Radie Peat “Katie Cruel”

Lyrics
When I first came to town
They called me the roving jewel
Now they’ve changed their tune
Call me Katie Cruel
Through the woods I’m going
And through the boggy mire
Straight way down the road
‘Til I come to my heart’s desire
If I was where I would be
Then I’d be where I am not
Here I am where I must be
Where I would be, I can not
When I first came to town
They bought me drinks plenty
Now they’ve changed their tune
And hand me the bottles empty
If I was where I would be
Then I’d be where I am not
Here I am where I must be
Where I would be, I can not


WIKIPEDIA
Katie Cruel is a traditional American folksong, likely of Scottish origin. As a traditional song, it has been recorded by many performers, but the best known recording of the song is by Karen Dalton on the album In My Own Time. The American version of the song is said to date to the Revolutionary War period.

The opening verse of the song bears a strong resemblance to the Scottish song, Licht Bob’s Lassie, whose opening verses mirror the song in both notional content and form:

First when I cam’ tae the toon
They ca’d me young and bonnie
Noo they’ve changed my name
Ca’ me the licht bob’s honey
First when I cam’ tae the toon
They ca’d me young and sonsie
Noo they’ve changed my name
They ca’ me the licht bob’s lassie

Licht Bob’s Lassie would appear to tell a story about a camp follower or prostitute:

I’ll die my petticoats red
And face them wi’ the yellow
I’ll tell the dyser lad
That the licht bob I’m tae follow
Feather beds are soft
And painted rooms are bonnie
I wad leave them a’
And jog along wi’ Johnny
Oh my heart’s been sair
S
hearin’ Craigie’s corn
I winnae see him the nicht
But I’ll see him the morn

 

The imagery about dyeing petticoats is shared by the Irish Gaelic lament Siúil A Rúin.

Karen Dalton’s performance of the song is perhaps the best known. About her version, Stephen Thompson has written that “It’s unsettling to hear Dalton, who died homeless and haunted, sing of bridges burned and backs turned.”

Jerry Garcia also performed the song, as have a number of other performers, including Peggy Seeger, Sandy Paton, the New Christy Minstrels (“Miss Katy Cruel”, 1965), Odetta, Robin Pecknold (Fleet Foxes), Gingerthistle, Linda Thompson, Moira Smiley, Allysen Callery, Molly Tuttle (The Tuttles and AJ Lee), Joe Dassin and Bert Jansch (with Beth Orton and Devendra Banhart). Cordelia’s Dad recorded the song on their 1995 release, Comet. The Demon Barbers also recorded the song on their 2002 album Uncut. White Magic started covering the song live in 2004, and released it as a single in 2006.. Marie LaForet, a French singer, has also done an English version and a French version of the song. The Owl Service recorded a version of the song on their album A Garland of Song.
Agnes Obel did a version in 2011. The song also features on Raise Ravens, a 2011 release by Glasgow-based John Knox Sex Club who have brought together elements of both versions of the song. The song also features on Lady Maisery’s second album, Mayday (released in 2013). Lisa LeBlanc recorded a version of the song on the album Highways, Heartaches and Time Well Wasted in 2014 [ . . . ] WIKIPEDIA

 

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