Chapter Thirteen 5

Hey Ho Raggedy-O


Chapter 13 – page 6

 Some key questions can be explored, and to some degree answered, in retrospect:

Who was Billy Barlow the raggedy clown, who sang the songs about himself that have the refrain – Hey Ho Raggedy Oh?

The men on record as playing Billy Barlow in character and singing his song were:

George Coppin
from about 1840 to about 1901 ~ in the British Isles and Australia. Also on tour in Cape Town, New Zealand, North America, Mexico, Panama and Canada.

Sam Cowell
from about 1840 to 1864 ~ in the British Isles and on tour in America and Canada.

Billy Barlow the “original” London street-clown
during the 1840s. Said to have taken his name “from the song.” !

Another Billy Barlow, also a London street-clown
sometime in the 1850s interviewed by Henry Mayhew.

John Lawrence Toole
from about 1850 to about 1895. — in the British Isles and on tour in Australia.


Men who sang Billy Barlow songs in character were:

Jack Reeve
probably before 1835 ~ in England. Certainly in 1835 ~ in America.

Mr. Wills
in 1836 ~ in America.

Benjamin Oliver Conquest
from the late 1840s ~ in England.

W G Ross
from about 1850 ~ in The British Isles.


Men who sang Billy Barlow songs — maybe or maybe not in character were:

W. H. C. West
from the 1830s? ~ in England and then America.

John Sims Reeves from 1840s? ~ in the British Isles also possibly during tours in America, Europe and South Africa.

Mr. Rolls 1857 ~ in India on tour from England. Probably also in the British Isles.


Men who may have sung Billy Barlow songs were:

T.E. Purday
during the 1830s ~ In England. He was the publisher of a Billy Barlow song.

P.F. Fallon 1834 ~ in America. Fallon arranged the piano accompaniment for Billy Barlow as sung “by himself”. He may or may not have also been the singer.


Men who each wrote one Billy Barlow song and might have sung it were:

Benjamin Griffin, A Gentleman of Maitland
in the 1840s ~ in Sydney, Australia. Who wrote the song, Billy Barlow in Australia.

Edward Clifford
1863 ~ in America. Civil War Billy Barlow. May have been just the publisher of the song.

John M. Valleau
1865 ~ in America. Wrote the Civil War Billy Barlow song – Lookout Mountain.


The performer who took the name Billy Barlow but may never have sung his song was:

Robert “Billy” Barlow
from 1837 to 1907 ~ in The British Isles and Australia and also in New Zealand, China, South Africa, Europe, America, India and Canada.





A Study of the Billy Barlow Phenomenon
(written by Joy Hildebrand)

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