Week 44: The trees they do grow high, Follow me ‘ome, Ford o’ Kabul River

The original idea for this selection of songs was to do Ford o’ Kabul River together with a traditional song about somebody drowning in mid-stream. But I couldn’t find a traditional song I liked, so I decided to do Follow me ‘ome together with a traditional song about somebody lamenting the loss of a close friend. Then I couldn’t find one of those either – apart from the ‘poacher’ songs of which Bill Brown is an example – so I decided to group these two together as songs of bereavement, with “Trees” as the obvious traditional candidate. And here we are.

The trees they do grow high is one of my favourite songs, traditional or otherwise. There are at least four distinct versions that I know of; I think this is the best.

Follow me ‘ome, a Kipling poem with a Bellamy setting, is about bereavement within a male – and presumptively non-sexual – friendship. It’s still bereavement, though. Accompanied here on English concertina.

Ford o’ Kabul River is another Kipling/Bellamy and has similar subject matter. It’s set during the Second Afghan War (1878-80); I wonder what number we’re up to now. Accompanied on vocals and squelchy percussion.

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