Prickle-Eye Bush


Click back to Down Where The Drunkards Roll and you’ll spot the same source credited and reference made to this song, as Jon again recalls “I learnt this from Adrian Matthews many years ago on FSC. It was one of the first songs I arranged for fiddle and voice and somewhere in the vaults of Topic records there is an ill-fated solo demo with it on. Some years later John (Spiers – Ed.)and I put a duo arrangement together and I think it is probably fair to say that that arrangement became the cornerstone of our subsequent career. So thank you Adrian!” Priceless! This also relates directly back to Derry Gaol on 7th August being another of the variants of a condemned person (in this case a young maid) trying to delay her execution in the hope of being saved, by a fairly hapless cast of relatives. Thank God for the true love as the family don’t seem to have either the will or the cash to saver her. The prickle-eye or more simply prickly Bush simply refers to the mortal peril she is in. It is of course Child Ballad #95 and I have to say I was most impressed by this Wiki page. At the risk of stoking folkist ire, millions of course have this via Led Zep 111 and whilst the Wiki entry makes much of the modern variants, I found the origin details fascinating. You can also Mudcat away for some considerable time starting here.

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15 Responses to “Prickle-Eye Bush”

  1. Simon says:

    Sorry folks this one missed its scheduled arrival. I tried resetting it for 9.00am and it wouldn’t do that either. Hmmmm! Gremlins in the works with this one for some reason. In the end I’ve had to create a new post and copy it all over to get it live, which means that we’ve lost the original comments. When I get in on Monday I’ll see if Ben can fix it. Until then it’s a blank canvass.

  2. John Biggs (Welsh Marches) says:

    I have assumed that the Prickle-Eye Bush is the Rose, symbol of love, which lures you in with it’s beauty, but once ensnared you find that, at times, the thorns can be painful. Happily, in this song love returns to the rescue and all ends well.

  3. Jane Ramsden says:

    Playing song catch-up today! Yes, I also like this ‘all’s well that ends well tale’ and was able to recognise and sing along to it recently at Otley Folk Club, which I wouldn’t have been able to do if not for AFSAD! Bit of a result, I’d say!

  4. Diana says:

    I have three versions of this song now. one from “The Works”, one with just Spiers & Boden and one from Bellowhead. I find it difficult to choose which version I prefer as they are all so good.

  5. Diana says:

    Hoorah, well done someone – back on track. Still love this song, definitely one of my favourites. It looks like an anniversay for me – my first comment here above so I have done the year now. Still ready for more though.

  6. Diana says:

    Nothing changes, still one of my favourites.

  7. Linda says:

    This is my favourite of the three versions that Diana mentioned in 2011.

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

    Can’t think of a Prickle-eye bush without thinking of Brer Rabbit’s home….from Tales of the South & Uncle Tom’s cabin.
    He pleaded with his assailants to do anything with him….”But Perleeeese don’t throw me into that briar patch!”

  9. Linda says:

    An old favourite……also like to mention only 6 days to the release of Afterglow….

  10. Linda says:

    Nearly 12 months since Afterglow release CD still going strong. Prickle-eye bush still a favourite…

  11. Linda says:

    An old friend…..

  12. Linda says:

    Looking forward to going to see Spiers and Boden later this month….

  13. Linda says:

    You are sneaking ahead Muzza how can you miss the Prickle-Eye Bush

  14. Linda says:

    Yes Muzza I have sneaked ahead love this and there are so many versions by different people Ninebarrow do a nice version of this….

  15. OldMuzza(NW Surrey UK) says:

    Lindy Lou….you are soooo cheeky with all this premature peeking!
    I’ll be naughty as well…. Pinch Punch…Happy October everybody!

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