Week 8: Hughie the Graeme, Sam Hall, Serenity

Two gallows songs this week, following on from Lord Allenwater last week, plus a third song which is… connected.

Hughie the Graeme is a Child ballad commemorating the execution of a border outlaw and his defiance on the gallows. My arrangement derives ultimately from MacColl’s, but it’s heavily influenced by Tony Capstick – a really great folksinger in his day.

Sam Hall is from the other end of the country and the other end of the social scale; it’s an eighteenth-century broadside ballad in an odd sort of mock-heroic style. The old songs don’t wear their emotions on their sleeve; there’s horror and ridicule in this song, but they’re not spelt out.

As for Serenity… ah, Serenity. Check it out.

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