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Lyr Req: Twa Corbies / Three Ravens / etc.

DigiTrad:
SAYS THE BLACKBIRD TO THE CROW
THE THREE CROWS (BILLY MACGEE MACGORE)
THE THREE RAVENS
THE THREE RAVENS (5)
THE TWA CORBIES (7)
THOMAS O YONDERDALE
THREE CRAWS
TWA CORBIES
TWA CORBIES 2
TWA CRAWS SAT ON A STANE


Related threads:
Three Black Crows (21)
Twa Corbies - transl. into Engl, please (63)
3 Ravens (Ravenscroft) what's it about? (38)
Lyr Req: Three Ravens, newer version? (22)
Lyr Req: The Twa Corbies (13)
Mudcatter's CD's Part 2 (16)
Help! Twa Corbies (12)
Lyr Req: Old Black Crow (6)
Info needed for 'Two Ravens' (13)
origins of 'Two Ravens' (4)
Lyr Req: Scot Gaelic Song - The Two Crows? (7)
Twa Corbies (32)
Lyr/Chords Req: The Twa Corbies (Old Blind Dogs) (5)
Lyr Req: Three Black Birds (8)


Sarah 09 Mar 99 - 03:48 PM
09 Mar 99 - 03:51 PM
Matthew B. 09 Mar 99 - 04:35 PM
Bruce O. 09 Mar 99 - 04:51 PM
A Celtic Harper 09 Mar 99 - 08:44 PM
rich r 09 Mar 99 - 08:46 PM
DonMeixner 09 Mar 99 - 11:41 PM
Bruce O. 10 Mar 99 - 12:19 AM
Don Meixner 10 Mar 99 - 12:37 AM
Bruce O. 10 Mar 99 - 03:22 AM
George Burt/ dgburt@pioneer.net 10 Mar 99 - 08:17 PM
George Burt/ dgburt@pioneer.net 10 Mar 99 - 08:21 PM
George Burt 10 Mar 99 - 08:57 PM
GUEST,Corbyhead 30 Jul 04 - 05:42 PM
GUEST,Lighter at work 30 Jul 04 - 05:54 PM
Jim McLean 31 Jul 04 - 05:50 AM
GUEST 31 Jul 04 - 02:19 PM
Malcolm Douglas 31 Jul 04 - 03:22 PM
Jim McLean 31 Jul 04 - 06:10 PM
Malcolm Douglas 01 Aug 04 - 12:16 AM
Stilly River Sage 01 Aug 04 - 02:07 AM
Roberto 01 Aug 04 - 03:34 AM
Jim McLean 01 Aug 04 - 05:45 AM
GUEST,Dáithí mag Fhionnaín 02 Aug 04 - 07:38 AM
Bagpuss 02 Aug 04 - 10:49 AM
IanC 03 Aug 04 - 12:09 PM
GUEST,belter 03 Aug 04 - 01:12 PM
Big Tim 18 Jun 06 - 01:44 PM
GUEST,Jim McLean 18 Jun 06 - 05:12 PM
Bill D 18 Jun 06 - 05:34 PM
GUEST,Jack Campin 18 Jun 06 - 06:17 PM
RobbieWilson 18 Jun 06 - 06:25 PM
Big Tim 19 Jun 06 - 12:09 AM
CeltArctic 19 Jun 06 - 12:33 AM
Mo the caller 19 Jun 06 - 05:21 AM
Stilly River Sage 19 Jun 06 - 10:15 AM
Vixen 19 Jun 06 - 01:04 PM
Big Tim 19 Jun 06 - 01:54 PM
My guru always said 19 Jun 06 - 03:15 PM
GUEST,Michelle S. 10 Mar 08 - 12:13 AM
dulcimerjohn 10 Mar 08 - 12:37 AM
Stilly River Sage 10 Mar 08 - 12:38 AM
eddie1 10 Mar 08 - 02:42 AM
Jim McLean 10 Mar 08 - 01:56 PM
Susanne (skw) 10 Mar 08 - 08:10 PM
GUEST 16 Jan 12 - 08:16 PM
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Subject: Twa corbies on a tree. Words??
From: Sarah
Date: 09 Mar 99 - 03:48 PM

O.K.- Here's all I know:

There were twa corbies on a tree
Hi dum di dum derry di oh
There were twa corbies on a tree
Hi derry oh
There were twa corbies on a tree
And they were black as they could be
Hi dum di dum derry di oh

The rest of it's about a dead guy in a field. Anybody know the Lyrics? :)


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Subject: RE: Twa corbies on a tree. Words??
From:
Date: 09 Mar 99 - 03:51 PM

Child ballad, Scots version. Put 'Corbies' in the search the database box at the upper right of this page. Two versions in DT.


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Subject: RE: Twa corbies on a tree. Words??
From: Matthew B.
Date: 09 Mar 99 - 04:35 PM

I'll get those lyrics to you in a day or two if you want, but you can also find the lyrics (and gruesome explanation) on the Steeleye Span web page.

- Matthew


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Subject: RE: Twa corbies on a tree. Words??
From: Bruce O.
Date: 09 Mar 99 - 04:51 PM

The text and tune from Albyn's Anthology, 1818, are given in Bronson's 'The Traditional Tunes of the Child Ballads', I, p. 312, #8, 1959. The only prior version is "The Three Ravens" in Ravenscroft's 'Pamelia', 1611. [Child #26]


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Subject: Lyr Add: TWA CORBIES
From: A Celtic Harper
Date: 09 Mar 99 - 08:44 PM

1. There were twa corbies sat on a tree
Downe a down, hay down, hay downe,
There were twa corbies sat on a tree,
With a downe,
There were tw corbies sat on a tree,
They were as blacke as they might be.
With a downe derrie,derrie, derrie, downe, downe.

2. The ane of them said to his mate,
Where shall we our breakfast take?

3. Downe in yondre greene field
There lies a knight slain under his shield.

4. His hounds they lie down at his feete,
So well they can their master keepe.

5. His haukes they flie so eagerly,
There's no fowle dare him come nie.

6. Downe there comes a fallow doe,
As great with young as she might goe.

7. She lift up his bloudy hed,
And kist his wounds that were so red.

8. She got him up upon her backe,
And carried him to earthen lake.

9. SHe buried him before the prime,
She was dead herselfe ere even-song time.

10. GOd send every gentleman
Such haukes, such hounds, and such a leman.

^^


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Subject: RE: Twa corbies on a tree. Words??
From: rich r
Date: 09 Mar 99 - 08:46 PM

If you put "threrav*" in the search box you will actually come up with 7 versions of Child 26 from the DT.

rich r


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Subject: Lyr Add: TWA CORBIES
From: DonMeixner
Date: 09 Mar 99 - 11:41 PM

Sarah,
The Twa' Corbies was one of the first songs I learned after I realized I was a folk music fan. The version I learned was a little meaner and not so Hey noney noney as yours. For another interesting take on this sing look for a copy of the (Gasp!) Comic book Ballads and Sagas by Charles Vess on Greenman Press. British and American folk ballads illustrated and rendered lovingly in a sequential art form.

THE TWA CORBIES
(As heard from Paul McNeill and Trevor Veitch, about 1965)

As I walking all alane,
I heard twa corbies makin' a mane,
Ane turned unto the other tae say,
Oh where shall we gang and dine today Oh,
Where shall we gang and dine to day,

I know where lies a new slain knight,
He lies behind an auld fell dyke, (earthen dam or wall)
And no one kens that he lies there, (knows)
Save his hawk, his hound, and his lady fair oh,
His hawk, his hound, and his lady fair.

His hawk is taken to the wing,
His hound has to the hunting gane,
His lady's taken an other mate
The wind shall blow for ever more Oh,
The wind shall blow for ever more.

Oh I'll sit on his white hause bane. (Skull, head bone)
And ye'll bite out his bonny blue een,
And with the locks of his gold hair,
We'll theak our nest when it grows bare Oh, (Thatch)
We'll theak our nest when it grows bare.
^^


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Subject: Lyr/Tune Add: TWA CORBIES (from Bronson)
From: Bruce O.
Date: 10 Mar 99 - 12:19 AM

[The twa Corbies, 1818, via Bronson]

As I cam' by yon auld house end
I saw twa corbies sittin thereon,
The tane unto the t'other did say,
"O whare sall we gae dine the day?"

"Whare but by yon new fa'en birk,
There, there lies a new slain knight;
Nae mortal kens the he lies there
But his hawks and hounds, and his ladye fair.

"We'll sit upon his bonny brest bane,
And we'll pick out his bonny gray een;
We'll set our claws intil' his yallow hair
And big our bow'r, - it's a' blawn bare.

My mother clekit me o' and egg,
And brought me up i' the feathers gray,
And bade me flee where'er I wad,
For winter wad be my dying day.

Now winter it is come and past,
And a' the birds are biggin' their nests,
But I'll flee high aboon them a'
And sing a sang for summer's sake.

X:1
T:The twa Corbies
S:Albyn's Anthology, 1818, via Bronson
Q:25
L:1/4
M:2/4
K:Gmixolydian
D/|G3/4A/4 B3/4c/4|dg|d3/2B/|c3/4B/4 A3/4G/4|A/4A3/4f|\
A3/2B/|G3/4A/4 B3/4c/4|d/4d3/4 g|d3/2B/|c3/4B/4 A3/4G/4|\
Gd3/4B/4|G .(f/e/)|d3/4B/4 A3/4G/4|Gd3/4B/4|Gz/|]

^^


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Subject: RE: Twa corbies on a tree. Words??
From: Don Meixner
Date: 10 Mar 99 - 12:37 AM

See Sarah, The folk process at work!

Don


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Subject: RE: Twa corbies on a tree. Words??
From: Bruce O.
Date: 10 Mar 99 - 03:22 AM

Second verse, 3rd line, 'the' should be 'than'. 4th verse, 1st line, 'an' for 'and'.


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Subject: RE: Twa corbies on a tree. Words??
From: George Burt/ dgburt@pioneer.net
Date: 10 Mar 99 - 08:17 PM

I learned a truncated and very Americanized version of this from my father over 50 years ago--or does everyone know this?

There were three crows sat on a tree,
Cried Billy McGee McGaw
There were three crows sat on a tree
Cried Billy McGee McGaw
Oh, there were three crows sat on a tree
And they were black as crows could be
And they all flapped their wings and cried
"Billy McGee McGaw"
And they all flapped their wings and cried
"Billy McGee McGaw".

Anybody wants the tune badly enough, call me at (541) 424-3021


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Subject: RE: Twa corbies on a tree. Words??
From: George Burt/ dgburt@pioneer.net
Date: 10 Mar 99 - 08:21 PM

Oops--I just remembered where I heard the tune to the 'Three Black Crows', as my father sang it--it's more commonly sung as 'When Johnny Comes Marching Home'. Maybe the tune is actually authentic and was borrowed for the later one.


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Subject: RE: Twa corbies on a tree. Words??
From: George Burt
Date: 10 Mar 99 - 08:57 PM

A minor correction, on reflection--if anyone is interested in the 'three crows' version above--

The last lines are:

And they all flapped their wings and cried,
"Caw! Caw! Caw! (crowed out raucously)
And they all flapped their wings and cried,
"Billy McGee McGaw!"


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Subject: RE: Twa corbies on a tree. Words??
From: GUEST,Corbyhead
Date: 30 Jul 04 - 05:42 PM

You can download a cool rock version of Twa Corbies at www.outgrabe.com


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Subject: RE: Twa corbies on a tree. Words??
From: GUEST,Lighter at work
Date: 30 Jul 04 - 05:54 PM

Cool, but perhaps not as cool as Steeleye Span's version on "Hark the Village Wait" (1970). I think the ballad was first recorded to this (Breton)tune by Jean Redpath on her "Scottish Ballad Book," ca.1963.


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Subject: RE: Twa corbies on a tree. Words??
From: Jim McLean
Date: 31 Jul 04 - 05:50 AM

Morris Blythman AKA Thurso Berwick set The Twa Corbies to the Breton tune Al Alarc'h sometime in the fifties.


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Subject: RE: Twa corbies on a tree. Words??
From: GUEST
Date: 31 Jul 04 - 02:19 PM

Here are 12 recordings of The Three Ravens/The Twa Corbies, that I've put into three groups, not a scientific grouping but useful to me.

The Three Ravens (#26) (Ia) (Ewan MacColl)
The Three Ravens (#26) (Ib) (Ed McCurdy)
The Three Ravens (#26) (Ic) (Ewan MacColl)
The Three Ravens (#26) (IIa: The Crow Song) (Peggy Seeger)
The Three Ravens (#26) (IIb: Crow Song) (Ed McCurdy)
The Three Ravens (#26) (IIc: The Three Crows) (Peggy Seeger)
The Three Ravens (#26) (IId: The Three Ravens) (Peggy Seeger)
The Three Ravens (#26) (IIe: Poor Old Crow) (Peggy Seeger)
The Three Ravens (#26) (IIf: Blow The Man Down) (Ewan MacColl)
The Three Ravens (#26) (IIIa: The Twa Corbies) (Ewan MacColl)
The Three Ravens (#26) (IIIb: The Twa Corbies) (Ray Fisher)
The Three Ravens (#26) (IIIc: The Two Ravens) (Robin & Barry Dransfield)


THE THREE RAVENS (#26) (I)

a) The Three Ravens
Ewan MacColl, The Long Harvest, Record Seven, Argo (Z)DA 72

There were three ravens sat on a tree
Downe a downe, hay downe, hay downe
There were three ravens sat on a tree
With a downe
There were three ravens sat on a tree
They were as black as they might be
With a downe, derrie, derrie, derrie, downe, downe

The one of them said to his make
Downe a downe, hay downe, hay downe
The one of them said to his make
With a downe
The one of them said to his make
Where shall we our breakfast take?
With a downe, derrie, derrie, derrie, downe, downe

Downe in yonder greene field
Downe a downe, hay downe, hay downe
Downe in yonder greene field
With a downe
Downe in yonder greene field
There lies a knight slain under his shield
With a downe, derrie, derrie, derrie, downe, downe

His hounds they lie downe at his feete
Downe a downe, hay downe, hay downe
His hounds they lie downe at his feete
With a downe
His hounds they lie downe at his feete
So well they can their master keepe
With a downe, derrie, derrie, derrie, downe, downe

His hawks they flie so eagerly
Downe a downe, hay downe, hay downe
His hawks they flie so eagerly
With a downe
His hawks they flie so eagerly
There 's no fowle dare him come nie
With a downe, derrie, derrie, derrie, downe, downe

Downe there comes a fallow doe   
Downe a downe, hay downe, hay downe
Downe there comes a fallow doe   
With a downe
Downe there comes a fallow doe   
As great with young as she might goe
With a downe, derrie, derrie, derrie, downe, downe

She lift up his bloudy head
Downe a downe, hay downe, hay downe
She lift up his bloudy head
With a downe
She lift up his bloudy head
And kist his wounds that were so red
With a downe, derrie, derrie, derrie, downe, downe

She gat him up upon her backe
Downe a downe, hay downe, hay downe
She gat him up upon her backe
With a downe
She gat him up upon her backe
And carried him to earthen lake
With a downe, derrie, derrie, derrie, downe, downe

She buried him before the prime
Downe a downe, hay downe, hay downe
She buried him before the prime
With a downe
She buried him before the prime
She was dead herselfe ere even-song time
With a downe, derrie, derrie, derrie, downe, downe

God send every gentleman   
Downe a downe, hay downe, hay downe
God send every gentleman   
With a downe
God send every gentleman   
Such hounds, such hawks, and such a leman
With a downe, derrie, derrie, derrie, downe, downe


b) The Three Ravens
Ed McCurdy, The Ballad Record, Riverside RLP 12-601

There were three ravens sat on a tree
Downe a downe, hay downe, hay downe
They were as black as they might be
With a downe
The one of them said to his make
Where shall we our breakfast take?
With a downe derrie derrie derrie downe downe

Downe in yonder greene field
Downe a downe, hay downe, hay downe
There lies a knight slain under his shield
With a downe
His hounds they lie downe at his feete
So well they can their master keepe
With a downe derrie derrie derrie downe downe

His hawks they flie so eagerly
Downe a downe, hay downe, hay downe
There 's no fowle dare him come nie
With a downe
Downe there comes a fallow doe   
As great with young as she might goe
With a downe derrie derrie derrie downe downe

She lift up his bloudy head
Downe a downe, hay downe, hay downe
And kist his wounds that were so red
With a downe
She got him up upon her backe
And carried him to the earthen lake
With a downe derrie derrie derrie downe downe

She buried him before the prime
Downe a downe, hay downe, hay downe
She was dead herselfe ere even-song time
With a downe
God send every gentleman   
Such hounds, such hawks, and such a leman
With a downe derrie derrie derrie downe downe



c) The Three Ravens
Ewan MacColl, with Peggy Seeger, The Long Harvest, Record Seven, Argo (Z)DA 72

There were three ravens on a tree
A down, a down, a derry down
There were three ravens on a tree
Heigh ho!
The middlemost raven said to me:
There lies a dead man at yon tree
A down, a down, a derry down
Heigh ho!

There comes his lady full of woe
A down, a down, a derry down
There comes his lady full of woe
Heigh ho!
There comes his lady full of woe
As great with child as she could go
A down, a down, a derry down
Heigh ho!

Who's this that's killed my own true love
A down, a down, a derry down
Who's this that's killed my own true love
Heigh ho!
I hope in heaven he'll nevere rest
Nor e'er enjoy that blessed place
A down, a down, a derry down
Heigh ho!



THE THREE RAVENS (#26) (II)
The Crow Song (Billy Magee Magar; Billy MaGee MaGaw, ecc)


a) The Crow Song
Peggy Seeger, The Long Harvest, Record Seven, Argo (Z)DA 72

There were three crows sat on a tree
O Billy Magee Magar!
There were three crows sat on a tree
O Billy Magee Magar!
There were three crows sat on a tree
And they were black as crows could be
And they all flapped their wings and cried:
Caw! Caw! Caw! Billy Magee Magar!
And they all flapped their wings and cried:
Billy Magee Magar!

Said one old crow unto his mate
O Billy Magee Magar!
Said one old crow unto his mate
O Billy Magee Magar!
Said one old crow unto his mate:
What shall we do for grub to ate?
And they all flapped their wings and cried:
Caw! Caw! Caw! Billy Magee Magar!
And they all flapped their wings and cried:
Billy Magee Magar!

There lies a horse on yonders plain
O Billy Magee Magar!
There lies a horse on yonders plain
O Billy Magee Magar!
There lies a horse on yonders plain
Who's by some cruel butcher slain
And they all flapped their wings and cried:
Caw! Caw! Caw! Billy Magee Magar!
And they all flapped their wings and cried:
Billy Magee Magar!

We'll perch ourselves on his backbone
O Billy Magee Magar!
We'll perch ourselves on his backbone
O Billy Magee Magar!
We'll perch ourselves on his backbone
And eat his eyeballs one by one
And they all flapped their wings and cried:
Caw! Caw! Caw! Billy Magee Magar!
And they all flapped their wings and cried:
Billy Magee Magar!



b) Crow Song
Ed McCurdy, The Ballad Record, Riverside RLP 12-601

There were three crows sat on a tree
Billy Magee Magar!
There were three crows sat on a tree
Billy Magee Magar!
There were three crows sat on a tree
They were black as crows could be
And they all flapped their wings and cried:
Caw! Caw! Caw! Billy Magee Magar!
And they all flapped their wings and cried:
Billy Magee Magar!

Said one old crow unto his mate
O Billy Magee Magar!
Says one old crow unto his mate
O Billy Magee Magar!
Says one old crow unto his mate:
What'll we do for grub to ate?
And they all flapped their wings and cried:
Caw! Caw! Caw! Billy Magee Magar!
And they all flapped their wings and cried:
Billy Magee Magar!

There lies a horse on yonder plain
O Billy Magee Magar!
There lies a horse on yonder plain
O Billy Magee Magar!
There lies a horse on yonder plain
Who by some cruel butcher was slain
And they all flapped their wings and cried:
Caw! Caw! Caw! Billy Magee Magar!
And they all flapped their wings and cried:
Billy Magee Magar!

We'll perch ourselves on his backbone
O Billy Magee Magar!
We'll perch ourselves on his backbone
O Billy Magee Magar!
We'll perch ourselves on his backbone
And pick his eyes out one by one
And they all flapped their wings and cried:
Caw! Caw! Caw! Billy Magee Magar!
And they all flapped their wings and cried:
Billy Magee Magar!



c) The Three Crows
Peggy Seeger, The Long Harvest, Record Seven, Argo (Z)DA 72

There was three crows set on a tree
Billy MaGee MaGaw
There was three crows set on a tree
They was as black as black could be
Billy MaGee MaGaw, MaGaw
Billy MaGee MaGaw

The old crow he said to his mate
Billy MaGee MaGaw
The old crow he said to his mate:
What shall we do for meat to eat?
Billy MaGee MaGaw, MaGaw
Billy MaGee MaGaw

There lies a horse in yonder's town
Billy MaGee MaGaw
There lies a horse in yonder's town
That by the butcher has been slain
Billy MaGee MaGaw, MaGaw
Billy MaGee MaGaw

We'll set ourselves on his backbone
Billy MaGee MaGaw
We'll set ourselves on his backbone
And pick his eyes out one by one
Billy MaGee MaGaw, MaGaw
Billy MaGee MaGaw



d) The Three Ravens
Peggy Seeger, The Long Harvest, Record Seven, Argo (Z)DA 72

There were three crows sat on yonder's tree
They're just as black as crows can be
One of them said to the mate:
What shall we do for grub to eat?

There's an old dead horse in yonder's lane
Whose body has been lately slain
We'll fly upon his old breast bone
And pluck his eyes out one by one

Old Satan tried to injure me
By cutting down my apple tree
He could not injure me at all
For I had apples all the fall



e) Poor Old Crow
Peggy Seeger, The Long Harvest, Record Seven, Argo (Z)DA 72

Three old crows sat on a tree
Just as black as crows could be
Poor old crow, poor old crow
Just as black as crows could be

The old he-crow says to his mate:
What shall we do for meat to eat?
Poor old crow, poor old crow
Just as black as crows could be



f) Blow The Man Down
Ewan MacColl, The Long Harvest, Record Seven, Argo (Z)DA 72
BLOW THE MAN DOWN / CROSS-REFERENCES:
cf. "Ratcliffe Highway" (lyrics)
cf. "The Salt Horse Song" (lyrics)
cf. "The Three Ravens" [Child 26] (lyrics)

There was three crows sat on a tree
To me way hay, blow the man down
And they was as black as black could be
O gimme some time to blow the man down

Blow the man down, bullies, blow the man down
To me way hay, blow the man down
Blow him right back to Liverpool Town
O gimme some time to blow the man down

Says one old crow unto his mate -
To me way hay, blow the man down
Where shall we go for somethin' to ate?
O gimme some time to blow the man down

There is an old horse on yonder hill
To me way hay, blow the man down
And there we can go and eat our fill
O gimme some time to blow the man down

There is an old horse on yonder mound
To me way hay, blow the man down
We'll light upon to his jaw-bone
O gimme some time to blow the man down

Says one old crow unto the other -
To me way hay, blow the man down
We'll pick his eyes out one by one
O gimme some time to blow the man down



THE THREE RAVENS (#26) (III)
The Twa Corbies


a) The Twa Corbies
Ewan MacColl, The Long Harvest, Record Seven, Argo (Z)DA 72

As I was walking all alane   
I heard twa corbies making their mane:   
The tane unto the tither did say
Whar sall we gang and dine the day?

In behint yon auld fail dyke
I wot there lies a new-slain knight
And naebody kens that he lies there   
But his hawk, his hound, and his lady fair

His hound is to the hunting gane,   
His hawk to fetch the wild-fowl hame
His lady 's ta'en anither mate
So we may mak our dinner sweet

Ye'll sit on his white hause-bane
And I'll pike out his bonny blue e'en
Wi' ae lock o' his gowden hair
We'll theek our nest when it grows bare

Mony's the one for him maks mane,   
But nane sall ken whar he is gane:   
O'er his white banes, when they are bare
The wind sall blaw for evermair



b) The Twa Corbies
Ray Fisher, with Archie Fisher, Bonny Lass Come O'er the Burn, Topic 12T128, 1961

As I was walking all alane
I heard twa corbies making a mane
The tane untae the t'other did say-O
Where sall we gang and dine the day-O?
Where sall we gang and dine the day?

It's in ahint yon auld fail dyke
I wot there lies a new slain knight
And naebody kens that he lies there-O
But his hawk and his hound and his lady fair-O
Hawk and his hound and his lady fair

His hawk is tae the hunting gane
His hound to bring the wild-fowl hame
His lady 's ta'en another mate-O
So we maun mak our dinner sweet-O
So we maun mak our dinner sweet

It's ye'll sit on his white hause-bane
And I'll pike out his bonny blue een
Wi ae lock o his gowden hair-O
We'll theek our nest when it grows bare-O
We'll theek our nest when it grows bare

There's mony a one for him makes mane
But nane sall ken where he is gane
And o'er his banes, when they lie bare
The wind sall blaw for evermair-O
The wind sall blaw for evermair



c) The Two Ravens
Robin & Barry Dransfield, Up to Now, A history of Robin & Barry Dransfield, Rare, un-released and classic tracks from 1970 up to 1996, Free Reed FRDCD 18 (song recorded 1977)

As I was walking all alone
I saw two ravens make their moan
The one unto the other say-O:
Where shall we go and dine today-O?
Where shall we go and dine today?

It's 'way behind yon fallen dyke
Oh, there I've seen a new slain knight
And there's nobody knows that he lies there-O
But his hawk, his hound and his lady fair-O
His hawk, his hound, his lady fair

His hawk is to the hunting gone
His hound to fetch the wild fowl home
His lady 's taken another mate-O
So we can have our dinner sweet-O
So we can have our dinner sweet

You sit on his horse's back
While I from his head his eyes I'll take
With a gold lock o his golden hair-O
We'll mend our nest when it grows bare-O
We'll mend our nest when it grows bare

There's nobody here for him to moan
And nobody knows where he is gone
O'er his white bones, when they are bare-O
The wind shall blaw for evermore-O
The wind shall blow for evermore


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Subject: RE: Twa corbies on a tree. Words??
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 31 Jul 04 - 03:22 PM

Can you name prior sources for any of those? Some are variant Revival arrangements of a single example from tradition, while the Dransfield text is their own anglicization of the usual folk club form. Several have been posted in other discussions of the song group, some of which have helpful information not in this old, recently-revived thread.

Presumably some of those records had useful sleeve notes that you could quote? If they are to be useful for purposes of comparison, that additional information would be needed.

I'd better just mention, since this discussion has been brought back from the dead, that the example posted back in 1999 by Celtic Harper is the Thomas Ravenscroft There were Three Ravens (Melismata, 1611), with "three ravens" altered to "twa corbies" for some reason.


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Subject: RE: Twa corbies on a tree. Words??
From: Jim McLean
Date: 31 Jul 04 - 06:10 PM

The version recorded by Ray Fisher was learned from Morris Blythman, words and melody. I have a copy of that version (text) printed in The Golden Treasury of The Most Beautiful Songs and Lyrics in the English Language, (sic) Selected and arranged by Francis Turner Palgrave, published in 1861. Palgrave says the poem existed in this form in the seventeenth century but it's obviously the same as that published by Walter Scott who said he collected it from the singing of a lady.


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Subject: RE: Twa corbies on a tree. Words??
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 01 Aug 04 - 12:16 AM

Scott didn't "collect" it. He was sent it by Charles Kirkpatrick Sharpe, "as written down, from tradition, by a lady" (Minstrelsy, edition of 1812: II, 214). Child (I, 253) quotes a letter from Sharpe to Scott (August 8, 1802): "The song of 'The Twa Corbies' was given to me by Miss Erskine of Alva (now Mrs Kerr), who, I think, said that she had written it down from the recitation of an old woman at Alva."

Palgrave was presumably referring to the Ravenscroft Three Ravens; no form of Twa Corbies, so far as is known, appeared in print until the 19th century.


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Subject: RE: Twa corbies on a tree. Words??
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 01 Aug 04 - 02:07 AM

So where in this does the version fit that I learned from my father? (I'll use the phonetics in my verse--I don't know how it looked on paper or wherever he learned it):

"Three craw, sat upon a wa',
Sat upon a wa',
Sat upon a wa-ah-ah-ah,
Three craw, sat upon a wa',
On a cold and a frosty morning."

"Said the first craw. . ." (I'll have to look it up from here)

I always assumed this had something to do with the songs mentioned above. I'll have to look around to get the verses for sure, but I have a recording of Dad (John Dwyer) singing that one.

SRS


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Subject: RE: Twa corbies on a tree. Words??
From: Roberto
Date: 01 Aug 04 - 03:34 AM

The sources for the recordings taken from THE LONG HARVEST:

The Three Ravens (#26) (Ia) (Ewan MacColl): THE THREE RAVENS: printed in Thomas Ravenscroft's MELIS-
MATA, 1611
The Three Ravens (#26) (Ib) (Ed McCurdy)
The Three Ravens (#26) (Ic) (Ewan MacColl): THE THREE RAVENS: from the singing of John Holmes, Round-
hay, Derbyshire. Printed in BIB 51, p. 17
The Three Ravens (#26) (IIa: The Crow Song) (Peggy Seeger): THE CROW SONG : from the singing of Iris M. McCIure, Morgans-
town, West Virginia. Printed in BIB 45, pp. 13-14
The Three Ravens (#26) (IIb: Crow Song) (Ed McCurdy)
The Three Ravens (#26) (IIc: The Three Crows) (Peggy Seeger): THE THREE CROWS:   from the singing of Fred Terry, Joplin,
Missouri. Printed in BIB 33, Vol. I, p. 75
The Three Ravens (#26) (IId: The Three Ravens) (Peggy Seeger): THE THREE RAVENS : from the singing of Mrs Mary MacAllister,
Grottoes, Virginia. From the Wilkinson MSS, 1935-6. Printed in BIB 5, version 13
The Three Ravens (#26) (IIe: Poor Old Crow) (Peggy Seeger): POOR OLD CROW: from the singing of Ben Burgess, Charlottes-
ville, Va.,   1916. From the Sharpe MSS, printed in BIB 5, version 16
The Three Ravens (#26) (IIf: Blow The Man Down) (Ewan MacColl): BLOW THE MAN DOWN:   from the singing of Les Nickerson, Nova Scotia. Published in BIB 46, p. 21
The Three Ravens (#26) (IIIa: The Twa Corbies) (Ewan MacColl): THE TWA CORBIES: Eyre-Todd. Text, Scott's MINSTRELSY, 1803
The Three Ravens (#26) (IIIb: The Twa Corbies) (Ray Fisher)
The Three Ravens (#26) (IIIc: The Two Ravens) (Robin & Barry Dransfield)


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Subject: RE: Twa corbies on a tree. Words??
From: Jim McLean
Date: 01 Aug 04 - 05:45 AM

Malcolm, you're correct about Sharpe, an old friend of Scott's, who contributed a few poems for The Minstrelsy but Palgrave was definitely referring to The Twa Corbies. I can only think that as the Minstrelsy was published in 1802/1803 he assumed the poem was much older. He doesn't quote any written source for his assumption.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Twa corbies on a tree. Words??
From: GUEST,Dáithí mag Fhionnaín
Date: 02 Aug 04 - 07:38 AM

Anybody have the words to the version recorded by Maggie Prior? Song in lowland scots I'd guess, and different from all those above.


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Subject: ADD Version: Three Craws
From: Bagpuss
Date: 02 Aug 04 - 10:49 AM

SRS the version I knew went:

THREE CRAWS
Three craws, sat upon a wa',
Sat upon a wa',
Sat upon a wa-ah-ah-ah,
Three craws, sat upon a wa',
On a cold and a frosty morning.

First craw fell and broke his jaw
etc

Second craw went to tell his maw
etc

Third craw wasnae there at a'
etc


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Twa corbies on a tree. Words??
From: IanC
Date: 03 Aug 04 - 12:09 PM

As an expansion of Malcolm's mention of Sharpe above, it might be worth crossreferencing my earlier post

here

as think it's quite accurate. It sheds a slightly different light in Sharpe's statement about where he got the song.

:-)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Twa corbies on a tree. Words??
From: GUEST,belter
Date: 03 Aug 04 - 01:12 PM

According to this http://www.pbm.com/~lindahl/ballads/early_child/,

""The Three Ravens" (Child #26) is still popular, and one often hears it. There is persuasive internal evidence (in both the lyrics and the music) that it goes back (in some form) as far as the fifteenth century, but there is no proof. Ravenscroft gives a four-part arrangement, but one most often hears this ballad being sung by a single voice. The "Twa Corbies" version of this ballad (clearly a spoof on the original, with hawks, hound, and maid promptly deserting the fallen knight) comes from the nineteenth century."

On a side note, I've seen the americanized version in an old 4H or maybe boy scout songbook that's in my mom's piano bench.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Twa Corbies / Three Ravens / etc.
From: Big Tim
Date: 18 Jun 06 - 01:44 PM

A number of birds poised to eat a dead human body - what's the message in the song?
(I've just been listening to Hamish Imlach's version today).


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Twa Corbies / Three Ravens / etc.
From: GUEST,Jim McLean
Date: 18 Jun 06 - 05:12 PM

I don't think there has to be a message. I love the language of this poem and the setting to the Breton tune was a stroke of genius by Morris Blythman.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Twa Corbies / Three Ravens / etc.
From: Bill D
Date: 18 Jun 06 - 05:34 PM

message? Just a reflection on the fleetingness of this life, and how little you matter to those who follow...fodder for the birds, and dogs and lovers usually find someone else....

A universal truth? Maybe not, but something to ponder.


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Subject: Tune Add: THE CORBIE AND THE CROW
From: GUEST,Jack Campin
Date: 18 Jun 06 - 06:17 PM

This one does have a message, albeit not a very pleasant one...

I posted this to Usenet a few years ago. From William Macmath's manuscripts;
recorded from the lawyer John Christian in 1893 - he'd got it from his
Dumfries family. Apparently it's in Whitelaw's "Book of Scottish Song", which
I have no recollection of if I've ever seen it; Whitelaw thought Alexander
"Jupiter" Carlyle (the more-or-less-atheist minister of Inveresk in
Enlightenment times) wrote it.

X:1
T:The Corbie and the Crow
S:Edinburgh University Library Mic.M.605 (William Macmath MSS)
Z:Jack Campin, Valentines Day 2000
M:C
L:1/4
K:F
C|A>G Ac|A>G Ac|d>c cA |c2 z||
A|G>F GA|G>F GA|cf A>G|F3 |]

The corbie wi' his roupie throat ca'd frae the leafless tree,
"Come ow'r the loch! Come ow'r the loch! Come ow'r the loch tae me!"

The crow pit up her sooty heid, looked frae her nest whaur she lay,
And gied a fluff wi her rusty wings, and cried "Whaur tae, whaur tae?"

"To pyke a deid man lying there, ahint yon mickle stane".
"Is he fat, is he fat, is he fat, is he fat? If no we'll let him alane".

"He's frae merry England come to steal oor sheep and kill oor deer".
"I'll come, I'll come, for an Englishman is aye the best o' cheer".

"We'll breakfast on his bonnie breest and on his back we'll dine,
For the lave hae gane to their countrie and ne'er come back sin-syne".


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Twa Corbies / Three Ravens / etc.
From: RobbieWilson
Date: 18 Jun 06 - 06:25 PM

the third wee craw went and flew awa'

the fourth wee craw wisnae there at a'
on a cold and frosty morning


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Twa Corbies / Three Ravens / etc.
From: Big Tim
Date: 19 Jun 06 - 12:09 AM

The fleetness of life; that's about all I could think of too. Also, the dead man is a knight, so status counts for little in the end?

The anti-English version is interesting; but if the original song was English (1611), there seems to have been a good deal of adapting and evolving going on.

Yes Jim, the language and the melody are both quite something.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Twa Corbies / Three Ravens / etc.
From: CeltArctic
Date: 19 Jun 06 - 12:33 AM

There are message differences between the Twa Corbies and the Three Ravens. One is romantic and the other is cynical.

In The Three Ravens, the sub-storyline is about loyalty - his hounds lie at his feet, his hawks keep fowl away, and his lady buries him and then dies.

In the Twa Corbies, the sub-storyline is about how nobody cares once you are dead - his hounds have run off hunting other game, his hawks have flown away, and his lady has taken another mate.

Moira


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Twa Corbies / Three Ravens / etc.
From: Mo the caller
Date: 19 Jun 06 - 05:21 AM

Then there's the song about the crow sat on the oak(oh, ho, the carrion crow)and the farmer who tried to shoot it, but shot his sow instead, when it flew off.
Message. The cuning birds will win out. (Or, philosophical, man tries to beat nature, nature takes revenge)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Twa Corbies / Three Ravens / etc.
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 19 Jun 06 - 10:15 AM

I suspect that like many songs that go way back there was a deep and clear meaning, but the significance is lost on modern cultures. Songs and stories pulled a lot more weight at a time when the majority of the population couldn't read or write. Not all songs are as unsubtle as the Vicar of Bray in their messages (which has nothing to do with the age or message in the songs under discussion, I merely use it as an example).

I can imagine such a song (depending on the version) being an indictment or affirmation of the military or other leadership of the day. Which military and which leader are the question?

SRS


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Twa Corbies / Three Ravens / etc.
From: Vixen
Date: 19 Jun 06 - 01:04 PM

This one has long perplexed me, etymologically speaking...

does "twa" mean two? or does it mean 3 as in "trois"???

V


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Twa Corbies / Three Ravens / etc.
From: Big Tim
Date: 19 Jun 06 - 01:54 PM

Two!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Twa Corbies / Three Ravens / etc.
From: My guru always said
Date: 19 Jun 06 - 03:15 PM

Hope you won't mind me posting 2 more recent versions:

Three Ravens (Karine Polwart)

Three ravens sat upon a tree - Hey doun, hey derrie day
Three ravens sat upon a tree - Hey doun
Three ravens sat upon a tree
And they were black as black could be
And Sing la do la do a day

And the middle one said tae his mate - Hey doun, hey derrie day
The middle one said tae his mate - Hey doun
The middle one said tae his mate
Oh where shall we our dinner get
And Sing la do la do a day

And it's doun in yonder grass green field - Hey doun, hey derrie day
It's doun in yonder grass green field - Hey doun
It's doun in yonder grass green field
There lies a Knight that's newly killed
And Sing la do la do a day

And his horse is standing at his side - Hey doun, hey derrie day
His horse is standing at his side - Hey doun
His horse is standing at his side
And thinks he might get up and ride
And Sing la do la do a day

And his hounds are lying at his feet - Hey doun, hey derrie day
His hounds are lying at his feet - Hey doun
His hounds are lying at his feet
And they lick his wounds sae sore and deep
And Sing la do la do a day

There came a Lady full of woe - Hey doun, hey derrie day
There came a Lady full of woe - Hey doun
There came a Lady full of woe
As big with child as she could go
And Sing la do la do a day

And she's stretched herself doun at his side - Hey doun, hey derrie day
She's stretched herself doun at his side - Hey doun
She's stretched herself doun at his side
And for the love of him she's died
And Sing la do la do a day


And my absolute favourite - a compilation of the Twa Corbies & the False Knight created on the way to a folk club in Cornwall when Kathy Wallis (Cats) couldn't decide which to sing:

Dead Knight Behind the Hedge (Jon Heslop)

Oh where are you going
Said the dead knight behind the hedge
We're going for our lunch
Said the two crows as still they stood

How did you know I was here
Said the dead knight behind the hedge
Well we just had a hunch
Said the two crows as still they stood

Oh where is my horse & hound
Said the dead knight behind the hedge
They're nowhere to be found
Said the two crows as still they stood

Where is my Lady fair
Said the dead knight behind the hedge
She's buggered off somewhere
Said the two crows as still they stood

And what bit will you eat first
Said the dead knight behind the hedge
We're gonna eat your tongue
Said the two crows as still they stood

Uuuuuuuuuuuhhhhhhhhhhhhh
Said the dead knight behind the hedge
Well that was jolly fun
Said the two crows and flew away


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Twa Corbies / Three Ravens / etc.
From: GUEST,Michelle S.
Date: 10 Mar 08 - 12:13 AM

My high school English teacher thought this was one of the earliest murder mysteries:

NOBODY knows that the knight lies there,

except the Hawk, the Hound & the Lady fair.

Accordingly, she must ha' done 'im in.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Twa Corbies / Three Ravens / etc.
From: dulcimerjohn
Date: 10 Mar 08 - 12:37 AM

I do a version on electric dulcimer that is a mix of the one on 'Hark' and on the later SS record 'Time', ie a little mystic jam at end.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Twa Corbies / Three Ravens / etc.
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 10 Mar 08 - 12:38 AM

I'm only now reading MGAS's version--what a hoot, "Dead knight behind the hedge" indeed!

Yes, Michelle, a "murder mystery" it is. When my father sang to us as kids at bedtime that one came up fairly often and was a source of continual speculation and discussion. The woman and/or the fallow doe, played off by the varying interpretations of the song depending on the version you prefer.

SRS


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Twa Corbies / Three Ravens / etc.
From: eddie1
Date: 10 Mar 08 - 02:42 AM

From a bit back - "does "twa" mean two? or does it mean 3 as in "trois"???"
The late Danny Kyle reckoned France was a great place cos' if you asked for twa whiskies, you got three!

Eddie


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Twa Corbies / Three Ravens / etc.
From: Jim McLean
Date: 10 Mar 08 - 01:56 PM

And if you ask for a dry Martini in Germany you get three!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Twa Corbies / Three Ravens / etc.
From: Susanne (skw)
Date: 10 Mar 08 - 08:10 PM

We don't have Martini (dry or wet) in Germany, Jim - we have schnapps!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Twa Corbies / Three Ravens / etc.
From: GUEST
Date: 16 Jan 12 - 08:16 PM

Hi,

I've been looking at US versions. The early versions from the minstrel stage were "lined out." I have two different texts- anyone have "Three Crows" from Christy's New Songster"?

Other (not minstrel) versions have taken the form of, and sung to the tune of "When Johnny Comes Marching Home."

Comments?

Richie


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