Red Herring, The

DESCRIPTION: Song describes the uses made of various parts of the herring, e.g., "Herring's eyes, puddings and pies/Herring's head, loaves of bread."
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1903 ("Cape Cod Dialect"); Palmer-EnglishCountrySongbook claims a manuscript version from 1831
KEYWORDS: fishing ritual cumulative nonballad humorous animal
FOUND IN: Britain(England(All)) Canada(Newf) Ireland
REFERENCES (18 citations):
Williams-FolkSongsOfTheUpperThames, p. 167, "The Jolly Red Herring" (1 text) (also Williams-Wiltshire-WSRO Wt 360)
Cologne/Morrison-WiltshireFolkSongs, p. 68, "Red Herring" (1 text, 1 tune)
VaughanWilliams/Lloyd-PenguinBookOfEnglishFolkSongs, pp. 86-87, "The Red Herring" (1 text, 1 tune)
Reeves-TheEverlastingCircle 110, "The Red Herring" (1 text)
Kennedy-FolksongsOfBritainAndIreland 296, "The Herring Song" (1 text, 1 tune)
Palmer-FolkSongsCollectedBy-Ralph-VaughanWilliams, #26, "The Jolly Harrin'" (1 text, 1 tune)
MacColl/Seeger-TravellersSongsFromEnglandAndScotland 118, "The Jolly Herring" (1 text, 1 tune)
Reeves/Sharp-TheIdiomOfThePeople 79, "The Red Herring" (1 text)
Hamer-GreenGroves, pp. 23-24, "The Herring's Head" (1 text, 1 tune)
Karpeles-TheCrystalSpring 126, "The Red Herring" (1 text, 1 tune)
Gundry-CanowKernow-SongsDancesFromCornwall, pp. 24-25, "The Herring's Head" (1 text, 1 tune)
Palmer-EnglishCountrySongbook, #138, "Herrings' Heads" (1 text, 1 tune)
Gardham-EastRidingSongster 3, pp. 7, 42-43, "The Herring's Head"; "Bolliton Sands"; "The Dead Pig" (3 texts, 1 tune; the first two are "The Red Herring" but 3B, "The Dead Pig," is "The Sow Took the Measles")
Hamer-GarnersGay, pp. 16-17, "The Jolly Herring" (1 text, 1 tune)
Roud/Bishop-NewPenguinBookOfEnglishFolkSongs #109, "The Herring's Head" (1 text, 1 tune)
Botkin-TreasuryOfNewEnglandFolklore, pp. 578-579, "The Herring Song" (1 text)
Lehr/Best-ComeAndIWillSingYou 50, "The Herring" (1 text, 1 tune)
Tobitt-TheDittyBag, pp. 27-28, "The Red Herring" (1 text, 1 tune)

Roud #128
Johnny Doughty, "Herrings' Heads" (on Voice07)
Mikeen McCarthy, "The Herring" (on Voice14)

cf. "The Sow Took the Measles"
cf. "The Mallard"
cf. "Alouette (I)"
cf. "The Farmer and the Crow"
cf. "The Derby Ram" (theme)
The Herring's Head
The Herring's Heid
The Jovial Herring
The Jolly Red Herring
NOTES [93 words]: This is essentially the same song as the American "Sow Took the Measles" [and Roud lumps them - RBW]; "The Farmer and the Crow" (also American, but also found in Sweden) marries this song to "The Carrion Crow." -PJS
Kennedy-FolksongsOfBritainAndIreland declares his "Herring Song" and "The Red Herring" to be the same. I'm not sure I agree; while the theme is the same, the lyrics and stanza form are different. But he's seen more versions than I have; I tentatively follow his lead. The danger, of course, is that Kennedy will lump anything with anything. - RBW
Last updated in version 6.3
File: VWL086

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