s Fair Margaret and Young Whatshisname

Tam Lin Balladry

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Fair Margaret and Young Whatshisname

Source: Holly Tannen

album: Rime of the Ancient Matriarch (1999)

Fair Margaret and Young Whatshisname

  1. Margaret, lovely Margaret, a' surfing on the net
    and she's all dressed in grey
    when the thought come to her head she'd run down to the Freight
    and hear them fiddlers play, play
    she'd hear them fiddlers play
  2. The fiddlers stood on the high, high stage
    They played to great acclaim
    And in their midst, the flower of them all,
    There stood Young Whatshisname, Hisname,
    There stood Young Whatshisname.
  3. His fingers leapt upon the fiddle strings
    His eyes lit up the room
    Oh but high above his head there hung
    A great grey cloud of doom, of doom
    A great grey cloud of doom
  4. And they had not played a set, a set
    A set barely but barely one
    When by her stood Young Whatshisname
    Saying "Hey babe, how's it going, me love?
    Oh hey babe how's it going?"
  5. Then they've snuck out, into the parking lot
    Just for a little smoke
    And when he viewed her red rosy cheeks,
    He cried "Let's snort some coke, me love."
    He cried "Let's snort some coke."
  6. And they had not done a line, a line
    A line but barely one
    When she thought herself some goddess or a queen
    And him a great lord's son, son
    Oh him a great lord's son.
  7. He's led her by the milk white hand
    Into the dressing room
    And what they did there she never would declare
    Beneath that cloud of doom, of doom,
    Beneath that cloud of doom
  8. Now there's four and twenty women in her women's group
    All in her living room
    And she cries "I've found my one and own true love,
    Thought he has a cloud of doom, of doom.
    He has a cloud of doom."
  9. Then up and spoke her best woman friend
    And she spoke wise and true
    "A man who lives beneath a cloud of doom
    Will cause your heart to rue, he will,
    He'll cause your heart to rue."
  10. Then she'd ta'en down the John Bradshaw book
    From off the high, high shelf
    Saying "You can't save someone from an evil spell
    He'll have to save himself, poor boy,
    He'll have to save himself"
  11. Then they've all driven up to Tilden park
    To dance beneath the moon
    And he's still fiddling, down there at the Freight,
    Beneath that cloud of doom, of doom,
    Beneath that cloud of doom.


The Freight = Coffee house in Berkeley, CA, USA.

Tilden Park = Park in Orinda, CA, USA

Holly Tannen says, of writing this version,

Some years back I took a songwriting workshop with Bob Franke at the Freight and Salvage Coffee House in Berkeley. Bob asked us each to think of a genre of song we liked, but never thought we could write in. I said, "I’ve always loved those old magical ballads like Tam Lin." He replied, "Write Tam Lin set in California."

More information on Holly Tannen and her music can be seen on her site.

Added to site December 2014