Archive for August, 2014

Yarmouth Town


2014
08.31

I know I’m not giving much away when I say that this is one of 11 cuts to make Hedonism, due with us on October 4th. Jon once again refers to the Norfolk maestro, “Bellamy’s sublime live album Won’t You Go My Way ended ‘Last one so make the most of it…’ So it seems a good way to end August (is that the end of summer technically btw?)” As to the summer question my vote would be the equinox, although arguably, meteorologically it seemed to finish when the schools broke up as far as most of the UK is concerned. Speaking of schools, as a parent (formerly concerned now mostly immune), I had to include this link for the sheer inappropriateness of it. I hasten to add, the fault probably lies with the researcher for the article rather than the ‘former voice of Madeline the ragdoll from Bagpuss,’ or at least I hope so!! Mainly Norfolk as always has the Bellamy angle covered.  Mudcat is dubious about the age and provenance of this song. Bellamy’s original notes were brief and simply refer to this and Fakenham Fair as “…straight forward good-time songs,” going on to claim they were “…both learned from Peter Bullen from Norwich who had them from his grandfather.” I see no reason to doubt this and the somewhat explicit nature may have put some of the collectors off documenting the song elsewhere, mind you that hasn’t stopped others making it to print. Still, either way, it naturally makes classic Bellowhead material for Jon to draw on here. Finally, I’ll add that trawling to the bottom one of the Mudat threads I found that the town motto of Yarmouth, Maine, is “Our latchstring always out.” The mind boggles! Perhaps you can add to this.

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William Taylor


2014
08.30

We’re back to more familiar folk themes and Jon recalls, “This is Dave Burland’s track on Voices (Fellside CD). John and I played this for our first few gigs, but somehow it slipped out of the repertoire. Maybe we’ll have another go at it at some point.” Perhaps we can look forward to that on the next S & B tour, we’ll see. On a side note that Fellside CD has a lot of the songs that feature on this site and you can link directly to a Mainly Norfolk page about it here, linking to see what Reinhard has about (Bold) William Taylor here.  Interestingly the sleeve notes  on Voices refer to the song being “found in the English, Scottish, Irish and American traditions,” and to Burland’s version being collected by Cecil Sharp in Somerset. Another version was collected by Percy Grainger  in 1908 from a Joseph Taylor in Saxby-All Saints in Lincolnshire and Percy was apparently the first collector to use recording equipment. I guess we’re back to the universal theme of infidelity with another dramatic outcome. As such I’m rather taken with the alternative last verse…

If young folks in Wells or London
Were served the same as she served he,
Then young girls would all be undone,
Very scarce young men would be!

Further to that, if you Mudcat here you can also see in some variants she’s actually rewarded for her act with command of a ship!

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

 

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Yorkshire Couple


2014
08.29

Jon Says, “I heard this by Kate Rusby on an Andy Kershaw session many years ago. I was a big fan of Kate & Katherine and subsequently Kate’s solo stuff, so it was fortuitous that my finger happened to slip on to the record button of the stereo whilst the programme was on, giving me opportunity to learn this little vignette…” I can add nothing to that other than a broad grin.

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Bonny House of Airlie


2014
08.28

Crediting Lou Killen as his source Jon says, “Another song that I learnt partly as an exercise – hell of a song to sing and Lou’s a hell of a singer to learn it off.” We’re staying in Child Balled territory here and this is #199. For once this is categorically linked to an historic event, even if the ballad is probably somewhat embellished by the presence of Lady Ogilvie, who almost certainly would not have been at home had 1,000 men (more in some variants of the story) come to call. At least not without a roughly equal number of her own standing in the way. Having said that I’m no expert on the history of Scotland and this Wiki link has a more graphicly expressed fate for the Lady of Ogilvie. Although equally I’ve read elsewhere that the castle was deserted as everyone had fled, so whether this is simply to make a political point of some sort I can’t say. Another dabble suggested that Argyll eventually had his comeuppance in the shifting political landscape of the C17th. This link looks to tell a plausible story and it’s possible several events have been rolled into one song, but perhaps those more thoroughly schooled in the Clans and National Covenant Rebellion can enlighten us. Mainly Norfolk is once more packed with information about the recordings and quotes again from the various sleeve notes that have gone before. I couldn’t find sufficient on Mudcat to embellish anything here, but again if you know differently please add away.

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Lord Randal


2014
08.27

Child Ballad #12 of which Jon says, “Poor old dogs. Can’t say I ever feel terribly sympathetic towards Lord Randal, however – I’m not sure why but I always have a nagging suspicion that he may have deserved it…” This seems to be a widely used storyline although I’ve picked up that the earliest printed version of the ballad is in 1787 in The Scots Musical Museum. There it is titled Lord Ronald, my Son. It may have had its roots in an Italian ballad of the 1600s, which this Wiki link expands on. It has numerous alternate titles, including  Lord Randall, Jimmy Randal, Jimmy Randolph, Jimmy Ransome, The Croodlin Doo, King Henry, My Son and Tiranti, my love. It’s known throughout the British Isles, North America and widely across Europe. Sir Walter Scott associated the ballad with the death of Thomas Randolph (Randal), Earl of Murray – (or Moray), Robert the Bruce’s nephew. Randolph died at Musselburgh in 1332 and some suggested because the death was so untimely for Scotland, it could have been caused by poison. According to Burl Ives the tune came to America with followers of Bonnie Prince Charlie who settled in North Carolina after his defeat. In The Journal of Folk Song Society (Vol.ii., No. 6 and Vol. iii., No. 10) Miss Gilchrist suggests the identity of Lord Randal is the sixth Earl of Chester, who died in 1232. The said Earl was poisoned by his wife. There is a German version Grossmutter-Schlangenkoechin, where the death is due to poisonous snakes. The song’s theme has also been found in Italy, Holland, Denmark, Sweden, Hungary and Iceland. Jon picked this up from Peter Bellamy and Mainly Norfolk has bags of excellent detail about that and other versions with quotes from various sleeve notes. Usurprisingly, there are lots of threads on Mudcat  with this post following Jon’s lyrics the closest. You’ll spot some other variants at the bottom, but if you search it by Child #12, you’ll find other stuff. A quick note as well on “spickit and sparkit,” which apparently means speckled and blotched.

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

 

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