Dont Think Twice – Revisited

by elmergantry

Carrying on from my previous post, It is also worth noting here that Paul Clayton’s own accounts of how he discovered ‘Who’s Gonna Buy Your Chickens’ were inconsistent ones. According to Bob Coltman’s biography of Clayton, he claimed, at different times, to have discovered the sheet music of ‘Who’s Gonna Buy Your Chickens’ in the University of Virginia while, at another, he suggested he had recorded a version of it by the Virginian singer, Mary Bird McAllister.

Coltman has pointed out, however, that no version of this song have been found among the recordings Clayton made of McAllister,. For these, see:

Its also worth noting here that the Dylan scholar, Todd Harvey, has suggested that the connection,  between “Who’s Gonna Buy You Ribbons (When I’m Gone)” and the earlier song, “Who Gon Bring You Chickens?” is a very tenuous one.

Given Clayton’s tendency to give largely original songs a spurious folk pedigree (a tendency mentioned in Dave Van Ronk’s book ‘The Mayor of MacDougal Street and in the clip from Izzy Young below), I have come to the conclusion that ‘Whos going to buy your Ribbons’ was (at least in part) his own work.

If this is true, Dylan’s lifting from it can be viewed in quite a different light than heretofore..