The Hunt is Up


This is the first time we move out of strict ‘Trad. Arr.’ Territory as Jon explains, “ I chopped the first verse off, turned the second (?) verse into a chorus and wrote a new tune. Not that there’s owt wrong with the old one mind.” Jon recalls the words were credited ‘Anon’ and he claims his source as a book although is unsure of the title, suggesting both A History Of England In Verse or A Ballad History Of England, both of which seem to get a result with Amazon as you can see by following the links. I’ve also just found this link, which follows Jon’s version fairly well and suggests the song is credited to William Gray of Reading and dates form Tudor times. Having asked Jon for any notes on the music or accompaniment, as I’m sure you’ll be thirsty for any insider knowledge, I’m informed that the concertina played here is  Maccann Duet (for the insatiably curious you’ll see more detail of the instrument here.)


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42 Responses to “The Hunt is Up”

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Shelley Rainey. Shelley Rainey said: RT @folksongaday: Latest Post: The Hunt is Up […]

  2. edith lewis says:

    Off to Newcastleton Folk Festival for the weekend so won’t be able to listen again till Monday. (Deep in the Scottish Borders so no signal). Look forward to another three great songs.

  3. ian croft says:

    There was an electric version of this song on the Albion Dance Band’s 1976 album ‘The Prospect Before Us’, with vocals by Eddie Upton (I think). It’s very different to Jon’s and worth a listen

  4. ian croft says:

    Not Eddie Upton of course, but Shirley Collins. Eddie sings the other hunting song on the album called ‘The Huntsman’s Chorus’.

  5. OxfordClareB says:

    Brilliant version Jon! Had only heard the Wilsons’ rendition before, so very interesting to hear this one, with a great new tune 🙂

  6. muzza says:

    I love all the pageantry of hunting……….I’m just not happy about the end result…BUT….there are some excellent hunting songs around and I really like this one and will add it to my own repertoire…..Great voice……great instrumental…… I hear a bit of “Jock o Hazeldeane ” in there.

  7. Carolliz says:

    I don’t mind the end result of a hunt, muzza – it means food for the table. It did in Henry’s day, too. The royal court was huge, and required a vast amount of food to feed everyone. When you buy meat in a styrofoam tray at the market, it just means that someone else has done the dirty work, and there’s no dignity in the deed, no real respect for the animal, which most hunters of my acquaintance have in spades. There’s little pageantry anymore, either,just slogging through mud and brush to “bring home the bacon”.

    All that said, this is a fine song, nicely done. Thanks, Jon.

  8. Vivien says:

    I just love this song – the melody is something I cant resist and the story really creates a strong picture in my mind. I am enjoying the ‘Folk Song A Day’ enormously and shall follow it with great interest. I love the unaccompanied singing/simplicity – you cant beat the expression of the voice. I am hoping to learn and share some of these at my local club at North Boarhunt singarounds. Thank you Jon for the huge amount of time and effort that it must take to provide this for us all to share.

  9. Piers Cawley says:

    Oh, I am so having this one. What a fabulous song.

  10. Piers Cawley says:

    Oh yes, sourcing. I think the book Jon got it from is William Chappell’s Popular Music of the Olden Times. I just got hold of a second hand Dover edition in two volumes and if memory serves it’s in the first volume (books are in London, I’m in Gateshead, what is a boy to do?), but here it is at under the title “The Kinge’s Hunt is Up”.

    Yay! for the internet

  11. Jane Ramsden says:

    12.30am and I’m getting ‘file not found’ for this song, Admin, but Muzza above did indeed add this one to his repertoire and here’s his YouTube link!

    Like the way you always stage your videos, Muzza, complete with appropriate laptop picture in the background!

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

    Jane me dear…………thankyou for the plug. That’s not a laptop….that’s my TV!!!!!
    Yep-I can’t get Jon/Simon’s link either.
    Unlike Jon….y old voice is straining a bit to get the notes…..and you also probably noticed that I “folk-evolved” the words……….as I’m not a “tar raa ree…….-fol-dee-rol fan”!
    Is it really a year since I was inspired by “The hunt is up” on AFSAD!
    My latest video, ” any news of the iceberg”, introduces one to the poetic joys/skills of Les Barker.

  13. judith says:

    I can’t get Jon either. try again tomorrow?

  14. Jane Ramsden says:

    2pm Sat afternnoon and file still not found. so you have the stage, Muzza! If that’s your tv, how do you get the appropriate pic, and to stand still while you sing! Hahahaha! I have nowt modern techie whizz much in my house. My telly is only terrestrial… and not for much longer!

  15. John Bryson says:

    Coming from the hunting county of Leicestershire, love to hear this but I’m getting ‘file not found’ for this one as well

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

    Jane…..bought my TV from an old beaky nosed lady (hag) from Pendle……..
    no me dear…….the secret is a dvd /recorderplayer…you grab a bit from a programme and think…”That would be a apropriate for song title xxx” and you stick it on pause!…
    It has failings…..I was on the 9th take of one song and almost at the last line of a perfect run and the safety thingy cut in and resorted to the TV current programme (Prime ministers question time!!!!!…you should see my out take dvd!!
    8pm and Simon’s file still not found…he must have gone away for the weekend

  17. Jane Ramsden says:

    12.15 Sunday and the fox still not found!

    Muzza, I am impressed by the full-scale musical production going on here. You are setting the standard. I have tried singing into my pc – several takes of caterwauling did not impress even the cats, but I have no musical accompaniment to shore up my singing. Beware those Pendle witches…

  18. John Bryson says:

    I have access now – only one word to describe this – marvellous. Thank you so much Jon.

    There are lots of songs linked to hunting, and in my opinion this is up there at the top.

  19. Diana says:

    A another song well sung. I like to see the hunt in full flow but hate the outcome. Drag hunts are preferable.

    Muzza just been watching you on Mainly Norfolk – you did a great rendition of this song – well done. I see you still have the ships and a lovely picture of a stag. Very appropriate but glad to see it was not being chased by huntsmen.

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

    @Diana…………I was bemused when you said Old Muzza was on Mainly Norfolk..but I checked and there I was!…
    Ooeer…I do look so serious in those early days and the old voice did strain a bit.
    Thank you Reynard for the plug

  21. Diana says:

    @ Muzza I recognised you as soon as I saw you. I always go on Reynard’s site first thing – I do like to see all the various lyrics before playing Jon’s song. I do not always print the lyrics out but I do have quite a collection now. It helps too because having the date at the bottom of the sheet I can always go back via the archive to where I can hear them again. T’was nice of Reynard to transfer you from youtube to his site.

  22. Diana says:

    @Jane thankee. I have been moderated and have past the test so you can now read my message to you on the 28th of last month. Thanks Admin.

  23. Simon says:

    Hi folks, just dipping a toe back in…

    Diana, I don’t know whether it might have been the ******* that caused your post to fall foul of the spam filter. It is a law unto itself and doesn’t tell you what the problem is with the item it’s selected, or at least not that I can see. I’d have got to it sooner but was having a day off on friday and didn’t even take my laptop home.

    Anyway, I’ve just fixed my link above…

    I’ve also just found this link

    Hopefully that makes things clearer.

    Nice to see you on MN Muzza. I regret I have a voice that strips paint and is only useful for communal bellowing, when it can be hidden amongst others more melodious, so I do envy you singers out there.

  24. John Bryson says:

    What a way to start July – Tyne of Harrow and now this – great stuff! Incidentally, ref my entry on July 4th 2011 I return to Leicestershire after 33 years in the South East (moved to work on July 2nd 1979 – where does the time go?!), scheduled date October 1st this year.
    There are some great hunting songs around, and I would recomend the Grand Union Folk Club in Barrow on Soar near Loughborough (there next Monday for The Big Sing).
    As an aside my late father was the vet for the hounds of the Quorn Hunt for many years, when the hounds were at the kennel in Barrow

  25. John Bryson says:

    One other point – I find I appreciate this material the more I listen to it, and I recommend this site to so many people I meet in order to learn more about folk music

  26. Diana says:

    @John (of SBW) October lst is a red letter day in your calendar then. It will be quite an upheasal after so many years and I expect there will be a lot of changes since you were living in Leicestershire. I know when I go to Manchester (which is not too often) I find so many things have changed – new buildings up etc. It will be lovely for you though – very nostalgic!

  27. Diana says:

    @Simon: Thank you for your prompt moderation and the reason why it might not have got through. I seldom swear unless it is”damn, blast, roast and set fire to it” as my father used to say which tickled Jane and Muzza. Anyway I was really cross with the computer – it has been playing up and after writing a longish messgae only to find it disappearing was just too much to bear thus the asterisks.

  28. John Bryson says:

    Hello Diana,
    Jane and I both looking forward to it – I have never lost connection but so many changes.
    It was my Mum’s funeral last Monday (25th) and would have been her 86th birthday on
    Saturday (30th).
    Mum had told me, and it was mentioned in her eulogy, that when living in Seagrave (not far from Barrow on Soar) in the 1930’s Mum saw all the four Royal Princes (Wales, York, Gloucester, Kent) riding at the same time with the Quorn Hunt.
    Mum also remembers around the same time the Prince of Wales (before he became Edward VIII and subsequently the Duke of Windsor) out with the Quorn and asking one of the local men to hold his horse, then going into Seagrave village shop, and on his emergence giving the man a £1 note – in those days a lot of monyto the working man.

  29. Diana says:

    Hi John,
    I am so sorry for your loss. Such words really don’t convey a lot but they are sincere. Your Mum sounded like she had quite an interesting life – not many people can say they have seen royalty at close quarters can they? You are right a £1 note must have been a fortune in those days. It is not be sneezed at these days although it will not go far. Anyway John my condolences to you and yours.

  30. John Bryson says:

    Thank you Diana, much appreciated – Mum lived her whole life within a 10 mile radius of Loughborough, but was well travelled, and you are quite right in saying it was an interesting life

  31. Jane Ramsden says:

    Commiserations here too, John, but pleasure at a life well-lived. Forthcoming move sounds momentous and I hope brings all you would want.

    Lovely swell accompaniment to the singing of this song. Not a fan of hunting per se, of course, but this song particularly nice in the chorus, and like the historical allusion to Henry.

  32. John Bryson says:

    Thank you Jane – had a good 33 years ovrall here in the south east, but time to move

  33. OldMuzza (NWSurrey UK) says:

    Ha…….The very first time that I commented on a song from the start on24th…now I can’t shut up! the start of lovely exchanges with all the regulars…..great memories.. recalled daily.
    Love the song ….can’t find the direct link to Mainly Norfolk…I think that was added later
    and yes……..I have peeked a few days ahead!

  34. John Bryson says:

    Nothing wrong in looking ahead here Muzza, particularly when you have such a superb song as this.

    I confess to having belted this out at the White Horse Folk Club, which meets at the village pub in Seagrave, Leicestershire. I’m nowhere near Jon’s level of performance, but it’s great to hear the chorus reverberate around the room

  35. OldMuzza(NWSurrey UK) says:

    Come on young John Bry… about putting your version on Youtube or entering Islington folk club trad2mad competition

  36. John Bryson says:

    I’m already on YouTube performing Muzza!

  37. OldMuzza(NWSurrey UK) says:

    Well John Boy….I have a whole selection of JBs to choose from on Youtube and unless you give a clue or a link….you will be forever the JB that collects Marilyn Monroe photos!

  38. OldMuzza(NWSurrey UK) says:

    Whoa John….from yesterday…good to see that you are still clinging to the wreckage..
    .Yup really glad that this one popped up for me to learn…great little song.

  39. John Bryson says:

    We’re hanging in there Muzza. When I’ve got up to perform at a club I find that the gathering are belting the chorus out second time around

  40. OldMuzza(NWSurreu UK) says:

    Really like this lil ole song……hope all you AFSADers are keeping well out there in the big wide world
    Ref Jane comment and youtube link from 2011….I now have a bigger TV!

  41. John Bryson says:

    Doing well thanks Muzza. Currently feet up watching tennis.

    I think this is a super song, which I added to my repertoire some time back

  42. OldMuzza(NWSurreyUK) says:

    I just love the way AFSAD reminds us of these songs which would otherwise gather dust in our memories!

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