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 (17 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)

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

CROSS-REFERENCES:
cf. "The Sow Took the Measles"
cf. "The Mallard"
cf. "Alouette (I)"
cf. "The Farmer and the Crow"
cf. "The Derby Ram" (theme)
ALTERNATE TITLES:
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 5.0
File: VWL086

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