1 Jenny Lind Polka played on the Anglo-German concertina by Scan Tester and on the tambourine by Rabbity Baxter, rec. Balcombe, Sussex, 1962.
Named, of course, after the singer Jenny Lind, ‘The Swedish Nightingale’ and widely popular amongst country musicians.
Other Recordings: Harry Cox (Norfolk) - Veteran cassette VTVS05/06. Tommy Sparkes (Suffolk) - Veteran cassette VTVS07/08.
2 The Flowers of Edinburgh / Bobbing Around played on the fiddle by Jinky Wells, Bampton, Oxon (rec. London), 1936.
This may, or may not, be relevant. At one time there was so much excrement in the streets of Edinburgh that it was known as ‘the flowers of Edinburgh’. Whether this gave rise to the phrase, or else came from an already existing phrase, I am unable to say.
Flowers of Edinburgh is just used for the difficult and energetic Knuckle Down dance in Bampton (as a consequence it's rarely called for by the, now ageing, dancers), and is seldom heard - a shame, as it's a good version of a fairly common tune. Bobbing Around is another tune which has its own dance. So both tunes are slightly unusual, since many of the Bampton dances can be done to several different tunes.
Other Recordings: The Flowers of Edinburgh: Billy Bennington (Norfolk) - Veteran cassette VTVS07/08. W F Cameron (Scotland) - Topic TSCD601.
3 The Yarmouth Breakdown played on the melodeon by Percy Brown, Aylsham, Norfolk, 1972.
A lovely example of the un-dotted English hornpipe, very much in vogue in East Anglia throughout most of the 20th century, and probably dating from the 19th.
Other Recordings: Fred Pearce (Suffolk) - Veteran cassette VTVS05/06. Walter Geary (Norfolk) - Veteran cassette VTVS07/08. Billy Cooper (Norfolk) - Veteran cassette VTVS07/08.
4 The Italian Waltz played on the melodeon by Oscar Woods, Benhall (not Leiston as shown in the booklet), Suffolk, 1973.
One of the many tunes Oscar learned, I think, from his first mentor 'Tiger' Smith. I've played it to literally dozens of Italians, over the years, but none of them have recognised it!
5 The Boscastle Breakdown played by the Boscastle & Tintagel Players, Boscastle, Cornwall, 1943.
A fine fast hornpipe; just the sort of tune to attract the stepdancers - as it does here. Cyril Biddick's cello playing is quite astounding, and seems to hark back to the baroque styles of an earlier age.
6 Shepherd’s Hey played on the mouth-organ by Jack Hyde, Abingdon, Oxfordshire, 1972.
Percy Grainger (1882 - 1961) made a well-known arrangement of this tune. One recording may be heard on HMV CD 5 72328 2. This may account for the fact that so many collected versions of the tune are much the same, which is at variance with what has often been found - the same title but great melodic variation.
Other Recordings: William Kimber (Oxon) - EFDSS CD 03.
7 In and Out the Windows / The Monkey Hornpipe played on the Anglo-German concertina by Scan Tester, rec. Cinder Hill, Sussex, 1957.
The popular song tune which enjoyed a new lease of life when used for the song William Brown (Keep that Wheel a-Turning). The hornpipe is one of the many variations of the Sailor's Hornpipe which featured as an interact entertainment in the late-18th century theatre.
8 Hands Across / The Four Handed Reel played by the Dorset Trio, Bristol, 1941.
The jig is known as The Oyster Girl throughout most of England, and probably beyond. The Dorset Four Hand Reel has been popular under that title for most of my lifetime, though whether it acquired that name from this 1941 recording, I cannot say.
9 Woodland Flowers / Uncle Jim’s Barndance played on the melodeon by Bob Cann, South Tawton, Devon, 1975.
Will Starr’s late-1940s' Parlophone 78 of Woodland Flowers influenced a number of other performers. Uncle Jim's has always seemed to me the ultimate barndance tune and, titled simply The Barndance was well known to English revival musicians before many of us had even heard of Bob Cann.
Other Recordings: Woodland Flowers. Cecil Pearl & Dolly Curtis (both Suffolk) - Veteran VT130CD.
10 Greensleeves (Morris Jig tune) / Napoleon’s March played on the fiddle by Stephen Baldwin, Bishop Upton, Herefordshire, 1954.
Two great tunes from Stephen Baldwin, who makes it clear that the 'scrape and scratch' style of fiddle playing was not the only one employed by southern English players. Greensleeves doesn't owe too much to the song supposedly composed by Henry VIII, but is not at all dissimilar to the one used in Bampton for their Bacca Pipes jig - whose tune is also known as Greensleeves (see track 27 below). Napoleon's March is a good example of those complex military marches which often pop up in country musicians' repertoires, and I'm sure I've heard it elsewhere - but can't recall the player.
11 Over the Waves / The Cuckoo Waltz played on mouth-organs by Jimmy Dixon and Ron Whatmore, Winchester, Hampshire, 1976.
12 Old Mrs Cuddledee played on the mandolin-banjo by Walter Bulwer, Shipdham, Norfolk, 1959.
A schottische tune well-known in Scotland where it is used to carry (among other things) the Jacobite song Will Ye Go to Sheriffmuir, in Ireland where it carries Love, Will you Marry Me? and in England, where it's inevitably coupled with:
Old Mrs Cuddledee, she jumped into bed with me, Cocked her leg right over me, to keep me belly warm-O.Other Recordings: Murty Rabbett & Dan Sullivan (Irish/American) as Johnny, Will You Marry Me reissued on Traditional Crossroads CD 4284.
13 The Egg Hornpipe / The Shipdham Hornpipe / The Sailor’s Hornpipe played on the madolin-banjo by Walter Bulwer, Shipdham, Norfolk, 1959.
Other Recordings:The Egg Hornpipe is a version of the well-known Fisher’s Hornpipe, for which see: Charlie Buller (Norfolk) - Veteran cassette VTVS 05/06. Walter Geary (Norfolk) - Veteran cassette VTVS 07/08. Billy Cooper (Norfolk) - Veteran cassette VTVS 07/08. Bill Fell (Birmingham) - Veteran cassette VTVS 07/08.
14 Untitled Polka played on the Anglo-German concertina by Scan Tester and the tambourine by Rabbity Baxter, Balcombe,Sussex, 1962.
Gloucestershire singer Archer Goode used this tune for a song which began with the lines, ‘Said the young Obadiah to the old Obadiah/ "You are old, Obadiah, you are old".’ Presumably, this is the same song that Music Hall singer Whit Cunliffe recorded as Obadiah in 1912 (Columbia 2094).
15 Johnny’s So Long at the Fair played on the fiddle by Arnold Woodley, rec. Oxford, 1986.
The tune to a well-known song of the same name, and of which Gordon Hall (Sussex) sang a parody on Country Branch CBCD 095. Obviously popular in Bampton, since both Charlie Tanner and Son Townsend have been collected singing it, and its tune is used for one of their double-side-step dances.
16 Over the Hills to Glory played on the Anglo-German concertina by Bill Kimber, London, 1946.
This beautiful schottische sounds as if it might be a variant of Old Mrs Cuddledee, above.
17 Untitled Polka / Golden Slippers / Mick’s Tune played on the melodeon by Font Whatling, Worlingworth, Suffolk, 1975.
Three representative examples of common polkas from Suffolk. Golden Slippers was a well-known 19th century Minstrel song from the USA.
18 The Irish Washerwoman / Garyowen / Rory O’More / St Patrick’s Day played on the dulcimer by Billy Cooper, Shipdham, Norfolk, 1962.
Four perennially popular jig/march tunes found all over these islands, and abroad. Garyowen was the regimental march tune for the US 7th Cavalry, and was said to be a favourite with General Custer - not that it did him much good!
Other Recordings: Garyowen. Bill Fell (Birmingham) - Veteran cassette VTVS 07/08. St.Patrick’s Day. Bill Fell (Birmingham) - Veteran cassette VTVS 07/08. George Woolnough (Suffolk) - Veteran cassette VTVS 05/06.
19 The Italian Schottische played by the Dorset Trio, Kingston, Dorset, 1943.
AKA The Seven Steps Schottische which carried the nursery rhyme/kids' song Penny on the Water. Like Oc's Italian Waltz, it probably has nothing to do with Italy.
20 The Gypsy Hornpipe / Untitled Schottische played on the fiddle by Stephen Baldwin, Bishop Upton, Herefordshire, 1954.
Another splendid bit of playing by Mr Baldwin - although the first is not the tune usually associated with this title. The second schottische appears to have been unique to his repertoire.
21 Untitled Schottische played on the Anglo-German concertina by Scan Tester and on the piano by Daisy Sherlock, Horstead Keynes, Sussex, 1965.
Now widely-known to the revival simply as Scan's Schottische (though rarely played on the off-beat), this track of Scan and his daughter playing together shows that the 'vamp' piano style was by no means as ubiquitous as might be thought. Indeed, there's far more here of a style which can still be heard in Cape Breton today.
22 The Veleta / The Heel and Toe Polka played on the melodeon by Percy Brown, Aylsham, Norfolk, 1972.
The lovely crisp style of Percy Brown made a great impression when we all first heard it in the '70s, and these two tunes are excellent examples. He was clearly not too close, stylistically, to the many Suffolk melodeon players who were recorded around the same time; perhaps because he didn't use a one-row box. The Heel and Toe Polka is another tune which can be found in numerous variants all over these islands.
23 The Earl Soham Slog / Harkie Nestling’s played on the fiddle by Fred Whiting, Bedfield, Suffolk, 1975.
Like Stephen Baldwin, Pip Whiting is another fiddler whose playing demands that we re-assess our ideas of the southern English style. Many of his tunes, like these two, sound as if they are amalgamations of lines and phrases of others.
24The Manchester Hornpipe / Click Go the Shears played on the melodeon by Ruth Askew and the spoons by George Privett, Bishop’s Waltham, Hampshire, 1975.
An unusual version of the Manchester Hornpipe, in that it's played both rather slowly, and dotted. Click Go the Shears is the tune to a well-known Australian song.
25 Sheep Shearing / Untitled Polka played by the Dorset Trio, rec. Bristol, 1941.
Two excellent and interesting polkas, both of which sound as if they go back to the early-19th century. This is unusual since, as Reg Hall points out in the booklet notes, much of what we think of as traditional English Country Music is actually only from the 25 years preceding the Great War.
26 Untitled Polka / Untitled Polka played on the melodeon by Oscar Woods, Benhall, Suffolk, 1973.
Two of the superb polka tunes Oc learned from Tiger Woods.
27 The Maid of the Mill / Bacca Pipes / Jockey to the Fair played on the fiddle by Bertie Clark, Carterton, Oxfordshire, 1958.
The Maid of the Mill is another Bampton dance which works with just the one tune. The tune for the Bacca Pipes jig, still called Greensleeves, makes an interesting comparison with Stephen Baldwin's version on track 10 above.
John Bell, writing in 1877, had this to say of Jockey to the Fair. ‘Jockey songs constitute a distinct and numerous class, and belong for the most part to the middle of the last century, when Jockey and Jenny were formidable rivals to the Stephons and Chloes of the artificial school of pastoral poetry’. Early Ballads & Ballads and Songs of the Peasantry of England.
Jockey is also interesting in that it's a quite different version of the tune to that used by this side today. I know Bertie Clark had to learn his tunes from the Cecil Sharp book when he first played for the Morris in 1926, but Reg tells us that he re-learned the tunes from Francis Shergold in 1950 when he began to play for that side, and this recording was made in 1958. The markedly different 'other' version of the tune was learned by Jamie Wheeler and myself - and also directly from Francis - in the 1970s. So who changed what? Certainly the dancers seem to feel that the 'new' version fits the jig far better than the 'old' one.
Other Recordings: William Kimber (Oxon) - Bacca Pipes/Jockie to the Fair - EFDSS CD 03. Mabs Hall (Sussex) - Trip Unto the Fair - Veteran VTC4CD.
28 Nobody’s Darling / Untitled Waltzes / Quick-Step Medley played on the mouth-organs by Jimmy Dixon and Ron Whatmore, rec. Winchester, Hampshire, 1976.
I really can't tell you anything about these tunes - except that they all sound vaguely familiar!
29 Joe, the Boat is Tipping Over played on the melodeon by Jack Webber and on the tenor drums by Ken Gubb and ? Bushin, Minehead, Somerset, 1972.
The song Oh, Joe, the Boat is Going Over, written by John Read and published in 1881, must have been extremely popular in parts of Britain, judging by the number of times the tune turns up in the repertoire of traditional musicians.
Other Recordings: The song: Harry Green (Essex) - Veteran cassette VT135). The tune: Walter Pardon (Norfolk) - Musical Traditions MTCD 305-6. Harry Cox (Norfolk) - Topic TSCD512D. Oscar Woods (Suffolk) - Veteran cassette VTVS 05/06. George Craske (Norfolk) - Veteran cassette VTVS 05/06. Percy Brown (Norfolk) - Veteran cassette VTVS 05/06. Reg Reader (Suffolk) - Veteran cassette VTVS 07/08.
Volume 10: Who's That at my Bedroom Window? - Songs of Love & Amorous Encounters (Topic TSCD 660) Review
1 Seventeen Come Sunday sung by Bob Hart, Snape, Suffolk, 1973 Roud 277, Laws O17.
Please see notes to Vol 1(11).
2 Three Maidens to Milking Did Go sung by Fred Hewett, Mapledurwell, Hampshire, 1955. Roud 290.
AKA The Bird in the Bush, the title it bears in Roberts Barratt's version collected by Hammond and published in Frank Purslow's Marrowbones, and in the superb version from Caroline Hughes. Printed frequently on Victorian broadsides, this is a song that caused the early collectors much soul-searching. Writing in 1891, Frank Kidson had this to say, ‘If not very old, it is good, and could be wished that the succeeding verses to the first (the only one which I have printed), were equally meritorious and more suitable for this work’ (Traditional Tunes). Luckily, singers were not so prudish, and the song has turned up repeatedly all over the place. Cecil Sharp noted eight versions in Somerset, Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire. Alfred Williams found it, ‘existing in several forms’ in the Thames Valley prior to the Great War, and the Reverend Baring-Gould was sufficiently shocked by it that he felt compelled to rewrite the text as Here’s a Health to the Blackbird (in Songs of the West 2nd edition 1891 - 95).
Other Recordings: Charlie Bridger (Kent) - Veteran VTC4CD.
3 When I was Noo but Sweet Sixteen sung by Jeannie Robertson, Aberdeen, 1953. Roud 5138.
Related to a song called Peggy on the Banks of Spey that Hamish Henderson collected in 1956 from Mrs Elsie Morrison of Spey Bay. Lucy Stewart also had a version, with an additional verse: It’s keepit me frae loupin dykes/Frae balls and frae waddins O/It’s gi’en me balance tae my stays/And that’s the latest fashion O. Jeannie’s tune is related to one entitled Jockey’s Gray Breeches in Oswald’s Caledonian Pocket Companion of c.1745.
Other Recordings: Charlie Murray (Forfar) - Springthyme SPR 1001.
4 Rolling in the Dew sung by Pop Maynard, Copthorne, Sussex, 1956. Roud 298.
Cecil Sharp called this Dabbling in the Dew, a far more polite title, and noted sixteen versions. Baring Gould also found the song being sung in the west country. There are connections between this song and the chanty Heave Away, My Johnny, and a version found in the Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes (1951), pp.281 - 3, has a 17th century text. Paddy Taylor’s similar titled Rolling in the Rye Grass (Rounder CD 1778), while similar in sentiment, is a different tune.
Other Recordings: George Withers (Donyatt, Somerset) - Veteran VT 133.
5 The Bonnie Wee Tramping Lass sung by Willie Scott, rec. London, 1967. Roud 5129.
A song which Willie’s wife used to sing when she was a girl. Frances was born in Canonbie - as was Willie - to the south of Hawick, an area once full of woolen mills. Local singers in the Borders still sing versions of this. Greig published the same song, collected from J S Gray in Aberdeen.
6 The Old Petticoat sung by Paddy Tunney, rec. London, 1975. Roud 12940.
I love the humour of this one, with its idea of a courtship between a petticoat and a pair of trousers, both hanging on a washing line. At least, I think that this is what it is about.
7 The Copshawholm Butcher sung by Harvey Nicholson, Wreay, Cumberland, 1953. Roud 167.
AKA The Leicester Chambermaid. Copshawholm is the old name for the village of Newcastleton, which is in Liddesdale, in the Scottish Borders. A well-known broadside, presumably from the 19th century, it has also turned up with such titles as The Brisk Young Butcher, The Exeter Butcher and The Christmas Goose. Further recordings from this area of Cumberland can be heard on the CD Pass the Jug Round (Veteran VT142CD).
8 Adieu Unto All True Lovers sung by John Reilly, Dublin, 1967. Roud 179, Child 248.
Child 248 (not 245 as shown in the booklet notes) - a version of The Grey Cock. Please see Vol 3(21) and Vol 6(2) for notes.
9 The Bold English Navvy sung by Jimmy McBeath, London, 1966 or ‘67. Roud 516.
Which came first? Jimmy’s song The Bold English Navvy, who goes courting ‘with his navvy boots on’, or a song that appears in the Greig/Duncan collection, The Courting Coat (Greig/Duncan 787), where the singer goes courting, ‘wi’ my courtin’ coat on’. Pat Shaw found it being sung in the Shetland Islands in the late 1940s as The Moon Shining Brightly (from John Stickle), and Peter Kennedy recorded it from the superb Lal Smith near Belfast. I suspect that, as The Bold English Navvy, it is better known than we suspect. But only time, and other collectors, will tell.
10 Standing in Yon Flowery Garden sung by Sarah Anne O’Neill, Derrytresk, Co Tyrone, 1977. Roud 264, Laws N42.
One of the most common of the ‘broken-token’ songs - there are 308 Roud entries. The song was often printed on ballad sheets and has been collected widely in England, Ireland, Scotland and North America. There are connections here with the story of the Odyssey and the ballad of Hind Horn.
Other Recordings: Daisy Chapman (Aberdeenshire) - Musical Traditions MTCD 308. Cas Wallin (North Carolina) - Musical Traditions MTCD 324. Mabs Hall (Sussex) - Veteran cassette VT109. Maggie Murphy (Co Fermanagh) - Veteran VT 134 CD. Doug Wallin (North Carolina) - Smithsonian Folkways SF CD 40013. Tom Ashley (Tennessee) - Smithsonian Folkways SF CD 40097.
11 Died for Love sung by Geoff Ling, Blaxhall, Suffolk, 1974. Roud 60, Laws P25.
Most scholars have been unable to sort this one out, comprising, as it does, of a collection of floating verses that come together in several different forms. See, for example, the versions collected by Gavin Greig and James Duncan (Greig/Duncan 1169/1170). Laws distinguishes our present song (Laws P25, which he titles Love Has Brought me to Despair) from the song that he calls Died for Love (Laws P24). Some commentators have seen a connection between these songs and the ballad Jamie Douglas (Child 204). Versions of the song can be found in just about all the major collections.
Other Recordings: Sarah Porter (Sussex) - Musical Traditions MT CD 309-10. Jasper Smith (Surrey) and Amy Birch (Devon) - Topic TSCD661. Emma Vickers (Lancashire) - EFDSS CD 002. May Bradley (Shropshire) - Topic TSCD662. Geoff Ling (Suffolk) - Veteran VT 104. Son Townsend (Oxfordshire) - Veteran VT 108.
12 Betsy Bell sung by Belle Stewart, Blairgowrie, Perthshire, 1976. Roud 5211.
Belle, again, had this from a broadsheet; it appeared to be unique to her in the oral tradition. It may date from the 1920s-1930s when such pieces were in vogue. Her daughter Sheila now also sings it on Doc Rowe's cassette Time Goes On..., which has now been released on CD on the Rhiannon(?) label.
13 The Banks of Sweet Mossing sung by Jim Swain, Hammerpot, Sussex, 1954. Roud 1201.
This 1954 Bob Copper collection seems to be the sole instance of this song in the oral tradition.
14 The Tan Yard Side sung by Frank Quinn, New York, 1926. Roud 1021, Laws M28.
Sam Henry’s version is titled The Slaney Side (H52b), though Henry Parker Such’s London broadside of c.1850 is titled The Tan-Yard Side. Phoebe Smith (Suffolk) sings a version of this song on Vol 11(19); indeed, though usually thought of as an Irish song, it seems to have been found more often in England.
15 On the Banks of the Silvery Tide sung by Paddy Breen, London, 1967. Roud 561, Laws O37.
Titled Mary of the Silvery Tide or, simply, The Silvery Tide, it has been printed in many broadsides, is in the Sam Henry collection (H77), and there are three Somerset versions in Sharp’s collection, plus several others from all over England. There are also quite a few sightings in North American and Scottish collections.
Other Recordings: Maggie Murphy (Fermanagh) - Veteran VT 134 CD.
16 The Banks of Red Roses sung by Lizzie Higgins, London, 1968. Roud 603.
Lizzie had this from her father, although her mother, Jeannie Robertson, also sang it. According to Burns (b.1759), The Beds of Sweet Roses was very popular in Ayrshire when he was a boy, and versions have turned up repeatedly throughout England, Scotland and Ireland. There are connections between this song and the English Hear the Nightingales Sing. Scottish chapbook versions usually lack the murder element of the final stanza. ‘Tune box’ (stanza 2) can be seen as a sexual metaphor, while ‘red roses’ suggest both sexual satiety, as well as the poor murdered girl’s blood. It's a song which seems to have found a particular place in the hearts of Traveller and Gypsy singers.
Other Recordings: Duncan McPhee (Perthshire) - Saydisc CD-SDL 407.
17 Blow the Candle Out sung by Jumbo Brightwell, Leiston, Suffolk, 1975. Roud 368, Laws P17.
Blow the Candle Out, or The London Apprentice as it is sometimes called, has turned up all over these islands (Greig/Duncan 788 - six versions), probably due to its wide broadside popularity.
Other Recordings: Jimmy Gilhaney (Belfast) - Rounder CD 1778.
18 The Factory Girl sung by Sarah Makem, Keady, Co Armagh, 1967. Roud 1659.
There is little to distinguish this song from countless others that concern themselves with a rural encounter between a boy and a girl, except that in this case the girl is on her way to work in a factory. In other words, this seems to be a piece that falls somewhere between rural and urban (industrial) folk songs. Sam Henry (H127) and other Irish collectors have found this piece being sung in the north of Ireland. In Sarah’s version, the couple are wed. In other versions, however, the song ends with the couple going their own ways. Although it has been found in Norfolk, Essex and Hampshire, it seems to have been far more popular in Ireland during the 20th century.
19 The Seeds of Love sung by Pop Maynard, Copthorne, Sussex, 1956. Roud 3.
The song that started Cecil Sharp on his quest to collect English folk songs. Once common in the southern half of England, the song has also spread all over the Anglophone world - though it's rare in Ireland. Sharp first heard the song in September,1903, sung by John England in the vicarage garden at Hambridge. He went on to collect a total of 23 versions, and other versions were found by Sabine Baring Gould, Lucy Broadwood, George Butterworth, Alfred Williams and Clive Carey. Kidson found it in Yorkshire and there is a north-east set in Bruce & Stokoe’s Northumbrian Minstrelsy (1882). Gavin Greig has a couple of Scottish sets, without music, (Greig Duncan 1180), and there is a version in P W Joyce’s Ancient Irish Music (1901). Kidson believed that the song dated from the end of the 18th century.
Other Recordings: Cyril Poacher (Suffolk) - Musical Traditions MTCD 303. George Dunn (Staffordshire) - Musical Traditions MTCD 317-8. Billy Bartle (Bedfordshire) - EFDSS CD 002. Ernie Payne (Gloucestershire) - Veteran cassette VT108. George Withers (Somerset) - Veteran cassette VT133.
20 Blackwaterside sung by Paddy Tunney, London, 1965. Roud 312, Laws O1.
An Irish version of Down By the Riverside/The Lily White Hand, for which, see track 23 below.
21 The Wind Blew the Lassie’s Plaidie Awa’ sung by Jimmy McBeath, London, 1966 or ‘67. Roud 2574.
Greig/Duncan 1413 (3 versions). Both Ford and Ord have 10 stanza sets, and Ford states that it may have been composed in the early 19th century by an itinerent Irishman known as ‘Blind Rob’. Jimmy’s refrain has elements in common with some texts of The Elfin Knight (Child 2) and his tune, known variously as Over the Hills and Far Away or The White Cockade, also turns up in America, where it has become attached to such songs as The Bird’s Courting Song and The Young Man Who Wouldn't Hoe Corn.
Other Recordings: A hideously edited set appears on Rounder CD 1778, with verses by Jimmy McBeath and Jeannie Robertson (Aberdeen), and the tune played on the bagpipe chanter by Duncan Burke (Perth).
22 The Wandering Girl sung by Freda Palmer, Witney, Oxfordshire, 1972. Roud 1691
This song of unrequited love has only occasionally been noted by song collectors. George Gardiner found it in Hampshire in 1907, while Cecil Sharp collected a full set from the fine Somerset singer Mrs Overd. Sharp also found the song in Virginia during his collecting trip of 1918.
23 Captain Thunderball sung by Phoebe Smith, Melton, Suffolk, 1976. Roud 1453.
Oft printed on Victorian broadsides, usually titled Down by the Shannon Side. There are four versions in the Greg/Duncan collection (1409) and a further nine in Cecil Sharp’s collection. Although Phoebe clearly sings 'Captain Thunderball' in the final verse, she normally sang 'Captain Thunderbold' or 'Thunderbolt', and all the versions collected from her use either of these names.
This is confusing, since the name Captain Thunderball also occurs in a similar song Down by the Riverside (Sharp 173), which, in turn, is related to the song Floating on the Tide/The Lily White Hand, where the girl drowns (either by her own, or her lover’s, hand) once they have slept together. The same story may be found in The Westerne Knight and the Young Maid of Bristoll, Their Loves and Fortunes Related - a Blackletter broadside that was licenced to be printed on 1 June, 1629. (See Hyder Rollins’ A Pepysian Garland 1922. Reprinted 1971).
24 Let the Wind Blow High or Low sung by Walter Pardon, Knapton, Norfolk, 1974. Roud 308.
AKA The Irish Girl. There are eleven versions in the Greig/Duncan collection (946), and Greig adds the following perspicacious comment. ‘This song does not hang together very well, and seems, like so many more of our popular ditties, to be a kind of accretion, some of the elements of which are distinctly old and have doubtless done duty elsewhere. It is widely known.’ In other words, the song, as we know it today, was probably put together by a broadside printer’s hack. In fact, John Pitts called it The New Irish Girl, and so may have based his text on an earlier one. Henry Parker Such printed a sheet some years later, with additional verses, though a set that I recorded from the Gypsy Levi Smith was nearer to the Pitts sheet. Sharp (127) collected nine versions in England and a further three versions in Virginia and North Carolina. Other American collectors, Belden, Brown & Creighton for example, also noted the piece.
25 She Moved Through the Fair sung by Margaret Barry, London, 1957 or ‘58. Roud 861.
The following note appears in Gale Huntington’s edition of the Sam Henry Collection (1990):
‘Text reworked by Padraic Colum from an "old ballad" to a Donegal air collected by Herbert Hughes (1, 1909). James Healey says "This is one of the few cases where the now, more scholarly edition, could be considered better than the old." But Healey himself prints a version somewhat transformed by "folk process", with a different 2nd stanza and the 3rd in transition ("My dear love came in") between Colum’s original, ghostless, stanza ("She came softly in") and Margaret Barry’s haunting one ("My dead love came in").’ Henry H.534. Collected 24 Feb, 1934.Other Recordings: Belle Stewart (Perthshire) - Saydisc CD-SDL 407.