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And I'll walk the road again my boy. If the weather be fair I'll calm my mood again. And Washington State University presents the wandering ballad singer Barry Tobin with songs that vividly describe the history and folklore of a pioneering country and. The people who make up folk songs and ballads I've always been aware of the tragic hero even if they don't recognize him by a scholarly title. And even if they publish no accounts of their manipulation of this dramatic technique there are countless ballads in which a good man at least good by the standards of his group comes to a tragic end usually by means beyond his own control and usually after he just proved himself to us many ballad tragedies end in death but not all do. Take for example this one in which the story ends before the death. As I went to the river. Poor boy.
Watch it go by. My sweet hard on the deck and here wave me goodbye bowed your poor boy cries. Stop thinking about that woman in your. Life followed her for months and months. He offered me her and we were just about married when she ran off with our bowed down and cried. Who are your. Thinking about that woman
well me Jack I went to him with land and when the fight was over poor boy down beside me and then to a jailhouse rule found me a poor boy and the judge said you must bow down and cry. Oh I'm thinking about that woman down. And so they list just this poor boy and
just let it be. I own a man who was about down your head and cried who were born on your head and cried. Stop thinking about that woman. And. Here's a tragedy from the western cowboy days and this ballad we begin to feel that the dying cowboy is a nice guy after all which is really next to convincing us that he's good enough to fall. As I walked out in the street as I walked out in I spied a young cowboy in a rap. Then why Dylan is the way he says by our out bed.
You look like a cowboy. These words he did say as I slowly walked by down beside me and hear my sad story out in the breast. And I know I must. Well it was once in the saddle to go down once and used to go again and was first down the road and then to the car out in the breast then. Gore get sex gamblers to my pretty maid to sing a song for a young boy. I know I've done wrong. Oh the Drum Slowly the fire
the death march as you carry me along to the boy and I know done wrong. We beat the drum slowly and play the lumen we play the dad Martin as we carry him on but bunches of rows to earn his calm who stood on a cloud on the as I walked out in Laredo as I walked in I Spy at a white linen wrap and wide linen. Another one that ends in death is this one from the logging camps. It tells of the foreman who took a fatal
chance in order to save his crew. There's a hint that working on Sunday enters into the fatal picture. Come already a true barn a boy whoever you may be and listen to me and jam on rocks and a hero should know of most of our boys in our form a young man who. Was on a Sunday morning. As you eloquently I logs were piled up mom high and could not keep them. Then seconds of our knowing unborn as we agreed to go on air is rocks with foreign and young men. We had not picked up many a log when Munro he did say I'll have you all keep guard my boy. The gem will soon give way.
Well I'll take you off this drive my boys by the jam and soon we'll go on the log out of the slot and off when young men are. When all the other boys in the news came they gathered the river bank and downward and there they found to their surprise and sorrow and grief on the beach. The foreman young man wrote. Here's the thought song that's probably the best known of all recent American folk songs and this ballad a common steel driver works his way up to a superhuman ball of energy right before our eyes. His success and his failure come with the same stroke. John was a little bitty born no bigger than
his. It's back to him one day and John will be use our Lord John Henry will be arriving. Well John then there were the arrows. It was only with lowered a £20. Well a salesman. The good drill holes bastard. John Henry and Lord. John Henry. Brought it down upon the ground down in Little Rock a
hundred miles away. Well John had his cap then you better make the man goes on a swing in forty pounds from the hip. Just listen to that. Good Lord. Just listen. John. You'd better. Because though it was coming from my hammer one been down it'll give you it'll give you. Whether it started through a tunnel on John Henry side by side John Henry that machine by miles and he laid down his hammer down.
To the grid they are. Under the other has gone to his rest and his land with AMRI lowered a £20 am gone if you're going to know more than those gone above your eye and who is gonna kiss your red ruby red and man that. Has gone to my pretty little book and mamma glove my sister's gonna kiss my red ruby. I DOn't NEED NO MAN Oh Lord not out there that's not there that's. And here's a slightly more enjoyable tragedy which comes to us from Scotland.
Bonnie Lassie whose name it was now lived in the house where her grandmother the housemaid was small and was no less. Having for pain is one of the last nice little wooden know that sweet little when that cute little wooden or grandmother. Or Johnny or Johnny IO think before going away not to give me one kiss. Well that I will never answer true to her surprise poked his head through that hole in the window that nice little window that's where grandmother. He gave her three kisses and great was the smack. To his surprise he couldn't get it back from that nice little window that's we knew who would know that cute little window where grandmother.
Well they are Benito or any person and he swore. Grandma heard the racket down on the floor lifted up poker and gave one another like that would have broke his backbone with his hand in the window of that nice little when no that's a little wooden nowhere grandmother. Did the ladle from out of the pot. No batter ever took the guy Irad on the road with my and with me while around the shoulders the saddle in the frame of that nice little window that cute little window of that little wooden nowhere grandmother. That's it for this time. So you're so.
And I'll walk the road again my boy. Log the road again if the weather be a bear I'll calm my hair and I'll walk again. Listen again next week when Barry tokened a wandering ballad singer returns with more songs in balance. The preceding was transcribed and was produced by the Radio TV services in Washington State University. This is me NAEMT Radio Network.
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The wandering ballad singer
Tragic hero in balladry
Producing Organization
Washington State University
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
This program explores the motif of the tragic hero in balladry.
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: 60-33-11 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:14:30
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Chicago: “The wandering ballad singer; Tragic hero in balladry,” 1960-08-08, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed February 27, 2024,
MLA: “The wandering ballad singer; Tragic hero in balladry.” 1960-08-08. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. February 27, 2024. <>.
APA: The wandering ballad singer; Tragic hero in balladry. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from