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Lyr Req: Sir Patrick Spens (from Peter Bellamy)

Roberto 22 Jul 13 - 09:32 AM
Reinhard 22 Jul 13 - 12:35 PM
Lighter 22 Jul 13 - 01:13 PM
GUEST,Roberto 22 Jul 13 - 01:49 PM
Brian Peters 23 Jul 13 - 07:14 AM
Big Al Whittle 24 Oct 13 - 07:30 AM
Lighter 24 Oct 13 - 09:27 AM
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Subject: Lyr Req: Peter Bellamy's Sir Patrick Spens
From: Roberto
Date: 22 Jul 13 - 09:32 AM

From English Maritime Suite, by Peter Bellamy. This is what I can get. Please, someone to check and correct. Thank you.

The King sits in Dunfermline town
A-drinking at the wine
And he has called for the finest skipper
In Fife or all the land

Then up and spoke an old man
Who sat by the King's right knee:
He said: Patrick Spens is the finest sailor
That ever sailed on the sea

Now the King he wrote a broad letter
And signed it with his hand
He sent it to young Sir Patrick Spens
Who was walking on Leith strand

"To Norrowa, to Norrowa
To Norrowa o'er the foam
The King's daughter in Norrowa
'Tis you must bring her home

Now, they had not been in Norrowa
A week but barely three
When all the lords in Norrowa
They up and they spoke so free

They said: "These outland Scots they drink our King's gold
They swallow our Queen's fee
Oh woe upon the tongue that told
Such a dreadful lie

And how can this be?" cried Sir Patrick Spens,
So I pray now, tell it unto me
When the bows of our ship they are wrought in gold
And we've twelve chests of white money

But take heed, take heed, my good men all
And mind you be forewarned
For cometh wind or cometh hail
Our good ship sails in the morn

But up there spoke the weatherman:
I fear we all be drowned
For I saw the new moon late yest'reen
With the old moon laying in her arms

Now, they had not sailed a league, a league
A league but barely three
When the skies they run black and the seas run high
And the ship she was now a wreck

Then it's where can I find some bonny boy
To take the steer in hand
While I climb up to the high topmast
To see if I can spy land

But he hadn't take a steep, a step
A step but barely one
When bows of that good ship did crack
And the salt sea did rush in

And loth, oh loth were those proud Scots lords
For to wet their cork-heeled shoes
But ere the race was halfway run
They'd wet their hats also

Now long and long may the ladies sit
With their fans all in their hands
Before they see Sir Patrick Spens
Come sailing to Leith strand

Half ower, half ower to Aberdour
Where the seas they run so deep
'Tis there does lie young Sir Patrick Spens
With the Scots lords at his feet


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Peter Bellamy's Sir Patrick Spens
From: Reinhard
Date: 22 Jul 13 - 12:35 PM

I have abut a dozen very small changes at the end of my page for Sir Patrick Spens


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Peter Bellamy's Sir Patrick Spens
From: Lighter
Date: 22 Jul 13 - 01:13 PM

The words are almost the same as MacColl's version, recorded in 1956 and 1961.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Peter Bellamy's Sir Patrick Spens
From: GUEST,Roberto
Date: 22 Jul 13 - 01:49 PM

Thank you very much, Reinhard.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Peter Bellamy's Sir Patrick Spens
From: Brian Peters
Date: 23 Jul 13 - 07:14 AM

The very same 'Sir Patrick Spens' that was the subject of a volcanic Bellamy rant, in the last year of his life, on having been informed that MacColl had quite possibly composed the tune himself, rather than hearing it from his father. I can still hear him roaring "That fucking Marxist lied to us!", as we strolled along the cliff at Whitby - though at the same time Peter was a great admirer of MacColl.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Sir Patrick Spens (from Peter Bellamy)
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 24 Oct 13 - 07:30 AM

sunshine over Leith indeed.

I've always loved that final image of Sir Patrick and his stony faced parliament down in the depths.

wonder what they talk about....we should have turned left at Bergen...


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Sir Patrick Spens (from Peter Bellamy)
From: Lighter
Date: 24 Oct 13 - 09:27 AM

But maybe MacColl's father composed the tune.

MacColl's lyrics are rather different - and I think superior - to other versions, including Percy's, which is the one familiar in poetry anthologies. The improvement seems to suggest a sophisticated reviser.

However...the tune is still in the folk tradition, i. e., sounds exactly like a Scottish folk tune usu. sounds (more so, probably, than the modern tunes for "The Great Silkie" and "The Twa Corbies"). The same goes for the lyrics. Whoever revised them knew what he was doing, but that's not necessarily a sin. And MacColl did learn a number of ballads from his parents - which makes him a traditional singer, at least when he sang those particular songs.

So MacColl's possible messing with tradition is still within the tradition. Otherwise its significance is for us pedants only.


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