Clyde Water


Another of the Child ballads (#216) and a bit of an epic too, of which Jon says, “Jim Moray sang a great version of this at the Nic Jones concert at Sidmouth last year. He explained that he had grown up thinking that it was about the cold war (Russians in the Clyde water) – I’ve not been able to think of it quite the same since. Both Kate Rusby’s and Nic Jones’s original version are well worth checking out.”

I’ve just been playing Game Set And Match and the version on it called Clyde Water is superb. I’ll compare and contrast with Penguin Eggs when I get home, but I picked up from a Mudcat post that Nic’s wife didn’t like the latter, recorded as The Drowned Lovers and it seems that Nic may have agreed. This link makes an interesting couple of minutes’ worth as the admissions from Nic about his working methods are revealing. It’s also where the above suggestion of dissatisfaction comes from. Mainly Norfolk compares and contrasts Nic’s version with Martin Carthy’s. I didn’t find much on Mudcat to add, so if Joe or anyone else can provide any good links they’ll as always be appreciated. Meanwhile, Mainly Norfolk offers a straight A/B between Martin Carthy and Nic Jones.

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


26 Responses to “Clyde Water”

  1. muzza (s.e.England) says:

    This one is Akin to a Scottish “Little Musgrave”……..I can appreciate the Russian moldegreens.
    And another thing…Beware the curse of Simon’s links….off I went to Nic Jones and from there….a link to Youtube & Ivor Cutler………….2hrs later…where did the time go!
    Same thing happened with “Dark as a dungeon”…check Youtube for Merle Travis and end up watching re-runs of “I love Lucy”…Mark my words……beware the curse of Simon’s links!

  2. Dave Eyre says:

    A pedant writes:

    Err…its mondegreen.

    (It comes from the ballad “Bonny Earl of Murray”.

    “They have ta’in the Earl of Murray and Lady Mondegreen)

    Excellent Jon.

  3. SRD says:

    Surely it is part of the tradition for such things to evolve, I rather like mouldy grin.

  4. Jane Ramsden says:

    You erudite b*ggers! As usual, I had to anorak, mondegreen!

    A mondegreen is the mishearing or misinterpretation of a phrase, typically a standardised phrase such as a line in a poem or a lyric in a song, due to near homophony, in a way that gives it a new meaning. American writer Sylvia Wright coined the term in her essay “The Death of Lady Mondegreen,” published in Harper’s Magazine in November 1954. The term comes from her mishearing of “Oh, they have slain the Earl of Moray and laid him on the green” as “Oh, they have slain the Earl of Moray and Lady Mondegreen”.

    Here are some other, and musical, examples:

    ‘Scuse me while I kiss this guy.’ (For Hendrix’ ‘Scuse me while I kiss the sky.’)
    Beelzebub has a devil for a sideboard. (Has a devil set aside for me.)
    Olive the other reindeer used to laugh and call him names. (No explanation needed!)
    The ants are my friends, they’re blowing in the wind. (Likewise!)
    The girl with colitis goes by. (Beatles’ – kaleidoscope eyes!)
    There’s a bathroom on the right. (There’s a bad moon on the rise!)

    So ‘mouldy greens’ and ‘mouldy grin’ seem quite appropriate! Cracking! And the song was good as well! Hahahaha!

    We are also on

  5. Jane Ramsden says:

    And I don’t know what we are also on… ‘cept the late-night shift… that’s my excuse for the above aberration. HAHAHAHAHAHA!

  6. muzza(s.e.England) says:

    Jane…..could you Wiki “erudite” for we plebs….oh how we have missed you.

  7. David W says:

    My favourite Mondegreen (never heard of it before seeing this, but I like it):

    Asking only workman’s wages
    I come looking for a job,
    But I get no offers,
    Just a come-on from the horse
    On Seventh Avenue
    Simon & Garfunkel (The Boxer)

  8. the_otter says:

    Somehow missed this one when it first went up on AFSaD.

    It’s becoming one of my favourites. I hadn’t heard this ballad before. Now I’m going to check out the versions by Nic Jones and Martin Carthy.

  9. Muzza(NW Surrey.UK) says:

    @mondegreen……….’.Do one to others before they do one to you’

  10. Diana says:

    I am still waiting for a cheerful folk song – they have been very dark depressing ones recently – all gloom and doom.

  11. Jane Ramsden says:

    I love this song. it’s full of action and movement, which Jon captured very well in his rousing rendition. I now have Nic Jones’ ‘Game, Set and Match’ & ‘Penguin Eggs.’ (Ta, Pierre!) So things are looking up, erudite b*ggers! I’d nivver heard of him afore AFSAD!

    It was good to remind missen about mondegreens – love ‘the horse on Seventh Avenue’ after the recent Simon & Garfunkel night on BBC4.

    It is snowing here now… I should have been in Tescow’s, not on AFSAD! The only disaster is no red wine for the last in the series of ‘Mrs Brown’s Boys’ toneet! T’will be Sainsbugs down the road, or the corner offie then!

  12. Diana says:

    The snow it snoweth on everyone today. Tedd it started here dead on noon as promised by some weather guru. It isn’t very often they are correct. I bet John has got snow as well and Muzza is due for some later today by the sound of it. Is there no Asda near you? I have found I have received a fair amount of money back via vouchers due to their 10% less price guarantee.

  13. Muzza(NW Surrey.UK) says:

    ASDA is nearly an anagram of AFSAD…
    snow arrived 7pm Saturday..right on schedule…enabling me to follow the old Yorkshire tradition of running up and down the garden chasing feral cats…….nekkid……….envigorating!!!!!!!!

  14. Diana says:

    What a frightening thought. Muzza I am not sure that is a good idea. Just think of the damage those feral cars could inflict and keep you clothes on.

  15. Jane Ramsden says:

    The JoJaDi bug strikes again, & excellingly so… ‘feral cars’ provides wonderful imagery, Daina!

    @ Muzza: I had ye down as more a Lucy than a Gok Wan fan!

  16. Daina says:

    Brilliant Jane spotting that – I didn’t and I read it through twice after typing it. You are right – a lovely thought re: the “cars”.

  17. the folk ballad Clyde Water Ive got the rights to that ballad, my grandmother was Maggie Stewart, and the scottish school of studies in Edinburgh, asked if I was Maggie Stewarts heir to her Ballads and Storytelling, as I’am her grandson, and her copyrights of her Ballads and the one song you have , is the ballad (Clyde Water)

  18. Diana says:

    It does improve on hearing again. Also weather is better which is a bonus.

  19. Diana says:

    Yes it gets better with each playing. Jon put his all into it.

  20. Jane Ramsden says:

    I do like this, and ‘The Drowned Lovers’ on Penguin Eggs. I was interested in James Stewart’s comment above, about having the rights to this song via his grandmother, Maggie Stewart. I googled her name with Ballads & Storytelling & found a fascinating website called Veteran Mail Order (cds, dvds & books of English, Scottish & Irish traditional folk music and song.) There is a cd by one Margaret Stewart, singing in Gaelic by the looks of it, but not the same Maggie Stewart acc to this web link:

    This site even has a recorded discussion to listen to with Maggie Stewart talking about songs she composed, as well as traditional songs she taught Stanley Robertson.;jsessionid=068BB7C276199C07F3EF765799C0BA06

    Amazon bills the more recent Maggie as today’s foremost Scottish Gaelic singer & the tracks listed on the Veteran cd Fhuair Mi Pog can be sampled on Amazon. There seems to be some traditional gems available on Veteran though:

    I note The Full English and Fay Hield’s albums are featured!

  21. Old Muzza(NW Surrey.UK says:

    Looked in the fridge this morning…………my cheese is mouldy green….. naaaaah-not really………just missing all the old AFSADers chat of old.
    Fare thee well cruel world….I shall put on my VEST and find my missing SOCK and wander off across the meadow and up over the hill into the sunset with the mole

  22. John Bryson says:

    Hard to realise I first heard Jon’s version of this song eight years ago – where does the time go?!

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

    Whoa Young John B……..surely not eight years…….we each must be a tad older by now!

  24. oldMuzza NW SurreyUK says:

    just me talking to myself again BUT..from a 2011 comment…..see below……..(I would like to add that,:- at our advanced age….some of us would be quite receptive to the come on from a horse!)

    David W says:

    February 18, 2011 at 8:13 am

    My favourite Mondegreen (never heard of it before seeing this, but I like it):

    Asking only workman’s wages
    I come looking for a job,
    But I get no offers,
    Just a come-on from the horse
    On Seventh Avenue
    Simon & Garfunkel (The Boxer)

  25. Old Muzza(NWSurrey UK) says:

    Ref the horse in above comment…..still haven’t bothered to look up the correct words.
    ‘spose I’ll do it now!
    Just did…..should be ‘come on from the whores!’
    (ha…..some of us would prefer the horse!)….my case comes up next week!

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