Dick Gaughan sings Burns’ “Westlin Winds”

Dick Gaughan’s classic version of Robert Burns song

And the moon shines bright, as I rove by night,
To muse upon my charmer.

This is one of Burns earliest songs, although he revised it later for publication. Written in 1775 at the time of Burns’ infatuation with Peggy Thomson of Kirkoswald.

`I spent my seventeenth summer,’ he wrote in his autobiographical letter to Dr Moore in August 1787, `on a smuggling [coast] a good distance from home at a noted school, to learn Mensuration, Surveying, Dialling, etc … I went on with a high hand in my Geometry; till the sun entered Virgo, a month which is always a carnival in my bosom, a charming Fillette who lived next door to the school overset my Trigonometry, and set me off on a tangent from the sphere of my studies.’

Later, he tried out a modification of this early song in honour of Jean Armour; no known copy survives. Going back to the same song, Burns then sent a version which has a number of Scots words in place of the original English diction to be printed in `The Scots Musical Museum’ (vol. iv, 1792, no. 351). Unusually for a love-song, `Now westlin winds’ includes four lines of protest against the `slaught’ring guns’ of sportsmen (ll 21-4). [source: Robert Burns’ poems and songs]


Lyrics:

Tune: I had a horse, I had nae mair

   Now westlin winds, and slaught’ring guns                     western

      Bring Autumn’s pleasant weather;

   The moorcock springs on whirring wings,

      Amang the blooming heather:

   Now waving grain, wide o’er the plain,

      Delights the weary farmer;

   And the moon shines bright, as I rove by night,

      To muse upon my charmer.

   The paitrick lo’es the fruitfu fells;                      partridge

      The plover lo’es the mountains;

   The woodcock haunts the lonely dells;

      The soaring hern the fountains:                             heron

   Thro lofty groves, the cushat roves,                          pigeon

      The path o man to shun it;

   The hazel bush o’erhangs the thrush,

      The spreading thorn the linnet.

   Thus ev’ry kind their pleasure find,

      The savage and the tender;

   Some social join, and leagues combine;

      Some solitary wander:

   Avaunt, away, the cruel sway!

      Tyrannic man’s dominion!

   The sportsman’s joy, the murd’ring cry,

      The flutt’ring, gory pinion!

   But Peggy dear, the ev’ning’s clear,

      Thick flies the skimming swallow;

   The sky is blue, the fields in view,

      All fading-green and yellow:

   Come let us stray our gladsome way,

      And view the charms of Nature;

   The rustling corn, the fruited thorn,

      And ilka happy creature.                                    every

   We’ll gently walk, and sweetly talk,

      While the silent moon shines clearly;

   I’ll clasp thy waist, and fondly prest,

      Swear how I lo’e thee dearly:

   Not vernal show’rs to budding flow’rs,

      Not Autumn to the farmer,

   So dear can be, as thou to me,

      My fair, my lovely charmer!

Hal-An-Tow

Hal-An-Tow is a processional song traditionally sung to usher in the summer.  And so we encounter, in the lead solo… two of the most distinctive voices in English music; the unarguably great husky-grey voice of Norma and the undeniably arguably great voice of Mike! I won’t say that ‘you either love it or hate it’ because, trust me, if you’re listening to the voice of Mike Waterson for the first time and finding it mannered, even ridiculous, there’s a very good chance that, in the fullness of time, you too will come to acknowledge Mike as every bit as great a singer as his sisters. An acquired taste, if ever there was one.

Source: Toppermost

From Glasgow Madrigirls summer concert ‘In the Greenwood’. Performed at St John’s Church in Keswick on Saturday 22 June 2013. Filmed by Harry Campbell. Conducted by Katy Lavinia Cooper

Traditional Lyrics

CHORUS

Hal-an-Tow, jolly rumble-o,
We were up long before the day-o,
To welcome in the summer,
To welcome in the May-o –
For summer is a-coming,
And the winter’s gone away-o!

Since man was first created
His works have been debated
And we have celebrated
The coming of the spring

Take no scorn to wear the horns,
It was the crest when you were born;
Your father’s father wore it,
And your father wore it too.

CHORUS

Robin Hood and Little John
Have both gone to the fair-o,
And we shall to the merry green wood,
To hunt the buck and hare-o!

CHORUS

What happened to the Spaniards
That made so great a boast, oh?
They shall eat the feathered goose,
And we shall eat the roast, oh!

CHORUS

And as for that good knight, St. George
St. George he was a knight o
Of all the knights of Christendom
St. George is the right o

CHORUS

God bless Aunt Mary Moses
With all her power and might-o;
Send us peace in England,
Send us peace by day and night-o!

Fairport Convention “A Sailor’s Life”

The traditional song “A Sailor’s Life” was printed in eighteenth-century broadsides and collected by W. Percy Merrick in 1899 from Henry Hills of Lodsworth, Sussex. It was published in the Penguin Book of English Folk Songs and recorded in 1960 by A. L. Lloyd for the album A Selection from the Penguin Book of English Folk Songs. It was subsequently recorded by Judy Collins on her album A Maid of Constant Sorrow in 1961 and Martin Carthy for his Second Album in 1966 with his then playing partner violinist Dave Swarbrick.

It is probably from one of these sources that the song was learnt by Sandy Denny who sang it in her solo career and then brought it to the band Fairport Convention, where with Swarbrick guesting on violin and Richard Thompson on guitar, it was released on the band’s 1969 Unhalfbricking album.

The eleven-minute version, regarded as a pivotal step in the development of British folk rock, was recorded in one take. It was a recording which marked the beginning of British folk rock, leading to the seminal album Liege & Lief later that year.

British music website Uncut describe the track as: “11 minutes of seething cymbal washes on a Celtic drone chord sequence, erupting into a middle section where squalling crosswinds are traded between Richard Thompson and guest fiddler Dave Swarbrick.” [Source: Wikipedia]

Lyrics (traditional)

A sailor’s life, it is a merry life.
He robs young girls of their hearts’ delight,
Leaving them behind to weep and mourn,
They never know when they will return.
Well, there’s four and twenty all in a row
My true love he makes the finest show.
He’s proper tall, genteel and all,
And if I don’t have him, I’ll have none at all.
Oh father, build for me a bonny boat,
That on the wide ocean I may float
And every Queen’s ship that we pass by,
There I’ll enquire for my sailor boy
They had not sailed long on the deep
When a Queen’s ship they chanced to meet.
“You sailors all, pray tell me true,
Does my sweet William sail among your crew?”
“Oh no, fair maiden, he is not here
For he’s been drownded we greatly fear
On yon green island as we passed it by,
There we lost sight of your sailor boy.”
Well, she wrung her hands and she tore her hair.
She was like a young girl in great despair.
And her little boat against a rock did run.
“How can I live now my sweet William is gone?”

Lankum “Katie Cruel”

More Lankum on The Hobbledehoy

Katie Cruel is a traditional American folksong, likely of Scottish origin. As a traditional song, Katie Cruel has been recorded by many performers, but the best known recording of the song is by Karen Dalton on the album In My Own Time. The American version of the song is said to date to the Revolutionary War period. The song is Roud no. 1645.

The American lyrics appear to contain an oblique story of regret. As given in Eloise Hubbard Linscott’s The Folk Songs of Old New England. The opening verse of the song bears a strong resemblance to the Scottish song, Licht Bob’s Lassie, whose opening verses mirror the song in both notional content and form.

First when I cam’ tae the toon
They ca’d me young and bonnie
Noo they’ve changed my name
Ca’ me the licht bob’s honey

First when I cam’ tae the toon
They ca’d me young and sonsie
Noo they’ve changed my name
They ca’ me the licht bob’s lassie

Wikipedia

Lankum are a contemporary Irish folk music group from Dublin, consisting of brothers Ian and Daragh Lynch, Cormac MacDiarmada and Radie Peat. Their music has been characterised as “a younger, darker Pogues with more astonishing power”. Reviewing their third album The Livelong Day for The Guardian, Jude Rogers described it as “a folk album influenced by the ambient textures of Sunn O)) and Swans, plus the sonic intensity of Xylouris White and My Bloody Valentine”. In 2018 they were named Best Folk Group at the RTÉ Folk Music Awards, while Radie Peat was named Best Folk Singer.