I Sowed The Seeds Of Love


Jon says, “I love Magpie Lane’s version of this. So do they – they’ve recorded it twice, once on Six For Gold and previously on Jack In The Green. We’ve basically nicked their arrangement too.”

I guess this one is not so much Percy Thrower as well, just plain old ‘Percy’!!  Some coded lubriciousness that according to Mainly Norfolk is the first song that Cecil Sharp collected and it seems from that note that this dates to at least 1689. There appear to be several close relations mostly about sprigs of thyme, although those seem a might more cautionary, while this seems more willing. In fact if this Mudcat thread is on the mark there are close to 200 versions or variations on a theme (including one Child Ballad.) There’s also reference to the movie version of Far From The Madding Crowd, which isn’t the first I’ve seen in my research. I must say I’d like to see that now as I’d probably appreciate it. I had to study the book for O level and it was thus forever blighted, but if songs like this are in the soundtrack it’s ripe for rediscovery.

Bonus track: I Sowed The Seeds Of Love (Live at South  St. Arts Centre Reading 16th Feb)

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



34 Responses to “I Sowed The Seeds Of Love”

  1. Adam says:

    Lovely, Jon.

  2. Jane Ramsden says:

    Though he is a good poet, I have poor memories of Hardy from ‘O’ level too, and cannot even remember the story of ‘Far From The Madding Crowd’ now, from either book or film. However, the soundtrack was well-regarded as per this part-review by one Bruce Eder:

    “One of the best scores ever written for a movie, Richard Rodney Bennett’s music for ‘Far From the Madding Crowd’ was the only element of John Schlesinger’s 1967 movie to be honored with an Oscar nomination. Astonishingly for a piece of music written in 12-tone idiom, the music is highly melodic and appealing, with rich, lush orchestral textures and a haunting quality that lingers long after the movie or the album. Trevor Lucas and Isla Cameron provide the vocals on a trio of folk songs, but most of what is here is instrumental, and deeply evocative of the lonely, somber Wessex countryside in which the book and movie were set. The prominent flute passages were played by a young, uncredited James Galway…”

    The track listing can be found at http://www.answers.com/topic/far-from-the-madding-crowd-sony-1985-album-by-richard-rodney-bennett

    However, should anyone wish to obtain a copy of this difficult-to-source CD, the one new copy on Amazon costs £330! The soundtrack on the finally-released DVD is described as tinny mono. So Jon’s version of this song here is to be appreciated!

  3. Jane Ramsden says:

    I have Jim Moray’s more flowery-accompanied version of this song on his Sweet England album, which is on YouTube. I could not find Magpie Lane’s version, but thanks for the pointer to these singers, Jon. Not heard of them before, but sometimes reminiscent of Swan Arcade in tone. Here’s a link to a bonus bit of their music – Jack In The Green:


    Their version of The Boar’s Head Carol is also on there.

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

    Lovely old song and beautifully sung…almost the good old tune.

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

    Thanks Jon/Jane for the Magpie Lane link……..they do stuff that is right up my street+ lovely images………without AFSAD community…I would never have found them.I really enjoy Jon’s live singarounds…very grieved that I couldn’t get to Farnham Maltings…only 5 miles away…aaaaarrrggghhh.

  6. Susan Churchman says:

    Lovely song performed with great gusto, but I’m puzzled by the reference to a second Magpie Lane recording. I bought “Six for Gold” after seeing them in Oxford in 2004 -on the same night as the Bellowhead debut – but this song is not on it. Anyone know what Jon is referring to?

  7. Lizzy Harrall says:

    I was sure that this had been re-recorded with Sophie on the lead vocals, but have just checked my copy of 6fG & see that susan is correct, it’s not there. I can’t imagine it being put on Knock at the knocker… (my copy’s in Dorset so can’t check.)

    I can only think that Sophie & Ian’s lovely rendition of it in many a pub session has lulled both Mr B & myself into thinking it had been re recorded…. going to find out.

    Lizzy *with a new bee in her bonnet*

  8. Debbie Thornton says:

    Yes – see far From the Madding Crowd, Jon. It’s an excellent film – very atmospheric from a folky point of view and great when they have the harvest supper and sing songs.

    Coming to see you tonight at Pontardawe – have a great night:)

  9. Rosie says:

    Really lovely. Interesting to read all the comments too.
    I think Barry Dransfield does a nice version of this, or am I getting confused!

  10. Katie says:

    Thanks for the gig last night, I am always impressed by the number of instruments you all play, and how the heck you remember all the words (well most of the time, having heard the recent live post!)

  11. Simon says:

    Sorry the live tracks took their time again today… The site has been incredibly slow to update all day. I started early this morning and have even tried logging out and back in, but everything’s been hanging. Of course it could simply be that lots of you are looking at it waiting for the track to go up, but anyway it’s done now…

  12. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Eleanor White, Jon Boden. Jon Boden said: Latest Post: I Sowed The Seeds Of Love http://www.afolksongaday.com/2011/02/17/i-sowed-the-seeds-of-love/ […]

  13. Jan says:

    Nice version, Jon, and quite close to the one I sing which is pretty much based on the Dransfields version.

    Simon, I also studied the book Far from the Madding Crowd for O level, but saw the film around the same time and can recommend it. Isla Cameron is mentioned in the credits for the folk songs, and one David Swarbrick on fiddle.

    Jane, I got my DVD of the film from Amazon, new, for considerably less than the sum you mention, quite recently.

  14. Jan says:

    …and the sound is fine.

  15. Debbie Thornton says:

    Brilliant time last night in Pontardawe! Superbly put together. Loved the Edison phonographs – poignant what you said about them outlasting digital technology etc. We love that you come to Pontardawe – great for us people who live in a little ex-mining community having escaped the big city:)

  16. John Bryson says:

    Beign an anorak(!) and digressing from the ASFAD a bit, but I believe the fiddler in the barn in Far from the Madding Crowd (film referred to above) is Davie Swarbrick, and scenes from the film can be found on Youtube in one of the versions of The Girl from the Hiring Fair, performed by Fairport Convention (Swarbrick also a former member of them). Incidentally, that song was written by Ralph McTell, and I saw him perform this at the Cropredy Festival in 2009 when he was the act preceding Fairport topping the bill on the Saturday night. McTell, a guitar and a fantastic song in front of 20,000 – super.
    I couldn’t make the 2010 festival, hence missed Bellowhead.
    Sorry for my digressions here, but all in the name of folk music, and my knowledge does improve with material I read on this site.

  17. Diana says:

    Liked this one very much- surprised that according to Mainly Norfolk that there are so many variations of it.

  18. Daina says:

    Pewter are you back to your usual perky self after the car cleaning marathon? Talking of Perky how is she? I was glad to see back of the litter tray when the snow started to recede.
    For some strange reason I was reminiscing about my first job which was with Hargreaves Hamilton in Bolton and was wondering whether they were still in business. It was a long time ago I add.

    The only times I have been in Bolton is to go to Smithills Hall for reunion dinners with some of my school friends. I expect there have been many changes in the town. I hope I am not boring you too much – I do rabbit on some times.

  19. John Biggs (Welsh Marches) says:

    Cyril Tawney was one of the first singers I heard when I was getting into Folk music in the 60s, and he used to sing this beautifully.
    Yes , I also would like to see the the film of ‘Far From The Madding Crowd’ again, not only for the soundtrack, but also for the wonderful Julie Christie.

  20. Diana says:

    @ John: Then there was lovely Alan Bates who is no longer with us and also Terence Stamp. I enjoyed the film – much more interesting than the book. Mind you I find that films are more entertaining and easier to follow than some of the books. i.e. Dickens. I have read a lot of his books but they come to life on film.

  21. Little old Muzza(N.W surrey.UK) says:

    I love all those period dramas/films…..very picturesque…but the reality and hardships of life at the time would outweigh the celluloid portrayal.
    Just occurred to me…..and has never before crossed my innocent mind…..
    the title of this song could be quite ‘risqué’…………..oh……just me then!

  22. Diana says:

    Oh Muzza, how could you? Take an innocent title like this an think otherwise.

  23. John Bryson says:

    I have now caught up after the return, and all I can say is ‘bring them on’! Great to hear these songs again

  24. Linda says:

    Just listened to Norma Waterson on the Mainly Norfolk link a lovely lady saw her and Eliza Carthy at Bury met an enjoyable night.
    Nicely sung Jon!

  25. John Bryson says:

    Did anyone see this performed in the Cecil Sharp tribute at last week’s Radio 2 Folk Awards?

  26. Jane Ramsden says:

    Yes, I did, & duly noted, John!

  27. Old Muzza(N.W.Surrey.UK) says:

    such a pretty song……….good to hear it again…..
    and I’m getting used to the tune variation …………………
    did somebody hint that this was a smutty song……can’t see it mesen(as Jane would say)

  28. old Muzza(N.W.Surrey.UK) says:

    As I’ve said before…..this treat of a folk song a day is akin to taking one down from the shelf…………how many of us have stacks of folky CDs that stay on the shelf and we seldom listen to them….and I just love this one (one of the first collected by Cecil Sharp)

  29. old Muzza(NW Surrey UK) says:

    Oh what a joy it is to listen to this song(ooops- a day early!)
    Never mind I can listen to it again….
    and I DO reckon dear old Cecil Sharp had his work cut out cleaning up the innuendos for the parlour performances!!!!

  30. OldMuzza(NWSurrey UK) says:

    Oh joy….listening to this I am transported to a country garden full of flowers bathed I Spring sunshine…….BUT…..if I look out of the window this very moment..12.30pm…….chucking it down with rain and almost as dark as a dungeon!!

  31. OldMuzza(NWSurrey UK) says:

    Ha…….back in that cottage garden for the moment but …..true to English weather….outside…..destructive storms ‘Dudley’ and followed by ‘ Eunice’ causing chaos.
    Just gonna close my eyes and get back into that garden.. where the heroine is hiding the key to her gate or something!

  32. OldMuzza(NWSurrey UK) says:

    Still hanging on…..still loitering in that garden..

  33. OldMuzza(NW Surrey UK) says:

    Ha….now got to an age(a while ago) when I wouldn’t be any use ….even if I found her bally key!!!….it’s a bit rude to ask the gardener for his selection of flower…and then turn them all down…
    Still enjoying the song though.

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