Archive for December, 2014

Cornish Wassail Song


2014
12.31

Here we are a wassailing and Jon simply attributes this as “A fabulous wassail song learnt from Louis Killen.” It seems to also be known as Carol For The Twelfth Day and appears of his Old Songs, Old Friends LP from 77. I’ve managed to find the sleeve notes for that, where this is described as a recent acquisition from Bob Lewis of Chichester, which Louis admits to liking both for its melody and the demands made. It is fairly insistent, but I think also nicely in the tradition of wishing well and bestowing blessings in return for ‘nappy ale’ – a strong and heady brew apparently – and anything else that those indoors can spare. Mainly Norfolk has this but doesn’t add much detail quoting …

No. 37 from the MS belonging to Miss. Minnie Davies Gilbert and Mrs. Patience Harding, great granddaughters of the original collector. The MS of Cornish Carols was compiled for Davies Gilbert by John Hutchens about 1826, as cited in: Canow Kernow., ed. Inglis Gundry, The Federation of Old Cornwall Societies, 1966. Pp.18-19.

I confess to having no idea what the MS referred to is. Can someone please enlighten me and add any detail to the origin of this? You might like to look at this link through to more about Cornish Wassailing.
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Rocking Me Babies


2014
12.30

Also known as The Charlady’s Son and John rather mischievously says, “Here’s one I learnt from Mike Waterson. I’ve tried using this as a bedtime song for the kids but it seems a bit wrong somehow!” Bert Lloyd refers to this on the sleeve notes of Mike’s album as being a marriage of two songs, a music hall number from the 1860s and a rather older folk song sometime’s known as Rocking A Baby That’s None Of My Own. You can read those notes here at Mainly Norfolk and may also want to check out Mudcat, where you’ll also find this link through to a Bodleian library version that has that latter title’s cuckold’s lament. It’s somewhat more thoroughly tragic, almost epic in its misery while this is somewhat distilled perhaps as a singalong number.
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I’d Like To Tell To You


2014
12.29

This is without doubt the oddest song we’ve had to date, of which Jon says, “Given to me on cassette by Malcolm Taylor from the Vaughan Williams Library. We started doing it with the Ratcatchers but never recorded it. A fairly amazing bit of traddy surrealism.” This seems to be a variant on Duck Foot Sue, or at least shares the surrealism and some of the lyrics, you can Mudcat here for more of that.
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Little Pot Stove


2014
12.28

Now here’s something I wished I’d seen as I think I’ve said before as Jon recalls, “Singing this at the Nic Jones tribute concert at Sidmouth 2010 would have to count as a career highlight. At one point I thought Nic was going to take over lead vocals but sadly not. What a chorus though.” It appears on Nic’s Penguin Eggs and Mainly Norfolk covers that. The song was written by Harry Robertson in the 1950s and is also known as Wee Dark Engine Room. To a degree at least it’s autobiographical, or based on first-hand experience at least. Mudcat gives the story and I can’t help but agree with the sentiments on the thread that it would be a good thing if this song was a fitting recollection of a line of work consigned  to history.
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O Little Town Of Bethlehem


2014
12.27

Jon says, “It’s a pig to learn this. I’ve re-learnt it every year for the last five or so years, and it still won’t stick. Hey ho.” Well done then for this excellent chorus rendition and another new tune for my ears. I won’t ever think of carols in the same way again. I trust you’re all keeping well by the way. It could be a walking day today or tomorrow depending on the weather.
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