Jon calls this “Probably the best known hunting song in revival circles thanks to the Watersons’ stirring version.”

I don’t have much to add to this one despite putting my sensitivities on hold after all the whaling debacle. I can offer this Mudcat thread, not that it’s especially illuminating as one of the links to Paul Graney (the Watersons’ source) doesn’t work at all and the other seems not to have been updated. There’s also a suggestion that this comes from the Holme Valley Tradition, but I can’t find anything to verify that, so if you know more please chip in below. As to the association with John Peel (who seems to be our most famous hunt master and hound owner), again I can’t confirm this and he and his dogs surely can’t be the only source of hunting songs.



25 Responses to “Bellman”

  1. johnone says:

    Wow! Loved it. So well Sung Jon. Superb.

  2. Shelley says:

    I looked at the title and thought it was another song I didn’t know, but once Jon started singing it sounded very familiar – another I know by folkmosis then! Well sung Jon!

  3. John Biggs says:

    This is probably going to bring down scorn and derision on my head, but I always find the mawkish sentiments expressed in this song bring to mind the old Elvis Presley tear jerker “Old Shep”. I think it is the the line, “he’s gone where the good doggies go” that really does it for me. I do Know that there is little room for sentiment when dealing with a pack of hounds trained to hunt and kill.
    Beautifully sung though Jon as always

  4. Jane Ramsden says:

    I’m with John above. I don’t like the song, don’t like the hunting theme allied to mawkish sentiment (none for the fox, also a dog!) tied up in a music hall tune – and that’s despite the talented singer! Defo not in my top twenty!

  5. Rainbeaux Moonjean says:

    Congratulations on reaching 300, Jon – you’re on the home run now.

  6. the_otter says:

    Is it 300 already? Congratulations are in order. Hope someone buys Jon a drink or three hundred.

    There are hunting songs I like, but this isn’t one of them.

  7. Shelley says:

    I see the numbers going up and keep thinking how sad it will be when it all comes to an end!

  8. Hi not heard the song before but like the version…..I used to live at Bellman, which was a public house named after John Peels hound…..”they are indeed hard to find” because Bellman was a totally white hound…Bellman later became a farm is located not far from the redundant Chatburn station where John Peel stepped off the train before going hunting, after a dram of whiskey no doubt….as far as I know Hodder valley hunt still have a Bellman..
    Regards Andrew

  9. Steve says:

    I’m with John Biggs too. “He’s gone where the good doggies go”. To feed the lions at Twycross, probably. Huntsmen are practical chaps. I know the tune as “The Horn of the Hunter is silent”.

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

    @Andrew………John Peel on a train….bang goes another illusion!
    As for what to do with old hounds….they make good scrumpy.

  11. Diana says:

    Those much maligned foxes, how anyone can find sport in chasing them with a pack of hounds I do not understand. As Oscar Wilde said “the unspeakable in pursuit of the uneatable”.

    @ Simon – marvellous, ordered from Propermusic late evening on the 17th and CDs here on the 19th – that is service!

  12. Diana says:

    Hi Linda nice to see you back. There is nothing more frustrating than when something doesn’t work and you have to wait for a replacement. The Sheffield gig was great although I am not sure that a cathedral is ideal for veiwing. Apart from the pillars, there were huge sound boxes which blocked the view, but could hear everything so that was fine, and did catch views of the duo from time to time. The journey and parking took so long that all the best seats were gone. It was strange though seeing a long queue for drinks (beer and wine) in a cathedral. Times have changed. Also those pews are rather hard on the bottom! Next time I will take a cushion.

  13. John Biggs (Welsh Marches) says:

    Although not a supporter of hunting, I certainly do not shy away from hunting songs, in fact I have been known to give a good account of myself with Dido, Bendigo etc. After all, I do not approve of highway robbery but there are some damned good songs about the subject. No, it is just this song ! A year after my original comment, and having just lost a dear canine companion after seventeen years, I dislike the sentiment in this song even more. When was this version written I wonder.
    I have recently obtained another c.d. by the excellent Bok, Muir & Trickett trio, ‘Turning Towards The Morning’ , which contains a fine version of ‘The Horn Of The Hunter’ , part of the John Peel legend, and that is certainly on my ‘to learn’ list.
    Having said all this, Reynard can live fairly secure in my woodland, in an atmosphere of mutual respect. The reward is an occasional sighting of that sleek red/brown shape slipping through the trees, and if I fail to secure my poultry one night, I have only myself to blame.

  14. Jane Ramsden says:

    Well spake, John B, on all counts! I’m with thee all the way!

    I see my urban foxes occasionally (very early hours) and wouldn’t be without them.

  15. Jan says:

    Liked the dead dog scrumpy, Muzza – is that a proper smock you’re wearing? One of these days I would like to have a go at making one, but not sure what the chances are as it’s on my ‘to do’ list along with about a hundred and ten other projects.

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

    @Jan…..Yep.real smock made by a young, talented morrisman. back in the 80s (not me I hasten to add)
    Ref projects…… all fellas…I have a shedful of bits and pieces “That will come in handy one day”……if I started to use them tomorrow…it would take me 30years to make a slight dent in the pile!
    Ref coincidences;- In yesterdays TV series “Celebrity antiques hunt”..the auctioneers was a firm called ‘Bellmans’……spooky or what!
    Ref Foxes; we can understand taking a hen for food….but why do they kill everything in sight during the visit! Many years ago, I lost 10 ducks in one such raid..and boy, after seeing the carnage….I hated foxes vehemently for quite a while.

  17. Jane Ramsden says:

    @ Muzza: Because foxes are scavengers and will eat carrion, so would come back for said demised birds, if ye let them. This would keep them going a while, and so prevent fodder being wasted, and more birds being killed ‘cos the first kill had been disposed of. Unless you ate them yersen, of course. You cannot hate the fox, when ye have penned the birds, which would otherwise scatter to the four winds! I suspect some birds try to defend themselves by giving the fox a good pecking, and it ain’t gonna stand for that.

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

    @Jane…..drat…….So it was my fault all along…….foxy is innocent.
    As usual, it just needed a good woman to point out to me another of my failings and give me a good pecking/quacking!

  19. Jane Ramsden says:

    @Muzza: Tedthinks t’is a fine line between harnessing nature and penning it. Remember Jurassic Park and the Chaos Theory – if you skew the balance of nature, Life will find a way! Neither you nor the ducks had a truly desperate daily need to find fodder. The fox did. Sad for the ducks… but there ye go…

  20. Diana says:

    Jane I am just reading the last book written by the author of Jurassic Park. I am finding it riveting – about plant and insect life indirectly. It is called “Micro”. SF with S-fact interwoven in it.

  21. Linda says:

    Catching up again…… Just back from Bridlington having been to see Bellowhead at The Spa as usual a brilliant show probably one of there best sets yet……..Also spotted over the weekend Sam Sweeney’s Made in the Great War is touring again in September if you missed it the first time it’s well worth going to see……

  22. Linda says:

    That time of year again.. Bellowhead Farewell Tour Sheffield on Thursday

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

    What can I say…..record breaking Easter temperatures…after a couple of wintry weeks…and the world full of blossom. magnolias, camellias, daisies. dandelions….and folksong.

  24. Linda says:

    Is it really 4 years since Bellowhead at Bridlington and the Farewell Tour……..Happy Easter all……

  25. Jane (Maryland) says:

    Well. I am not a fan of fox hunting. Nor of mawkishness. But I loved this. I can imagine Bellman’s “people” harmonizing to this after raising a few glasses to the old boy.
    And since Jon mentioned the Watersons, anyone who enjoyed Jon’s rendition might like to hear this as well

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