Saturday, March 14, 2009

scoundrels... The Butcher's Boy

Here is another old ballad in Aeolian mode... (Hey Ellemmbee!) I've put it in DAC key of D, and it's on the low side for singing- fine for me though. Remember, if you want to raise it a bit for your voice, try tuning up all strings one step to E aeolian: EBD. Don't tune higher than E or you may break a string unless you have a shorter dulcimer than the normal +/- 28" scale length.

This melody version of Butcher's Boy is a bit different from the usual versions. It's got a couple of quirky notes in it that I find appealing. I adapted it partially from Buell Kazee's recording of it in the Harry Smith Anthology. Notice that later in the ballad the villain becomes 'that railroad boy'...well this switching around of lyrics is common in older traditional folk music, feel free to switch it back to 'butcher's boy' if you want.
There are two extra lines of verse at the end, about the dove. If you repeat the last part of the melody you can sing them- start the dove lyrics right at the part in the tab where the first verse says "He courted me....". It'll sound like doing the ending twice at the end of the ballad. A pretty thing to do in a song, even without any singing.
And as always, you can always just play the ballads I post without singing them if you prefer. It's your music!

Girls, let this sad tale of woe be a warning to you...(to be safe, you'd better watch out for both butcher boys and railroad boys!)

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