Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Nutting Girl

"The Nutting Girl", sung by Ashley Hutchings and friends from the album Morris On. Ashley was a founding member of Fairport Convention, Steeleye Span, AND The Albion Band.

"The Nutting Girl" is a broadside ballad, several versions exist with minor variations. It was collected by Baring-Gould and printed in a bowdlerized form in Songs and Ballads of the West as "A-Nutting We Will Go". Most recordings, including this one, follow the version of Cyril Poacher collected and recorded by Alan Lomax and others. Watch out for singing plow-boys.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

By Chance It Was

‎"By Chance It Was" performed by Clannad. This was collected by Sabine Baring-Gould in Devonshire and tune and words were published in Songs and Ballads of the West in 1889. Baring-Gould cites earlier publications of versions of the lyrics in a volume in the British Library called The Court of Apollo, which may be the volume by Abraham Shackleton published in 1815 and The Songster's Favourite which I assume is Mirth and Glee, or the Songster's Favourite published in 1782.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Child Ballad #10, The Cruel Sister

Child Ballad 10: The Cruel Sisters, also known as The Twa Sisters. Evidently in addition to strange knights, you can't trust your sister either. Then there's the minstrel. If I find a dead body on the seashore, I'm not making a harp out of the bones. I guess I'll never be in a ballad. Sung by Pentangle.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Child Ballad #9

The Flower of Northumberland, sung by Alistair Hulett. Don't trust the promises of strange knights seems to be a theme in the first few Child ballads.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Child Ballad #7

Child Ballad 7: Earl Brand. I'm surprised that this is the only version I can find, I know it's been recorded elsewhere. This is the same guy from Ballad 5. He had a project in which he uploaded 1001 videos of folk songs in 1001 days, so I suspect I'll use him again.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Child Ballad #5

Child 5: Gil Breton. This one has a complicated plot involving adultery, but not really. I never heard of this guy before, but he's pretty good for a guy singing in his living room. I guess he's an example of the democratization of music that the interwebs have made possible. (Here's his website:

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Child Ballad #4

Child Ballad 4: Lady Isabel and the Elf Knight. The core of this ballad is that a woman is wooed by a Knight (often presented as an elf). When she elopes with him he takes her to spot where he has killed several other women. She manages to trick him and escpae and/or kill him. Also known as The Outlandish Knight, May C...ollin, False Sir John, and The Water o Wearie's Well. Martin Carthy here mixes variants of two different versions.

New direction

I'm announcing a new direction for this blog. I originally intended this to be a place to post youtube videos of music that amused or interested me. Although my interests haven't changed, and I still like rock, country, bluegrass, classical, American folk, and other styles, from now on this blog is about "Celtic and British folk" only. I also intend to expand beyond merely posting videos to album and concert reviews, announcements of upcoming events and my random thoughts on various aspects of this music.

The boundaries of "Celtic and British folk" will be fairly wide. The core will be the traditional music of Ireland, Scotland, England, Wales and the Isle of Man. It will also include those traditions that can be seen as direct descendants of those styles, so that music from Appalachia, the Maritime Provinces of Canada, and Australia will get covered to some extent, as, of course, music from the Irish and Scottish diasporas. Stylistically, I'm not strictly interested in "pure" traditional music only, so the use of electric or non-traditional instruments are fine with me. Likewise new songs in traditional styles are also good.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Child Ballad #3

Child Ballad 3: The False Knight on the Road. Another riddling song. Steeleye Span this time. I love Steeleye Span.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Child Ballads, #2 The Elfin Knight

Child Ballad 2: The Elfin Knight. The core of this ballad includes demands by a woman that her suiter perform impossible tasks including making of a garment with no seams. One varient is widely known as Scarbourough Fair. This is not that variant. Sung by Kate Rushby.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Child Ballads

So I've been gone over a year. Sue me.

I've decided to see how many Child Ballads I can find.

Child Ballad 1: "Riddles Wisely Expounded" sung by The Askew Sisters. I never heard of them before I found this, but they are quite good.