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Sydney Carter Recordings & Books

05 Mar 03 - 01:26 AM (#903764)
Subject: Sydney Carter Recordings & Books
From: Joe Offer

It's time for me to place another CAMSCO order, and I decided I'd like a CD or two of Sydney Carter songs. I had to do a lot of searching, but I found one at CDUniverse called Lovely in the Dances: The Songs of Sydney Carter gives this track listing:
  1. George Fox
  2. Julian Of Norwich
  3. Carol Of The Creatures
  4. Holy Horses
  5. Like The Snow
  6. Friday Morning
  7. Lord Of The Dance
  8. The Cocks Are Crowing
  9. John Ball
  10. The First Of My Lovers
  11. Bitter Was The Night
  12. Come, Love, Carolling
  13. I Used To Dance
  14. I Come Like A Beggar

In another thread, somebody posted a link to Stainer & Bell, Sydney Carter's publisher in the UK. They have several songbooks, but nothing that would be considered comprehensive. They have a "various artists" CD that looks interesting, called Lord of the Dance. Here's a track listing:
Track Dur. Track


1. My Believing Bones 0.36 14. By This Sea 0.37
2. Lord of the Dance lotd.wav - 344k 3.55 15. Green like the Leaves 4.49
3. Doubting Tom 0.27 16. Future in the Past 1.01
4. Present Tense 2.20 17. Shake and Shiver 2.33
5. What is Impossible 0.56 18. Christ’s Hospital 1.38
6. Pluck the Rose 3.26 19. Creator of the Living 6.28
7. Run the Film Backwards 1.30 20. Reversal 0.34
8. Come Holy Harlequin 2.12 21. Julian of Norwich 3.31
9. Judas and Mary judas.wav - 400k 3.42 22. In Coram Fields 0.34
10. The New Song 0.43 23. One More Step oms.wav - 380k 3.38
11. Bird of Heaven 4.42 24. Interview 0.50
12. Robinson Crusoe 0.14 25. Like the Snow 6.50
13. After Six and All Day Sunday 0.46 26. This Black Light 0.48
    Total Playing Time


There's an accompanying songbook, called Sydney Carter's Lord of the Dance. Here are contents:

    Poem: My Believing Bones
    Lord of the Dance
    Author's Note on Lord of the Dance
    Author's Note on Present Tense
    Present Tense
    Poem: Doubting Tom
    Pluck the Rose
    Poem: What is Impossible
    Poem: Run the Film Backwards
    Come, Holy Harlequin
    Judas and Mary
    Author's Note on Judas and Mary
    Poem: The New Song
    Poem: Reversal
    Poem: By this Sea
    Poem: Robinson Crusoe
    Bird of Heaven
    After Six and All Day Sunday
    Poem: The Future in the Past
    Green like the Leaves
    Author's Note on Shake and Shiver
    Shake and Shiver
    Poem: Christ's Hospital
    Poem: In Coram Fields
    Poem: Interview
    Creator of the Living
    Julian of Norwich
    One More Step
    Author's Note on One More Step
    Like the Snow
    Poem: This Black Light
Has anyone heard these CD's? Any comments? Any other recordings or songbooks available?
-Joe Offer-

05 Mar 03 - 04:36 AM (#903819)
Subject: RE: Sydney Carter Recordings & Books
From: Trevor

Hello Joe. I've got Lovely in the Dances. Although I find some of the tunes a bit 'samey' it's saved for me by the styles of the various artists performing them. I haven't got it in front of me so I can't remember who does what, but John Kirkpatrick is one of my all time faves anyway. The tracks on which Carter himself performs I find moving - it really feels as if he is enjoying working with interpretors of his work.

Our little band, Rapsquillion, has a couple of Carter songs in the repertoire: 'John Bull' (which I guess, after 'Lord of the Dance' is the best known) and the fantastic 'Bitter is the Night' which we sing as a three-part round.

The album, in my opinion, is worth getting.

05 Mar 03 - 05:26 AM (#903833)
Subject: RE: Sydney Carter Recordings & Books
From: Dave Bryant

I sing quite a few of Sydney's songs. He's written some wonderful songs about (or often questioning) religious or social subjects - my favourites are:
Friday Morning (wonderfully ironic)
Standing in the rain
Crow on the Cradle
John Ball.

On the other hand there are some great comic/lighter songs that people often don't realise that he wrote:
The Telephone Song
Down Below
Eros (I posted the words to a thread the other day)
Man With a Microphone
Silver in the Stubble (let me be chaste etc - but not quite yet)

05 Mar 03 - 05:42 AM (#903838)
Subject: RE: Sydney Carter Recordings & Books
From: Dave Bryant


Perhaps in the light of my posting, you should add these related threads to the list at the top.

Telephone Song
Down Below

05 Mar 03 - 09:32 AM (#903931)
Subject: RE: Sydney Carter Recordings & Books
From: GUEST,Arkie

I have an lp of the Lovely In The Dances which I've had put on CD and I like everything on the recording. Lord of the Dance, John Ball, Julian of Norwich, and George Fox have really catchy tunes and some of the others are rather haunting pieces. Holy Horses is one my personal favorites. The notes indicated that its meaning should be obvious, but not to me. I like it anyway. I have heard very few of the songs on the other CD, but "One More Step" was selected as the number one favorite in a poll of English school children a few years back.   I think Lord of the Dance was fifth or sixth in that poll. As an aside as it is really not relevant here, but I have a reel tape of a television performance of Sydney Carter and Donald Swan from over 35 years ago which I am hoping to get put on CD shortly if it is still playable. I have not listened to it in so many years I no longer remember the songs that are performed but I can still visualize the performances.

05 Mar 03 - 12:39 PM (#904065)
Subject: RE: Sydney Carter Recordings & Books
From: GUEST,JohnB

I came across this site a while ago from another mudcat thread, hope it helps. I heard "Carol of the Creatures" years ago, relly liked it, there again it is Maddy Prior singing. Never bought the recording though.

05 Mar 03 - 01:12 PM (#904084)
Subject: RE: Sydney Carter Recordings & Books
From: delphinium

I also like Lovely in the Dances very much. Lyrics, sleeve notes and more at

But be warned, only for those who like to hear the songs replaying in your mind for a long time ... uh,oh, now you've done it ... who will be the lady, who will be the lord ...

27 Mar 04 - 06:02 AM (#1147442)
Subject: RE: Sydney Carter Recordings & Books
From: GUEST,

The LP "And now it is so early" on Galliard was recorded with Sydney Carter, and Bob & Carole Pegg.
It is now one of the rarest (= highest priced) folk lps - 350 US dollars, 18000 yen.
Anyone know if a reissue would be possible?

24 May 13 - 09:46 AM (#3518784)
Subject: RE: Sydney Carter Recordings & Books
From: GUEST,roger

Surprised at the request for availability of songbooks. Many were issued published by Galliard Ltd in piano and chord books called In The Present Tense Books 1-5 and include most of the best known from One More Step to My Last Cigarette (Sheila Hancock), Port Mahon (Julie Felix etc) to George Fox. I have the first 3 from first publications in the late sixties. All 5 are still available on line from Stainer and Bell at £6 each (I guess this is the brief link mentioned above - clearly not Carte's complete output but I would still consider the collection quite comprehensive. I was recently asked to play When I needed a Neighbour (another great school assembly favourite) at church and was able to oblige.

15 Oct 19 - 04:51 AM (#4013720)
Subject: RE: Sydney Carter Recordings & Books
From: GUEST,Guest. Ray

I am looking for the text of Sydney Carter's poem/song entitled 'The Present Text' which includes the quote 'Your holy hearsay is not evidence / show me the good news in the present time'

15 Oct 19 - 05:23 PM (#4013856)
Subject: RE: Sydney Carter Recordings & Books
From: Richard Mellish

"Present Tense" is the first song in Book 2 of the "In the present tense" series available from Stainer & Bell. They might not be happy if I (or anyone) post the words here, and anyway you might as well have the music and the other songs too, for a mere £6.50:

17 Oct 19 - 05:22 PM (#4014208)
Subject: RE: Sydney Carter Recordings & Books
From: keberoxu

Should anyone value a present-day update to
the questions in the OP in this thread:
I have Amazon dot com on another tab, as I enter this post.

Songs of Sydney Carter in the Present Tense,
published by Galliard,
there are copies of Books One and Two, used ones.

Striking That Rock:
Sydney Carter and Donald Swann in an Exploration of the Holy Land --
no description (it's in the Books category),
I have no earthly idea what the contents are.

Lord of the Dance: The Song by Sydney Carter
This is more than sheet music.
It is the life of Jesus, the description reads,
written for children and their families,
with illustrations,
and the stanzas from Sydney Carter strategically inserted into the narrative.
from Lion Publishing Corp.

Sydney Carter's book Rock of Doubt is available.

Dance in the Dark --
I don't know what this is -- also available.

Volume 5 of In the Present Tense,
published by Stainer & Bell rather than Galliard.

Sydney Carter's
Lord of the Dance and other Songs and Poems,
published 2003 by Stainer & Bell.

Greenprint for Song:
Songs with Author's Notes
by Sydney Carter,
published 1974 by Stainer & Bell.

17 Oct 19 - 05:36 PM (#4014212)
Subject: RE: Sydney Carter Recordings & Books
From: keberoxu

And then there is this:

Nine (9) Carols or Ballads by Sydney Carter,
with this listing on the front cover:

Lord of the Dance
Friday Morning
Judas and Mary
George Fox
Every Star shall Sing a Carol
Bitter was the Night
The Devil Wore a Crucifix
The Cross on the Cradle
Standing in the Rain

dated 1963, and for publisher it says
Clarion Photographic Services.

Galliard publishing also has something titled
Songs of Sydney Carter 4: Riding a Tune,
dated 1971.

17 Oct 19 - 05:43 PM (#4014214)
Subject: RE: Sydney Carter Recordings & Books
From: keberoxu

Lovely in the Dances
may now be found (second hand in some cases) in:
compact disc,
MP3 download.

And Now It Is So Early
originally dated 1972
has been reissued on CD in 2006 from a Japanese source.
("digital remastered")

Here is the track listing for the re-issue of
And Now It Is So Early.

Come, Love, Carolling
Run the Film Backwards
Glass of Water
Last Exit to Brooklyn
Up at the House of Cecil Sharp
Port Mahon
Shake and Shiver
The Holy Horses
Judas and Mary
Friday Morning
Doctor Spock
The Candlelight
George Fox
bonus track:    Lord of the Dance