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Fifty-Two Folk Songs

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Phil Edwards 06 Sep 11 - 04:26 PM
Jack Campin 06 Sep 11 - 06:35 PM
Phil Edwards 07 Sep 11 - 06:58 AM
PercyBysshe 07 Sep 11 - 01:32 PM
PercyBysshe 07 Sep 11 - 01:59 PM
GUEST,enfieldpete 07 Sep 11 - 02:02 PM
Phil Edwards 10 Sep 11 - 11:00 AM
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Subject: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 06 Sep 11 - 04:26 PM

This is to introduce my new Web site, which you can find at http://www.52folksongs.com . I'm going to be updating it with a newly-recorded folk song once a week for the next year, by the end of which it will contain... you guessed it... 52 folk songs.

The first two songs will be up there by this time tomorrow. Share and enjoy!


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: Jack Campin
Date: 06 Sep 11 - 06:35 PM

Sheesh.

http://52folksongs.com/


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 07 Sep 11 - 06:58 AM

Sorry, forgot that I needed to blickify the link myself.

Two songs are now up there, one of them a folk song: Lord Bateman. (My version of Nic Jones's version of Child 52L, influenced by Jim Moray and Dave Bishop among others.) There's a non-folk song up there too.

Fifty-Two Folk Songs


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: PercyBysshe
Date: 07 Sep 11 - 01:32 PM

A non-folk song Mr Radish? Get thee behind me ;-)

Off to have a listen ....


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: PercyBysshe
Date: 07 Sep 11 - 01:59 PM

Actually - I approve of your "not a folk song" - it's one I've been meaning to learn for years!


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: GUEST,enfieldpete
Date: 07 Sep 11 - 02:02 PM

Brilliant - good stuff.


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 10 Sep 11 - 11:00 AM

Cheers, all.

Week 2 is Peter Bellamy Week, it being the great man's birthday last night (he would have been 67). Now up at 52 Folk Songs: The Death of Bill Brown, My Boy Jack and Us Poor Fellows. There's some commentary on all the songs, plus full lyrics if you click through to my Bandcamp site. More coming soon!


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: GUEST
Date: 10 Sep 11 - 04:01 PM

Personally I feel Ewan MacColl does the best version of Bill Brown. Was it from MacColl Peter Bellamy got the song?


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 10 Sep 11 - 06:08 PM

Good question. Did he cut out the chorus & the "As he lay bleeding" verse? If so, then the chances are he was Bellamy's source.


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 17 Sep 11 - 06:14 AM

This week at 52fs: the Unfortunate Lass. I was introduced to this particular member of the Streets of Laredo extended family through Jon Boden's rendering on AFSAD, and immediately knew I was going to have to learn it. "Send for the doctor although it's too late" - surely one of the greatest & most heart-rending lines in trad song.

Plus: Down where the drunkards roll, a Richard Thompson song which I got from Tony Rose's recording.

All songs can be listened to online or, if you get the urge, downloaded free of charge. The blog includes notes on all the songs and (perhaps more interestingly) what I was trying to do with them.

52 Folk Songs is at http://www.52folksongs.com.


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 20 Sep 11 - 03:57 AM

Here's a comment left on 52fs:

I'm also just 51, and am also posting a folk song a week, and am also on Week 4. Now that's spooky!

all the best

Andy Turner
http://afolksongaweek.wordpress.com/


There's a lot of it about!


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 20 Sep 11 - 04:42 AM

There's a lot of it about!

Indeed. I started one off back in February called An Oblique Parallax of English Speaking Folk Song - it was going to be a monthly thing but I only did one song, and very happy I am with it too. My initial idea was to sing entirely Traditional songs, but not necessarily in the way I'd sing them in Designated Folk Contexts, although I often feature Folk Songs in performances of Free Improvisation; and in Neofolk this stuff is par for the course. There was also a vague notion of Seasonal Labours, but I reckon The Sheep Stealer is as fitting in September as it is in February so I've just reposted it up on Soundcloud. Those who want to hear the song (rather than the eleven & a half minutes of accursed viol improv & live electronics that precede it) should cut in at 11.40...

Sedayne: Brisk Lad (The Sheep Stealer)


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 20 Sep 11 - 06:46 AM

This might be a useful resource.

Has anyone recorded any alternative arrangements of the Testimony of Patience Kershaw?


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 20 Sep 11 - 10:24 AM

Suibhne, are you still in the market for Landfall songs? I'll be putting a couple up next week.


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 20 Sep 11 - 10:30 AM

The Landfill Project died the death owing to other commitments. That said, I've got some very nice songs in from a number of singers which really need aired & shared. More promises than contributions, alas!


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 23 Sep 11 - 07:33 AM

This week 52fs features two songs from Martin Carthy's 1971 album Landfall; my belated contribution to the Landfill Project.

They're both traditional songs: The Cruel Mother (one of the many versions of this grim Child Ballad) and Over The Hills And Far Away, which was once a genuine recruiting song but now sounds almost elegiac.

As ever, the songs can be listened to online or, if you get the urge, downloaded free of charge. The blog includes notes on the songs and how I approach them.

52 Folk Songs is at http://www.52folksongs.com.


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 30 Sep 11 - 12:39 PM

OK, get a load of this.

I'm quite excited about Week Five's additions to 52fs - not because the recordings are outstanding in any way, but because they're three of my favourite songs ever in the world in space. Also, they're connected, but I'll leave it to you to find out how.

Lemany probably needs no introduction. This is the Coppers' version, more or less, although I've slowed it down and (after some agonising) put it in 3/4.

What is there to say about Child among the weeds? If you know it, nothing, except to say that the unaccompanied version worked much better than I expected. If you don't know it, track down Bright Phoebus in some form and get it into your life.

As for Hegemony, I'm doing an old Scritti Politti song for two reasons. One is that the writer, Green Gartside, used to be a serious fan of English folk in general and the Waterson/Carthy axis in particular; the early Scritti catalogue could be reinterpreted as a collision between dub bass and macrame-beat guitar. The other, more important reason is... well, listen to the song and you'll see.

As ever, the songs can be listened to online or, if you get the urge, downloaded free of charge. The blog includes notes on the songs and how I approach them.

52 Folk Songs is at http://www.52folksongs.com.


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 07 Oct 11 - 11:30 AM

Week six and I bring you... multi-tracking! There's posh.

This week, it's two songs about happily-married middle-aged men. The London Waterman is one of my favourite songs in the tradition. I can't honestly say I've loved it since the first time I heard Peter Bellamy's recording - the first time, and probably the second as well, my reaction was more along the lines of "what the hell was *that*?" But once I got it, I'd got it for good.

Spencer the Rover, on the other hand, I've loved since the first time I heard it - sung on that occasion by John Kelly. I think my version is OK, but it's not a patch on John's.

As for the multi-tracking, I thought both of these songs would go well with a tune afterwards. So with the Waterman you get Constant Billy, and with Spencer you get Three Dusty Swords and the Rusty... Three Rusty Millers and... well, them. (The multi-tracking is just to enable me to start playing before I've finished singing. You guitarists don't know how lucky you are!)

As always, the songs can be listened to online or, if the fancy takes you, downloaded free of charge. The blog includes notes on the songs and how I approach them.

52 Folk Songs is at http://www.52folksongs.com.


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Subject: Fifty-Two Folk Songs - The Album
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 09 Oct 11 - 09:33 AM

Announcing 52fs - the Violet Album.

So far on 52 Folk Songs I've recorded and uploaded 14 songs and two tunes, mostly but not exclusively traditional:

1        Lord Bateman (FS01)
2        The Death of Bill Brown (FS02)
3        The Unfortunate Lass (FS03)
4        The Cruel Mother (FS04)
5        Over the hills and far away
6        There are bad times just around the corner
7        My boy Jack
8        Us poor fellows
9        Down where the drunkards roll
10        Lemany (FS05)
11        Child among the weeds
12        Hegemony
13        The London Waterman (FS06) + Constant Billy
14        Spencer the Rover + Three Rusty Swords / The Dusty Miller


All of these tracks, together with a PDF file containing full lyrics plus assorted pictures, comments, musings and afterthoughts, can now be downloaded in the form of 52 Folk Songs - Violet.

52 Folk Songs - Violet is the first in a series of eight virtual 'albums' that will be appearing over the year. It's yours for a token payment of 52p (you see what I did there).

Alternatively you can download the tracks individually and pay nothing at all, or just listen online.

Share and enjoy!

52 Folk Songs is at http://www.52folksongs.com.


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 14 Oct 11 - 01:09 PM

Anyone still following this?

I hope so, because this week's additions to 52fs are a bit different.

FS07 is Derwentwater's Farewell: a poem written in 1807, to a pre-existing tune, in the style of the real Lord D's last words before his execution as a Jacobite. You can hear more about the execution in Lord Allenwater, a heroic account of Lord D's last ride and his defiance on the scaffold. Danny Deever probably needs even less introduction than the other two; it's a Kipling poem set to the tune of Derwentwater's Farewell by Peter Bellamy, and I think the setting works rather well - as Bellamy's settings often do. It's a fascinating poem, which teeters on the edge of sub-Fascist brutality - as Kipling's poems often do.

The second and third of these are unaccompanied as per usual, but Derwentwater's Farewell features whistle, a Bontempi reed organ with a noisy fan, and a great deal of messing about with Audacity. The accompaniment is mostly a drone - maybe I should get a shruti box - but I begin by picking out the tune. I wanted to give the impression of playing it quite badly, although it's quite an artificial impression – I usually play it much *worse*, hitting the wrong notes at the right speed rather than just playing the right notes slowly. Towards the end you can hear the tune again, played reasonably competently on whistle. And right at the end you can hear… well, you find out.

52 Folk Songs is at http://www.52folksongs.com.


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 21 Oct 11 - 06:50 PM

This week at 52fs, a couple more gallows songs.

FS08 is Hughie the Graeme: a Child ballad, rewritten by Robert Burns, arranged by Ewan MacColl and rearranged by Tony Capstick. I've got a soft spot for really defiant gallows speeches, and it doesn't get much more defiant than openly planning out the revenge attack.

Also this week: Sam Hall, a gallows song in an odd kind of mock-heroic style. Sam's a petty thief who's never had as much attention in his life as he's getting on the gallows; his story is pathetic and ridiculous, but dreadfully sad at the same time.

Plus Serenity. We ask: is Joss Whedon a folkie?

52 Folk Songs is at http://www.52folksongs.com.


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 02 Nov 11 - 05:01 PM

This week at 52fs, slightly later than usual: Napoleon!

Over the next couple of weeks I'm going to be digging into ballad writers' curious fascination with Napoleon - who was, after all, a serious enemy of Britain.

FS09 is the Grand Conversation on Napoleon: a slab and a half of broadside verbiage set to a multi-modal dance tune (I've appended a quick run-through of a variant of "The cuckoo's nest" for comparison). It also name-checks at least three other songs about Napoleon.

Also this week: I take on Plains of Waterloo. Wish me luck.

52 Folk Songs is at http://www.52folksongs.com.


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 02 Nov 11 - 05:16 PM

Hello, Pip. I listened to Spencer the Rover and enjoyed it. Thanks.

As for the hangings, killings and betrayals - I just don't enjoy them.


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 02 Nov 11 - 07:21 PM

Thanks, leeneia. I wouldn't be without a bit of gallows defiance myself. But I do like a happy ending when I can find one - I think of Spencer as the It's a Wonderful Life of folksong (in a good way). I suppose Plains of Waterloo ends happily, although you can't help feeling that she'd have words with him later on.


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 04 Nov 11 - 01:11 PM

This week (how time flies) at 52fs: more Napoleon. 52fs brings you Napoleonic songs in inveterate streams - enough to take the whole world along. This week's songs are:

The bonny bunch of roses, given a bit of a makeover with a drone in A and added whistle.

Boney's lamentation, unaccompanied, straight through, no messing.

And The Unborn Byron by Peter Blegvad; not a folk song and not about Napoleon, but a kind of happy surrealist alternative to the last verse of the B. B. of R. Also, a beautiful song. With flute accompaniment.

52 Folk Songs is at http://www.52folksongs.com.


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 12 Nov 11 - 07:29 AM

Week 11 of 52fs brings another Napoleonic song, together with a folk song about a contemporary British hero.

The death of Nelson is taken more or less directly from Peter Bellamy's stellar rendering in the Maritime England Suite (although I dropped the "merchants of Yarmouth" verse).

St Helena Lullaby is based on Bellamy's setting of Kipling's poem of the same name, featured on Merlin's Isle of Gramarye (now available on CD). Both voices are me (obviously) and both whistles are the same whistle.

Next week: two halves of a Child ballad and a related bit of Dylan. Guess the name of the Dylan and win a major prize*!

52 Folk Songs is at http://www.52folksongs.com

*Major prizes subject to availability. Alternatives may be offered.


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 17 Nov 11 - 06:49 PM

Next week: two halves of a Child ballad and a related bit of Dylan.

And so it came to pass. This week on The Two Sisters: this version, which I got from Jim Moray's recording, stops rather sooner than you might expect. Many vocals on this one, all mine.

The Wind and the Rain seems to have begun life as a misremembered (folk-processed?) version of Two Sisters. It starts as a murder ballad, then takes a familiar turn involving a musical instrument. Accompaniment on this one, unusually for me, is played live. (Most of the instruments I can play need to be blown.)

Closely related to the Wind and the Rain, lastly, Percy's song is an odd song written by Bob Dylan getting on for fifty years ago. Quite an odd performance, too.

52 Folk Songs is at http://www.52folksongs.com.


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 17 Nov 11 - 06:55 PM

Bad HTML! No biscuit!

Next week: two halves of a Child ballad and a related bit of Dylan.


And so it came to pass. This week on
52fs: the Two Sisters and its afterlife.

The Two Sisters: this version, which I got from Jim Moray's recording, stops rather sooner than you might expect. Many vocals on this one, all mine.

The Wind and the Rain seems to have begun life as a misremembered (folk-processed?) version of Two Sisters. It starts as a murder ballad, then takes a familiar turn involving a musical instrument. Accompaniment on this one, unusually for me, is played live. (Most of the instruments I can play need to be blown.)

Closely related to the Wind and the Rain, lastly, Percy's song is an odd song written by Bob Dylan getting on for fifty years ago. Quite an odd performance, too.

52 Folk Songs is at http://www.52folksongs.com.


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 26 Nov 11 - 11:22 AM

It's a big week at 52fs.

1. Young Waters: this week's folk song is Child 94, a nasty story about jealousy. My version is inspired by June Tabor's (especially the Rocksichord) and features melodica, recorder and drumming.

2. Dayspring Mishandled: my rendering of Peter Bellamy's three-part arrangement of this pseudo-medieval poem by Rudyard Kipling, which features in this short story. Two voices (both mine, as usual) and recorder.

Plus:

3a. The Indigo album - comprising the last seven weeks of 52fs - is complete & almost ready to launch. 20 tracks, 14 of them traditional songs; 70+ minutes of music, featuring multiple vocal tracks, D and G whistles, recorder, flute, Bontempi organ, melodica, drumming and computer programming. (Not all on the same track.) Yours for the frankly laughable sum of 52p. I had it on with the ironing this afternoon, and I can honestly* say that most of it sounds pretty good. (And you can always skip Percy's Song.)

But you can't download it yet, because:

3b. Extras. The finished album will include two tracks which haven't been made available through 52fs, and which will only be obtainable by downloading the album. I'm making them available this weekend, so that people can hear what they'll be missing. They are:

House of the Rising Sun, part 1: a homage to Dave Van Ronk, featuring a vocal bassline, a melodica part that starts as Augustus Pablo and ends up as Faust, and drums. (Lots of drums. Here come the drums, in a very real sense.)

House of the Rising Sun, part 2: a homage to John Otway, featuring the satnav from Mornington Crescent.

52 Folk Songs is at http://www.52folksongs.com.

*Of course, I'm not objective about my own singing - I'm highly critical.


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 14 Dec 11 - 04:35 PM

Week 14 at 52fs never got a post of its own, which was remiss of me! With Advent in mind, I was thinking about pregnancy - and in particular the genuinely mindbending thought of a woman being pregnant with God. People used to take this stuff very seriously indeed; some Advent carols can be seen as meditations on just what an extraordinary thought this is. Certainly that was true of last week's two songs, A maiden that is matchless and Sydney Carter's Come, love, carolling. A maiden... featured a double-tracked vocal in modern and Middle English, and a flute part taken from Dolly Collins's arrangement. CLC featured whistle, recorder, melodica, drums and kitchen sink.

This week (week 15) I'm getting properly into the Christmas spirit with a couple of old choral belters: The Holly and the Ivy and the Boar's Head Carol.

Other things these songs have in common are that they're both shortish (they've both come out at exactly one minute 49), and they're both proper old - early-modern or even medieval old. Oh, and they both supposedly contain pagan and pre-Christian imagery, and if you want to believe that it's up to you. I said what I thought about it last year, at the AFSAD thread on the Boar's Head Carol.

Back to the present. The Holly and the Ivy is sung unaccompanied, in parts, in unison and at one stage in an echo chamber (unintentional, but I liked the effect so I left it in).

My Boar's Head Carol is also unaccompanied, in four parts, most of which I worked out myself. I'm really, really pleased with the result - check it out. You may conclude that I'm really, really easily pleased, but no matter.


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 24 Dec 11 - 07:12 AM

A merry Christmas from 52fs!

Here are two more seasonal songs to mark the last week in Advent. (The white album is all seasonal - they're not all Christmas songs, but they're all songs for the long nights and the turning of the year.)

Shepherds arise: a three-part arrangement of this Christmas Copper song (four if you count octaves). I was originally thinking of adding an instrumental part as well, but I decided the audio spectrum was quite full enough as it was!

A virgin most pure is a two-part arrangement, plus whistle and melodica. My source for this one is the posthumous Young Tradition album the Holly Bears the Crown, on which it was sung by Shirley Collins and Heather Wood.

On these two tracks I not only wrote harmony lines but sang them from the dots. I'm not boasting, particularly, just boggling slightly. I've never done either of those things before - possibly because I never tried.

As you may have noticed, week 16 was longer than average; I'm abandoning the Thursday-to-Wednesday week I started with and going for a more conventional Sunday-to-Saturday. So tomorrow, the 25th of December, will be day 1 of week 17 in 52fs project. (I knew there was something I meant to celebrate...)

52 Folk Songs is at http://www.52folksongs.com.


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 30 Dec 11 - 06:35 PM

Week 17, and here are the last two Christmas songs from 52fs (although there may be an Epiphany song or two coming up). There's also a personal connection between these two songs, as they both fired up (or rekindled) an interest in folk music.

In Dessexshire as it befell is one of the strangest and most chilling traditional songs you'll hear, at Christmas or any other time. James Yorkston's version, which I heard nearly eight years ago, was one link in a chain that led me to seek out the work of Anne Briggs, Nic Jones, Shirley Collins... My version features five melodica tracks and (counts on fingers) nine vocal tracks. It gets a bit creepy towards the end.

Some years earlier, Gaudete was one of the songs that got me into the whole thing in the first place (and I still count Below the Salt as a fine album). Unlike the self-written harmonies on
Dessexshire, all the parts here are as written: seven vocal tracks (singing four different lines), plus some whistle.

52 Folk Songs is at http://www.52folksongs.com.


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: Tootler
Date: 30 Dec 11 - 07:18 PM

Interesting effects on Dessexshire. Your arrangement certainly has a eerie feel to it.


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 08 Jan 12 - 12:23 PM

Week 18, and a couple of songs for Epiphany / Twelfth Night / the turning of the year / that bit just after Christmas.

These are both house-visiting songs - "house visiting" as in dressing up and knocking on doors, rather than dropping in on the neighbours for tea and mince pies.

The King is a song from the old post-Christmas custom of shooting a wren and displaying its body for luck; not a million miles from the Cutty Wren (particularly verse 4). The hunting of the wren is said to be a St Stephen's Day (Boxing Day) custom, but as the song refers to Twelfth Night I thought it would fit in here. Sung in four-part harmony, emulating although not closely imitating the version on Steeleye Span's first album.

Poor old horse is a house-visiting song from the north of England; the 'old horse' (who looked something like this) would collapse and die towards the end, then spring back to life (and go on to the next house, presumably). The song itself only dates back to the mid-19th century. I learned it from John Kirkpatrick's rather jolly and Albionish rendering, but slowed it down after hearing Rapunzel & Sedayne's very different take on the song. It's sung here without any harmonising, but with quite a lot of multi-tracking (vocals, melodica and whistle). The tune at the beginning and end is Scan Tester's The Man in the Moon; there's no deep meaning to the choice of tune, I just thought tune and song went well together.

52 Folk Songs is at http://www.52folksongs.com.


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: Charley Noble
Date: 08 Jan 12 - 02:10 PM

Excellent work!

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: Tootler
Date: 08 Jan 12 - 03:56 PM

I particularly liked Poor Old Horse. Some good effects there. You are certainly having fun with the recording.

Another stereo tip. I found this out by accident, but then also saw a similar tip on the Concertina.net forum.

Place two mics one behind the other some distance apart (mine were about 2 - 3ft), then line up the two recordings in Audacity and pan one left the other right. Surprisingly effective - gives a good stereo image. As good as using a stereo mic or two mics place left & right.

I found this when I was recording simultaneously on my video camera and Edirol R09 recorder. I had intended to replace the audio from the camera mic with the one from the Edirol so I had lined them up to ensure the eventual sound file would be the right length, but when I played it back to check the alignment, I found that the resulting sound was better than either on its own. I can't define exactly how but the sound just seemed a little richer.

I recently featured some tunes on occasional folk songs.


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: GUEST,matt milton
Date: 09 Jan 12 - 06:03 AM

"Place two mics one behind the other some distance apart (mine were about 2 - 3ft), then line up the two recordings in Audacity and pan one left the other right. Surprisingly effective - gives a good stereo image. As good as using a stereo mic or two mics place left & right."

An audio pedant writes...

...Strictly speaking, this isn't a "good stereo image" in a purist, fidelity-to-the-room sense. Because the left and right that you would hear on the recording don't correspond to the actual left and right of your concertina/performance.

Instead, what you've done is used a "room mic" (a.k.a. an "ambient mic") - the mic positioned further back – and repositioned it in the mixdown to make that the equivalent of one side of the stereo image. You've combined a more "roomy" "reverby" take with a dry take: you've transformed depth into width, as it were.

But, yes, it'll sound good and, as you say, "richer". By aligning the two recordings and hard-panning them as far apart as possible, you've eliminated potential phase issues, so none of the sound waves of either mic cancel each other out.


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: Tootler
Date: 10 Jan 12 - 06:59 PM

Fair comment, Matt.

I agree, technically not true stereo, but nevertheless effective and that's what matters to me.

I tried PR's trick as well, it worked but needed quite a bit of fiddling as the stereo "image" was over to one side - which side depended on which way you panned the "lead" and "following" copy. In the end I used three copies of the track aligned at time 0, 0.02 and 0.04 sec and panned them in order, left, centre and right. I needed to raise the volume slightly in the track at 0 (about +1dB) to get a properly centred image. Worked and had the effect of a touch of reverb (or would it be chorus?). I'm not sure I would do it again. Try anything once, though.


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 14 Jan 12 - 06:19 PM

Week 19 (is nearly over), and here's a pair of seasonal songs to close the white album.

In the month of January is after the singing of Sarah Makem and others, including June Tabor. It's one of my all-time favourite traditional songs, up there with Lemady, Searching for Lambs and When a man's in love. Accompaniment: drone (I was hoping to make the accompaniment a bit more elaborate, but teaching myself chords took longer than I'd anticipated).

The January man (by Dave Goulder) is a song that genuinely feels as if it's been around forever. Whether you call it a folk song or not, it's a song that's been sung for forty-odd years now and deserves to be sung for many Januarys more.

52 Folk Songs is at http://www.52folksongs.com.


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 21 Jan 12 - 04:42 PM

Week 20 of 52fs, and I go back to basics to open the Blue album. (The white album isn't available just yet; I need to do some work on the extras, packaging, limited edition vinyl box set, etc.)

Sir Patrick Spens: unaccompanied, no messing. The Blue album is going to be heavy on Child ballads, and where better to start than this one. In this version of the song, which may be familiar from Nic Jones's recording, Sir P. never makes it across the North Sea.

Sir Patrick Spens: also unaccompanied and with a distinct lack of messing. This version, which I learned from Peter Bellamy's recording, lets Sir P. and crew get to Norrowa', although it doesn't do them much good. (The fate of the King's own daughter of Norrowa' is not specified; perhaps they left her behind.)

This is the ballad of Sir Patrick Spens: actually it's not, it's a song I wrote a few years ago. It was inspired by the experience of waiting to go on at a folk club while somebody did the long version of Sir P., and made it even longer by adding instrumental breaks between verses. I salute that singer, whoever he is, and if he's reading this he may consider this my revenge.

52 Folk Songs is at http://www.52folksongs.com.


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: NightWing
Date: 21 Jan 12 - 06:53 PM

I never have been able to hear or download any of the songs from this page. When I click on the album, it goes to the song list for the given album, but when I click on the link to download a song, it just goes to the lyrics page. There's a link there for "Digital Track" and another for "Free Download" that appear to go to the same place, but I just get

Hmm, that shouldn't have happened.
Please go back and try reloading the page, waiting for it to load fully. Sorry for the inconvenience!
Anybody else seeing this?

BB,
NightWing


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 22 Jan 12 - 05:08 AM

NightWing,

You should be able to hear any of the songs at 52 Folk Songs, or by clicking the 'play' icon to the left of the song on the Bandcamp album page.

The Free Download link is supposed to make a pop-up window appear asking for your email address; the download link is mailed to you. My guess would be that it's a Javascript thing. Have you got Javascript disabled or pop-ups blocked?


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 28 Jan 12 - 05:51 PM

52fs, week 21.

The original plan was to record unaccompanied songs for the next few weeks. The plan slipped.

True Thomas is a slightly brisker take on MacColl's version of Child 37, supplemented with melodica, bongoes, G & D whistles and recorder.

The keys to the forest is a modern take on the same theme: a moving, charming, horrifying song by the late and sadly-missed Jackie Leven, mostly unaccompanied but with some zither (thankyou, Hawkin's Bazaar). Another first in the 52fs experience: strings!

52 Folk Songs is at http://www.52folksongs.com.


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 04 Feb 12 - 06:52 PM

Week 22 of 52fs, and I dig deeper into Child ballad territory.

The outlandish knight is Child 4E (a.k.a. Lady Isabel and the Elf Knight) set to a tune I found online. (I then modified the tune slightly to give it a refrain. It's all about the flattened sevenths.) The harmony vocals are by way of a tribute to everyone who sings harmonies at the Beech.

The outlandish knight, on the other hand, was sung late at night and close up to the microphone, almost Chet Baker-style. Both the tune I'm using here and the accompaniment are after Nic Jones (specifically his first recording of the song). I detuned the zither from D to C specially for this song.

52 Folk Songs is at http://www.52folksongs.com.


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 11 Feb 12 - 11:18 AM

Week 23 brings more Child; one of the biggish ones, and certainly one of my favourites.

Little Musgrave is Child 81, and it's what we now think of as a typical Child ballad: it's longish, it's bloody, it comes in several variants and it's got some unforgettable images. (Apart from the confrontation between Musgrave and Lord Barnard – both of whom display a remarkable degree of sang froid in the circumstances – I'm particularly fond of the verse beginning "Is not your hawk"; as if to say, why would you want to leave *now*, when your life's about as good as it's ever going to be? (She was right about that, of course.)) This version is based on Nic Jones's recorded version, only with different words and a different tune. The tune, in fact, is my own, although it is influenced by...

Shady Grove, which probably needs less introduction to most people reading this than it did to me. The arrangement isn't quite what I thought I was doing when I started work on the song, but I don't think I've ruined it completely. (It would take quite a lot to ruin a song like that.)

52 Folk Songs is at http://www.52folksongs.com


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 11 Feb 12 - 11:26 AM

Incidentally, I sing Shady Grove in G minor; the relative major is Bb, but I thought retuning the zither from D all the way down to Bb would be asking for trouble. In the end I went up instead of down and retuned it to Eb Lydian, i.e. the major scale of Bb but running Eb to Eb.


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 18 Feb 12 - 10:55 AM

For week 24 I've recorded not one but two Child ballads; I could have gone up to four without breaking the theme.

The bonny hind is Child 50, and if there's a sadder song in the world, I'm not sure I've heard it. It's sung here with melodica and flute, in an arrangement copied fairly slavishly from Tony Rose's version on On Banks of Green Willow.

Sheath and knife is Child 16; another of the four ballads collected by Child on the theme of brother-sister incest. There's an odd little network of resemblances among the four ballads. In Lady Jean and the Bonny Hind, the two sibs are unknown to each other and are horrified to realise that they are related; both Lizzie Wan and Sheath and Knife feature a long-term incestuous relationship, with pregnancy as the trigger for the crisis. The Bonny Hind and Sheath and Knife both focus on the brother's state of mind after the sister is dead, and in particular his inability to talk about it; in Lizzie Wan the brother is unwilling to talk, but his mother gets the story out of him. The sister's death is suicide in the Bonny Hind and Lady Jean, murder in Lizzie Wan and a kind of suicide-by-proxy in Sheath and Knife. If I had to draw a diagram I would say that Lady Jean and Lizzie Wan were composed separately, with the Bonny Hind developing out of Lady Jean, and Sheath and Knife combining the basic setup of Lizzie Wan with elements of the Bonny Hind. But this is speculation.

This version is also based on work by Tony Rose, who recorded it on Under the greenwood tree and (even more effectively) on Bare bones. It's sung unaccompanied, with double-tracking to emphasise the impersonality of the refrains.

52 Folk Songs is at http://www.52folksongs.com


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 25 Feb 12 - 05:58 PM

Three songs for week 25.

George Collins isn't a Child ballad, although it has connections with a couple that are. Boy meets girl, everybody dies. Tune from the EBPFS, tweaked a bit; voice, melodica and irritating G whistle.

Jamie Douglas is Child 204; specifically, this is Child 204 as edited & arranged by June Tabor under the name of Waly Waly, with a couple of minor changes of my own. The plot is basically Othello without the murder, and seems to be based on fact.

The leaves in the woodland is a bit of Bellamy; specifically, the song he gave June Tabor in the Transports, quite possibly influenced by what she'd done to Jamie Douglas. Perhaps not quite as sad as The bonny hind, but not far off.

I'm quite pleased with the way these have come out, the unaccompanied ones in particular. See what you think.

52 Folk Songs is at http://www.52folksongs.com.


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: GUEST,Guest: NightWing (can't get my cookie re-ena
Date: 25 Feb 12 - 10:43 PM

Well, I tried it in both IE8 and in FireFox 4. Made sure that JavaScript is enabled and that pop-ups are allowed. Still has no "Play" button anywhere. When I click the "Download" link on the Bandcamp page, it goes to a new page that has a "Free Download" link, but when I click that link I get that same error message I described above:

Hmm, that shouldn't have happened.
Please go back and try reloading the page, waiting for it to load fully. Sorry for the inconvenience!

BB,
NightWing


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 26 Feb 12 - 04:42 AM

That's weird. Are you getting a message saying you need Flash?


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 26 Feb 12 - 06:02 AM

To expand on that last comment, I have had trouble playing stuff on Bandcamp a couple of times, but what I got was a pop-up window saying I need to install the Flash player.


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 26 Feb 12 - 06:16 AM

52!


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 03 Mar 12 - 06:41 PM

53! Actually I've just uploaded tracks 64-66, featuring folk songs 43-45 or thereabouts (it gets complicated). But this is week 26 - halfway through already! - and only one song can be named Folk Song 26.

And it's Mary Hamilton (Child 173), learned from John Kelly's version and set to a different tune in a different time signature. My tune is based on the tune usually used for Willie o' Winsbury.

Also this week: John from the Isle of Man, a rarely-heard variant of Willie o' Winsbury (Child 100); and Tom the Barber, a slightly less uncommon variant of the same song. Tom the Barber is sung to a variant of the tune John Kelly uses for Mary Hamilton, symmetrically enough.


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 11 Mar 12 - 03:41 PM

Three songs for week 27. This is the first week of the 'Green' album, which is going to be an album of love songs. I'm not sure whether they'll all have happy endings, but I've decided that there aren't going to be any deaths.

Searching for lambs is a wonderful song. I always 'hear' it mentally in the spacious, other-worldly arrangement on Shirley Collins's "Anthems in Eden" suite. This isn't a copy of that version, but it is inspired by it - and I think there's a pleasantly strange quality about how the instruments combine.

Master Kilby is another strange, slow, lovestruck English song, learned from Nic Jones's recording but with words from the version originally collected by Cecil Sharp. Like the previous song, this is a drone-based arrangement, but this time the melodica's supplemented by a vocal drone - a first for me. I rather like the way this one's come out, too.

Cupid's Garden, finally, is a song about an eighteenth-century pick-up, one fine day in a London pleasure garden. The penultimate verse, which is unlike the Coppers' version, is from a version collected on the Isle of Wight. No accompaniment.

52 Folk Songs is at http://52folksongs.com.


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 17 Mar 12 - 06:37 PM

I've put up another three songs for week 28. All of them have lost a certain something over the years, to put it as kindly as possible; it's not always clear what's going on, or even whether the 'Nancy' being talked about is a person or a place. But they're great songs.

The streams of lovely Nancy was learnt from John Kelly's recording, although accompanied by drumming rather than harmonium. I went back to broadside versions to get a set of words I was happy with; I was particularly keen to disentangle it from

Come all you little streamers, which I think is a completely separate song that just happens to have one identical verse. It's a bit of a mystery all round, not least because neither of them makes any sense at all. Zither and melodica.

The banks of the Mossom, finally, is a more conventional song, or at least the remains of one. Nancy appears in this one as both a person and a place. Was going to be unaccompanied; isn't. (Melodica, zither, flute, whistle.)

52 Folk Songs is at http://52folksongs.com.


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 26 Mar 12 - 04:27 AM

Another three songs for week 29, all traditional & all related to night-visiting. Not all happy endings, but no deaths!

One night as I lay on my bed is like a couple of other songs I've put up recently, in that it effectively conveys a sense of being utterly consumed with love (and lust). It's unlike those songs in that it's actually written that way (I was so distressed I could take no rest...). I sing it unaccompanied, following Tony Rose's version.

When a man's in love has one of the most beautiful tunes I know. The lyrics, when you listen closely, are a bit less romantic than that tune might lead you to assume; it's more in the area of "When a man's getting tired of waiting". Mostly from Paddy Tunney's version, although I also went back to Sam Henry's Songs of the People (courtesy of Google Books); sung unaccompanied.

Out of the window is another from Sam Henry. It gets its rather banal title from what the singer finds when he goes calling on his love. It's related to She Moved Through The Fair, possibly as a precursor; of the two I prefer it. I've never heard anyone else sing this & learned it myself from sheet music. Accompanied on zither.

52 Folk Songs is at http://52folksongs.com.


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 01 Apr 12 - 08:54 AM

Songs for week 30 up now!

I live not where I love: learned from my local singaround (thanks Dave), words modified after checking the broadsides. Accompaniment: file under 'noisy'. Also features a quick burst of Sir John Fenwick's.

My bonny boy: learned from Anne Briggs's recording, words modified in a variety of ways. Accompaniment: melodica drone, and I played on my flute (no hollering or whooping, though; not this week).

These two are sadder than the last few, but still love songs - and no deaths!

52 Folk Songs is at http://52folksongs.com.


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 09 Apr 12 - 06:46 AM

Three more songs of love for week 31. Love and heartbreak. Love, sex, heartbreak, betrayal and despair. You know the kind of thing.

Once I had a sweetheart is one of the first folk songs I ever heard (thanks, Pentangle) and one of the first I ever sang in public. I'm fairly pleased with what I've done to it here. Features a surprisingly loud zither, multiple melodicas and more than one drum track.

When I was in my prime is another one I learned from Pentangle - or rather from Jacqui McShee. I love the way she sang it - unaccompanied, with control and precision, utterly consistent in decoration and with hardly any drama. My version is different. (Accompaniment: flute plus recorder drone. Key: G Dorian.)

Lastly, another member of the Seeds of Love/Sprig of Thyme extended family, Jean Redpath's brief but powerful version of Let no man steal your thyme. I went for it a bit on the decoration front on this one. Sung in mid-air, accompanied by the porcupigeon in next door's tree.

52 Folk Songs is at http://52folksongs.com.


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: johncharles
Date: 09 Apr 12 - 08:12 AM

Why are there so few comments on this thread?


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 09 Apr 12 - 10:29 AM

Damned if I know. Comment away! (But listen to a song or two first.)


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: Tootler
Date: 09 Apr 12 - 04:04 PM

I do listen to your songs, Phil and I am interested in the way you have been developing your accompaniments. I have been doing similar but evolving things in a different way.

I have noticed that tune links posted on Mudcat generally don't produce a lot of comments unlike some other forums.

Keep going. It's good fun anyway.


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 14 Apr 12 - 07:09 PM

A mixed bag for week 32: a sad song about a young woman being seduced and abandoned, a funny song about a middle-aged man getting dumped and a song with a happy ending and a misleading beginning.

First, Blackwaterside - a song that needs no introduction! It's accompanied on heavily-processed zither and on D whistle (semi-improvised); the arrangement owes a debt of gratitude to Jon Hopkins's work on the album Diamond Mine. NB I trailed this version a couple of days ago, but I've tweaked the sound since then.

An outlandish dream is a broadside curiosity: a song of love, class and chastity which seemingly features our old friend the outlandish knight. (Perhaps it's another outlandish knight.)

On board the 'Kangaroo' is a song of loss and heartbreak, played for laughs. Learned from the version recorded by Tony Rose, which features a concertina part I can't hope to emulate; I've accompanied it on melodica and whistles instead.

52 Folk Songs is at http://52folksongs.com.


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 23 Apr 12 - 05:59 PM

Week 33, and we leave the songs of love behind in favour of a few warlike numbers.

The valiant sailor (a.k.a. Polly on the shore) is a song from the Napoleonic wars with an interesting narrative standpoint. Sung with concertina (recorded separately - I've only just taken it up), and with thanks to John Kelly (twice over).

The Dolphin goes back to an incident in the eighteenth century, involving a ship that wasn't called the Dolphin and didn't sail from Liverpool. Sung with drones and drums, and with thanks to Tony Capstick. (This track is also something of an answer to Sam Lee's contribution to Oak Ash Thorn.)

Someone, or more than one someone, has already played both of these all the way through, which is fairly quick work as these things go. Check them out yourself, why don't you.

As ever, 52 Folk Songs is at http://52folksongs.com.


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 02 May 12 - 02:04 PM

Late call for week 34, and some more losses at sea.

The lofty tall ship is a surprisingly laconic ballad about an episode in the life of a pirate; it's one remnant of a much longer ballad (one version was clocked at 82 verses), about the sixteenth-century pirate Andrew Barton. Featuring concertina (in drone mode). I've concluded that concertinas give good drone.

Lowlands you'll know, although most people seem to sing the chorus a bit differently from me. This is, of course, a song about a haircut; a ghost, heartbreak, seaweed and a haircut. Based quite closely on Shirley Collins's version, and featuring improvised harmonies.

As always, 52 Folk Songs is at http://52folksongs.com.


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 06 May 12 - 05:31 PM

For week 5, here are a couple more songs with sea voyages (or at least trips to the coast) and deaths. And more Bellamy!

William Taylor dumps his fiancee to enlist for a sailor (although as far as we can tell he never actually makes it as far as the sea). She's not pleased. The last verse appears to derive from a later, comic version of the song, but I liked it enough to keep it in. Learned from John Kelly's recording; accompanied with drum and zither.

The ghost song (a.k.a. The Cruel Ship's Carpenter) is a murder ballad of sorts: another William, also keen to go to sea, kills his (pregnant) fiancee. She's not pleased either. A fairly chunky narrative with an extraordinary tune, learned from Peter Bellamy's version, which itself derived from Sam Larner; sung unaccompanied.

As always, 52 Folk Songs is at http://52folksongs.com.


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 06 May 12 - 05:32 PM

Er, week 35, obviously.


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: Tootler
Date: 07 May 12 - 03:31 PM

Two interesting songs.

The versions I have heard of William Taylor mostly have him as a soldier which somehow makes more sense. In one version (sung by Jo Freya) the captain even makes the girl a commander over his men for her actions. Some reward for murder!!

There's an excellent version of the Cruel Ship's Carpenter in Cecil Sharpe's book of Appalachian folk songs with a very fine modal melody. I learnt it once with concertina accompaniment but the words have not stuck and I have been meaning to relearn it, perhaps using ukulele for accompaniment. I also heard a fine version from a visiting American at a local folk club which did not have the supernatural element, though I think the young man still got his come-uppance. The singer had, I think, collected that version from someone in his home area and commented on the lack of the supernatural element.


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: Tootler
Date: 07 May 12 - 05:28 PM

Just checked. The melody for Cruel Ship's Carpenter in Sharpe's book (or, strictly speaking, Sharpe and Karpele's book) is in G Dorian, though I might take it up a tone to Ador for singing with accompaniment.


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 08 May 12 - 05:47 PM

The melody Bellamy uses for the Ghost Song / CSC (which I followed) sounds as if it's in some peculiar mode, but according to Barfly it's in "C major heptatonic", which is about as un-modal a mode as you can get.


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 16 May 12 - 04:35 AM

For week 36 I'm staying with violent death and going back to Child ballads.

Two pretty boys, a variant of Two brothers (Child 49), is a song about senseless violence. Almost everything in the story is left unexplained, as it often is. Sung unaccompanied (and after Peter Bellamy).

I've fought shy of doing Edward (Child 13) in the past, having heard some rather tediously solemn versions. But here it is, with the rather jaunty tune Nic Jones used, and under the name of Son Davie. It's sung with whistle, drums and (briefly) concertina.

52 Folk Songs is at http://52folksongs.com.


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 20 May 12 - 03:01 PM

Week 37 already - how time flies.

Two conscription songs, one old, one new. The lowlands of Holland. is a strange, almost dreamlike song, learned from the version on Martin Carthy's Second Album and sung unaccompanied.

I'm a great fan of Peter Blegvad; his Shirt and comb is a contemporary response to conscription songs in general and this song in particular. The original is nothing much like this, partly because I've mangled the tune slightly and partly because I don't play guitar; I've accompanied it on drums, C whistle and English concertina.

52 Folk Songs is at http://52folksongs.com.


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 20 May 12 - 03:02 PM

That got a bit mangled. "Shirt and comb" is a contemporary response to conscription songs in general and "The lowlands of Holland" in particular.


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 20 May 12 - 03:46 PM

and English concertina.

New toy??


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 20 May 12 - 04:02 PM

Ho yes. Proceeds of eBaying some old vynil - Aphex Twin seems to sell particularly well. It's a beautiful instrument - possibly the best thing I've ever bought. Still can't really play the damn thing - but I'm learning, & more importantly playing, in both senses of the word.


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: Tootler
Date: 20 May 12 - 04:42 PM

Your concertina playing sounds to be coming along nicely, Phil. Keep it up.


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 20 May 12 - 04:59 PM

So what is it? Do tell...


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 20 May 12 - 06:18 PM

Second-hand Lachenal tutor (black accidentals, red Cs), bought from J. Carroll of this parish; probably about 100 years old but with pads, valves & bellows replaced about 25-30 years ago. Apparently some reeds are steel and some brass; I don't know which are which, but the bottom octave (from G below middle C up) is beautifully throaty.


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 20 May 12 - 06:30 PM

Sounds the very pip.


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 27 May 12 - 06:24 PM

Week 38, and three more conscription songs.

Far the most sentimental - and the most "written"-sounding - is I would that the wars were all done; I just love the refrain. Accompaniment: two-note concertina chords and recorder.

High Germanie continues the recent sub-theme of sketchy European geography. I followed Pentangle in this version, perhaps too closely; I might try taking it more slowly another time.

The weary cutters, lastly, is a short, sad song, sung by a mother whose son has been conscripted ("They've pressed him far away foreign"). Thanks to Steeleye Span, I've known this one for yonks, and I find I'm fonder of it than I realised. Sung with (self-composed) harmonies.

52 Folk Songs is at http://52folksongs.com.


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: Tootler
Date: 28 May 12 - 02:57 PM

All Things are Quite Silent is a very similar song to the Lowlands of Holland with a young man being press ganged away from his marriage bed. I have a superb version by Jo Freya which has a lovely counter melody played on recorder. Worth tracking down. If you're interested, I can give you the details of the CD (which is excellent overall)

The words are in the digital tradition and were sourced from the Penguin Book of English Folk Song.

Away to consult mine for the dots.


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 03 Jun 12 - 05:53 PM

Week 39 - three-quarters of the way through the year - and it's "broken token" week at 52fs.

The dark-eyed sailor is a 3/4 arrangement based distantly on Tony Rose's version, accompanied on concertina and much else.

Sweet Jenny of the moor, a more 'literary' variant on the same theme, is based more directly on Tony Rose's version; just concertina, with a bit of whistle thrown in at the end.

52 Folk Songs is at http://52folksongs.com.


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 08 Jun 12 - 06:45 PM

Here's a quick plug for Fifty-Two Folk Songs: the Green Album, my latest collection of songs.

1 Searching for lambs (3:24)
2 Master Kilby (2:54)
3 The banks of the Mossom (3:01)
4 The streams of lovely Nancy (2:04)
5 Come all you little streamers (2:15)
6 One night as I lay on my bed (2:35)
7 When a man's in love (4:16)
8 Out of the window (3:02)
9 Cupid's Garden (2:45)
10 On board the 'Kangaroo' (3:38)
11 The outlandish dream (2:18)
12 I live not where I love (4:35)
13 As I was a-wandering (3:27)
14 Once I had a sweetheart (3:28)
15 My bonny boy (4:36)
16 When I was in my prime (3:48)
17 Let no man steal your thyme (1:55)
18 Blackwaterside (3:46)
19 Rosemary Lane (3:20)
20 Box 25/4 Lid (Ratledge/Hopper) (0:51)

Six songs sung unaccompanied – after Tony Rose and John Kelly, among others – plus thirteen with accompaniment and one contemporary jazz piece(!). They're all love songs – or, at worst, heartbreak and unwanted pregnancy songs – and nobody dies. There's flute (My bonny boy) and recorder (I live not where I love), as well as melodica (On board the 'Kangaroo') and a surprisingly loud zither (Once I had a sweetheart). Then there are melodica drones (all over the place) as well as a flute drone (The banks of the Mossom), a recorder drone (When I was in my prime) and a vocal drone (Master Kilby). There's an arrangement that's heavily indebted to Jon Hopkins (Blackwaterside), another arrangement which I liked so much that I used it twice, and another that features the sound of a zither being simultaneously plucked and dropped onto a hard surface. (It survived.) And there's an old Soft Machine number arranged for melodica, whistle and zither. There's even a bit of concertina (Rosemary Lane).

Yours to download for a nominal (Paypal) charge, from here - and there's more information here.

Coming soon: the Yellow album (lots of senseless violence and lots of concertina). And, starting tomorrow, the Orange album: it'll be big on Bellamy and big on Kipling, and it'll almost certainly be big on concertina too.

52 Folk Songs is, comme d'habitude, at http://52folksongs.com.


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 10 Jun 12 - 07:24 AM

Also, extras!

Fifty-Two Folk Songs: the Green Album includes three tracks that weren't featured in the weekly posts. They are:

Rosemary Lane was mandatory for any album of songs about heartbreak and unwanted pregnancy. Drums, zither, melodica drone and a bit of concertina.

As I was a-wandering I picked up from John Kelly's album For honour and promotion. It may or may not be by Burns; either way it's a fine song.

Box 25/4 Lid (not a folk song) finishes things off with a bit of angular bass clank (supplied here by the trusty zither). I wanted to know how far I could take the digital processing of the sounds of a few innocuous acoustic instruments. And now, I know.


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 12 Jun 12 - 02:47 AM

Week 40, and the next few weeks are going to feature Peter Bellamy's settings of Kipling quite heavily. Traditional songs will also feature!

Queen Jane is a strange and moving piece of folk history; the story it tells must already have been a couple of centuries old when the song was written. Backing is heavy on the woodwinds (flute drone!).

Puck's song: Kipling lays out his map of the deep history of England - all the way back to "the lines the Flint Men made to guard their wondrous towns". In terms of accompaniment, this one starts out fairly straightforward and gets a bit "weird" as it develops. There is concertina; there are bees.

52 Folk Songs is, as ever, at http://52folksongs.com.


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 17 Jun 12 - 05:40 PM

What's new at 52 Folk Songs? I hear you cry.

It's week 41, and we continue the Kipling-and-others theme with two songs about Richards.

Earl Richard is more widely known as Young Hunting, although the main character has several different names in different variants of the original ballad (Child 68). The plot is both familiar (boy meets girl, everybody dies) and very strange. The accompaniment consists mainly of drones of various origins.

Sir Richard's song is another of Kipling's hymns to England, this one spoken by a Norman knight who had fallen in love with the country after falling in love with an English woman. (Sex first, then patriotism.) The tune, the arrangement and the delivery are very largely taken from Peter Bellamy, who liked this song enough to record it twice. As far as I'm aware he never accompanied it on zither, though.


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 25 Jun 12 - 06:08 PM

Week 42's songs at 52fs were delayed owing to football; watching a nil-nil draw settled on penalties after two full hours of play somehow seemed like a much better idea than putting the finishing touches to this week's songs. I don't know what I was thinking of; it won't happen again.

There are three thematically-linked songs this week, one traditional and two by Kipling and Bellamy; they're all sea songs, and they all focus on South America in particular.

Rounding the Horn - a.k.a. The gallant frigate Amphitrite - makes rounding the Horn sound like a thoroughly good idea, as long as you don't get lost on the way (or fed to the sharks). Accompaniment: drums, recorder, English concertina.

Frankie's trade is Bellamy's take on Kipling in praise of Francis Drake, and by extension in praise of English seamanship and England in general. The idea seems to be that Drake could never have been the seaman he was if he hadn't cut his teeth as a marauder across the cold North Sea. I haven't got any particular opinion on Francis Drake myself, but I defy anyone not to get a bit patriotic towards the end.

Roll down to Rio, lastly, is a jokey, dreamy little poem from the Just-So Stories, accompanied here on English concertina - not to be confused with Jon Boden's version (accompanied on Maccann duet) or Bellamy's original (with his trusty Anglo).

52 Folk Songs will be on time next week, and it will still be at http://52folksongs.com.


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: Tootler
Date: 25 Jun 12 - 06:49 PM

An excellent set, Phil. You're getting a bit good at this overdubbing game. I seem to be going the other way. The last few I've done have just been with my video camera's built in mic, though it has quite a decent condenser mic built in so the results are not bad. Sometimes simple is best.

I like to do the Gallant Frigate Amphitrite unaccompanied, it seems to suit it. Anyway if you're doing songs at the Wilson's club, you'd better do them unaccompanied [grin]. Tom had a dig at me last Thursday for using my uke to accompany songs. All good natured really, but it is that sort of club.

I tried accompanying GFA with my Anglo but it didn't work out. I've not tried the uke yet but I'm not really tempted just now.

Nice simple concertina accompaniment on Roll Down to Rio.


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 26 Jun 12 - 03:13 AM

Cheers!

I'm still feeling my way with chords (I was pleased with 'Rio'). The chords on Rounding the Horn sounded right all the while I was recording them, then sounded wrong the first time I listened to it back online - not discordant, just not necessarily the most appropriate chords. I worked them out by humming the notes that seemed to go under each line (a basic bass line), then fitting chords around them; the bass line went
G-A-G-D (lines 1 and 4)
D-A-G (lines 2 and 3)
and the song was in G, so I used the chords of G, A minor and D. Trouble is, for any of those bass notes there are three possible chords, and the permutations get horrendous! I suspect this is the kind of thing that gets a lot easier with practice.


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: GUEST,Blandiver
Date: 26 Jun 12 - 05:04 AM

Frankie's Trade is an interesting poem on various fronts &, like many of Bellamy's Kipling settings, seems well ensconced in the Three Corners of the English Colonial Folk Canon with fine versions coming from Australia (Margaret Walters) & America (Innumerable) too. For me, Jon Boden's take on OAK ASK THORN is now definitive of the piece as a whole (easily superceding the original) and whilst we had a crack at it as part of our Kipling:Bellamy show at the Fylde last year it hasn't survived in our general repertoire*. Why? God knows because learning it didn't come easy (not for me) & I used to love singing it, and found a perfect illustrated counterpart for the piece in my precious copy of the 1955 Dandy Book** in the form of Young Frankie Drake. Indeed, I actually sang Young Frankie Drake in an open coaster to scan that awkward line in the third stanza which always requires an extra foot or so to make it singable (I see your version is no exception!). I've even heard it introduced at singarounds as 'a traditional shanty about Francis Drake'; when disavowed of this somewhat silly notion the culprit said he'd never heard of Peter Bellamy, and had no idea Kipling wrote Idiomatic Folk Songs, which was fair enough really, allowing that in any largely oral musical context songs remain unsigned leading to all sorts of wonky folk-theorising.

Anyway, worth noting that Frankie's Trade was one of the cornerstones of Bellamy's Kipling thesis and (according to him) the tune derives from Blood Red Roses. It's a salty contrivance in the best jingoistic style that I could have sworn I once heard in a maritime medley sung by The Cliff Adams Singers. Is that likely? Or is there another setting I wonder? For sure there are lots of fine Kipling settings that pre-dates the invention of 'Folk' - look on YouTube for Peter Dawson's Smuggler's Song for a real taste of Olde England. Now if only such a recording of Frankie's Trade existed...

Jack Blandiver (The Mudcatter still known as Suibhne O'Piobaireachd until Joe Offer gets round to honouring my request for a name change).

* Kipling:Bellamy-wise in recent gigs we've been featuring Heffle Cuckoo Fair in our new folk-unfriendly weirdlore arrangement (see HERE) & Harp Song of the Dane Women continues to evolve whilst in sessions we regularly do things like Astologer's Song, Sir Richard, The Land, Way Through the Woods and Smugglers' Song. Sadly, I note that sadly Midsummer came & went without our usual rendering of A Tree Song...

** One year out!


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 26 Jun 12 - 05:56 AM

Sir Richard used to be one of my favourite Kipling/Bellamy compositions, partly because of how gentle and un-Bellamy-like his delivery was on Oak, Ash and Thorn. Some time later I heard his re-recording on KOK - which sounds more like him & is even better. Not sure what that proves! (Here is my take on it.)


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: GUEST,Blandiver
Date: 26 Jun 12 - 06:22 AM

I must admit I do love Bellamy's tender side; came out again on Devil Got Your Man on his EFDSS album Second Wind. My favourite Sir Richard was Sally Bee's (Crow Sister) by several country miles.


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 26 Jun 12 - 08:35 AM

Her version is very good indeed, 'tis true.


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: Tootler
Date: 26 Jun 12 - 07:42 PM

Dick Miles (GSS) sings the Gallant Frigate Amphitrite. I can't remember whether he accompanies himself or not, but I'm sure if you PM him he will let you know if he does and what chords he uses. His online persona may be a somewhat quirky, but at a personal level he is very helpful.

Your choice of chords is reasonable but as it's a mixolydian mode tune, you may find a VII - I (C-D in this case) progression works well at important cadences and sometimes, depending on notes in the melody, you can find an A chord instead of Am can work (or leave out the third so the chord is ambiguous). I used A rather than Am with Old Man from Lee at the end of the "Eh but I'll not have him" line. That's D-dorian rather than D-mixolydian but the same principal applies.


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 02 Jul 12 - 07:42 AM

Week 43 brings more nautical songs; there's an original composition by Peter Bellamy and another of his settings of Kipling. As well as Bellamy and Kipling, this week I'm in the footsteps of Bert Lloyd, Cyril Tawney and Mudcat's own Gibb Sahib.

Come down you bunch of roses is the shanty which is now much better known as "Blood red roses"; credit for this goes, apparently, to Bert Lloyd. Thanks to Gibb Sahib for some excellent archaeology and arrangement on this one.
My version is sung in two-part harmony, accompanied by domestic percussion.

Anchor song is a two-minute blast of sailor-speak from Kipling, set to music by Bellamy. Not easy to follow if you don't know the lingo – and not at all easy to learn – but fun.

Roll down is one of Bellamy's chameleon-like impressions of traditional song from the Transports, this one in the form of a shanty (led by Tawney on the 1977 recording). Voices only, but lots of 'em.

52 Folk Songs is at http://www.52folksongs.com.


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 09 Jul 12 - 03:39 AM

Still on the Bellamy/Kipling trail for week 44, this time focusing on two songs about the grief of losing a friend. This isn't an emotion which crops up a lot in traditional song, so for this week's traditional song I went for bereavement. All good fun for a Monday morning, eh?

The trees they do grow highThis is one of my very favourite songs, traditional or otherwise; I'm particularly fond of this version, which I learned from Tony Rose's recording. Sung and played in the open air, in one take (with some editing).

This week's two Kiplings share the same central situation: two men are in the army, one is killed and the other is… well, 'heartbroken' seems the only word. I think you can see a gay subtext there if you want to - or not if you don't. Either way, both these songs tenderly and accurately portray the pain of losing a beloved close friend.

Follow me 'ome is a light, bantering song, at least to begin with; there's a military funeral about to begin, and the speaker's telling his mates (not all of whom know or care) why he wants them to attend it with him. The jolly, bustling refrain - a Kipling speciality - contrasts very effectively with the lonely grief with which the song ends. Accompanied on English concertina, based loosely on Bellamy's anglo accompaniment.

Ford o' Kabul River has a very different mood, which I've accentuated by slowing it down and adding some splashy percussion (see also last week's shanty). Grief predominates from the start. Again, the effect of the refrain is more complex than you might have expected. By the end of this song, the nagging repetitions of the same few words (mostly consisting of the title) take on an oppressive, nightmarish quality: in his mind, you feel, the speaker is still there, by the ford of Kabul river in the dark, and perhaps always will be.

Brace up - I'll find something cheerful for next week, possibly.

52 Folk Songs is at http://www.52folksongs.com.


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 15 Jul 12 - 09:42 AM

Three more maritime songs for week 45.

Dogger Bank is a traditional song that escaped from the music-hall and went native. It's rapid-fire nautical nonsense, with no real artistic merits except that it sounds good and it's fun to sing. Which isn't nothing.

Then, two more Bellamy/Kiplings. Poor honest men is a kind of rhetorical exercise in pushing irony until it snaps. It's accompanied here on concertina and drums.

Big steamers is a Young Person's Guide to British Imperialism, starting from the question of where your bread and butter come from; you could write something similar these days and call it Food Miles.

52 Folk Songs is at http://www.52folksongs.com.


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 22 Jul 12 - 06:06 PM

Week 46 and we're into the home stretch: the Red album which will bring 52fs to a close.

After the Violet album (starting up) and Indigo (getting going), we've had Blue (Child ballads), white (winter songs), Green (love songs - nobody dies), Yellow (war songs - everyone dies) and Orange (Kipling/Bellamy). The theme for this last set of songs is simpler: these are songs I like too much to leave out.

We begin with two songs about ghostly - but curiously substantial - apparitions. The holland handkerchief is a wonderful and mysterious song with a heartbreaking story. It may also be the only Child ballad with a punchline. Accompaniment: English concertina, but don't ask me what all the chords are.

The lady gay is an American variant of The wife of Usher's Well; this text comes from a performance by Peter Blegvad. A dark and chilly song. Accompaniment: English concertina, foot on wood floor.

Next week, ukulele, with any luck.

For a few weeks more, 52 Folk Songs is at http://www.52folksongs.com.


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 01 Aug 12 - 03:27 AM

Week 47, slightly delayed, and I continue the cheery, life-affirming mood so characteristic of folk songs with two songs about dead bodies.

The poor murdered woman is a straightforward account of a true story (Leatherhead, January 1834), bizarrely characterised by Martin Carthy as a 'non-event'. It's true that there isn't much in the way of plot, but I'd still call it an event.

The scarecrow is one of Lal Waterson's strangest and darkest songs, which is saying something. Lal and Mike, I should say - Mike (who sang it on Bright Phoebus) added the third verse to Lal's first two, turning a painfully morbid near-hallucination into a song.

52 Folk Songs is at http://www.52folksongs.com.


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 06 Aug 12 - 05:30 PM

Week 48 - not long now! Things are looking up a bit after last week, with some songs about love and death.

I uploaded these recordings on the 5th of August; the lead song for this week could only be Brigg Fair. It's sung here with a bit of contemporary ambient sound, including a brief excerpt from an everyday story of country folk.

General Wolfe is a song I already knew, but fell in love all over again on hearing Jo Freya's Traditional Songs of England (reviewed here). Much concertina here, although the chords eluded me to the last and I went for drones instead.

The green cockade is a Cornish version of a widespread enlistment song (other colours of cockade are available). Much concertina here too, and this time I did work out the chords. Again, the credit for my renewed interest in this one goes to Jo Freya's beautifully realised version.

As well as concertina, all three of these songs feature recorder: specifically, a maple Moeck recorder which I acquired recently. It's a 'school' model, so not a high-end instrument, but it's got a lovely tone; it's entirely displaced my old Aulos and is well on the way to supplanting my Tony Dixon D whistle. My "concertina and recorder" period begins!

52 Folk Songs is at http://www.52folksongs.com. To download the albums, go to philedwards.bandcamp.com.


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 09 Aug 12 - 06:16 PM

100!

Three unaccompanied songs for week 49 - just for a change - and all of them on a moorland theme.

Queen among the heather is a slightly romanticised account of a socially awkward encounter on the Scottish moors; a popular theme, to judge from the number of variants that exist (e.g. "Down the moor", "Skippin' barfit through the heather").

Now westlin winds is one of Robert Burns's most beautiful poems (a.k.a. "Song composed in August"); all about love and nature and bloodsports (he's in favour of two of these). Call it a topical song (it's not the 12th yet, but it soon will be).

Jake Thackray's Old Molly Metcalfe is about someone else you might meet on the moors; her story doesn't end well.

52 Folk Songs is at http://www.52folksongs.com. To download the albums, go to philedwards.bandcamp.com.


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 13 Aug 12 - 07:57 AM

101!

The Yellow album was completed and made available for download a little while ago. Here's the link, and here's what you get.

1 The crow on the cradle (Sydney Carter) (3:34)
2 Son Davie (3:19)
3 Two pretty boys (2:09)
4 The valiant sailor (5:38)
5 The Dolphin (2:58)
6 The lofty tall ship (4:21)
7 The ghost song (3:00)
8 William Taylor (3:56)
9 Lowlands (4:06)
10 The lowlands of Holland (3:25)
11 Shirt and comb (Peter Blegvad) (2:23)
12 High Germanie (2:20)
13 The weary cutters (1:54)
14 I would that the wars were all done (2:42)
15 The dark-eyed sailor (4:12)
16 Sweet Jenny of the moor (3:50)
17 Whitsun Dance (Austin John Marshall) (2:51)

Seventeen songs of death and destruction, mostly (but not exclusively) with a wartime setting, and mostly (14 out of 17) traditional. Some unaccompanied, some with vocal harmonies, some accompanied - mostly on English concertina and drums, with various other instruments (melodica, zither, recorder, whistles (D and C) and a bit of flute).

The crow on the cradle, an album-only extra, is probably the most powerful anti-war song ever written - up there with 10,000 Maniacs' "My Mother the War". War is over, if you want it. (Quite pleased with the drumming on this one.)
Son Davie, a.k.a. Edward, is a Child ballad on the theme of guilt and remorse. (Some of the most powerful ballads seem to centre on the sense of actions being irrevocable.) I like the sound of the C whistle on this.
Two pretty boys isn't - or wasn't - connected to the previous ballad, although you could say that it tells an earlier part of the same story. Sung unaccompanied and strongly influenced by Peter Bellamy, who learnt it from Lucy Stewart. (Is there any other way of being influenced by Peter Bellamy?)
The valiant sailor was the first song for which I worked out concertina chords. There's a doleful, chapel-harmonium thing going on there, partly as a result of my novice status on the instrument; I rather like it. My interpretation was inspired by John Kelly; it's not a patch on his version, of course.
"This song is called The Dolphin, which is the name of the ship what the pirates were in. It's also the name of a pub in Wakefield that used to have right rough strippers on." Thus (and much further in the same vein) Tony Capstick. I sing it here with melodica drone and drums.
The lofty tall ship features concertina drones; after hearing this back I more or less abandoned the melodica. The timbre you get from the concertina reeds is extraordinary.
The ghost song, also known as The cruel ship's carpenter, is an English murder ballad (a relatively uncommon theme). In terms of interpretation, this is another one taken straight and heavily influenced by Bellamy, who in this case was following Sam Larner.
William Taylor is another song of enlistment, desertion and death, although not in the usual combination. Accompanied on drums and zither, giving a rather nice quiet, spare effect.
"Lowlands away, my John..." Another quiet arrangement - after Shirley Collins - with vocal harmonies and minimal percussion.
The lowlands of Holland is a strange, dreamlike song; nothing about it, from the initial bedroom encounter to the paradisiacal description of Holland, quite makes sense. Beautiful, though.
Shirt and comb is a song by the great Peter Blegvad (although I've mangled the tune slightly). It essentially takes the basic situation of the previous song and looks at it from the inside: how did it feel to be enlisted and forced to march away from your loved ones? Accompanied with drums, concertina chords and C whistle.
High Germanie continues the twin themes of enlistment and approximate European geography. Drums, concertina drones and a slightly peculiar-sounding D whistle.
"O the Weary Cutters have taken my laddie from me..." Quiet, sad, with vocal harmonies. Not much like Maddy Prior's version with Steeleye Span, although that is where I learned it.
I would that the wars were all done is another quiet, sad one. It's accompanied with spare concertina I/V chords and a bit of recorder, and was partly recorded in the open air.
The dark-eyed sailor and Sweet Jenny of the moor are both 'broken token' songs, and were both clearly intended for an audience which knew the set-up; they both get through the big reveal very briskly. "Sailor" is accompanied throughout on concertina drones, C whistle, drums and zither; "Jenny" is mostly unaccompanied, with a bit of melodic reinforcement from concertina and C whistle.
The album's second download-only extra, Whitsun Dance, probably needs no introduction. It's always struck me as a dark, bitter song, all the more so for its sunny surface. I've recorded it with different combinations of instruments – recorder/zither, zither/drums, drums/concertina – over a flute drone. You can hear both it and The crow on the cradle here - although if you want to download either of them you'll have to go here.

Like the other downloads in the series, the Yellow album comes with a PDF file containing full lyrics, notes and artwork.


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 31 Aug 12 - 03:18 PM

Week 50's songs are a load of nonsense. I think nonsense is a great neglected tradition in English poetry, and nonsense songs like the first two of these are a big part of it. Also, they're fun.

The grey goose and gander (sung here with vocal harmonies) is a silly song from nineteenth-century Yorkshire. It's a lot of fun, particularly when sung (in the words of the man who collected it) "in the kitchens of quiet publichouses", or indeed in the side rooms of busy ones.

When I set off for Turkey (sung here with drums, concertina, recorder, some more concertina, flute, G whistle, zither and ukulele) is an exorbitant song of lies and boasts, each line sillier and more unbelievable than the one before. Which you could also say about the arrangement.

A hard rain's a-gonna fall, lastly, is a long song (presented here in a short form) which takes the "and another thing" form of songs like the previous one and infuses it with the visionary urgency and rage of a lot of Dylan's earlier work. I don't think it's got anything to do with nuclear war, and I still think it's a hard rain that's gonna fall.


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 31 Aug 12 - 03:24 PM

Week 51's songs are a bit more serious.

What all these songs have in common is that the singers whose recordings I learned them from are among the real giants of the 60s/70s revival. Geordie is learnt from Peter Bellamy, who recorded it – or a very similar song called Georgie – in 1968. Is the judge who looked so very hard-hearted an ancestor of Dylan's judge in Percy's Song?

Gilderoy – which may have originated (in Scotland) as a parody of Geordie – was recorded by Shirley and Dolly Collins in 1978. In its English form it's a song of death and bereavement. Sung here with some basic accompaniment from a rather nice recorder I bought the other day.

Maid on the Shore, finally, was recorded by Martin Carthy (and Swarb) on Carthy's Second Album back in 1966. Having (just about) learnt to play this ridiculous tune on concertina, my respect for Swarb's fiddle-playing is, if anything, even higher than it was already.

For one (more) week only, 52 Folk Songs is at http://52folksongs.com.


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 31 Aug 12 - 05:45 PM

And what of week 52, the culmination, nay, pinnacle of this entire project?

I'm open to suggestion...


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: johncharles
Date: 31 Aug 12 - 06:55 PM

woody guthrie 100 anniversary
So long its been good to know ya
john


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 01 Sep 12 - 12:56 PM

Not really my beat, in either sense of the word - I was thinking more Coppers.


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: GUEST,Meldrew
Date: 02 Sep 12 - 12:25 PM

Try singing a musical scale properly.


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 03 Sep 12 - 05:13 PM

Sorry, Victor, wrong thread - this is about what I sing, not how badly I do it.


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Subject: The Fifty-Second Folk Song
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 09 Sep 12 - 05:31 PM

And now, the end is here, and so I face... the 52nd folk song.

The 52nd and final (weekly) folk song is Banks of Yarrow; you probably know it as The Banks of Green Willow. Unaccompanied, after Debra Cowan.

Also this week: Ballad of accounting, a stark and rather Brechtian song by Ewan MacColl. Unaccompanied but for multi-tracking, after Tony Capstick.

And finally: Who's the fool now? Thereby hangs a tale. Unaccompanied but for lots of other people.

For anyone who's made it this far: don't go away! There's more to come, albeit probably not at the same workrate I've kept up for most of the last year. Secondly and more importantly, thankyou – many thanks for reading, listening and downloading.

52 Folk Songs is still at http://52folksongs.com.


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Subject: Fifty-Two Folk Songs - the Christmas album
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 07 Dec 12 - 08:06 AM

52 Folk Songs: white is an album of seasonal songs, recorded between the start of Advent and the end of Epiphany last year. Some are religious, some are songs for cold nights and the turning of the year, and some are both. Unfortunately the album wasn't available for download until February, by which time the moment for Gaudete and the Boar's Head Carol had passed. But its time has come round again, so here it is.

The full track listing is:

1. A maiden that is matchless (2:07)
2. The holly and the ivy (1:49)
3. Shepherds arise (3:22)
4. A virgin most pure (4:08)
5. In Dessexshire as it befell (3:34)
6. Poor old horse (5:08)
7. On Ilkley Moor Baht 'At (4:43)
8. Come, love, carolling (Sydney Carter) (2:08)
9. The boar's head carol (1:49)
10. Gaudete (2:49)
11. The King (1:26)
12. In the month of January (4:22)
13. The Moving On song (Seeger/MacColl) (2:44)
14. The January Man (Dave Goulder) (2:33)

Tracks 7 and 13 are 'hidden' tracks, which can only be downloaded by downloading the whole album. Tracks 2-4, 9 and 11 have been remixed this time round, to give a better balance between the different vocal tracks.

The white album comes with full lyrics, notes on the songs and even the odd picture.

Read more here or get the album (and hear individual tracks) here.


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 12 Dec 12 - 11:58 AM

New Kipling, set to music by Martin Simpson: Four Angels (sung with concertina, one take)

New Pete Seeger in French, translated by Graeme Allwright: Jusqu'a la ceinture (with concertina and drums, overdubbed)

My voice sounds a bit wobbly on the Kipling - I don't know if I was coming down with a cold or if it was from the effort of having to think about playing at the same time as singing. I like the way the concertina's come out, though - very chapel-harmonium.

My French teacher played us "Jusqu'a la ceinture" years ago & we had a big discussion of the political meaning of the song - although we never actually touched on Vietnam, oddly enough! I've always liked it. If you can't understand the French, just think "Waist deep in the Big Muddy" and you'll be more or less there.


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: GUEST,CJ
Date: 12 Dec 12 - 02:27 PM

Been enjoying the Christmas album. Sounds like a joyous yet slightly demented carol session.

Funny, if this had been released 35 years ago on a micro label, or Trailer, it'd be seen as some sort of outsider art masterpiece and selling on eBay for £345.


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 12 Dec 12 - 04:54 PM

"Outsider art masterpiece"! Thanks... I think.

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to do some work on the Vivian Girls' latest exploits. I'm up to volume 19...


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: matt milton
Date: 13 Dec 12 - 03:47 AM

"Funny, if this had been released 35 years ago on a micro label, or Trailer, it'd be seen as some sort of outsider art masterpiece and selling on eBay for £345."

Once or twice I've thought it'd be fun (and lucrative) to invent a hoax early 70s psych-folk artist. Write a wikipedia entry. Convince the right blogs. Press up some vinyl, make the sleeve look suitably aged...


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 13 Dec 12 - 09:31 AM

You'd need to start with the hard part - the vinyl and the cardboard. (I'm assuming the music wouldn't be a problem!) Online hoaxes have had their day - I don't think anyone believes everything the computer tells them any more.


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: GUEST,CS
Date: 13 Dec 12 - 10:03 AM

Keep up the good work Philpip. I always dip in when I see you post. I need a couple new songs to practice for Xmasyness too..


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 14 Dec 12 - 02:57 PM

Let us know next time you've got something new on the Intertubes, CS (still got fond memories of first hearing your Sir Richard).


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: Continuity Jones
Date: 14 Dec 12 - 03:21 PM

"Funny, if this had been released 35 years ago on a micro label, or Trailer, it'd be seen as some sort of outsider art masterpiece and selling on eBay for £345."

Once or twice I've thought it'd be fun (and lucrative) to invent a hoax early 70s psych-folk artist. Write a wikipedia entry. Convince the right blogs. Press up some vinyl, make the sleeve look suitably aged...


------------


Did John Fahey not do something similar? Of its time, of course, but did he not place copies of his first releases in blues sections of record stores? Can't quite remember.


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 24 Dec 12 - 02:13 PM

Just in time for Christmas, the entirely non-festive Orange album is now complete and available for download. Here's the link, and here's what you get.

1 Puck's song (Kipling / Bellamy) (2:38)
2 Sir Richard's song (Kipling / Bellamy) (5:13)
3 Frankie's Trade (Kipling / Bellamy) (2:51)
4 Anchor song (Kipling / Bellamy) (1:59)
5 Follow me 'ome (Kipling / Bellamy) (4:42)
6 Ford o' Kabul River (Kipling / Bellamy) (5:59)
7 Poor honest men (Kipling / Bellamy) (3:09)
8 Big steamers (Kipling / Bellamy) (1:48)
9 Roll down to Rio (Kipling / Bellamy) (2:14)
10 Jusqu'à la ceinture (Seeger / Allwright) (album-only download) (3:59)
11 Queen Jane (Child 170) (3:26)
12 Earl Richard (Child 68) (6:07)
13 Rounding the Horn (3:13)
14 Roll down (Peter Bellamy) (3:38)
15 Dogger Bank (2:11)
16 Come down you bunch of roses (2:45)
17 The trees they do grow high (3:16)
18 Four Angels (Kipling / Simpson) (album-only download) (4:19)

All songs traditional except where stated (which is to say, mostly not traditional at all - as you can see, this is my 'Kipling album'). Accompanied mostly on English concertina, with some flute, recorder and drums; a couple of tracks also feature C whistle, zither, improvised percussion and various drones.

Like the other downloads in the series, the Orange album comes with a PDF file containing full lyrics, notes and artwork. And, like the other downloads, it has a minimum price set at a symbolic 52p – although you're welcome to pay more!

Download 52 Folk Songs – Orange here.


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 31 Dec 12 - 12:32 PM

Latest extras: The Little Pot Stove and Hob-y-derri-dando. The Little Pot Stove (by Harry Robertson) features live concertina accompaniment and recorder overdubs. Hob-y-derri-dando features Welsh.

You can hear them both here. I'll let you know when they're available to download.


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 02 Jan 13 - 12:46 PM

As we go into 2013, here comes one more - final - 52fs album:

52 Folk Songs - Red

Looking back, the white album was seasonal, Blue was mostly Child ballads, Green was love songs, Yellow was death and destruction, and Orange was Kipling/Bellamy. (Violet and Indigo didn't really have themes.) The theme this time round is "since this is the last one, what really good songs have I not managed to fit in so far?" And the answer is:

1 The holland handkerchief (Child 272)
2 Poor murdered woman
3 Geordie (Child 209)
4 Gilderoy
5 Banks of Yarrow
6 The lady gay (Child 79)
7 The scarecrow (Lal and Mike Waterson)
8 Old Molly Metcalfe (Jake Thackray)
9 Queen among the heather
10 Brigg Fair
11 Song composed in August (Robert Burns)
12 When I set off for Turkey
13 The grey goose and gander
14 Who's the fool now? (featuring the Beech singers)
15 A hard rain's a-gonna fall (Bob Dylan)
16 Hob-y-derri-dando (download only)
17 The green cockade
18 General Wolfe
19 Maid on the shore
20 Ballad of accounting (Ewan MacColl)
21 The little pot stove (Harry Robertson) (download only)

All songs traditional except where stated. Accompanied mostly on English concertina and recorder; track 12 also includes everything I could lay my hands on, including a defenceless ukulele.

Like the other downloads in the series, the Red album comes with a PDF file containing full lyrics, notes and artwork. And, like the other downloads, it has a minimum price set at a symbolic 52p.

I'm not sure what's going to happen to the 52 Folk Songs project now, although it does occur to me that we've just started a new calendar year - a period of 52 weeks. Hmm... Watch this space.

In the mean time, download 52 Folk Songs - Red
here.


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 13 Jan 13 - 02:51 PM

Here they all are:

52 Folk Songs

Not to mention the extra traditional songs I uploaded during the year:
52 Folk Songs: Not Only But Also

And the extra contemporary songs:
52 Folk Songs: Not Folk Songs

And the extra, er, extras:
52 Folk Songs: The Horse Series

Share and enjoy!


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