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Nancy of London (John Faulkner version?)

DigiTrad:
JIMMY AND NANCY
PRETTY NANCY OF YARMOUTH


Related thread:
Lyr Req: Nancy from Yarmouth / Nancy from London (21)


Steve Gardham 14 Jun 19 - 05:55 PM
Steve Gardham 14 Jun 19 - 12:46 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 14 Jun 19 - 08:26 AM
London OldMan 14 Jun 19 - 06:45 AM
Steve Gardham 12 Jun 19 - 05:40 PM
Vic Smith 12 Jun 19 - 03:48 PM
Steve Gardham 12 Jun 19 - 03:38 PM
Vic Smith 12 Jun 19 - 08:22 AM
Vic Smith 12 Jun 19 - 08:12 AM
Joe Offer 11 Jun 19 - 07:38 PM
RTim 11 Jun 19 - 07:00 PM
Steve Gardham 11 Jun 19 - 06:30 PM
Vic Smith 11 Jun 19 - 03:59 PM
Steve Gardham 11 Jun 19 - 03:38 PM
Jim Carroll 11 Jun 19 - 03:00 PM
GUEST 11 Jun 19 - 01:58 PM
GUEST 11 Jun 19 - 01:10 PM
Vic Smith 11 Jun 19 - 12:54 PM
GUEST 11 Jun 19 - 12:23 PM
London OldMan 11 Jun 19 - 11:02 AM
Vic Smith 11 Jun 19 - 10:01 AM
Steve Gardham 11 Jun 19 - 09:52 AM
GUEST 11 Jun 19 - 03:14 AM
Steve Gardham 10 Jun 19 - 03:30 PM
Steve Gardham 10 Jun 19 - 03:11 PM
GUEST,Guest 10 Jun 19 - 12:36 PM
RTim 09 Jun 19 - 07:01 PM
Steve Gardham 09 Jun 19 - 02:44 PM
Reinhard 08 Jun 19 - 05:25 PM
Steve Gardham 08 Jun 19 - 05:11 PM
DaveRo 08 Jun 19 - 02:45 AM
GUEST,Guest Jim Carroll 08 Jun 19 - 02:33 AM
GUEST,Martin Ryan 07 Jun 19 - 07:30 PM
RTim 07 Jun 19 - 05:29 PM
GUEST,Starship 07 Jun 19 - 12:23 PM
Steve Gardham 07 Jun 19 - 11:19 AM
London OldMan 07 Jun 19 - 09:58 AM
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Subject: RE: Nancy of London (John Faulkner version?)
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 14 Jun 19 - 05:55 PM

The version we published in 'Southern Harvest' is a composite of 4 different versions from Hampshire and Dorset. The tune is from Mrs Tuck, first stanza Daniel Wigg, the next 5 from Robert Barratt and the last 2 from Joseph Elliott. Elliott's last stanza is not in any of the broadsides and in fact only occurs in eastern seaboard Canadian versions. As Tim quite rightly says he must have picked up his version when he went fishing off Newfoundland.

I mentioned the first and last stanzas of the earliest broadside as not being found in later versions but in reality the picture is much more complex. The first stanza is found in 3 English versions and more Canadian ones but the last stanza of the early broadside only is found in Canadian (+Elliott's) versions. Even by 1800 a wide variety of titles was being used on broadsides and the sequencing of stanzas was beginning to vary suggesting at least some of those versions had come from oral tradition. Copying from print to print rarely results in different sequencing.

Do ask any questions otherwise I'll leave it at that.


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Subject: RE: Nancy of London (John Faulkner version?)
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 14 Jun 19 - 12:46 PM

As with nearly all songs I've written about I have conducted a full study using all versions at my disposal. Under normal circumstances I don't have all American versions and I lack a few of the more recently recorded ones, although on the latter I have all of the Voice of the People and most of the Veteran and Mustrad traditional song recordings.

What you don't see with oral versions of this song is that unusually the first stanza starts off in third person and jumps to first person half way through. Whilst this jumping about from 1st to 3rd person is common in both traditional and broadside ballads, it only rarely occurs within a single stanza.

As you are showing interest in the evolution of the song I'll look back at my analysis and see if I can find anything unusual. John Pitts printed a version about 1800 so I'll start by comparing that with the 1757 version.

LOM, it's never very far away when I start writing about broadside influences!


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Subject: RE: Nancy of London (John Faulkner version?)
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 14 Jun 19 - 08:26 AM

There are several versions of this song on YouTube, with slightly differing tunes and approaches to singing, and a few sets of lyrics on Mainly Norfolk.

The song raises some interesting questions.

Regarding the lyrics generally: how many folk songs have first person narrators who admit to being able to write? How many of the crew in the 18th century or before would have been literate, even allowing for abuses of impressment? Not to mention the access to writing materials and somewhere to write and membership of a group that had 'rooms and cabins'. He isn't mentioning guns or cargo or rigging etc. or the dangers of being on deck. Though since the crew appear only to have known a storm was coming when the captain saw the sign in the sky they don't seem to have been particularly experienced.

I don't agree that he is addressing himself; he is addressing Nancy.

The version mentioning Zeus seems to me likely to have come from the pen of somebody with at least some passing familiarity with classical mythology.

I would not be at all unhappy with the idea that the words of the garland had been written by a landsman who never went to sea. Some of the lexis such as 'discern' feels relatively educated.

The key and striking thought in the song seems to be the idea that you cannot run away from a sinking warship whereas soldiers have some chance of escape.

It fascinates me that people like Steve can provide so much documentary evidence about the past of a song. And then we novices can find sung examples on line to listen to.


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Subject: RE: Nancy of London (John Faulkner version?)
From: London OldMan
Date: 14 Jun 19 - 06:45 AM

What happened to the row? I know I asked about a song and it's recording history, but a good row is always a diversion, ain't it.


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Subject: RE: Nancy of London (John Faulkner version?)
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 12 Jun 19 - 05:40 PM

I thought it was fine, Vic. I try to follow the same policy myself.


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Subject: RE: Nancy of London (John Faulkner version?)
From: Vic Smith
Date: 12 Jun 19 - 03:48 PM

I think serif what what you were after.

I really wasn't being picky, It's just that as a former head of a residential special school things often get rather angry and uncomfortable and I found that humour was always a great diffuser of tension and anger, so I find that when things get a bit tense, I start joking. It was meant to be a joke, but it wasn't a very good one.
Sorry


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Subject: RE: Nancy of London (John Faulkner version?)
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 12 Jun 19 - 03:38 PM

Should that be serif then? My desk dictionary hasn't got it.

Fine for me, Joe.


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Subject: RE: Nancy of London (John Faulkner version?)
From: Vic Smith
Date: 12 Jun 19 - 08:22 AM

Steve wrote:-
(Verbatim other than I have rationalised the seraph s where it occurs.)

Good idea, Steve. We don't want them 'forthwith appearing in a shining throng of angels praising God, who thus addressed their joyful song', do we?


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Subject: RE: Nancy of London (John Faulkner version?)
From: Vic Smith
Date: 12 Jun 19 - 08:12 AM

As far as I am concerned, yes, fine. Thanks Joe.


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Subject: RE: Nancy of London (John Faulkner version?)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 11 Jun 19 - 07:38 PM

I added song titles to posts from Steve Gardham and Vic Smith. Did I do it right?
Thanks.
-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Nancy of London (John Faulkner version?)
From: RTim
Date: 11 Jun 19 - 07:00 PM

Hey guys.....It's a song - and it should be sung!!!

Tim Radford


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Subject: RE: Nancy of London (John Faulkner version?)
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 11 Jun 19 - 06:30 PM

Correction needed to the printer of the 'Jug of this' version I posted above. More senility! The title of the song was 'A Jorum of This' and the printer was Robertson of Glasgow c1800. I have a Pitts copy with the title 'Jug of This' which is closer to oral versions of which there are only a few.


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Subject: ADD version: Pretty Nancy from Yarmouth
From: Vic Smith
Date: 11 Jun 19 - 03:59 PM

I love the version of this song and it's the one that I sing is one I feel closely associated with because it was collected by Ken Stubbs from George Townshend in the Royal Oak in Lewes where we ran a folk club each Thursday for a quarter of a century.
George's version of Pretty Nancy from Yarmouth is in Ken's book The Life of a Man.

PRETTY NANCY FROM YARMOUTH

Pretty Nancy from Yarmouth, o my joy and delight!
It's of a kind letter I am now going to write;
It is to inform you what we undergo
All on the salt sea, my love, where the stormy winds blow.

'Twas early one evening, just before it grew dark,
Our captain came to us and he showed us a mark;
He showed us a mark, boys, from Zeus in the sky,
He said he was sure there was a storm very nigh.

'Twas early the next morning just before it grew day
Our captain came to us and these words he did say,
“Be all of good heart, boys, be all of good cheer,
For whilst we have sea-roads, brave boys, never fear.”

It's well, my dearest jewel, how we were toss'd about
Like an army of soldiers going forth for to fight.
A soldier may fly to his sword or his gun
But a sailor must submit to his watery tomb.

However I would say that George's version - fine as it is - does not move me as much as the one collected from George Ling and from Fred Ling in East Anglia.


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Subject: ADD version: Pretty Nancy of London
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 11 Jun 19 - 03:38 PM

Here's the 1757 printing from Lord Anson's Garland.

PRETTY NANCY OF LONDON

Pretty Nancy of London, in Leadenhall-street,
Being courted by Billy, on board of the fleet:
O when that the stormy winds begin for to blow,
My heart is oppressed with sorrow and woe!

Pretty Nancy of London, my own heart's delight,
I now this kind letter unto you write;
For to acquaint you what we undergo
Upon the salt seas where the hurricanes blow.

A ship in distress is a most terrible sight,
Like an army of soldiers just going to fight.
A soldier can shun his most terrible doom,
But a sailor must submit to a watery tomb.

It was late in the evening before it was dark,
Our honoured captain he shew'd us a mark,
Of something that he could discern in the skies,
Of a terrible storm that was going to rise.

It roared like thunder, it toss'd us about,
And many a bold sailor, both gallant and stout,
Stood trembling & quaking, 'twixt hope & despair,
One moment below, and another in the air.

Early in the morning, before it was day,
Our honoured Captain unto us did say,
Be not afraid, brave boys, but be of good cheer,
If we have good sea-room, we have nothing to fear.

But when the wind blows, it makes my heart ake,
It makes all our cabins and rooms for to shake;
But what can I do, so far from the shore?
I think on my true love, what can I do more?

(Verbatim other than I have rationalised the seraph s where it occurs.)

The later print adaptations 'Nancy of Yarmouth' c1800 lack the first and last stanza.

Merely for comparison and to demonstrate the recycling that went on in the print industry, here is an equivalent couplet from a 17th century broadside printed after 1692 but could be earlier.

Fair beautiful Lady my love and delight,
Here's a Letter which I in a prison did write.


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Subject: RE: Nancy of London (John Faulkner version?)
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 11 Jun 19 - 03:00 PM

We were Joe
Steve raised the subject of printed versions - I responded
If your warning refers to that, it applies to both os us
Jim


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Subject: RE: Nancy of London (John Faulkner version?)
From: GUEST
Date: 11 Jun 19 - 01:58 PM

Incidentally - why should only "dated" material be worthy of discussion ?
That's a new one on me
Jim
    As I used to do as a soccer/football referee, I hereby issue a yellow card on this discussion, specifically directed at Jim Carroll. Please, we would like to discuss only the song in this thread.
    -Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Nancy of London (John Faulkner version?)
From: GUEST
Date: 11 Jun 19 - 01:10 PM

It is not for anybody here to say what can and cannot be discussed on this forum Vic
If you don't wish to participate, don't, but please don't attempt to stop anybody else from doing so
Because Steve's opinion is contentious, it is perhaps upi to him whether to take part in a discussion on it - it is a controversial enough one to make it a valid subject for discussion on a thread like this
So far, any heat appears to be coming from you in trying to stop it
Steve raised the question of printed versions in suggesting that the two titles used for this song was "a mistake"
Jim


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Subject: RE: Nancy of London (John Faulkner version?)
From: Vic Smith
Date: 11 Jun 19 - 12:54 PM

that is I put is perfectly politely Vic,

Well, that would be a matter of opinion. I would suggest that your comment I suppose you’re left with the ‘talented singing parrots’ theory is at best meaningless and could be regarded as provocative.

You also write My point about the claimed literary origins of folk song is there for response - feel free to respond - you and Steve, that is
You know that Steve's approach is that only dated admissible evidence is worthy of discussion and that is why he has put so many hours into dating broadsides, chapbooks and other sources. You counter that by saying that even the early printed evidence cannot assure us that the songs were not in circulation before they appeared in print and that your gut feeling is that they originated with 'the people' (though that term is never defined satisfactorily.)
Because of the lack of evidence, it becomes an argument for argument's sake, becomes heated and has ruined many threads on this forum.


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Subject: RE: Nancy of London (John Faulkner version?)
From: GUEST
Date: 11 Jun 19 - 12:23 PM

"As has been pointed out by the mods, "
My point about the claimed literary origins of folk song is there for response - feel free to respond - you and Steve, that is
I put is perfectly politely Vic
One of the "mods" you referred to decided to delete a perfectly innocuous thread I opened - not very moderate, certainly not within the remit of any mod I have come into contact with - which is why am choosing to post as a guest as a protest at this undemocratic behaviour
Jim


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Subject: RE: Nancy of London (John Faulkner version?)
From: London OldMan
Date: 11 Jun 19 - 11:02 AM

Thanks to all, particularly Tim Radford and Starship. Good to hear that version again.

A.


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Subject: RE: Nancy of London (John Faulkner version?)
From: Vic Smith
Date: 11 Jun 19 - 10:01 AM

As has been pointed out by the mods, It is not what he says but the way that he says it that is objectionable. If only he could just leave it at the "This is what I believe..." stage.


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Subject: RE: Nancy of London (John Faulkner version?)
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 11 Jun 19 - 09:52 AM

Oh dear! Here we go!


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Subject: RE: Nancy of London (John Faulkner version?)
From: GUEST
Date: 11 Jun 19 - 03:14 AM

Printed texts prove nothing Steve and never will until someone proves that there are no earlier versions - thought we'd established that a long time ago?
Hacks on the hunt for new material are far more likely to have taken and expanded for urban audiences, existing traditional songs, than impoverished non literate land-workers were to have purchased long, unsingable doggerel, taken it home to their ill-lit cottages and worked assiduously to turn it into the streamlined gems of the oral tradition

I made my mind up on that one a long time ago, when we recorded an illiterate traveller who described having taken his father's traditional songs into a Kerry printer, (next door to Limerick), recited them over the counter and had them turned into ballad sheets to sell at the local fairs and markets - common practice throughout rural Ireland right up to the mid 1950s
Virtually every town in Ireland has proved itself to have had home-grown song-makers churning out songs on every subject under the sun - maybe their counterparts in England were "too busy trying to feed their families" and had to pay someone to do it for them!

Once you accept the fact that rural working people were capable of having made our folk songs, it’s a simple step to arrive at the conclusion that they probably did – if you don’t accept that idea, I suppose you’re left with the ‘talented singing parrots’ theory   
Jim Carroll


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Subject: ADD: A Jorum of This
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 10 Jun 19 - 03:30 PM

>>>>>another example from the same source is "Ye Mariners All"<<<<<

Couldn't agree more. Here's the earliest extant version from an eighteenth century songster. The printer was Robertson of Glasgow c1800. The title of the Garland is 'The Constant Swain (to which are added) etc. My copy comes from ECCO (Eighteenth Century Catalogue Online). I leave our readers to make their own minds up where it might have come from.

A JORUM OF THIS

You tippling souls as you pass by,
Step in and taste, I know you're dry,
And when you've done, don't take't amiss,
To pawn your shirt for one jug of this.

Now gentlemen before you call,
I can neither write on board nor wall,
For the meaning of my song is this,
I don't trust you a quart of this.

It's you that has got half a crown,
kindly welcome for to sit down,
And if you have got your money flush,
You may prime your nose o'er a jug of this.

You Gods that sees a future state,
Some other beasts may have their fate;
May the Gods transform me into a fish
That I may swim in a jug of this.

Was I cast on some distant shore,
Where do the foaming billows roar,
For my desire would be in this,
To a lovely lass and a jug of this.

Yet was I sick, both pale and wan,
And scarcely able for to stand,
All my own cure would be in this,
A lovely lass and a jug of this.

When I am dead and laid in my grave,
No corse-like-tomb-stone let me have;
Give me my desire and crown my wish,
Drink o'er my grave a hogshead of this.

There you go, you can make up your own minds, London pleasure gardens or farm labourer perhaps?


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Subject: RE: Nancy of London (John Faulkner version?)
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 10 Jun 19 - 03:11 PM

IMHO missing.


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Subject: RE: Nancy of London (John Faulkner version?)
From: GUEST,Guest
Date: 10 Jun 19 - 12:36 PM

"'Nancy of London' is probably an error."
No reason in the world to suggest this came from an under-talented hack
It is a superbly reflective song - often referred to as "drunken-daft" - another example from the same source is "Ye Mariners All"
In both cases the singer is addressing himself and, in a few superbly constructed verses, is pouring out his loneliness
It lacks narrative because it doesn't need a story - the feelings expressed are those who appear to have "been there and done that" - no desk-bound pen-pusher could hope to make something as sensitive as this
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Nancy of London (John Faulkner version?)
From: RTim
Date: 09 Jun 19 - 07:01 PM

Nancy of London is what it was called in Newfoundland - where Joseph Elliott "may" have learnt it when he worked there in the fish fleet...

Tim Radford


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Subject: RE: Nancy of London (John Faulkner version?)
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 09 Jun 19 - 02:44 PM

'Nancy from London' is what I have. Nancy of Yarmouth is the generic/Master Title. 'Nancy of London' is probably an error.


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Subject: RE: Nancy of London (John Faulkner version?)
From: Reinhard
Date: 08 Jun 19 - 05:25 PM

Funny that Elliott's Dorset version is listed with three titles:

https://www.vwml.org/record/HAM/2/8/13 Nancy of London
https://www.vwml.org/record/RoudFS/S246057 Nancy from London
https://www.vwml.org/record/RoudFS/S155546 Nancy of Yarmouth


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Subject: RE: Nancy of London (John Faulkner version?)
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 08 Jun 19 - 05:11 PM

The earliest extant version is printed in Lord Anson's garland c1757 and in that Nancy is from London but by about 1790 broadsides were putting her from Yarmouth. Of the Hammond/Gardiner Ms versions only Elliott's Dorset version gives London. All the others are Yarmouth. Overall London and Yarmouth are pretty evenly distributed and occasionally oral tradition gives us Weymouth and Plymouth. Laments rarely have much of a narrative and are easily fragmented.


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Subject: RE: Nancy of London (John Faulkner version?)
From: DaveRo
Date: 08 Jun 19 - 02:45 AM

John Tams sings a version of this on his album The Reckoning, twinned with A Sailor's Life.

I always smile at 'that fair inland stream'. It that's the Thames it's a pretty old song!


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Subject: RE: Nancy of London (John Faulkner version?)
From: GUEST,Guest Jim Carroll
Date: 08 Jun 19 - 02:33 AM

Nancy of London/Yarmouth appears on The Critics Group sea album, 'As We Were a-Sailing' sung by Ewan MacColl, released by Argo records in the mid-1960s
John, like other members of the Group, added it to their repertoires
The song, with it's remarkable tune, was originally got from a singer recorded by H D H Hammond who described it as follows:

18   Nancy Of Yarmouth
H. E. D. Hammond, who collected this beautiful song, has said that it is "widely known in Dorsetshire on account, I suppose, of its fine tunes, since I have never come across a complete and intelligible set of the words".
Ewan MacColl (Peggy Seeger: Concertina)

I'm pretty sure a similar version was recorded by the BBC in the 1950s
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Nancy of London
From: GUEST,Martin Ryan
Date: 07 Jun 19 - 07:30 PM

Hmm ... Tried to answer this earlier but nothing has appeared.
John is a neighbour and friend of mine - I’ll ask him about the song ASAP.

Regards


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Subject: RE: Nancy of London
From: RTim
Date: 07 Jun 19 - 05:29 PM

A version I recorded several years ago that didn't make it onto my Home From Home CD..

https://soundcloud.com/tim-radford/nancy-of-london

Tim Radford


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Subject: RE: Nancy of London
From: GUEST,Starship
Date: 07 Jun 19 - 12:23 PM

I think it may be Nancy from London. If so, here's a link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U_4gtXbiR3U I hope it's the right song. There's another on YouTube under that title.


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Subject: RE: Nancy of London
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 07 Jun 19 - 11:19 AM

Can't help with the Faulkner recording, but NofL and other 'London' titles are fairly common both in tradition and on broadsides. Bits of it go back to the 17th century.


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Subject: Nancy of London
From: London OldMan
Date: 07 Jun 19 - 09:58 AM

Anyone know of a recording of Nancy of London, either by John Faulkner, who made it his own in the 60s and 70s, or anyone since?

There are some 'folksy' versions of Nancy from Yarmouth, and a typically A L Lloyd version on Jack Tars and Jacobites (about 1970), but John's version seems peculiar to him.

Any ideas welcomed.

Thanks.


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