Week 135 – The Maid and the Miller

I learned this from Roy Palmer’s book,  Songs of the Midlands where the notes say

Sung by Mr. George Dunn, Quarry Bank, Staffs.; collected by Charles Parker, 24th March, 1971. This song is better known in Scots versions, though Hammond collected an English version. It is now extremely rare.

A search of the Full English archive shows that it was actually Gardiner, rather than Hammond, who collected a version in Hampshire, while Cecil Sharp also had a couple of versions in Somerset, but let’s not nitpick…

Roy Palmer’s own recording of George Dunn singing The Miller’s Song is the first track on the Musical Traditions CD Chainmaker, and there are in fact three separate recordings of the song from the Roy Palmer collection (two made by Roy, and one by Charles Parker) available for all to listen to on the British Library website.

The notes to the Musical Traditions CD say that George Dunn “greatly relished singing this marvellously life-affirming piece” and so do I: it’s a real joy to sing. The last verse in particular is a wonderful example of how sometimes in a song the melody, the rhythm, the words and the meaning behind the words can all just.. er.. come together.

George Dunn. Photo from the Musical Traditions website.

George Dunn. Photo from the Musical Traditions website.

The Maid and the Miller

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