Let Him Sink

from Dark Turn of Mind by Iona Fyfe

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about

I found this song in the Max Hunter Folk Song Collection, an archive of almost 1600 Ozark Mountain folk songs, recorded between 1956 and 1976. The collection is a joint project between the Missouri State University Department of Music and the Springfield-Greene County Library in Springfield, Missouri, where the permanent collection is housed. Materials on this website were transcribed and digitised from Max Hunter’s original reel-to-reel tapes and handwritten lyrics. Alternative titles for the song, #1034 in the Roud Index, include Adieu to Cold Weather, My Love is on the Ocean, My Love is Like a Dewdrop, Cold Winter, Fare Thee Well and Farewell He.

I collated verses from two texts found in the Max Hunter Folk Song collection and wrote the melody. Rest for The Weary (1484) was collected by Max Hunter from a singer named Reba Jenkins from Wheatland, Missouri on January 27th, 1973. The chorus that I’ve used for the song was taken from a two-verse text, Adieu to Cold Winter (0023) which was collected from Mr. Frank Pool in Fayetteville, Arkansas on 6th January 1958

The song is “considered to belong to the group of songs found in tradition as Farewell He, Fare Thee Well Cold Winter and so on; examples of which are known from Ireland, England and Scotland; and of course, America and Canada. (Mudcat) A Scots version titled Let Him Gang can be found in Volume 2 of David Herd’s Ancient and modern Scottish songs, Heroic Ballads. This dates from 1776, which suggests that the floating verses which feature in both variants of the song, may have originated in Scotland. Another version of the song features in Frank Kidson’s 1929 ‘English peasant Songs’ collection. The text also appears in Gardiner and Chickering’s 1939 collection, Ballads and Songs of Southern Michigan. The song is featured in the Bodleian Library, with four variants dating between 1813 and 1850.

The first verse is a floating verse which also features in the Aberdeenshire love song, Bonny Udny.
“It was on a Sunday, my love and I did meet,
Which caused me on Monday, to sigh and to weep
O to weep is a folly, is a folly to me.
Sen he’ll be mine nae langer, let him gang, farewell he”

There are versions of the song from a male perspective titled “Farewell She” as well as a variant collected in Searsport, Maine which has similarities to the Scottish song, The Sands on the Shore. Vance Randolph collected the song in the Ozarks and it subsequently became popular amongst singers in the 50’s and 60’s
This song is another which perfectly exemplifies the universalism and similitude of songs and ballads which have been collected on both sides of the Atlantic.

I’ve renamed the song “Let Him Sink”, owing to the text of the chorus:
If he’s gone, let him go, let him sink or let him swim
He don’t care for me and I don’t care for him

lyrics

My love’s on the ocean
He can sink or he can swim
He don’t care for me
An’ I’m sure I don’t for him
There’s plenty more without him
As nice young men as he
An’ I can find another
Since he’s gone back on me

If he’s gone, let him go
Let him sink or let him swim
If he don’t care for me
Then I don’t care for him

And away with cold winter
Adieu to cold frost
I’ll laugh and be happy
As the dear lad I lost
I’ll sing and be merry
As the whistling bird in June
For I can catch another
Before tomorrow noon

If he’s gone, let him go
Let him sink or let him swim
If he don’t care for me
Then I don’t care for him

The last time I saw him
T'was in the shady grove
He tipped his hat so gently
An' offered me a rose
He thought that I'd accept it
But he could plainly see
I had grown cold
Since he went back on me

If he’s gone, let him go
Let him sink or let him swim
If he don’t care for me
Then I don’t care for him

But men they are deceiving
They think they know it all
They think we girls are stuck on them
Think we look at them at all
But they are quite mistaken
As you can plainly see
They don’t know the meaning
Of the world left

If he’s gone, let him go
Let him sink or let him swim
If he don’t care for me
Then I don’t care for him

His love was like a dew drop,
That falls upon the ground
It came on Sunday evening
And left on Monday morn
His love was in his pocket
His love was in his heart
To me he gave a little
To the other girls part

If he’s gone, let him go
Let him sink or let him swim
If he don’t care for me
Then I don’t care for him

If he’s gone, let him go
Let him sink or let him swim
If he don’t care for me
Then I don’t care for him

credits

from Dark Turn of Mind, released January 1, 2019
Iona Fyfe: Vocals
Aidan Moodie: Guitar, Harmony Vocals
Graham Rorie: Mandolin
Rory Matheson: Piano

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about

Iona Fyfe Scotland, UK

Aberdeenshire folksinger, Iona Fyfe, has become one of Scotland’s finest young folk singers, rooted deeply in the singing traditions of the North East of Scotland.The youngest ever winner of Scots Singer of the Year at the MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Awards 2018, Iona has been described as “one of the best Scotland has to offer.” (Global-Music.de)

www.ionafyfe.com
www.youtube.com/ionafyfe
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