Jon says, “Eliza Carthy taught me this and we performed it a fair few times. It nearly made it on to Rough Music but not quite. I’m hoping to meet up with Liza over the summer and get another version of this with her on lead.” Recorded versions of this seem really thin on the ground, so if anyone can add here please do so. I’ve picked up reference to it being in a book called Songs The Whalemen Sung by Gale Huntington and said volume is certainly available. Richard Thompson has a version on the RT: The Life And Music Of boxed set. I’ve picked up the lyrics as well and a footnote that Napoleon was a hero to the Irish (the enemy of my enemy.) I’ve also picked up the suggestion that Napoleon was far from unpopular with many of the English and a quick aside that without Nelson’s elevation to national hero, revolutionary fever may just have crossed the channel. I’m sure the historians out there can add to that and possibly to the history of the song, as I’ve come up pretty blank so far. Mudcat has some general threads about Napoleon, here’s one, but I can’t winkle out any specifics on Jon’s chosen song. Still it’s a good choice and I think the concertina (the Maccann Duet again) adds a finely judge accompaniment.
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