Frankies Trade


Back to Kipling/Bellamy again, although this really does have the feel of a song rather than a poem about it and  in my hastily mugged appreciation, It’s looking likely. Jon attributes his learning of this to a beery Oxford session or too, “Dave Webber is one of favourite singers on the scene and he does this song particularly well. He and Annie once came along to the Half Moon after playing the Oxford Folk Club, and after a few pints Dave treated us to his secret talent for singing blues and country and western. Must try and get him drunk again one of these days.” Meanwhile as to matters Kipling, This appears attached to a short story (more of an episode really) in Kipling’s book Rewards And Fairies, the follow up to Puck Of Pook’s Hill (link to Wiki here.) Both volumes concern children Dan and Una, who meet the Fairy or Elf Puck, as in (A Midsummer Night’s Dream), who gives them a series of magical, interactive history lessons introducing them to a cast of characters from down the ages. Frankie’s Trade comes attached to a tale about Simple Simon and the moving of a tree trunk to make a ship. Puck teases Simon about poisoning Francis Drake (bad cooking not malice) and thus the tale (at least as the story has it), of Drake’s early heroics in rescuing persecuted protestants from the Low Countries is allowed to unfold from Simon’s memories. Drake was certainly protestant and his family had to flee Devon to avoid persecution themselves, but whether these seafaring adventures are true, my idiot’s guide simply doesn’t cover. These poems are tagged onto the end of the stories and as others attached to the individual episodes are called things like A Truthful Song, An Astrologers Song and A St. Helena Lullaby, the sense that these should be sung seems right. I don’t believe that any music was actually composed, however, but  Frankie’s Trade seems to have a functioning chorus and concerns itself with the young Drake learning a mastery of the waves. The whole of Rewards And Faries seems to be reproduced online here (although I’d buy the book if you are really that interested), and there’s a good Mudcat thread to get your teeth into, which includes a rather good Kipling/Shakespeare joke. Mainly Norfolk again has the Bellamy angle covered with information about his Oak, Ash And Thorn release. Interestingly Jon’s version of this song will appear on a remaking of that album on the Folk Police label (something I need to find out more about.) You’ll get the gist from this link here, although if this (from an email) is anything to go by it may take me a while to add to that… “I’m in Brittainy, searching for bearded loons ecstatically grooving with bagpipes and hurdy-gurdies for the next two weeks. If it’s urgent please text me. I’ll try to check my emails when I can. Thanks!” I rest my case…

You can buy the August digital album now from all good download stores:



38 Responses to “Frankies Trade”

  1. Simon Dewsbury says:

    the words ‘Back to Kipling/Bellamy again’ are becoming enough to get me interested strightaway. I particularly like the accompaniment on this one.
    I didn’t know there was a follow up to ‘Puck’, just did some follow up and found that Hobden mentioned in ‘the land’ also appears in ‘Puck’ and ‘Rewards’ as Hobden the hedger. Did any of the Copper family have hedging as a sideline?

  2. Jane Ramsden says:

    I like the tune and accompaniment on this one too. And it sounds like there is a lot of vocal scope to play around with tempo and emphasis. Rather an unusual song, which is what makes it attractive to my ears. Keep the variety coming, Jon!

  3. John Wigley says:

    Oh very nice, has a sense of drama and propulsion to it (and I agree with Jane, there’s lots of room…)

  4. Jon Boden says:

    Just to add, today is the anniversary of the defeat of the Spanish Armada (8 August, 1588) – hence this song today! (Really annoyed that I missed Brigg fair on the 5th, I’ll have slip it in quietly somewhere else…)

  5. Jane Ramsden says:

    But you didn’t miss Derry Gaol the day before the general announcement that Derry is the first UK Capital of Culture from 2013, Jon. Very apt!

  6. Dave Rogers says:

    Just catching up after being away from the PC for a week – this is superb! I expect Jon is already aware of the work done by Brian Mattinson from the Kipling Society on documenting musical settings of Kipling’s poetry:

    Mind you, I never had any response from Brian when I sent him an mp3 of my own setting of “Brown Bess” (to the Morris tune “Swaggering Boney”)… 🙁

  7. Phil says:

    Terrific stuff. I’m going to have to learn this!

  8. Just to follow up on the availability of books on the web. Whilst nothing really beats holding a copy by a fireside, you will find virtually all of Kiplings books here ( and a great deal of others although regrettably not yet Child’s Scottish and English Ballads

  9. admin says:

    Damn! I got well and truly Kippled here and forgot to mention the Armada aniversary in my intro. Sorry folks!

  10. Yehudit says:

    I am so loving reading these posts all filled with my favorite songs. I had the LPs of Bellamy’s Kipling songs many years ago, duly recorded them onto reel-to-reel when I moved and gave away all my LPs, then onto cassette, and now I made them into mp3s…. along with a lot of other music I have that never made it to CD.

    Why can’t these just be re-released? No offense, but I want the original Bellamy versions. “Frankie’s Trade” was one of the sort of “Young Tradition reunion” songs, also “A Tree Song.” Well, whatever. If the masters don’t exist anymore, I would still buy a sonically cleaned up CD from the LP, it would sound better than my 4th gen. mp3s.

  11. Simon says:

    Hi Muzza and everyone else. Just to flag up again that this is the anniversary of the British defeat of the Spanish Armada. I got so carried away with the Kippling business above I forgot to add it to the introduction. Anyway if you’re interested in the history of it you can Wiki here.

    On another note, I’m a bit of a rover Muzza. I suppose I’m very nearly as much South London (SE19) as anything, but a Brummie by birth and still a Villan, with about six or seven years in Leamington Spa, a couple of years in Bristol (where my son was born) and a year in and around Lancaster (not going to University.) I only mention the latter as it’s left me with a great regard for the forest of Bowland, Ingleborough Hill, High Bentham and the Ribble valley, plus a penchant for Lancashire cheese in any of its three main styles, but especially the creamy. Then again, perhaps tellingly, the first stand I visited at the Earl’s Court Beer Festival on Friday was the West Midlands and Warwickshire.

  12. Rosie says:

    Lovely version of this. Especially the concertina!

  13. muzza(s.e.England) says:

    @Simon…you said……..”and everyone else!!!!!!”…there’s only Jane ,Thee and me!

    and with that CV……..I suspect that……my Quill is hovering with a new song along the lines of…”THese words were compos-ed by Simon the Rover” + a murder and a hanging thrown in for good measure.(I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt regarding the Lord of the castle’s wife!)

    and all I ask is that you add “Admin Simon” to accompany the hirsute photo so that newcomers realise that you are THE Guru and they should hang on every word.

  14. muzza(s.e.England) says:

    And ROSIE………..sorry to miss you out Rosie…you crept in under the radar.

  15. Linda says:

    hI Muzza, I’m still here too. Only just got interested in folk via this site so find commenting difficult.Only so many, brill/thats nice/really enjoyed that, that you can put.I am really enjoying the history side of this project and all the comments.

  16. jonathan says:

    @ Muzza & Simon I’m still with it too -great second time around

    And for anyone else the re released Bellamy discs are wonderful, as was this & the Oak Ash Thorn disc

  17. Jan says:

    I’m still here too, when I can manage a coincidence of time/energy to spare (so much going on at this time of year) but I have good intentions of catching up on all I missed first time around.

    A big hello from me to everyone still hanging on in there!

  18. muzza(s.e.England) says:

    AHA……….I hoped my comment would temp you fine fellows out of the woodwork
    Hang in there are quite right…you can only say”great” a finite number of times…………perhaps a “Hit counter” would give a feedback to show how many people visit each day…….Hi Jan and Jonathan.

  19. Phil says:

    And I’m still here!

    I did this song back in June, when I was on a Kipling/Bellamy kick. Here’s my Frankie. Also, here’s a review of the Folk Police Kipling/Bellamy CD, among others.

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

    @Phil………..yours is an excellent version……….I can hear that you had all your brothers round for tea again and they did a great refrain

  21. Diana says:

    A completely different type of poem from Kipling but set to music and sung by Jon is excellent.

    I have not yet been moderated so shall reprise my message and see if it gets by today. For all those who like “Reynardine” and I know there are several, I picked up a podcast on iTunes. It has slightly different wording and a completely different tune. It is by Comyn’s Bardic Closet and is a good version.

  22. Diana says:

    No, something or someone does not like this message although I know not why.

  23. Diana says:

    Aha – I have been moderated and found innocent. So Muzza you can now read my message to you from the other day.

  24. Simon says:

    Sorry about the lack of moderation, but I’m a busy bee at present, when not being distracted. Thanks for the kindly comments on Properganda, it’s always nice to know one’s efforts are appreciated. As for the possible sexism, the only thing I’ll add is that rightly or otherwise, childbirth and young babies tend to interrupt the female performers’ career arcs more, or at least more often. I think this is why it gets refered to and I doubt that many (if any) put a musical career before the maternal instinct. I think Colin is wise enough, certainly has his heart and intentions in entirely the right place and is a genuine fan and champion of great music, plus a more than capable writer.

  25. Linda says:

    Hi Muzza re 2011 still hanging in there. This is one of those songs that gets under the skin and hangs around for days. [like this one!!!!!]

  26. Muzza(NW Surrey-UK) says:

    @Diana…………..Well m’ dear….you’ll have to pinpoint which message you mean as I have a few hundred to chose from and not labelled ‘was moderated because Diana said something naughty’

    @Linda…….huzzah…..took a song about a sailor to coax you up on deck!

  27. Diana says:

    @Muzza I did not say anything naughty at all I was just answering a question for you that you asked about “Brown Adam” along with a spot of information about “Reynardine”. Still methinks you exaggerate slightly with the hundreds.

  28. Linda says:

    Here we are again Muzza up on deck. This one of my favourites and will be humming it for a few days

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

    Linda…………….this must be a big boat….took you two years to find your way up here into the sunshine!

  30. Linda says:

    Muzza…still up in the sunshine and still really love this song….

  31. Old Muzza(NW Surrey.UK says:

    Lindy loo…there you still are…… me under ‘Ca the ewes’ tomorrow….I’ll be wearing a pink carnation and carrying a copy of ‘The Times’

  32. Linda says:

    Like the “atmosphere of this one”

  33. Linda says:

    Nearly missed the yearly fix of this one …will ewe b there tomorrow Muzza?

  34. Linda says:

    Muzza I know ewe ll be there tomorrow as you’ve already commented now who’s peaking…nearly missed this one catching up after a few days away…..always love the atmosphere of this song…..

  35. OldMuzza(NW Surrey UK) says:

    Hi Lindy Lou……you don’t miss a trick
    Thanks to Simon’s comments at the top….I’m now into Puck of Pooks Hill etc

  36. Linda says:

    Just back from a week in the Cotswolds missed a few favourites eg The Land…but back in time for this favourite

  37. OldMuzza(NW Surrey-UK) says:

    BeeeeeeHaaaaaave Lindy Lou….are you telling me you didn’t take Laptop/phone/Ipad on holiday!….such willpower…respect!

  38. Linda says:

    Hi Muzza been to the Cotswolds again miner laptop etc…….catching up yet again have lost my original link which comes up all weird so have to go via another connection which means clicking on archive to get here…….Nice to be back in time for Frankies Trade ,

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