In the Spring of 1980 my friends Ian and Jane put on an excellent series of folk concerts in Oxford: Nic Jones with support from Crows; June Tabor and Martin Simpson; Martin Carthy and John Kirkpatrick. The latter were in fact joined by trumpeter Howard Evans, and when I saw them the following year at the Lewes Folk Day, they were billed as Carthy, Kirkpatrick & Evans. I can’t remember if they sang this song in Oxford, but they certainly did in Lewes, and I was very taken with it. I learned the song shortly afterwards, when I found the words and music in Roy Palmer’s Everyman’s Book of English Country Songs. And not long after that I first heard the original source, Sam Larner, on the Topic LP A Garland for Sam.
A live recording of Martin and John singing the piece – unaccompanied, in unison – was included on the 4-CD box set, The Carthy Chronicles.
I had the pleasure of singing this yesterday during an all-too-brief visit to the lunchtime session at The Volunteer in Sidmouth.
Raking the Hay