Twenty-Six Fortnights

Throughout 2013 I’m going to be revisiting the 52 folk songs I uploaded in the twelve months to September 2012, one a week. Or rather, two a fortnight.

Each fortnight of the year, I’ll put up a post linking to two of the fifty-two songs. There will be an emphasis on marking significant dates and the passage of the seasons; I’ll aim to have songs about Waterloo appear in June, for example.

Some tracks will be the ones I originally recorded, others will be re-recorded for the occasion. All tracks on 52fs have now been given individual prices, but re-recorded tracks will be available for download free of charge, out of fairness to those people who have already paid for an album download.

Here are the first two tracks, for the first fortnight of the year.

About the Yule when the wind blows cool, Young Waters met his fate; “keep your head down” would seem to be the moral. The inexorable petty brutality of this story is enduringly shocking; it’s like something out of the Sopranos. But I’m picking this recording this week because it was a bit of a leap forward for me: my first use of recorder and drums, my first harmonies, my first ‘band’ arrangement. I could probably do a better job now, but this isn’t so shabby.

Re-recording of the fortnight is Lord Bateman. The 4:45 version of this was the song with which I launched 52 Folk Songs, and has had by far the most plays (although not downloads) of any of my songs. Fifteen and a half months later, stand by for… the 8:337:47 version. The original recording was based almost entirely on version L of Child’s text. For this one I consulted the other versions (there are fourteen in all) and imported some verses that make for more vivid scenes or make the story work better. My original version of the song had 18 verses; this one has 35. Go on, give it a go, it’ll fly by.

Update I’ve re-recorded it since first putting up the revised version; I’ve got the rhythm off better now, particularly between verses, with the result that I’ve shaved 46 seconds off the total running time. I’ve also pitched it up a bit, which I think also works better.

Young Waters is taken from the 52 Folk Songs: Indigo album.

Lord Bateman is taken from the 52 Folk Songs: Violet album.

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