AS09: A virgin most pure

A two-part arrangement this time; the second vocal part is partly copied from Heather Wood’s line on the Young Tradition’s version and partly made up. The drone is melodica, looped; the double-tracked whistle is two separate recordings, one in each channel. I learned (and scored) this in G, only to discover that when I tried to sing it my voice was automatically adjusting it down to Gb by the end of the first refrain. This version is sung in F (and even then it gets a bit squeaky at times – must work on the top end).

I learned this from the version sung by Shirley Collins and Heather Wood on the Holly Bears the Crown. (This is why I only sing five of the seven verses – that, and the feeling that it was getting quite long enough.) The album is credited to the Young Tradition with Shirley and Dolly Collins, and the arrangement on this track is credited accordingly to Collins/Collins/Wood/Wood/Bellamy. However, the only musicians are Shirley Collins and Heather Wood (vocals) with Roddy Skeaping (bass viol); my guess would be that it’s either a Collins/Collins arrangement or Collins/Collins/Wood. It certainly has a kind of Dolly Collins ring to it – there’s a particular quality to her arrangements, a kind of rich plainness. Less, to a point, is definitely more.

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Filed under folk song, Shirley Collins, traditional

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