Jon says, “I’ve always loved this from Martin Carthy’s version and have been singing it for ages, albeit infrequently. I recently had a listen to the David Ackles original (on Spotify), which is also great, although I still prefer Carthy’s version.” David’s name rattled at the back of my brain, but I had to conclude I’d never heard anything of his, although I found myself drawn to the strangeness of this song and Jon’s fiddle accompaniment. It’s like nothing I’ve ever heard before and not knowing Martin’s version either, I made haste to Spotify too. Wow! I wonder at Martin’s choice of this song and the very odd guitar chords that it demands. I also wonder at the oblique and somewhat grim poetry of the original, something that instantly struck me as a one off. It transpires that Ackles had several notable fans (Phil Collins, Elvis Costello, Elton John) and despite critical acclaim never really sold many records before commercial pressures and a later, tragic collision with a drunken driver curtailed his output. You can Wiki here. Mainly Norfolk covers Martin Carthy’s version as you’d expect and both that and the original are worth seeking out. With thanks to Jon for the introduction, here’s someone else I need to know more about.
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