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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While Shepherds Watched

2014
12.20

Our third and final While Shepherd’s Watched… is the Lyngham variant and it’s nice to hear Jon tackle this differently, solo with concertina. According to Wiki this is the popular tune in Cornwall (although I’d welcome comment on that) and is more commonly associated with the hymn Oh For A Thousand Tongues To Sing.  That tune was apparently written by Thomas Jarman circa 1803.

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Awake Arise Good Christians

2014
12.19

Another of the popular Sheffield selection and one form across the Atlantic it seems form the pen Of Charles Lewis Hutchins of Concord, New Hampshire born in 1838. He was fairly prolific, although this is from quite late in his life, published in 1916, four years before his death. Should you wish to know more about the right reverend, link here.

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We Wish You A Merry Christmas

2014
12.18

I love the singing and the arrangement of this, but was totally thrown by the lyrics and have never heard this version before. It seems it’s probably a fairly modern rewrite of what is a very old song that originally has more to do with the wassailing and door to door carolling of old and is missing its figgy pudding and the threat that, “we won’t go until we get some.”  As such, the original is one of the few carols where the authorship is not actually known and it seems not to be included in the early carol books either. It’s also unusual in containing the wish for a happy New Year, retained here in an otherwise very religious makeover. Jon explains that as far as he knows, “This is only sung in the Sheffield area and usually at or towards the end of a big group sing.” The chorus certainly works this one up a treat and you can imagine a packed pub bellowing along. I quizzed Jon for more details and he explained, “ It’s from Ian Russell’s book called The Sheffield Book Of Village Carols and is associated with the Mount family of Worrall, with several versions sung in south Yorkshire and at least one variant in Somerset.”

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Mount Moriah

2014
12.17

Jon brackets the next three day’s songs as being, “More biggies from the Sheffield tradition.” The title of this is most curious and I wonder if it refers to the tune, although the village carol site has it listed by the same name here. I find it curious as the titular mount doesn’t feature in the lyrics and seems to relate to the story of Abraham and the sacrifice of Isaac and the subsequent building of a temple by Solomon. It seems to be holy both in Judaism and Islam. Maybe I’m missing something but I don’t see its relevance  to Jesus. This Wiki page made nothing clearer, so perhaps those with more theological zeal than I can cast light in dark corners, or is this just another Spout Cottage as it does appear on the carols’ site.

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Jingle Bells

2014
12.16

Tee-hee… “I like to Victorian silliness of this. It seems to have a bit more breathing space as a waltz.” I’m rather glad to hear Jon taking liberties with Mr. Pierpoint’s creation, originally written  in 1857 for Thanksgiving rather than Christmas anyway, apparently. Where the extra couple of verses have come from is less clear!

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

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