Light Dragoon


Jon says, “The first Waterson:Carthy album is, in my view, one of the great folk records of all time. Hearing the combination of Eliza and Nancy Kerr’s fiddles with the massed Waterson vocals was a real inspirational moment for me. I’ve since got hold of Mike Waterson’s solo version which is also brilliant. I make no claims for the relative quality of my version here – it’s a pale imitation at best, but it is a great song for the pub.” Right, come on you lot! That’s three part harmony required! I think Eliza relished this on the CD and it’s telling to see how this was cleaned up by the early collectors, as they couldn’t face the thought of a seductress. Amongst the fabulous detailed Waterson’s discography Mainly Norfolk has this one covered. I’ve Mudcatted around, but other than a more racy Trooper And The Maid and a Scottish variant, found little to add, so feel free.

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


14 Responses to “Light Dragoon”

  1. No need for understatement, Jon, I like your singing of this song right well.

  2. John Wigley says:

    That’s fantastic…never heard it before.

  3. Alison McKee says:

    Glad I’ve just discovered this project if a bit late — tremendous idea and great singing Jon, very many thanks.

  4. Jane Ramsden says:

    Glad to see you were not put off by the thought of the seductress – well, the lass was in love! – and very well sung, Jon!

  5. Joanna says:

    Nice song, great singing.

  6. Alan Rosevear says:

    This is such a jaunty song and Jon seems to be gliding through it so effortlessly. It’s only when you try and sing it that you realise how many syllables per second he is getting into the story. Great stuff – a song that must raise a knowing smile and a chance to join in.

  7. Jonathan Wong says:

    I like June Tabor’s version (on bootleg Audiology 3) though~~

  8. Jo Breeze says:

    More about Light Dragoon from the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library at the English Folk Dance and Song Society.
    There are 9 records of Light Dragoon in the Library; the search also produces titles including the Royal Light Dragoon or the Saucy Light Dragoon.
    We used the Roud number to cross reference against different titles for the song. When searched on Roud No. 162, there are 59 records, collected from Devon, Hampshire and Suffolk as well as Missouri, Indiana, North Carolina, Tennessee and more.
    If you wish to see more detail on each record, change the ‘output’ to ‘record’ and press ‘submit query’.
    There are no records of the song in the Take 6 collection.
    We use the Roud index and the Take 6 online collections in the search for information on Jon’s selections.
    For more information, or to carry out your own search for songs, please visit
    If you need any help accessing the library online or have any questions, please contact the VWML on 020 7485 2206 or

  9. Sean says:

    Fantastic! I love Malinky’s version of this song, too. Karine Polwart did wonders with it.

  10. Diana says:

    Another cheerful ditty. Great!

  11. Jane (Maryland) says:

    Since Jon mentioned them, here are the Waterson:Carthy version

    and Mike Waterson’s with the wonderful harmonies

  12. Jane (Maryland) says:

    It looks like the Mike Waterson video didn’t post, so I’ll try again

  13. OldMuzza(NWSurrey UK) says:

    Blimey, if it was me that had the cakes and wine……..the maid could definitely count on a goodnight’s sleep!!!!……..I was a bit surprised that there is not another verse as she gets an ear-bashing from concerned/angry parents.
    Ref the Waterson’s version( Thanks Jane Maryland)…enjoyed the harmonies but who was the ‘old man’ singing….can’t see anybody that fits the voice on the album cover shown!

  14. OldMuzza (NW Surrey-UK) says:

    Ha…..from the lyric….it would seem that the crafty, lusty wench didn’t care who was on the horse…..i.e… light dragoon = fit young man……..I’ll have a bit of that!
    (ok- OK…..yes….I peeked three days early but there’s no one out there to chastise me…….. (or is there!)

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