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.
The shortlist has been announced for the 2019 RTÉ Radio 1 Folk Awards, taking place in Vicar Street on October 24th.
This year’s nominees cover the entire Irish folk spectrum, with talents like Lisa O’Neill (nominated in four categories, including Best Folk Album and a pair of nominations for Best Original Folk Track), Junior Brother, Saint Sister and Ye Vagabonds nominated alongside veteran players like Dervish, Gerry O’Beirne, Cormac Begley and Martin Hayes. You can read the shortlist in full below.
Additionally, it has been announced that Irish folk legend Moya Brennan, the vocalist with Clannad, will achieve this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award.
Folk singer Martin Carthy examines the rise and fall of Ewan MacColl’s Critics Group.
Immediately after the success of the BBC Radio Ballads, Ewan MacColl set about the Herculean task of trying to drag British folk music into mainstream culture. Frustrated by the dreary amateurishness of folk song performance, he decided to establish his own centre of excellence to professionalise the art. He called it “The Critics Group”. MacColl tutored select artists “to sing folk songs the way they should be sung” and to think about the origins of what they were singing. He introduced Stanislavski technique and Laban theory into folk performance and explored style, content and delivery. BBC producer Charles Parker recorded these sessions to aid group analysis. 40 years on, the tapes have come to light. For the first time, a clear sound picture can be constructed of this influential group in action. Former group members Peggy Seeger, Sandra Kerr, Frankie Armstrong, Richard Snell, Brian Pearson and Phil Colclough recount six frantic years of rehearsing, performing and criticising each other. They recall the powerful hold that Ewan MacColl exerted which was eventually to lead to the collapse of the group in acrimony and blame. Presenter Martin Carthy MBE, now an elder statesman of the British folk music scene, shared many of McColl’s ambitions but didn’t join the group himself. He listens to the recordings and assesses the legacy of MacColl’s controversial experiment. Producers: Genevieve Tudor and Chris Eldon Lee A Culture Wise Production for BBC Radio 4
Think about what fires and inspires great literature. Passion, intensity, strong characters, gripping stories, powerful imagery, a timelessness of theme and emotion that can make something written in, say, the 18th century still seem fresh and relevant today.
The same ingredients also apply to great music, meaning that a crossing of the genres often provides memorable creations: Kate Bush’s Wuthering Heights and Elton John’s Goodbye Yellow Brick Road are arguably the highest profile examples, but did you know that T’Pau’s China In Your Hand is about Mary Shelley and Frankenstein?
It’s usually at this point that the quote, “writing about music is like dancing about architecture” is trotted out and attributed to Frank Zappa (although it seemed it was actually the American actor and musician Martin Mull who first used the phrase), but although it’s a nifty bit of word play it’s also bollocks.Music has inspired some incredible writing, from the pioneering rock journalism of Lester Bangs to chroniclers of music history such as Greil Marcus to the current crop of outstanding memoirs, especially from women such as Tracey Thorn, Viv Albertine and Cosey Fanni Tutti. Continue reading →
Oh, waly, waly up the bank and waly, waly down the brae, And waly, waly up burnside where I and my love used to go. I was a lady of high renown that lived in the North country; I was a lady of high renown when Jamie Douglas courted me.
And when we came to Glasgow town, it was a comely sight to see, My lord was clad in the velvet green and I myself in cramasie. And when my eldest son was born and set upon his nurse’s knee, I was the happiest woman born and my good lord, he loved me.
There came a man into our house and Jamie Lockhart was his name And it was told unto my lord that I did lie in bed with him. There came another to our house and he was no good friend to me; He put Jamie’s shoes beneath my bed and bade my good lord come and see.
Oh woe be unto thee, Blackwood, and an ill death may you die, You were the first and the foremost man that parted my good lord and I. And when my lord came to my room this great falsehood for to see, He turned him round all with a scowl and not one word would he speak to me.
“Come up, come up, now Jamie Douglas, come up the stair and dine with me, I’ll set you on a chair of gold and court you kindly on my knee.” “When cockleshells turn silver bells and fishes fly from tree to tree, When frost and snow turn fire to burn it’s I’ll come up and dine with thee.”
Oh woe be unto thee, Blackwood, and an ill death may you die, You were the first and the foremost man that parted my good lord and I. And when my father he had word my good lord had forsaken me, He sent fifty of his brisk dragoons to fetch me home to my own country.
O had I wist when first I kissed that love should been so ill to win, I’d locked my heart in a cage of gold and pinned it with a silver pin. You think that I am like yourself and lie with each one that I see, But I do swear by Heavens high, I never loved a man but thee.
‘Tis not the frost that freezes fell, nor blowing snow’s inclemency, ‘Tis not such cold that makes me cry, but my love’s heart grown cold to me. O waly, waly, love is bonnie a little while when first it’s new, But love grows old and waxes cold and fades away like morning dew.