|Dean Gitter||Anne Boleyn||Ghost Ballads||Riverside |
|Janet Smith||Molly Bon||The Unicorn||Takoma |
|Hermes Nye||Thomas Rhymer||Early English Ballads||Folkways |
|Irene Saletan||Lady Margaret||Tony & Irene Saletan||Folk-Legacy |
|Cyril Tawney||The Nightingale||Farewell Nancy||Topic |
|Shirley Collins||Death & The Lady||Death & The Lady||BGO |
|Dave Goulder & Liz Dyer||A Most Unpleasant Way, Sir||The Raven And The Crow||Argo |
|Peter Bellamy||The Ghost Song||The Fox Jumps Over the Parson's Gate||Topic |
|John Roberts & Tony Barrand||The Maid on the Shore||Dark Ships in the Forest||Folk-Legacy |
|The Oldham Tinkers||The Lancashire Witches||For Old Time's Sake||Topic |
|Gary & Vera Aspey||Auntie Ketyll||From the North||Topic |
|Archie Fisher||The Witch of the West-Mer-Lands||Archie Fisher||Topic |
|Hedy West||The Wife of Usher's Well||Old Times & Hard Times||Folk-Legacy |
|Bill Jones||The Tale of Tam Lin||Panchpuran||Compass |
|Martin Carthy||The Bloody Gardener||Byker Hill||Topic |
|Michael Cooney||Lady Isabel & the Elf Knight||The Philadelphia Folk Festival||Flying Fish |
|Peggy Seeger||The False Knight Upon the Road||Blood & Roses, Volume 1||Blackthorne Records |
|Cheap Suit Serenaders||Mysterious Mose||Cheap Suit Serenaders #2||Blue Goose |
Some notes on the songs from this year's Spooky show...
Anne Boleyn was unfortunate in being one of King Henry VIII's wives; this song was written in 1934 by R.P. Weston and Bert Lee.
Molly Bon appears in many collections under slightly different names like Lucy Wan, Molly Wan, etc. In each, the poor dead girl returns to defend her lover in court.
Thomas Rhymer appears in Sir Francis Child's collection of ballads as #37, and tells the tale of an unfortunate encounter with the Fairy Queen. She gives an apple that causes his tongue to never lie, and spirits him away for seven years.
This long version of Lady Margaret from Irene Saletan is a true classic night visiting song. The dead lover comes back to his maid, and takes her through the churchyard to his grave.
The Nightingale is a sea version of a night visiting song; the parents don't approve of the match, and have the press gang take the young man off to sea. He dies and his ghost comes back to tell the woman how her parents betrayed him.
Death & the Lady is a little morality tale about how beauty and riches cannot forestall an appointment with the Grim Reaper.
A Most Unpleasant Way, Sir tells the tale of someone who meets a young man with a gruesome bird on his arm. By the end of the conversation the bird has transferred to the visitor's arm, and now he must find a new host... is it you?
Peter Bellamy sings a version of The Cruel Ships Carpenter, in which a young man lures a woman to her death and then thinks to escape by going to sea. However, the ghost pursues him, and eventually shreds him before his shipmates.
Another tale in which the young woman wins out in the end is The Maid on the Shore. She is a lovely creature, but beware taking her on board, for she will sing you to sleep and steal your wealth.
The Lancashire Witches is an affectionate song about the feminimity of witches in Lancashire.
Auntie Ketyll tells of the lengths a woman will go, to the extent of making a pact with the Devil, to protect her man in battle. Alas, it is all in vain, for she makes a mistake in the charm.
Archie Fisher wrote the Witch of the West-Mer-Land using traditional themes.
The Wife of Usher's Well tells the tale of three young sons sent off to learn magic ("grammaree"). They fall victim to some disease, and come home to say good-bye. Hedy West's banjo accompaniment is outstanding on this cut.
A. L. Lloyd discovered The Bloody Gardener in a Vauxhall Gardens songbook from the 1770's.
Michael Cooney's version of Lady Isabel and the Elf Knight sticks very close to the traditional story line, and his banjo work is also very fine.
The False Knight on the Road tells the story of a small innocent child standing up to the Devil; she counters every one of his proclamations with poise and grace.
We finish up with Mysterious Mose, covered here by the Cheap Suit Serenaders.