Little Musgrave

Written by Piers Cawley on

What can you say about Little Musgrave (Child 81 for those who care about such things)? It’s old. Apparently it’s quoted from by Beaumont and Fletcher in their 1611 play ‘Knight of the Burning Pestle’.

It’s no Barbara Allen or Lord Randall, but judging by the number of variants in Bronson, it’s one of the more popular ballads, either as Little Musgrave or Mattie Groves. In one version he becomes “Little Moth Grone”, which has a glorious, if garbled, set of words.

The version I sing is taken pretty much straight from Pete Morton’s version on Trespass, Pete’s 1999 album of traditional material, which is well worth seeking out.

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