AS05: Plains of Waterloo

One of the many Napoleonic folksongs which are namechecked in the previous song!

Probably needs no introduction; anyone who’s heard June Tabor’s rendition on Airs and Graces will (a) love the song and (b) be able to tell where I got it from. Other interpretations are available (Shirley and Dolly Collins’s is quite something) – but I think June T. put a stamp on the song that’s pretty much indelible. This is certainly a post-Tabor interpretation, perhaps with the time signature laid down a bit more firmly.

Practising this, I came to the firm conclusion that Willie Smith’s handling of the reunion leaves a lot to be desired. If this weren’t such a great song it would be crying out for a joke ending –

And when she saw the token she fell into my arms, crying
“You utter bastard! What do you think you’re playing at? I thought you were dead!”

Maybe not. I do think the narrator’s a bit of a creep, though; I don’t know if this comes across!

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Filed under folk song, June Tabor, the deeds of great Napoleon, traditional

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