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Origins: Barnet Fair (Steeleye Span)

Greum 03 Aug 21 - 02:07 PM
GUEST,rz 03 Aug 21 - 02:37 PM
GUEST,Mark 03 Aug 21 - 02:38 PM
GUEST,# 03 Aug 21 - 02:45 PM
GUEST,# 03 Aug 21 - 02:47 PM
Bonzo3legs 03 Aug 21 - 04:29 PM
GUEST,Jon Bartlett 03 Aug 21 - 11:14 PM
Joe Offer 04 Aug 21 - 01:30 AM
GUEST,Peter Cripps 04 Aug 21 - 04:37 AM
Greum 04 Aug 21 - 05:56 AM
GUEST,Mike Yates 04 Aug 21 - 09:01 AM
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Subject: Origins: Barnet Fair (Steeleye Span)
From: Greum
Date: 03 Aug 21 - 02:07 PM

Does anyone know the origin of the song Barnet Fair as sung by Steeleye Span https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p9DyIpbMJx0?

I know about Barnet Fair itself (I was born in Barnet) but is the song traditional or written by Steeleye (or someone else)?

I can only find Steeleye's version so I suspect it was written by one or more of them.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barnet Fair (Steeleye Span)
From: GUEST,rz
Date: 03 Aug 21 - 02:37 PM

Barnet Fair was written by Steeleye Span for their 1980 album Sails of Silver


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barnet Fair (Steeleye Span)
From: GUEST,Mark
Date: 03 Aug 21 - 02:38 PM

Credited to "Kemp,traditional". Never heard it, but the lyrics posted online don't look very traditional. I'd guess Rick Kemp wrote the lyrics, perhaps to a traditional tune?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barnet Fair (Steeleye Span)
From: GUEST,#
Date: 03 Aug 21 - 02:45 PM

According to the following link, the words are from Kemp and the melody is traditional. Look under Track Listing, bottom of the page.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sails_of_Silver


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barnet Fair (Steeleye Span)
From: GUEST,#
Date: 03 Aug 21 - 02:47 PM

Sorry, there was just the OP when I first got here. (Generally, the first name is to credit the lyricist, and the secong--in this case traditional--is to credit the music writer. It may be different outside North America.)


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barnet Fair (Steeleye Span)
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 03 Aug 21 - 04:29 PM

I used to go to Barnet Fair in the early 60s!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barnet Fair (Steeleye Span)
From: GUEST,Jon Bartlett
Date: 03 Aug 21 - 11:14 PM

Is this the one?

She'd a Grecian "! suppose"
and of Hampstead Heath" two rows
In hr "North and South" they glittered
Like two shining strings of pearls...

i.e. "Tottie" with the lovely "Barnet Fair"

Jon Bartlett


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Subject: ADD: Barnet Fair (Steeleye Span)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 04 Aug 21 - 01:30 AM

There's not a whole lot at Mainly Norfolk (click), but there's a bit:

    Barnet Fair

    [Steeleye Span]

    This track is from Steeleye Span's reunion album Sails of Silver. A live recording from the Royal Opera Theatre in Adelaide, Australia in 1982 was released in 2001 on the CD Gone to Australia.

    Lyrics

    Once a year when the winter's calling
    Birds fly south and the leaves are falling down
    Just beyond the town, the meadow where a campfire's burning,
    Wakes in the morning to the music of the big fairground

    Coming from the East, coming from the West,
    All the gypsies are gathering
    Just another town on the road for the travelling man

    Chorus:
    Follow me, boys, won't you follow me to Barnet Fair?
    Follow on, children, won't you follow me to Barnet Fair?
    If I show you the way, will you come along today?
    Everyone you know will be there
    Follow me, boys, won't you follow me to Barnet Fair?

    Leave the factory, leave the field
    Word is abroad that the fair arrives today
    Come on from the dusty loom and the rusty plough
    Join the procession, I can hear it come this way

    Come and see the juggler, come and see the fiddler,
    See the horses and the dancing bear
    Come and see the pretty lasses with the coloured ribbons in their hair

    Chorus

    See the magic lanterns, roundabouts and hoop-la
    Prizes for the tuppenny shy
    “All the fun on the fair,” you can hear the showmen cry

    Chorus

    Acknowledgements

    Thanks to David Tomlinson for some lyrics corrections.

Steeleye Span recording: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p9DyIpbMJx0

And a 1931 video of the fair itself: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RbbEOi6NUAU


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barnet Fair (Steeleye Span)
From: GUEST,Peter Cripps
Date: 04 Aug 21 - 04:37 AM

Rick Kemp said once on stage when introducing the song, that it was a reference to his lack of hair! - Barnet Fair is rhyming sland for hair


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barnet Fair (Steeleye Span)
From: Greum
Date: 04 Aug 21 - 05:56 AM

Many thanks, guys


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barnet Fair (Steeleye Span)
From: GUEST,Mike Yates
Date: 04 Aug 21 - 09:01 AM

Once, when I was recording songs from the Gypsy singer Jasper Smith, Jasper mentioned that he knew a song called 'Barnet Fair'. What he sang seemed to be a mixture of Music Hall verses and is clearly not the same as the Steeleye Span song, but, as I have never printed this before, I thought that this might be the right place.

Barnet Fair - Jasper Smith. Epsom, Surrey.

Now it's once when I was me mother's baby
Oh bread and marmalade I used to eat
And I was always fond of my refreshments
So I had to take it as a treat

One day me mother gave to me a sixpence
She said that I could go to Barnet Fair
And she said, 'Don't spend it all on (?)
You just patronize the best show that is there

So the first thing advertised were a lady in a tent
All tattooed, I paid and in I went
She had France and Germany across her shoulders
And Russia round her waist, all the way to Spain
But when I did not see the British Empire
I thought of what I hadn't seen again

Oh one night I met me dear Louise
As she spewed underneath a shady tree
She said, 'My Jack he give me something
Something that your love could never fade
Something I can go to bed and dream of'
So I gave her me slice of bread and marmalade


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