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Son Come Tell it unto Me

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Alternative title: Edward

Performer: Brazil, Danny
Place Collected: Staverton
Date collected: 1978
Roud Number: 200
Other Numbers: Child 13

Although folklorists usually call this ballad “Edward”, the title given by singers is usually “Who put the Blood” and the name Edward does not appear in the song. This is an old song which the broadside printers seem to have missed. The theme of fratricide is not unknown in folksong, another instance being Child 49 “Two Brothers”, but in both songs the motive for the killing seems trivial and one wonders whether there is some hidden meaning. Did the brothers fall out over a girl, for example? Scores of Scottish and American versions have been found but curiously all the English versions were collected in the last half of the 20th century. Sharp and the other collectors did not find it at all in England. Many of the recently collected versions are from gypsy singers and Peter Shepheard found several different versions among the extended Brazil family.

It is one of our darker folksongs and Danny’s gruff voice adds extra drama to it.

Notes by Gwilym Davies 18 May 2015