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Fifty-Two Folk Songs

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Phil Edwards 06 Sep 11 - 04:26 PM
Jack Campin 06 Sep 11 - 06:35 PM
Phil Edwards 07 Sep 11 - 06:58 AM
PercyBysshe 07 Sep 11 - 01:32 PM
PercyBysshe 07 Sep 11 - 01:59 PM
GUEST,enfieldpete 07 Sep 11 - 02:02 PM
Phil Edwards 10 Sep 11 - 11:00 AM
GUEST 10 Sep 11 - 04:01 PM
Phil Edwards 10 Sep 11 - 06:08 PM
Phil Edwards 17 Sep 11 - 06:14 AM
Phil Edwards 20 Sep 11 - 03:57 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 20 Sep 11 - 04:42 AM
Richard Bridge 20 Sep 11 - 06:46 AM
Phil Edwards 20 Sep 11 - 10:24 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 20 Sep 11 - 10:30 AM
Phil Edwards 23 Sep 11 - 07:33 AM
Phil Edwards 30 Sep 11 - 12:39 PM
Phil Edwards 07 Oct 11 - 11:30 AM
Phil Edwards 09 Oct 11 - 09:33 AM
Phil Edwards 14 Oct 11 - 01:09 PM
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Phil Edwards 02 Nov 11 - 05:01 PM
GUEST,leeneia 02 Nov 11 - 05:16 PM
Phil Edwards 02 Nov 11 - 07:21 PM
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Tootler 30 Dec 11 - 07:18 PM
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Charley Noble 08 Jan 12 - 02:10 PM
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Subject: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 06 Sep 11 - 04:26 PM

This is to introduce my new Web site, which you can find at http://www.52folksongs.com . I'm going to be updating it with a newly-recorded folk song once a week for the next year, by the end of which it will contain... you guessed it... 52 folk songs.

The first two songs will be up there by this time tomorrow. Share and enjoy!


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: Jack Campin
Date: 06 Sep 11 - 06:35 PM

Sheesh.

http://52folksongs.com/


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 07 Sep 11 - 06:58 AM

Sorry, forgot that I needed to blickify the link myself.

Two songs are now up there, one of them a folk song: Lord Bateman. (My version of Nic Jones's version of Child 52L, influenced by Jim Moray and Dave Bishop among others.) There's a non-folk song up there too.

Fifty-Two Folk Songs


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: PercyBysshe
Date: 07 Sep 11 - 01:32 PM

A non-folk song Mr Radish? Get thee behind me ;-)

Off to have a listen ....


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: PercyBysshe
Date: 07 Sep 11 - 01:59 PM

Actually - I approve of your "not a folk song" - it's one I've been meaning to learn for years!


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: GUEST,enfieldpete
Date: 07 Sep 11 - 02:02 PM

Brilliant - good stuff.


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 10 Sep 11 - 11:00 AM

Cheers, all.

Week 2 is Peter Bellamy Week, it being the great man's birthday last night (he would have been 67). Now up at 52 Folk Songs: The Death of Bill Brown, My Boy Jack and Us Poor Fellows. There's some commentary on all the songs, plus full lyrics if you click through to my Bandcamp site. More coming soon!


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: GUEST
Date: 10 Sep 11 - 04:01 PM

Personally I feel Ewan MacColl does the best version of Bill Brown. Was it from MacColl Peter Bellamy got the song?


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 10 Sep 11 - 06:08 PM

Good question. Did he cut out the chorus & the "As he lay bleeding" verse? If so, then the chances are he was Bellamy's source.


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 17 Sep 11 - 06:14 AM

This week at 52fs: the Unfortunate Lass. I was introduced to this particular member of the Streets of Laredo extended family through Jon Boden's rendering on AFSAD, and immediately knew I was going to have to learn it. "Send for the doctor although it's too late" - surely one of the greatest & most heart-rending lines in trad song.

Plus: Down where the drunkards roll, a Richard Thompson song which I got from Tony Rose's recording.

All songs can be listened to online or, if you get the urge, downloaded free of charge. The blog includes notes on all the songs and (perhaps more interestingly) what I was trying to do with them.

52 Folk Songs is at http://www.52folksongs.com.


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 20 Sep 11 - 03:57 AM

Here's a comment left on 52fs:

I'm also just 51, and am also posting a folk song a week, and am also on Week 4. Now that's spooky!

all the best

Andy Turner
http://afolksongaweek.wordpress.com/


There's a lot of it about!


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 20 Sep 11 - 04:42 AM

There's a lot of it about!

Indeed. I started one off back in February called An Oblique Parallax of English Speaking Folk Song - it was going to be a monthly thing but I only did one song, and very happy I am with it too. My initial idea was to sing entirely Traditional songs, but not necessarily in the way I'd sing them in Designated Folk Contexts, although I often feature Folk Songs in performances of Free Improvisation; and in Neofolk this stuff is par for the course. There was also a vague notion of Seasonal Labours, but I reckon The Sheep Stealer is as fitting in September as it is in February so I've just reposted it up on Soundcloud. Those who want to hear the song (rather than the eleven & a half minutes of accursed viol improv & live electronics that precede it) should cut in at 11.40...

Sedayne: Brisk Lad (The Sheep Stealer)


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 20 Sep 11 - 06:46 AM

This might be a useful resource.

Has anyone recorded any alternative arrangements of the Testimony of Patience Kershaw?


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 20 Sep 11 - 10:24 AM

Suibhne, are you still in the market for Landfall songs? I'll be putting a couple up next week.


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 20 Sep 11 - 10:30 AM

The Landfill Project died the death owing to other commitments. That said, I've got some very nice songs in from a number of singers which really need aired & shared. More promises than contributions, alas!


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 23 Sep 11 - 07:33 AM

This week 52fs features two songs from Martin Carthy's 1971 album Landfall; my belated contribution to the Landfill Project.

They're both traditional songs: The Cruel Mother (one of the many versions of this grim Child Ballad) and Over The Hills And Far Away, which was once a genuine recruiting song but now sounds almost elegiac.

As ever, the songs can be listened to online or, if you get the urge, downloaded free of charge. The blog includes notes on the songs and how I approach them.

52 Folk Songs is at http://www.52folksongs.com.


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 30 Sep 11 - 12:39 PM

OK, get a load of this.

I'm quite excited about Week Five's additions to 52fs - not because the recordings are outstanding in any way, but because they're three of my favourite songs ever in the world in space. Also, they're connected, but I'll leave it to you to find out how.

Lemany probably needs no introduction. This is the Coppers' version, more or less, although I've slowed it down and (after some agonising) put it in 3/4.

What is there to say about Child among the weeds? If you know it, nothing, except to say that the unaccompanied version worked much better than I expected. If you don't know it, track down Bright Phoebus in some form and get it into your life.

As for Hegemony, I'm doing an old Scritti Politti song for two reasons. One is that the writer, Green Gartside, used to be a serious fan of English folk in general and the Waterson/Carthy axis in particular; the early Scritti catalogue could be reinterpreted as a collision between dub bass and macrame-beat guitar. The other, more important reason is... well, listen to the song and you'll see.

As ever, the songs can be listened to online or, if you get the urge, downloaded free of charge. The blog includes notes on the songs and how I approach them.

52 Folk Songs is at http://www.52folksongs.com.


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 07 Oct 11 - 11:30 AM

Week six and I bring you... multi-tracking! There's posh.

This week, it's two songs about happily-married middle-aged men. The London Waterman is one of my favourite songs in the tradition. I can't honestly say I've loved it since the first time I heard Peter Bellamy's recording - the first time, and probably the second as well, my reaction was more along the lines of "what the hell was *that*?" But once I got it, I'd got it for good.

Spencer the Rover, on the other hand, I've loved since the first time I heard it - sung on that occasion by John Kelly. I think my version is OK, but it's not a patch on John's.

As for the multi-tracking, I thought both of these songs would go well with a tune afterwards. So with the Waterman you get Constant Billy, and with Spencer you get Three Dusty Swords and the Rusty... Three Rusty Millers and... well, them. (The multi-tracking is just to enable me to start playing before I've finished singing. You guitarists don't know how lucky you are!)

As always, the songs can be listened to online or, if the fancy takes you, downloaded free of charge. The blog includes notes on the songs and how I approach them.

52 Folk Songs is at http://www.52folksongs.com.


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Subject: Fifty-Two Folk Songs - The Album
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 09 Oct 11 - 09:33 AM

Announcing 52fs - the Violet Album.

So far on 52 Folk Songs I've recorded and uploaded 14 songs and two tunes, mostly but not exclusively traditional:

1        Lord Bateman (FS01)
2        The Death of Bill Brown (FS02)
3        The Unfortunate Lass (FS03)
4        The Cruel Mother (FS04)
5        Over the hills and far away
6        There are bad times just around the corner
7        My boy Jack
8        Us poor fellows
9        Down where the drunkards roll
10        Lemany (FS05)
11        Child among the weeds
12        Hegemony
13        The London Waterman (FS06) + Constant Billy
14        Spencer the Rover + Three Rusty Swords / The Dusty Miller


All of these tracks, together with a PDF file containing full lyrics plus assorted pictures, comments, musings and afterthoughts, can now be downloaded in the form of 52 Folk Songs - Violet.

52 Folk Songs - Violet is the first in a series of eight virtual 'albums' that will be appearing over the year. It's yours for a token payment of 52p (you see what I did there).

Alternatively you can download the tracks individually and pay nothing at all, or just listen online.

Share and enjoy!

52 Folk Songs is at http://www.52folksongs.com.


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 14 Oct 11 - 01:09 PM

Anyone still following this?

I hope so, because this week's additions to 52fs are a bit different.

FS07 is Derwentwater's Farewell: a poem written in 1807, to a pre-existing tune, in the style of the real Lord D's last words before his execution as a Jacobite. You can hear more about the execution in Lord Allenwater, a heroic account of Lord D's last ride and his defiance on the scaffold. Danny Deever probably needs even less introduction than the other two; it's a Kipling poem set to the tune of Derwentwater's Farewell by Peter Bellamy, and I think the setting works rather well - as Bellamy's settings often do. It's a fascinating poem, which teeters on the edge of sub-Fascist brutality - as Kipling's poems often do.

The second and third of these are unaccompanied as per usual, but Derwentwater's Farewell features whistle, a Bontempi reed organ with a noisy fan, and a great deal of messing about with Audacity. The accompaniment is mostly a drone - maybe I should get a shruti box - but I begin by picking out the tune. I wanted to give the impression of playing it quite badly, although it's quite an artificial impression – I usually play it much *worse*, hitting the wrong notes at the right speed rather than just playing the right notes slowly. Towards the end you can hear the tune again, played reasonably competently on whistle. And right at the end you can hear… well, you find out.

52 Folk Songs is at http://www.52folksongs.com.


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 21 Oct 11 - 06:50 PM

This week at 52fs, a couple more gallows songs.

FS08 is Hughie the Graeme: a Child ballad, rewritten by Robert Burns, arranged by Ewan MacColl and rearranged by Tony Capstick. I've got a soft spot for really defiant gallows speeches, and it doesn't get much more defiant than openly planning out the revenge attack.

Also this week: Sam Hall, a gallows song in an odd kind of mock-heroic style. Sam's a petty thief who's never had as much attention in his life as he's getting on the gallows; his story is pathetic and ridiculous, but dreadfully sad at the same time.

Plus Serenity. We ask: is Joss Whedon a folkie?

52 Folk Songs is at http://www.52folksongs.com.


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 02 Nov 11 - 05:01 PM

This week at 52fs, slightly later than usual: Napoleon!

Over the next couple of weeks I'm going to be digging into ballad writers' curious fascination with Napoleon - who was, after all, a serious enemy of Britain.

FS09 is the Grand Conversation on Napoleon: a slab and a half of broadside verbiage set to a multi-modal dance tune (I've appended a quick run-through of a variant of "The cuckoo's nest" for comparison). It also name-checks at least three other songs about Napoleon.

Also this week: I take on Plains of Waterloo. Wish me luck.

52 Folk Songs is at http://www.52folksongs.com.


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 02 Nov 11 - 05:16 PM

Hello, Pip. I listened to Spencer the Rover and enjoyed it. Thanks.

As for the hangings, killings and betrayals - I just don't enjoy them.


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 02 Nov 11 - 07:21 PM

Thanks, leeneia. I wouldn't be without a bit of gallows defiance myself. But I do like a happy ending when I can find one - I think of Spencer as the It's a Wonderful Life of folksong (in a good way). I suppose Plains of Waterloo ends happily, although you can't help feeling that she'd have words with him later on.


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 04 Nov 11 - 01:11 PM

This week (how time flies) at 52fs: more Napoleon. 52fs brings you Napoleonic songs in inveterate streams - enough to take the whole world along. This week's songs are:

The bonny bunch of roses, given a bit of a makeover with a drone in A and added whistle.

Boney's lamentation, unaccompanied, straight through, no messing.

And The Unborn Byron by Peter Blegvad; not a folk song and not about Napoleon, but a kind of happy surrealist alternative to the last verse of the B. B. of R. Also, a beautiful song. With flute accompaniment.

52 Folk Songs is at http://www.52folksongs.com.


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 12 Nov 11 - 07:29 AM

Week 11 of 52fs brings another Napoleonic song, together with a folk song about a contemporary British hero.

The death of Nelson is taken more or less directly from Peter Bellamy's stellar rendering in the Maritime England Suite (although I dropped the "merchants of Yarmouth" verse).

St Helena Lullaby is based on Bellamy's setting of Kipling's poem of the same name, featured on Merlin's Isle of Gramarye (now available on CD). Both voices are me (obviously) and both whistles are the same whistle.

Next week: two halves of a Child ballad and a related bit of Dylan. Guess the name of the Dylan and win a major prize*!

52 Folk Songs is at http://www.52folksongs.com

*Major prizes subject to availability. Alternatives may be offered.


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 17 Nov 11 - 06:49 PM

Next week: two halves of a Child ballad and a related bit of Dylan.

And so it came to pass. This week on The Two Sisters: this version, which I got from Jim Moray's recording, stops rather sooner than you might expect. Many vocals on this one, all mine.

The Wind and the Rain seems to have begun life as a misremembered (folk-processed?) version of Two Sisters. It starts as a murder ballad, then takes a familiar turn involving a musical instrument. Accompaniment on this one, unusually for me, is played live. (Most of the instruments I can play need to be blown.)

Closely related to the Wind and the Rain, lastly, Percy's song is an odd song written by Bob Dylan getting on for fifty years ago. Quite an odd performance, too.

52 Folk Songs is at http://www.52folksongs.com.


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 17 Nov 11 - 06:55 PM

Bad HTML! No biscuit!

Next week: two halves of a Child ballad and a related bit of Dylan.


And so it came to pass. This week on
52fs: the Two Sisters and its afterlife.

The Two Sisters: this version, which I got from Jim Moray's recording, stops rather sooner than you might expect. Many vocals on this one, all mine.

The Wind and the Rain seems to have begun life as a misremembered (folk-processed?) version of Two Sisters. It starts as a murder ballad, then takes a familiar turn involving a musical instrument. Accompaniment on this one, unusually for me, is played live. (Most of the instruments I can play need to be blown.)

Closely related to the Wind and the Rain, lastly, Percy's song is an odd song written by Bob Dylan getting on for fifty years ago. Quite an odd performance, too.

52 Folk Songs is at http://www.52folksongs.com.


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 26 Nov 11 - 11:22 AM

It's a big week at 52fs.

1. Young Waters: this week's folk song is Child 94, a nasty story about jealousy. My version is inspired by June Tabor's (especially the Rocksichord) and features melodica, recorder and drumming.

2. Dayspring Mishandled: my rendering of Peter Bellamy's three-part arrangement of this pseudo-medieval poem by Rudyard Kipling, which features in this short story. Two voices (both mine, as usual) and recorder.

Plus:

3a. The Indigo album - comprising the last seven weeks of 52fs - is complete & almost ready to launch. 20 tracks, 14 of them traditional songs; 70+ minutes of music, featuring multiple vocal tracks, D and G whistles, recorder, flute, Bontempi organ, melodica, drumming and computer programming. (Not all on the same track.) Yours for the frankly laughable sum of 52p. I had it on with the ironing this afternoon, and I can honestly* say that most of it sounds pretty good. (And you can always skip Percy's Song.)

But you can't download it yet, because:

3b. Extras. The finished album will include two tracks which haven't been made available through 52fs, and which will only be obtainable by downloading the album. I'm making them available this weekend, so that people can hear what they'll be missing. They are:

House of the Rising Sun, part 1: a homage to Dave Van Ronk, featuring a vocal bassline, a melodica part that starts as Augustus Pablo and ends up as Faust, and drums. (Lots of drums. Here come the drums, in a very real sense.)

House of the Rising Sun, part 2: a homage to John Otway, featuring the satnav from Mornington Crescent.

52 Folk Songs is at http://www.52folksongs.com.

*Of course, I'm not objective about my own singing - I'm highly critical.


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 14 Dec 11 - 04:35 PM

Week 14 at 52fs never got a post of its own, which was remiss of me! With Advent in mind, I was thinking about pregnancy - and in particular the genuinely mindbending thought of a woman being pregnant with God. People used to take this stuff very seriously indeed; some Advent carols can be seen as meditations on just what an extraordinary thought this is. Certainly that was true of last week's two songs, A maiden that is matchless and Sydney Carter's Come, love, carolling. A maiden... featured a double-tracked vocal in modern and Middle English, and a flute part taken from Dolly Collins's arrangement. CLC featured whistle, recorder, melodica, drums and kitchen sink.

This week (week 15) I'm getting properly into the Christmas spirit with a couple of old choral belters: The Holly and the Ivy and the Boar's Head Carol.

Other things these songs have in common are that they're both shortish (they've both come out at exactly one minute 49), and they're both proper old - early-modern or even medieval old. Oh, and they both supposedly contain pagan and pre-Christian imagery, and if you want to believe that it's up to you. I said what I thought about it last year, at the AFSAD thread on the Boar's Head Carol.

Back to the present. The Holly and the Ivy is sung unaccompanied, in parts, in unison and at one stage in an echo chamber (unintentional, but I liked the effect so I left it in).

My Boar's Head Carol is also unaccompanied, in four parts, most of which I worked out myself. I'm really, really pleased with the result - check it out. You may conclude that I'm really, really easily pleased, but no matter.


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 24 Dec 11 - 07:12 AM

A merry Christmas from 52fs!

Here are two more seasonal songs to mark the last week in Advent. (The white album is all seasonal - they're not all Christmas songs, but they're all songs for the long nights and the turning of the year.)

Shepherds arise: a three-part arrangement of this Christmas Copper song (four if you count octaves). I was originally thinking of adding an instrumental part as well, but I decided the audio spectrum was quite full enough as it was!

A virgin most pure is a two-part arrangement, plus whistle and melodica. My source for this one is the posthumous Young Tradition album the Holly Bears the Crown, on which it was sung by Shirley Collins and Heather Wood.

On these two tracks I not only wrote harmony lines but sang them from the dots. I'm not boasting, particularly, just boggling slightly. I've never done either of those things before - possibly because I never tried.

As you may have noticed, week 16 was longer than average; I'm abandoning the Thursday-to-Wednesday week I started with and going for a more conventional Sunday-to-Saturday. So tomorrow, the 25th of December, will be day 1 of week 17 in 52fs project. (I knew there was something I meant to celebrate...)

52 Folk Songs is at http://www.52folksongs.com.


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 30 Dec 11 - 06:35 PM

Week 17, and here are the last two Christmas songs from 52fs (although there may be an Epiphany song or two coming up). There's also a personal connection between these two songs, as they both fired up (or rekindled) an interest in folk music.

In Dessexshire as it befell is one of the strangest and most chilling traditional songs you'll hear, at Christmas or any other time. James Yorkston's version, which I heard nearly eight years ago, was one link in a chain that led me to seek out the work of Anne Briggs, Nic Jones, Shirley Collins... My version features five melodica tracks and (counts on fingers) nine vocal tracks. It gets a bit creepy towards the end.

Some years earlier, Gaudete was one of the songs that got me into the whole thing in the first place (and I still count Below the Salt as a fine album). Unlike the self-written harmonies on
Dessexshire, all the parts here are as written: seven vocal tracks (singing four different lines), plus some whistle.

52 Folk Songs is at http://www.52folksongs.com.


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: Tootler
Date: 30 Dec 11 - 07:18 PM

Interesting effects on Dessexshire. Your arrangement certainly has a eerie feel to it.


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 08 Jan 12 - 12:23 PM

Week 18, and a couple of songs for Epiphany / Twelfth Night / the turning of the year / that bit just after Christmas.

These are both house-visiting songs - "house visiting" as in dressing up and knocking on doors, rather than dropping in on the neighbours for tea and mince pies.

The King is a song from the old post-Christmas custom of shooting a wren and displaying its body for luck; not a million miles from the Cutty Wren (particularly verse 4). The hunting of the wren is said to be a St Stephen's Day (Boxing Day) custom, but as the song refers to Twelfth Night I thought it would fit in here. Sung in four-part harmony, emulating although not closely imitating the version on Steeleye Span's first album.

Poor old horse is a house-visiting song from the north of England; the 'old horse' (who looked something like this) would collapse and die towards the end, then spring back to life (and go on to the next house, presumably). The song itself only dates back to the mid-19th century. I learned it from John Kirkpatrick's rather jolly and Albionish rendering, but slowed it down after hearing Rapunzel & Sedayne's very different take on the song. It's sung here without any harmonising, but with quite a lot of multi-tracking (vocals, melodica and whistle). The tune at the beginning and end is Scan Tester's The Man in the Moon; there's no deep meaning to the choice of tune, I just thought tune and song went well together.

52 Folk Songs is at http://www.52folksongs.com.


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: Charley Noble
Date: 08 Jan 12 - 02:10 PM

Excellent work!

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: Tootler
Date: 08 Jan 12 - 03:56 PM

I particularly liked Poor Old Horse. Some good effects there. You are certainly having fun with the recording.

Another stereo tip. I found this out by accident, but then also saw a similar tip on the Concertina.net forum.

Place two mics one behind the other some distance apart (mine were about 2 - 3ft), then line up the two recordings in Audacity and pan one left the other right. Surprisingly effective - gives a good stereo image. As good as using a stereo mic or two mics place left & right.

I found this when I was recording simultaneously on my video camera and Edirol R09 recorder. I had intended to replace the audio from the camera mic with the one from the Edirol so I had lined them up to ensure the eventual sound file would be the right length, but when I played it back to check the alignment, I found that the resulting sound was better than either on its own. I can't define exactly how but the sound just seemed a little richer.

I recently featured some tunes on occasional folk songs.


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: GUEST,matt milton
Date: 09 Jan 12 - 06:03 AM

"Place two mics one behind the other some distance apart (mine were about 2 - 3ft), then line up the two recordings in Audacity and pan one left the other right. Surprisingly effective - gives a good stereo image. As good as using a stereo mic or two mics place left & right."

An audio pedant writes...

...Strictly speaking, this isn't a "good stereo image" in a purist, fidelity-to-the-room sense. Because the left and right that you would hear on the recording don't correspond to the actual left and right of your concertina/performance.

Instead, what you've done is used a "room mic" (a.k.a. an "ambient mic") - the mic positioned further back – and repositioned it in the mixdown to make that the equivalent of one side of the stereo image. You've combined a more "roomy" "reverby" take with a dry take: you've transformed depth into width, as it were.

But, yes, it'll sound good and, as you say, "richer". By aligning the two recordings and hard-panning them as far apart as possible, you've eliminated potential phase issues, so none of the sound waves of either mic cancel each other out.


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: Tootler
Date: 10 Jan 12 - 06:59 PM

Fair comment, Matt.

I agree, technically not true stereo, but nevertheless effective and that's what matters to me.

I tried PR's trick as well, it worked but needed quite a bit of fiddling as the stereo "image" was over to one side - which side depended on which way you panned the "lead" and "following" copy. In the end I used three copies of the track aligned at time 0, 0.02 and 0.04 sec and panned them in order, left, centre and right. I needed to raise the volume slightly in the track at 0 (about +1dB) to get a properly centred image. Worked and had the effect of a touch of reverb (or would it be chorus?). I'm not sure I would do it again. Try anything once, though.


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 14 Jan 12 - 06:19 PM

Week 19 (is nearly over), and here's a pair of seasonal songs to close the white album.

In the month of January is after the singing of Sarah Makem and others, including June Tabor. It's one of my all-time favourite traditional songs, up there with Lemady, Searching for Lambs and When a man's in love. Accompaniment: drone (I was hoping to make the accompaniment a bit more elaborate, but teaching myself chords took longer than I'd anticipated).

The January man (by Dave Goulder) is a song that genuinely feels as if it's been around forever. Whether you call it a folk song or not, it's a song that's been sung for forty-odd years now and deserves to be sung for many Januarys more.

52 Folk Songs is at http://www.52folksongs.com.


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 21 Jan 12 - 04:42 PM

Week 20 of 52fs, and I go back to basics to open the Blue album. (The white album isn't available just yet; I need to do some work on the extras, packaging, limited edition vinyl box set, etc.)

Sir Patrick Spens: unaccompanied, no messing. The Blue album is going to be heavy on Child ballads, and where better to start than this one. In this version of the song, which may be familiar from Nic Jones's recording, Sir P. never makes it across the North Sea.

Sir Patrick Spens: also unaccompanied and with a distinct lack of messing. This version, which I learned from Peter Bellamy's recording, lets Sir P. and crew get to Norrowa', although it doesn't do them much good. (The fate of the King's own daughter of Norrowa' is not specified; perhaps they left her behind.)

This is the ballad of Sir Patrick Spens: actually it's not, it's a song I wrote a few years ago. It was inspired by the experience of waiting to go on at a folk club while somebody did the long version of Sir P., and made it even longer by adding instrumental breaks between verses. I salute that singer, whoever he is, and if he's reading this he may consider this my revenge.

52 Folk Songs is at http://www.52folksongs.com.


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: NightWing
Date: 21 Jan 12 - 06:53 PM

I never have been able to hear or download any of the songs from this page. When I click on the album, it goes to the song list for the given album, but when I click on the link to download a song, it just goes to the lyrics page. There's a link there for "Digital Track" and another for "Free Download" that appear to go to the same place, but I just get

Hmm, that shouldn't have happened.
Please go back and try reloading the page, waiting for it to load fully. Sorry for the inconvenience!
Anybody else seeing this?

BB,
NightWing


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 22 Jan 12 - 05:08 AM

NightWing,

You should be able to hear any of the songs at 52 Folk Songs, or by clicking the 'play' icon to the left of the song on the Bandcamp album page.

The Free Download link is supposed to make a pop-up window appear asking for your email address; the download link is mailed to you. My guess would be that it's a Javascript thing. Have you got Javascript disabled or pop-ups blocked?


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 28 Jan 12 - 05:51 PM

52fs, week 21.

The original plan was to record unaccompanied songs for the next few weeks. The plan slipped.

True Thomas is a slightly brisker take on MacColl's version of Child 37, supplemented with melodica, bongoes, G & D whistles and recorder.

The keys to the forest is a modern take on the same theme: a moving, charming, horrifying song by the late and sadly-missed Jackie Leven, mostly unaccompanied but with some zither (thankyou, Hawkin's Bazaar). Another first in the 52fs experience: strings!

52 Folk Songs is at http://www.52folksongs.com.


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 04 Feb 12 - 06:52 PM

Week 22 of 52fs, and I dig deeper into Child ballad territory.

The outlandish knight is Child 4E (a.k.a. Lady Isabel and the Elf Knight) set to a tune I found online. (I then modified the tune slightly to give it a refrain. It's all about the flattened sevenths.) The harmony vocals are by way of a tribute to everyone who sings harmonies at the Beech.

The outlandish knight, on the other hand, was sung late at night and close up to the microphone, almost Chet Baker-style. Both the tune I'm using here and the accompaniment are after Nic Jones (specifically his first recording of the song). I detuned the zither from D to C specially for this song.

52 Folk Songs is at http://www.52folksongs.com.


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 11 Feb 12 - 11:18 AM

Week 23 brings more Child; one of the biggish ones, and certainly one of my favourites.

Little Musgrave is Child 81, and it's what we now think of as a typical Child ballad: it's longish, it's bloody, it comes in several variants and it's got some unforgettable images. (Apart from the confrontation between Musgrave and Lord Barnard – both of whom display a remarkable degree of sang froid in the circumstances – I'm particularly fond of the verse beginning "Is not your hawk"; as if to say, why would you want to leave *now*, when your life's about as good as it's ever going to be? (She was right about that, of course.)) This version is based on Nic Jones's recorded version, only with different words and a different tune. The tune, in fact, is my own, although it is influenced by...

Shady Grove, which probably needs less introduction to most people reading this than it did to me. The arrangement isn't quite what I thought I was doing when I started work on the song, but I don't think I've ruined it completely. (It would take quite a lot to ruin a song like that.)

52 Folk Songs is at http://www.52folksongs.com


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 11 Feb 12 - 11:26 AM

Incidentally, I sing Shady Grove in G minor; the relative major is Bb, but I thought retuning the zither from D all the way down to Bb would be asking for trouble. In the end I went up instead of down and retuned it to Eb Lydian, i.e. the major scale of Bb but running Eb to Eb.


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 18 Feb 12 - 10:55 AM

For week 24 I've recorded not one but two Child ballads; I could have gone up to four without breaking the theme.

The bonny hind is Child 50, and if there's a sadder song in the world, I'm not sure I've heard it. It's sung here with melodica and flute, in an arrangement copied fairly slavishly from Tony Rose's version on On Banks of Green Willow.

Sheath and knife is Child 16; another of the four ballads collected by Child on the theme of brother-sister incest. There's an odd little network of resemblances among the four ballads. In Lady Jean and the Bonny Hind, the two sibs are unknown to each other and are horrified to realise that they are related; both Lizzie Wan and Sheath and Knife feature a long-term incestuous relationship, with pregnancy as the trigger for the crisis. The Bonny Hind and Sheath and Knife both focus on the brother's state of mind after the sister is dead, and in particular his inability to talk about it; in Lizzie Wan the brother is unwilling to talk, but his mother gets the story out of him. The sister's death is suicide in the Bonny Hind and Lady Jean, murder in Lizzie Wan and a kind of suicide-by-proxy in Sheath and Knife. If I had to draw a diagram I would say that Lady Jean and Lizzie Wan were composed separately, with the Bonny Hind developing out of Lady Jean, and Sheath and Knife combining the basic setup of Lizzie Wan with elements of the Bonny Hind. But this is speculation.

This version is also based on work by Tony Rose, who recorded it on Under the greenwood tree and (even more effectively) on Bare bones. It's sung unaccompanied, with double-tracking to emphasise the impersonality of the refrains.

52 Folk Songs is at http://www.52folksongs.com


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 25 Feb 12 - 05:58 PM

Three songs for week 25.

George Collins isn't a Child ballad, although it has connections with a couple that are. Boy meets girl, everybody dies. Tune from the EBPFS, tweaked a bit; voice, melodica and irritating G whistle.

Jamie Douglas is Child 204; specifically, this is Child 204 as edited & arranged by June Tabor under the name of Waly Waly, with a couple of minor changes of my own. The plot is basically Othello without the murder, and seems to be based on fact.

The leaves in the woodland is a bit of Bellamy; specifically, the song he gave June Tabor in the Transports, quite possibly influenced by what she'd done to Jamie Douglas. Perhaps not quite as sad as The bonny hind, but not far off.

I'm quite pleased with the way these have come out, the unaccompanied ones in particular. See what you think.

52 Folk Songs is at http://www.52folksongs.com.


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: GUEST,Guest: NightWing (can't get my cookie re-ena
Date: 25 Feb 12 - 10:43 PM

Well, I tried it in both IE8 and in FireFox 4. Made sure that JavaScript is enabled and that pop-ups are allowed. Still has no "Play" button anywhere. When I click the "Download" link on the Bandcamp page, it goes to a new page that has a "Free Download" link, but when I click that link I get that same error message I described above:

Hmm, that shouldn't have happened.
Please go back and try reloading the page, waiting for it to load fully. Sorry for the inconvenience!

BB,
NightWing


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Subject: RE: Fifty-Two Folk Songs
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 26 Feb 12 - 04:42 AM

That's weird. Are you getting a message saying you need Flash?


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