Roseville Fair


Jon says “We had this as a bonus track from my brother a while back but I think it works pretty well unaccompanied so here it is again.”

I’ll agree that it suits a solo voice and it’s a winning little tune, which somewhat unaccountably seems to have spawned a number of parodies. As you’ll see from Mainly Norfolk, Les Barker added a nice twist and it’s interesting to see June Tabor thought his version worth her attention. Then I stumbled on this Mudcat thread, which added another couple of reworkings.  I can only think that the prolific Bill Staines seems good humoured enough to take all such things in his stride as Mainly Norfolk indicates. I’ll also confess that despite what seems a substantial career his name is new to me and 26 albums make a late discovery a rather daunting (impossible) prospect, so I’m all the more grateful for this brief insight.



16 Responses to “Roseville Fair”

  1. Gloria Jackson says:

    Wow, I was listening to Nanci Griffith’s version of this earlier…Anyway, I really like this. It’s certainly different to the “country” versions you normally hear!

  2. Espanyolgas says:

    Wot, no Martin Carthy inspired song today?

  3. Owen Ralph says:

    When was this a bonus track? The only tracks I remember featuring Jon’s Brother are ‘Oats and Beans and Barley’ and the bonus song that day which was ‘Barbaree’

  4. chautauqua says:

    I sang this tune to my girlfriend and she decided it would be OK for us to get married.

  5. Reinhard says:

    June Tabor is a regular guest on Les Barker’s albums, appearing of 10 out of 21. On “Oranges and Lemmings” she argues with birthday child Martin Carthy about “Hunting the Cutty Wren”. Happy 70th birthday, Martin!

  6. Nick Passmore says:

    The Chris Wood & Andy Cutting version of this on the eonymous black and white album is well worth checking out, if you haven’t heard it, though I suspect most will have already done so…

  7. Nick Passmore says:

    Or even eponymous…

  8. elfpix says:

    Poor Bill, he’ll never live this corny song down – as he waltzes back to the bank with the royalties.

    Jon, you really need to get out more if you’ve never heard of Bill Staines.

  9. Ed says:

    I remember singing a much more upbeat version of this with your brother Tom. We must have been about 16 and walking in mid-wales, Tom playing a Toy melodeon.

  10. Diana says:

    What a contrast – a really gentle beginning suddenly turning to violence. These folk songs have it all.

  11. Diana says:

    Must get my facts right – I was reading June Tabor’s version with all the violence. Jon omitted this.

  12. Reynard says:

    Violence? No, that’s just the way to treat a banjo lest it harms us with its noise.

    But you’re right, Jon is singing the original version.

  13. Diana says:

    Maybe so but it’s preferable to a ukulele 🙂

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

    Jon’s Subtle variation on the tune is most agreeable………..
    also……why such harsh words about banjos, ukes, boudrhans……..everything is beautiful -in its own way!

  15. Linda says:

    Nice version of this on Bellowhead’s Revival (deluxe edition)CD…

  16. Linda says:

    Like this .

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