Archive for January 25th, 2014

January 25, 2014

Week 127 – Gentlemen of High Renown

A hunting song from the Copper Family repertoire. I must have been singing this since about October 1976. That’s when my friend Mike was given the single LP taken from A Song for Every Season. We taped it, then over a couple of Sunday afternoons, went through the entire album, writing down the words of each song line by line. I’d learn the tune and Mike took the bass. Hey presto! repertoire more than doubled in size almost overnight!

There are a couple of verses in this song where you might think that it’s going to take the fox’s side. But if that’s what you were hoping, you’re in for a disappointment – in the last verse Bold Reynard begs for mercy, but is denied in no uncertain terms.

Gentlemen of High Renown

January 25, 2014

Radio 2’s Cecil Sharp Collection

I must admit I don’t usually take very much notice of the Radio 2 Folk Awards. It’s nice to see one’s friends winning a gong, of course, and there’s a certain pleasure to be had in dissing the once-famous-singer-songwriters-with-a-tenuous-connection-to-the-UK-folk-scene who generally seem to get the Lifetime Achievement Awards (although honourable exceptions in the list of people who have won that award include Malcolm Taylor, Bill Leader and Ian Campbell).

Anyway this year, Radio 2 makes its first induction into its Folk Awards Hall of Fame. I would have expected, and been quite happy for, the first inductee to be a performer like Shirley Collins, or Martin Carthy or, indeed, the entire Waterson-Carthy clan. But I’m actually even more pleased to say that, ninety years after his death, the first inductee is none other than dear old Cecil Sharp. And they are treating this as an opportunity to promote the EFDSS’s Full English archive, and to encourage people to explore that collection, sing the songs Sharp collected, and contribute recordings of them to the Folk Show website.

In particular they’re looking for renditions of ‘The Seeds of Love’, ‘Claudy Banks’ and ‘Barbara Allen’ (as well as three of William Kimber’s exquisite morris tunes).  I was rather chuffed to find that one of the versions of ‘Seeds of Love’ included in their Cecil Sharp Playlist on Spotify is Magpie Lane’s recording of the song, from our CD Jack-in-the-Green (although the pedant in me objected “that version wasn’t collected by Cecil Sharp”).

Of course I know, and have already posted here, any number of songs collected by Cecil Sharp – see Of those three songs specifically mentioned, so far the only one I’ve recorded is ‘Barbara Ellen’, which I posted here last June: Week 93 – Barbara Ellen. I’ve now uploaded the same file to Soundcloud, so I can tweet the link to #R2CecilSharp.

Any of you singers out there, why don’t you do the same?