Jon refers to a legendary Irish combo here saying, “Possibly the folk album that made the biggest impression on me as a teenager was Planxty’s Cold Blow And The Rainy Night it even inspired me to try to learn the Uileann pipes. There are a fair few English songs in the Planxty repertoire – I think this is one, but I’m not 100% sure.”
With both Christy Moore and Paul Brady passing through the ranks, Planxty are without doubt a hugely important band and this is the title track of their third LP from 74, the year when the latter stepped into the formers shoes. Notes on the CD version reveal that Christy learnt this from one Mike Harding of Crumpsall, Manchester. A version of this is of course a highlight of the first CD from The Imagined Village, but the tune’s somewhat different. Martin Carthy, with and without Steeleye has recorded this, as has daughter Eliza and you can read more about that at Mainly Norfolk. As to origins, well it’s fair to say that Mudcat, erm, muddies the waters somewhat. Inevitably it’s part of a family of similarly themed songs that seems to be popular on both sides of Hadrian’s Wall. It seems sensible to call this version English, however, given Planxty’s accredited source and the soldier as the protagonist is another signature. Oddly no one suggests an Irish version and even Planxty imported it, which given the numerous versions, even Burns had a go at improving it, seems odd. Maybe I’m just missing something, so if you know better please let us know. Personally I love the I.V. version of this and that album in general, but this is great. There’s a jauntiness in the tune that favours the soldier, if you know what I mean, although this is another of those moral fables about the perils of persuasion. Young maidens – you have been warned!
You can buy the February digital album now from all good download stores: