Extras: Hob-y-derri-dando, The little pot stove

Happy New Year!

The end of the old year saw the completion of the final – Red – album in the 52 Folk Songs series, of which more anon. The album includes two extra tracks, which you can hear (but not download) here.

Hob-y-Derri-Dando is that rare thing, a Welsh-language shanty. Language barriers tend to inhibit crossovers within a single genre; it’s much more usual for a language community to develop its own genres and its own traditions (forms like englyn and pennillion in the case of Welsh). Work songs like shanties may be an exception – it’s easy to imagine a Welsh crew wanting something in their own language to sing; I’m reluctant to speculate too much on the basis of one song, though. (And it is one song. There are two Welsh-language shanties known to exist; the other one is a different version of this one.) Here it is, anyway – the original of the English Hob-y-derri-dando, and by extension of all those songs about Cosher Bailey and his engine.

The Little Pot Stove probably doesn’t need much introduction. In its original form (as The Wee Dark Engine Room) it was a song by the Australian singer Harry Robertson about a life he’d known personally. This, reworded and retitled, version goes back to Nic Jones’s last pre-crash album Penguin Eggs, to which it gave its title. This is a song I’ve wanted to sing live ever since I first heard it, so it was particularly pleasing when I’d learnt the concertina well enough to accompany myself. The concertina here is live, although not the recorder.

Coming soon: 52 Folk Songs: Red.

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