FS13: Young Waters

Child 94. One of the more laconic of the big ballads, and beautifully constructed. In the very first verse

The queen looked over the castle wall and beheld both dale and down
And then she saw Young Waters come riding into town

and from that moment everybody’s doomed, more or less. I particularly like the way that Young Waters’s marital status – a fairly crucial variable, in the circumstances – is withheld almost until the last line of the last verse: poor old Lady Waters only comes in when she’s being haled off to the heading hill.

This version is, of course, heavily indebted to June Tabor’s version on her first album, complete with the eldritch drone of the Rocksichord. I have no Rocksichord (does anyone?) but I managed quite a decent chordal accompaniment on the melodica (which was played straight through, without any looping). Plus drumming (a pair of bongoes bought in my teens and never played in public), and recorder – when you play the track, do hang on for the recorder. First percussion in 52fs; also the first use of harmony. There were six tracks in all, and it took bloody ages to fit them all together; I think it was worth it, though.

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Filed under Child ballad, folk song, June Tabor, O my name is, traditional

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