Let Union Be


Jon says “Ian Giles recorded this with the fabulous Folly Bridge (now reissued on Wild Goose I believe). Ian was supposed to be singing it at the Christening of our God-daughter but was called away at the last minute so we learnt this in the car on the way. Mighty chorus, particularly in a church.”

A very pleasant and unexpected surprise as I wasn’t tipped off about the duo performance here, regrettably, however, the Folly Bridge CD is currently unavailable. I’ll try and find out whether a repress is on the cards and let you know, but it’s unlikely. Anyway my first encounter with this song was on the excellent Mawkin:Causley EP Cold Ruin, although they changed the tune somewhat as well as the title, their version being called Come My Lads. You’ll see at Mainly Norfolk that there’s a transcription along with the note that this was possibly originally a Grange song. “A what?” I hear you ask. Well if you’re anything like me then this link will come as news to you. I must say it makes more sense of the song for me as it seems to be a song of comradeship rather than simply a drinking song. Once again Mudcat takes a little ramble in the getting there, but this isn’t one of those epic threads and is worth a few minutes, especially for the final comment. Whether true or not, that’s folk folks. A real spirit lifter (ouch!) this one. I can’t help but think that the Christening must have been very special.



37 Responses to “Let Union Be”

  1. Jane Ramsden says:

    Wonderful song, and twice the pleasure! One for the album of duets, methinks! Your public is still waiting – ‘two good’ not to be recorded for posterity!

  2. Rosie says:

    How absoloutely fabulous!

  3. Shelley says:


  4. Kathy says:

    But…who’s the voice that isn’t Jon’s? As I listen, I keep thinking it’s Liza McCarthy, but then I decide against it.

  5. Reinhard says:

    Kathy, that wonderful voice is Fay Hield, Jon’s partner. She has been participating quite a lot in the last year; and I’m glad she’s back.

  6. Judith says:

    this is excellent, hope you do more songs together

  7. Muzza (NW Surrey-UK) says:

    Wow….just ploughed through the links and Mudcat and I’m Rite fol-er rol-er rite too-ra-li-do, toura loora layed up to breaking point…..but I’ll back anything that keeps the price of vegetables down.
    Can’t think of any words to say what I think any more!….rite fol de rol…better go to bed before Jane catches me in her witching hour.

  8. Old frog says:

    Drat…gone midnight and I didn’t turn into a handsome prince yet again. I’m Fed up with eating flies(vegetarian ones of course)

  9. Jane Ramsden says:

    @ Muzza: I be witching… but I’m leaving this one for the morrow now. Ref handsome prince, you would do better in the attraction stakes not eating flies… at least not in public… and I suggest you do recitfy the missing sock situation once and for all… HERHERHERHERHER!

  10. Diana says:

    Superlative – I think all the other words have already been used in the comments above.

    :Poor old frog – sorry you did not turn into a handsome prince – still it would have been nice to have been like that fella Muzza you know. Charm and a silver tongue help.

  11. Diana says:

    Don’t know how that smiley appeared it was supposed to be a “p”

  12. Jane Ramsden says:

    Lovely, in a Christening ‘Baby-lon Is Fallen’ kind of resounding way! Now, let it be said once and for all afore the end of this project. Please, Jon and Fay, put together that ringing singing album of duets! T’is only fair to share with your breathless followers!

  13. Jane Ramsden says:

    And I found this from one of our AFSAD contributors, Patrick Rose. Hope he does not mind me posting his version here; strong, unaccompanied singing with harmonies by Vikki Fielden. Well done, both.


  14. Muzza(NW-Surrey, UK) says:

    There IS a rascal lurking within the organisers of the Queen’s lunch today.
    As she came in, the orchestra was playing a beautiful and jaunty little tune.
    The Folkies among us will have recognised it as a speeded up version of that well known dirge…..”The Hard times of Old England”….excellent…well done.

  15. Muzza(NW-Surrey, UK) says:

    @Jane…ref Patrick’s rendition…I’ll never be able to remember that chorus!

  16. Diana says:

    I am with Jane, more duets would be most welcome There have been so few, and they have all been most enjoyable.

  17. Peter Walsh says:

    I could see it working at a Bellowhead gig; absolutely fantastic performance from Jon and Fay. Hip hip hooray (x3)!

  18. Diana says:

    Hi Pewter – back to the grindstone then? Nobody else is up yet and no song today at present.

  19. Pewter says:

    Hi Dainer. No song yet for 6th June on my computer either. A bit worrying!

  20. Reynard says:

    No need to worry; every automagically working process hiccups some time or another. I’ve written a mail to our friendly admin half an hour ago and he surely will fix it soon.

  21. Diana says:

    Thank you.

    Not your computer Pewter just a hiccup in the works.

  22. Diana says:

    Pewter – I have just spotted something funny there, say computer and what do you get?

  23. Peter Walsh says:

    I could also be a ‘competer’ as well, hahaha!

  24. Diana says:

    Pewter that is another funny – well done!. I did think it strange when I read “Computer Pewter” – it has an identical sound. It was just the way the words fell, normally they would not have been together.

  25. Gini says:

    Ha Ha

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

    Just ask me who had a chat with Martyn Wyndham-Read last night……
    gave him a few tips…..
    and I let him have his photo taken with me….

  27. Linda says:


  28. Jane Ramsden says:

    @ Muzza: And you could be twins!

  29. Linda says:

    ref Peter’s comment 2012..YES it does work at a Bellowhead concert…….love Jon n Fay’s version.

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

    At my age …..I’m ready to settle for those bits on the chair! They are beginning to sound quite attractive.

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

    Oh Dear………………I’m a daft old todger…this should refer to tomorrows song….after the ball was over!

  32. […] first heard this on A Folk Song a Day, so in my role as a Poundland Jon Boden I naturally recruited south-east England’s foremost Fay […]

  33. Linda says:

    A firm favourite …….Piers Cawley does a nice version of this…

  34. Linda says:

    Catching up nearly missed a favourite……

  35. John Bryson says:

    I’ve just been reading through some of the old comments on ‘Let Union Be’, as one does on a quiet Monday morning!

    In particular the comment made back in 2012 about this being sung at a Bellowhead gig.

    On their tour last Autumn this was indeed in their set. It was an extended version of the song and had the audience belting it out along with the band – great stuff

  36. OldMuzza(NWSurreyUK) says:

    Wey Hey young John….good to see that you are still lurking out there

  37. Linda says:

    Had Piers singing this again at the last sing at The Royal in Dungworth Beautiful

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