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And I'll walk again my boy. If the weather be fair I'll calm my hair and I walk. Washington State University presents a wandering ballad singer Barry took in with songs that vividly describe the history and folklore of a pioneering country. And. Ever since society first began men have amused themselves with riddles but anthropologists and archaeologists have found that in early times riddles were also used for serious purposes. The primary use was in fertility rites particularly those connected with rain making little ballads while not used today for such rituals often have elements in them which indicate that at one time they do might have had a serious intent. Jerry's eggs and rings often symbolic wherever they are found. Associate themselves generally in these riddled ballots. Here's one collected in Boston which is fairly representative of one type.
I had three lovers over the sea and many were the present that they sent me and drum corps from paradise and the first was a bird without a bone nominee the second was a cherry without a stone and drum corps drum. I read I stand and the third was a book that no man has read and the fourth was a blanket without a thread and drum corps from Paradise stand. If if there was a ring around and the sex was a baby with out cry and and drum corps
drum corps and I stand dick then he can there be a bird when it out up bone very near it and their bare Cherry with stone. And drum corps from the stand up bird in the eggs with doubt bone many cherry and the bugs with honed and drum corps drum parrot I stand here in America and there be a book that no man has read many can there be a blanket with thread and drum corps from I read I stand the book in the press that no man has read and he remarried a
blanket in the wolves without a thread and drum corps drum stands. Can there be a ring with an end. Can there be a baby without crime and court from. I read I stand married to a rowing is without Iran and Syria marriage and asleep babies without cry. And Aaron I stand. Another middle ballad which defies explanation is this one called the cambric shirt. Some folk singers have said that this is to be sung purely in fun but I can't avoid the feeling that the riddles here are
serious ones and the whole song makes a sort of a parallel with the harvest rites and customs of Europe. As you go. Through. My best respect to that and he is a true love. Tell her to make me a brick. Oh was Mary with any scene or were other than
her to watch and you knew it well. Oh Rose Mary Chaim author never flowed in or never shall be a true mind her to hang it on yonder thorn rowers marry him that ever was but since Adam was born and she mine. As you go up three on your own. Oh I was married and I go give my love and best interest back to that young
man and tell him he is a true lover. Tell him to buy me a five acres of land. Boas Mary between the salt sea and the lazy seas and true love my. Tell him to plow it with a round his horn rowers merry and high I'm seeded all over with one green of corn and he shouted be true lover of mine. Go ahead with this leather Bruno Mars Marry guy and gather it
in on a other and he shouted be true lover of mine. Tell him to thrash it was rowers marry and tie him and for his life let one grain off and he be true of mine. Tell him to take it beyond marrow growers marry him and every green must one barrows and he shouted Be True and tell him when he has done this work. Oh it was merry and time to come to
me for his cane caricatured and true. I wonder if that every grain must one barrel fill his reference to liquor and some soda. There's another type of Riddle and this ballad The devil comes to question a maiden on her wedding night to see if she will be the weavers or his own. If she can answer all his questions he'll go away something like the riddle of Rumpelstiltskin his name it's called the Devil's 9 question. You must answer me questions nine saying nine and I and I and nine to see if they are gods or one of mine or if you are what it is I'm whiter than the male look saying night night and white is softer than this
and he will be there we know who is whiter than the male look saying Don is softer than this and I will be there. Well then what is higher than a tree saying tonight. And what is deeper than this and you believe. Heaven is higher than a tree. Saying night and night deeper than the city is about what is louder than a whore and saying. And what is sharper than us.
Or and you will wonder is louder than a horn saying 99 and nine and deaf sharper than I thought and I'll be the Bonnie what is more innocent than I live. Saying wot is meaner than woman and you be more innocent than I live. Sing. And the devil is meaner than woman's kind and I'll be the weaver where you have answered my questions and I am saying you are God. No no no no.
And you know we have. The riddle ballad which has been sung the most often in America is one of the simplest. It appears to be a version of Piri merry dictum and it's called the Kentucky Riddle Song. I learned it from my Kaufman of Black Mountain North Carolina. I gave my love a cherry. I gave my love a guy that had no home. I love a story that Noah and I gave my love of the cross. How can there be a cherry. And their chicken that has no known
and their story not how was Noah and how can there be. Cherry when it's blooming good still. Checkin in the egg it had as a no bone. The story of our troop has no baby when he sleeps and a friend of mine from New Jersey adds these lines as a substitute for the last verse. Irish you know Cherry knows stone chicken salad sandwich and has no bone a shaggy dog story.
Then how does Noah and baby when he was whistle and. That's all for now. So you're sober. And are walking the road again my boy is on the road again. If the weather be fair I'll call my hair and I'll walk the road to listen again next week when Barry took in the wandering ballad singer returns with more songs of mountains. The preceding was transcribed and was produced by the Radio TV services of Washington State University. This is ne ne e being the radio network on the O it again.
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The wandering ballad singer
Riddle ballads
Producing Organization
Washington State University
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
This program explores ballads that include riddles and symbolism.
Series Description
Folk music series hosted by musician Barre Toelken, who collects folk songs and has worked as a dance band musician, a Forest Service employee, and prospector.
Broadcast Date
Media type
Host: Toelken, Barre, 1935-
Producing Organization: Washington State University
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 60-33-7 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:14:17
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Chicago: “The wandering ballad singer; Riddle ballads,” 1960-07-11, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed July 13, 2024,
MLA: “The wandering ballad singer; Riddle ballads.” 1960-07-11. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. July 13, 2024. <>.
APA: The wandering ballad singer; Riddle ballads. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from