We need to start off with a couple of thank yous for todays offerings. Firstly thanks to Dan Plews for being AFSAD’s first guest singer. Dan is working hard getting ready for a residential songwriting weekend he is running in Milton Keynes next week (click here for more details) so we are grateful that he could find time to meet up with Jon. Secondly big thanks to Ed Cooper who filmed and recorded the jam session. Ed and his partner Sarah are following Bellowhead at the moment collecting footage for a film, so we all look forward to seeing the results of that.
Now to the songs.
Here’s our first video for A Folk Song A Day… It mostly speaks for itself, but there are two songs here, including today’s Bold Sir Rylas. The first extra song is most timely, however, given the news that Nic Jones took to the stage himself at the Sidmouth Folk Festival . So as a complete bonus we have track 1 side 1 from Penguin Eggs, Canadee-i-o. It also answers a recent request for some harmony, so take it away Jon Boden and Dan Plews…
Bold Sir Rylas
Another from Spiers & Boden’s repertoire to be found once more on the Songs CD. Jon offers, “I was very excited when I came across this in a newly purchased copy of Folk Songs Of The Upper Thames. I didn’t think much of the chorus so changed that so that it would fit to the tune Enrico which was apparently Thomas Hardy’s favourite tune. Hardy was a fiddler of some note by all account.” The notes on Songs refer to it being a nicely compressed version of Sir Lionel (also known as Sir Eglamore and The Jovial Hunter and as Child Ballad #18.) It’s another song that seems to have a fairly confused history and there are similar songs that go back to Henry VIII and possibly before. I’ve found this that gives some indication of the age…
“Sir Eglamore, a hero of fourteenth-century French lais, came to England in the metrical ballad Sir Eglamore of Artois, in which the knight battles giants and wild boars for his beloved. He experienced resurgence in popularity at the start of the 1600s and Sir Eglamore And The Dragon (and parodies thereof) continued to appear in broadsides and songbooks into the eighteenth century. Child grouped Sir Eglamore with the Sir Lionel ballads (Child #18), a mostly-farcical collection which runs to heroes rescuing treed maidens from wild boars and their ilk. (Modern fantasy cliches notwithstanding, period songs rarely featured dragons: Wild boars were much scarier.) Our earliest written version of Sir Eglamore And The Dragon appears in Samuel Rowlands’s 1615 The Melancholie Knight. The author suggests an earlier source, writing “The history unto you shall appeare/Even by myselfe verbatim set downe heere:” [italics in the original], but he does not name his source. The song remained remarkably stable, eventually appearing in Pills To Purge Melancholy (D’Urfey, 1719/20) with only minor changes.”
I’ve copied that from a much longer article about Francis Child and Ballads in general, which may go into a general links section or glossary if I ever get the time to do it. Anyway if that’s not enough for you this Mudcat has more on the subject of Boars.
Bonus song: Canadee-i-o