Week 35: William Taylor, The ghost song

More songs with sea voyages (or at least trips to the coast) and deaths.

William Taylor dumps his fiancee to enlist for a sailor (although as far as we can tell he never actually makes it as far as the sea). She’s not pleased. The last verse appears to derive from a later, comic version of the song, but I liked it enough to keep it in. Learned from John Kelly’s recording; accompanied with drum and zither.

The ghost song (a.k.a. The Cruel Ship’s Carpenter) is a murder ballad of sorts: another William, also keen to go to sea, kills his (pregnant) fiancee. She’s not pleased either. A fairly chunky narrative with an extraordinary tune, learned from Peter Bellamy’s version, which itself derived from Sam Larner; sung unaccompanied.

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