MacEdward Leach and the Songs of Atlantic Canada
The Black Sheep
Ann(ie) Whelan NFLD 1 Tape 6 Track 6
Cape Broyle Audio:
Ballad / loyal son

In a quiet little village not very far away
There dwelled an old and aged man whose locks were pure and grey
He had three sons three only ones both Jack and Tom were shy
But Ted was honest as the day and would not tell a lie

They did their best to ruin Ted in their old man's eyes
At last their poison did its work and Ted was much despised
One day the old man said be gone, "You're heartless to the core."
These were the words the black sheep said as he stood outside the door

"Don't be angry with me dad don't turn me from your door
I know that I've been wayward I won't be any more
Just give me another chance just put me to the test
You'll find the black sheep loves his dad far better than the rest"

Year by year crept slowly on the father now grown old
Called Jack and Tom to him one day and gave to them his gold
Saying, "I only need this little room and place by your fireside."
One day as Jack was coming home he brought with him a bride

The wife began to hate the father more and more each day
At last he heard the three declare, "The old fool is in the way!"
They then agreed to send him to a workhouse that was near
And like a flash the black sheep's words kept ringing in his ear

"Don't be angry with me dad don't turn me from your door
I know that I've been wayward I won't be any more
Just give me another chance just put me to the test
You'll find the black sheep loves his dad far better than the rest"

A wagon drives up to the door it is the poorhouse van
The brothers pointed to their dad saying "There that is your man"
Just then a manly form appeared and pushed in through the crowd
"Stand back ye brutes!" the stranger said, "This will not be allowed

"You took the old man's property and all that he could save
You even sold the little plot containing his wife's grave
I am your son but not your kin from now till Judgement Day"
The old man grasped the black sheep's hand the crowd then heard him say

"Don't be angry with me lad I turned you from my door
I know that I've been hasty I repent it o'er and o'er
I wish I gave to you my gold for you have stood the test
I found the black sheep loves its dad far better than the rest."

Female voice (speaks): Very good.


Notes

Sources: Roud 4282    

History:   "Patently a stage song" according to the http://www.csufresno.edu/folklore/BalladSearch.html website, but the tune here suggests an earlier ballad style.

Text notes: The "black sheep" son turns out to be the most loyal son. The prodigal son qua King Lear story for this song is a common folkloric theme.

Tune notes: Sung freely, but with a 4/4 basis, in a major key, the tune has some syncopation.

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