Search Results for “roud 1863”

December 31, 2013

New Indexes page

Recently Mr Adrian Russell, a regular visitor to the site, noted that “what this blog needs is an index”. Here at A Folk Song A Week we are always keen to respond positively to customer feedback, so – shazam! – the blog now has an index page.

On this page you will find a straightforward week-by-week Contents list as well as an Alphabetical Index of all songs posted. The latter lists alternative titles for some songs e.g. the entry for ‘Poison in a Glass of Wine’ will take you to Week 111 – Worcester City.

Please note that these indexes are not generated automatically, so may lag a little behind.

You can of course also use the search box headed Search this blog at the top of the right-hand side.

In fact, if you know the Roud number for a song, the quickest way to find it here should be to use the search box to search by number e.g. “Roud 1863″

You could also use the tag cloud at the foot of the page – this lists only the most used tags, but would be a quick way to find e.g. all songs from the Copper Family repertoire, or from Kent, or where the recording features Magpie Lane, or with ananglo-concertina accompaniment.

December 27, 2013

Indexes

On this page you will find a straightforward Contents list of songs posted each week, and an Alphabetical Index of the songs posted. The latter lists alternative titles for some songs.

Please note that these indexes are not generated automatically, so may lag a little behind.

You can of course also use the search box headed Search this blog at the top of the right-hand side.

In fact, if you know the Roud number for a song, the quickest way to find it here should be to use the search box to search by number e.g. “Roud 1863”

You could also use the tag cloud at the foot of the page – this lists only the most used tags, but would be a quick way to find e.g. all songs from the Copper Family repertoire, or from Kent, or where the recording features Magpie Lane, or with an anglo-concertina accompaniment.

 

Index by Week

Week 1 – Riding Down to Portsmouth

Week 2 – A Shepherd of the Downs

Week 3 – Saucy Sailor

Week 4 – The Folkestone Murder

Week 5 – William Taylor

Week 6 – Australia

Week 7 – My Dog and I

Week 8 – As I roamed out

Week 9 – The little ball of yarn

Week 10 – Underneath your apron

Week 11 – Spencer the Rover

Week 12 – No Man’s Land

Week 13 – Shooting Goschen’s Cocks Up

Week 14 – The Shepherd’s Song

Week 15 – One Cold Morning in December / The Drunkard and the Pig

Week 16 – Have you not heard / The man that lives

Week 17 – The Holly and the Ivy / Christmas now is drawing near at hand

Week 18 – The Sussex Carol

Week 19 – The Moon Shines Bright

Week 20 – Banks of the Bann

Week 21 – A Wager

Week 22 – A Cornish Young Man

Week 23 – The Roving Journeyman

Week 24 – The Wind across the Wild Moor

Week 25 – Limbo

Week 26 – Lord Bateman

Week 27 – As Broad as I was Walking

Week 28 – The Outlandish Knight

Week 29 – Sweet Swansea

Week 30 – The Nobleman’s Wedding

Week 31 – The Rambling Sailor

Week 32 – The Rakish Young Fellow

Week 33 – The Leaves of Life

Week 34 – The Banks of Sweet Mossen

Week 35 – The Lark in the Morning

Week 36 – Northill May Song

Week 37 – Queen of the May

Week 38 – George Collins

Week 39 – Stroll Away the Morning Dew

Week 40 – The Female Drummer

Week 41 – The Wild Rover

Week 42 – Early in the month of Spring

Week 43 – All Jolly Fellows that Follow the Plough

Week 44 – When Jones’ Ale was new

Week 45 – Sheep Shearing Song

Week 46 – The East Indiaman

Week 47 – Wop She ‘ad it-io

Week 48 – I’ll weave her a garland

Week 49 – The Rigs of Rye

Week 50 – In Scarborough Fair Town

Week 51 – Raking the Hay

Week 52 – The Crockery Ware

Week 53 – Banks of the Sweet Primroses

Week 54 – The Rigs of the Time

Week 55 – A Dream of Napoleon

Week 56 – Hopping down in Kent

Week 57 – When Autumn Skies Were Blue

Week 58 – There Was Four-and-Twenty Strangers / The Irish hop-pole puller

Week 59 – Blow the candle out

Week 60 – The Rambling Blade

Week 61 – John Barleycorn

Week 62 – Creeping Jane

Week 63 – Common Garden

Week 64 – The Banks of the Nile

Week 65 – My Son John

Week 66 – As Sylvie was walking

Week 67 – Lazarus

Week 68 – Lo! The Eastern Sages Rise / Hark Hark What News

Week 69 – This is the truth sent from above

Week 70 – The Boar’s Head Carol / Babes in the Wood / The King

Week 71 – The Gower Wassail

Week 72 – The Deserter

Week 73 – Poor Frozen-out Gardeners

Week 74 – Floating down the tide

Week 75 – When a man’s in love

Week 76 – The Setting of the Sun

Week 77 – Needlecases

Week 78 – Flash Company

Week 79 – The Brisk Young Widow

Week 80 – The Farmer in Leicester

Week 81 – Three Maidens a-Milking Did Go

Week 82 – The Birds upon the Tree

Week 83 – A Week Before Easter

Week 84 – Pace Egging Song

Week 85 – The Old Miser

Week 86 – The Life of a Man

Week 87 – Sovay

Week 88 – Swalcliffe May Day Carol

Week 89 – The Woodman’s Daughter

Week 90 – The Bonny Labouring Boy

Week 91 – The Nutting Girl

Week 92 – Death and the Lady

Week 93 – Barbara Ellen

Week 94 – The Galway Shawl

Week 95 – The Light of the Moon

Week 96 – Sweet Lemeney

Week 97 – The Lakes of Coolfin

Week 98 – Nobleman and Thresherman

Week 99 – Master Kilby

Week 100 – Through Lonesome Woods

Week 101 – Come and be my little teddy bear

Week 102 – Adieu to Old England

Week 103 – Petition Of The Pigs In Kent

Week 104 – Banks of Sweet Dundee

Week 105 – Nancy of Yarmouth

Week 106 – The Deserter from Kent

Week 107 – Locks and Bolts

Week 108 – Horkstow Grange

Week 109 – Poor Old Horse

Week 110 – The Gipsy’s Warning

Week 111 – Worcester City

Week 112 – Hare Hunting Song

Week 113 – On Board a Ninety-Eight

Week 114 – The Jolly Waggoner

Week 115 – The Game of All Fours

Week 116 – Between the Wars

Week 117 – The American Stranger

Week 118 – The White Hare

Week 119 – The Seven Joys of Mary

Week 120 – The Shepherds Amazed

Week 121 – Saint Stephen / Rejoice and be Merry

Week 122 – Hymn for Christmas Day / Sellwood Mollineux’ Carol / Newton’s Double

Week 149 – The Isle of France

Week 150 – Young girl cut down in her prime

 

[End of weekly blog posts]

Index by Title

Adieu Sweet Lovely Nancy
Adieu to Old England Week 102 – Adieu to Old England
All Hail and Praise
All Jolly Fellows that Follow the Plough Week 43 – All Jolly Fellows that Follow the Plough
All things are quite silent
Allan MacLean
American Stranger Week 117 – The American Stranger
As Broad as I was Walking Week 27 – As Broad as I was Walking
As Shepherds Watched Their Fleecy Care
As I roamed out Week 8 – As I roamed out
As I roved out
As I roved out from the County Cavan
As I sat on a sunny bank
As I Walked Out
As Sylvie was walking Week 66 – As Sylvie was walking
Australia Week 6 – Australia
Babes in the Wood Week 70 – The Boar’s Head Carol / Babes in the Wood / The King
Bald-Headed End of the Broom
Baltimore
Banks of Sweet Dundee Week 104 – Banks of Sweet Dundee
Banks of Sweet Mossen Week 34 – The Banks of Sweet Mossen
Banks of the Sweet Primroses Week 53 – Banks of the Sweet Primroses
Banks of the Bann Week 20 – Banks of the Bann
Banks of the Nile Week 64 – The Banks of the Nile
Barbara Allen Week 93 – Barbara Ellen
Barbara Ellen Week 93 – Barbara Ellen
Bedfordshire May Song Week 36 – Northill May Song
Between the Wars Week 116 – Between the Wars
Bird in the Bush Week 81 – Three Maidens a-Milking Did Go
Birds in the Spring
Birds upon the Tree Week 82 – The Birds upon the Tree
Bitter Withy
Blacksmith
Blacksmith Courted Me
Blow Away the Morning Dew Week 39 – Stroll Away the Morning Dew
Blow the candle out Week 59 – Blow the candle out
Boar’s Head Carol Week 70 – The Boar’s Head Carol / Babes in the Wood / The King
Bold Benjamin
Bold General Wolfe
Bold Princess Royal
Bonny Bunch of Roses O
Bonny Labouring Boy Week 90 – The Bonny Labouring Boy
Bonnie Woodhall
Boxing Day
Brisk Young Widow Week 79 – The Brisk Young Widow
Brigg Fair
Broken-down Gentleman
Brown To Blue
Broomfield Hill Week 21 – A Wager
By the Hush
Canadee-i-o
Captain Thunderbold
Carter’s Health  
Chain of Gold
Christian’s Good Night
Christmas now is drawing near at hand Week 17 – The Holly and the Ivy / Christmas now is drawing near at hand
Christmas Song
Come all you worthy Christian men Week 67 – Lazarus
Come and be my little teddy bear Week 101 – Come and be my little teddy bear
Come Write Me Down
Common Garden Week 63 – Common Garden
Constant Farmer’s Son
Corduroy
Cornish Young Man Week 22 – A Cornish Young Man
Country Life
Creeping Jane Week 62 – Creeping Jane
Crockery Ware Week 52 – The Crockery Ware
Crow Sat On The Willow
Cruel Mother
Cupid’s Garden
Death and the Lady Week 92 – Death and the Lady
Death of Poor Bill Brown
Deserter from Kent Week 106 – The Deserter from Kent
Deserter, The Week 72 – The Deserter
Dido, Bendigo
Do Me Ama
Doffing Mistress
Dowie Dens of Yarrow
Down by the Seaside
Down By The Shannon Side
Down in Yon Forest
Down where the drunkards roll
Dream of Napoleon Week 55 – A Dream of Napoleon
Drunkard and the Pig Week 15 – One Cold Morning in December / The Drunkard and the Pig
Duke of Bedford
Dust to Dust
Dwelling In Beulah Land
Early in the month of Spring Week 42 – Early in the month of Spring
East Indiaman Week 46 – The East Indiaman
Enniscorthy Fair
Epsom Races
Faithful Sailor Boy
Famous Flower of Serving Men
Fare thee well cold winter
Fare thee well dearest Nancy
Fare Thee Well, My Dearest Dear
Farmer in Leicester Week 80 – The Farmer in Leicester
Fathom the Bowl
Fellow Who Played the Trombone
Female Drummer Week 40 – The Female Drummer
First Time
Flash Company Week 78 – Flash Company
Floating down the tide Week 74 – Floating down the tide
Flower of Magherally
Flower of Sweet Strabane
Folkestone Murder Week 4 – The Folkestone Murder
Fountain of Christ’s Blood
Gallery Carol (Rejoice and be Merry) Week 121 – Saint Stephen / Rejoice and be Merry
Galtee Farmer
Galway Shawl Week 94 – The Galway Shawl
Game of All Fours Week 115 – The Game of All Fours
Gamekeepers lie sleeping Week 7 – My Dog and I
Gentlemen of High Renown
Gentleman Soldier
George Collins Week 38 – George Collins
Georgie
Ghost Ship
Gipsey’s Song
Gipsy’s Warning Week 110 – The Gipsy’s Warning
Gloucestershire Wassail
God Bless the Master
Golden Vanity
Good Ale
Good morning lords and ladies
Good Old Way
Gower Wassail Week 71 – The Gower Wassail
Grand Conversation on Napoleon
Grey Funnel Line
Hard Times of Old England
Hare Hunting Song Week 112 – Hare Hunting Song
Hares in the old plantation Week 7 – My Dog and I
Hark Hark What News Week 68 – Lo! The Eastern Sages Rise / Hark Hark What News
Hark the Glad Sound (Sellwood Mollineux’ Carol) Week 122 – Hymn for Christmas Day / Sellwood Mollineux’ Carol / Newton’s Double
Hark the Herald Angels Sing (Newton’s Double) Week 122 – Hymn for Christmas Day / Sellwood Mollineux’ Carol / Newton’s Double
Hark! hear you not a cheerful noise (Hymn for Christmas Day) Week 122 – Hymn for Christmas Day / Sellwood Mollineux’ Carol / Newton’s Double
Harp Song of the Dane Women
Have you not heard Week 16 – Have you not heard / The man that lives
Hawk and the Crow  
Here’s Adieu Sweet Lovely Nancy
Hey John Barleycorn
Highwayman Outwitted Week 80 – The Farmer in Leicester
Holly and the Ivy Week 17 – The Holly and the Ivy / Christmas now is drawing near at hand
Holly Bears a Berry
Hopping down in Kent Week 56 – Hopping down in Kent
Horkstow Grange Week 108 – Horkstow Grange
House in the Country
Hurricane Wind
Husbandman and Servingman
Hymn for Christmas Day (Hark! hear you not a cheerful noise) Week 122 – Hymn for Christmas Day / Sellwood Mollineux’ Carol / Newton’s Double
I saw the light
I wish that the wars were all over  
Idumea
I’ll go and list for a sailor
I’ll weave her a garland Week 48 – I’ll weave her a garland
I’m a man that’s done wrong to my parents
If I were back ‘ome in ‘Ampshire
In Scarborough Fair Town Week 50 – In Scarborough Fair Town
Irish hop-pole puller Week 58 – There Was Four-and-Twenty Strangers / The Irish hop-pole puller
Isle of France Week 149 – The Isle of France
Isle of St Helena
It’s A Great Big Shame
Jack Williams (Jack Williams the Boatman)
Jealous Sailor
Jolly Good Song
John Barleycorn Week 61 – John Barleycorn
John Barleycorn’s a Hero Bold
Johnny Abourne
Jolly Waggoner Week 114 – The Jolly Waggoner
King, The Week 70 – The Boar’s Head Carol / Babes in the Wood / The King
King Herod and the Cock
King Kong Kitchie Kitchie Ki-Me-O
King Pharim
Kitty from Ballinamore
Lakes of Coolfin Week 97 – The Lakes of Coolfin
Lark in the Morning Week 35 – The Lark in the Morning
Lass of Swansea Town
Lazarus Week 67 – Lazarus
Leaning on a Lamp-post
Leaves of Life Week 33 – The Leaves of Life
Life of a Man Week 86 – The Life of a Man
Light Horse
Light of the Moon Week 95 – The Light of the Moon
Limbo Week 25 – Limbo
Lish Young Buy-a-Broom
Little ball of yarn Week 9 – The little ball of yarn
Lo! The Eastern Sages Rise Week 68 – Lo! The Eastern Sages Rise / Hark Hark What News
Lobster
Locks and Bolts Week 107 – Locks and Bolts
Long Looked For Come At Last
Long Peggin’ Awl
Lord Franklin
Lovely Elwina
Lord Bateman Week 26 – Lord Bateman
Lord Rothschild
Maggie
Maid and the Miller
Maid of Australia
Mail Coach Guard
Man He Killed
Man that lives, The Week 16 – Have you not heard / The man that lives
Master Kilby Week 99 – Master Kilby
May Carol Week 88 – Swalcliffe May Day Carol
May Song Week 36 – Northill May Song
Miller’s Song
The Minster’s Son
Mistletoe Bough Week 123 – The Mistletoe Bough
Mistress’s Healths
Moon Shines Bright Week 19 – The Moon Shines Bright
Morning Star
My Dog and I Week 7 – My Dog and I
My Husband’s Got No Courage in Him
My Love is Gone
My Son John Week 65 – My Son John
Nancy of Yarmouth Week 105 – Nancy of Yarmouth
Needlecases Week 77 – Needlecases
New Garden Fields
Newton’s Double (Hark the Herald Angels Sing) Week 122 – Hymn for Christmas Day / Sellwood Mollineux’ Carol / Newton’s Double
Nightingales Sing
No Man’s Land Week 12 – No Man’s Land
Nobleman and Thresherman Week 98 – Nobleman and Thresherman
Nobleman’s Wedding Week 30 – The Nobleman’s Wedding
Nora Daly
Northill May Song Week 36 – Northill May Song
Nottingham Goose Fair
Now All You Lads
Nowell, Nowell
Nutting Girl Week 91 – The Nutting Girl
O Good Ale
O Once I was a Shepherd Boy
Off to Epsom Races
Old Brown’s Daughter
Old Green River
Old John Braddalum
Old Miser Week 85 – The Old Miser
On Board a Ninety-Eight Week 113 – On Board a Ninety-Eight
On Christmas Day
Once I Courted a Damsel
Once I had a sweetheart Week 66 – As Sylvie was walking
One Cold Morning in December Week 15 – One Cold Morning in December / The Drunkard and the Pig
One Night As I Lay on My Bed
Outlandish Knight Week 28 – The Outlandish Knight
Our Captain Cried
Oyster Girl
Pace Egging Song Week 84 – Pace Egging Song
Padstow Wassail
Painting the Town
Parting Glass
Petition Of The Pigs In Kent Week 103 – Petition Of The Pigs In Kent
Poison Beer
Poison in a Glass of Wine Week 111 – Worcester City
Polly on the Shore
Polly Vaughan Week 76 – The Setting of the Sun
Poor Frozen-out Gardeners Week 73 – Poor Frozen-out Gardeners
Poor Old Horse Week 109 – Poor Old Horse
Poor Wayfaring Stranger
Queen of the May Week 37 – Queen of the May
Raking the Hay Week 51 – Raking the Hay
Rakish Young Fellow Week 32 – The Rakish Young Fellow
Rambling Blade Week 60 – The Rambling Blade
The Rambling Irishman
Rambling Sailor Week 31 – The Rambling Sailor
Recruited Collier
Rejoice and be Merry (Gallery Carol) Week 121 – Saint Stephen / Rejoice and be Merry
Riding Down to Portsmouth Week 1 – Riding Down to Portsmouth
Rigs of the Time Week 54 – The Rigs of the Time
Rigs of Rye Week 49 – The Rigs of Rye
Ring Merry Bells
Roll Jordan Roll
Rolling in the Dew
Rose of Allendale
Roving Journeyman Week 23 – The Roving Journeyman
Royal Forester
Saint Stephen Week 121 – Saint Stephen / Rejoice and be Merry
Salisbury Plain
Sally Free and Easy
Sans Day Carol
Saucy Sailor Week 3 – Saucy Sailor
Seamen Bold
Seeds of Love  
Sellwood Mollineux’ Carol (Hark the Glad Sound) Week 122 – Hymn for Christmas Day / Sellwood Mollineux’ Carol / Newton’s Double
Setting of the Sun Week 76 – The Setting of the Sun
Seven Joys of Mary Week 119 – The Seven Joys of Mary
Sheep Shearing Song Week 45 – Sheep Shearing Song
Sheffield Apprentice
Shepherd of the Downs Week 2 – A Shepherd of the Downs
Shepherd’s Song Week 14 – The Shepherd’s Song
Shepherds Amazed Week 120 – The Shepherds Amazed
Shepherds Arise
Shepherds Rejoice
Shooting Goschen’s Cocks Up Week 13 – Shooting Goschen’s Cocks Up
Sing a Full Song
Six Dukes
Sleep on beloved
Small Birds Whistle
So Was I
Soldier and the Lady
Somerset Wassail
Sovay Week 87 – Sovay
Spencer the Rover Week 11 – Spencer the Rover
Spotted Cow
Stannington
Stroll Away the Morning Dew Week 39 – Stroll Away the Morning Dew
Sussex Carol Week 18 – The Sussex Carol
Swalcliffe May Day Carol Week 88 – Swalcliffe May Day Carol
Swansea Town
Sweet Chiming Bells
Sweet Lemeney Week 96 – Sweet Lemeney
Sweet Swansea Week 29 – Sweet Swansea
There is a Fountain of Christ’s Blood
There Was Four-and-Twenty Strangers Week 58 – There Was Four-and-Twenty Strangers / The Irish hop-pole puller
This is the truth sent from above Week 69 – This is the truth sent from above
Three Maidens a-Milking Did Go Week 81 – Three Maidens a-Milking Did Go
Through Lonesome Woods Week 100 – Through Lonesome Woods
Trees are All Bare
Tees they do grow high
Treat my daughter kindly
‘Twas on one April Morning
Underneath your apron Week 10 – Underneath your apron
Unfortunate Tailor
Up in the North
Van Diemen’s Land
Veteran
Wager, A Week 21 – A Wager
Wait till the clouds roll by
Warlike Seamen
Wassail Songs Week 71 – The Gower Wassail

Week Before Easter Week 83 – A Week Before Easter
When a man’s in love Week 75 – When a man’s in love
When Autumn Skies Were Blue Week 57 – When Autumn Skies Were Blue
When I was on horseback
When Jones’ Ale was new Week 44 – When Jones’ Ale was new
When Spring Comes In
When You and I Were Young, Maggie
While Shepherds Watched
White Cockade
White Hare (White Hare of Howden) Week 118 – The White Hare
Whitsun Dance
Who owns the game?
Widow that Keeps the Cock Inn
Wild Rover Week 41 – The Wild Rover
William Rufus
William Taylor (William Taylor the Poacher) Week 5 – William Taylor
Wind across the Wild Moor Week 24 – The Wind across the Wild Moor
Woodman’s Daughter Week 89 – The Woodman’s Daughter
Woodside
Wop She ‘ad it-io Week 47 – Wop She ‘ad it-io
Worcester City Week 111 – Worcester City
Working on the new railroad
Ye Boys o’ Callieburn
You Roving Lads of Pleasure
Young Banker
Young girl cut down in her prime Week 150 – Young girl cut down in her prime
November 1, 2015

Week 219 – Maid of Australia

When I was 16 or 17 I signed up to the record-lending section of my local public library. The first two discs I borrowed were an early music recording of songs from the Carmina Burana, and the Topic/Caedmon LP Songs of Seduction. Now the Folk Songs of Britain series, of which this was part, has been heavily criticised for the way its editors, Alan Lomax and Peter Kennedy, chopped out verses from songs, or had bits of one song sung by several different singers. (The CD reissue of Songs of Seduction did restore most of the originally-deleted verses, but some reviewers still found plenty to complain about – complaints which could be summed up as objecting to Kennedy’s rather high-handed and proprietorial attitude towards the songs and their singers). But back in 1961 when the LP was first released, I guess the editors had limited time available on each disc, and they wanted to present, to those unused to listening to British traditional singers, as wide a range of songs and as wide a range of singers as possible. In that they succeeded. Some 15 years later, I was just the kind of listener the records had been aimed at: I had developed (via Steeleye, the Watersons, the Chieftains etc.) a great love of folk music, but so far the only traditional singers I had heard were the Copper Family. Suddenly, I was presented with some of the greats of traditional song – Harry Cox, Thomas Moran, Jeannie Robertson, Davie Stewart, George Spicer… And (I was a teenage boy, remember) they were all singing about sex. What’s not to like?

One of the songs included on the LP – in a reasonably complete form, as I recall – was Harry Cox’s ‘Maid of Australia’. So I was familiar with the song from the LP, then learned the words from Peter Kennedy’s book Folk Songs of Britain and Ireland, also borrowed from the public library. (Incidentally, after years of borrowing that book from various libraries, I finally bought a copy the other week – one of a number of books Steve Roud was selling off at the EFDSS Folk Song Conference, in a desperate effort to reduce the size of his personal library before moving house).

It’s one of those songs which, for no apparent reason, seems to have been a favourite in East Anglia, and hardly ever encountered elsewhere in Britain – besides Harry Cox, it has been recorded from Walter Pardon and Sam Larner, while Vaughan Williams took down a version from Mr Crist in King’s Lynn, and John Howson recorded a version in 1993 from Tom Smith at Thorpe Merieux in Suffolk. Just to prove it’s not a solely East Anglian preserve, however, here’s the version Sabine Baring-Gould noted from George Doidge at Chillaton in Devon: http://www.vwml.org/record/SBG/1/3/228.

And, needless to say, the song appeared on at least one broadside ballad sheet.

The maids of Australia, printed between 1863 and 1885 by H. Such. From the Bodleian collection.

The maids of Australia, printed between 1863 and 1885 by H. Such. From the Bodleian collection.

The song itself is, of course, the most fantastic male sexual fantasy. The narrator is out for a walk by the Hawkesborough River. He sits down to rest for a bit, when who should he spy but a young native woman – a young woman intent on having a dip in the river, it would seem as, without further ado, she takes off all her clothes. Realising that she is being watched, she blushes, but her embarrassment is shortlived: she quickly recovers her composure and makes it clear that she feels no reason to be ashamed of her naked body.

For the young man on the bank, things just seem to get better and better.

Well she dived in the water without fear or dread
And her beautiful limbs she exceedingly spread

– well, there’s a sight for a young man

Her hair hung in ringlets, the colour it was black
Sir, said she, you will see how I float on my back…

Oh my – I think I might need to go and have a lie-down.

Well she can’t swim for ever, of course. After a while she begins to get tired. Ever the gentleman, he helps her out. But – accidentally, of course – his foot slips, and down they fall together. And, in possibly the finest pun in English traditional song, “then I entered the bush of Australia”.

They frolic together for a while – “in the highest of glee”, naturally. But all men are bastards, so he ups and leaves her, and nine months later (all folk song characters being unfeasibly fecund) she finds herself a single mother.

I did for a while sing a rewrite of the last verse, in which I attempted to draw attention to the colonialist, patriarchal attitudes implicit in the song. But it was just as clumsy as that makes it sound, so I reverted to Harry Cox’s original. At least that way the audience can join in with the last line.

Maid of Australia

December 13, 2014

Week 173 – On Christmas Day

Not exactly full of Christmas cheer, this week’s entry. Nor does this bleak song portray the Redeemer as a particularly forgiving or compassionate deity. It’s quite widely sung these days, but has been rarely collected. In fact pretty much every version you hear around the folk scene is likely to derive directly or indirectly from the version recorded by Fred Hamer from the wonderful Shropshire gypsy singer May Bradley, or that collected in 1912 from her mother Esther Smith by Ralph Vaughan Williams and Ella Leather.

You can hear May Bradley singing the song on the EFDSS CD A Century of Song, and on the Musical Traditions disc Sweet Swansea. Her mother’s singing had also been recorded – on phonograph cylinder – although unfortunately we’re not in a position to hear that.

On the EFDSS cassette The Leaves of Life – following on from May Bradley’s singing of ‘Under the Leaves’ – you can hear the moment when Fred Hamer realises that she is the daughter of Esther Smith. Hamer seems to get quite excited at the Vaughan Williams connection, but Mrs Bradley is clearly unimpressed by any mention of “the greatest composer in this country”. It’s a lovely insight into the cultural chasm that could exist between singer and collector.

Another version of the song, collected from an unnamed gypsy singer in the New Forest, is titled ‘In Dessexshire as it Befel’. You can download a PDF of that version from http://spellerweb.net/cmindex/Gipsy/Dessexshire.html

The notes on that site say

This curious carol was one of a number collected by Alice Elizabeth Gillington (1863-1934), a clergyman’s daughter and student of gypsy culture who herself spent the last quarter century of her life as a gypsy. The Herefordshire gipsy carol, On Christmas day it happened so is a variant of this one.

I’ve almost known the words of this song for years, and recently decided it was time I learned it properly. Incidentally, this is not the only Christmas song from Shropshire where the sins of the farmer are visited upon his livestock – see also ‘The Man that Lives’.

On Christmas Day

July 6, 2014

Week 150 – Young girl cut down in her prime

It’s Week 150, and here to celebrate is the song which is number 2 in Steve Roud’s index (bizarrely I don’t currently sing a version of Roud number 1). There are 219 examples listed, but no doubt the number could be much higher. Starting life in the late eighteenth century as a “homilectic street ballad… concerning the death and ceremonial funeral of a soldier “disordered” by a woman” (A.L.Lloyd’s notes, Penguin Book of English Folk Songs) the song has spread all over the English-speaking world, and the expiring principal character has metamorphosed from an Unfortunate Rake or Unfortunate Lad to an Unfortunate Lass, a Sailor Cut Down in his Prime, Dying Airman, Dying Stockman, Cowboy, Gambler… while the location might range from St James’ Hospital, to St James’ Infirmary, down by the Royal Albion, the Banks of the Clyde, Cork City, the Streets of Laredo…

The unfortunate lad, broadside printed by Such between 1863 and 1885, from the Bodleian collection.

The Unfortunate Lad, broadside printed by Such between 1863 and 1885, from the Bodleian collection.

The very first version I heard would have been ‘When I was on Horseback’, on the Steeleye Span album Ten Man Mop. That version, recorded in the 1950s from Irish tinker Mary Doran, is rather minimalist: if you don’t already know the story it’s hard to work out exactly what’s going on (incidentally you can hear Mary Doran’s stunning version on the recently-released Topic CD set The Flax in Bloom). A bit later I came across ‘St James’ Infirmary’ in the Penguin Book of American Folk Songs edited by Alan Lomax. It’s a song I’ve always meant to learn, but never have (although I can play the chords on the ukulele). Then I heard another version, in the shape of ‘The Bad Girl’ on Fiddler’s Dram’s eponymous post-‘Bangor’ LP (it’s actually one of several pretty good tracks on the album).

I don’t suppose I connected these songs at the time; that realisation came later (and, later still, the history and evolution of the song was covered in some depth by David Atkinson in the first of the EFDSS’s short-lived Root & Branch series).

I had planned for many years to learn Harry Upton’s ‘Royal Albion’ (or possibly Alf Wildman’s similar ‘The Banks of the Clyde’) but again never got round to it. Then I came across this version, and very soon realised it was a song I had to learn – especially when I found I could sing it in D minor, and it just fits like a dream on the C/G anglo.

The tune was collected by Cecil Sharp from Shadrack ‘Shepherd’ Haden, at Bampton in Oxfordshire. It is printed, along with two others, in the Journal of the Folk-Song Society number 17, in 1913. Sharp does not seem to have collected more than the first verse from Shepherd Haden; the five verses given in the Journal were noted by Francis Jekyll at East Meon in Hampshire (the singer’s name is not given). I put together a composite set of words from various sources, including the Hampshire version – which is also the version included in the Penguin Book of English Folk Songs.

“Sailor Cut Down In His Prime” collected from Shepherd Haden 21 Aug 1909, from the EFDSS Full English archive.

Although I’ve been singing this for a few years now, I’ve not actually performed it in public that often, and the accompaniment is still quite fluid: I recorded it three times for this blog, and played the ending differently each time. Still not sure which one I prefer, so if you see me singing this at a gig, it might have changed again.

Young girl cut down in her prime

Andy Turner – vocal, C/G anglo-concertina

June 28, 2014

Week 149 – The Isle of France

‘The Isle of France’ was collected by H.E.D. Hammond from Joseph Elliott of Todber, Dorset. It concerns a transported convict who is on his way home at the end of his sentence, but is shipwrecked on the island of Mauritius. l’Île de France was the name given to Mauritius until it passed from French to British control in 1810.

I discovered the song while looking for something else in the Hammond MSS, which at the time were available only on microfilm at the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library, but which are now of course included in the Full English archive.

The Isle of France, from the Hammond Collection, via the EFDSS Full English Archive.

The Isle of France, from the Hammond Collection, via the EFDSS Full English Archive.

Joseph Elliott had a number of songs with not-the-usual tune, which it seems he picked up during his time in Canada:

In about 1850, when he was around 19 years old, he signed on as a fisherman in the Newfoundland cod fishing industry, sailing out from Dartmouth with about 60 other men (mainly men from Dorset).  He was out there for 3 or 4 years, and told the Hammond brothers that that was where he learned his songs.

(thanks to John Shaw via the Musical Traditions site for this information)

 

The song appeared frequently on ballad sheets – check out these versions at Ballads Online.

The Isle of France: broadside ballad printed by H. Such of London between 1863 and 1885. From the Bodleian collection.

The Isle of France: broadside ballad printed by H. Such of London between 1863 and 1885. From the Bodleian collection.

I recorded the song with Magpie Lane on our CD The Robber Bird. Below you will find a live recording of us performing it last year at the Red Lion Folk Club in Birmingham.

 

The Isle of France

Magpie Lane:

Andy Turner – vocal, C/G anglo-concertina
Ian Giles – vocal
Jon Fletcher – guitar
Sophie Thurman – cello
Mat Green – fiddle

Recorded at the Red Lion Folk Club, Birmingham, 6th March 2013.

April 26, 2014

Week 140 – Down By The Shannon Side

I learned this song from the Cornish traveller Charlotte Renals, who is featured along with her sisters Betsy Renals and Sophie Legg on the Veteran cassette Catch me if you Can (now available in expanded form as VT119CD). Her version has several two and three line verses. I’ve filled in the gaps, and put the verses in a more logical order, with the help of a very complete set of words collected by Cecil Sharp in August 1905 from Captain Robert Lewis of Minehead in Somerset.

In Charlotte Renals’ version the male protagonist is Captain Walters. A perfectly respectable name. But in Captain Lewis’ version the bounder’s name is Captain Thunderbold:

My name is Captain Thunderbold
It’s a name I will ne’er deny

Well why would you deny a name like that? And how could I resist including it in the song?

Looking at the numerous broadside versions available via Broadside Ballads Online  the name seems to be universally given as ‘Captain Thunderbolt’ and this is the title Phoebe Smith has for her version of the song.

The Shannon Side – broadside from the Bodleian collection, printed by H. Such, between 1863 and 1885.

The Shannon Side – broadside from the Bodleian collection, printed by H. Such, between 1863 and 1885.

I had let this song lapse for several years, but recently relearned it, and I must say it’s good to have the song back in my repertoire.

Down By The Shannon Side

 

April 5, 2014

Week 137 – Van Diemen’s Land

Learned from the singing of Walter Pardon, via his debut LP, A Proper Sort. And it’s a particularly fine performance by Walter as well – you can hear the same recording, made in 1974 by Bill Leader and Peter Bellamy, on Farewell, My Own Dear Native Land (The Voice of the People Volume 4).

Van Diemen’s Land, in case anyone is unaware, was the former name for Tasmania. I retain Walter Pardon’s pronunciation of “Die-man” rather than the more usual “Dee-man”. There are actually two related, but distinct, songs which share the title Van Diemen’s Land. Roy Palmer believes that this one – Roud 221, originally Young Henry the Poacher – may have been a sequel to the original Van Diemen’s Land,  Roud 519. Writing in the Folk Music Journal in 1976, Roy argued that both songs were prompted by two major trials of poachers in Warwickshire, in 1829. This followed the enactment of  a new law in 1828 which stated that “if three men were found in a wood, and one of them carried a gun or bludgeon, all were liable to be transported for fourteen years” (FMJ Vol 3 No 2, p161). This ballad in particular, Roy says, appears to have been influenced by the events in Warwickshire.

Young Henry the poacher - ballad sheet printed by H Such between 1863 and 1885; from the Bodleian collection via Ballads Online.

Young Henry the poacher – ballad sheet printed by H Such between 1863 and 1885; from the Bodleian collection via Ballads Online.

I have a very distinct memory of singing this song at “One for Ron”, an event held to celebrate the life of Sussex singer Ron Spicer, a year or so after his death. There was a massive singaround in the afternoon – it must have gone on for around 3 hours, but there were so many singers present that hardly anyone got the chance to sing more than one song. When I got to the chorus of this one, I started to sing it in my normal way

Young men, all now beware
Lest you are drawn into a snare

But I quickly realised that a stronger force was at work in the room. In the far corner sat the mighty Gordon Hall – a big man, with a big voice. Gordon never liked to rush a song, and his way of singing the chorus was more like

Young men, a—-ll now bewa——re [pause]
Lest you are drawn int–o a sna——-re

There was nothing to do but go with the flow, and sing it at Gordon’s pace. Which was, clearly, the right way to sing it!

Van Diemen’s Land

March 16, 2013

Week 82 – The Birds upon the Tree

Here’s another song from Charlie Bridger, from Stone-in-Oxney in Kent. This is perhaps the song for which he has become best known – it was the title track of a compilation of Mike Yates field recordings on the Musical Traditions label, and the song was recorded by Jon Boden as part of his A Folk Song A Day project.

Charlie himself learned the song from an old boy called Nip Bailey. Here’s an extract from my interview with Charlie on 15th April 1983:

Andy:    Nip Bailey was it?

Charlie: Yeah, old Nip.

Andy:    Was he the one that worked in the oasts?

Charlie: That’s right, he was the old hop-drier. He couldn’t see very well; I used to go and level his hops for him, ’cause he couldn’t …the old driers they had a chalk mark – red charcoal mark – round the roundel, you know, so if they had so many bags of hops, or so many pokes of hops, they knew that should come up to that certain mark, see, and he couldn’t see that old mark… [?] was dark, I remember an old storm lantern hanging up for a light in there. And I used to help the old boy with his hop-drying, of a night.

Andy:    Was that Woodchurch?

Charlie: No that was Kenardington …on the corner; not the square ones, the single one right on the corner. High House Farm. There’s tomatoes and that they grow there now …an old man named Benny Coveney had that then; old bachelor.

[that oast,  should you be interested, appears to be this one as shown on Google Street View]

Adrian Russell:  Was he well known locally as a singer?

Charlie: No, he was known for singing ‘The Birds upon the trees’, that was all. He used to like a sing-song though, you know. Oh no, he was only known in Woodchurch really for his song ‘The Birds upon the trees’, that’s what they always used to associate him with, for his singing. My old grandfather used to say “Come on Nip”; he used to get his cornet out, my old grandfather; old Nip used to sing, and he used to play. In the pub, this was. Have you got ‘The Birds upon the trees’ taped, have you?

Andy:    No, no.

Charlie: Oh, you don’t know the tune then do you?



Birds upon the tree by W. C. Robey, published New York: Hitchcock's Music Store, 1882. From the Library of Congress Music for the Nation: American Sheet Music collection.

Birds upon the tree by W. C. Robey, published New York: Hitchcock’s Music Store, 1882. From the Library of Congress Music for the Nation: American Sheet Music collection.

The song was actually written by the American lyricist and composer W.C. Robey, and first published in New York in 1882. The sheet music can be viewed on the Library of Congress Music for the Nation website – you’ll see that the oral tradition has introduced changes both to the words and the melody.


The Roud Index lists only two other collected versions: one recorded in the 1950s from  Tom Brodie in Cumberland, which can be heard on a Veteran CD Pass the Jug Round ; and the other, intriguingly, collected by Percy Grainger from the great Joseph Taylor.







In the extract above, Charlie talks about his grandfather getting his cornet out to accompany this song: in fact Charlie’s father (also Charles) and his grandfather (Tom) both played in the Woodchurch Band, and Charlie himself joined the band when just a boy. There is a photo of the band from the early 1920s, when Charlie was maybe 9 or 10, with him sitting cross-legged in the front, holding a clarinet. The photo shown here is obviously earlier, but both Charlie’s father and grandfather are included in the group.

Woodchurch Band: from a copy of the photo provided to me by Charlie Bridger. Charlie's father (Charles) and grandfather (Tom) are both in this photo.

Woodchurch Band: from a copy of the photo provided to me by Charlie Bridger. Charlie’s father (Charles) and grandfather (Tom) are both in this photo.

Charlie played with a number of wind and brass bands during his life. When I met him in 1983 he was a member of the Cranbrook Band – playing tenor horn, I believe –  and he continued to perform with them until well into his seventies.

Clearly this was an important part of his life; and as a boy it was one way in which he was exposed to, and started to learn, the old songs. Charlie and his Dad would walk over the fields from Kenardington to Woodchurch for band practices (a couple of miles or so); then after the practice there would be  a trip to the pub with, often, a sing-song. Indeed the music-making didn’t necessarily stop there – another song Charlie sang me, ‘Won’t you buy my pretty flowers’, used to be sung by “old Frank Samson”

He used to play in the old Woodchurch Band, he used to play tenor horn, and he used to play that on the way home through the fields…


The Birds upon the Tree

The Birds Upon The Tree - words written out by Charlie Bridger 1983

The Birds Upon The Tree – words written out by Charlie Bridger 1983