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Lyr Req: Twelve Witches (Steeleye Span)

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Bee 30 Mar 07 - 11:27 AM
Joe Offer 30 Mar 07 - 12:59 PM
Susan of DT 30 Mar 07 - 01:02 PM
Joe Offer 30 Mar 07 - 01:16 PM
Peace 30 Mar 07 - 01:19 PM
Bee 30 Mar 07 - 03:05 PM
Malcolm Douglas 30 Mar 07 - 11:16 PM
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Subject: Lyr Req: Twelve Witches (Steeleye Span)
From: Bee
Date: 30 Mar 07 - 11:27 AM

I have it on vinyl, nothing to play it on. I managed to transcribe this much from a fuzzy sound file; would really appreciate someone filling in the missing bits, thanks.

Also, does anyone know if this is traditional, or a Steeleye original?

The Twelve Witches

Oh there were twelve witches bold and they lived in the North
And their equals were not seen on the face of the earth
The first witch with her hands the storm could stay...(?)
And the second witch could stop all the torrent .......(?)
And the third witch she could strike upon the golden lyre
And she charmed both young and old into the dancing fire

Cho.: Rowan tree, red thread(?), hold the witches all in dread (twice)

The fourth witch she could dive in the sea as a fish
And the fifth witch she never wanted any meat on a dish
And now the next witch goes under the earth to....(?)
And the seventh witch could dance upon the rolling sea
And the eighth witch on her horn she would blow a blast
And everyone who heard would shudder and stand aghast

Oh the ninth witch she tamed all that in the green woods dwell/leapt(?)
And the tenth witch not a nap she had ever slept
The eleventh witch the grisly lingworm(?) unbound
The twelfth witch she could all things understand
These twelve witches bold they all lived in the North
And their equals were not seen on the face of the earth


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE TWELVE WITCHES (Steeleye Span)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 30 Mar 07 - 12:59 PM

Well, I found this copy at http://lyricallegend.co.uk - so I can't vouch for the quality of the transcription.
-Joe-

THE TWELVE WITCHES
(Steeleye Span)

oh there were twelve witches bold
and they lived in the north,
and their equals were not seen
on the face of the earth.

the first witch, with her hand,
the storm could hush,
and the second witch could stop
all the torrents rush.

and the third witch, she could strike
upon the golden lyre,
and she charmed both young and old
into the dancing fire.

rowan tree, red thread,
hold the witches all in dread.

the fourth witch she could dive
in the sea as a fish,
and the fifth witch she never wanted
any meat on a dish.

and now the next witch go
under the earth could she,
and the seventh witch could dance
upon the rolling sea.

and the eighth witch on her horn
she would blow a blast,
and everyone who heard
would shudder and stand aghast.

rowan tree, red thread,
hold the witches all in dread.

oh the ninth witch she tamed all
that in the greenwood crept,
and the tenth witch, not a nap
she had ever slept.

the eleventh witch, the grisly
lindworm bound,
and the twelfth witch she could all
things understand.

and these twelve witches bold,
they all lived in the north,
and their equals were not seen
on the face of the earth.

rowan tree, red thread,
hold the witches all in dread......


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Twelve Witches (Steeleye Span)
From: Susan of DT
Date: 30 Mar 07 - 01:02 PM

Joe - written by Steeleye or just sung by them?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Twelve Witches (Steeleye Span)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 30 Mar 07 - 01:16 PM

OK, here are what I think are credible lyrics. As far as I can tell, the song appears only on the Steeleye Span Rocket Cottage CD (1976), which I don't have - no recordings by any other artist. I'm not sure I believe the contention that the song is traditional. See below.
http://friedl.heim.at has more credible-sounding lyrics, since they're derived from lyrics on Reinhard Zierke's site:

The Twelve Witches
(Trad. arr. Tim Hart / Peter Knight / Maddy Prior / Robert Johnson / Rick Kemp / Nigel Pegrum)

Oh there were twelve witches bold
And they lived in the North,
And their equals were not seen
On the face of the Earth.

The first witch, with her hand,
The storm could hush,
And the second witch could stop
All the torrents rush.

And the third witch, she could strike
Upon the golden lyre,
And she charmed both young and old
Into the dancing fire.

Chorus:
|: Rowan tree, red thread,
Hold the witches all in dread. :|

The fourth witch she could dive
In the sea as a fish,
And the fifth witch she never wanted
Any meat on a dish.

And now the next witch go
Under the earth could she,
And the seventh witch could dance
Upon the rolling sea.

And the eighth witch on her horn
She would blow a blast,
And everyone who heard
Would shudder and stand aghast.

Chorus

Oh the ninth witch she tamed all
That in the greenwood crept,
And the tenth witch, not a nap
She had ever slept.

The eleventh witch, the grisly
Lindworm bound,
And the twelfth witch she could all
Things understand.

And these twelve witches bold,
They all lived in the North,
And their equals were not seen
On the face of the Earth.

Chorus (repeat and fade)


Now, the above says the song is traditional, adapted by Steeleye Span. Peter Kennedy's folktrax.org seems to attribute it to Steeleye Span:

    TWELVE WITCHES - "O there were 12W bold & they lived in the North - Rowan Tree, Red Thread, hold the witches in dread" comp (?) -- STEELEYE SPAN: CHRYSALIS CHR-1123 1976


users.actrix.co.nz/newbery has a very nice (and very complete) Steeleye Span discography (no lyrics). Unfortunately, Reinhard Zierke has taken down his folk music pages. Zierke's Website refers visitors to The Unofficial Steeleye Span Home Page, which does not appear to be a complete collection of the group's lyrics. Steeleye Span: The Complete Lyrics (linked to by Peace below) seems to be the best place to go for lyrics.
-Joe-


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Subject: Lyr Add: TWELVE WITCHES (Steeleye Span)
From: Peace
Date: 30 Mar 07 - 01:19 PM

The Twelve Witches

Oh there were twelve witches bold
And they lived in the North,
And their equals were not seen
On the face of the Earth.

The first witch, with her hand,
The storm could hush,
And the second witch could stop
The torrents rush.

And the third witch she would strike
Upon the golden lyre,
And she charmed both young and old
Into the dancing fire.

Chorus:
Rowan tree, red thread,
Hold the witches all in dread.

The fourth witch she could dive
In the sea as a fish,
And the fifth witch she never wanted
Any meat on the dish.

And now the next witch, go
Under the earth, could she,
And the seventh witch she could dance
Upon the rolling sea.

And the eighth witch on her horn
She would blow a blast,
And everyone who heard,
Would shudder and stand aghast.

Chorus

Oh the ninth witch, she tamed all
That in greenwood crept,
And the tenth witch, not a nap
She had ever slept.

The eleventh witch, the grisly
Lindworm bound,
And the twelfth witch, she could all
Things understand.

And these twelve witches bold,
They all lived in the North,
And their equals were not seen
On the face of the Earth.

Chorus

That is from http://alum.hampshire.edu/~jcr00/span/ss/rocket.htm.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Twelve Witches (Steeleye Span)
From: Bee
Date: 30 Mar 07 - 03:05 PM

Thank you all very much!

I'm very curious now about the origin of the song, whether trad or contemporary. Steeleye does seem to be the only example findable.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Twelve Witches (Steeleye Span)
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 30 Mar 07 - 11:16 PM

The line "rowan tree, red thread, hold the witches [all] in dread" is probably as near as this song gets to tradition. Mind you, I don't recall what tune they used, having pretty much given up on them by the time 'Rocket Cottage' appeared.


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