Week 100 – Through Lonesome Woods

It’s the one hundredth week of the blog, so let’s celebrate with a rather lovely little traditional song, with a decidedly lovely guitar accompaniment from the perennially lovable Chris Wood.

I first heard this c1981 at the Heritage Society in Oxford, sung by Andy Cheyne, who had recently appeared on the Oxford scene. Andy immediately became a favourite at the club, as he had a range of really interesting songs with really interesting accompaniments. Mainly, he played acoustic guitar, but also had one of those electric guitars with a small speaker embedded in the body – a few years later Ali Farka Toure was shown playing one on the cover of Folk Roots.

Andy had had this song from Sam Richards and Tish Stubbs’ The English Folksinger, from where I also took the words. Andy recorded the song a decade or so later with Michelle Soinne on an excellent cassette-only release Fish Royal. Meanwhile, when Chris Wood and I started working up material in the summer of 1982, I’m pretty sure this was one of the very first songs to go into our repertoire. It was certainly one of my favourites, and when I came to record an album in 1990, this was always going to be on it. That album, Love, Death and the Cossack, was also cassette-only. And, retro-fans, I do still have a box of them knocking around the loft. But if you’d like a copy, you may prefer to download it from http://andyturner.bandcamp.com

Chris has subsequently recorded the song a couple of times, with the Two Duos Quartet, and with Jean-Francois Vrod. Chris learned it from me, as he has always acknowledged, although I seem to remember he’s changed the accidentals around a little.

'Through Lonesome Woods' from Henry Perkes, collected by George Gardiner. Image © EFDSS

‘Through Lonesome Woods’ from Henry Perkes, collected by George Gardiner. Image © EFDSS

Like last week’s song, this appears to be the only collected version of Roud number 3461.

Last week, a friend’s comment on ‘Master Kilby’ was, simply, “Poetry!” . Well so is this

Through lonesome woods I took my way
So dark, so dark, as dark could be
Where the leaves were shivering on every tree
Which don’t you think ’twas grief for me

Through Lonesome Woods

Andy Turner: vocals
Chris Wood: guitar

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