Around Her Neck She Wore a Yellow Ribbon
DESCRIPTION: The girl wears a yellow ribbon around her neck "For her lover who was far, far away." In May and December she scatters yellow flowers on a grave "for her soldier who was far, far away." (In other versions she may be pregnant and face abandonment)
KEYWORDS: love separation death burial pregnancy abandonment
FOUND IN: US
REFERENCES (5 citations):
Arnett-IHearAmericaSinging, p. 149-150, "Around Her Neck She Wore a Yellow Ribbon" (1 text, 1 tune)
Johnson-BawdyBalladsAndLustyLyrics, p. 115, "Yaller Ribbon" (1 text)
Hopkins-SongsFromTheFrontAndRead, pp. 142-143, "She Wore a Yellow Ribbon" (1 text, 1 tune)
Silber/Silber-FolksingersWordbook, p. 145, "Round Her Neck She Wore A Yellow Ribbon" (1 text)
Roud #10642, etc.
cf. "All Around My Hat"
The Scarlet Bonnet (Pankake/Pankake-PrairieHomeCompanionFolkSongBook, p. 159)
NOTES [159 words]: The versions of this song I know run the gamut. Arnett-IHearAmericaSinging's is a lament for a lost soldier. In Johnson's text, she has had a child by the missing man. In the Digital Tradition version, the song is angry, and the child is clearly illegitimate, and her father is prepared to guard her with a shotgun. The latter version is considered by the DT editors to be an "All around My Hat" variant -- but it seems to be simply a stronger version of the Johnson text. The Hopkins-SongsFromTheFrontAndRead version feels like the Digital Tradition version, including the shotgun, although there is no actual yellow ribbon; the girl wears things like a silver locket, purple garter, and dirty girdle. - RBW
I think this one and "All Around My Hat" are, at the least, siblings, and more likely fraternal twins. - PJS
That they share genetic material is clear. But they have also evolved independently, and this one exists in far more diverse forms. - RBW
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