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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Young Edward In The Lowlands

2014
07.23

Another murder ballad and Jon attributes  Martin Carthy once again as his source saying, “I’m not sure where Martin Carthy got this version, but I think I prefer it to the more common Irish version, although that’s great too (particularly when Paul Brady sings it.)” The message in this cautionary tale seems to be simply, “don’t flash your cash.” Various alternatives have the unlucky lad as Edwin and Edmund and Martin actually recorded it as Young Emma, the female in love with the victim in the tale. This link is instructive and you can see from that Louis Killen and Steeleye Span have both recorded Edwin variants of the title. Peter Bellamy also gives it his unique unaccompanied treatment as Edmund In The Lowlands, which you’ll find on the recently re-released CD,  Both Sides Then, one of the Topic 70 series. Interestingly, Martin’s version seems to have traversed the Atlantic twice over, which may explain the slight difference. Mudcat away here too, I suspect that searching the title variants will yield even more if that hasn’t sated your appetite.

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The buy links should now work properly. We had some problems with a duplicate track and everything needed to be updated, but I’ve just tested them and they are now OK!

You can buy the digital album now from the following stores:

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Sally Free and Easy

2014
07.22

A song by Cyril Tawney, of whom Jon says, “One of the great writers of the revival. Tawney’s songs have a majesty and depth to them that not many writers-in-the-tradition have ever equalled.” This song has clearly captured the imagination of many as a quick Google brings up Bob Dylan, Marianne Faithful, Pentangle, The Trees and The Corries amongst others. I also found this Guardian obituary for Cyril, which certainly makes interesting reading.  You’ll find the lyrics at Mudcat here and scroll down to find related Cyril Tawney threads.

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The buy links should now work properly. We had some problems with a duplicate track and everything needed to be updated, but I’ve just tested them and they are now OK!

You can buy the digital album now from the following stores:

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A nice Bonus for you all…

2014
07.21

Topic Records have given us special permission to add Fay Hield’s version of Yellow Roses for you as a little extra.  I mentioned it in the post on 14th of July and it raised considerable interest. I also incorrectly referred to Fay as Jon’s wife – they aren’t married – not that it makes any difference, but let’s get the story straight. Anyway Jon’s partner, Fay, is set to release Looking Glass on September 6th and this is track five on what proves to be a lovely record. I asked Fay for a word about the recording and she wrote, “Jon took me to a Forrest School Camps weekend a coupe of years ago.   I heard Little Yellow Roses being sung round the campfire and simply fell in love with it.  I had planned to record it unaccompanied, but when I tried singing with Sam Sweeney on the nyckelharpa I felt it created such a desolate, ethereal atmosphere that suited this song so well, it just had to be.”

I think you’ll like this a lot…

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The Stonecutter Boy

2014
07.21

Jon attributes Anne Briggs as his source for this with the observation, “One of the nice things with the oral tradition is the way stories get whittled down to their simplest forms. This is a small but perfectly formed saucy, little ballad.” This link also mentions a version recorded in 1966 by A.L. Lloyd, the same year that Briggs released it on the LP Bird In The Bush (a collection of traditional erotic songs.) You’ll find her version on Anne Briggs A Collection and the sleeve notes on that push the point that although “Cecil Sharp noted a version but never printed it; perhaps because to polite people of his day, the idea of girls actually enjoying sexual intercourse was offensive. Too good for the working classes?”  I can’t even give you a Mudcat link here as the only ones I can turn up are a debate about whether folk music is sexy  and one about Next Market Day, an entirely different song that makes a more codified reference to the same kind of liaison (well, that’s how I read it). If anyone can add anything, therefore, I’d be grateful. There may be lyrical or title variants that have slipped me by.

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The buy links should now work properly. We had some problems with a duplicate track and everything needed to be updated, but I’ve just tested them and they are now OK!

You can buy the digital album now from the following stores:

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Rain it Rains

2014
07.20

Here we stray form the traditional again, but as Jon explains, “The words are about 60% Shakespeare 40% me. I know several Shakespearean directors who would consider this a hanging offence, but I figure if Shakespeare borrowed from the oral tradition, why shouldn’t we borrow it back again?” Those familiar with the Spiers & Boden Vagabonds CD, will know the song, but that jaunty treatment is turned somewhat on its head. Jon and his guitar give the song a melancholy that brings out the lyrical theme more obviously. For anyone needing  a reference of the lyrics, you’ll find them here.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

The buy links should now work properly. We had some problems with a duplicate track and everything needed to be updated, but I’ve just tested them and they are now OK!

You can buy the digital album now from the following stores:

  • Share/Bookmark