'The Caledonian Laddie' begins: 'Blythe Sandy is a bonny boy, And always is a wooing, O, / He is e'er so bold and kind, / Although he is a wooing, O!' 'Sich a Getting Up Stairs' begins: 'At Kentuck last night a party met, / Dey say dem going to hab a treat'. The sheet was published by J. Harkness of Church Street, Preston, and is illustrated with two woodcuts.
The two ballads on this sheet are very different in tone. 'The Caledonian Laddie' is about a young Scotsman marrying his sweetheart. 'Sich a Getting Up Stairs' is about a party held by African Americans in Kentucky. The song is supposed to be written in an African American English dialect, and its language and sentiments are very hostile towards black Americans. Its publication in Britain (probably in the late nineteenth century), on a broadside intended for public entertainment, portray the prevailing social attitudes of the time.
Early ballads were dramatic or humorous narrative songs derived from folk culture that predated printing. Originally perpetuated by word of mouth, many ballads survive because they were recorded on broadsides. Musical notation was rarely printed, as tunes were usually established favourites. The term 'ballad' eventually applied more broadly to any kind of topical or popular verse.
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Probable period of publication:
1860-1880 shelfmark: L.C.Fol.178.A.2(327)
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