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Lily Of The West

  • (Trad)

    When first I came to Louisville
    Some pleasure there to find
    A damsel there from Lexington
    Was pleasing to my mind
    Her rosy cheeks, her ruby lips
    Like arrows pierced my breast
    And the name she bore was Flora
    The lily of the West

    I courted lovely Flora
    Some pleasure there to find
    But she turned unto another man
    Which sore distressed my mind
    She robbed me of my liberty
    Deprived me of my rest
    Then go, my lovely Flora
    The lily of the West

    Way down in yonder shady grove
    A man of high degree
    Conversing with my Flora there
    It seemed so strange to me
    And the answer that she gave to him
    It sore did me oppress
    I was betrayed by Flora
    The lily of the West

    I stepped up to my rival
    My dagger in my hand
    I seized him by the collar
    And I boldly bade him stand
    Being mad to desperation
    I pierced him in the breast
    Then go, my lovely Flora
    The lily of the West

    I had to stand my trial
    I had to make my plea
    They placed me in the criminal box
    And then convinced on me
    Although she swore my life away
    Deprived me of my rest
    Still I love my faithless Flora
    The lily of the West

    (as sung by Joan Baez)

Susannes Folksong-Notizen

  • [1964:] This old ballad has been kept alive over the centuries by both print and oral tradition. Originally an English street ballad (or broadside), the song became particularly popular in the United States among parlor singers and ballad-printers. During the 19th century it was known throughout the country and, in time, became a part of the folk heritage. Its popularity was such that in Kansas, local versifiers used the song for a pioneer parody:
            Come all you folks of enterprise who feel inclined to roam
            Beyond the Mississippi to seek a pleasant home
            Pray take a pioneer's advice, I'll point you out the best
            I mean the state of Kansas, the Lily of the West
    The version of the original [above] is from the singing of Joan Baez. (Reprint Sing Out 7, 6)

  • [1995:] I first heard this song back in the 1960s, when traditional ballad singing was undergoing something of a renaissance. Originally an English street ballad or "broadside", I believe it became very popular in America in the 19th century. The original air can be found in 'Sing Out - The Folk Song Magazine', Vol. 7 and Colm O'Louchlann's 'Irish Street Ballads'. This air is very similar to another ballad, The Lakes of Pontchartrain, as recorded by Paul Brady, and it was this version that Mark [Knopfler] preferred to use. (Paddy Moloney, notes The Chieftains, 'The Long Black Veil')

  • [1995:] Mark Knopfler [...] when he was recording 'The Lily of the West' used the air of 'The Lakes of Pontchartrain'. "He didn't so much use it as I suggested it. Perhaps the original tune is the minor version of 'Lily of the West'. I thought it would be a good song for him, and while we were doing it I happened to mention that it reminds me of this air 'The Lakes of Pontchartrain' which Paul Brady had done. I'd say the 'Pontchartrain' air came from the 'Lily of the West' which is hundreds of years old - even the English will claim 'The Lily of the West' as their own, but it's written in some of the old Irish books and the Colm O'Loughlin book as well as in old manuscripts [...]." (Paddy Moloney of The Chieftains, interviewed by John O'Regan, Rock 'n' Reel 21, p 36)

  • http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=15769
    http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=13755

  • See also http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=34906

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