Week 59 – Blow the candle out

Blow the candle out, early 19th century, from the Bodleian Library collection

Blow the candle out, early 19th century, from the Bodleian Library collection

I first heard this about 35 years ago, on the LP Songs of Seduction in the Topic / Caedmon series The Folk Songs of Britain, where it is sung  in a beautifully easy, lyrical style by Belfast tinker Jimmy Gilhaney (although the song was in fact recorded by Peter Kennedy in 1955, not in Belfast but  in the Orkney Isles). When I bought the expanded CD reissue of Songs of Seduction, I was really struck by Gilhaney’s performance of this song, and wondered why I hadn’t ever thought of learning it. That omission was soon rectified.

Initially I planned to incorporate additional verses, either from a broadside or from the somewhat fuller version collected in Suffolk from Jumbo Brightwell. But I soon decided that Jimmy Gilhaney’s five verses stood perfectly well on their own.

It occurs to me that now Topic own the rights to the Kennedy archive, they have the makings of a really good addition to the Voice of the People series, in the shape of Kennedy’s recordings of Irish travellers – Jimmy Gilhaney, Mary Doran, Lal Smith, Thomas Moran et al.

Blow the candle out

2 Comments to “Week 59 – Blow the candle out”

  1. Liked this very much Andy. You men cannot be trusted with fair maidens can you?

  2. Hi Andy, I’ve just been listening through some of the songs on your excellent blog; I was particularly interested by this one, because I recorded a version of Blow the Candle Out a couple of weeks ago on my A Liverpool Folk Song a Week blog (with a different tune) – and THEN as I listened to you sing this, I realised that I was also familiar with this tune as “The Rambling Royal”, which I recorded for my Liverpool blog back in February! Always interesting to see how words and music circulate… anyway, a very fineperformance of a good song and story, keep up the good work.

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