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Occasional Folk Songs

Tootler 24 Dec 11 - 04:52 PM
Phil Edwards 24 Dec 11 - 06:39 PM
GUEST,Tootlin' Geoff 25 Dec 11 - 11:58 AM
Tootler 31 Dec 11 - 02:59 PM
Tootler 25 Jan 12 - 04:46 AM
Tootler 04 Mar 12 - 05:08 PM
Tootler 09 Apr 12 - 03:45 PM
Tootler 27 Apr 12 - 05:52 PM
Tootler 20 May 12 - 05:13 PM
Tootler 11 Jun 12 - 03:46 PM
Tootler 26 Aug 12 - 03:10 PM
Tootler 26 Aug 12 - 03:17 PM
Northerner 26 Aug 12 - 06:17 PM
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Subject: Occasional Folk Songs Blog
From: Tootler
Date: 24 Dec 11 - 04:52 PM

I started this back in November, November 2nd to be exact. The inspiration was Jon Boden's song a day blog and others like it, but I did not expect to add to it at regular intervals but rather when the mood takes me, so I called it "Occasional Folk Songs"

You can find it at http://tootlingeoff.blogspot.com/

I am mostly featuring songs from my You Tube channel, though I will also post some on my SoundCloud Channel.

I have posted three carols this week:

I sing of a maiden is a fifteenth century carol. Pip Radish has included a version of this in his "Fifty-two folk songs" based on a more traditional version. I have been a little more radical and rewritten it directly from the fifteenth century words into modern English and used a tune a wrote myself some years ago. No elaborate arrangement; I just accompany myself on ukulele.

Down in yon forest collected by Vaughan Williams in Derbyshire in 1908, clearly a derivative of the early 16th century "Corpus Christi" Carol. I accompany myself with my shruti box.

The Seven Joys of Mary another fifteenth century carol. The website Hymns and Carols of Christmas has a number of variants of this carol. Again I accompany myself on ukulele.

Scroll down for earlier posts to the blog. These are;

Van Dieman's Land - acc on Shruti box
The Unquiet Grave - also acc on shruti box
Some of my thoughts on accompaniment - I'm sure these will change over time
Westmoreland - from Playford, played on flute. You can also find this on the Mudcat CD without the accompaniment.


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Subject: RE: Occasional Folk Songs Blog
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 24 Dec 11 - 06:39 PM

Looks good, Geoff - I'll add this to my blogroll.

Incidentally, I go by my real name on 52fs - Phil Edwards. I may change back on Mudcat some time, although I've got quite used to being Pip.


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Subject: RE: Occasional Folk Songs Blog
From: GUEST,Tootlin' Geoff
Date: 25 Dec 11 - 11:58 AM

I'd noticed you'd used your real name in 52fs but I thought it best to use your Mudcat name here.


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Subject: RE: Occasional Folk Songs Blog
From: Tootler
Date: 31 Dec 11 - 02:59 PM

Two tune sets today. I intend to include tune sets from time to time to vary things a bit.

The first, Johnny Cope is a set of variations on a well known song tune. I play it on my alto recorder in C rather than the more usual G. Mainly because I like the particular alto recorder. The choice of key is so I can use the same fingerings as I would on a descant or tenor recorder.

The second tunes are two of my own composition, Cleveland Hills and down along the Tees, both named for the part of the UK I live in. I use my wooden flute for this and 'catter, Nick played guitar for me. This particular arrangement is on the "This is us" CD set.

You can listen to both sets of tunes here


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Subject: RE: Occasional Folk Songs Blog
From: Tootler
Date: 25 Jan 12 - 04:46 AM

Finally got round to doing some more.

Two entries both with a North Yorkshire Theme.

The Lyke Wake Dirge is a very old song from the Cleveland district of North Yorkshire. There are several threads in Mudcat about it as well as information elsewhere on the 'net. There are also a number of recordings of the song, mostly from the '60s. I sing it with just a shruti box drone accompaniment. The accompanying video is of views of the North Yorkshire Moors.

I have also added two tunes of my own as well, Ryedale Waltz and Anna's Jig. I play them solo on a Tenor Recorder. The video features Rievaulx Abbey, a ruined Cistercian Monastery which is situated in Ryedale.

Occasional Folk Songs can be found at http://tootlingeoff.blogspot.com/


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Subject: RE: Occasional Folk Songs Blog
From: Tootler
Date: 04 Mar 12 - 05:08 PM

Well over a month since I last posted anything.

This time I have posted two tunes from Playford.

I decided it was time to try and get a little midi synthesiser I bought something over ten years ago back into use and make use of it so I bought a usb midi interface and plugged it in and it worked a treat with my Linux set up. The module is a Yamaha MU15 and is about the size of a video cassette and has some excellent sounds.

I have used it to provide accompaniments to the two Playford tunes I posted this time. I created the arrangements using Noteworthy then played them back through the Yamaha and recorded them using my Edirol R09. I then played back the accompaniment through headphones and recorded the tune played on a recorder (the instrument) and merged everything using Audacity.

Some are scathing of midi, condemning it as too mechanical and I agree it can be, but for adding accompaniments to dance tunes it works well, at least, I think so. A good dance musician can maintain the beat very precisely and if you are using it as accompaniment to playing a live instrument, the human element is there in your playing and the midi will keep you to time. I have come across some who will try to humanise midi files by adding in small random variations to the tempo, but I didn't feel that was necessary in this case.

I feel it was successful enough to try again. I would be interested in others' views.

Occasional Folk Songs can be found at http://tootlingeoff.blogspot.com/


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Subject: RE: Occasional Folk Songs Blog
From: Tootler
Date: 09 Apr 12 - 03:45 PM

Two more songs added recently.

"Nightingale Sings" as I have always known it or "Bold Grenadier" which seems to be the more common title is one of those songs which I seem to have known forever. It has always been something of a favourite of mine and it seems to have been collected in a number of places both here in the UK and in North America. There are two tunes that are commonly used. The one I used together with "Arming down the road" chorus is how I first heard it, so that's what I sing.

"Never Weather Beaten Sail" is not really a folk song. It was written by Elizabethan poet and musician Thomas Campion, but it's a song I rather like, in spite of its religious message. Most versions I have come across are by classically trained singers but Maddy Prior recorded it on "Hang up Sorrow and Care" and album of 17th century popular song which she made with the Broadside Band.

My recordings of both have made use of my Yamaha MU15 to provide accompaniments in the way I described in my previous post. I have also used a flute and a recorder to provide extra accompaniment.

Occasional Folk Songs can be found at http://tootlingeoff.blogspot.co.uk/


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Subject: RE: Occasional Folk Songs Blog
From: Tootler
Date: 27 Apr 12 - 05:52 PM

Three more:

Caveat for Cutpurses and Packington's Pound

The song comes from a 17th century broadside, though I have edited it somewhat. The tune, Packington's Pound dates back earlier to the late 16th century. I have kept the arrangement simple. I felt the tune lent itself to a drone accompaniment and I play the tune on the recorder at quicker temp at the end of the song.

Sir John Fenwick's the Flower Amang them all is a Northumbrian Pipe tune which originally dates back at least to the late 17th century. I have written some variations to add variety. Played on recorder with an accompaniment from my midi module using a harpsichord patch.

Johnny Todd is a traditional song from Liverpool. Collected by Frank Kidson among others. A Wikipedia article refers to variants from both Scotland and Northern Ireland. Those who remember Z-cars (BBC TV police drama series from the 60s) will know the tune as the theme to the series. Again I have kept things simple accompanying myself on a soprano ukulele.


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Subject: RE: Occasional Folk Songs
From: Tootler
Date: 20 May 12 - 05:13 PM

Three more songs and a tune.

Scarborough Fair. Mostly when you hear this sung now, you hear the version used by Simon & Garfunkel which just comprises a few random impossible tasks. The version I sang here I got the words from the Northumbrian Minstrelsy, though similar versions were collected in Yorkshire and I have used the familiar tune, mostly because it is engraved on my memory. I like this version as there is no magical element and it sounds like a row that two lovers who have fallen out big time might have had. I accompany myself on a soprano Ukulele.

Two unaccompanied songs

Green Bushes and Searching for Lambs

Both love songs but with very different feel. Green Bushes is about marrying for money. The girl opts for worldly goods despite her protestations to the contrary and I always wonder if she will regret her decision later. Searching for Lambs is one of those songs that I think has an otherworldly quality, reinforced by the beautiful modal tune.

Finally a tune.

In a far place is a lament.. I arrived at a folk club one evening about three years ago and one couple, club regulars had been to a funeral. A relative had been killed in Afghanistan. He was a charity worker, not military, though he was being transported in a military helicopter when it was shot down. After hearing about this, I went home and wrote this lament. The title reflects the fact that the person concerned was killed far away from home. I recorded it using a wooden flute and tenor & bass recorders. The tune is played twice, first time with all three instruments in unison and then with the two recorders playing harmony under the flute on the tune.

I actually recorded it some time ago and it was one of my first attempts at overdubbing parts. I was quite pleased with the result though there were one or two intonation issues.

Occasional Folk Songs is at http://tootlingeoff.blogspot.co.uk/


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Subject: RE: Occasional Folk Songs
From: Tootler
Date: 11 Jun 12 - 03:46 PM

Two more songs.

The Jovial Beggarman originally came from a stage play first staged in 1642 or thereabouts, but subsequently appeared in a number of broadsides in the later 17th century. It's a good lively song with a cracking chorus, great for joining in.

I found The Old Man from Lee in the Penguin Book of English Folk Songs which says of the song.
The old man's courtship is an ancient joke of which country folk never seemed to tire.

It seems the song was actually quite widespread in England, Scotland and North America. There is a Mudcat thread on the song.

I sing both songs with ukulele accompaniment and added a shruti box drone to The Old Man from Lee.

Occasional Folk Songs is at http://tootlingeoff.blogspot.co.uk/


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Subject: RE: Occasional Folk Songs
From: Tootler
Date: 26 Aug 12 - 03:10 PM

I have neglected this blog for a while now, so I have a bit of catching up to do.

All of my recent entries in the blog have been accompanied on ukulele which has become my instrument of choice for accompanying myself.

All things are quite silent is a song about the press gangs and the song tells of a young man abducted from his marriage bed. Whether this actually happened or not is a moot point but I suspect it was actually rare.

Freeborn Man is a song by Ewan MacColl and was written for the travelling people radio ballad.

Cruel Ship's Carpenter This song about a man who murders his sweetheart and then takes ship to get away only to meet his fate on board seems to have been quite widespread both in the British Isles and North America. Phil Edwards featured a version from the British Isles recently. The version I sing here was collected by Cecil Sharpe in North America. I also heard an American version recently which didn't have the ghostly visitation.


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Subject: RE: Occasional Folk Songs
From: Tootler
Date: 26 Aug 12 - 03:17 PM

Two Graeme Miles songs

She Walks Alone tells of a young woman stood on a river bank thinking about her love who has died. I have posted this one previously on my You Tube channel with concertina accompaniment.

On the Banks of the Leven A lyrical song. The narrator listens to the song of a blackbird while remembering a love who has left him.


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Subject: RE: Occasional Folk Songs
From: Northerner
Date: 26 Aug 12 - 06:17 PM

Thank you for uploading these Geoff. I look at them occasionally.


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