I Once Was A Fisherman


One of those terrible stories put into song with an even more terrible dilemma at its heart, as Jon says, “These are slightly spurious sentiment in terms of environmental policy but I’m sure a very accurate representation of the sense of powerlessness and despair felt by anyone whose way of life is swept away by ‘the ghosts of the law’. I was meaning to pair this with The Last Leviathan but haven’t got around to learning it yet.” At the risk of kicking a wasps’ nest I’ll add that probably humanity’s greatest failing is to manage our resources or even to assign them proper value. Add to that our failure to assign work and due reward with any equanimity and the unholy mess we find ourselves in results. The arbitrary nature of can and can’t and have and have not is beautifully contained in these brief verses. Another song that falls outside of the tradition being from the pen of Barry Dransfield, but is very worthy of its place here in my humble opinion and you can Mudcat a little here.



21 Responses to “I Once Was A Fisherman”

  1. muzza says:

    Great song…….”there’s gold in the Channel”..great poetry/performance…….I liked it……..Barry Dransfield is Trad enough for me.

  2. Nick Passmore says:

    Amen to that, and to Jon’s comments too..

  3. malcolm says:

    I live down the coast from Hastings at Hythe We will be loosing our Fishermans Beach soon, This would be a great song to sing in our local folk club.Anyone have the guitar chords.
    lovely Song. Keep up the good Work

    Best regards

  4. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Andrew Taylor, Jon Boden. Jon Boden said: Latest Post: : I Once Was A Fisherman http://www.afolksongaday.com/2010/11/19/i-once-was-a-fisherman/ […]

  5. Jane Ramsden says:

    That was truly lovely, Jon. Re: your comments above, no wasps’s nest to my mind, Skyman. Think ye are spot on, and we may all go to H*ll in a handcart acos of it! I also think I am going to have to Dransfield a bit more!

  6. Jane Ramsden says:

    Oops! The waspies seem to be buzzing a bit up there in my spelling! Hahahaha!

  7. Diana says:

    Another great song – loved it and there was a lot of emotion in the singing.

  8. Diana says:

    Saw Bellowheasd last night – wonderful show and they are real entertainers. Packed house. With aid of rose met Linda and Colin a lovely couple. People I talked to came some distsnce to the show.

  9. Linda says:

    Brill night at the Lowry, Nice to meet up with Diana and family,. Doing Derby Saturday, spotted the noose at the Lowry any goodies left?
    Glad Jon learnt the Last Leviathan have heard Fishermens Friend do it and rate the two versions on a parr with each other

  10. Old Muzza(NW Surrey.UK says:

    How about Jon putting a folk song a day/week on youtube

  11. Jane Ramsden says:

    Just seen Mr Boden do a very well-received, successful solo gig at Saltaire’s Victoria Hall (18th Nov) as part of his individual tour, relaunching his Painted Lady cd of 10 years ago – hard to believe so long! – but covering some Floodplain & Bellowhead songs, as well as one or two not heard before. See his website for more info & the wonderful photographs of his Fiddle Icarus taken by the appropriately named David Angel.

    The fiddles strapped to Jon’s arms make them look like wings & it must have been very painful holding his arms strapped and outstretched for the period of the shoot. You sometimes really do have to suffer for your art! But hopefully not to the degree of Icarus, who flew too close to the sun with his wax wings that melted! I think Jon looks like a musical Angel of the North, a sort of fan-dangle (or fanned-angel!) but judge for yourself!


    Part of the tour merchandising featured the final photo on a tea-towel, literally flying out the door! Do fiddle fans so love washing up? Lol. I leave my pots & multiple cat dishes to air-dry naturally, so I bought 2 cds instead. Hahahaha!

    And PS Muzza, I did see your re-vamped poem under Good Old Way! Lol.

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

    Jane………..you ARE out there !!!!!!
    would you believe that in my efforts to get back to see your comment on ‘GOOD OLD WAY’
    I discovered, for the first time, that there is a ‘song list’ facility at the top of the page!!!! and I had been tracking back the hard way…sooo thanks for that

  13. Linda says:

    Is it really 6 years since Diana and I met at the Lowry…..

  14. Jane Ramsden says:

    Hello Linda, Muzza et al.
    I was very saddened to learn that our wonderful AFSAD friend, Diana, left us on 26 October (2018) after not being well for a while. She got a lot of joy from this project & her personality, free from any pain of latter months, shines through the comments for as long as they remain to be read. So we can all laugh together again! Which I find a very comforting thought. I’m sure she’d want us to. RIP Diana.

  15. Linda says:

    Jane had not heard the sad news so glad you have posted on AFSAD many happy memories
    of Diana as you can see from post above I was thinking of her and our meeting at the Lowry
    RIP Diana

  16. Jane Ramsden says:

    Hello Linda. Sorry to be the bearer of bad tidings. I did notice you were thinking of Diana. I had been scrolling back too & was smiling at your Lowry meeting with flowers in lapels! I’m sure if Diana is floating in the ether somewhere, she’ll be doing it to an appropriately folky piece of music & wearing one of those ‘pratty pratty flowers’ mentioned in ‘The Holmfirth Anthem.’ I like the idea of that, ‘cos where Diana lived was moved out of Yorkshire & a lot of the locals still believe it’s really still in God’s Own County! which Jon sang in the August archive under the name of ‘Abroad for Pleasure,’ a song Vaughn Williams collected a version()

  17. Jane Ramsden says:

    Rats! Got submitted by accident in mid-flow! Lol. I was trying to say Jon covered a version of the Anthem with ‘Abroad for Pleasure’ which is in the Vaughan Williams’ Memorial Library (spelt his name right this time!) at EFDSS…which was a bit spooky as his ‘Lark Ascending’ just came on Classic FM! So I’ll view Diana as that lark ascending!
    You were wearing red & white flowers for the Lowry meeting, weren’t you, Linda? I’ll think of Diana any time I wear likewise.. probably white…well, I am from Yorksher!

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

    Ha……..that was a bit of a strain remembering my details as they had been deleted from reply box. Yes…sad news about dear old Daina….we will mis hur spelin mistrakes and hur dads curses…….drat….she’ll know wot I’m up to 24hrs a day!

  19. OldMuzza(NWSurrey UK) says:

    Raise a glass to Bill Caddick (died 19Nov2018)……..loved his John O’dreams…still sing it and Christy Moore does a lovely version.

  20. Linda says:

    To think it is 11 years since Diana and I met up at the Lowry and I still have my rose…..see 2012 posts

  21. OldMuzza(NW Surrey UK) says:

    Remembering dear Dainer and Bill Caddick and saying Hi Lindy Lou.

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