Jon confesses “I’m totally in love with this song. We started doing a version on the last Remnant Kings tour with wolf noises from the wax cylinder players. I love the line about his teeth shining bright…”

It is a good song this, I’ll agree with a marvellous fiddle part to I, but a bit of an enigma. Mainly Norfolk has a good page’s worth on this, with some surprisingly detailed notes from Bert Lloyd to kick us off that seem to be utterly refuted by this Wiki entry. The suggestion is clearly that this is another of Bert’s ‘interventions.’  It may well be the case, but equally I’m not sure how well researched the Wiki entry is. This Mudcat thread doesn’t really sort much out and takes a while to get through, but there are suggestions that an Irish tune of this title was published in the very early C19th. There is also the question of whether this relates to the Huguenots and the mythical French character of La Reynaudine, who apparently has a sort of Robin Hood status, but I cannot categorically back this up with any evidence either. I do like the suggestion that it could explain the rather peculiar line “brought up in Venus’ train” as mocking the Catholic obsession with Mary. I guess part of the debate here is how much therianthropy is involved. That could well be of Bert’s creation. Foxy or foxing rather than a fox? But be he simply outlaw, fox or something in between, he cunningly beguiles the young maid. So be warned! Should the spring season have prompted a desire to ramble amongst you fair maids gathered here, you’d better have your wits about you. Meanwhile any evidence for the Huguenot element will be appreciated, as it has a certain appeal.



41 Responses to “Reynardine”

  1. Are there any plans for what happens in June, when Mr Boden hangs up his AFSAD boots? Will the whole enterprise fall back into background static again, or are there any plans to keep it going in some form?

    Personally, i think it’d be nice to throw it open, and have some capricious and undemocratic selections from tracks offered by the readers of the blog.

  2. John Biggs says:

    A beautiful song, beautifully sung, and I like the accompanying violin.
    For me however the definitive version has to be on Fairport Convention’s classic album, Liege & Lief. The lingering guitar chords and the haunting voice of Sandy Denny have stood the test of time; along with the mysterious lyrics.

  3. Phil says:

    Hear hear!

    Simon – I thought that Mudcat thread, and Steve Winick’s essay, were clear as day: what we’re listening to here is an old song about an Irish outlaw (“The Mountains High”), featuring a guy called Rinordine (spellings vary), which Bert Lloyd modified by changing ‘eyes’ to ‘teeth’, patching in an unrelated fragment about “sun and dark” and changing the name to something more ‘foxy’. The therianthropy was all in Bert’s mind – it’s “Errol Flynn rather than Lon Chaney”, as June Tabor says in the sleevenotes to Airs and Graces. I’ve never done it myself since reading that essay – although I have considered reviving “The Mountains High” just to fox people, if you’ll pardon the expression.

    If you’re going to do Reynardine, on the other hand, I never expect to hear it done better than this – terrific fiddle accompaniment.

  4. Phil says:

    ‘Hear hear!’ was in reply to Phil Hargreaves’s last point, btw.

  5. Jane Ramsden says:

    Very lovely, intricate fiddle to accompany this ‘Red Riding Hood’ song, Jon. I think you could have delivered it a bit more powerfully without sacrifice to the fiddle too.

    Thanks to all for the usual knowledgable pointers and notes. I note there was no mention of ‘ursanthropy’ in the shape-shifting section, so I conclude my alter ego, Ted, is fairly unique (though Native Americans may know better!)

    I have the Fairport, Sandy Denny and Heydays versions of this song, but here is a YouTube link to Anne Briggs’ version, which I hadn’t heard before:

  6. John Biggs says:

    Having enthused about the Sandy Denny / Fairport Reynardine, I am now reminded of another excellent version by Shirley Collins and Davy Graham on ‘Folk Roots, New Routes’, which in my collection, probably runs it a close second. (1964 now reissued on c.d.)

  7. Dave Rogers says:

    Jane Ramsden said “I note there was no mention of ‘ursanthropy’ in the shape-shifting section”.

    They’ve obviously never read The Hobbit, or they’d have known all about were-bears, in the form of Beorn the Skin Changer!

  8. Phil says:

    There bears!

    (I’ll get my coat.)

  9. Jane Ramsden says:

    Dave, you are right and I have never read The Hobbit! I starTed it, but could not finish it. Likewise LotRs. They do not float my boat, but I did not have Ted as my other persona in those days.

    Skin Changer makes the whole shape-shifting tranformation sound somehow more superficial… however, some might say shape-shifting is not so accurate either in my case… how very dare they! Hahahaha!

  10. Jane Ramsden says:

    Tranformation? Apologies for the misspelling. That sounds like something altogether different! HAHAHAHAHA!

  11. Cherry says:

    I’m with Phil H, it would be a waste for this to just disappear in June.

  12. Diana says:

    Like this one very much and the fiddle complements it so well. I have heard this one before thanks to John B who steered me onto it some time ago so have listened to it on Mainly Norfolk too.

  13. Sarah says:

    Still my favourite.

  14. John Biggs (Welsh Marches) says:

    Well, your chum has popped up again Diana. Have you seen him hanging around in your garden lately ?
    A haunting song this, and Jon’s version is just as good second time round. Can’t add any more to my comments last year. One of my favourites.

  15. Name-changing Jane (to see what happens!) says:

    Beautiful. I love the non-clunky, clunky, halting fiddle. The whole song has an olde worlde, other worldly quality, both classical and eerie. Lovely and transporting.

  16. Jane Ramsden says:

    Well, I see nowt happens, save the name changes for one time only! I could have sworn that was not previously the case… this shape-shifting works better than I thought! Better than Ted’s head anyway… hahahaha!

  17. Diana says:

    No John I have not seen hair or hide of him sincse and no “barking” at night. I do hope he is alright. They are lovely animals. I was reading the pros and cons in the Radio Times and am 100% in favour of the pros. The cons were for shooting them I ask you? Why would anyone want to do that?

  18. Diana says:

    Jane when I assumed my other persona all the names where I was last on the list on the comments changed, but I expect you are protected by your avatar which nobody can replicate. Still it was worth a try to see what happened.

  19. Jane Ramsden says:

    @ Diana: I was also sure my name changed next to all my previous comments, as well as the one I’d just changed it under (regardless of the avatar – which does, of course, rather give the game away!) I was not pretending to be someone else tho’, only changing my name for fun, but the principle’s still the same, so t’is a mystery!

  20. Diana says:

    @ Jane I do know that when I was Lady H, I looked back over the lsst few days and I was still Lady H. Still it is strange nevertheless. Like you say though your pic does rather give the game away under whatever pseudonym you use.

  21. Jonathan says:

    I would be interested to hear a version of ‘the Mountain High’. There don’t seem to be any recordings on Youtube, and Mainly Norfolk has no reference to them. Shame.

  22. Reynard says:

    Sorry Jonathan but I don’t have (and don’t know of) any recording of “Mountain High” that I could add to Mainly Norfolk.

  23. Diana says:

    Jane have you seen the EDF flame dancing to the theme from “Hawaii 5-0” ad? It is not as good as “Electric Dreams” though.

  24. Diana says:

    Jane now that is funny I have missed a letter out of my “mail” name and all others have the same mistake. Usually if I boob I get a message when I try to submit stating there is an error but not today.

  25. Linda says:

    Enjoyed watching Jon and the Remnant Kings doing this on youtube via the Mainly Norfolk link.

  26. Lesley says:

    I just love this – I particularly like the simplicity of just Jon’s voice and the violin. Think I’m off to download it now!

  27. Jane Ramsden says:

    I could not find any recording of (All on the) Mountain High either. There is a little known song (and also no recording of) Roud 955 Captain Barniwell, sometimes called Young Barniwell. Less mystic on the mountains than Reynardine, but it has a happy ending:

    Abroad as I was walking, ’twas on a summer’s day,
    I heard two lovers talking, and the damsel she did say;
    All in a mournful ditty, she thus began her tale,
    Which filled my heart with pity, true love to prevail.

    “True love, true love,” said Sarah, “True love, true love,” said she,
    “My friends and brother Barniwell are sore displeased with thee;
    My friends and brother Barniwell are sore displeased with thee,
    And swear that they will slay thee all on the mountains high.”

    Yonder comes Captain Barniwell, a-bending of his bow,
    A-waiting for young Samuel, thinking to be his foe;
    “Come unto me, Young Samuel, Come unto me draw nigh,
    For here I mean to slay thee, all on the mountain high.”

    Then Samuel stood amazed, not knowing what to say,
    At length he stepped up to him, and his arrows took away;
    His arrows he took away from him, his bow he broke in three,
    Crying, “Where is your shot, young Barniwell, that you had got for me?”

    Then Barniwell he wrung his hands, a-crying out a-main,
    “All for my sister Sarah, oh here I must be slain.
    All for my sister Sarah, a man here I must die,
    All in the hands of Samuel, upon the mountains high.”

    “Oh say not so,” said Samuel, “Oh say not so,” said he,
    “Give me thy sister Sarah, and I’ll be kind to thee;
    Give me thy sister Sarah, to be my wedded joy,
    And I will use you kindly all on the mountains high.”

    Yonder comes Sarah Barniwell a-tripping o’er the plain,
    Thinking to see her own true love her brother had a-slain;
    Wringing of her hands and wiping of her eyes,
    Saying, “Barniwell, where is Samuel, that you have been and slain?”

    Then Barniwell stepped up to her, and took her by the hand,
    And gave her unto Samuel, in the place where they did stand;
    “Here’s half my lands and livings, I freely give to thee,
    Because thou’st used me kindly, all on the mountains high.”

  28. Jane Ramsden says:

    @ Diana: EDF flame & Hawaii 5-0… Oh, yes! Love it!

  29. Jane Ramsden says:

    (Thanks to Pierre Walsh) have just listened to Isobel Campbell’s version of ‘Reynardine’ on her 2006 album ‘Milkwhite Sheets.’ The whole CD is well-worth the listening to, very restful and atmospheric. Now off to forage for a copy of SoH’s ‘Country Life’ for another foxy version! I just love AFSAD!

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

    How the heck does this young fellow sing whilst playing the fiddle…and at a different tempo to boot!……….I smiled at the following line-:
    ‘They had not kissed but once or twice when she came to again’……….
    I had that problem with women…….I had thought they were fainting with passion, but I now realise that they were feining dead- hoping that I would go away!

  31. Linda says:

    Still like the youtube on Mainly Norfolk,spent a while looking at some of the other songs by Jon and The Remnant Kings after.
    @Muzza sounds like your feeling a little better.

  32. Sarah says:

    Saw JB and the RKs do this on their tour this year. Still my favourite.

  33. Jane Ramsden says:

    @ Muzza… ref the wimmin, must have been ‘ennui’….. Hahahahahahahahahaha!

    Forget the dog Reynardine and catch the latest dose of ennui from Henri le Chat:

  34. Diana says:

    Love this song.

  35. Jane Ramsden says:

    And here’s a very foxy folk site of news, reviews, shopping (CDs/downloads, festival & gig tickets, instruments & accessories) as well as the UK Folk Music A-Z of Folk Clubs:

    It also features FolkRise, the folk show with Alan Morley. Not only does it have tracks from Dancing With Ghosts’ Spirit of Beblow that I recently mentioned on here (& have bought!), but there’s also a bit of Bellowhead Rolling The Woodpile Down! What a great find this is, as you can go back and listen to each month’s programme of about 16 different tracks. Enjoy!

  36. Jane Ramsden says:

    Note also FolkRise, March 21st 2014, has an extra show with wall-to-wall folk music which reads:

    “We have discovered a media website called ‘Grooveshark’ when you can compile a playlist from tracks they have available. They have 1000’s of tracks on the website and I have only just started investigating, so I know there is more to find.”

    Sure is! See hear!

  37. OldMuzza (N.W Surrey-UK) says:

    Excellent Jane………what would we do without you ferreting out these fantastic sites for us

  38. John Bryson says:

    Are the usual suspects on here up early tomorrow with the Morris Men? As usual, top of Old John and Leicester Morris Men for me at the civilised time of 7.00 am (the crack of dawn not done around here Muzza!)

    Hal and Toe

  39. Linda says:

    @Muzza …………..are you being tempted out of retirement tomorrow or will you be having a lie in???
    Still like this song.

  40. Diana says:

    Another one of my favourites here.

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

    I love that old fiddle scratching away in the background………….I can hear traces of ‘Just as the tide was flowing’ in this one
    Hey ‘Happy May Day everyone and ‘Pinch Punch-first of the month’……or is that tradition only maintained by we poor folk who never grew up!

Your Reply

Warning: Undefined variable $user_ID in /customers/a/0/f/ on line 121