November 26, 2008 by gadaya
It rained, it poured, it rained so hard,
It rained so hard all day,
That all the boys in our school
Came out to toss and play.
They tossed a ball again so high,
Then again, so low;
They tossed it into a flower garden
Where no-one was allowed to go.
Up stepped a gypsy lady,
All dressed in yellow and green;
“Come in, come in, my pretty little boy,
And get your ball again.”
“I can’t come in, I shan’t come in
Without my playmates all;
I’ll go to my father and tell him about it,
That’ll cause tears to fall.”
She first showed him an apple seed,
Then again gold rings,
Then she showed him a diamond,
That enticed him in.
She took him by his lily-white hand,
She led him through the hall;
She put him in an upper room,
Where no-one could hear him call.
“Oh, take these finger rings off my finger,
Smoke them with your breath;
If any of my friends should call for me,
Tell them that I’m at rest.”
“Bury the bible at my head,
A testament at my feet;
If my dear mother should call for me,
Tell her that I’m asleep.”
“Bury the bible at my feet,
A testament at my head;
If my dear father should call for me,
Tell him that I am dead.”
–Listen to “Fatal Flower Garden”
Hubert Nelson and James D. Touchstone, the duo forming Nelstone’s ( a combination of the member’s surnames) Hawaiians were from southern Alabama and recorded a few 78rpm records at the end of the 1920’s. One of the first country group to use Hawaiian steel guitar and record the country music standard “Just Because”.
The craze for hawaiian music in America started in the early 20th century. The exotic sounds of hawaiian guitars and ukuleles were featured everywhere in pop and country music of that time and hawaiians musicians were blending their own styles with jazz and country influences. Blues musicians were inspired by the slides techniques and made it their own, using bottlenecks and knifes. The hawaiian falsetto singing was echoed by the yodel in the voice of country singers like Jimmy Rodgers and Gene Autry and steel guitar would soon become an essential part of western swing and modern country music.
Nelstone Hawaiians’s other recordings
3.Adam and Eve
4.You’ll never find a daddy like me
5.North Bound Train
6.Mobile County Blues
The Fatal Flower Garden Variations
“Fatal Flower Garden” comes from the english traditional folk song “Sir Hugh”, one of the oldest of the “Child Ballads”, dating back to the Middle-Ages, and one of the scariest too. In fact, it’s difficult to talk about the subject of this song, the murder of a child by a “jew’s daughter”, wich has very antisemitic overtones. It was common in those days, in Europe, to accuse “foreigners” (gypsies, jews) of ritual murder and it leaded to pogroms and lynchs and many other horrible doings. Put in its context, it’s otherwise a “fine” traditional folk song and many modern versions simply elud “the jew’s daughter” reference.
-You can go here to read more about the song’s background.
-Here, you’ll have another fine article from “Old Songs”
-I found also this on the net, which evokes the figure of Harry Smith also.
Listen here to some variations on this ballad:
We start with two recordings by Alan Lomax, the first one made in England of “The Jew’s Daughter” by Cecilia Costello (“Classics Ballads from Britain & Ireland vol.2”) and the other an american version, “It Rained a mist” by Ollie Gilbert (“Southern Journey vol.7”). The three other tracks are from “The Long Harvest” (Vol.5), a collection of the British Isles traditional ballads with their american versions from Ewan McColl and Peggy Seeger. McColl sings “Sir Hugh” and then Peggy sings two american variations “The Fatal Flower Garden” and “Little Saloo”.