Sam Hall (Jack Hall) [Laws L5]

DESCRIPTION: (Sam Hall), about to be hanged, bitterly tells his tale, spitting curses all the while -- directing them at the parson, the sheriff, his girlfriend, and the spectators. He is guilty of killing a man, and goes to the gallows still blazing away
AUTHOR: C. W. Ross
EARLIEST DATE: 1719
KEYWORDS: curse execution gallows-confession prisoner punishment
HISTORICAL REFERENCES:
1701 - Execution of Jack Hall, a young London chimney sweep, on a charge of burglary. His "last goodnight" hawked about as a broadside eventually became the blasphemous "Sam Hall."
FOUND IN: Australia US(Ap,MW,NE,SE,SW) Britain(England(All)) New Zealand
REFERENCES (17 citations):
Laws L5, "Sam Hall"
Friedman, p. 223, "Sam Hall" (1 text+1 fragment, 1 tune)
Cray, pp. 43-48, "Sam Hall" (1 text, 1 tune)
PBB 117, "Sam Hall" (1 text)
Sharp-100E 81, "Jack Hall" (1 text, 1 tune)
Reeves-Sharp 49, "Jack Hall" (1 text, a composite of two versions)
Wiltshire-WSRO Bk 18, "Jack Hall" (1 text)
Scott-EnglishSB, pp. 84-85, "The Ballad of Sam Hall" (1 text, 1 tune)
Flanders/Brown, pp. 96-97, "Jack Hall" (1 text)
Lomax-ABFS, pp. 133-134, "Sam Hall" (1 text, 1 tune)
Kennedy 322, "Jack Hall" (1 text, 1 tune)
Peters, pp. 184-185, "Samuel Small" (1 text, 1 tune)
Darling-NAS, pp. 102-103, "Jack Hall"; "Sam Hall" (1 text plus a fragment)
Silber-FSWB, p. 69, "Sam Hall"; p. 200, "Ballad Of Sam Hall" (2 texts)
DT 420, SAMHALL (TALLOCAN)
ADDITIONAL: Bertrand Bronson, "Samuel Hall's Family Tree,'" article published in the _California Folklore Quarterly_ (1942); republished on pp. 30-47 of Norm Cohen, editor, _All This for a Song_, Southern Folklife Collection, 2009, discusses "Sam Hall," "Captain Kidd,,""Admiral Benbow," and related songs, with all or part of 16 texts and 9 tunes
Aline Waites & Robin Hunter, _The Illustrated Victorian Songbook_, Michael Joseph Ltd., 1984, pp. 64-65, "Sam Hall" (1 text, 1 tune)

Roud #369
RECORDINGS:
Emry Arthur, "Ethan Lang" (c. 1930; rec. 1928; on RoughWays2)
Bill Bender (The Happy Cowboy), "Sam Hall" (Asch 410-2/Stinson 410-2/Varsity 5130 [as "Samuel Hall"])
Walter Pardon, "Jack Hall" (on Voice17)
Tex Ritter, "Sam Hall" (Decca 5076, 1935)

BROADSIDES:
Bodleian, Harding B 11(1849), "Jack the Chimney Sweep" ("My name it is Jack All chimney sweep chimney sweep"), J. Pitts (London), 1819-1844; also Harding B 11(2840), Harding B 11(2841), "Jack the Chimney Sweep"; Harding B 15(145a), "Jack Hall"; Harding B 20(27), "Sam Hall Chimney Sweep"
CROSS-REFERENCES:
cf. "Sam MacColl's Song" (tune)
ALTERNATE TITLES:
Samuel Hall
NOTES: Pills to Purge Melancholy includes new words set to the tune of "Chimney-Sweep," recognizably "Jack Hall." Therefore the song must have already been in circulation by that time, 1719. -PJS
There is also a book, Memoirs of the Right Villanous Jack Hall, a tale of a highwayman, published 1708. I know nothing of the book except its title and that it devotes some time to describing Newgate Prison.
Bronson's article "Samuel Hall's Family Tree" (p. 35 in the Cohen reprint) mentions Kidson's belief that it was the music halls which converted Jack Hall to Sam Hall. Jack Hall was a real chimney sweep who was hung in 1701 -- interestingly, the same year that Captain Kidd was hung. The other well-known song of this type, "Admiral Benbow," relates events of 1702. The obvious suspicion is that "Jack Hall," "Admiral Benbow, and "Captain Kidd" borrowed a popular tune and metrical form of around 1700.
Bronson ultimately traces the form back to an item beginning "All my lufe, leif me not," attested in 1567, and also mentions a single line in the famous Complaynt of Scotland of 1549, "My lufe islyand seik, send hym joy, send hym joy." - RBW
Last updated in version 3.6
File: LL05

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