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Vic Smith BBC Radio4 - Morpurgo's Folk Journeys (133* d) RE: BBC Radio4 - Morpurgo's Folk Journeys 03 Nov 20


Interesting reactions to the third programme in this series particularly the one from Brian Peters.

My own reaction was that it was the best of the three so far and it threw different lights of both the traditional and modern love songs. Three of the female contributors, Nancy Kerr, Karine Polwart (please note spelling) and Nicola Kearey all talked in different ways about their difficulty with singing straightforward love songs from a modern feminist perspective because so often the cheated or abandoned woman is left powerless and with no means of redress. I found what Nancy had to say about The Turtle Dove / Ten Thousand Miles very interesting. Brian wrote above about the "spliced" version that Nic Jones recorded; Nancy's version from her 1997 (Turtle Dove from the Fellside CD Starry Gazy Pie.) is also from a number of sources. Here's what the CD notes say: -
A song made up of tags from other ballads, collected in Kentucky from “Singing Willie” Nolan. The words are more or less as E.K. Wells printed in The Ballad Tree, but Nancy altered the melody and time signature, and added a final verse.

but this is the process that many folk songs go through in the hands of folk revivalists.
Karine talked about the fate of women in ballads and how love often turns to grief for them in ballads. She gave the of example of one that I love singing Clerk Saunders & May Margaret but also talked about the lingering impact of the wonderful love songs of Robert Burns on Scottish culture and about how often they are still sung at weddings and funerals.
My Scottish mother left a letter with my sister saying that it was to be opened straight after her death, A lot of it was about how much she loved and felt proud of each of her four children, her six grandchildren and the three great-grandchildren that she lived to see. There were also explicit instructions about how her funeral was to be conducted. I was to give the eulogy as well as to sing Burns' My Luve's Like A Red, Red Rose which, of course, draws on The Turtle Dove. I just about got through it with Tina's fine concertina accompaniment and the feeling of support that I felt oozing into me from her - but I have never dared to sing it in public since.


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