Archive for December 31st, 2011

December 31, 2011

Week 19 – The Moon Shines Bright

The last song to be posted here in 2011, and it’s another carol (we are only halfway through the twelve days of Christmas after all).

‘The Moon Shines Bright’ started off as a May carol, with a concluding verse along these lines

And now our song is almost done
And we can no longer stay,
So bless you all both great and small
And we wish you a joyful May.

As carols came to be associated almost exclusively with Christmas  time, this was easily changed to something like

So now my carol is almost done
No longer can we stay here,
May the Lord bless you all both great and small
And send you a happy New Year.

There’s a long discussion of the song, its history and association with various festivals, at

This version was recorded in the 1950s from Albert Beale of Kenardington in Kent, by Peter Kennedy and Maud Karpeles. I learned it many years ago from the BBC 78 rpm recording held at Cecil Sharp House; it was also included on the Folktrax cassette The Bitter Withy. Slightly different versions were taken down by Cecil Sharp from Albert’s married sister Alice Harden in 1911, and from his father James Beale in 1908; the latter is printed in the EFDSS collection Still Growing.

The Moon Shines Bright

Andy Turner: vocal, G/D anglo-concertina