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Origins: The Jacket of Blue

DigiTrad:
THE BONNET OF BLUE
THE JACKET SO BLUE


GUEST,Yum Yum 21 Jun 02 - 05:50 PM
GUEST 21 Jun 02 - 05:59 PM
GUEST,yum yum 21 Jun 02 - 06:18 PM
Malcolm Douglas 21 Jun 02 - 07:56 PM
masato sakurai 21 Jun 02 - 08:13 PM
Malcolm Douglas 21 Jun 02 - 08:39 PM
GUEST,Yum Yum 22 Jun 02 - 03:57 PM
GUEST 22 Jun 02 - 04:08 PM
Malcolm Douglas 22 Jun 02 - 05:00 PM
Dave the Gnome 22 Jun 02 - 05:08 PM
GUEST,yum yum 22 Jun 02 - 06:01 PM
Malcolm Douglas 22 Jun 02 - 08:24 PM
tremodt 23 Jun 02 - 02:41 PM
GUEST,yum yum 24 Jun 02 - 01:28 AM
Taconicus 22 Jan 11 - 12:07 PM
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Subject: research to ballad - The Jacket of Blue
From: GUEST,Yum Yum
Date: 21 Jun 02 - 05:50 PM

For years I have been singing a ballad called Jacket So Blue. I was under the illusion it was an Irish ballad. I sang it a few weeks ago at a festival and today I received a letter with another version called The Jacket of Blue. The title isn't important but the ballad now mentions 'Langshire' and has a foot-note saying 'might be an abbreviation for Lanarkshire'. Is ther anyone who can throw some light on this? I like to have as much of the back ground as possible about a song when I sing it.

yum yum.


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE JACKET OF BLUE
From: GUEST
Date: 21 Jun 02 - 05:59 PM

THE JACKET OF BLUE


It was down in yon valley not far from Langshire
Where I roamed in splendor and free from love's care
Where I roamed in splendor and lovers were few
I was won by a Scotch lad in his jacket of blue

It was early next morning as quickly as she rose
She called down pretty Polly to put on her clothes
Saying, Dress me as neat as you can do
Until I go and see my jacket of blue

To the barracks next morning to hear her love's name
When she got there they were all on parade
At once she called him, he answered most true
You're my bonny Scotch lad in your jacket of blue

When parade it was over with the gun in his hand
She tried to speak to him but his horse would not stand
She tried to speak to him, in his arms she flew
And he with the jacket of blue

Ah soldier, dear soldier, I'll buy your discharge
I'll free you from the army and set you at large
If you once say you love me and to me you'll be true
Sure I'll ne'er put a stain in your jacket of blue

Ah lady, dear lady, you'd buy my discharge
You'd free me from the army and set me at large
If I once say I love you and to you I'd be true
But what would my own Scotch lassie do?

I've a lassie down in my own countrie
I will never despise her poverty
I will never despise her and to her I'll be true
And I'll make her the heiress of the jacket of blue


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Subject: RE: research to ballad - The Jacket of Blue
From: GUEST,yum yum
Date: 21 Jun 02 - 06:18 PM

Yup, that' the versin I received by post, it has similarities to the version I sing. Well, a couple of lines in the last verse at least. BUT is it short for Lanarkshire?

yum yum


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Subject: RE: research to ballad - The Jacket of Blue
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 21 Jun 02 - 07:56 PM

Langshire is (obviously, I'd have thought) a corruption of Lancashire in this case. The song was quite common under a number of names, often bonnet so blue (I haven't seen a jacket until now)-not to be confused with the Burns song, of course.. Usually the setting is localised to various towns in Lancashire or Yorkshire, and all the Scottish versions listed in the Roud Folk Song Index , where the song is assigned Roud number 819, refer to Yorkshire if they refer to a specific place at all. The hero is Scottish, a soldier stationed in the town; the heroine is English. The song has been found a few times in Ireland; either set in Yorkshire or not referring to any particular place.

It was widely issued on broadsides, and several can be seen at Bodleian Library Broadside Ballads, pretty much equally divided between Yorkshire and Lancashire.


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Subject: RE: research to ballad - The Jacket of Blue
From: masato sakurai
Date: 21 Jun 02 - 08:13 PM

THE JACKET SO BLUE in the DT.

THE BONNET OF BLUE in the DT.

Bonnet So Blue (Bodleian Library Broadside Ballads: Harding B 11 (392))

Bonnet so blue, and Jacket so blue (Sold, wholesale and retail, L. Deming, No. 62, Hanover Street, corner of Friend Street, Boston)

Info: Jacket So Blue, The (The Bonnet o' Blue) (at The Traditional Ballad Index)

~Masato


Traditional Ballad Index entry:

Jacket So Blue, The (The Bonnet o' Blue)

DESCRIPTION: The girl sees a soldier marching past and falls in love. She meets him and offers to buy his discharge; he replies that he already has a girl at home. She asks for a portrait to console her; this at least is granted
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1806
KEYWORDS: love courting soldier clothes separation
FOUND IN: US(MA,So) Ireland Britain(England,Scotland) Canada
REFERENCES (6 citations):
FSCatskills 43, "The Jacket So Blue" (1 text, 1 tune)
Belden, p. 301, "The Wagoners" (1 text, fragmentary and localized to make the soldier a wagoner)
Logan, pp. 101-106, "Bonnet o' Blue" (1 text)
SHenry H644, p. 367, "The Bonnet sae Blue" (1 text, 1 tune)
Huntington-Whalemen, pp. 275-277, "The Bonnet of Blue" (1 text plus a fragment, 1 tune)
Ord, pp. 295-296, "The Bonnet o' Blue" (1 text, 1 tune)

CROSS-REFERENCES:
cf. "The Manchester Angel" (theme)
File: FSC43

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

The Ballad Index Copyright 2003 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.


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Subject: RE: research to ballad - The Jacket of Blue
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 21 Jun 02 - 08:39 PM

Ah; the jacket versions are American or Canadian (one Irish example on record), and most seem to refer to sailors (as you might expect) rather than soldiers. Same story, though; I should have spotted that.


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Subject: RE: research to ballad - The Jacket of Blue
From: GUEST,Yum Yum
Date: 22 Jun 02 - 03:57 PM

Thankyou for your replies (Malcolm and Masato) Malcolm I'm sorry, I don't see why you should seem to think it is 'obvious' that the ballad refers to Lancashire rather than Lanarkshire. I don't disagree with your assumption, but you have no weight behind your theory. I have spoken to a collector friend of mine and he 'opt's' for Lanarkshire as the connections show Charlie Stuart in verse 3. I have a couple of leads to follow up and hopefully by Monday after a trip to a book dealer I know I will have some firmer ground to base a stronger view on where it may be. This man has (so I have been informed) an original ballad sheet of A Jacket Blue. Masato, thanks for your posting, VERY helpful.

yum yum


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Subject: RE: research to ballad - The Jacket of Blue
From: GUEST
Date: 22 Jun 02 - 04:08 PM

Ym Yum, maybe you don't know Malcolm very well. He knows what he's talking about!


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Subject: RE: research to ballad - The Jacket of Blue
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 22 Jun 02 - 05:00 PM

It's obvious to me because I live in Yorkshire and am frequently in Lancashire :-) and because Lancashire and Yorkshire are by far the most commonly-named locales in versions of this song (London gets the odd look-in). I didn't intend to appear to cast any slur upon you for not seeing what is, for me, the obvious conclusion; after all, you presumably had not seen other variants.

Langshire is easily slurred from Lancashire; rather less so from Lanarkshire. There is also the point that, as I've said, no published Scottish version of the song appears to mention a specific locale other than Yorkshire. Nor does Lanarkshire appear to be mentioned in any other version that I am aware of; though that in itself proves nothing, I would not go so far as to say that my argument has so far been shown to be without weight; rather the contrary, though of course new information could always change that.

Although the blue bonnet (the blue jacket was more usually associated with sailors) was earlier on a signifier of Jacobite sympathy, by this time it was pretty much a byword for Scots soldiers in general; I see no reference to Charles Stewart, direct or indirect, in the text posted (I take it to be that noted by Nathan D. Rose from Pat Keane at Knockgarra, Co. Galway, in 1988?), not that that would necessarily have anything to do with where the song is set.


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Subject: RE: research to ballad - The Jacket of Blue
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 22 Jun 02 - 05:08 PM

In the song "Lancashire Lads" (The Lancashire lads have gone away whatever shall we do etc etc) they do mention marching with the blues as well. Although they do say they are wearing scarlet. Reference to an earlier song?

Just to cloud the issue further. Well, this is the folk (or folking) process;-)

Cheers

Dave the Gnome


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Subject: RE: research to ballad - The Jacket of Blue
From: GUEST,yum yum
Date: 22 Jun 02 - 06:01 PM

Please forgive me, I do not say you are wrong! what I did state was, there was no weight behind your statement! Because someone makes a comment does not mean that it is correct! I only asked "Was it short for Lanarkshire?" I did not mean to offend anyone! The version I was sent, as is, the version posted above 'The Jacket of Blue' was posted to me by someone (?) I do not know who sent it to me. The ballad was printed but the post mark was from Kinvara, Co Galway. Maybe that lends to your theory re/ Galway. I have been singing this ballad for some years now, I first heard Jim McFarland, Dublin (via.Co Derry)sing it.Jim and Jimmy McBride (Buncrana, Co Donegal) have the version I sing in their book 'My Parents Reared Me Tendely'. In their book they also have a song 'The Bonnet So Blue', when you mix the two together - you almost have the ballad that was posted above The Jacket Of Blue. Maybe you are familure with The Bonnet So Blue. It also mentions YORKSHIRE and Johnny Stewart as opposed to Charlie Stuart. Please don't take offence because someone asks a question!

yum yum


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Subject: RE: research to ballad - The Jacket of Blue
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 22 Jun 02 - 08:24 PM

Good heavens, no offence of any kind taken (and none intended) , particularly when, as here, an innocent question is asked; I disagreed with your assertion that there "was no weight behind my statement" because I had already, as I thought, substantiated what I had said. What I did not do was give chapter and verse (it was rather late at night here, and I was wanting to be off to sleep) but Masato kindly provided links to relevant material; I should remember that there is no reason why people who do not know me should take my word for anything!

Re. Lancashire Lads: generally, he wasn't marching with the Blues; he was turned up in (or, with) blue. "The Blues" are something else again; according to notes provided by Pete M in this discussion from 1998:

THE ROUT OF THE BLUES

"The Blues were the Royal Horse Guards". James Reeves (The Idiom of the People, 1958) identifies them as "the Foot Guards". I am not a military historian, so I have no idea which -if either- is correct. At any rate, we can be reasonably sure that neither song is relevant to this particular discussion.

The Jacket of Blue text posted earlier, incidentally, can be seen, with attribution (though no tune), at Nathan D. Rose's Website


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Subject: RE: research to ballad - The Jacket of Blue
From: tremodt
Date: 23 Jun 02 - 02:41 PM

I beliwve that ghe song was about a soldier in the american civil war


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Subject: RE: research to ballad - The Jacket of Blue
From: GUEST,yum yum
Date: 24 Jun 02 - 01:28 AM

I have gone through Masato's links and have studied what you have posted and 'Yes' all seems to point to what you say is correct. I know that what may be obvious to some collectors, may not be as obvious to others. I wasn't trying to be awkward or appear (at least I hope not) rude when I questioned you. I have been collecting ballads for many a year ( I am starting to feel quite old now) and at times it is easier to ask if someone has researched the information one seeks to save time. I supose I have 'too many iron's in the fire' at present. Anyway, I thank you for you help (and Masato)I am compiling work for publication at present and this was something that slipped in unexpected. Many thanks once again.

Jackie Boyce (yum yum)


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Jacket of Blue
From: Taconicus
Date: 22 Jan 11 - 12:07 PM

To help the discussion about whether there was a Lancashire,
Charles Stewart, etc. in the ballad, here's the text from another
early version of Bonnet so Blue, also from the Bodleian Library.
Bodleian Library Broadside Ballads: Harding B 11 (393).
Bonnet so Blue

In Liverpool town, in fair Lancashire,
I lived in splendour and free from love's care,
I rolled in riches, and sweethearts not a few,
I'm wounded by a lad and his bonnet so blue.

There came a troop of soldiers, and soon you shall hear,
From Scotland to Liverpool, abroad for to steer.
There is one among them I wish I'd never knew,
He's a bonny Scotch lad and his bonnet so blue.

His cheeks like the roses, his eyes like the sloes,
He is handsome and proper, he kills where he goes
He is handsome and proper, & comely to view,
He's a bonny Scotch lad, and his bonnet so blue.

When I go to my bed, I can find no rest,
The thoughts of my true-love still runs in my breast
The thoughts of my true-love still runs in my view,
He's a bonny Scotch lad, and his bonnet so blue.

Early one morning, I arose from my bed,
I called on Sally, who was my waiting maid,
To dress me as fine as her hands could do,
I'll away to see the lad with his bonnet so blue.

She was instantly dressed, and parade did attend,
She stood with impatience to hear her love nam'd
Charles Stewart they do call him, my love did renew
Once a prince of that name wore a bonnet so blue

My love pass'd by me with his arms in his hand,
I strove to speak to him but he could not stand,
I strove to speak with him but away then he flew,
My heart did go with him and his bonnet so blue.

She said, my dearest laddie, I'll buy your discharge
I'll free you from a soldier and set you at large,
I'll free you from a soldier if your heart be true,
And you'll ne'er wear a stain on that bonnet so blue.

He said my dear lady, you'll buy my discharge,
You'll free me from a soldier and set me at large ;
For all your kind offers I am oblig'd to you,
But I'll never wear a stain on that bonnet so blue.

I have a dear lass in my own country,
I'll never forsake her for her poverty ;
To the girl that I love, I'll always prove true,
And I'll never wear a stain on a bonnet so blue.

I'll send for a limner, without more delay,
To draw my love's picture that I may it see ;
I'll set it in my chamber, keep it close to my view,
And I'll think on the lad for his heart it was true.

I tried to copy the lyrics accurately, including the original punctuation
and grammatical errors (e.g., "thoughts … runs"), but in case I made
a mistake you can see the original at the link at top of this post.


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