10:24 PM
GUEST,Charley Noble 15 Oct 03 - 10:36 AM
Charley Noble 24 Feb 05 - 09:04 AM
GUEST,leeneia 24 Feb 05 - 12:52 PM
GUEST,Charley Noble 24 Feb 05 - 01:41 PM
Snuffy 24 Feb 05 - 07:02 PM
Q 24 Feb 05 - 07:45 PM
Charley Noble 25 Feb 05 - 09:26 AM
Mr Happy 09 Nov 06 - 09:59 AM
Charley Noble 09 Nov 06 - 11:48 AM
GUEST 09 Nov 06 - 02:44 PM
GUEST,Al Weber 30 Mar 08 - 02:09 AM
GUEST,John of Elsie`s Band 30 Mar 08 - 12:06 PM
Charley Noble 30 Mar 08 - 09:22 PM
GUEST,DWR 30 Mar 08 - 11:47 PM
Jim Dixon 23 Mar 09 - 11:51 AM
Q 23 Mar 09 - 03:08 PM
Jim Dixon 01 Dec 10 - 04:22 PM
Charley Noble 02 Dec 10 - 08:28 AM
GUEST 13 Feb 11 - 08:35 AM
Charley Noble 13 Feb 11 - 10:22 AM
Q 13 Feb 11 - 12:40 PM
Allan C. 14 Feb 11 - 06:05 AM
Charley Noble 14 Feb 11 - 07:37 AM
Snuffy 14 Feb 11 - 08:35 AM
Q 14 Feb 11 - 03:08 PM
GUEST,Mr. Ludy Marvin Wilkie 30 Mar 12 - 02:43 PM
Q 30 Mar 12 - 03:10 PM
GUEST,Ludy M. Wilkie 31 Mar 12 - 10:31 AM
Q 31 Mar 12 - 03:17 PM
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Subject: Lyr Add: THERE IS A TAVERN IN THE TOWN
From: Allan C.
Date: 27 Aug 99 - 08:34 AM

Nearly everyone has heard this song at one time or another. I was recently transcribing it from the DT for a friend and decided to genderize the verses to fit my particular persuasion. I submit it here with the changes I would sing in brackets. In addition, I have included a second part of the chorus which is not in the DT but I have heard used from time to time. This, I have put in parenthesis. Also, I have corrected the word, pinned, as it appears in the DT, which I am certain should have been spelled with an "e".

So, some questions: Is the request indicated in the note of the song the way you know it? I just have a hard time visualizing someone carving a dead person's breast(bone, I presume). Or, could the use of the word refer to the inscribed, metal plates put on coffin lids? There are some other songs out there which make similar references. Any opinions?

THERE IS A TAVERN IN THE TOWN

There is a tavern in the town, in the town
And there my true love sits him [her] down, sits him [her] down,
And drinks his [her] wine as merry as can be,
And never, never thinks of me.

cho: Fare thee well, for I must leave thee,
Do not let this parting grieve thee,
And remember that the best of friends must part, must part.

(So until another meeting
When you hear my friendly greeting
I will always keep your memory in my heart)

Adieu, adieu, kind friends, adieu
I can no longer stay with you, stay with you,
I'll hang my harp on the weeping willow tree,
And may the world go well with thee.

He left me for a damsel dark, damsel dark,
[She left me for a man both tall and dark, tall and dark.]
Each Friday night they used to spark, used to spark,
And now my love who once was true to me
Takes this dark damsel on his knee.
[Sits upon that other fellow's knee.]

And now I see him [her] nevermore, nevermore;
He [She] never knocks upon my door, on my door;
Oh, woe is me; he [she] penned a little note,
And these were all the words he[she] wrote:

Oh, dig my grave both wide and deep, wide and deep;
Put tombstones at my head and feet, head and feet
And on my breast you may carve a turtle dove,
To signify I died of love.


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Subject: RE: Tavern in the Town
From: paddymac
Date: 27 Aug 99 - 05:13 PM

Great song. As to the carving issue, I read it figuratively, as applying to grave markers, whether leaden tags on pine boxes or more elaborate stone markers.


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Subject: RE: Tavern in the Town
From: emily rain
Date: 28 Aug 99 - 04:14 PM

i can't sing that song without thinking of raffi:

head and shoulders knees and feet (knees and feet!)
head and shoulders knees and feet (knees and feet0
i got a nose, two eyes, two ears, and a mouth,
head and shoulders knees and feet (knees and feet!)

: )


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Subject: RE: Tavern in the Town
From: Allan C.
Date: 19 Jan 00 - 07:20 AM

refresh


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Subject: RE: Tavern in the Town
From: Ferrara
Date: 19 Jan 00 - 08:00 AM

Maybe there's supposed to be an effigy (sp?) of the brokenhearted dead girl on the tomb? Morbid to the max but people used to love that stuff. Now it's transformed: more in your face, less sentimental.... I'm partial to the sentimental stuff myself.


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Subject: RE: Tavern in the Town
From: Ferrara
Date: 19 Jan 00 - 08:02 AM

ps Allan, I never heard your "until another meeting" bit before. I like it, sounds authentic, except for the "friendly greeting" which doesn't strike the right tone for a broken hearted and rejected lover, in my opinion. Any idea where you heard it?


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Subject: RE: Tavern in the Town
From: Allan C.
Date: 19 Jan 00 - 08:18 AM

Yes, Ferrara, I do. It, (the part in parenthesis) was in the version I first heard which was on the "Brothers Four Songbook" album. So, I would also wonder at its authenticity. But, like you, I like the way it sounds.


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Subject: RE: Tavern in the Town
From: Dale Rose
Date: 19 Jan 00 - 10:09 AM

Just couldn't resist this one. THERE IS A TAVERN IN THE TOWN at The Lester S. Levy Collection of Sheet Music. Words and music by F. J. Adams, 1891. I didn't take the time to check lyric differences, but this should be the original version. I can't hear this song without thinking of Wally Cox.


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Subject: Origins: Tavern in the Town
From: Joe Offer
Date: 19 Jan 00 - 02:14 PM

I was amazed to follow the DT number and see that this song is related to BUTCHER'S BOY. I would have sworn that "Tavern" was an original creation of Tin Pan Alley. I guess there's nothing new under the sun.
-Joe Offer-

Here's the entry on this song from the Traditional Ballad Index:

    Tavern in the Town

    DESCRIPTION: Singer laments her lover, who courted her ardently but now goes to a tavern and courts others while leaving her pining. She hopefully anticipates dying and being buried.
    AUTHOR: unknown
    EARLIEST DATE: 1883 (sheet music published by Shapiro, Bernstein & Co. of New York)
    KEYWORDS: loneliness courting infidelity rejection abandonment
    FOUND IN: Britain(England(Lond,South,West),(Scotland(Aber)) US Canada(Newf) Ireland
    REFERENCES (21 citations):
    Sharp-100E 94, "A Brisk Young Sailor" (1 text, 1 tune)
    Leather, pp. 205-206, "A Brisk Young Sailor" (1 text, 1 tune)
    Wiltshire-WSRO Wt 497, "There Is a Tavern in the Town"; Wiltshire-WSRO Wt 424, "When I Wore My Apron Low" (2 texts)
    Belden, pp. 478-480, "The Blue-Eyed Boy" (4 texts, though "D" is a fragment, probably of "Tavern in the Town" or "The Butcher Boy" or some such)
    BrownIII 259, "I'll Hang My Harp on a Willow Tree" (2 fragments, named for that key line from "Tavern in the Town" which occurs in both fragments, but the "A" text is mostly "Pretty Little Foot")
    GreigDuncan6 1169, "Died for Love" (11 texts, 8 tunes); 1171, "There Is a Tavern in the Town" (1 fragment, 1 tune)
    SHenry H683, p. 393, "The Apron of Flowers" (1 text, 1 tune -- apparently a collection of floating verses including one that goes here)
    Reeves-Sharp 20, "A Brisk Young Lover" (5 texts)
    RJackson-19CPop, pp. 210-213, "There Is a Tavern in the Town" (1 text, 1 tune)
    Spaeth-ReadWeep, pp. 84-85, "There Is a Tavern in the Town" (1 text, 1 tune)
    Silber-FSWB, p. 180, "There Is A Tavern In The Town" (1 text)
    Fuld-WFM, pp. 572-573, "There Is a Tavern in the Town"
    LPound-ABS, 23, p. 62, "There Is a Tavern in the Town" (1 text; the "A" text is "The Butcher Boy")
    Peacock, pp. 705-706, "She Died in Love" (1 text, 1 tune)
    Darling-NAS, pp. 140-141, "The Tavern in the Town" (1 text, filed under "The Butcher Boy")
    DT, TAVTOWN*
    ADDITIONAL: Henry Randall Waite, _College Songs: A Collection of New and Popular Songs of the American Colleges_, new and enlarged edition, Oliver Ditson & Co., 1887, pp. 4-5, "There Is a Tavern in the Town" (1 text, 1 tune)
    SEE ALSO:
    Lomax-FSNA 229, "Hard, Ain't It Hard" (1 text, 1 tune)
    Silber-FSWB, p. 185, "Hard, Ain't It Hard" (1 text)
    DT, TAVTOWN AINTHARD*

    ST ShH94 (Full)
    Roud #60
    RECORDINGS:
    Amy Birch, "Over Yonder's Hill" (on Voice11)
    "Pops" Johnny Connors, "There is an Alehouse" (on IRTravellers01)
    Geoff Ling, "Died for Love" (on Voice10)
    Rudy Vallee, "Tavern in the Town" (Victor 24739, 1934)
    Mrs. Thomas Walters, "She Died in Love" (on PeacockCDROM) [one verse only]
    SEE ALSO:
    Almanac Singers, "Hard, Ain't It Hard" (General 5019A, 1941; on Almanac01, Almanac03, AlmanacCD1)
    Woody Guthrie, "Hard Ain't It Hard" (Folk Tunes 150, n.d., probably mid-1940s)

    BROADSIDES:
    Bodleian, Firth b.28(6a/b) View 7 of 8, "There Is A Tavern In The Town," R. March and Co. (London), 1877-1884
    CROSS-REFERENCES:
    cf. "The Butcher Boy" [Laws P24] (plot)
    cf. "The Sailor Boy (I)" [Laws K12] (lyrics)
    cf. "Love Has Brought Me to Despair" [Laws P25]
    cf. "I Know My Love" (floating lyrics)
    cf. "Oh, Johnny, Johnny" (floating lyrics)
    cf. "The Rashy Muir" (tune, per GreigDuncan6)
    ALTERNATE TITLES:
    There Is an Alehouse in Yonder Town
    There's a Tavern in the Town
    Up The Green Meadow
    Adieu, Adieu, Adieu!
    NOTES: The overlap between this song and the "Butcher Boy" cluster is obvious; whether they're the same song is a Talmudic question. -PJS
    The 1891 sheet music credits this piece to F. J. Adams. The earliest known printing of "Tavern" (as opposed to the presumably related Cornish miners' song "There is an Alehouse in Yonder Town"), however, does not give the author's name. The printing in the 1887 edition of College Songs lists it as copyright by Wm. H. Hills but lists no author.
    Alan Lomax calls "Hard Ain't It Hard" a reworking of this piece, and I'm going along on the principle that it certainly isn't a traditional song (given that it's by Woody Guthrie). I don't think it's that simple, though; the "Hard ain't it hard" chorus clearly derives from "Ever After On." - RBW
    Yes, Rudy Vallee recorded it too. And blew the lyrics, I might add [My understanding is that the people around him were trying, with great success, to crack him up - RBW]. But clearly the song remained current in pop culture as well as folk culture. It was also reputed to have been popular among collegiates. - PJS
    "Hang my harp on a willow tree" may be taken from Psalms 137.2 [King James] via Thomas Haynes Bayly. Cf. "I'll Hang My Harp on a Willow Tree."
    Broadside Bodleian Firth b.28(6a/b) View 7 of 8 ascribes "There Is A Tavern In The Town" to W.H. Hills. - BS
    Somewhere in my youth, someone (probably school authorities) forced upon us a game, "Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes." Thirty-odd years later, I recalled it for some reason, and realize that the tune is an up-tempo version of this. If the song was inflicted upon other classes than mine, it may be that the song has had some sort of horrid second life. - RBW
    Amy Birch's version on Voice11 has a first line "Over yonder's hill there is an old house" but continues to be enough like "Tavern in the Town" that I put it here rather than Laws P25 or any of the other songs in this cluster.
    GreigDuncan6 [on #1169]: "Noted by George F. Duncan from mother's singing in 1875."
    The Reeves-Sharp "complete" text is a composite of eight English texts: "The composite text I have printed contains seventeen stanzas, and omits none of the elements in Sharp's twelve English versions. Full as this composite text is, however, it does not contain all the elements noted by other collectors, nor would it be possible to make a satisfactory synthesis which includes *every* element." The result is a collection of floating verses that includes the usual "Tavern in the Town" verses.
    The count of texts for Reeves-Sharp includes four fragments from other collections. - BS
    Last updated in version 2.6
    File: ShH94

    Go to the Ballad Search form
    Go to the Ballad Index Instructions
    Go to the Bibliography
    Go to the Discography

    The Ballad Index Copyright 2011 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.


The Roud Folksong Index has several entries.


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Subject: RE: Tavern in the Town
From: toadfrog
Date: 20 Jan 02 - 10:26 PM

Joe, just curious. What does it mean to say the song is "related to" Butcher's Boy? The "cf." in the ballad index only seems to mean they have similar themes. Lots of songs have themes similar to that. Like maybe "Careless Love," for one. And what does "earliest date" mean in this context? Does it mean Ballad Index knows that it was sung before it was published?

From what I have seen of Traditional Ballad Index, it seems that they are just a bit careless about facts.


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Subject: RE: Tavern in the Town
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 20 Jan 02 - 11:39 PM

The hit recording in the US was by Rudy Vallee. The verses are largely "floaters" which appear in many older songs.


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Subject: RE: Tavern in the Town
From: Amos
Date: 20 Jan 02 - 11:48 PM

The Butcher Boy cluster, as I understand it, is a gfroup of songs with different titles all of which share certain core concepts as though reflecting cross-germination of ideas.

The Butcher Boy song which was transferred in locale to Tarrytown, known as Wild Goose Grasses, is a member. One common element is the notion of the troubled-in-love young person asking for a grave to be dug for them, with turtle doves to show the world they died of love, etc.

But I always thought that version was from the early settlement era (1590-1650) when the Hudson River valley was being built up (Tarrytown is up in "Sleepy Hollow" country in the Dutch country of the Hudson River valley, I believe).

Correct?

A

A


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Subject: RE: Tavern in the Town
From: nutty
Date: 21 Jan 02 - 04:55 AM

I seem to remember posting this to another thread some time ago

Its on this broadside (circa1880) in the Bodlean Library

TAVERN IN THE TOWN
Just click on the magnifying glass for a clearer view
It gives the author as W.H.HILLS


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Subject: RE: Tavern in the Town
From: nutty
Date: 21 Jan 02 - 05:00 AM

and here's a link to the previous thread

PREVIOUS THREAD


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Subject: RE: Tavern in the Town
From: Kaleea
Date: 22 Jan 02 - 02:57 AM

Another classic example (in the form of a Polka no less)of the guy who done her wrong by going out to the the tavern with said "dark haired" girl. Therefore, the poor girl who was wronged will be forced to commit suicide (hang my head on a weepin' willow tree) and is requesting a carved (of wood) dove (representing her purity of heart) be placed upon her breast when she lies in the casket. Also see:

Bury Me Beneath the Willow Madame Butterfly etc.


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Subject: RE: Tavern in the Town
From: toadfrog
Date: 24 Jan 02 - 09:07 PM

Isn't it just a bit suspect to say that these songs "share certain core concepts as though reflecting cross-germination of ideas"? The songs are all about women who are abandoned by lovers, or preganant and abandoned by lovers. It would seem to me that is less a "core concept" which would spread and "cross germinate" than a part of the human condition which has always been there, creates an emotional response, and sois always likely to give rise to songs.

Aren't we over-intellectualizing all this by calling it a "concept" -- let alone a "core concept" (which might "cross-germinate" unless closely watched)?


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Subject: Lyr Add: RADOO
From: Q
Date: 13 Oct 03 - 03:26 PM

There is an interesting 19th c. version in the Bodleian Ballads.
^^
Lyr. Add: RADOO (or ADIEU)

Radoo, radoo, kind friends, radoo, radoo, radoo,
And if I never more see you, you, you,
I'll hang my harp on a weeping willow tree,
And may this world go well with you, you, you.

Shall I be bound, shall I be free, free, free,
And many is de girl dat don't love me, me, me,
Or shall I act a foolish part,
And die for the girl that broke my heart, heart, heart.

Give me a chair and I'll sit down, down, down,
Give me a pen and I'll write it down, down, down,
And every word that I shall write
A tear will trickle from my eye, eye, eye.

Between 1877-1884, R. March and Co., London (copied from Francis Brothers and Day, London). Bodleian Ballads, Firth b28(7a/b), image 3. Search for Radoo in: Bodleian

Use of de and dat in verse two suggests a blackface minstrel origin.


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Subject: RE: Tavern in the Town
From: Amos
Date: 13 Oct 03 - 04:19 PM

Sounds like an exaggerated portrayal of blackface mispronunciation of the original (Adieu, dear friends...).

And toadfrog -- there was no "we" behind that core concept stuff. That drivel was my own, sir! :>)


A


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Subject: RE: Tavern in the Town
From: GUEST,Dale
Date: 13 Oct 03 - 09:29 PM

A few years ago I started a website which never got much attention, so I pretty much quit updating it.

Well, anyway, Wally Cox's 1953 version is on this page. It's a downloadable real audio. You need to hear it to believe it.
The Extra Page at Good Old Songs


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Subject: RE: Tavern in the Town
From: masato sakurai
Date: 13 Oct 03 - 09:49 PM

GUEST,Dale, I downloaded the whole of your site last December. It's very interesting.


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Subject: RE: Tavern in the Town
From: GUEST,Dale
Date: 13 Oct 03 - 11:00 PM

Thank you, Masato. I'd consider that a compliment of the highest order. It is a bit unfocused, and wretchedly unfinished, but maybe someday . . .

My Uncle Sid had that record, and I would always play it when I went to visit. And of course, Wally Cox was better known for his part in the TV show, "Mr. Peepers."


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Subject: RE: Tavern in the Town
From: Ferrara
Date: 14 Oct 03 - 03:35 AM

Oh, Dale, thank you, that recording is a Riot! ... And we loved "Mr. Peepers."

Rita Ferrara


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Subject: RE: Tavern in the Town
From: Charley Noble
Date: 14 Oct 03 - 04:46 PM

Dick Greenhaus-(if you're still checking in on this thread)

The old Rudy Vallee record I used to listen to this song on had him breaking into hysterical laughter in one of the later choruses. I was amazed at the time, because I didn't realize that recording artists were human. I'm not sure what I thought they were but if they "lost it" in a recording session, that recording would never see the light of day.

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Tavern in the Town
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 14 Oct 03 - 09:19 PM

Charley Noble: The Rudy Vallee recording you are referring to has been played on our local public radio station a few times. I remember what set off the laughter, too: in one of the choruses, he pronounces "adieu" in strongly accented (but correct) French, and then he pronounces "you" with exactly the same vowel ("yieu"?). This sounded like deliberate but impromptu playfulness on his part, but as you say, it resulted in his (apparently) totally losing his composure. I still find it amazing, first, that both he and the band soldiered on to the end, and secondly, that this version was publicly released. Is it possible the whole thing was planned?

Dale: I enjoyed your site, too. I even followed up the link to Kira Viator's site. She's amazing.


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Subject: RE: Tavern in the Town
From: Joybell
Date: 14 Oct 03 - 10:24 PM

I did a study,for my own interest, on the "Butcher's Boy" songs. Not the first by a long shot of course. I approached the study as a singer first and scholar second, trusting instinct at times. I came up with about 50 that seemed to be related, but I'm still finding them. There are a great many that are very lovely and I sing about 10 of them. The earliest I found that fitted my criteria was a broadside Ballad called "Arthur's seat shall be my Bed" - from c.1776. Many seem to have related melodies but several are quite distinct. A lot of songs have verses that are floating ones common to many love-story ballads but the critria I came up with (and tried to stick to) were:
1. Young girl falls in love with young man who leaves her pregnant. He often takes another on his knee in the local tavern/alehouse and tells her things he won't tell the deserted maid.
2. She wishes her baby was born and she was dead. The lines "once I wore my apron low" are often used.
3. She plans her burial.
4. She kills herself (usually by hanging and usually leaving a note) I also included some varients where the song ends just before her death.
"Careless Love" seems to fit in too but the tables are turned and the maid plans to shoot her former lover.
I know a lot of this has already been said but I post my thoughts in the hope that they may add something.


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Subject: RE: Tavern in the Town
From: GUEST,Charley Noble
Date: 15 Oct 03 - 10:36 AM

Jim-

Glad to hear that Rudy Vallee recording is still being played.

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Origins: There Is a Tavern in the Town
From: Charley Noble
Date: 24 Feb 05 - 09:04 AM

Here's another theory of the Rudy Vallee 1934 recording where he breaks into laughter in the middle of this song:


Notes by Pete Milley, radio producer of Hideaway (AU)

As a small boy I remember the unusual red and white label of Rudy's 78 R.P.M. (Columbia) Laughing Record. The story follows: one afternoon the band was attempting to achieve the routinely flawless, neatly dovetailed art recordings which were synonymous with Rudy's progressive Cutting Edge, revolutionary approach to musical Product, Placement and Production. The ubiquitous Long Lunch before the recording session was taking its toll on the normally deeply conservative musicians and as a result some of them were rather worse for wear from hitting the juice. To be recorded that fateful afternoon - two motion picture melodies, "Lydia the Tattooed Lady" and "There is a Tavern in the Town" (Fox Pictures 'We're Going to be Rich') starring Gracie Fields as a South African diamond fields entertainer of the 1890's (check it out).

"Lydia" went off smoothly, however some distance in to "Tavern" the fiddle played would bump Rudy in the nose etc causing him to first giggle a bit and then finally dissolve into paroxysms of uncontrollable mirth (laughing ho ho ho etc.) So although the record was ruined, like the good troopers they were, they played on until the traverse mechanism of the recording lathe ran out of wax. Thus a complete in every way rendition was saved and later to be sold to the public as a happy accident and finally to become a beacon light to humanity.

As I say this is just another theory, but aren't the details interesting?

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Origins: There Is a Tavern in the Town
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 24 Feb 05 - 12:52 PM

In my opinion the version posted by Allan C in the first post seems cobbled-together. If she's ready to die of unrequited love at the last verse, why is she singing the rapid-fire words "Fare thee well, for I must leave thee, do not let our parting grieve thee" earlier in the song?

The jaunty melody of this song shows that she's more fed-up than devastated. The way I learned it, it ends:

I'll hang my hat on a weeping willow tree
and may the world go well with thee!


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Subject: RE: Origins: There Is a Tavern in the Town
From: GUEST,Charley Noble
Date: 24 Feb 05 - 01:41 PM

Reference to Wally Cox: so I'm not the only one who's been singing the chorus as "I'll hang my HEART on a weeping willow tree..." I believe that Rudy Vallee sang it that way as well in his 1934 recording. Always liked the image.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Origins: There Is a Tavern in the Town
From: Snuffy
Date: 24 Feb 05 - 07:02 PM

I've always heard it as "hang my HARP on a weeping willow tree..." - I suppose the idea is that the wind will play it when I'm gone


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Subject: RE: Origins: There Is a Tavern in the Town
From: Q
Date: 24 Feb 05 - 07:45 PM

The 19th c. broadside has harp, but I'm with Charlie- always sang HEART.


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Subject: RE: Origins: There Is a Tavern in the Town
From: Charley Noble
Date: 25 Feb 05 - 09:26 AM

Of course, if we changed it to "hang YOUR heart" the plot would thicken so to speak.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Origins: There Is a Tavern in the Town
From: Mr Happy
Date: 09 Nov 06 - 09:59 AM

I've also heard it sung as:

'I'll hang my head like the weeping willow tree'

Seems more appropriate somehow.


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Subject: RE: Origins: There Is a Tavern in the Town
From: Charley Noble
Date: 09 Nov 06 - 11:48 AM

This a good example of an origins thread, with just the right combination of information, speculation and wit.

One can still find the 1934 unusual red and white label of Rudy's 78 R.P.M. (Columbia) Laughing Record on e-Bay from time to time. Our own family copy unfortunately got broken.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: ADD: There Is An Alehouse
From: GUEST
Date: 09 Nov 06 - 02:44 PM

This falls into the 'Died For Love' category of songs.
Very popular among Irish Travellers; we recorded half a dozen different versions including this one (my note included).
Jim Carroll

American ballad scholar George Lyman Kittredge in The Journal of American Folklore, suggested that this is an amalgamation of two songs, "The Cruel Father or Deceived Maid", and "There Is An Alehouse In Yonder Town".    H.M. Belden in his introduction to versions of it collected in Missouri, claimed that this amalgamation "is an American product".   It was certainly found widely in America nearly always set in an American location, often Jersey City.   It was also popular in England under various titles including "Sheffield Park", "A Brisk Young Sailor", and from Dorset "There Were Three Worms".
We recorded it from half a dozen singers, three of whom were children or teenagers.
Andy Cash gave it to us with the following additional verse remembered later;

The road is long and the sea is deep,
And thinking of you, sure, I won't sleep,
Oh father dear, what a fool were I,
To hang myself for a butcher boy.

Reference
Ballads And Songs (collected by the Missouri Folklore Society); H.M.Belden (ed)
There Is An Alehouse.   (A)   (Laws P25)   (Roud 60)
Rec. from Andy Cash.
^^
THERE IS AN ALEHOUSE

There are an alehouse all in this town,
It's where my love goes there, he do sit down
And he takes a strange girl all on his knee
And he'll tell her things that he won't tell me.

For I do know the reason why,
Is it because the girl have more gold than I.
But her gold my melt and her silver will fly
And she'll see the day she'll be as poor as I.

Then will he know I can wash and wring,
And then will he will know I can guard and sing, (card and spin?)
For I wish to God he took heed of me
And the day I ganged with my misery.

There are two birds on top of a tree,
Oh some say they are blind and they cannot see,
But I wish to God that old bird could see
And then apples grow on a lily tree.

Oh fye, oh fye, that girl she cried,
It's because she have more gold than I,
It's from Willie's company I'm forced to find,
And the want of money it leaves me behind."


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Subject: RE: Origins: There Is a Tavern in the Town
From: GUEST,Al Weber
Date: 30 Mar 08 - 02:09 AM

Regarding the Rudy Vallee recording, Jim Dixon wrote, some time ago, "I remember what set off the laughter, too: in one of the choruses, he pronounces "adieu" in strongly accented (but correct) French, and then he pronounces "you" with exactly the same vowel ("yieu"?). That is how I remembered it also, but on rehearing the record recently I found rhyming "adieu" with "witchya" (Brooklynese for "with you"?) came near the end of the record. The first sign of things going off came about halfway through the record, with Vallee singing "I'll hang my heart on a veeping villow tree". The Vallee and Cox versions of Tavern in the Town make as fine a pair of recordings as the Leona Anderson and the Jonathan and Darlene Edwards (Paul Weston and Jo Stafford) renderings, er...renditions of I Love Paris.


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Subject: RE: Origins: There Is a Tavern in the Town
From: GUEST,John of Elsie`s Band
Date: 30 Mar 08 - 12:06 PM

I recommend everyone over here to commit this song to memory for surely, at the rate of closures of pubs due to the lunatic Westminster policies, the song will change by the usual folk process to "IS THERE A TAVERN IN THE TOWN?"
                                                 John


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Subject: RE: Origins: There Is a Tavern in the Town
From: Charley Noble
Date: 30 Mar 08 - 09:22 PM

Nice to have this old thread revived again.

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Origins: There Is a Tavern in the Town
From: GUEST,DWR
Date: 30 Mar 08 - 11:47 PM

Yes, so much information spread out over nearly ten years. We seem to have skipped 2001, 2004 and 2007.

The sheet music at Levy that I mentioned in 2000 is still there but relocated, just do a search for it. http://levysheetmusic.mse.jhu.edu/levy-search.html

The still untouched web page I referenced in 2003 is also still there with the real audio of the Wally Cox version of Tavern in the Town. That definitely dates it because I wouldn't even think of using real audio anymore.


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Subject: RE: Origins: There Is a Tavern in the Town
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 23 Mar 09 - 11:51 AM

The oldest text that Google Books finds of THERE IS A TAVERN IN THE TOWN is in Students' Songs by William Henry Hills (New York: Moses King, [5th edition?], "Copyright, 1880, 1881, 1883, 1884, and 1885").

It includes the musical score.

The introduction says that some songs were added for each edition, but it doesn't say which songs.

However, I found an advertisement for that book in a journal dated June 1883 which lists the contents, and it includes THERE IS A TAVERN IN THE TOWN.

I assume the editor is the same "W. H. Hills" that is credited in the Bodleian broadside; however, in the book, he doesn't claim authorship.


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Subject: RE: Origins: There Is a Tavern in the Town
From: Q
Date: 23 Mar 09 - 03:08 PM

Another song may have been a precursor- "FARE THEE WELL."

The Chorus:

Fare thee well for I must leave thee,
But O! let not our parting grieve thee;
Happier days may yet be mine,
At least I wish them thine- believe me!

The verses are quite different from those of the 'tavern' song.

Bodleian Collection (19th c., no date range suggested).
2806 d.31(72)
Firth b.27(262)
Harding B11(1812)

The song "RADOO," posted earlier, is given the same aga range as "There Is a Tavern in the Town" by the Bodleian; 1877-1884.

Fuld, in his book of 'world-famous music,' says the first printing of "There Is a Tavern in the Town" is in William H. Hills, "Student Songs," 3rd Edition, copyrighted May 14, 1883, p. 8; the same as posted above by Jim Dixon.
James J. Fuld, 1866 and reprints, "The Book of World-Famous Music, Classical, Popular and Folk." P. 572.


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Subject: Lyr Add: THERE IS A TAVERN IN THE TOWN (F J Adams)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 01 Dec 10 - 04:22 PM

From the sheet music at The Lester S. Levy Collection of Sheet Music:

I have taken the liberty of placing the "response" phrases in parentheses, although there are no parentheses or other instructions in the original sheet music, because in my experience these words are always sung by backup singers in a "call and response" fashion.

I have marked the differences between this version and the DigiTrad version with boldface. Note that the DigiTrad version contains one verse omitted here, beginning "And now I see him nevermore." Also note that here the part beginning "Adieu" is part of the chorus whereas in the DT it is a separate verse.


THERE IS A TAVERN IN THE TOWN
Words and music by F. J. Adams
New York: Willis Woodward & Co., 1891.

1. There is a tavern in the town, (in the town)
And there my dear love sits him down, (sits him down)
And drinks his wine 'mid laughter free,
And never, never thinks of me.

CHORUS: Fare thee well, for I must leave thee.
Do not let the parting grieve thee,
And remember that the best of friends must part. (must part)
Adieu, adieu, kind friends, adieu! (adieu, adieu)
I can no longer stay with you. (stay with you)
I'll hang my harp on a weeping willow tree,
And may the world go well with thee.

2. He left me for a damsel dark. (damsel dark)
Each Friday night they used to spark, (used to spark)
And now my love, once true to me,
Takes that dark damsel on his knee.

3. Oh, dig my grave both wide and deep. (wide and deep)
Put tombstones at my head and feet, (head and feet)
And on my breast carve a turtle dove,
To signify I died of love.


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Subject: RE: Origins: There Is a Tavern in the Town
From: Charley Noble
Date: 02 Dec 10 - 08:28 AM

Jim-

And a happy holiday bash to you as well!

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Origins: There Is a Tavern in the Town
From: GUEST
Date: 13 Feb 11 - 08:35 AM

fj adams was a great writer of this song in 1891 but i cant believe that the words still are sung today with newer songs. adams tune has become a kids song. when i was 5 years old i used to sing a children's rhyme named head shoulders knees and toes. i was living in glasgow but when i went to edinburgh i met my mum and played the tune on the piano and she said that is the tune of tavern in the the town and i said is it but being only 6 years old i would not know that.


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Subject: RE: Origins: There Is a Tavern in the Town
From: Charley Noble
Date: 13 Feb 11 - 10:22 AM

Now I'm pondering just how the carving was supposed to be done:

"And on my breast carve a turtle dove,"

Is this some bizarre tattooing ritual enacting on the corpse? Is this a common cultural practice of some British or American cult? Inquiring minds would want to know, or not!

Oh, hang that harp!
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Origins: There Is a Tavern in the Town
From: Q
Date: 13 Feb 11 - 12:40 PM

In the States and Canada, everyone heard Rudy Vallee sing this song, and no drunken sing was ever without it. Kids, as I was, sang in imitation of the Vallee version, and one that twisted the words somewhat- I can't remember the singer.

Never heard the childrens' rhyme mentioned by guest- could you please post it?

Charlie, all of us sang the line and never thought much about it. Now you point it out and I wonder--- were only unsuccessful suitors treated in that fashion? Did undertakers get art training in incising a sketch of a turtle dove on a corpse? Were hairy chests shaved before the incision?


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Subject: RE: Origins: There Is a Tavern in the Town
From: Allan C.
Date: 14 Feb 11 - 06:05 AM

I've also often wondered about the origin of the tune for this song. To my ear it sounds as though it has a German "Oom-pa" feel to it. Whenever I play it I can almost hear the tuba! But maybe it's just me.


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Subject: RE: Origins: There Is a Tavern in the Town
From: Charley Noble
Date: 14 Feb 11 - 07:37 AM

Q-

Seriously, if that is possible when one is contemplating the "carving" of a dove on a loved one's snow white breast, other ballads speak to "placing" a dove there, an easier task if one has access to poultry.

Happy Rudy Valentine's Day, all!

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Origins: There Is a Tavern in the Town
From: Snuffy
Date: 14 Feb 11 - 08:35 AM

Head & shoulders, knees & toes, knees & toes,
Head & shoulders, knees & toes, knees & toes,
And eyes and ears and a mouth and a nose
Head & shoulders, knees & toes, knees & toes.

Song for pre-school children - get them to point to each body part as it's mentioned. Greater fun if you speed up a bit each time through.


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Subject: RE: Origins: There Is a Tavern in the Town
From: Q
Date: 14 Feb 11 - 03:08 PM

Snuffy, where's the part that teaches them how to carve that turtle dove? Speed it up and presto! Cubism!


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Subject: RE: Origins: There Is a Tavern in the Town
From: GUEST,Mr. Ludy Marvin Wilkie
Date: 30 Mar 12 - 02:43 PM

What puzzles me is that M. Witmark & Sons had a copyright on the song dated MCMXXXIV--which, I believe, translates into
1934.   It is found in a book SONG SESSION, Community Song Book, published by Remick Music Corp, New York MCMLIII
Yet the Tavern in the Town song is apparently an old British song.    Does anyone know the explanation?
Ludy@shelby.net


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Subject: RE: Origins: There Is a Tavern in the Town
From: Q
Date: 30 Mar 12 - 03:10 PM

There is nothing to prevent a later author from placing copyright on his version.
The musical scores in the book 'SONG SESSION' are copyright as of the date of publication (or specific dates for songs whose scores are copied in the book).

The song may be descended from "an old British song," but later versions are eligible for copyright. Certainly the song as sung by Rudy Vallee and others in the 1930s varies from previous related works, and is copyright. Others also may be copyright if they differ, partly or wholly, in lyrics and/or melody.


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Subject: RE: Origins: There Is a Tavern in the Town
From: GUEST,Ludy M. Wilkie
Date: 31 Mar 12 - 10:31 AM

Thanks,

I notice a version listed in a Dover songbook and others claim to be traditional.
I guess the thing to do is to find pre-1923 versions and use them.   I used the tune and a line or so of the lyrics in a play I wrote.. . but added some original material.
Thanks,
Mr. Ludy M. Wilkie
ludy@shelby.net


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Subject: RE: Origins: There Is a Tavern in the Town
From: Q
Date: 31 Mar 12 - 03:17 PM

Late answer to a query by Charley about the "turtle dove carved on the breast."

Looking through a cemetary, I saw a number of graves with tombstones at the head, and small stones at the foot, and a slab of stone covering the coffin area. The slan often had a carving, at about breast height, of flowers, a short saying, or just a design. These stones were from the early 20th C. Didn't see a turtle dove.


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