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Twenty-Six Fortnights

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Phil Edwards 20 Jan 13 - 04:14 PM
Nigel Parsons 21 Jan 13 - 04:28 AM
Dave Hanson 21 Jan 13 - 06:23 AM
Will Fly 21 Jan 13 - 06:30 AM
Nigel Parsons 21 Jan 13 - 07:28 AM
GUEST,Phil at work 21 Jan 13 - 07:39 AM
Dave Hanson 21 Jan 13 - 09:42 AM
Phil Edwards 27 Jan 13 - 06:04 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 27 Jan 13 - 09:04 PM
GUEST,Phil at work 28 Jan 13 - 07:49 AM
Phil Edwards 12 Feb 13 - 11:07 AM
Phil Edwards 27 Feb 13 - 02:42 AM
Mr Happy 27 Feb 13 - 07:42 AM
Phil Edwards 15 Mar 13 - 01:03 PM
Phil Edwards 26 Mar 13 - 06:36 PM
Phil Edwards 10 Apr 13 - 05:35 PM
Phil Edwards 28 Apr 13 - 12:10 PM
Phil Edwards 10 May 13 - 06:19 AM
Phil Edwards 19 Jun 13 - 03:08 PM
Phil Edwards 22 Jun 13 - 12:51 PM
Phil Edwards 23 Jun 13 - 11:51 AM
Phil Edwards 29 Jul 13 - 05:39 PM
Phil Edwards 30 Aug 13 - 04:26 PM
Phil Edwards 02 Sep 13 - 07:37 AM
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Subject: Twenty-Six Fortnights
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 20 Jan 13 - 04:14 PM

1. There are twenty-six fortnights in 2013.

2. There are fifty-two folk songs in the "52 Folk Songs" project.

3. That's two per fortnight.

4. Potentially.

5. I propose therefore to work my way through the 52fs archive, selecting two songs per fortnight, and either re-recording them or posting a link to the original recording.

6. In fact I've already started, with Young Waters (linked) and Lord Bateman (re-recorded).

7. Twenty-six fortnights: one down, 25 to go.

8. That is all.


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Subject: RE: Twenty-Six Fortnights
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 21 Jan 13 - 04:28 AM

Wow! 26 fortnights in the year. That must equate to about 52 weeks.
Amazing the things one learns on Mudcat. :)


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Subject: RE: Twenty-Six Fortnights
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 21 Jan 13 - 06:23 AM

Well bugger me, there were 26 fortnights last year too.

Dave H


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Subject: RE: Twenty-Six Fortnights
From: Will Fly
Date: 21 Jan 13 - 06:30 AM

26 fartnights for me.


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Subject: RE: Twenty-Six Fortnights
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 21 Jan 13 - 07:28 AM

From: Dave Hanson - PM
Well bugger me, there were 26 fortnights last year too.


I hope you don't mind if I don't take up your offer! :)


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Subject: RE: Twenty-Six Fortnights
From: GUEST,Phil at work
Date: 21 Jan 13 - 07:39 AM

You may scoff, but how often does the inauguration of a 26-fortnightual period coincide with somebody finishing off a 52-week project and getting the urge to review it, revise it, update it, plug it to death etc? The levels of synchronicity at work here are positively karmic.


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Subject: RE: Twenty-Six Fortnights
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 21 Jan 13 - 09:42 AM

You should be so lucky Nigel.

Dave H


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Subject: RE: Twenty-Six Fortnights
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 27 Jan 13 - 06:04 PM

Through 2013 I'm going to be running through the main fifty-two songs I uploaded for the 52 Folk Songs project, one a week - or two a fortnight. I'll post links to some songs and re-record others.

I'm featuring three tracks this fortnight, two of which are new recordings.

In the month of January was collected from the singing of Sarah Makem. My original recording of this one baulked at the poly-modal weirdness of the tune and backed it with a simple drone. This time round I've fitted concertina chords to it, although the singing was recorded separately.

In the month of January is from 52 Folk Songs - white

The second song this week is True Thomas, a Child ballad which I recorded last February. Not all my experiments with drones came off, but this one I still think works rather well - I like the contrast between the drone and the drumming.

True Thomas is from 52 Folk Songs - Blue

Lastly, this week I've re-recorded another song. The Lady Gay wasn't one of the core 52 folk songs, but another of the traditional songs I put up along the way. This one does have live concertina accompaniment, of a rather loud and insistent kind, plus some overdubbed recorder.

The Lady Gay is from 52 Folk Songs - Red

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


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Subject: RE: Twenty-Six Fortnights
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 27 Jan 13 - 09:04 PM

English dialect for one year.


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Subject: RE: Twenty-Six Fortnights
From: GUEST,Phil at work
Date: 28 Jan 13 - 07:49 AM

A fortnight's two sennights, obviously. (Wouldn't work in Welsh - their words for 'fortnight' and 'week' translate as 'fifteen nights' and 'eight nights'.)


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Subject: RE: Twenty-Six Fortnights
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 12 Feb 13 - 11:07 AM

Through 2013 I'm going to be running through the main fifty-two songs I uploaded for the 52 Folk Songs project, one a week - or two a fortnight. I'll post links to some songs and re-record others.

This fortnight's instalment is a day late - it's day 43 of the year today, so the first day of fortnight four. In my defence I was struck down by a cold last week & I'm still waiting for it to get its nasty phlegmy paws off my voice.

So no new recordings this time round. I've taken the opportunity to pick out two of my favourite recordings from the 52, one unaccompanied and one not.

Geordie was a song I heard for the first time in a singaround, and I only started going to singarounds a couple of years ago. This one is based on Peter Bellamy's version, which is of a variant called "Georgie". The occupational hazard with learning songs from Bellamy's recordings is that you assimilate everything about his inimitable delivery and sound like a poor man's Bellamy forever after. I haven't always managed to avoid doing this; I think I did all right here, though.

Geordie is from the 52 Folk Songs - Red album.

Blackwaterside is a song I haven't known for very much longer than Geordie, although it feels as if I'd known it forever. Here it is in quite an elaborate arrangement, indebted to Jon Hopkins and recorded using a really inordinate amount of virtual scissors and tape. Features zither and part-improvised whistle.

Blackwaterside is from the 52 Folk Songs – Green album.

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


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Subject: RE: Twenty-Six Fortnights
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 27 Feb 13 - 02:42 AM

Two unaccompanied numbers for the fourth fortnight of the year.

When I heard The Lowlands of Holland for the first time... I can't have been listening very closely. But when I heard it for the second time, I was spellbound; I played it three or four times in a row (and I was listening to an LP, so that took dedication) and started learning it on the spot.

I recorded it for the Yellow album. I liked the way it came out; the delivery is plain and unassertive without being meek or mumbly. That's what I think, anyway - see what you make of it.

The Lowlands of Holland is from the 52 Folk Songs - Yellow album.

Banks of Yarrow, a.k.a. The Banks of Green Willow, is a song I've always found fascinating and frustrating in equal measure - frustrating because the story is so bafflingly fragmented and because the usual tune is so inappropriately jolly. I decided to learn it myself when I came across Debra Cowan's recording, which is terrific - she'd used a fuller text than usual (pieced together from different variants) and set it to an appropriately downbeat tune. This is my main source here, although I've gone back to the texts and fleshed the song out a bit more.

I've re-recorded the song for this project. Originally I recorded it for the final, Red album; in fact this was the 52nd of my 52 weekly folk songs. Listening to it back I wasn't entirely satisfied with the way I'd sung it; I hadn't let myself trust the pace of the melody (in other words, I'd speeded up as I went on). This is a fine tune, which can stand a bit of tugging about, but it doesn't want to be brisk. The re-recording takes it a bit steadier; I think it works better. (As always, the price to download of the re-recorded version has been adjusted down to zero.)

Banks of Yarrow is from the 52 Folk Songs: Red album.

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


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Subject: RE: Twenty-Six Fortnights
From: Mr Happy
Date: 27 Feb 13 - 07:42 AM

I just had an email about a new sesh starting next month.

He says it'll be every 3rd Friday.

I think it probably means every 3rd Friday of the month, but if its every 3rd Friday, it'll be really hard to work out when to go!


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Subject: RE: Twenty-Six Fortnights
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 15 Mar 13 - 01:03 PM

Like many of us, I'm mourning the loss of Bob van Gaalen. It was from Bob that I first heard what's now one of my favourite tunes, Sir John Fenwick's. He used to make it sound beautifully ornate and impossibly fluid at the same time. It's not really a very difficult tune, but I felt enormously proud when I first learned to play it – and again when I got the hang of it on the concertina.

When I came to record "I live not where I love" – inspired by Dave Bishop's rendition of it at the Beech – it occurred to me that it might go quite well with Sir John Fenwick's. Here's what I came up with:

I live not where I love

For the second song of this fortnight, here's something completely different: an unaccompanied song which I learned from Bob's wife Sue (which also gave me a sense of achievement). I love this song and hope you like it, but you really ought to hear Sue's version.

When a man's in love

When a man's in love and I live not where I love are from 52 Folk Songs – Green.

And here's another song/tune pairing, "Poor old horse" with "The man in the moon".

Poor old horse is from 52 Folk Songs – white.

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

(All old recordings this time round; I'll see about some re-recordings for next time.)


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Subject: RE: Twenty-Six Fortnights
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 26 Mar 13 - 06:36 PM

A couple of sad songs this week, both based on real events.

When I recorded The poor murdered woman I'd worked out a concertina accompaniment, but I wasn't up to playing it in real time. What you got on the original recording was a concertina backing with a vocal fitted on top of it. I've re-recorded it with the concertina played live; I think it sounds a lot better. (All I need to do now is work out where to position the microphone.)

The poor murdered woman is from 52 Folk Songs – Red.

The second song of this fortnight is an old recording of one of my favourite songs: The trees they do grow high. I wondered about re-recording this, but I don't think I've ever sung it much better than I did last year.

The trees they do grow high is from 52 Folk Songs – Orange.

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


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Subject: RE: Twenty-Six Fortnights
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 10 Apr 13 - 05:35 PM

This fortnight: more adventures with accompaniment.

The holland handkerchief is another song where I originally recorded the concertina accompaniment first and fitted the vocal on top of it. I've re-recorded it with the concertina played live, which greatly improves the timing.

The holland handkerchief is from 52 Folk Songs – Red.

Plus, for the first time in this run-through, a remix! The Unfortunate Lass - one of the Streets of Laredo/St James Infirmary Blues family - was my main song for week 3 of 52 Folk Songs. At that time I hadn't really got the hang of things like microphone placement; the singing was OK, but it came out rather quiet and with an excessive dose of 'room tone'. Here it is again, with an overall volume increase and selective frequency boosting.

The Unfortunate Lass is from 52 Folk Songs – Violet.

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


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Subject: RE: Twenty-Six Fortnights
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 28 Apr 13 - 12:10 PM

Next fortnight - nay, next week - we'll be into May, otherwise known as the month when stuff happens in folk songs, and I'll be putting up some new/reinterpreted/re-recorded stuff.

For now, here are two songs I sang out recently, at the latest of Alice Bester's "Folk Threads" events. On these recordings I'm accompanied by (a) assorted drones and (b) several other versions of me. On the night I was accompanied by (a) nothing and (b) a roomful of folkies giving it rice; I'm afraid you'll have to imagine that.

The first song is Earl Richard - Child 68, a.k.a. Young Hunting - and what a fine song it is. (There's more information about my version and where I got it from here.) I had fun with this when I recorded it last summer, although listening to it back now the pacing sounds fairly deliberate - I tend to go at it a bit more aggressively when I sing it out. The drones - and the recorder that pops up a couple of times - sound pretty good.

[bandcamp track=4272732869 bgcol=FFFFFF linkcol=4285BB size=venti]

Earl Richard is from 52 Folk Songs - Orange.

The second song is Two Sisters - Child 10; one of the shorter versions of it, not featuring the tell-tale fiddle. This was recorded fairly early on in the 52 Folk Songs year - for the difficult second album - when I'd started wanting to jazz things up a bit but hadn't yet got the hang of harmonising. So what you get here is me in octaves and unisons. The original recording had rather a lot of 'room tone' - I hadn't yet realised that my vocals come out best if I sing slap up against the microphone, in a Chet Baker-ish sort of way. I've remixed - well, equalised - the track, making it a bit less boxy and giving it a bit more oomph generally.

[bandcamp track=1702351768 bgcol=FFFFFF linkcol=4285BB size=venti]

Two Sisters is from 52 Folk Songs - Indigo.

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


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Subject: RE: Twenty-Six Fortnights
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 10 May 13 - 06:19 AM

For the first of the two 'May' posts, here's a re-recording and a remix. Both date back to the earliest days of 52fs, when I was mostly singing unaccompanied and in a cardboard box (or that's how it often sounded).

The London Waterman is that rarity, a bona fide urban folk song. It can be traced back to a stage ballad - as a lot of folk songs can - but the smoothings, erasures and reworkings of the folk process had turned it into something quite different by the time it was collected. I learned it from Peter Bellamy's rendition and tried not to sound too much as if I was trying not to sound like him. I thought (and still think) that it goes well with the Morris tune "Constant Billy", so I stuck that on the end. The end result was a bit boxy and quiet, so I've remixed it for this release.

Lemany, for me, is a song that inspires nothing but awe. (I think it's that extraordinary melody.) When I originally recorded it for 52fs I took fright at the slow, stately pace which it seemed to be asking for, and morphed it into 3/4 to make it move along a bit more. I regretted that decision almost immediately; I've been looking forward to putting it right. This re-recording is a first take, with one small pause edited out. I was planning to sing the song through twice or three times and pick the best version, but when I finished this I realised there was only one syllable in there that I'd want to improve - so here it is. I don't know how good it is in absolute terms, but it's as good as I can get it.

Both The London Waterman and Lemany are from 52 Folk Songs - Violet.

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


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Subject: RE: Twenty-Six Fortnights
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 19 Jun 13 - 03:08 PM

Been a bit quiet round here, but I've got a few re-recordings done. For example:

The Plains of Waterloo, a song which should need no introduction. It's a song you could spend years with. I must have sung it a hundred times, and it's still different every time.

Boney's Lamentation, a small masterpiece of folk history and mondegreenery ("We marched them forth in inveterate streams...")

Plus a couple of old tracks which I've remixed (well, re-EQ'd):

The Bonny Bunch of Roses

Grand Conversation on Napoleon

All four of these songs are from 52 Folk Songs - Indigo. Copies are still available!

More to come soon. Happy anniversary of the morning after Waterloo!

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


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Subject: RE: Twenty-Six Fortnights
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 22 Jun 13 - 12:51 PM

Back a couple of weeks for the next two. George Collins, as you'll doubtless be aware, roved out on a May morning, making this one seasonal-ish. I learned the song from Tony Rose's recording but didn't like the tune & chose another one. Then, some time later, I heard Shirley and Dolly Collins's amazing version and decided I had to use their tune. So here's George Collins, re-recorded, with drums, concertina and an all-new recorder part.

Another seasonal number of sorts: It's May she comes and May she goes... I haven't re-recorded The Bonny Hind, because I quite liked the way it came out the first time. But it is remixed, re-EQ'd and generally smartened up a bit.

Finally, here's a new recording of The Bonny Hind's other half, Sheath and Knife. No concertina on this one; just percussion and voices. Quite a few voices.

More re-recordings soon!

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


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Subject: RE: Twenty-Six Fortnights
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 23 Jun 13 - 11:51 AM

Bringing us up to date on re-recordings, here's another couple.

The valiant sailor was the first song I recorded with concertina; back then, though, I wasn't up to accompanying myself live. This version was played live, straight through (and a bit quicker than the earlier one).

And here's Searching for lambs, with concertina and recorder.

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


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Subject: RE: Twenty-Six Fortnights
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 29 Jul 13 - 05:39 PM

Here's another re-recording.

When I first recorded Little Musgrave, I sang it unaccompanied. Here it is again, with concertina, drums, ukulele and the weather.

Little Musgrave is on the 52 Folk Songs - Blue album. The Blue album features several other Child ballads, some of which have already been rearranged and re-recorded.

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


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Subject: RE: Twenty-Six Fortnights
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 30 Aug 13 - 04:26 PM

I'm still re-recording the odd number from the 52 Folk Songs roster, and here's the latest. Have a listen to this; I think it's rather good.

Lord Allenwater

My original Lord Allenwater was unaccompanied; I always felt it didn't really do justice to the song, which is one I'm particularly fond of. Hopefully I've set things straight now. This version features concertina (chords and a heavily processed drone) as well as flute and recorder. The accompaniment is based on Shirley and Dolly Collins's arrangement – or rather, on my memory of it; I've deliberately not listened to it while I was working on this. Folk process innit. Thanks also to Malcolm for persuading me not to change the tune, and to Sean for turning me on to drone.


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Subject: RE: Twenty-Six Fortnights
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 02 Sep 13 - 07:37 AM

Here are two more re-workings, of songs related to the previous one.

Derwentwater's Farewell is about - and supposedly composed by - the Jacobite earl commemorated in Lord Allenwater. When I first recorded it, it was the first song I recorded with accompaniment - a drone played on a battery-powered Bontempi reed organ with several dead keys. I've kept the beginning and end of the original recording, but the singing is new - as are the concertina, the recorder and the drum.

You can hear something similar (although not identical) to those concertina and drum tracks on Danny Deever, which I previously recorded unaccompanied. I've had another year to sing the song since then, and I think I'm on top of it now. "The young recruits are shaking and they'll need their beer today..." Nasty stuff. I like the ending of this version in particular.

All these are free to download, if you want to.


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