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Info Request: Down in the Willow Garden

DigiTrad:
DOWN IN A WILLOW GARDEN
HANGED I SHALL BE
OXFORD CITY
THE KNOXVILLE GIRL


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Penguin: Oxford City (4)
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Info: knoxville girl (4) (closed)
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CeltArctic 29 Dec 99 - 11:52 PM
Rick Fielding 30 Dec 99 - 12:06 AM
Stewie 30 Dec 99 - 01:17 AM
Alan Francis 30 Dec 99 - 06:53 AM
Alan Francis 30 Dec 99 - 07:19 AM
Alan Francis 30 Dec 99 - 07:25 AM
dick greenhaus 30 Dec 99 - 09:54 AM
Steve Latimer 30 Dec 99 - 10:30 AM
Allan S. 30 Dec 99 - 01:14 PM
CeltArctic 30 Dec 99 - 03:37 PM
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Subject: Info Request: Down in the Willow Garden
From: CeltArctic
Date: 29 Dec 99 - 11:52 PM

Hi guys,

After a long absence, I once again feel the need to seek the imput and infinite knowledge of my friends on the Mudcat.

I recently came across a rendition of this song on a compilation CD of Bluegrass music. I recognized the song, which was called simply, "The Willow Garden" on the CD, as the one Holly Hunter sings in Raising Arizona. I found the lyrics easily enough in the Digitrad, but I was wondering if anyone knows any more about the song.

It seems as if this is a fragment of a longer ballad (not that I mind that at all.) It is similar in storyline to the Pretty Polly songs, except for the reference to the murderer's father.

Has anyone come across more verses, or different verses?

I can't get the tune out of my head, which means I am destined to learn this ballad, but I'd like more info than what I currently have before I do.

Much appreciated,

Moira Cameron Yellowknife, NT.


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Subject: RE: Info Request: Down in the Willow Garden
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 30 Dec 99 - 12:06 AM

I'm sure lots of Catters will have good background on the song.(There are MANY variations) For me however it will always be associated with the great Charlie Monroe.

Rick


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Subject: Lyr Add: ROSE CONLEY (from Grayson and Whitter)
From: Stewie
Date: 30 Dec 99 - 01:17 AM

Here's what I posted to an earlier thread:

Here is a transcription of what is probably the first recorded version of the song which was known either as 'Rose Conley' or 'Rose Connally'. It was recorded in 1927. It is close to the 'Down in the Willow Garden' version in DT. The story is also akin to 'Banks of the Ohio' and 'Knoxville Girl'. Grayson and Whitter also recorded a short version of 'Banks of the Ohio' under the title of 'I'll Never Be Yours'. The song is thought to have originated as an Irish stall ballad, but was mainly collected in the southern mountains of the United States. Along with Eck Robertson and Fiddlin' John Carson, Grayson and Whitter were the first rural recording artists. Grayson, who was blind, played fiddle and Whitter the guitar and harmonica. 'Rose Conley' became a standard and was later recorded by the likes of Doc Watson, Charlie Monroe etc.

ROSE CONLEY

Down in the willow garden
Where me and my love did meet
Oh there we sit a-courting
My love dropped off to sleep

I had a bottle of the burglar's wine
Which my true love did not know
And there I poisoned my own true love
Down under the banks below

I drew my sabre (pron 'saybree') through her
Which was a bloody knife
I threw her in the river
Which was a dreadful sight

My father always taught me
That money would set me free
If I'd murder that pretty little miss
Whose name is Rose Conley

He's sitting now in his own cottage door
A-wiping his weeping eyes
A-looking at his own dear son
Upon the scaffold high

My race is run beneath the sun
Though hell's now waiting for me
I did murder that pretty little miss
Whose name is Rose Conley

Source: G.B. Grayson and Henry Whitter 'Rose Conley'. Recorded Atlanta GA 18 October 1927. Transcribed from 'The Recordings of Grayson & Whitter' County CD 3517. There are some spoken comments between the verses, such as 'poor little girl', but, as they are mainly indecipherable, I have omitted them.


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Subject: RE: Info Request: Down in the Willow Garden
From: Alan Francis
Date: 30 Dec 99 - 06:53 AM

I originally learned the song from a Rambling Jack Elliott album, but it turns up all over the place, including such folk music luminaries as Art Garfunkel ( a somewhat prettified version on Angel Clare, his first solo album ) and the Everly Brothers.

At the back of my mind is a derivation from an early ballad (Child?) under the title "The Oxford Tragedy" - I'll have a dig around on that and post any findings.


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Subject: RE: Info Request: Down in the Willow Garden
From: Alan Francis
Date: 30 Dec 99 - 07:19 AM

Lo and behold, the Oxford Tragedy is in the database - note the similarities and the more circumstantial story.

Mudcat, I luv ya!


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Subject: RE: Info Request: Down in the Willow Garden
From: Alan Francis
Date: 30 Dec 99 - 07:25 AM

And have a look at Oxford City in the database too, it looks as if the Willow Garden is a conflation of several older songs.


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Subject: RE: Info Request: Down in the Willow Garden
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 30 Dec 99 - 09:54 AM

And, of course, the tune is good old Rosin the Beau.


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Subject: RE: Info Request: Down in the Willow Garden
From: Steve Latimer
Date: 30 Dec 99 - 10:30 AM

I started a thread a long time ago wondering about the meaning of this song. Sorry, I'm not a blue clicky thing guy or I'd link to it.

I was talking to my uncle about it a few weeks ago and he thinks that Rose Connelly was a peasant girl put in "the family way' by the narrator of the song, who would have been of a higher social status, perhaps even an English land owner in Ireland, Rose being native Irish. The father basically says to get rid of the "problem" if he wishes to not be driven from the family and it's fortune, of course the mistake was in getting caught. Apparently there are many songs based on this theme.


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Subject: RE: Info Request: Down in the Willow Garden
From: Allan S.
Date: 30 Dec 99 - 01:14 PM

TOm Paley once sung it " If I would kill that sweet little girl that looks so much like me" Could this mean that he was in love with his own sister, or did not know that was his sister? Was the girl fathered by his Dad. THerefore the relationship was insestuous??


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Subject: RE: Info Request: Down in the Willow Garden
From: CeltArctic
Date: 30 Dec 99 - 03:37 PM

I tend to agree with Steve about the storyline of this ballad. The incest story is often simply an extension of the more basic one.

I looked up the Oxford songs, as suggested by Alan (thanks for steering me towards two more great ballads to add to my 'to learn' list; and thanks to the Digitrad for supplying tunes!) I can see the similar themes.

I guess it's the reference to the father in the 'Willow Garden' that sets this ballad apart from the others. I don't recall coming across that element before.


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