AS02: Spencer the Rover

Being a parent has its advantages:

And my children came around me with their prittle-prattling stories,
With their prittle-prattling stories to drive care away

While I’ve never walked out on my family and gone rambling around Rotherham, I love this song and feel a definite identification with Spencer; I’m glad it works out for him.

The definitive version of this song has to be John Kelly’s, most of which you can hear here. John started gigging in 1968(!), but for a variety of reasons has only recently started recording. His second album came out recently; if it’s anything like his first album, “Come all you wild young men“, it’ll be an essential purchase. (Like the old K-Tel albums, it’s not available in any shops, unfortunately – to get your hands on it you’ll need to contact John, or better still see him live.)

Like the Waterman, this is also an example of fitting a tune to a song: two tunes in this case, Three Rusty Swords and the Dusty Miller. There are a bunch of these tunes; they’re relatively simple to play, until you try playing them one after another at blazing speed. For reasons that escape me, they’re (a) known as hornpipes, despite being (b) in 3/2; and although they’re in 3/2, they’re (c) invariably played at the aforesaid blazing speed. Not easy, then, but fun – particularly when you’re in a large enough group that nobody can hear your bum notes!

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1 Comment

Filed under folk song, John Kelly, traditional

One response to “AS02: Spencer the Rover

  1. The general fabness of John Kelly nothwithstanding, do you not think the ‘definitive’ version of Spencer the Rover is the by the Copper Family? ;-)

    And wait till you hear it sung by Fay Hield with the Woodbine & Ivy Band…

    Great site though, Phil. Keep going…

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