NS02: Us poor fellows

This is a song by Peter Bellamy, from his wonderful ballad opera The Transports. If you haven’t got a copy, get one now. As I said at my main blog last year,

Most folkies, even those most immersed in the traditional repertoire, never turn out more than a couple of songs which can be sung alongside traditional songs and not stand out. Exceptions are rare and striking (Tawney, MacColl, Dylan before he got bored and moved on). In The Transports, Bellamy basically wrote a whole album of them (a double album in its time – the CD version is 75 minutes long). Not only do his songs sound like long-lost traditional ballads, they each have a place in the plot of the opera – and in most cases advance it.

“Us poor fellows” is the first full song in The Transports; it’s sung by the father of one of the main characters. I’m not going to say any more than that, except that most of the other songs are just as good (and sound just as much like long-lost broadside ballads). This version owes more to Tony Rose’s version of the song (on his album Poor Fellows) than to Nic Jones’s reading in the original version of The Transports, simply because I heard one before the other. But the words and the tune are Bellamy’s. And very fine they are.

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Filed under not a folk song, Peter Bellamy

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