While many traditional ballads, stories, and songs made the trip across the Atlantic to be taken up, transformed, and adapted by the Americans, some of them were not particularly widely circulated despite popularity in Europe. Such is the case with the bawdy and humorous “The Baffled Knight” or “Blow Away The Morning Dew,” a pastourelle (an Old French lyric form concerning the romance of a shepherd/shepherdess) and Child Ballad (#112). The earliest version which even features original music, a rarity of the time, can be found in Thomas Ravenscroft’s Deuteromelia (1609) as “Yonder Comes a Courteous Knight.” The subject matter involves a knight or shepherd’s son who meets a maid in the country. He proposed a “lay down” upon the dewy grass, but is concerned about rumpling her gown. She suggests they ride to her father’s house, where they will be more comfortable in bed, and that she will also marry him and bestow a fine dowry too. Once they arrive, the maid quickly enters the house and locks the titular baffled knight out, taunting him for his gullibility. In most cases, the ballad also includes verses on remaining steadfast in pursuing women despite maidenly protests and to not worry about “rumpling gowns.” The ballad has remained popular in Europe and England and we will explore several versions, from sea shanties to austere choral arrangements.
In this episode of Folkadelphia Radio, we will also premiere a session from Amy Ray of the Indigo Girls and her band, performing songs from her latest solo release, the countrified-rock album Goodnight Tender. The six piece band hit all of the twangy sweet spots in the studio and we’ll graciously share them with you tonight.
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