Marrowbones

2014
10.14

Jon says, “I learned this from the Steeleye version (sung by Martin Carthy). It occurs to me that traditional song doesn’t amount to much of an endorsement of married life.” A fair point. I wonder what the percentage of “and they all (both) lived happily ever after” songs is? It can’t be very high and I reckon two or three of what’s gone up here to date. This is a fairly daft tale of double, double crossing with a joke about marrow bones at its heart – as the marrow comes out of the bones when boiled it leaves a hollow centre, in which you can see nothing at all. A common enough tale it seems to be with Irish, English and American variants. Mainly Norfolk has Steeleye and more and Mudcat has this thread and this post, which refers to a quote in Mark Twain.

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

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9 Responses to “Marrowbones”

  1. SRD says:

    I love these come-uppance songs.

    I suppose the reason why songs are always about the worse side of human relations is that “They met, fell in love, didn’t have any money worries and lived a comfortable, long, but not overlong, happy life.” doesn’t make much of a song.

  2. Nige Rivers says:

    Not a comment on this song but

    Have you all come across this site – http://www.wiltshire.gov.uk/community/folk_search.php
    from Wiltshire CC
    The words to over 1000 songs listed

  3. Jane Ramsden says:

    That’s a bit of fun… I always like a folk song with b*gger in it. Hahahahaha!

    Great site, Nige! I have added it to my favourites. Thanks.

  4. Maureen Musson says:

    For a folk song with a happy ending, try Captain Wedderburn (as recorded on Bellowhead’s latest CD Hedonism!)

  5. muzza says:

    Nige…….thanks for the very interesting link………..
    the words are there……….”but without the tune they are but poetry!”…very frustrating.

  6. SRD says:

    Well muzza, here’s your chance to add to the canon by taking a leaf out of Eddi Reader’s book, as she did with the songs of Rabbie Burns, and set them to any tune that might fit.

  7. Mark says:

    So a year on, and I now recognise this song from Jackie Oates’ excellent Saturnine album, which wasn’t out in October 2010. It’s a pretty different version to this one, though. Good though!

    AFSAD: it just keeps on giving.

  8. Jane Ramsden says:

    @ Mark: “AFSAD: it just keeps on giving.” Couldn’t have put it better myself!

    Back into Steeleye country again. The last time I saw them at St George’s Hall in Bradford, Jacqui McShee’s Pentangle also played a wonderful set. This might have been when they were a trio, would have been without Bert Jansch and, sadly, we are without him now following his recent death on 5 October. The link below is to The Guardian’s nicely-detailed obituary:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2011/oct/05/bert-jansch

    I have a fond tho’ rather misty memory of sitting at his feet at a fairly laid-back informal gig in the London University students’ union building opposite my hall of residence in the early 1970’s. But keeping the Marrowbones’ watery theme flowing, here’s a video of Bert Jansch (uploaded to YouTube on 5 October) with Johnny Marr and Bernard Butler on ‘Later With Jools Holland’ in London, 20 May 2000. Johnny Marr’s playing his Martin D-28 acoustic/vocals on ‘The River Bank’ with Bert Jansch on acoustic and Bernard Butler on electric guitar.

  9. Diana says:

    Love it – the old man wasn’t so daft as she thought. She got her just deserts.

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