2 January 2013 · 4:00 pm
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.
12 December 2012 · 5:12 pm
Here’s some new stuff for you.
New Kipling, set to music by Martin Simpson: “Four Angels” (sung with concertina, one take)
Like a lot of Kipling’s poems, this one was made for setting to music. Unlike most of them, Peter Bellamy didn’t get round to it; this setting is by Martin Simpson. This is the first thing I’ve recorded with ‘live’ concertina accompaniment. I like the way the concertina’s come out – very chapel-harmonium. My voice sounds a bit wobbly, though – I don’t know if I was coming down with a cold or if it was from the effort of having to think about playing at the same time as singing.
New Pete Seeger in French, translated by Graeme Allwright: “Jusqu’à la ceinture” (with concertina and drums, overdubbed)
My French teacher played us “Jusqu’a la ceinture” in class once, leading into a big discussion of the political meaning of the song – although we never actually touched on Vietnam, oddly enough! I’ve always liked it. If you can’t understand the French, just think “Waist deep in the Big Muddy” and you’ll be more or less there. I like to think that Graeme Allwright wondered about translating it, got as far as the second line (“We were on manoeuvres in Louisana”) and thought “Well, this is easy…”
Both of these will feature on a downloadable album before too long. (In case anyone’s wondering, I finished the last of the 52 folk songs back in September, but I’m still a couple of extras short. Hopefully I’ll get it tied up by the end of the year.)
12 February 2012 · 11:14 pm
Here are those album-only extras I mentioned. They can be played online, but can only be downloaded as part of their respective albums.
The House of the Rising Sun (part 1): Dave Van Ronk-inspired melodica bongo fury
The House of the Rising Sun (part 1): Otway-indebted pseudo-satnav nonsense
On Ilkley Moor Baht ‘At: four-part harmony plus translation for the hard of Yorkshire
The moving-on song: two drums, six chords, no synthesisers
La belle dame sans merci: words John Keats, melody copland smith
Share and enjoy!