Lori Holland

For the ploughman lads they are gay well lads,
They are false and deceiving 0,
They’ll gang awa’, they’ll sail awa’,
And they’ll leave their lasses greetin’, 0.

[The Scotswomen must be breathing a sigh of relief today, see “Scottish politics: another one bites the dust“.  Time for a little Scottish folk music.]

Lori Holland (1932 – ) is an American folk singer.  She was part of the urban folk music revival of the 1950s, predating the likes of Joan Baez, Judy Collins, Mary Travers, and Carolyn Hester.  Her recordings of Scottish and Irish folk music were chosen for reproduction by Smithsonian Folkways .

Holland was born in the Bronx in New York City.  She was introduced to folk music as a result of attending square dances at City College and folk music events, where she met others interested in the folk music scene, including her husband David, a singer/guitar player.  She started performing at parties and folk gatherings and was featured on the “Folkmusic Festival” on station WNYC. Her son Danny Holland played acoustic guitar on her CD “The women she became”.

She recorded two albums, Scottish Folksongs for Women (1958) and Irish Folk Songs for Women, Vol. 2 (1960).  Her signature song was “Didn’t I dance?”, which became an urban folk standard, and was recorded by other artists. “Didn’t I dance” was published on her 2004 CD “The women I became”.   Sing Out magazine printed her songs.

As of 2008, she was still performing occasionally and could be seen at the  Hurdy Gurdy Folk Club in New Jersey. In 2008 she appeared at the New York Pinewoods Folk Music Club sponsored by the Folk Music Society of New York. Also in 2008, she appeared at a poetry reading of the North Jersey Literary Series at Café Il Trapezio, performing two songs, including “Honey and Wine”.  In 2010, she appeared at the Borderline Folk Music Club’s free party in New City, part of the New York greater metropolitan area.  In 2017 her publicist reported to a fan forum that she was no longer performing publicly, although still singing once in a while.

Discography

Collections

cover - the best of american folk & blues cover o love is teasin cover - our singing heritage

Other recordings and covers

Printed music

  • cover - 124 Folk Songs As Recorded On Folkways Records By Famous Folk Song Singers124 Folk Songs as Sung and Recorded on Folkways Records, publisher: Robbins Music Corporation (1965). Color pictorial trade paperback, 4to, 128pp., includes instructions for folk guitar, chord chart for guitar, chord chart for 5-string banjo. Lori Holland: “I Know Where I’m Going”, “Mrs. McGrath”, “Maid Going to Comber (Next Market Day)”

Websites

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So what about those Scottish folksongs….

“Scottish Folksongs for Women”, recorded in 1958, is a collection of songs that were traditionally sung by women, although anyone can sing them.  The album includes love laments, songs where a woman is the central figure, and lullabies. The album has been reproduced by the Smithsonian Folkways and is available on their website. The liner notes can also be downloaded from the Smithsonian website; they are actual folksongs from Scotland and the notes will tell you who they were collected from.

From the album, below: Lori Holland’s “When I Was Noo but Sweet Sixteen”, sometimes known as “Peggy On the Banks of the Spey”.

When I was noo but sweet sixteen,
In beauty just a-bloomin’, 0,
0, little, little did I think
At nineteen I’d be greetin‘, 0.

For the ploughman lads they are gay well lads,
They are false and deceiving 0,
They’ll gang awa’, they’ll sail awa’,
And they’ll leave their lasses greetin’, 0.

If I’d a kent what I do ken,
And done my mother’s biddin’, 0,
I would not be at your firside,
Cryin’: Hishie ba, ma bairnie, 0.

0, Hishie ba, for I’m your ma,
But the Lord knows where’s your daddie, 0,
But I’ll take good care and I’ll be aware
Of the young men in the gloamin”, 0.

When I was noo but sweet sixteen,
In beauty just a-bloomin, 0,
0, little, little did I think
At nineteen I’d be greetin’, 0.

If you’re in the mood for an encore, try “Mormond Braes”, you can download the lyrics here.

Note: someone like this should have a Wikipedia article, it is a part of our heritage that is fast disappearing. But where are the people publishing the interviews and the books and the “encyclopedia of women in folk” etc etc, to provide enough “reliable sources” to keep these articles from mass deletions by people who can’t stand to see women recognized?

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