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Lyr Add: Silbury Hill (Will Meade)

GUEST,Brian May 19 Mar 20 - 05:12 PM
Jim Dixon 20 Mar 20 - 11:05 PM
John MacKenzie 21 Mar 20 - 10:59 AM
cnd 21 Mar 20 - 08:59 PM
Joe Offer 21 Mar 20 - 09:58 PM
John MacKenzie 22 Mar 20 - 06:10 AM
leeneia 22 Mar 20 - 10:13 AM
Richard Mellish 22 Mar 20 - 10:43 AM
Brian May 22 Mar 20 - 11:28 AM
Pete MacGregor 22 Mar 20 - 12:31 PM
John MacKenzie 22 Mar 20 - 12:54 PM
Joe Offer 22 Mar 20 - 01:23 PM
leeneia 23 Mar 20 - 11:41 AM
GUEST,Derrick 23 Mar 20 - 12:16 PM
Brian May 23 Mar 20 - 02:49 PM
leeneia 23 Mar 20 - 11:49 PM
GUEST,Derrick 24 Mar 20 - 06:23 AM
John MacKenzie 24 Mar 20 - 08:13 AM
leeneia 24 Mar 20 - 02:32 PM
GUEST,jugmws 24 Mar 20 - 02:47 PM
Brian May 24 Mar 20 - 05:12 PM
John MacKenzie 25 Mar 20 - 05:54 AM
Jim Dixon 21 May 20 - 07:18 AM
punkfolkrocker 21 May 20 - 04:27 PM
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Subject: Lyr Req: Silbury Hill as sung by Fred Wedlock
From: GUEST,Brian May
Date: 19 Mar 20 - 05:12 PM

Listening to good old Fred Wedlock.

Whilst I appreciate there's a fair bit of 'Bristolese' in the song. Has anyone decoded it and written it all down?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Silbury Hill as sung by Fred Wedlock
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 20 Mar 20 - 11:05 PM

The song can be heard here, at YouTube. (I thought I'd encourage others to tackle it before I try it myself.)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Silbury Hill as sung by Fred Wedlock
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 21 Mar 20 - 10:59 AM

Wasn't it written by Chas Upton?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Silbury Hill as sung by Fred Wedlock
From: cnd
Date: 21 Mar 20 - 08:59 PM

I can give it a hand but I recently accidentally rearranged thousands of files on my computer and want to sort back through them before I spend too much time on other endeavors.

From a quick listen, the songs sounds like it has a lot of town names (or surnames?) that would be better tackled by a Briton who is more familiar with them.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Silbury Hill as sung by Fred Wedlock
From: Joe Offer
Date: 21 Mar 20 - 09:58 PM

O, Mick one fine morning did set out to pay
A visit to Marlborough, so's I heared say,
When he gets to the spot where Silbury Hill be,
A shepherd, some sheep, and a dog he do see.

Nick says to the shepherd, "And how do ye do?"
"So horribly," says shepherd, "I oughten be, too,"
"And where've we been going at this time of day?"
"To Marlborough," says Mick, "but I can't find me way."


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Silbury Hill as sung by Fred Wedlock
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 22 Mar 20 - 06:10 AM

That should be Old Nick at the start there Joe.
I can't remember the words, but the gist of the story is, the devil was going to Marlborough when he met a man (Shoe maker? ), and asked directions. The man had a sack of old shoes, and rather than tell the devil the road to go, he empties out the sack, and says, I can't tell you how far it is, but I wore out all these shoes, since leaving Marlborough. The devil says, if it's that far, I won't bother, and goes back down to hell. The pile of shoes was left there, to gather other bits of detritus over the years, and to eventually become Silbury Hill.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Silbury Hill as sung by Fred Wedlock
From: leeneia
Date: 22 Mar 20 - 10:13 AM

But I clearly heard near the beginning:

   When he gets to the spot where Silbury Hill be,
   a shepherd, a flock and a dog he did see.

After that, there are too many words I can't understand. Apparently the shepherd put him on the wrong track, and then...


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Silbury Hill as sung by Fred Wedlock
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 22 Mar 20 - 10:43 AM

The plot summary posted by John MacKenzie above is a bit too condensed. When the shepherd learns that Old Nick is heading for Marlborough he sets him on the wrong trail and then hurries to Marlborough himself to give a warning. Then an old man comes up with the ruse. He gets people to bring loads of old shoes, then sets off to meet Old Nick. Final part of story as given by John.

I might get around to typing out the words from a recording of Tony Rose, if no-one else does in the next little while.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Silbury Hill as sung by Fred Wedlock
From: Brian May
Date: 22 Mar 20 - 11:28 AM

I'm fortunate enough to understand a fair bit of Fred's Brissol - I even did a gig with him at RAF Colerne in about 1972 - lovely fellow.

I'm willing to write it down, but just hoped someone had already done it !!

Thanks Joe, that's a good start.

Appreciate the help all.

Stay safe


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Subject: Lyr Add: SILBURY HILL (Will Meade)
From: Pete MacGregor
Date: 22 Mar 20 - 12:31 PM

Composed by Will Meade of Potterne, Wiltshire - probably to be recited rather than sung. I don't know who put a tune to it.
This is as sung by John Alderslade of Trowbridge. Fred may have modified it - I don't have a copy of 'The Folker'
I can't check the original at the moment as all our libraries are closed by the plague.
I've lived nearby for almost sixty years so I'm virtually tri-lingual -Lallans, English and Wurzel - in chronological order.

SILBURY HILL
(Will Meade)

Old Nick one fine morning did set out to pay -
A visit to Marlboro as I 'as yerd say
When 'e gets to thic spot where Silbury Hill be
A shepherd, some sheep and a dog 'e did see.

"Good morning" says Nick and "'ow do you do?"
"'stablished" says shepherd "and hope you be too.
Where be you goin' to this time of day?"
"To Marlboro" says Nick "but I can't find me way"

When then, lucky-like, shepherd did spy Old Nick's tail,
Knowin' who t'were, put 'n on the wrong trail.
And when Nick had gone, off thic shepherd he did belt,
For to tell Marlboro folk what 'e'd seen, yerd and smelt.

They was near scared to death 'til up comes a wise man
To stop Nick a'coming 'e had a good plan
"What plan 'as thee got?" "Oh ah" he said "marry,
Bring I all the old boots and shoes you can carry"

So they brought 'im a nashin' gert lot in a sack
'e said "heft the lot of 'em up on me back"
Which they did - off 'e went and met Nick who did say
"How far off be Marlboro? Do seem a main way"

"Ah ha" said thic wise man, slingin' down 'is gert sack.
"Can't tell how far 'tis but miles and miles back.
For when I left Marlboro these boots was all new
I've wore them all out comin' this far s'know you."

"Oh Lord" says Old Nick "If be far off as that,
Marlboro's a place I shall never be at,
I've been goin' around in a circle" said he,
"For it must have been here that some shepherd I'd see."

Off he goes. Thic wise man he's done Nick by 'is craft
' e near split 'is sides by the manner 'e laughed
They boots and they shoes what 'e slung from 'is sack,
'e looked them all around - they weren't worth taking back.

So, 'e left thik gert pile lying there, y'may know
How in ten thousand years how yer tackle do grow
For they boots an' they shoes they'm a'lyin' there still
An' wi' dirt an' wi' gravel they made Silbury Hill.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Silbury Hill as sung by Fred Wedlock
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 22 Mar 20 - 12:54 PM

Thank you Richard Mellish, yes I did truncate it somewhat, I blame old age.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Silbury Hill as sung by Fred Wedlock
From: Joe Offer
Date: 22 Mar 20 - 01:23 PM

Thank you, Pete. You put me out of my misery. Great song!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Silbury Hill as sung by Fred Wedlock
From: leeneia
Date: 23 Mar 20 - 11:41 AM

"Lallans, English and Wurzel"

Lallans is lowland Scots. What's Wurzel?

(I know it's German for root.)
=============
Thanks for all the lyrics.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Silbury Hill as sung by Fred Wedlock
From: GUEST,Derrick
Date: 23 Mar 20 - 12:16 PM

Leenia
Wurzel as used in the sense of the post refers to the dialect of Somerset and Wiltshire.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Silbury Hill as sung by Fred Wedlock
From: Brian May
Date: 23 Mar 20 - 02:49 PM

Wow Pete, thanks so much.

By looking at those lyrics and listening to Fred I can work out where he 'adapted' the lyrics - he was a bugger for doing that.

What a lovely man, his gigs were always such fun.

Thank you everyone who contributed, much appreciated.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Silbury Hill as sung by Fred Wedlock
From: leeneia
Date: 23 Mar 20 - 11:49 PM

Thanks for the info, Derrick.

I wonder if that is related to mangelwurzel, another word for swede or rutabaga.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Silbury Hill as sung by Fred Wedlock
From: GUEST,Derrick
Date: 24 Mar 20 - 06:23 AM

Quite likely Leenia,both counties are quite rural,and the locals are often jokingly called simple and gullible or turnip heads.
Wise folk say if you want to find a fool in the countryside you have to take him there


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Silbury Hill as sung by Fred Wedlock
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 24 Mar 20 - 08:13 AM

.Oh! Dorset is a'beautiful wherever you go
And the rain in the summer-time makes the wurzel bush grow
When you're sitting in the spring-time in the thunder and the hail,
With your true love, on a turnip plant, to hear the sweet nightingale

From Dorset is Beautiful, lyrics are in the DT


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Silbury Hill as sung by Fred Wedlock
From: leeneia
Date: 24 Mar 20 - 02:32 PM

They must be sturdy bushes, to bear a crop of swedes.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Silbury Hill as sung by Fred Wedlock
From: GUEST,jugmws
Date: 24 Mar 20 - 02:47 PM

On The Folker LP it says "Trad. Arr Wedlock"


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Silbury Hill as sung by Fred Wedlock
From: Brian May
Date: 24 Mar 20 - 05:12 PM

'Trad. Arr Wedlock'

Smacks of all those who thought JC's 'Fiddlers Green' was traditional !!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Silbury Hill as sung by Fred Wedlock
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 25 Mar 20 - 05:54 AM

So many times when it says "arranged by" what they really mean is "rearranged by"
I'm still pretty sure Chas Upton wrote the tune for this, but I can find no references to Chas anywhere, apart from one FB post.


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Subject: Lyr Add: A LEGEND OF SILBURY HILL (1870)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 21 May 20 - 07:18 AM

I found this in Harper's Bazar [sic], Feb. 5, 1870, page 92. It's a poem, not a song, but it might make a good recitation. I have arbitrarily divided it into stanzas for ease of reading and to emphasize the meter and rhyme, which is quite irregular.


SILBURY HILL

[Close to the London road, about midway between Devizes and Marlborough, stands Silbury Hill, well known to antiquaries as the largest tumulus, or barrow, in the United Kingdom. It is nearly one-third of a mile round at its base, and its perpendicular height is upward of a hundred feet. Its origin, of course, is shrouded in mystery. Modern archaeology assigns it to the Druidical or Stone Age, and by some professors it is believed to be the tomb of an ancient British king. When, however, it was excavated a few years since, nothing was found to justify such an assumption. It therefore only remains to fall back on tradition, which supplies the following authentic story—at least so far authentic that no one can contradict it.]

A LEGEND OF SILBURY HILL.

In the county of Wilts there's a town called Devizes;
When you've once heard the name you will know it again,
Because 'tis the town where they hold the assizes,
And stands near the borders of Salisbury Plain.

        How old it might be,
        I really can't see
How one is to find out, since accounts disagree.

Some savants pronounce it as old as Methusalem;
Others say it was built the same year as Jerusalem,
But, howe'er they may differ, they all are agreed
That Devizes must be very ancient indeed.

        It therefore is clear,
        That whatever the year
In which the events of my story befell,
'Twas a long time ago, though how long I can't tell.

It's very well known that the town of Devizes,
Long before good King Alfred made sessions and 'sizes,
Was a stout little borough, well able to play
A prominent game in the wars of the day.

The people of Marlborough—sixteen miles off—
At Devizes had rashly adventured to scoff:
'Twas a very rash act, because every one knows
        That more often than not,
        When people get hot,
High language is speedily followed by blows.

It needs scarcely be told, being patent to all,
That Marlborough, the weakest, soon went to the wall.

Having suffered defeat, but on mischief intent,
A messenger promptly to Hades was sent
To seek help from a person best known as Old Nick,
Who asked, "What's the row?" bade the man cut his stick.

        Tell his friends he'd be there:
        Took flight through the air:
And so fast through the ether his slapping wings bore him,
When the man got to Marlborough he found Nick before him.

        The men of the place
        Having stated their case,
Nick laughed till his highness got black in the face;
Said he'd do their job, and before they could ask
How he meant to proceed, set to work at his task.

He picked up a hill, clapped it up on his shoulders
(To the wonder and terror of all the beholders),
Stalked out of the town, quick as thought, with his load,
And set out for Devizes, along the high-road;
Meaning, when he got there, to demolish the town
With the hill that he carried, by clapping it down.

The hill was the size, as he judged, to a shade,
        And before set of sun
        The job would be done,
Ere a man of Devizes could halloo for aid.

The town had been smothered for ever and aye,
If Saint John had not chanced to be passing that day.
        When he heard what was doing,
        What mischief was brewing,
He set out for Devizes, and ran the whole way
As saints only can run; that is, devils can go
Pretty fast as a rule, though when loaded they're slow,
The moment he got there, he shouted, "Quick! quick!
For your lives, get a sack! You'll be smashed by Old Nick.
Bring all your old boots; fetch a suit of old clothes;
Call the oldest inhabitant—some one who knows
How to tell a good fib. In so holy a cause
As to save a whole town from the enemy's claws
'Tis perfectly legal; indeed, I would do it,
But Nick knows me too well, he'd be sure to see through it."

        Like good children, they did
        Just what they were bid.
The saint filled the bag to the mouth with old boots,
While the old man looked out for the worst of the suits
That they brought, put it on, and was off in a trice,
While the saint in his ear gave this parting, advice:
"Now then, my old friend, look alive; take this pack
Of old boots and shoes; put it up on your back;
Walk six miles an hour on the Marlborough road
Till you meet a black man with no end of a load.
Stop and ask him the time, and be sure you are civil,
'Tis better to keep on good terms with the Devil.
If you find him disposed to be friendly, then say
What I told you just now, in a casual way;
        You must do it with ease,
        For there'll be, if Nick sees
That you're trying to come it, the devil to pay."

The old man was a 'cute one, and knew what was what,
Though he didn't much relish the job he had got;
        But he'd plenty of pluck,
        And he thought, "If I've luck,
I may sell the old gentleman, rescue the town,
And, when all's said and done, if they do not come down
With something that's handsome, I'm vastly mistaken;
They ought to reward me for saving their bacon."

So now the old man on his mission is gone,
Let us leave him, and see how the Devil got on.

Before he had traveled six miles on the road,
Nick found that the hill was so awful a load,
That he wished it—it really is hard to say where—
At the Devil perhaps, if it hadn't been there
Already, of which he was fully aware.

        For what with his corns
        And the weight on his horns,
If he traveled by road, or took flight through the air,
'Twas equally awkward; and had it not been
For the promise he made, he'd have fled from the scene;
        But he wouldn't for shame:
        So, though awfully lame
From a very hard corn on the point of his toe,
Yet thinking he hasn't much farther to go,
He limps along gamely, as quick as he can,
Till close to Beckhampton he meets the old man.

The Devil, despairing of reaching the town
Before night, by the road-side has sat himself down
To rest his sore hoofs, for his boots hurt his feet.
(That he mightn't alarm any one he should meet,
He'd thought it but right to preserve his incog.,
To wear boots and a hat, though he felt them a clog;
While as to his tail, lest the world it should shock, it
Was tied in a bow and tucked into his pocket.)

        Not long has he sat
        When he sees, pit-a-pat,
Coming by an old man in a shocking bad hat,
And a suit not adapted for winterly weather.
        For 'twas just the same sort
        That some Irishmen sport,
I. e., made of nothing but holes sewed together.

Nick looked at the man, and the man looked at him,
Put his hand to his head, touching just where the rim
Of the hat would have been, were it still in its prime,
And said, "Please, your reverence, to tell me the time!"

The Devil was sulky, and didn't reply
For a second or two, till the man had got by,
When it suddenly struck him, "I’m going the way
That he came, and 'tis getting quite late in the day;
Perhaps he might tell me—he's certain to know—
How far I have come, and how far I've to go."

So he shouted, "I say! Here, old fellow, come back!"
The old man turned round, and was there in a crack.

        Said Nick, "I beg pardon,
        The job is a hard one
That I've taken in hand, and it bothered me so
I forgot my good-manners. I'd have you to know
        I'm a plain-spoken man;
        But I like, when I can,
To be civil to those who are civil to me;
That's just how it is, my old friend, don't you see?
The question you asked me before you went past,
Was to tell you the time; well, my watch is too fast
By three hours and a quarter: by me it's just nine.
I've answered your question, now you answer mine.
You come from Devizes, I'll venture to say:
If I'm quick, do you think I might walk there to-day?"

The old man looked at him with well-feigned surprise,
He opened his mouth and he turned up his eyes;
At length he found words: "My dear Sir, are you mad?
I set out from Devizes when I was a lad—
At least a young man—and a nice walk I’ve had.
You wouldn't believe it, but yet it is true,
These clothes that I wear when I started were new;
While, as to shoe-leather, I've bought, I should say,
A couple of hundred new pairs on my way.
If you like, you can count 'em.; I've got 'em all here
To be mended, or soon I shall have none to wear."

While thus he was talking he set down his load,
And shot out his pile of old shoes in the road.

To say that the Devil was taken aback
Would be very mild language; he looked quite as black
As he's painted. He shouted, "You rogue, it’s a lie!"
"It's true," said the man; "you're quite welcome to try.
I've come along well, for my load is but small,
        But it's doubtful to me,
        With the weight that I see
On your shoulders, if ever you get there at all."

Nick couldn't stand that: he was slow at believing;
But the old man was such an adept at deceiving,
And stuck to his story through thick and through thin
        With so truthful an air,
        That, strange to declare,
For once in his lifetime Old Scratch was "sucked in."

        Said he, "If that's so,
        No farther I'll go!
I've been here too long, and they'll want me below.
Get out of the way! Now, old fellow, stand clear,
Or I'll send you away with a flea in your ear."

So saying, he threw down the hill on the ground
By the side of the road, and so loud was the sound
        It made when it fell
        (As the chroniclers tell)
That it very near sent the old man into fits:
Indeed the concussion so muddled his wits
That he set off like lightning the way that he came,
While the Devil went off in a burst of blue flame:
And before he had fairly got over his fright
The hill and the Devil were both out of sight.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Silbury Hill as sung by Fred Wedlock
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 21 May 20 - 04:27 PM

leeneia - I had a proper job wurzel accent just like my dad,
until age 11 when I was sent to Grammar school,
where my indigenous local accent was strictly/snobbishly educated out of me;
replaced with middle class Received Pronunciation...

That made my mum happy, she worked in the kitchen of the local golf club,
so had high aspirations for my future;
and didn't want me jeopardizing my career prospects
by still talking like my dad...

The British west country accent is still treated as a joke...
You have similar laughing stock accents in the USA..

Fred Wedlock was a popular West Country comic folk singer
who celebrated and traded on his regional identity
and accent..

Cary Grant originally had the same accent, before transforming into an American movie star...


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