Cold Blows The Wind


Another from Hedonism and here slowed right down, but Jon refers back to Bellowhead saying, “Again I learnt this for Pete’s arrangement. Here I follow May Bradley’s melody.” This is Child Ballad #78 and you can Mudcat a little here you’ll see that it’s here known by the alternate title The Unquiet Grave. This link gives various lyical variations, which I believe are form Childs collection. The Mudcat suggestion that this may have originally been a much longer ballad is intriguing and certainly seems possible. In truth we’ll never know for sure but if anyone has more on this rather morbid tale based on the idea that excessive mourning disturbs the deceased, please add below. You might also like a look at May Bradley here.



24 Responses to “Cold Blows The Wind”

  1. Jan says:

    Unfortunately I have no further information on this song as it is a fascinating and beautiful piece – one of the few miserable songs in my repertoire.

  2. Phil says:

    Fantastic stuff. Where is everybody?

  3. Shelley says:

    Working Phil!

    While (of course) I love Bellowhead’s boppy version, this is great too, and another one to go on the ever-growing “to learn” list.

  4. Jane Ramsden says:

    Don’t know about everyone else, but I’m back again, folks!

    Now this is up my street of miserable songs, which works as well here as Bellowhead’s more energetic treatment live. Singing it solo seems to bring out the melancholy and morbidity more than what Shelley describes as the Bellowhead ‘boppy’ version, which rather made me laugh when recently heard in performance.

    I’m going to anorak this ‘excessive mourning disturbing the dead idea,’ but not now I’ve just played catch-up on several AFSAD tunes afore dinner. On this note, I think I need red wine! Liked it though, Jon!

  5. Iggy says:

    They might not be ‘folk’ enough for some people here (let’s not start that again!) but the marvellous Band of Holy Joy take part of this to new shores. See

  6. Phil says:

    (let’s not start that again!)

    Too late! I’m a big fan of unaccompanied singing, but as far as I’m concerned it’s the material that is or isn’t folk, not the band or the arrangement. The only bad thing you can do to a folksong is not sing it.

  7. wilmott says:

    Phil, I’m with you on that!
    I do, however, have a problem with arrangements of dances – if it doesn’t actually fit the steps (usually because the musicians feel there should be a repeat where the dance doesn’t call for one) and the recording becomes well known, then as more musicians learn it from the recording the dancers have to mangle something up to fit. I’m thinking particularly of so-called early dance here – Horses’ Bransle, anyone?

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

    @Diana/Jan/Linda…thank you for your kind words………
    Should I have listened to this one before going to bed!…….
    Over the year I try not to comment on any from “The Grim” selection………but I did get a good read from the May Bradley article so every cloud has a silver lining…….
    Now going to stand by for the welcome carol onslaught that will hit us in December.

  9. Diana says:

    Another sad, strange haunting tale which is sung by Jon very differently from his rendering on the Hedonism version which is much quicker.

    Also looking forward to the carols Muzza, not long to wait.

  10. Simon says:

    Muzza good to have you back, hale and hearty I trust. John B glad you’ve been out seeing some good music, SOH are always good value. Diana it’s certainly not compulsory to like all of the songs over the year, we all have our favourites, with some that are less so and saying so is no crime. I’ve tried to remain neutral, but I daresay some will see my enthusiasm bubbles over for some of these and not so for others.

  11. John Biggs (Welsh Marches) says:

    A very sad and beautiful song this, and Jon’s unaccompanied version is very moving.
    Steeleye Span have been mentioned here a few times lately, and they have a very good version on their (1998) c.d. Horkstow Grange, although they refer to it as ‘One True Love’. They follow it , appropriately, with Gay Woods singing ‘The Parting Glass’, which never fails to get the hairs on the back of my neck up. (I wonder why some music does that !)

  12. Diana says:

    Strange is’nt it how music can affect one? I always find that “Danny Boy” for some reason makes me want to weep.

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

    Jane is unbearably quiet

  14. Jane Ramsden says:

    @ Muzza: Bear up, you now know I’m back! So glad ye are! Now I have just had a quick anorak of excessive mourning disturbing the dead and found a very interesting article containing some pertinent points, paraphased as follows:

    “One mark that distinguishes humans from non-humans is that humans have funeral rites; they regard something as due to the dead and have for a long time. Indeed, since burials leave archeological evidence, we know that they occurred as long as 300,000 years ago, as a practice among the Neanderthals. The Victorians took it to great heights and had a staged code of mourning behaviour with appropriate clothes, jewellery & etiquette ref social invitations.

    Unsurprisingly, this custom has been incorporated in art as a trope, as a mark of character, and is older than feudalism. Evil characters will violate proper treatment of a corpse by mutilating, re-animating, or even eating the dead. Good characters will rarely do the same to even a dead non-human, as their goodness is usually marked by proper respect, down to letting revenge end when the villain is dead. If they have to destroy bodies to contain a plague, or display it to prove a person is really dead, they will often find it dirty business. However, one funeral practice will put the characters on the evil side, no matter how respectfully they carry it out: human sacrifice.

    Note that some dead are due more than others. The heroic sacrifice calls for a well-attended funeral, making the hero famed in story, with perhaps even a monument. Conversely, some are due less than most, murderers, cowards etc., & may be buried in an unmarked grave with minimal ceremony.

    On the other hand, some of the living owe the dead more than others. Family and friends have a duty to carry this out. Strangers who perform such things for the dead are acting out of generosity, e.g. a ‘good shepherd or Samaritan.’ Indeed, some ghosts manifest in order to properly reward a total stranger who arranged for the burial.

    However, no matter how beloved the dead, excessive mourning may be decried. Ghosts may complain that it is keeping them from peace, or characters may be criticised for neglecting their duties to the living. But observing this may be necessary to prevent ghosts or other forms of the Undead.”

    So we do it to prove our love, humanity & common kinship, to ward off our own grief, fears of mortality (&/or returning no-longer-mortals!) so we can move on. Perhaps the message of the folksong is, don’t get it out of proportion or it has a reverse effect.

  15. Muzza+395days (NW Surrey-UK) says:

    @Jane comment above……….well me gal..who could have foreseen that!

  16. Diana says:

    Like the song still.

    @Muzza you are so right.

  17. Linda says:

    This song always seems to arrive just as we’re having rotten weather. Like both this version and the Bellowhead version.

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

    When I was eight I learned the poem ‘Patriotism’ by Sir Walter Scott………never forgot my first encounter with a ‘death poem!’
    Breathes there a man with soul so dead/ who never to himself hath said/this is my own, my native land/who’s heart has ne’er within him burned/ as home his footsteps he hath turned/ from wandering on some foreign strand/
    If such there breathe-go mark him well/for him no minstrel raptures swell/high though his titles, proud his name/boundless his wealth as wish can claim/ despite those titles, power and pelf/the wretch, concentred all in self/living, shall forfeit fair renown/and doubly dying shall go down /to the vile dust from whence he sprung/ unwept, unhonoured and unsung.

  19. Linda says:

    Yes the bad weather is here again!

  20. oldMuzza (NW Surrey UK) says:

    What on earth was I thinking when I posted the poem Patriotism ………..not related to the comments at all
    gave me a resounding chuckle to wonder why…….. and then see Lindy Lou’s (unintentional-I hope) dismissive (can almost see her yawning) comment on the weather, that followed

  21. OldMuzza(NWSurrey UK) says:

    Ha……had another chuckle at Linda’s comment to my posted poem!

  22. OldMuzza(NWSurrey UK) says:

    Wey Hey……..not quite sure what the warning message means but gonna take a punt and comment…..The site has been down for several days and Lindy Lou obviously pulled in a favour and contacted Jon who used his influence to get the site back up(I hope Simon is ok)
    Thank You to all concerned……it has given me yet another chance to chuckle at Lindy Lou’s dismissive comment following my poetical rant…Huzzah!

  23. Linda says:

    Ready for this comment Muzza …… this song again arrived when most of the country has had snow….. we had a small sprinkle….So now we are back there are some good carols coming up. Thank you Jon for sorting it out…

  24. OldMuzza (NW Surrey UK) says:

    No, No, No Lindy Lou…..don’t you dare try and qualify that comment of yours from 28th Nov 2017…..I treasure it and enjoy it each time we get to this mournful lol ole song!

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