Notes on the Tunes

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15. Drummer Boy of Waterloo

This obvious reference to the place of Napoleon’s decisive defeat in 1815 and the boy killed in action, has survived in a song by that name, residing in the John Wolf Folklore Collection and sung by A.C. McGouyrk in 1962. His tune, however, is different from ours. Coincidentally, the name of the drummer boy is “Young Edward.” Within this same collection is Ozark singer Ollie Gilbert singing “The Drummer Boy,” the melody being somewhat related to this Hamblen tune. Several sources of British and American singers of ballads about the subject suggest “the Hamblen piece is a fiddle-air based on a ballad.” (Blech)

Chris’ da Salo FGCD (GDAE)