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Origin: Singer's Request / Minstrel's Request

DigiTrad:
SINGER'S REQUEST


Phil Edwards 18 Aug 08 - 08:53 AM
Phil Edwards 18 Aug 08 - 08:55 AM
Joe Offer 18 Aug 08 - 03:01 PM
Joe Offer 18 Aug 08 - 05:02 PM
Jim Dixon 20 Aug 08 - 08:38 AM
Phil Edwards 20 Aug 08 - 03:50 PM
Joe Offer 20 Aug 08 - 04:12 PM
Phil Edwards 20 Aug 08 - 06:04 PM
GUEST,Ralphie 21 Aug 08 - 02:46 AM
Joe Offer 21 Aug 08 - 04:10 AM
GUEST,Ralphie 21 Aug 08 - 04:59 AM
Phil Edwards 21 Aug 08 - 05:07 AM
GUEST,Ralphie 21 Aug 08 - 05:20 AM
Phil Edwards 21 Aug 08 - 06:14 AM
GUEST,Ralphie 21 Aug 08 - 07:27 AM
Charley Noble 21 Aug 08 - 09:11 AM
GUEST,Ralphie 21 Aug 08 - 01:50 PM
GUEST,Tao Hinton 05 Oct 13 - 04:43 PM
Little Robyn 05 Oct 13 - 06:41 PM
Little Robyn 05 Oct 13 - 06:44 PM
Jim Dixon 03 Feb 18 - 07:15 PM
GUEST,Mick Pearce (MCP) 04 Feb 18 - 06:30 AM
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Subject: Lyr Add: THE MINSTREL'S REQUEST (sort of)
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 18 Aug 08 - 08:53 AM

After listening to Nic Jones's beautiful "The Singer's Request", I was curious to see "The Minstrel's Request", the poem by Sir Walter Scott on which the song was supposedly based. I couldn't find that, but I did find this, from the Canto V of Scott's epic poem /Rokeby/:

[much poetry omitted]

A knock alarm'd the outer gate,
And ere the tardy porter stirr'd,
The tinkling of a harp was heard.
A manly voice of mellow swell,
Bore burden to the music well.

"Summer eve is gone and past,
Summer dew is falling fast;
I have wander'd all the day,
Do not bid me farther stray!
Gentle hearts, of gentle kin,
Take the wandering harper in."

[more omitted]

"Bid not me, in battle-field,
Buckler lift, or broadsword wield!
All my strength and all my art
Is to touch the gentle heart,
With the wizard notes that ring
From the peaceful minstrel-string."

[more snippage]

"I have song of war for knight,
Lay of love for lady bright,
Fairy tale to lull the heir,
Goblin grim the maids to scare.
Dark the night, and long till day,
Do not bid me farther stray!

"Rokeby's lords of martial fame,
I can count them name by name;
Legends of their line there be,
Known to few, but known to me;
If you honour Rokeby's kin,
Take the wandering harper in!

"Rokeby's lords had fair regard
For the harp, and for the bard;
Baron's race throve never well,
Where the curse of minstrel fell.
If you love that noble kin,
Take the weary harper in!"



So there you have it. I like tracking Revival songs back to older texts - I find you can often come up with something that works better and/or makes more sense. Not in this case, though - seeing the source material just shows how much Nic Jones did with it.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: THE MINSTREL'S REQUEST (sort of)
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 18 Aug 08 - 08:55 AM

Oops. REQUEST, dammit, REQUEST.


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Subject: RE: Lyr ADD: The Minstrel's Request (sort of)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 18 Aug 08 - 03:01 PM

Being a very helpful sort of person, I changed the thread title to Lyr Req: The Minstrel's Lament (sort of).

Then I figured out what you meant, and decided to add a version of "Singer's Request"; so I changed it to Lyr ADD: The Singer's/Minstrel's Request (sort of). Hope you don't mind, Pip.

Thanks for bringing this up. I've been meaning to learn "Singer's Request."


-Joe-


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Subject: DT Correction: Singer's Request (Nic Jones)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 18 Aug 08 - 05:02 PM

"Singer's Request" was recorded on Folk-Legacy CD-121, For All the Good People: A Golden Ring Reunion, in 1992. Here are the lyrics and notes from the CD booklet. The lyrics are just a bit different from what you'll find in the Digital Tradition version. The DT version was a by-ear transcription from a concert.

SINGER'S REQUEST
(Nic Jones/anon.)
Leading Note Publishers.

CHORUS
Dark the night and long till day; do not bid us further stray.
Dark the night and long till day; do not bid us further stray.

Now the sun it doth decline; pour the beer and pour the wine.
We can lead your thoughts astray from the world and from the day.
CHORUS

We sing songs of history, love and war and mystery.
We can lead you from despair, or can chill the darkening air.
CHORUS

You may choose to pass us by with a cruel or scornful eye.
We will see the ending through, then we'll turn and say to you:
CHORUS


Sandy Paton's Notes:
    Cathy, Ed and I learned this song from Joanie Bronfman and Neal MacMillan at their home in Boston in 1985, and we sang it for the remainder of what was a very memorable and productive New England tour. Joanie and Neal got it from Nic Jones’ recording, From the Devil to a Stranger, on Highway Records. (DP) I’m told that this is a poem by Sir Walter Scott entitled “The Minstrel’s Request,” revised and set to an old melody. We find that it has the kind of chorus folk audiences learn quickly and sing with great enthusiasm. (SP)



Dennis Cook did the transcription for the Digital Tradition. Here's the DT version:

SINGER'S REQUEST
(Nic Jones)

Chorus:
Dark the night and long til day
Do not bid us further stray
Dark the night and long til day
Do not bid us further stray.

Now the sun it doth decline
Pour the beer and pour the wine,
We can lead your thoughts astray
From the world or from the day

We bring songs of history,
Love and war and mystery
We can lead you from despair
Or can cheer the darkening air

You can choose to pass us by
With a cruel or scornful eye
We will see the ending through,
Then we'll turn and say to you...


got off the tape of the Ed Trickett, Cathy Barton, and Dave
Para Concert for FSGW. First heard Bob Walser do it at
Indian Neck, 1984. Based on a text by Sir Walter Scott, on
Nic Jones' album A Devil to A Stranger.

filename[ SINGERRQ
DC


I have this song on a CD titled Trad Arr Jones, by John Wesley Harding. Harding's lyrics are closer to the DT version. Anybody have the actual, definitive lyrics by Nic Jones?


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE MINSTREL'S REQUEST (Sir Walter Scott)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 20 Aug 08 - 08:38 AM

I found this version in Franklin Square Song Collection: Two Hundred Favorite Songs and Hymns, Nursery and Fireside. No. 8 selected by John Piersol McCaskey, 1892, page 98. It's attributed to Sir Walter Scott, but I wouldn't be surprised if someone else has already had a hand in adapting it. There is a musical score there, too:

THE MINSTREL'S REQUEST
Sir Walter Scott

1. Summer eve is gone and past.
Summer dew is falling fast.
I have wander'd all the day.
Do not bid me farther stray.

Gentle hearts of gentle kin,
Take the wand'ring harper in.
Gentle hearts of gentle kin,
Take the wand'ring harper in.

2. I have song of war for knight,
Lay of love for lady bright,
Fairy tale to lull the heir,
Goblin grim the maids to scare.

Dark the night and long till day.
Do not bid me farther stray.
Dark the night and long till day.
Do not bid me farther stray.

3. Ancient lords had fair regard
For the harp and for the bard.
Baron's race throve never well
Where the curse of minstrel fell.

If you love your noble kin,
Take the weary harper in.
If you love your noble kin,
Take the weary harper in.


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Subject: RE: Lyr ADD: The Singer's/Minstrel's Request (sort
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 20 Aug 08 - 03:50 PM

Ah - I imagine that will have been the text that Nic Jones used. So someone - either Scott or A. N. Other - took three verses out of the song embedded in /Rokeby/ (verses 1, 3 and 5) and repeated the last couplet to give a varying refrain. Nic Jones then took the second verse & refrain, rewrote the verse and wrote another two.


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Subject: RE: Lyr ADD: The Singer's/Minstrel's Request (sort of)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 20 Aug 08 - 04:12 PM

Is there a Nic Jones recording of this song available?
Can somebody post definitive lyrics, as written by Jones himself?
-Joe-


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Subject: Lyr ADD: The Singer's Request (Nic Jones)
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 20 Aug 08 - 06:04 PM

It's on From the devil to a stranger, so not available as such (unless there's another version on one of the 'recovered' albums). Thanks to a friendly 'catter, I've got a tape. The lyrics I'm hearing are:

The Singer's Request
(Nic Jones)

Dark the night and long till day
Do not bid us further stray
Dark the night and long till day
Do not bid us further stray


Now the sun it does decline
Pour the beer and pour the wine,
Let us lead your thoughts astray
From the world and from the day

Dark the night and long till day
Do not bid us further stray


We bring songs from history,
Love and war and mystery
We can lead you from despair
Or can chill the darkening air

Dark the night and long till day
Do not bid us further stray


And you can choose to pass us by
With a cruel or scornful eye
We shall see the ending through,
Then we'll turn and say to you:

Dark the night and long till day
Do not bid us further stray
Dark the night and long till day
Do not bid us further stray


It's a fine reworking. I particularly like the way 'lull the heir' gets merged with the bit about goblins and comes out as 'chill the darkening air'.


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Subject: RE: Lyr ADD: The Singer's/Minstrel's Request (sort of)
From: GUEST,Ralphie
Date: 21 Aug 08 - 02:46 AM

Hi Joe.

No, Devil to a Stranger, along with Nics first 3 albums, is still unavailable. Does the name Dave Bulmer ring a bell??!!

I'm pretty sure that Nic never sung this live. It was used on Devil to link the other songs together.

At one point there is a lovely instrumental version that links into a beautiful guitar tune (The little leafy hill IIRC)

It was this talent for linking song and tune together on both Devil and the album before Noahs Ark Trap, that set Nic apart from others from others. I hate the term Concept Album, but, even after all these years, nobody else has really outdone these two very special records.

Regards Ralphie


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Subject: RE: Lyr ADD: The Singer's/Minstrel's Request (sort of)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 21 Aug 08 - 04:10 AM

Dave Bulmer???

Shhhhhhhh!!!!

-Joe-
[grin]


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Subject: RE: Lyr ADD: The Singer's/Minstrel's Request (sort of)
From: GUEST,Ralphie
Date: 21 Aug 08 - 04:59 AM

Joe

One day the Lost LPs will be liberated, It's only 28 years, so no rush then!!

Have a nice day! Ralphie


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Subject: RE: Lyr ADD: The Singer's/Minstrel's Request (sort
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 21 Aug 08 - 05:07 AM

Ralphie - CDs (or rather CD-Rs) of the first two albums are commercially available. Whether you want to buy them is another question! I'd suggest that anyone who does so also bungs a couple of quid to Nic.


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Subject: RE: Lyr ADD: The Singer's/Minstrel's Request (sort of)
From: GUEST,Ralphie
Date: 21 Aug 08 - 05:20 AM

Hi Mr Radish.

I'm only too aware that the CD-Rs of "Ballads and Songs" and "Nic Jones" have ben sneaked out.

Not sanctioned by the family in any way, (natch) who would not recieve a penny anyway.

Petty I know, but I purchased "Ballads and Songs" in a large London record shop, and then snapped it in half in front of the shop assistant.....Yes, Yes, a childish action. but you should have seen the look on his face! I think the message got through, as the shop concerned only stocks the official releases now!

Onwards R


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Subject: RE: Lyr ADD: The Singer's/Minstrel's Request (sort
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 21 Aug 08 - 06:14 AM

I take a slightly more pragmatic view - I wouldn't want anyone to make money out of those albums if Nic Jones isn't getting anything, but I wouldn't want anyone who missed out the first time round to be deprived of hearing the music. So buy the albums if you can't get hold of the music any other way, but send Mollie Music the royalty Nic should have got as well. (Or a bit more. Maybe the price of a pint per album?)


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Subject: RE: Lyr ADD: The Singer's/Minstrel's Request (sort of)
From: GUEST,Ralphie
Date: 21 Aug 08 - 07:27 AM

Hi Pip

Yes, I agree.
But, wouldn't it be nice to have all the original albums freely available (with Julia in control)

I could say more, but I won't!!

I think we are singing from the same hymn book!

Ralph


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Subject: RE: Lyr ADD: The Singer's/Minstrel's Request (sort
From: Charley Noble
Date: 21 Aug 08 - 09:11 AM

Nice work puzzling this all out. My favorite kind of music thread!

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr ADD: The Singer's/Minstrel's Request (sort of)
From: GUEST,Ralphie
Date: 21 Aug 08 - 01:50 PM

Cheers Charley...


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Subject: RE: Origin: Singer's Request / Minstrel's Request
From: GUEST,Tao Hinton
Date: 05 Oct 13 - 04:43 PM

As Phil Edwards said, the text for the song came from Scott's 300+ page poem Rokeby, published in 1813 as part of "The Poetical Works of Sir Walter Scott". The full text can be found here. The poem/song is found on pages 206-208.

Regarding the music, I'm interested in if anyone knows whether Nic Jones' melody is based on something traditional (and if so from what source) or is purely his own creation. Any other info regarding traditional/older melodies these words have been set to would also be of interest. When I first heard the song I thought it must be an old English song (given Nic's involvement with such music) but clearly the words at least are Scots. A beautiful song either way!


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Subject: RE: Origin: Singer's Request / Minstrel's Request
From: Little Robyn
Date: 05 Oct 13 - 06:41 PM

I just love modern technology!
Click
to see what is available now.
Robyn


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Subject: RE: Origin: Singer's Request / Minstrel's Request
From: Little Robyn
Date: 05 Oct 13 - 06:44 PM

Or even this.
Robyn


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Subject: RE: Origin: Singer's Request / Minstrel's Request
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 03 Feb 18 - 07:15 PM

The British Library apparently has sheet music titled "The Harper's Song from Rokeby" with words by Sir Walter Scott and music by Samuel Heinrich Spiker, published in 1815. It is not viewable online.


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Subject: RE: Origin: Singer's Request / Minstrel's Request
From: GUEST,Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 04 Feb 18 - 06:30 AM

Not the only setting of it apparently:

From The Life Of Sir Walter Scott by Charles Duke Yonge:

'Summer eve is gone and past" ? The Harper's Song (from Rokeby).

By T. Attwood, 1815 ;
J. F. Barnett, 1876 ;
J. Clarke, 1814 ;
W. Gresham, 1815 ;
R. Hoar, 1876 ;
T. R. Hobbes, 1814;
W. Russell, 1812;
Spiker, 1815;
J. Whitaker, 1815.


The Gresham version didn't get a good revue:

"The Harper's Cong" from "Rokeby;" wrotten by W.Scott esq. Composed and inscribed to Miss Mead of Box-Moor House; by William Gresham. 2s
The "Harper" must excuse us, if we do not laud his strain. His melody is meagre and uncharacteristic, destitute of feature and devoid of beauty. Mr Gresham, we presume, is a very young man; very young, as a musician, he certainly is. If his treble is without air, his bass rejects all science; and yet, to say this his composition os both insipid and anomalous, is not to express all the sentiment it inspires.

The Monthly Magazine, Volume 43, 1817

(It got a slughtly better review in The Gentleman's Magazine "These are pretty good songs, as songs go; but they have no very striking excellencies. In the first [Harper's - MCP], which is in B glat, we notice some well-imagined alterations of the musick to suit the words of the different verses". Not exactly glowing!)


Another setting by Wiesenthal, T. V. (Thomas Van Dyke) -- 1790-1833 from 1821 can be seen at LOC: The Harper's Song


Mick


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