TWO SISTERS, THE

Latest update on 04/02/2016

Artist: Bradley Kincaid
Author: traditional
Label: Supertone
Year: 1928

Appalachian variation, lyrically related with the old Scottish ballad The Twa Sisters (Child #10). Oldest broadside version as 'The Miller And The King's Daughter' in 1656. Cecil Sharp collected a version in Aberdeenshire by Mr. Westley Batten in 1916. Possibly this song cluster originates from Norway (17th century), witnessed by a variety of local versions (as Dei To Systre). The distance between Stavanger (NOR) and Aberdeen is closer than the distance between London and Aberdeen.

Covers:

1942:

Horton Barker [Lomax recording]

1951:

John Strachan [Lomax recording in Aberdeenshire as The Twa Sisters; out on Classic Ballads Of Britain And Ireland Volume One]

1954:

Dorothy Fourbister & Ethel Findlater [idem; Peter Kennedy recordings on the Orkneys]

1956:

Paul Clayton [version inspiring Dylan for Percy's Song]

1960s:

Kilby Snow [as The Wind And Rain; autoharp player from Independence, Virginia (°1905) who knew this from his grandpa, a Cherokee indian; 'discovered' by Mike Seeger]

1962:

Dan Tate [idem and short version as The Cruel Sister on cd Virginia Traditions: Ballads From British Tradition; comes from the same region as Kilby Snow]

1962:

Evelyn Beers [idem]

1963:

Bob Dylan [similar structure and tune in Percy's Song]

1965:

Asphalt Jungle Mountain Boys [as The Wind And Rain; with Jerry Garcia & Jody Stecher]

1975:

Red Clay Ramblers [idem]

1977:

Jody Stecher [as Oh The Wind And Rain]

1988:

Jerry Garcia

1989:

Altan [as A Bhlan Adei Thall]

1990:

Jerry Garcia & David Grisman [as Dreadful Wind And Rain]

1991:

June Tabor

2001:

Gillian Welsh, David Rawlings & David Steele [as Wind And Rain in film Songcatcher]

2005:

Rachel Unthank & The Winterset [as Cruel Sister]

2006:

Tom Waits

It's a murder ballad where in most cases one sister is drowned by the other. A miller finds the body, using hair and bones to make a musical instrument. That's when this song appears, revealing the whole dreadful truth.

Contact


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