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She Moved Through the Fair - advice

17 Jul 03 - 05:51 AM (#985004)
Subject: She Moved Through the Fair - advice
From: GUEST,Tunesmith

"She Moved Through the Fair" is, to me, a very special song - both lyrically and melodically. It's a song not to mess with. I've known it forever, but, recently, I started working out a version on the whistle, and now I fancy singing it, too. Now, I need some inspiration on how to approach it. I guess there must be some "definitive" classic recordings of this song - both sung and played. Any suggestions appreciated.


17 Jul 03 - 06:11 AM (#985011)
Subject: RE: She Moved Through the Fair - advice
From: GUEST,Vince

Ello Tunesmith, I always liked the version by Mick Groves of the Spinners who recorded it many years ago. Mick, if i remember, sang it un-accompanied. Some do say, though, that their are better interpretations. Bert Jansch also does a version. Agreed, Tis a great song tho don't know about a definitive version. i'd be as interested as you to know


17 Jul 03 - 06:38 AM (#985026)
Subject: RE: She Moved Through the Fair - advice
From: GUEST,minklet

I think you should approach the song in your own way rather than looking for a definitive version. You clearly love the song, and so if you play with singing it for a while then you will evolve your own interpretation.

I'm working on it at the moment as well - hence I was interested in this thread. I am messing around slightly with the words, with the phrasing/timing and with the pitches - its a song you can really fly with! I'm interpreting it as a woman singing about a man who wants to "anticipate the vows" - is warned off of him by other people & who loses him, then sees him many years later when he is dead & his ghost again tries to persuade her to sleep with him.

Its one of several slightly ambiguous songs that you can really get into & feel a story of. That is why I think a definitive version is a bit of a red herring. I'm waiting for a mellow night to sing it, because my version goes up really high & I need to be relaxed or I'll squeak & spoil it!

I know mine won't be the best interpretation in the world - but it will be my own, - and I'll still love listening to all the other versions.

Best of luck with interpreting it your way Tunesmith.


17 Jul 03 - 06:48 AM (#985032)
Subject: RE: She Moved Through the Fair - advice
From: Billy the Bus

Hey Tunesmith, to add to the above, Frank Sinatra (or somesuch) sang a song "I Did it MY Way" - THAT is the 'definative' version. Just belt it out the way you like it!

Cheers - Sam


17 Jul 03 - 07:11 AM (#985043)
Subject: RE: She Moved Through the Fair - advice
From: Stewie

Have a listen to Margaret Barry. You can find her version on this album:

Click Here

--Stewie.


17 Jul 03 - 07:40 AM (#985053)
Subject: RE: She Moved Through the Fair - advice
From: Morticia

I like Loreena McKennit's version....very ethereal


17 Jul 03 - 08:32 AM (#985073)
Subject: RE: She Moved Through the Fair - advice
From: Trevor

I like Mrs Ackroyd's version. Very.........something!


17 Jul 03 - 08:38 AM (#985078)
Subject: RE: She Moved Through the Fair - advice
From: Snuffy

I thought it was bit wet, actually, Trev


17 Jul 03 - 08:54 AM (#985091)
Subject: RE: She Moved Through the Fair - advice
From: Fiolar

Try the great John McCormack's version as well as one done by The Chieftains.


17 Jul 03 - 08:55 AM (#985093)
Subject: RE: She Moved Through the Fair - advice
From: the lemonade lady

When ever anyone starts this song I take it as a chance to go to the loo.


17 Jul 03 - 09:02 AM (#985100)
Subject: RE: She Moved Through the Fair - advice
From: GUEST,Den

A beautiful song. I think it helps to think about the story in the song. If you approach it in that way you should do okay. Hope that made sense. Mary Black does a fine version, IMO. Den


17 Jul 03 - 09:25 AM (#985112)
Subject: RE: She Moved Through the Fair - advice
From: Noreen

This song must be a contender (along with My Way and Yesterday) for the most frequently recorded song- a listing of all those who have recorded it would be as long as your arm.
And in case no-one else does, I'll give Art Garfunkel's version an honourable mention here...

It is indeed one of the most beautiful songs.

But really, (and no offence intended to anyone) does the world need another version of SMTTF?

When there are so many other beautiful songs which are rarely heard?


17 Jul 03 - 09:59 AM (#985140)
Subject: RE: She Moved Through the Fair - advice
From: GUEST

Noreen, the world doesn't NEED any version of anything - but those of us who love to sing the song may NEED to sing it our way. I prefer to hear alternative versions of a song than to hear everyone meticulously singing it in the same way. Vive la difference!
But you are right - there are tons of beautiful songs that don't get heard enough - so we'd best all sing those as well.......


17 Jul 03 - 10:15 AM (#985147)
Subject: RE: She Moved Through the Fair - advice
From: Noreen

Fair enough, GUEST. The more singing the better!

And I certainly wasn't suggesting that new people coming to the song should sing it in the same way- just because Mary Black or Mick Groves or even Margaret Barry sings it a certain way. It doesn't mean anything unless you have taken a song and made it your own before singing it.

Now, I would love to make a compilation of different people singing this song... Keep your versions coming, folks! So far:

Mrs Ackroyd
Margaret Barry
Mary Black
The Chieftains
Art Garfunkel
Mick Groves
Bert Jansch
John McCormack
Loreena McKennit


17 Jul 03 - 10:36 AM (#985166)
Subject: RE: She Moved Through the Fair - advice
From: GUEST,Vince

Noreen did say , GUEST, 'and no offence intended to anyone'. Hi-ever, with all the versions, it would appear, there are of this song it might be a bit hard to produce another really different version - but then i'm certainly no expert - perhaps its always, as they say in classical music circles, a variation on a theme?

Do you sing it Noreen and if so why are'nt you on that list?


17 Jul 03 - 10:48 AM (#985182)
Subject: RE: She Moved Through the Fair - advice
From: Noreen

I sing it for my own pleasure Vince, but never have done in public- and that list is of recorded versions.

I must include the lovely version on Cara's Asleep Behind the Settee- lovely singing, uillean pipes and Oakley's fiddle.


17 Jul 03 - 10:49 AM (#985183)
Subject: RE: She Moved Through the Fair - advice
From: zanderfish3 (inactive)

Listen to all the singers Noreen reccomends plus Anne Briggs


17 Jul 03 - 10:52 AM (#985186)
Subject: RE: She Moved Through the Fair - advice
From: GUEST,same one

Oi - Vince, who said I was offended? I was disagreeing, not arguing.


17 Jul 03 - 10:58 AM (#985192)
Subject: RE: She Moved Through the Fair - advice
From: Noreen

I didn't see any offence being taken!

I'm not necessarily recommending all the versions I listed there, zanderfish, just compiled them from previous postings. Such a compilation CD would make for very interesting discussion though.


17 Jul 03 - 11:04 AM (#985196)
Subject: RE: She Moved Through the Fair - advice
From: Trevor

Has anybody heard Whitesnake's version of this? Or Rolf Harris?


17 Jul 03 - 11:06 AM (#985198)
Subject: RE: She Moved Through the Fair - advice
From: Noreen

What are you on, Trevor??


17 Jul 03 - 11:06 AM (#985199)
Subject: RE: She Moved Through the Fair - advice
From: dick greenhaus

Hey Stewie--
Why direct folks to higher-priced sourced? CAMSCO carries the same CD for $12.98

And buying from CAMSCO gives the Mudcat a boost.


17 Jul 03 - 11:08 AM (#985202)
Subject: RE: She Moved Through the Fair - advice
From: GUEST,Vince

Point taken, GUEST. Reckon that CD could be a double Noreen


17 Jul 03 - 11:19 AM (#985210)
Subject: RE: She Moved Through the Fair - advice
From: Trevor

Sorry No! Having a boring afternoon!


17 Jul 03 - 11:28 AM (#985216)
Subject: RE: She Moved Through the Fair - advice
From: Noreen

Tell me it's not so, Trevor? About Whitesnake and Rolf??
(RH is believable at any rate- after Stairway to Heaven...)


17 Jul 03 - 11:35 AM (#985223)
Subject: RE: She Moved Through the Fair - advice
From: the lemonade lady

It's about time he did record it. Now that would be worth a listen. I put this song into the same catagory as 'Wild Rover' and 'Streets of London'.

I sat with a whole load of Southern Irish people the other night around a bonfire and heard someone sing 'The fields of Athenry'. I have always put this song into that catagory, when sung in a session by an English person. When I heard an Irish man sing it I nearly cried. It was beautiful.

Sal


17 Jul 03 - 11:39 AM (#985227)
Subject: RE: She Moved Through the Fair - advice
From: zanderfish3 (inactive)

I think people should listen to many different versions before making
up one's mind. my own favourite versions are Maggie Barrie and Anne Briggs.
Dave.


17 Jul 03 - 11:42 AM (#985228)
Subject: RE: She Moved Through the Fair - advice
From: GUEST,Dick

Dick, speaking for myself, and not necessarily for Stewie, it is not directing people to other sources to BUY, but to HEAR. Many do it frequently.

And I cast my vote for John McCormack, the only version I really listen to.


17 Jul 03 - 11:45 AM (#985232)
Subject: RE: She Moved Through the Fair - advice
From: the lemonade lady

Westlife did quite a good version believe it or not!


17 Jul 03 - 11:54 AM (#985246)
Subject: RE: She Moved Through the Fair - advice
From: Hawker

I personally like the way Josef Locke sings it - especially when he sings like a swan in the evening moves over the lake - just like a swan would move - but then, that's just me!
.......and then of course there is the goldfish & teddy bear parody version! Hmmmm!
Cheers, Lucy


17 Jul 03 - 11:54 AM (#985247)
Subject: RE: She Moved Through the Fair - advice
From: Willa

Add my vote for the John McCormack version.


17 Jul 03 - 11:57 AM (#985251)
Subject: RE: She Moved Through the Fair - advice
From: Noreen

Sal, you need to hear SMttF done well...

Main reason I don't sing it is that it reminds me of a long-dead friend whose only song it was. He played beautiful fiddle, and most people never knew he sang, but in the right environment he would sing this song.

It still makes me feel like crying just thinking of it.


17 Jul 03 - 12:05 PM (#985260)
Subject: RE: She Moved Through the Fair - advice
From: Watson

It was the first song I ever sang in public - well, since the time I was a choirboy anyway.
The only version I'd heard at the time was All About Eve.


17 Jul 03 - 12:21 PM (#985275)
Subject: RE: She Moved Through the Fair - advice
From: GUEST,Dale

HEY! The one that says GUEST,Dick was ME.   I certainly wasn't thinking when I posted "my" name.


17 Jul 03 - 01:10 PM (#985318)
Subject: RE: She Moved Through the Fair - advice
From: Mrs.Duck

My favourite version is the Anne Briggs and it is the one I sing - I'll give you fair warning when, Sally! I like it because of its simplicity.


17 Jul 03 - 01:34 PM (#985337)
Subject: RE: She Moved Through the Fair - advice
From: PoppaGator

Geez, Tunesmith, if you know the song that well and have enjoyed it so much for so many years, you really shouldn't worry about how you should sing it. By this time, you have undoubtedly developed your own approach, if only unconsciously -- just open your throat and let it out! Then do it again and see if it's any different, lather, rinse, repeat, etc.

Sooner or later, we'll have *your* definitive version, something unique, at least a little bit different than anything we've heard before.

Aside: This must be a record for number of posts in a single day, or nearly so -- hmm? '^)


17 Jul 03 - 01:35 PM (#985338)
Subject: RE: She Moved Through the Fair - advice
From: Mrs.Duck

Just been listening to Richard Thompson doing it - don't think he pulls it off!


17 Jul 03 - 05:20 PM (#985480)
Subject: RE: She Moved Through the Fair - advice
From: Liz the Squeak

Missed the Spinners off your list - twas from thier version I learned it and it was the first folk song I ever performed in public.

LTS


17 Jul 03 - 05:44 PM (#985494)
Subject: RE: She Moved Through the Fair - advice
From: Clinton Hammond

Love this song.. one hell of a good ghost story...

I have to admit I find it very heard to keep a straight face during the last verse though...

I dreamt it last night that
My dead love came in
So softly she entered
Her feet made no din
She laid her hand on me
AAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH!! Scary ZOMBIE WOMAN!!!!!!!!!! Get her off me!!!!!

... is what I have to work VERY hard to keep from singing!

LOL


17 Jul 03 - 05:55 PM (#985499)
Subject: RE: She Moved Through the Fair - advice
From: TheBigPinkLad

You might want to give a listen to Paul Young's version of "I was in chains" which is (IMHO) an excellent interpretation of SMTTF. Has a digeridoo which might seem a bit naff but works well.


17 Jul 03 - 06:17 PM (#985518)
Subject: RE: She Moved Through the Fair - advice
From: Folkiedave

There have been a number of people who mention Maggie Barry and Anne Briggs - two of my favourite singers BTW.

I reckon there is a good chance that Anne Briggs got it off Maggie and then re-interpreted it.

Dave


17 Jul 03 - 06:34 PM (#985529)
Subject: RE: She Moved Through the Fair - advice
From: Herga Kitty

I haven't sung it in public for years and years, but I used to sing it for Mick Henry about 30 years ago in the Gardeners Arms on Friday nights in Plantation Road, Oxford. (After Peta Webb had left Oxford, because apparently she used to sing it for Mick Henry at the Gardeners Arms). And Rupert Ray (who is coming to Sidmouth for the Monday folk clubs reunited session), has reminded me that I used to sing it on Mondays at Heritage too.

K


17 Jul 03 - 06:55 PM (#985537)
Subject: RE: She Moved Through the Fair - advice
From: michaelr

Nobody's mentioned the Sandy Denny/Fairport Convention version! It's the first one I heard, remained the only one for quite a time, and to me it's the definitive one.

Cheers,
Michael


17 Jul 03 - 07:27 PM (#985557)
Subject: RE: She Moved Through the Fair - advice
From: pixieofdoom

I quite liked the All About Eve version


17 Jul 03 - 07:31 PM (#985560)
Subject: RE: She Moved Through the Fair - advice
From: McGrath of Harlow

I don't think the Pogues ever recorded it did they?


17 Jul 03 - 07:37 PM (#985565)
Subject: RE: She Moved Through the Fair - advice
From: GUEST,Eric the Fish

1: Annie Briggs
2: Sandy Denny
3: Trees
4: Margaret Barry
5: The bloke who used to sing it in "The Dun Cow" Salthouse, North Norfolk.


17 Jul 03 - 08:06 PM (#985582)
Subject: RE: She Moved Through the Fair - advice
From: Uncle_DaveO

If it's a folk song, there cannot BE a definitive version. And really, no-one should look for one.

Dave Oesterreich


17 Jul 03 - 08:12 PM (#985586)
Subject: RE: She Moved Through the Fair - advice
From: McGrath of Harlow

Whether it's a folk song or not, I think what Dave said is just as true. All good songs deserve to be sung in different ways by different people, and they benefit from it. Even if the upshot is just to make you appreciate some particular rendering even more.


17 Jul 03 - 08:23 PM (#985592)
Subject: RE: She Moved Through the Fair - advice
From: Noreen

Eric, are you related to Eric the half a bee?


18 Jul 03 - 03:46 AM (#985731)
Subject: RE: She Moved Through the Fair - advice
From: GUEST,Vince

Right, that's it! this script is getting far too silly.........


18 Jul 03 - 04:20 AM (#985741)
Subject: RE: She Moved Through the Fair - advice
From: Trevor

Nobody's mentioned Van Morrison's attempt yet. Now that is different!


18 Jul 03 - 06:24 AM (#985789)
Subject: RE: She Moved Through the Fair - advice
From: Fiolar

According to the All Music Guide there are some 96 vocal versions on various records. That doesn't include nearly as many instrumental versions.


18 Jul 03 - 09:59 AM (#985920)
Subject: RE: She Moved Through the Fair - advice
From: GUEST,Den at work

McGrath I don't think the Pogues did but Shane sang it on a solo effort. Sinead sang it very well too.


18 Jul 03 - 11:29 AM (#985984)
Subject: RE: She Moved Through the Fair - advice
From: McGrath of Harlow

Shane sang it on a solo effort. That could be interesting to hear.


18 Jul 03 - 12:50 PM (#986026)
Subject: RE: She Moved Through the Fair - advice
From: GUEST,Den at work

Done in his inimitable style of course.


18 Jul 03 - 01:41 PM (#986063)
Subject: RE: She Moved Through the Fair - advice
From: Leo Condie

now, the big question...do you sing three or four verses? I personally go for the whole four myself but I believe some people like to miss out the second verse for some reason.


18 Jul 03 - 02:30 PM (#986091)
Subject: RE: She Moved Through the Fair - advice
From: McGrath of Harlow

That's how Margaret Barry sang it, with just the three verses, and that's how lots of people, includng me, first heard it.

I think it works dramatically better without that third verse explaining things a bit. I don't want explanations.

I'm not sure whether that verse was in Padraic Colum's version when he published it - I've seen it printed both ways.

I think it was likely Margaret Barry's recording that made people sing the last verse with "my dead love came in" - and I think that's a lot better than "my young love came in".


18 Jul 03 - 02:43 PM (#986100)
Subject: RE: She Moved Through the Fair - advice
From: GUEST,Jim Clark..London.England

Hi Tunesmith,

Yes I agree this is a very special song...you can just nexer forget it...

You might enjoy a listen to a version I recorded in the mid 1990's for my video/sound archive of acoustic musicians and poets....a wonderful couple of singing sisters came to see me calling themselves "The Holohan sisters" ...Jane Holohan sings this one unnacompanied.....
She Moved Through the fair performed by Jane Holohan ...


Regards.

JC.....


18 Jul 03 - 03:00 PM (#986109)
Subject: RE: She Moved Through the Fair - advice
From: Leo Condie

I've never found that verse to give a particularly good explanation, but it definitely seems to be a song that benefits from being as mysterious as possible, so I suppose in a way missing out the third (i got it wrong when i said second) verse does add to it. Having said that, it's a song I greatly enjoy singing so the more of it there is to sing, the more I like it!


18 Jul 03 - 04:02 PM (#986146)
Subject: RE: She Moved Through the Fair - advice
From: Malcolm Douglas

Margaret Barry learned the song from a John McCormack record, it appears, and the introduction of "dead love" seems to derive from him, possibly as the result of an accidental misreading of sheet music. Certainly it doesn't appear in Colum's verses, or in any known traditional forms of the song on which he based it. The "mystery" is of recent origin. Those aspects of the song have been discussed here in the past at some length, of course.


18 Jul 03 - 06:27 PM (#986248)
Subject: RE: She Moved Through the Fair - advice
From: McGrath of Harlow

Whether it's "young love" or "dead love" it seems pretty clear to me she's dead either way. And he's not go long to go.


18 Jul 03 - 06:32 PM (#986254)
Subject: RE: She Moved Through the Fair - advice
From: Leo Condie

life's a bugger, eh!


18 Jul 03 - 06:43 PM (#986264)
Subject: RE: She Moved Through the Fair - advice
From: GUEST

Here is one not mentioned.

Naimh Parsons sings it on 100 Irish Ballads volume 2. I love what she has done with it, without changing notes, over dramatizing or changing the words. There is an honesty in most everything she sings (even on that record). I would most enjoy versions that use ornamentation, slight changes in phrasing, and just plain heart-felt singing to get the point across. To me, this is one of the great Irish ballads and I don't think it should be messed with too much. Just my opinion.

Tunesmith, good luck on your interpretation.

Claire


19 Jul 03 - 11:03 AM (#986561)
Subject: RE: She Moved Through the Fair - advice
From: GUEST,Heely

Has anyone else heard the "King's Singers" do this one? It is 7 part unaccompanied men's voices, arranged by Daryl Runswick. We love it. I'm using the arrangement for my school choral group next year.


01 Sep 06 - 11:00 AM (#1824604)
Subject: RE: She Moved Through the Fair - advice
From: Old Grizzly

Hi,

I have known and sung a penultimate verse (below) for over 30 years.

I have no recollection now where I learned this from..... any ideas

as to source ?


In the still of the evening, when the wild birds do sleep,

I heard a soft whisper and a young maiden weep,

I heard a soft whisper and this she did say,

it will not be long love until our wedding day

regards

Dave


18 Mar 07 - 06:56 PM (#2000584)
Subject: RE: She Moved Through the Fair - advice
From: GUEST,anna

does any one no the notes for this song on the tin whistle? i need them !!


18 Mar 07 - 08:23 PM (#2000671)
Subject: RE: She Moved Through the Fair - advice
From: Murray MacLeod

I am surprised nobody has yet mentioned Adam McNaughtan's précis of the song (and my favourite version by far)


" My young love said to me, as she fell through the flair,

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH "


19 Mar 07 - 03:54 AM (#2000809)
Subject: RE: She Moved Through the Fair - advice
From: nutty

Guest Anna

This site gives you all the tunes in the Digital Tradition in Whistle notation ... Have fun.

Click here for Tunes


14 Aug 07 - 07:29 AM (#2125106)
Subject: RE: She Moved Through the Fair - advice
From: GUEST,Guest - Fredrik

Thought I'd just step into this old thread and mention a couple of versions that haven't been mentioned earlier.
One is by counter tenor Andreas Scholl on the album 'Wayfaring Stranger', on which he sings folk songs from the British Isles, all very beautifully arranged, and he has a stunning voice. He sings the four verse version, with "dead love" in the fourth verse, so perhaps - as I gather from the lengthy discussion on this subject here on the forum - he is not as true to the "original" (not intended as an invitation to discuss what's original - I just mean the oldest available sources) as many would want.

Another beautiful version is recorded by the Irish (I think) folk music group Slaínte on their record "Cup of Tea". Beautiful. Four verse version. Fourth verse "I dreamt it last night that my young love came in".


14 Aug 07 - 05:52 PM (#2125522)
Subject: RE: She Moved Through the Fair - advice
From: PoppaGator

As you can see a the top of this page, there have been many Mudcat threads about this song.

Fairly recently ~ long after this thread was begun back in '03 ~ one of those discussions went into detail about the meaning or interpretation of the lyrics, introducing an element of controversy. I was particularly struck by this contribution from Jim Lad:

thread.cfm?threadid=28589#1932046

(Read down past the full set of lyrics to see Jim's additional comments.)

If you're interested enough to read the rest of the thread, you'll see that some folks disagreed rather violently with this interpretation, the specific disease that may or may not have been alluded to, etc.

Certainly, the clearer and more detailed an idea a singer can hold in his/her mind regarding a song's "meaning," the stronger that singer's interpretation can be. I don't think it's a matter of whether said interpretation is "right" or "wrong" ~ it's the depth of the singer's conviction that can give a performance extra intensity and authenticity.

Incidentally, my first exposure to this lovely old tune was a recording by Judy Collins, on one of her mid-to-late-1960s LPs. But she did NOT list the song under its usual title; I don't remember the title used on this recording, but it was NOT "She Moved Through the Fair." It was many years before I realized that "SMTTF," a song title I encountered occasionally, was indeed the song I had heard under a different title. I believe Ms Collins sang it unaccompanied, and whatever other lyrics may or may not have differed from the traditional text, each verse ended with the phrase, "It will not be long, love, 'til our wedding day."

Anyone remember that album cut, and/or its non-standard title?


15 Aug 07 - 09:28 AM (#2125964)
Subject: RE: She Moved Through the Fair - advice
From: Banjiman

Here's how Mrs Banjiman (Wendy Arrowsmith) approached it with Uilliam Haicead on Uilleann pipes.

I'm sure it is not definitive but I like it (well I would....)

Any thoughts, comments or feedback gratefully received.

http://www.myspace.com/wendyarrowsmith

Paul