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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Tam Lin

2014
10.31

A suitably timed epic for Halloween. Jon gives us a nice little insight into the Boden household too saying, “For some reason Fay and I have taken to singing this to Polly (and now Jacob) every night as an ‘off to sleep now’ song, so between us we must have sung it a thousand times over the last few years, we never get bored of it though.” Interestingly Jon’s take seems closest to Anne Briggs’ version according to Mainly Norfolk. Unusually Reinhard even has some musical tab posted for this, which probably says much for its classic status. Although if you follow that link, you’ll also spot that he starts with a disclaimer and points you in this direction. It was the first thing that Goggle delivered to me as well – a whole website devoted to the song. Marvelous stuff and a truly memorable performance!

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

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Dig My Grave

2014
10.30

Jon simply names his source as, “Also from The McGarrigle Hour album.” This seems likely to be a spiritual and that may have some roots in The Bahamas. You can read more on Mudcat here. It’s a simple enough folk-hymn, that may have it’s roots in something older, but this Wiki page about spirituals is interesting and suggests that might not have been the case. It’s also interesting that The Weavers recorded a version on a record called Songs For Political Actions, suggesting that this in some way became politicised, perhaps identified with the Civil Rights Movement. Although I guess that the sentiment, which seems to be accepting of death and subsequent heavenly promotion, suggests that God and righteousness are indeed on the side of the singer. Whatever his or her fate the moral high ground is claimed. Having just found the CD on my shelf, I note that the McGarrigles’ version is arranged by Chaim Tannenbaum who is described as a “musical playmate of Kate & Anna’s since schooldays.” The notes for the track make clear reference to the Bahamian origins, “learned form a favourite Sam Charters anthology.” It also claims that it was a regular in their set “as a showcase for Chaim’s extraordinary singing.” I promised myself I’d play the CD the last time the Kate & Anna came up, I shall do so this evening.

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

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Bellowhead Podcast

2014
10.29

Just thought you’d all appreciate the Bellowhead podcast that’s available on the blog. Squeezy and Benji are in talking to Trevor Dann and jolly good fun it is too. The blog has moved again. You should be automatically redirected, but here’s a link direct to the Bellowhead post for you. There’s plenty of other exciting stuff there too, should you have the time for a browse around and you maight like to make it a regular fixture in you lives. There’s a very good archive of podcasts, although in future they won’t be weekly.

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Mad Family

2014
10.29

You can sense Jon’s glee as he says, “Found in the Oxford book of Nursery rhymes. One of those too-good-to be-true moments when I came across it.” It is of course on Fay’s excellent Looking Glass CD as well, although you’ll already know that (won’t you!) I’ve not much to add to that except that the family’s location can certainly be changed to suit your purpose, should any of you be singing this out and about.

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

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Goodnight Irene

2014
10.28

One of Jon’s favourites it seems as he says, “I really love this song and was quite chuffed when Tom Waits recorded it on Orphans, as well as Young At Heart, which is another unrelated favourite of mine – nice to have your musical taste validated by a genius. He also does a great Two Sisters- definitely a closet folky.” The song is of course an old one and while it will be forever associated with Lead Belly, it’s not until after his death that the Weavers’ version of this made the Billboard Charts. They somewhat sanitised the suicidal tendencies, which I note are reinstated here. Wiki is instructive here suggesting that although it may date back to the C19th, Lead Belly heavily modified it anyway. At the risk of upsetting other, other admin, I can’t help but note its curious use on the football terraces, where it’s the club song of ‘The Gas’ (Bristol Rovers), although the reasons for this seem to be as obscure as the song’s actual origins.

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

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