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If I were a Blackbird

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Performer: Brazil, Harry
Place Collected: Gloucester
Date collected: 1978 (Feb)
Collector: Davies, Gwilym
Roud Number: 387

A hugely popular song, of which many people can sing the chorus, if not the verses. A version recorded by the English crooner Ronnie Ronalde (1923-2015), followed by recordings by Joseph Locke and Delia Murphy, launched the song into the public focus, but it had been in circulation much before then. Collected versions date from the beginning of the 20th century, and the song is still in oral tradition, particularly with gypsy singers. Harry Brazil’s version shows an admirable variety of musical phrases. His brother Danny also knew the song.

Notes by Gwilym Davies 23 June 2015