Pretty Saro

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Pretty Saro (Roud 417) is an English folk ballad originating in the early 1700s.[1] The song died out in England by the mid eighteenth century but was rediscovered in North America (particularly in the Appalachian Mountains) in the early twentieth century, where it had been preserved through oral traditions.[2] Cecil Sharp and later folklorists and proponents of the folk revival helped keep songs such as Pretty Saro alive well into modern times.

Traditional Versions[edit]

The famous Appalachian musician Jean Ritchie was recorded with her sisters in 1946 by Mary Elizabeth Barnacle singing her family's traditional version on the song,[3] before recording it on the album Jean Ritchie And Doc Watson At Folk City (1963). The Appalachian traditional singer Horton Barker also recorded a traditional version on his eponymous 1962 album.[4][5] Several other traditional Appalachian versions were recorded, particularly by Alan Lomax[6][7][8][9] A few traditional Ozark recordings were also made[10][11][12] (many of which can be heard online),[13][14] and one in Toronto, Canada.[15]

Popular Recordings[edit]

Notable artists who have recorded Pretty Saro include:

Artist Album
Derroll Adams 65th Birthday Concert
Sam Amidon All is Well[16]
Judy Collins A Maid of Constant Sorrow[17]
Shirley Collins and Davy Graham Folk Roots, New Routes[18]
Iris Dement Songcatcher[19]
Bob Dylan The Bootleg Series Vol. 10 – Another Self Portrait (1969–1971)
Chris Jones Cloud of Dust
Bruce Molsky and Big Hoedown Bruce Molsky and Big Hoedown
Ashley Monroe featuring Aubrey Haynie Divided & United: The Songs of the Civil War
Jay Munly Galvanized Yankee[citation needed]
Pete Seeger God Bless the Grass
Doc Watson Home Again!
The Dixie Bee-Liners Through My Screen Door
John Doyle (musician) Evening Comes Early
Bert Jansch A Rare Conundrum
Rhiannon Giddens Music from The American Epic Sessions: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Bluecoats Drum and Bugle Corps Session 44
Martin Simpson Live (1996)
The Westerlies The Westerlies

During his Self Portrait sessions in March 1970 at Columbia Records' New York studio, Bob Dylan ran through "Pretty Saro" six consecutive times. While none of those versions made the final cut for the album, the song remained in Columbia's vault, until it was released on Another Self Portrait, a 35-track box set of songs cut for Nashville Skyline, Self Portrait and New Morning.[20]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Sharp, Cecil James. Campbell, Olive Dame. Karpeles, Maud. English folk songs from the Southern Appalachians, Volume 1. Oxford University Press, Volume 1. page 10
  2. ^ Reed, Smith. South Carolina ballads: with a study of the traditional ballad to-day. Harvard University Press, 1928. pages 75-76
  3. ^ "Pretty Saro (Roud Folksong Index S273405)". The Vaughan Williams Memorial Library. Retrieved 21 November 2020.
  4. ^ "Horton Barker - Traditional Singer". Discogs. Retrieved 21 November 2020.
  5. ^ "The Foot of Yonders Mountain (Roud Folksong Index S205621)". The Vaughan Williams Memorial Library. Retrieved 21 November 2020.
  6. ^ "As I Came Through This Country in 1849 (when I First Came to This Country) (Roud Folksong Index S257799)". The Vaughan Williams Memorial Library. Retrieved 21 November 2020.
  7. ^ "I Came to This Country 1865 (when First I Came to This Country in 1865) (Roud Folksong Index S260578)". The Vaughan Williams Memorial Library. Retrieved 21 November 2020.
  8. ^ "I Came to This Country 1865 (Roud Folksong Index S260577)". The Vaughan Williams Memorial Library. Retrieved 21 November 2020.
  9. ^ "I Came to This Country 1849 (pretty Saro) (Roud Folksong Index S260576)". The Vaughan Williams Memorial Library. Retrieved 21 November 2020.
  10. ^ "Courtin' Miss Saro (Roud Folksong Index S231919)". The Vaughan Williams Memorial Library. Retrieved 21 November 2020.
  11. ^ "Pretty Mary (Roud Folksong Index S397881)". The Vaughan Williams Memorial Library. Retrieved 21 November 2020.
  12. ^ "At the Foot of Yonders Mountain (Roud Folksong Index S266136)". The Vaughan Williams Memorial Library. Retrieved 21 November 2020.
  13. ^ "Song Information". maxhunter.missouristate.edu. Retrieved 21 November 2020.
  14. ^ "Song Information". maxhunter.missouristate.edu. Retrieved 21 November 2020.
  15. ^ "Pretty Saro (Roud Folksong Index S158708)". The Vaughan Williams Memorial Library. Retrieved 21 November 2020.
  16. ^ "New Sam Amidon Video – "Saro". Stereogum. Retrieved 4 March 2011.
  17. ^ "Guitar is just Spice for singer Collins". The Montreal Gazette. 5 August 1977. Retrieved 4 March 2011.
  18. ^ "Folk Roots, New Routes, Allmusic.com". Allmusic.
  19. ^ Ross, Bob (20 July 2001). "Songcatcher Finds Its Magic in Music". The Tampa Tribune.
  20. ^ Andy Greene, "Bob Dylan's Lost 1970 Gem 'Pretty Saro' - Premiere", Rolling Stone Video (7 August 2013).