Gallant Hussar


Jon is clear on his source for this saying,“Eliza taught this to John and me for the Rough Music album. I think it’s my favourite Ratcatchers’ track, although it was a tough one to get right (not least because it was in Bb.) I’m looking forward to having a go at this with Eliza at the Spiers & Boden birthday bash at Shepherd’s Bush Empire in May.” I wish I was so clear, as this is immediately familiar to me in a way that many of these songs (or more specifically the tunes), aren’t. Perhaps it’s used for something else, although in my minds ear I can hear Eliza singing it and as I don’t own Rough Music, that’s a bit of a puzzle. Perhaps it’s just from a live show I’ve seen. Anyway, I digress, and refer you to Mainly Norfolk for the goods on Eliza and Shirley Collins’ versions. That page also links to this Mudcat thread although you might find this somewhat easier on the eye (it has the benefit of brevity), and interesting from the perspective of Broadsides.

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


25 Responses to “Gallant Hussar”

  1. John says:

    ‘Gallant Hussar’ is my favourite track from the ‘Rough Music’ album. Being exiled in Okinawa doesn’t give me that many opportunities to hear it sung live, as you can imagine, but I think Eliza and the Ratcatchers did it when I saw them at Bush Hall on a rare visit back to England a few years ago. Jon’s unaccompanied version is very nicely done.

  2. Simon Dewsbury says:

    Also my favourite. My 1st experience of Spiers and Boden was on the Rough Music tour and I remember the rhythm dection being Eliza’s knee length doc martins and a stomping board.
    John, at least living in a different time zone gives you the opportunity to be first on the message board!

  3. Simon Dewsbury says:

    …and the Bellowhead special on the Mike Harding show was very interesting. I’m now trying to work out which of the band are most likely to be the closet Jethro Tull fans Jon mentioned.

  4. SRD says:

    Hmmm, the tune reminds me vaguely of ‘The Black Velvet Band’ and something else from the dim and distant past that I can’t quite put my finger on.

    Nicely sung here though.

  5. Nick Passmore says:

    Appropos of Simon’s comments on the Mike Harding show, sorry to be an anorak, but Clive Bunker was the original Jethro Tull drummer, and not Barriemore Barlow, as Jon stated.
    Yes, very enjoyable version of “The Gallant Huzzar” (Hussar?) – and a Morris tune too, I believe…

  6. Mark says:

    What an addictive tune! I love Eliza’s version, so the fact that this is such a success is pretty impressive, really. Had to look up what a hussar was though…

  7. Simon says:

    Hi Nick 3 prog points to you, although in fact John Evans was the very first drummer who joined forces with Ian Anderson and Barrimore took over from him, but this was before the band became known as Jethro Tull. Clive is certainly on the early albums (I have Benefit and Stand Up.) I also listened to A Passion Play from start to finish the other night as this was the only album of theirs I bought when it was released. Crikey! It was erm, interesting. And yes, this is a Morris tune and has appeared on one of the Morris On albums. If you have Spotify, Ashley Hutchings is the only name other than Eliza’s that comes up for this.

    Simon as for the closet Tull fans (other than me, ahem!), Jon named Warchild and Paul Sartin Songs From The Wood when asked to pick some of their favourite records. I may put the list up on Properganda next week as it’s interesting, but I think we’ve probably done Bellowhead for this week.

  8. Nick says:

    “…as I don’t own Rough Music…”


    Surely that’s easy enough to rectify?!

    The very first time I heard Floodplain I thought there was a Jethro Tull influence in there (Going Down To The Wasteland and Penny For The Preacher for example)

    Oh, and to back Simon up; they had many names before they were known as Jethro Tull, including “The John Evan Smash”!



  9. Jane Ramsden says:

    At the risk of Living In The Past, Jethro Tull was the first band I ever saw live. That was in Leeds – I’m guessing about 1970 – and we were treated to the first public airing of ‘Teacher’ (on one leg!) so I’m presuming before it was recorded. Always loved it, and several other Tull classics, so no need to be closet here!

    But to return to our ‘Gallant Huzzar’ – very gallantly sung, Jon! I think this song would benefit from some hussar-ic fife and drum type accompaniment, as it doesn’t exactly shiver my timbers, but that’s nothing to do with the lovely clear quality of your singing, Jon, just my ever-quirky personal taste.

  10. Anna says:

    Oh dear, does this mean I’m going to have to investigate Jethro Tull?

    Gallant Hussar is one of my favourite songs on Rough Music, so it’s great to hear a different perspective on it. Lovely.

  11. Simon says:

    Fair point on Rough Music Nick, although I’m still wading through all that Steeleye that I felt the urge to catch up with… Actually that sounds a bit like I’m struggling more than I am, but in honesty one at album at a time is enough. Still Eliza’s CD is a totally different kettle of fish and a gap that needs plugging.

  12. muzza says:

    This version has only a nodding resemblance to the Morris version of the Tune that we dance to.
    With all this Morris and Jethro drummer chat, this one will be in the top seven of the October list!

  13. Muzza(NW Surrey-UK) says:

    With their WHAT hung over their shoulders?………..great little song.
    I always think of these songs as being ‘locked in an old fashioned era’…..and the line ‘this damsel she went in a car’ seemed to destroy the illusion.
    I appreciate that ‘car’ is probably short for carriage…worth learning I think ….just have to change that line (I’m a folk vandal!!)

  14. Diana says:

    Love this one – very nostalgic. Must have been worth seeing – all those men in their fancy uniforms on horseback. Trooping the Colour is the nearest we get.

    Fellow AFSADDERS, have you all seen the message left by Simon on the 5th of this month. Good news indeed, so do go and read.

  15. Diana says:

    A correction Simon wrote the message on the 5th but will find it on the 3rd of month.

  16. linda says:

    O no ear worm again!!!

  17. Linda says:

    One of my favourites, posting early on this one as I will be going to see Fay at Moira ..

  18. Linda says:

    Liking the new Afterglow CD ….ear worm for a day with the Hussar’s..

  19. Linda says:

    hopefully this will work and we’ll all have earworm for a while……

  20. Old Muzza (NW Surrey-UK) says:

    Ref Diana comment Oct 8th 2012….Simon’s comment was that he hoped to keep the site open for another year (see the text Below) and here we are….years later…still clinging to the wreckage….(Oh-Just me then!)

    Simon says:

    October 5, 2012 at 4:16 pm

    Right-ho! Hello folks. I see the regulars are still chipping away and chipping in, while stats indicate there are a few new faces lurking in the wings, some stayers and some casual dippers. Apologies to all of you for the slight scheduling error – I missed a whole page of December too – the usual case of haste.
    Any road up, to hopefully avoid any more slippage, I’ve rescheduled right through to 23rd of June and the year end, so barring site malfunction hopefully things will unfold as they should for the third time round. Once we get there I’ll see what the will is to continue and make a judgement as to whether to go again, but I suspect diminishing returns. Still I imagine there will be a small knot of people forever tied together through this project

  21. Linda says:

    I.m still dipping Muzza see comment above yours…..

  22. Old Muzza (NW Surrey-UK) says:

    Lindy Lou……how did I miss that!!

  23. Linda says:

    Nearly missed this years fix……ear worm for a couple of days now…

  24. Linda says:

    Whoops did miss it this year so nipped back for a catch up…..

  25. Linda says:

    Not going to miss it this year…..

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