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Some. Of the nation's outstanding folk are produced by a grant from the National Association of Broadcasters. The topic for this week's program is love songs happy and otherwise. Part 1 and an ending series because well have you ever noticed that almost every single song you hear on radio or television or records or whatever either is a love song or has direct connections with the emotion of love for example the emotion of jealousy is set to music usually the calls are resulting from a lot of emotion. So you see it's hard to get away from love songs thank goodness not Let's track it love in its highest most unselfish forms could rule the hearts of all people. Well if perfect love could only happen on earth in peace and all other good things would follow.
But you want to hear songs not sermons and so for this program we'll choose one form of love that folks sing about that of romantic love. Of course this leaves a subject that one program could never cover are not all romantic love songs tell what kind of story where they all live happy ever after because. Well there's happy love and unrequited love an angry love and an unfulfilled love. And well let's at least begin on a happy note. One of the most tenderly beautiful love songs of all time from my family Black is the color of my true love's hair. Just.
Look. That was Black is the color of my hair. I played it for you on air and you can hear it recorded on the first record I ever made. That was for Electra number one two for this particular version of a song
that many of the words were common around in Perry County Kentucky where I was raised. Down the road from our neighbor justice Bagley there he stands on the courthouse steps yonder with the crowd around him. Let's hear a few verses of his song and you'll hear some of the same words for you in the quieter version of this love song. And I believe to be the older of the two. You're just too shy and in many ways. This week we face you you don't have
named. Me. You know we really are in it. Most beautiful love songs came into being around that hundred twenty twenty one. When a young song collector toured our Southern Appalachian region as I came into being because I suppose John Jacob Niles is really more of a songwriter than a traditional singer or even a purveyor of traditional songs. I remember that he visited us the Ritchie family and noted down several songs from the older
girls but the songs I later heard him saying on record bore very little resemblance to the originals in the strict sense of definition then mister Now songs that is many of them cannot be classified as Folk Songs although almost everybody familiar with his singing believe them to be authentic folk songs for many years and Mr. Niles seem to like to encourage this belief. If we're to take seriously the liner notes on his early record albums. In recent years though John Jacob Niles has cleared up the picture for us and the world now knows that he himself wrote such songs as Venezuela. I wonder as I wander. Do you just rest your head. And also he's rearranged both words and tunes for his own version of Black is the color and various others of his well-known songs. Well I suppose that there were many people who felt that they'd been taken by this and others refused to believe that these were not written songs. But whatever the reaction the fact remains that they are extremely beautiful songs like the songs Mr. Niles his voice is rather strange an untypical for all he describes himself as a mountain tenor a mountaineer and well I've never heard another style of singing
like his people either love madly or hate madly this man has singing and since this is a love song program let's play one of his love songs go away from that window and we'll let you emote in whichever direction you choose. Here what Mr. Niles himself has to say about the song. When I was a young man and in my prime of life as a matter of fact I was only 16 years old and almost what could be called a callow youth when I had a girl with a very compelling young woman and she was compelling enough to encourage me to write a song go away from my window go away from my door go away from my bedside and. I think I can confess to you find people out there that she never was a problem at my bedside I was just a callow youth and wished awfully for a girlfriend and she would have very little to do with me. I wrote this song and and you know what she did she told me I was no writer no composer no artist and I better go back to the plow.
However I took the song back and made it over and carried it to the great world and it is now sung from one end of the world to the other. It's translated into all kinds of languages. I am going to sing to you now the way I did it many many years ago. The girl incidentally married the other man and did me the greatest favor any woman has ever done a man. If I had married that female I would not be singing to you delightful people this afternoon. Live from my when. My. Dad saw. Me More. I'll give you back your own I don't give you a backyard
thing. Forget it. As long. I'll go tell my brother tell all my sisters to you that the reason was. That. You use o not long your way be happy that you. Hire me. Ah is that.
So. That was going from our window sunbed Jandek of Niles himself. Well so far we've heard a song of happy love and one of unrequited love and now let's hear one which combines love with humor. I know of no place where they do that better than in Ireland. Well I guess it would have to be defined really as a courting song or a teasing song. A boy chasing girl song. Here's my good friend Seamus Innes fiddling and singing. If all the young ladies were blackbirds and thrushes.
Black horse and horse. Then go. Green which is wrong. Then all the young men to take sides who grow more than all the young men to jump in. That was Seamus Innes. We collected the song from him back in 1952
in Ireland. Well the feelings of sadness and melancholy produce the most beautiful music very often. Here's one of the loveliest of all English songs one of desert sung by Theo the kill on his Electra album Nectars holiday and the song is come all you fair in. Your garden. And when you're talking.
Good old woman and she's singing once and for all that one. In my family in Kentucky this same subject got a somewhat different treatment less refinement in two new words less control over the situation. More the more off feelings the very tender core of heartbreak is laid bare. This is a song to be shouted in among the loneliness of the narrow mountain ridges when that's the only company you can bear.
And in their sympathy the mountains will echo your hurt and keep your secret. Did. They. Brag was that theirs they live. Then I'll tell. You. Straight away that and that was
and I. Will. And. I would. And. Then. I. Saw.
The loss of one's love through betrayal desertion death seems to be the greatest single stimulus for the making of love songs and folk tradition. Here's one from Scotland song by using McCall and Peggy Seeger from a tradition recording. Want to learn fast and the song is a Mormon prays for. It was. Money.
One of the happiest love songs I've run across a song for me and my husband George and I had been taken one evening by Shauna Boyle an Irish folk song Hunter through miles of pea soup fog to the cottage of Sarah and Katie. Well word spread about the village we were there and in no time at all there was a full scale Kaley going on as a party in Ireland everybody sang of course and that made by the evening it came the turn of a merry little wisp of a woman named Kelly. She were. It was slim and very spry that mid fifties and every time she spoke everybody laughed. Even if she wanted to be serious. Well of course her song was happy too. The pretty expression of domestic bliss in an Irish cottage called in this song the Magpies missed. Who knew. Why do you want to know you.
Here show you do more harm come to. Think you. Know you cause hit. By this. Yeah well you did no. Wrong wrong. How do you do wrong. Do.
You know much value you mean more I Harnish come true. Well you. Also in the Macomb cottage that night in 1952 was a very young man named Tommy make him the youngest son of the house. It was his mother who sang for us mostly Sarah Macon and Tommy sat in the corner smiling occasionally playing for us a jigger a real honest whistle. The only song he knew to sing was a splendid
drink. But since then Tommy has done many things. He's come to the United States to live for one thing and he has learned a good many of his mother's songs for another thing. And he is the Tommy Magnum off the Clancy Brothers and Tommy Make him for another thing. I like to play now Tommy singing one of the many songs he has learned since we met him. A very moving version of the butcher boy a love song that tells of desertion and violent death. This song can be heard on tradition record album number one for four years Tommy Macon.
Who grew up. To be. Sure. From her her public words.
And from the single voice lament which always is more moving out and expanding the group singing somehow I want to leave you with one of our bouncy ones from home. My father plays a version of black eyed Susie used to play it on the dulcimer and sing it and I'd like to play this now black eyed Susie.
For the stories about the songs.
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As I roved out
Episode Number
Love songs, happy and otherwise
Producing Organization
WRVR (Radio station: New York, N.Y.)
National Association of Educational Broadcasters
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Series Description
Hosted by folksinger Jean Ritchie, As I Roved Out explores folk music of America and the British Isles and the people who make it.
Asset type
Media type
Host: Ritchie, Jean
Producer: Gouds, Moyra
Producing Organization: WRVR (Radio station: New York, N.Y.)
Producing Organization: National Association of Educational Broadcasters
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: cpb-aacip-0251b80e36b (Filename)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:29:30
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Chicago: “As I roved out; 9; Love songs, happy and otherwise,” University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed August 9, 2022,
MLA: “As I roved out; 9; Love songs, happy and otherwise.” University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. August 9, 2022. <>.
APA: As I roved out; 9; Love songs, happy and otherwise. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from