On One April Morning



I think Jon’s on the mark describing this as “A bit of a classic. I’m not sure where it comes from – it’s fairly ubiquitous, although I s’pose I associate it most with Lou Killen. It’s unusual in that it’s a folk song actually celebrating chastity…”

Cyril Tawney is credited for unearthing this and Tony Rose and then Lou Killen for taking it on, at least according to this Mudcat thread. It only seems to have been collected twice, but about half way down that thread you’ll find a link though to ‘Twas On A Monday Morning O that refers to a song called Green Willow (that song is then transcribed in another post just below), which shares much of this. I’m rather taken with June Tabor’s notes on Mainly Norfolk that seem to indicate how widely kown this song had become on the circuit. It’s not entirely surprising, as it is lovely and Jon’s guitar adds a certain something that instantly makes this a great start to the month.


29 Responses to “On One April Morning”

  1. John says:

    This is definitely “a bit of a classic” and I really enjoyed Jon’s singing and playing. I’m also a great fan of Jim Moray’s version which he recorded as ‘April Morning’ on his ‘Sweet England’ album.

  2. Muzza(s.e.England) says:

    Excellent start to April…………..loved it

  3. Dave Eyre says:

    I also chose this for my radio show today!

    Norma Waterson on Bright Shiny Morning says she and Lal used to sing this years ago. And that she can’t remember the source – but thinks it may be Martin

  4. Tim says:

    The Canadian folk trio ‘Finest Kind’ also do a fine unaccompanied version of this song. You can hear a sample on their website here – scroll down to the album ‘Heart’s Delight’ and click on the sampler.

  5. John Bryson says:

    A lovely song, superbly sung

  6. Gail Duff says:

    According to the EFDSS book ‘Still Growing’ it was collected by Cecil Sharp in 1901 first from a certain Ellen Carter in Cheddar Cliffs, Somerset, and later from ‘R, Bryant of Devon’. It was around our local folk clubs about 25 years ago. I try and get to sing it every St. George’s Day.

  7. Shelley says:

    It’s going on the list!

  8. John Phipps says:

    I love June Tabor’s version. I wonder what Jon’s planned for St George’s Day?

  9. Reinhard says:

    John, you might try to convince Jon to sing John Kirkpatrick’s “Saint George”. It’s a beautiful song.

  10. Jane Ramsden says:

    In good voice, with great guitar, Jon! Like the tinkly tone on your guitar here too, as sounds very of an another age. Lovely!

    I like the Jim Moray version too. I do have a few folk CDs in my meagre collection, which is now nearly all (broadly) folk. Somehow other stuff isn’t stacking up the same as it used to!

  11. Alan Rosevear says:

    A challenge to learn this well enough before the end of the month – but it is so quintessentially English that it must be done. Thanks for this light rendition that brings a nice Devon song onto the list.

  12. Annie Galpin says:

    Lovely! Geoff Lakeman & the Unstrung Heroes played this before your & John’s set in Totnes last autumn. Geoff said a little about the songwriter, when and where he lived (but unfortunately I can’t remember … ) you can hear their version on http://www.unstrungheroes.net/music.html

  13. Muzza(N.W.Surrey. UK) says:

    and his man said “White Rabbits!”………who’s the fool now.
    Happy April everybody

  14. Muzza(N.W.Surrey. UK) says:

    Voice and guitar perfectly matched on this one…..
    can I detect a smattering of “All around my hat”

  15. Muzza(N.W.Surrey. UK) says:

    Ref the Mainly Norfolk notes :-
    “Although this song is commented on below by singers as ubiquitous and learned by osmosis”
    Can anybody give me the link to the osmosis version..He sounds an interesting fella.

    Should I go back to bed and stop this sillyness? (yesssssss)

  16. Diana says:


    @Muzza – 1. White rabbits to you
    2. Agree with you
    3. You need more sleep my deario.

  17. John Biggs (Welsh Marches) says:

    Lemady, followed by another favourite, On One April Morning. What a splendid way to start a beautiful April morning. I am being spoilt ! And what a lovely version, Jon, the guitar is perfect.

  18. Diana says:

    @John: Welcome back stranger, was wondering where you had got to. Ssnt you a message days ago – hoping you were well.

  19. John Biggs (Welsh Marches) says:

    Diana, thank you for your concern. Most of March seemed to taken up with caring for and about ‘Mac’, our border collie, who had been my trusted companion for 17 yrs . Trying to judge when was the right time to make that final phone call to the vet. I think we got it right.
    I kept up with A.F.S.A.D., but somehow nothing seemed to require a comment. Now I am sure that was me and not the project, as I also had little enthusiasm for our own groups singing sessions. However, all that is over, and yes, I am back.

    Sorry about this, Simon, I appreciate this is a space for exchange of views and knowledge about about A.F.S.A.D. and folk music in general, and not for airing personal grief, but Diana did ask . Feel free to scrub it and I shall not be offended.

  20. Diana says:

    @John: I sympathise with you. In a similar position with Ella (cat) who is about 18 years of age. Still have to make a decision but must decide what it best for her. One of my friends has border collies and I have been through the loss of several of them with her. Border collies are lovely creatures and I am sorry on your behalf – you will miss him dreadfully.

  21. Linda says:

    What a lovely start to April. Jon, you are probably like most of us and do your “job” as best you can, one day you will realise what the rest of us already know that you are a very talented musician.I hope I have said that as it is ment.
    @John sorry to hear your news. @Diana I’m sure you will make the right decision, it’s not easy.

  22. Muzza (N.W.Surrey-UK) says:

    Wow………..another year on and another great song taken down off the shelf for me…Beautiful song. I like the way that a fella can sing this song as he is speaking of his ‘overhearing’ what lovely Nancy is saying….Pinch Punch everybody-Happy April

  23. Muzza (N.W.Surrey-UK) says:

    And the site clock is correct for another six months!

  24. John Bryson says:

    A great way to start the month of April, don’t you think?

  25. Old Muzza(N.W surrey.UK) says:

    White Rabbits everybody……….hey …I have only just discovered that you can up the volume by clicking on the bars to the left of the ‘play’arrow….well I’m a bloke ain’t I!
    Sad news that Peter Oakley youtube (Geriatric1927 )died a few days ago)

  26. Jane Ramsden says:

    BelaTed white rabbits to one and all. Wot r u like, Muzza, with the volume buttons? I had discovered these early on account of the swishy Tosh laptop built-in speakers, whilst adequate, are not like my old external ones, which I canny be bothered to connect.

    I had not heard of Peter Oakley (geriatiric1927) but have just checked him out and found he had something like an amazing 30,000 subscribers, one of the top followings of all times. What a star!

    1 April this year is also RIP Celia, my old cat of 15+ years (heart failure) who survived her son, Wimpey (about 14, kidney failure) by just over a week. Reminiscent of Diana’s cat, Ella, and John Biggs’ dog Mac in 2012 as mentioned above. All gone, but not forgotten. I will now try to step up to the AFSAD plate once more & see if I can still bring some added value information & tales of titillation! Lol.

  27. 'Bernie' Bruen, songwriter says:

    I have listened to all the interpretations of this song, as posted on the internet, and can say unequivocally that Geoff Lakeman’s version is the finest that one could possibly hear. The others are nice enough, yes, but all tend to be mimsey, weak and lacking in positiveness. Geoff has the finest voice for this song. He has a resonance that others lack and it is an absolute joy to hear him sing it. Furthermore, he exhibits an ‘attack’ that grasps the very essence of both tune and lyrics and his concertina accompaniment is perfection itself. Once you have heard him sing, his is the only version you would ever wish to remember.
    What is my qualification for to make this observation? I wrote ‘The Lament to the Passing of the Montagu Whaler’ (Oxford Book of Sea Songs).

  28. Tim Trezare, poet and author says:

    I agree with Bernie. If you have never heard Geoff Lakeman sing this song then you have never heard it sung to its full potential; and his accompaniment on the Crane ‘duet’ concertina is masterful.

  29. Linda says:

    Glad to hear your back Muzza only just read the latest posts……

Your Reply

Warning: Undefined variable $user_ID in /customers/a/0/f/afolksongaday.com/httpd.www/wp-content/themes/comment-central/comments.php on line 121