Billy Boy

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
"Billy Boy"
Roud #326
Song
Written US
Published c. 1930
Form Nursery rhyme
Writer(s) Traditional
Language English

"Billy Boy" is a traditional folk song and nursery rhyme found in the United States. It has a Roud Folk Song Index number of 326. It is a variant of the traditional English folk song "My Boy Billy," collected by Ralph Vaughan Williams and published by him in 1912 as number 232 in Novello's School Songs.

Lyrics[edit]

One variant of the lyrics goes:

Origins and interpretations[edit]

While the tone of the nursery rhyme is ironic and teasing, both the question and answer form[2] and the narrative of the song have been related to "Lord Randall", a murder ballad from the British Isles, in which the suitor is poisoned by the woman he visits.[3]

By contrast, Robin Fox uses the song to make a point about cooking and courtship, and observes that:

Feeding has always been closely linked with courtship. . . With humans this works two ways since we are the only animals who cook: the bride is usually appraised for her cooking ability. (“Can she bake a cherry pie, Billy boy, Billy boy?”) In some cultures this is far more important than her virginity.[4]

Recordings[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences - Kids Pages - Billy Boy". Kids.niehs.nih.gov. 2010-12-15. Retrieved 2014-01-30. 
  2. ^ More type 43f43f: see Bruce P. Hayes, Margaret MacEachern, Quatrain Form in English Folk Verse
  3. ^ Fox, Dan (2003) "Billy Boy" in A Treasury of Children's Songs New York: Macmillan. ISBN 0-8050-7445-7, ISBN 978-0-8050-7445-1
  4. ^ Fox, Robin (ndg) "Food and Eating: An Anthropological Perspective" Social Issues Research Centre. p.11; see also Fox, Robin (1994) The Challenge of Anthropology: Old Encounters and New Excursions, Transaction Publishers. ISBN 156000827X
  5. ^ "American ballads & Folk Songs - Page 0420". Traditionalmusic.co.uk. Retrieved 2014-01-30. 
  6. ^ "The Dale Sisters Discography - UK". 45cat. Retrieved 2014-01-30. 
  7. ^ "Rare, Vol. 1 - Jerry Lee Lewis | Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 2014-01-30.