NS23: Roll down to Rio

This is another of Bellamy’s settings of Kipling. Unusually, this one isn’t from either of the Puck books or the Barrack-Room Ballads; it’s one of the poems interspersed through the Just-So Stories. There’s nothing really to it – it says one thing and then shuts up – but it has a simple eloquence which is very appealing. The last line probably relates to the age of the poem’s audience rather than its author; all the same, for me there’s a bit of poignancy in the realisation that I’m already older than Kipling when he wrote it, or Bellamy when he came up with the tune. Never been to Rio, either.

Accompaniment is English concertina, in a key that (I regret to say) suited my fingers better than my voice; I’ll do better (and go lower) another time. What with Bellamy’s brisk Anglo and Jon Boden’s beautifully wistful Maccann Duet accompaniment, this little song has now been recorded with all three of the main concertina systems. Anyone fancy setting it to a tango rhythm with bandoneon?

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Filed under not a folk song, Peter Bellamy, Rudyard Kipling

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