PRETTY POLLY

Latest update on 16/09/2015

Artist: John Hammond
Author: traditional
Label: Gennett
Year: 1925

As Purty Polly (also on Challenge, Silvertone & Champion under pseudonyms Levi Stanley and Abe Morris). Dreadful murder ballad with roots in an English broadside ballad from around 1750 and even with passages in Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing. Related to Lady Isabel And The Elf Knight (see also: Outlandish Knight) and in America with the Knoxville Girl and Rose Connelly. According to a popular Blue Ridge Mountain folk tale, Pretty Polly was lured into the woods by three young men to be murdered. Thanks to a speaking parrot and a grim discovery (a woman's hand), she kept the men at bay while witnessing another murder, which in the end cost them their heads instead of her's. Oldest American publication: in a Kentucky folksong collection from 1916. Other early broadside title: The Gosport Tragedy, about Molly from Gosport and her suitor William, who kills her before sailing off from Portsmouth harbor aboard the Bedford, where he's haunted by grief and hallucinations.

Covers:

1926:

Mac & Bob [are Lester McFarland & Robert Gardner]

1927:

Dock Boggs

1927:

B.C. Shelton [part of the Bristol Sessions]

1938:

Coon Creek Girls [version on the Rose & The Briar cd]

1942:

Estil C. Ball [with his Rigby Gully Jumpers; Lomax recording]

1951:

Stanley Brothers

1954:

Jean Ritchie

1958:

Pete Seeger

1959:

Burl Ives

1961:

Bob Dylan [Minnesota tapes]

1962:

Two Tones [Tommy Whelan and Gordon Lightfoot as Sweet Polly]

1966:

Bert Jansch

1967:

Sandy Denny

1968:

Byrds

1968:

Judy Collins

1997:

Mary-Chapin Carpenter

1998:

Kristin Hersh

2001:

Rory Block [with Kelly Joe Phelps]

2005:

Golden Glows

2010:

GrĂ¡da

Woody Guthrie's Pastures Of Plenty and Bob Dylan's Ballad Of Hollis Brown share similar elements. (see also: Poor Man and Po' Lazarus)

Contact


If you noticed blunt omissions, mis-interpretations or even out-and-out errors, please let us know by contacting us:

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B-2840 Reet (Rumst)

info@originals.be

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