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.

“Nottamun Town”

Performed by Davy Graham and Shirley Collins

In Nottamun Town not a soul would look up,
Not a soul would look up, not a soul would look down,
Not a soul would look up, not a soul would look down,
To show me the way to fair Nottamun Town.Met the King and the Queen, and a company more
Come a-walking behind and a-riding before
Come a stark naked drummer a-beating the drum
With his hands on his bosom, come marching along.Sat down on a hard, hot cold frozen stone,
Ten thousand stood ’round me, yet I was alone
Took my hat in my hands for to keep my head warm,
Ten thousand got drownded that never was born.In Nottamun Town not a soul would look up,
Not a soul would look up, not a soul would look down,
Not a soul would look up, not a soul would look down,
To show me the way to fair Nottamun Town.