Jon acknowledges Steeleye’s version of this and says, “This is a great atmospheric seduction song and I’ve always loved the ‘drink down the moon’ line.”
Oddly, Mainly Norfolk suggests, correctly I believe, that Steeleye’s version from Now We Are Six adds some extra verses from The Cuckoo. There are plenty of alternate versions, however, from Anne Briggs and Shirley Collins, Norma & Lal Waterson and Frankie Armstrong, all of which follow the same sequence of events. It’s another of those coded songs, although the meaning is fairly apparent, which makes me wonder why it was necessary to be so coy. Whose sensibilities were being protected here? I note the song as we know it might well have been through the censorship mincer as well, being considered a little too racy by the collectors. This Mudcat thread is quite amusing with someone getting a bit carried away with the pagan Goddess stuff. Nice theory though it is, it’s probably a layer of ‘meaning’ too far and gets fairly shrift from the cognoscenti, even a handy, passing pagan doesn’t buy it. Whatever the symbolism, I like this song and Jon’s guitar works a treat.
You can buy the February digital album now from all good download stores:
Bonus track: Bird In The Bush (Live at Kirkgate Arts, Cockermouth, 18th Feb 2011)
For more details on the AFSAD Tour and the after-show singing sessions, visit the AFSAD Live page.