Here we go round again…

2014
02.04

This site was originally conceived by Jon Boden and launched in June of 2010 to deliver at least one new song a day for a year. It’s about encouraging social singing and intended as a resource for the audience to gather their own inspiration, perhaps learn new repertoire and wherever possible take that out into the wider world. Each new song was set to appear at the very start of the day as the midnight hour ticked by. The process was reset each subsequent year, finding a new audience each time around, as well as keeping many devotees happy and has just been started again.

All of the songs were recorded by Jon, sometimes with instrumental accompaniment, sometimes without and occasionally with a helping hand or voice or two. As well as the songs themselves, each day featured a post that tried to unravel the origins and mysteries behind the songs, Jon’s inspirations and some general history wherever it seemed of interest. Those posts were all written in 2010 as a journey of discovery, with links to other resources where appropriate. Some of those resources may not have had the staying power of AFSAD, but we will be trying to fix any broken links that we can as we go.

You will also find that some of Jon’s choices and performances provoked praise comment, criticism and in some cases a good degree of extra ferreting around the net to add to the story, so the comments are well worth your attention. Anyone is welcome to join in, subject to moderation of course, although pretty much all opinions are accepted as long as they are reasonably and politely expressed. Anyone is welcome and no special knowledge is required, so feel free to add to the threads, but more than anything, enjoy the music.

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Doffing Mistress

2014
10.26

Jon simply says of this, “From the spectacularly good Silly Sisters.” Maddy and June of course, who recorded this twice. It’s likely that this Irish song came to their attention via Anne Briggs and Mainly Norfolk has a detailed account of the various recordings, as you’d expect. This is another song very much form the industrial heritage, although linen production in Ireland goes back many centuries, this is clearly from the mechanised, rather than home spun era. I’m quite taken by the line “She hangs her coat on the highest pin,” and the explanation that as a supervisor she didn’t have to spend her working day bent over, so had no trouble reaching it. There is a certain cheekiness to it as well, with the factory boss or foreman obviously not held in high regard. Although it’s also a surprisingly cheerful little song, that probably speaks of comparative, communal prosperity, despite what must have been some fairly grim working conditions, not to mention the child labour.

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You can buy the October digital album now from all good download stores:

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Good Old Way

2014
10.25

Jon referes to his time with Eliza saying, “Another one we did with the Ratcatchers – we never recorded it but there may be some versions on YouTube.” So it’s no surprise to find this amongst the Watersons’ canon and therefore on Mainly Norfolk. I was just thinking as this played it had an obvious hymnal crossover in lyrics and structure and the I read Bert Lloyd’s notes on their recording of this. Apart from sealing the veracity of my thinking, it did make me wonder about other such songs that perhaps came through ‘the folk movement’ rather than the higher brow composers. It seems also that the religious fervor here didn’t necessarily sit well with the powers that be and thus when apparent order was restored, how many songs were cast adrift by the hymn book editing process. Then of course we get back to Monks Gate and A Blacksmith Courted Me from the end of July. And yes YouTube coughs up at least one version as Jon suggests, not the worst, but not the best… I’m inclined to play the quality trump card, but what the hell! Jon mentioned it so here it is.

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The Death Of Queen Jane

2014
10.24

This is based on historical fact, although possibly takes a few liberties with actual events and Jon says, “I Learnt from the Bothy band, although it’s an English song through and through and it’s unusual to come across a sympathetic characterisation of Henry VIII.”  Jane survived the birth to die some days later (or did she?), while the prince survived but dies young. This Wiki page is interesting and starts with the idea that it isn’t about Jane Seymour at all, but doesn’t really offer much support for that idea. It’s still worth a gander at the words as Child recorded them. Should you really want the full Child experience, the link at the bottom of the page or here gives multiple variations. You might want to Mudcat as well and I note that there is no answer to how old this is, although it might relate to The Lamentation Of Queen Jane from 1560.  I also found this, but wont link to the site as it plays a horrible midi file relentlessly that I can’t seem to turn off and I don’t know the source of this information, which seems very sure of itself…

A version of this ballad appears as early as 1612. It is reprinted in Old Ballads (1723).

You might want to stop by here for a classic Mondegreen. As always, if you can add more to the story of the song please do.

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Jock Stewart

2014
10.23

Another from camp and Jon says,“From FSC and a great chorus, although there’s not much else to recommend it, but there it is.” That’s slightly dismissive perhaps as there’s more to this than first meets the eye. This seems to be a Scottish or Borders version of an Irish song call I’m A Man You Don’t Meet Every Day, a version of which, I believe appeared on the Pogues Rum, Sodomy And  The Lash, but also seems to have some considerable history. Mudcat offers this thread for starters and there’s lots more if you search around here for example, although I caution you that this latter link drifts into pointless time theft. Perhaps Jon’s right and the chorus is it. While you’re there then, mine’s a pint!

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You can buy the October digital album now from all good download stores:

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Bellowhead make the Official UK Charts Top 20

2014
10.22

Just thought you’d all be intererested to know that Broadside entered the charts at number 16 yesterday. In a world where Mumford & Sons are most peoples idea of folk music, this is a remarkable achievement and hearty congratulations are in order, with a big thankyou to everyone who bought a copy to put it there.

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