Tam Lin Balladry: Versions
Versions of Tam Lin Available at This Site
There are many versions of Tam Lin. The ballad is known to have existed in the Scottish border lands for hundreds of years. More recently it has spread in modern folks circles and anywhere else that people enjoy a good ballad. This website does not claim to have every version of Tam Lin, but I hope it represents a good starting point for understanding the ballad. Below you will find a listing of all of the versions available here. More are added as they are acquired.
Versions are listed below in roughly the order in which they were acquired. If you would like to see an attempt at discovering the relationship between the versions of the ballad, have a look at the page on Tam Lin Phylogeny. It's a mess, but it's an attempt.
In addition, there's a meta-ballad (as in I never met a ballad I didn't like) version of Tam Lin at this website, based on analysis of the stories below, called Tam Lin X as it is not an official version but rather more of a reference point for the story.
Versions of Tam Lin available at this site
(Child numbers refer to versions from The English and Scottish Popular Ballads, Francis James Child)
- Child Ballad #39A, is considered to be one of the earliest recorded versions. Child cited Johnson's Museum as the source, 1729
- Child Ballad #39B source cited as Glenriddle MS. vol xi, no 17, 1791
- Child Ballad #39C, source cited as The Ancient and Modern Scots Songs, 1769
- Child Ballad #39D, sources cited are Motherwell's MS., Maidment's New Book of Old Ballads, and Pitcairn's MSS.
- Child Ballad #39E, source cited as Motherwell's Note-Book
- Child Ballad #39F, source cited as Motherwell's MS.
- Child Ballad #39G, sources cited are Buchan's MSS, Motherwell's MS, and Dixon, Scottish Traditionary Versions of Ancient Ballads, Percy Society
- Child Ballad #39H, source cited as Campell MSS.
- Child Ballad #39I, source cited as Ministrelsy of the Scottish Border by Sir Walter Scott
- Child Ballad #39J, from the additions and corrections to the original set. Source cited is MacMath ms 1886
- Child Ballad #39K, source cited is Communication to Scott, 1812
- Child's Notes* contained enough variant verses to make a Frankenstein version of the tale.
Included in Child's notes, along with a number of variant verses and fragments, were three other versions of Tam Lin, which are either highly fragmented or mixed with other tales, and are therefore not listed with the main versions.
- B. H. Bronson found a version with quite different styling than the rest, though clearly still the same tale.
- J. Holm created a version from those she had read
- C. Gladish found a version with more modern phrasing
- The SCA (society for creative anachronism) has a version
- Steeleye Span, recorded a version on the album Tonight's the Night
- Fairport Convention, recorded a version on the album Liege and Lief
- R.J. Stewart included a version in his book on Robert Kirk
- The Watersons recorded a version on their album For Pence and Spicey Ale
- Frankie Armstrong recorded a version on her album I Heard A Woman Singing
- Joseph Kesselman performs the following version.
- The Greig Duncan folksong index had this version.
- The Oxford Book of Ballads had this version.
- Dave and Toni Arthur perform this version.
- Anne Briggs performs a version on the album Anne Briggs: A Collection
- Rick Lee performs this version on the album Natick
- Pete Morton has a versions on the album Frivolous Love
- Milan Jovanovic provided this version
- The Movie version of Tam Lin included this version
- Pyewackett performed a version on the album The Man In The Moon Drinks Claret
- Broadside Electric performed a version on the album Amplificata
- MacMath version, from The Mansfield Manuscript
- EScotland version, from the electronic Scotland website.
- Mediaeval Baebes version, from the group of the same name.
- Ewan MacColl recorded a version on the album Cold Snap
- Geordie McIntyre recorded a version on the album Ballad Tree
- Alastair McDonald recorded a version on the album Heroes & Legends of Scotland
Tam Lin Balladry
Exploring the Ballad of Tam Lin The Music of Tam Lin Comparing Tam Lin to Other Tales Communicating at Tam Lin Scotland and Tam-Lin.org Tam Lin Oddities Search Tam Lin
© 1997- present Abigail Acland for all original works unless otherwise noted.
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