Click on the link or the drop-down menu above to take a listen. When we first came to traditional folk music, we stood at the foot of the mountain and wondered at the sheer size of what loomed ahead. You might find it by chance — a centuries-old song that grabs you and sticks with you and makes you wonder what else might be out there — or you might find that someone offers you a leg-up.
After all, each have tales about some chap in some pub somewhere who can play the hind legs off all the donkeys, but chose not to make a career out of it, or someone legendary who passed away years ago but, boy, you shoulda heard them play the spoons. We hope you find it useful. To get the latest from the series, make sure you sign up to our mailing list.
Bookmark it, make a mental note… just remember to pop back from time to time to discover a little more about some of the best folk songs in the British tradition, as dictated by those that play them and keep them alive.
As chosen by Jim Moray. Folk singers sometimes have a habit of thinking that singing something slowly makes it more profound when, actually, it just makes it take longer to get to the important bit. Nic had skills almost comparable with a great Shakespearean actor of knowing which part of a line contains all the weight, and how to pace it so you get caught up in a tidal wave as the story reaches its conclusion. There are other long ballad performances which do that for me including things by Martin Carthy and June Tabor but Nic was the master of it and that song is the peak of his ability.
The chances of it sounding very much like the original are slim indeed. Roud number: As chosen by Jack Rutter. Did them a favour really. Less for them to worry their pretty little heads about. Sooo likes it…. The ballad writers of the time would sell the songs under the gallows just as the unfortunate crime was getting his or her desserts — just or otherwise — right there and right then.
Here in its cradle is the modern music industry. It just had a fierceness I could get behind. That is the only version you want. As usual, a comprehensive list of recorded performances can be found on the Mainly Norfolk website , but key versions include those sung by Martin Carthy as mentioned above , Sandy Denny, Shirley Collins, Peter Bellamy, A.
Lloyd and Ewan MacColl at least twice. While Nicola places her version in London as do many other singers , approximately entries can be found in the Vaughan Williams Library at Cecil Sharp House relating to this song, with versions having turned up everywhere from London Bridge to Aberdeenshire to Nebraska.
Cecil Sharp alone seems to have collected over 20 fragments in places as far flung as Cannington, Somerset, to Villamont, Virginia. Ffion also keeps a blog focusing on traditional Welsh songs , their origins, their meanings and the performances of them.
I always tell audiences that they have to guess what her answer was to the question about getting married but that the sad melody gives us a clue. Tough question, unless you can speak Welsh drop me a line on Twitter if you can and you have any information.
Lloyd Williams gave a lecture on collecting Welsh folk songs, which resulted in tremendous enthusiasm for this aspect of Welsh traditional life. Despite this, some highly regarded Welsh musicians still maintained that everything of value had already been published, and any other folk tunes that might be discovered would prove to be worthless…. Wherever possible, Ruth Lewis tried to find someone who knew the area and could locate suitable people willing to sing into the phonograph.
Sometimes, to get them started, her daughter Kitty would sing a few Welsh airs and with patience they got songs from farmers and blacksmiths, weavers and housewives, including some country-dwellers who could only speak Welsh. As chosen by Ange Hardy. You can really play with the melody as the phrasing lends itself to many styles of singing, and it has enough space in the lyric to allow you to play with your vocal delivery, adding inflections.
There is also another side to this song, when you really read into the story. There are numerous versions of both the tune and lyrics. In one set of lyrics the groom is twelve when he marries and a father at As with most English folk songs, it would seem, a Martin Carthy recording is in existence. The sleeve notes to his eponymous debut album suggest that the song is of Scottish origin:. There is no real evidence to suggest that the many English versions collected date back to this incident; indeed the ballad may well be older as child marriages of convenience were by no means uncommon in Mediaeval times.
The English versions that Carthy point to make up a good number of the archived pieces relating to this song that live on the Full English website , with versions taken down by notable collectors, including Henry Hammond and Sabine Baring-Gould. The recording on our playlist is available on Findings , the album from Ange Hardy and Lukas Drinkwater. Categories: Folk music writing Writing. Your email address will not be published.
What makes this one of the best British folk songs? Despite this, some highly regarded Welsh musicians still maintained that everything of value had already been published, and any other folk tunes that might be discovered would prove to be worthless… Wherever possible, Ruth Lewis tried to find someone who knew the area and could locate suitable people willing to sing into the phonograph.
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