Farewell To Old Bedford


Another amusing little aside from Jon as he says, “From the phenomenal Tim Eriksen. I was singing this as a sound check song for a while but Mark Whyles [Bellowhead’s manager and sound man – Ed.] told me, in no uncertain terms, that I was to desist.” I know Mark pretty well so will have to ask him what his objection was. Mr. Eriksen seems a bit of a character and if his name is new to you, this link will help. This is clearly an American song from the Warner collection.



23 Responses to “Farewell To Old Bedford”

  1. Nige Rivers says:

    Ha! a perfect sound check, I use John Riley but may just change on hearing this.

  2. the_otter says:

    Ooh, I like that. Nice melody.

  3. Reinhard says:

    There is a YouTube video of Tim Eriksen singing Farewell to Old Bedford

  4. Helene says:

    I went to see Tim Eriksen at the Betsey Trotwood a few months ago and he opened with this, standing right next to me. Incredible voice. I don’t think I’ll ever forget that gig!

  5. Simon Dewsbury says:

    great song and lyrics, but is the singer so down because the drinking has affected something else? ‘my soundpost is all down and my bridge it won’t stand’. something affecting his doldrums perhaps?

    I acquired a prom ep of Jon’s songs at the Bellowhead gig in Bilston and see that there’s a ‘folk song a day’ tour in February [unhappily nowhere near me, I may have to travel]. However, when people like Van Morrison or Arthur Lee have tours with such titles, it’s normally because they’re recreating the whole of a classic achievement, same track order and arrangements. Sounds like these could be very long gigs – and getting longer as the tour goes on!

  6. Phil says:

    I’ll join in the chorus of approval for this one – I could have listened to another two minutes of that without any trouble.

  7. John Phipps says:

    As a fan of Sacred Harp music I have loved Erikson’s championing of the music in New England since my ancestors would have sang it when William Billings was leading people like Sam Adams in his choir. Especially his various tunes for Amazing Grace. Sadly his wife Mina died leaving him to raise a young family. But he plays a wide range of music and I wish he was better known in the US.

  8. John Phipps says:

    Idumea is in the Sacred Heart but it was also done by the Watersons. Eriksen did this as an add on to the Cold Mountain DVD. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u50IoS2nY7I&feature=list_related&playnext=1&list=MLGxdCwVVULXeGkEGZIWF2H-YhpXW1s061

  9. Jane Ramsden says:

    Bit stunning that, lad! I’m with Phil on the ‘could have listened to another couple of minutes’ as has a rather sudden ending. I’d have been tempted just to draw out the tempo at the very end there and waver a bit on those last notes for effect. Me, the non-singer, telling the professional how to do it… But there ye go…what do ye expect… I am from God’s own county after all… hahahaha!

    But Many Thanks for that, Jon, and the pointers to Tim Eriksen et al. Y’all never disappoint on here!

  10. Jane Ramsden says:

    Just watched the YouTube performance – not surprised he was singing it a bit more apace, given the similar weather to across the North today! One commentator wrote:

    “This is one of those rare performances that seems to shatter the boundary between performer and listener. I follow the voice through every change of pitch; I break as it breaks and rise as it rises. The music moves up and down my spine.

    Resonance – that’s the word.”

    Says it in one…

  11. Philip Birtwistle says:

    Was listebing to Jon’s version, and clicked on the Tim Eriksen link, and suddenly got a “round” version. Could never get that sort of timing, or luck, ever again.

    Sounded great though!!!!

  12. John Phipps says:

    Pushing the Sacred Heart and theme of A Folk Song a Day there is a nice version of a song in the Sacred Harp book that came to the US from England as done by Swan Arcade and would be a good one for Jon to try. So far he hasn’t gotten beyond duets though.

  13. Allison says:

    In the Department of Small World — Jon mentions Tim Eriksen, who cites the collecting of Anne and Frank Warner as some of his source/inspiration. Their son, Jeff, was recently in Vancouver BC for a concert at the Vancouver Folk Song Society. Their field recordings are still available, and Jeff is hoping to have the book in print again… at some point. http://www.jeffwarner.com
    I heard Tim years ago at a Folk Fest in Winnipeg, and was instantly won over by the power in his voice. Meanwhile, it’s great to hear Jon’s voice mostly solo, esp. if you’re trying to learn a song. It’s sometimes hard to winkle the lead voice out of a Bellowhead recording (lovely tho’ it is!).

  14. Jane Ramsden says:

    @ John Phipps: A GREAT BIG THANK YOU FOR ‘BABYLON IS FALLEN’ BY SWAN ARCADE! – named after Bradford’s long-demolished Swan Arcade – “fallen, to rise no more” – despite public protest. A right travesty!

    It’s for highlights like this that I love AFSAD! And yes, Skyman, I do look back at added posts a fair bit. Glad that I am I did this day, or else I would have missed this phenomenal song! I could vote for ‘Farewell To Old Bedford’ for the strength of this thread. Ee, ye have cheered me up on this very snowy day… and, weather permitting, Show of Hands at St. George’s Hall tomorrow night. Doesn’t get much better than this!

  15. John Phipps says:

    Learning the song or learning the harmony? I suppose its because I sing in a choir that I think harmonies as opposed to the melody for some songs. I was listening to Young Tradition sing Shepherd’s Arise and keying on Peter Bellamy. Are people expected to ad lib around the melody in folk circles or are there traditional harmonies to start from?

  16. Jane Ramsden says:

    When I sang in a choir, many moons ago, we learnt harmonies to songs, as well as the main melody.

  17. muzza(S.E.England) says:

    Blimey Guvnor………….who else sings at this pitch!!!!!……
    ‘get yer lovely bananas ..only firty pence a pound’……..
    too high for me…the pitch not the price!
    Just had a squint at the Bellowhead bus tour……ah….the exhuberence of the young folk…. and so happy in such cramped conditions! They do zig zag about a bit….
    I was quite expecting ‘Jon a groats/Lands end’ gigs on consecutive days!
    Was Jon’s Fay dropping any hints when she sang “Spencer the rover” toward the end of the Mike harding show last wednesday?

  18. Diana says:

    Back on track again after yesterdays song. I like this one.

    Glad to see you are back Muzza.

  19. John Biggs (Welsh Marches) says:

    Back home again in God’s Country after our visit to the South West. As we drove up the M.5, and the long line of the Mendip Hills came into view, I remembered those days of the 60s & 70s in the Caving Club, and the clapped out old mini bus that used to break down with monotonous regularity between Mendip and Southampton. I wish I had known this song then !

  20. Jan says:

    I must have missed this one first time around! I really like Tim Eriksen but in this case I actually prefer Jon’s version, although I agree with Jane’s comments on the ending.

    Having learned some of my repertoire from Watersons, Coppers etc, I sympathise with the comment on trying to find the ‘tune’ among the ‘harmonies’ Jon’s pared-down versions have been a great help in this.

    Also glad to see you back, Muzza!

  21. Linda says:

    ditto nice to have you back Muzza. Saw Bellowhead at Derby BRILL!!!
    Went to see Steeleye Span on Sunday don,t know alot of their songs but found from having followed Jon and AFSAD I knew the words if not the tunes . Also saw Demon Barber the week before another really good night out.
    Many thanks Jon for introducing me to these other singers.

  22. Jane Ramsden says:

    Cracking! Both Jon and Tim’s versions and of course, Swan Arcade’s ‘Babylon Is Fallen’ that I just had to re-visit yet again!

    Recently saw John Tams at Raise Yer Banners in Bradford. Show almost stolen by Roy Bailey, who was an absolute gem. Mr Tams’ voice suffering a little from a croaky throat. Me (the ‘doctor’ as well as the non-professional singer!) recommended him to the Alexander Technique. (Trust me. I am a qualified Reflexologist, with distinction in anatomy & physiology, as well as Reiki 1 attuned! T’is true! Hahahahaha!) Anyway, he was charm itself. Methinks John Tams is sound as a pound, and long may he continue.

    He kindly signed the latest Home Service live CD (from 1986 recordings) as recommended to me by Reinhard on here. This has ‘Babylon Is Fallen,’ which I have never heard him/Barry Coope sing live, so this will be a goodly substitute. I can only echo that it would be wonderful if Jon covered this song. I’d be made up, being from Bradford (in God’s Own County, Mr Biggs!)

    I remarked to the lady selling the CDs after the concert that ‘Babylon Is Fallen’ was one of my all-time favourites. She said the littlest member of her family loved the song, but was far too young to grasp the refrain. I rejoined it would naturally be a favourite. After all, it is called ‘Baby-lon Is Fallen.’ Hahahahahaha!

  23. Diana says:

    Yes still like it.

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