Jon admits, “This is one of my favourite songs from James Fagan and Nancy Kerr’s repertoire. James and Nancy were the first professional musicians I ever met and I was somewhat in awe of them. I still am, truth be told.”
I’d count myself as a fan too although on the strength of the last CD in particular which is superb, so not with the same longevity as Jon. I’ve managed to track down their version, which is rather basic in the recording, but features James’ voice clear and strong and Nancy’s insistent fiddle, suggesting it might have been a bit of a live classic. I’ll refer to Mainly Norfolk for the fact that both Bellamy and Martin Carthy have recorded this, although I’d note that both are markedly different to this version, which seems to have the verses about shoes, gloves and cheeks floating in from elsewhere. You may want to dabble over at Mudcat where there’s a world of alternatives to take on board, indicating a wider family of songs that have at least passing acquaintance with this one. I suppose the theme of lovers parting is a fairly common one that never went out of fashion. That said I don’t imagine menfolk are much called upon in the foot shoeing department these days.