A Roving On A Winters Night


Jon and Fay sing this one that I’ve seen attributed to Doc Watson, although I’m not convinced he actually wrote it and Jon says, “A bit of wintery Americana for you. I had been toying with recording Sweet Baby James but I’ve just realised that I’ve missed the boat (‘the first of December was covered with snow’) so this will have to do.” As I’ve recently written in my Alternative Advent Calendar, this shares much in common with Red Red Rose, although it’s the reverse of love’s endurance and a broken heart in the grip of winter is the subject here. There are also some words floating in from Should I Prove False To Thee or similar root, so perhaps Doc Watson compiled this one.

You can buy the December digital album now from all good download stores.


19 Responses to “A Roving On A Winters Night”

  1. Liz B says:

    So if we get more snow and the turnpike is all covered…please could we have your version of Sweet Baby James…or do we have to wait until next December 1st??? Thanks for a great start to the day.

  2. SRD says:

    Yee-Ha. Not my cup of tea at all I’m afraid.

  3. Alison McKee says:

    That’s really lovely — thanks. The date in Sweet Baby James wouldn’t have mattered so how about it Jon?

  4. Jane Ramsden says:

    Another lovely duet…*whispers* for that joint album…

  5. […] just written about this for A Folk Song A Day and there’ll be a spectacular chorus version led by Jon on Tuesday (well worth tuning into) that […]

  6. Phil says:

    That was absolutely lovely. In fact (whisper it) I prefer it to Bellamy’s version.

  7. Jan says:


  8. Jane Ramsden says:

    I’m with Phil ref how lovely Jon & Fay’s version is, but clearly nigh on impossible to compare it with the very different and unique Bellamy version at Skyman’s Alternative Advent Calendar. As he writes:

    “For the uninitiated, Bellamy can be a bit a jolt, but it’s well worth acquiring the taste for this fascinating if flawed character and a canon of work that is full of surprises. But then that’s another story.” Spot-on!

    Interesting Wiki entry on Doc Watson here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doc_Watson

  9. Peter Walsh says:

    Thanks for the Arthel Lane ‘Doc’ Watson link Janie – I must get round to listening to him (there’s loads of him on Spotify; found ‘Roving Gambler’ that ends his ‘Live At Gerdes Folk City’ album, but no ‘Roving On A Winters Night’, drat! Bellamy’s version is there, and also a goody by somebody called Jon Boden, hahaha!).

    In fact the whole AFSAD December album is on Spotify too, which surprised me. Typing in ‘Jon Boden’ seems to bring up every AFSAD song actually! Fantastic.

    Lovely harmonies from Jon and Fay singing together again.

    “Drinking good old wine…” oh, yes…

  10. Diana says:

    Very sentimental but the harmony was lovely. The voices blend together perfectly.

    Linda, you are good resisting temptation by wrapping the DVDs. You will enjoy them all the more at Christmas. They are both great, I have had Burlesque for some time now and love it. Hedonism I have only just got. You are winning with Colin if he is on AFSAD whilst you are hard at work.

  11. John Biggs (Welsh Marches) says:

    Beautiful. Can I add my plea for Jon and Faye to do a joint album.
    A year later , it is probably too late, but yes I would like to hear a version of Sweet Baby James sung by Jon on ANY date, s.o.g. that I am.

  12. Sean says:

    This is amazing, as always. I always love your harmonies.

    I’d love to hear “A-Soalin’ (Soul Cake)”. I’d never heard it before Orla Fallon, and I’d love to hear more of it, especially how you’d perform it. Or “”Christmas in the Trenches” by John McCutcheon.

  13. Linda says:

    Phil [2010] thanks for the link to the Bellamy version. Am struggling slightly with Bellamy but am persevering . I like his version of todays song.

  14. Muzza+402days (NW Surrey-UK) says:

    Dear Readers-Just in case you think the above links are dead…..the delightful link to the Properganda Advent Calendar still works


  15. Diana says:

    A lovely harmony on this carol.

  16. Don McCoy says:

    Great song. Have sung for many years. Not written by Doc Watson but played and recorded by him.

    Song originally written back in the 1800 by a French writer…Name not available. Song is Traditional.

  17. Linda says:

    Persevered with Bellamy and have just acquired a copy of Wake the Vaulted Echoes

  18. Jane (Maryland US) says:

    The Properganda link no longer works, but here is Peter Bellamy on YouTube
    Another wonderful version of this song.

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