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Lyr Req: The Return (Archie Fisher)

11 Oct 03 - 06:24 AM (#1033600)
Subject: Lyrics to 'The Return'
From: GUEST,Erlend Gjerde

I've got a CD called "Burger after church" with The Waybacks, a bluegrass/newgrass band. On this CD they sing a wonderfull Irish song which according to the cover is called "The Return". Not having english as a mother tongue I find it difficult to transcribe the lyrics from the CD, so I wonder if anyone could help me.

I've searched the net, but all I found was songs that contained the word "return" in the title, not the one I'm looking for. It's a quite long song, it lasts more than 7 minutes. Here's my e-mail address:
erlend_gjerde@hotmail.com


11 Oct 03 - 08:01 AM (#1033625)
Subject: RE: Lyrics to 'The Return'
From: McGrath of Harlow

The song - which I haven't heard - is evidently by Archie Fisher, who's a Scot. Great singer and great songwriter.

Maybe someone else can hunt up the words.


11 Oct 03 - 10:28 AM (#1033684)
Subject: RE: Lyrics to 'The Return'
From: Sorcha

I found the CD and reviews but no lyrics. Sorry.


11 Oct 03 - 04:21 PM (#1033821)
Subject: RE: Lyrics to 'The Return'
From: Joe Offer

Hmmm. This sounds interesting. From what I read on this page (click), the song is an eight-minute sequel to "The Witch of the Westmereland." The page says the Waybacks album is the debut of "the Return," so could it be that Archie didn't record it?
I gotta hear this song.
-Joe Offer-


11 Oct 03 - 04:26 PM (#1033822)
Subject: RE: Lyrics to 'The Return'
From: GUEST,Gargoyle

Might I suggest buying the CD, Mr Offer?


11 Oct 03 - 06:07 PM (#1033851)
Subject: RE: Lyrics to 'The Return'
From: Joe Offer

No, Gargoyle, I want it from Archie Fisher, not the Waybacks...

And why is it that a person has to buy a $15 CD to hear one song once? I buy lots of CD's and do my part to support musicians, but the one Archie Fisher song is the only one on Burger After Church that interests me at all. I own two CD's from Archie Fisher and one from his sister Ray, so I think I have made a significant contribution to the Fisher family. There ought to be a way for me to listen to the song at least once (or at least see the lyrics), without paying another $15.


-Joe Offer-


12 Oct 03 - 03:11 PM (#1034188)
Subject: RE: Lyrics to 'The Return'
From: McGrath of Harlow

Herre's a link to the words of the Witch of the Westmerland


28 Nov 04 - 12:36 PM (#1341201)
Subject: RE: Lyrics to 'The Return'
From: GUEST,Morgaine

For those lucky enough to have attended the 2001 Stan Rogers Folk Festival in Canso, Nova Scotia (Canada), they would have heard Archie sing the premier performance, I believe, of The Return. Also at the 2001 Stanfest were the Waybacks who perfomed their version of Witch of the Westmereland and probably how they have came to record The Return.


01 Nov 07 - 07:45 AM (#2184134)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Return (Archie Fisher)
From: maeve

Archie has not recorded The Return as of Nov.1, 2007. I asked him. When he does record it, I'll be glad to post the information here. In the meantime, perhaps someone with the version recorded by The Waybacks could transcribe the lyrics.

maeve


01 Nov 07 - 09:43 AM (#2184202)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Return (Archie Fisher)
From: Peace

Does anyone have ANY words from A Fisher's song?


01 Nov 07 - 10:13 AM (#2184217)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Return (Archie Fisher)
From: Peace

One site that was a 'maybe' has posted that "The artist has refused to disclose the lyrics".


01 Nov 07 - 10:42 AM (#2184236)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Return (Archie Fisher)
From: maeve

Peace-
Understandably, he would want to release lyrics after he records the song. I'll confirm that, but for myself, I expect to simply wait until he records and releases it himself. It's always worth the wait. There is a new album on the way, but The Return is not on it.

Regards,

maeve


01 Nov 07 - 10:49 AM (#2184240)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Return (Archie Fisher)
From: Peace

Thanks, Maeve.


01 Nov 07 - 12:36 PM (#2184349)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Return (Archie Fisher)
From: maeve

You're most welcome, Peace.
maeve


02 Nov 07 - 08:23 PM (#2185363)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Return (Archie Fisher)
From: Jim Dixon

Amazon.com has a sound sample on this page.

…of the dapple gray,
The man and horse to the westward face
On the eve of an All-Saints day.

And low 'neath the long green grassy mound
Lie the bones of his noble steed.
Gone to their graves are…


08 Apr 09 - 04:27 PM (#2607555)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Return (Archie Fisher)
From: peregrina

The Waybacks track of The Return from the CD Burger After Church
can be bought from itunes; several sites tell how Fisher gave them the lyrics after hearing them do Witch of the Westmerlands. I won't post the words out of respect for the considerations mentioned above, but I'll just say... wonderful song, wonderful performance, more than seven minutes of this amazingness for only 79 cents.


08 Apr 09 - 05:20 PM (#2607598)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Return (Archie Fisher)
From: maeve

Thank you for resisting the understandable urge to post the lyrics, peregrina.

maeve


08 Apr 09 - 05:26 PM (#2607605)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Return (Archie Fisher)
From: peregrina

Hi Maeve,
writing out the words? easy to resist actually, for me anyway--I'm not going to try to sing that one, and I found that when I wrote out all the words of Archie's no less amazing and magical song 'Fiddle Farewell' it took away some of the spell.--But if you know Archie, please urge him to get that next CD on its way!!!
mary


08 Apr 09 - 08:53 PM (#2607732)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Return (Archie Fisher)
From: maeve

It's underway. The magic will continue.

maeve


13 Dec 20 - 10:48 AM (#4083247)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Return (Archie Fisher)
From: GUEST,Zach Weinersmith

I did my best to transcribe the lyrics from The Waybacks' rendition. Here it is to the best of my ability, with notes. Hopefully he records it at some point:

1
Long was the hour for the valiant knight
That would ne’er be sick or slain.
Lonely the bower in the candlelight
With neither kith nor kin.

2
Stormclouds over the full moon raced
As we swung to the dapple grey.
And man and horse to the westward faced
On the eve of an All-Saints Day.

3
And lo, ‘neath the long green grassy mound
Lie the bones of his noble steed.
Gone to their graves are his brindled hounds,
That were never matched for speed.

4
Freed to the wind were his grey hawk’s wings,
Never to be seen again.
Lost were the songs that the young men sing
As they ride o’er the plain.

5
The rowan shield burned[1] on his breast
As the old man rode again.
Over the rocky kirkstan crest
In the howling wind and rain.

6
Weary the step of his garron’s stride
As they slowly wended down
To the banks of the winding waterside
All under a paley moon

7
Cold was the crack of the raven’s cry
That echoed from the fell.
Fierce were the flames of the morning sky
As the burning gates of Hell.

8
Over his breast on the mantle white
The rowan shield burned red.
And, there in the rays of the dawning light,
The berries [2] burst and bled.

9
“Oh, where is your hawk and your brindled hounds?”
Came the screeching houlet’s [3] call.
“Gone to the dank and the wormy ground,
That will ay [4] consume us all.

10
Where is the maid of the jet black mare
who held me fast in sleep?”
“Under the long dark winding mere,
She rests in the watery deep.”

11
He’s laid his hand on his hunting horn
And, with his dying breath,
Has blown a blast to the blazing morn
That would route the Angel of Death.

12
High in the cusp of the starry night
He heard his grey hawk mew. [5]
As out of the mist came morning light,
His ghostly grey hounds flew.

13
He has gathered a snatch of the goldenrod
All withered in the wood
And scattered it over the water’s brim
Where his ghostly greyhounds [6] stood.

14
Flecked was the coat of the lithe black mare
That rose from the watery deep.
White were the locks of the maiden’s hair,
And her brown eyes heavy with sleep.

15
“Waily, waily my noble lord,
Who wakes me from my rest.
There’s none can heal the wounds of time
That lie bloody on your breast.

16
Climb from your silvered saddle down
And swing to my back astride.
Gather your hawk and your brindled hounds
And together we will ride.”

17
His saddlecloth was the velvet blue
Trimmed round with a silver chain.
He’s kissed her pale lips aince [7] and twice,
Aye, and three times round again.

18
And over the lake with his hounds at heel
And his good grey hawk in hand,
Rode the knight of the blood-red rowan shield
And the witch of the West-mer-land. [8]



[1] The probable word here is “burned” but there is a Scots dialect word “birn” meaning “burden.” It’s possible Fischer, who often uses archaic Scots, is using the latter, or perhaps he’s being cute with the double meaning. I left “burned” because it makes sense in stanza 8.

[2] I think the sense here is the red berry of the rowan tree, maybe with a second sense of his old wounds reopening.

[3] The Waybacks use “owlet,” but the origin from the 1976 song is “houlet,” so I kept it.

[4] I believe this is the archaic “ay” meaning everlasting, though it could simply be “aye” as in “yes, indeed.”

[5] Do hawks mew? I’m not sure. Possibly it’s “his grey hawk new,” but that doesn’t quite make sense since the grey hawk, having just been brought back from the dead, would be “his grey hawk old.” There is another sense of “mew” to mean “to molt” which is a thing hawks do. But, in context, that’s a little… unromantic? You can also put a hawk in its “mews” but that makes even less sense. My guess is that “mew” is a weird usage, needed to rhyme “flew.” But then, why didn’t he just have the hawk cry and the dogs fly?

[6] This could just be “grey hounds,” but to my knowledge the “brindle” pattern isn’t exactly grey, so I suspect this is identifying the breed of his brindled hounds, not noting their color.

[7] The Waybacks say “once,” but the original poem uses the old Scots “aince,” which I’ve kept here.

[8] I doubt it was the poet’s intention, but this closing strongly reminds me of the end of Poe’s “Eldorado,” which goes:

‘Over the Mountains of the Moon,
Down the Valley of the Shadow,
Ride boldly ride,’ the shade replied-
‘If you seek for Eldorado!’


11 Feb 21 - 10:22 AM (#4092629)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Return (Archie Fisher)
From: GUEST,spinnerofyarns

In a couple of places around the internet, I've seen mention of a supposed prequel to "The Witch of the West-mer-lands."

If this thread is still at all active, does anyone know if this is prequel is indeed extant, and if one can listen to it anywhere?