'cautionary tales': track information
Track 1. English Folk Song Suite (Pt 1)
Apart from a couple of flourishes from Ric, this is the Vaughan Williams orchestral arrangement note for note, but using what have been rather cruelly described as "comedy instruments." It's a tad slower than Ralph wrote, so that the reggae groove sits better in part B.
Track 2. My Lagan Love
PJ:"I first heard Dusty Springfield sing this song on her TV show sometime in the 1960s"
According to Luboff & Stracke (Songs of Man, Bonanza, NYC, 1965), the tune is from Ulster and the words early 20th century. In Scottish Gaelic a leannan-sidhe is a Faery Lover. This type of Faery Lover often takes a person's love and then leaves. He or she goes back where they came from (Faery Land?) leaving the human pining for their lost love. The poor mortals in the tales of leannan-sidhe often died of sorrow. The crickets mentioned in the song are a sign of good luck and their sound on the hearth a good omen. It was the custom of newly-married couples about to set up home to bring crickets from the hearths of their parents' house
Track 3. Mad Dog
Part of Oliver Goldsmith's poem "An Elegy on the Death of a Mad Dog" set to a tune by Gregg.
Track 4. Glenlogie
Shirley Collins' wonderful folkrock-able melody with lyrics from a Scottish ballad in which precocious teenager threatens a terminal sulk to get her own way
Track 5. Adieu
From "Here's adieu to your Judges and Juries". The tune is Gregg's as are the extra lyrics in the chorus - written at the time of the South Korean cruise liner disaster .
Track 6. Whitsun Dance
Austin John Marshall's poignant observations on the legacy of the First World War set to a variation of the "The False Bride' (aka "The Week Before Easter") from the repertoire of the Copper family.
Track 7. Simple Ploughboy
Gregg: "I wrote the chords with Anne Briggs' 'The Stonecutter Boy' in mind. Let us all raise a glass to Levon Helm, Rick Danko and Richard Manuel."
Track 8. Derwentwater's Farewell
James Radclyffe, 3rd Earl of Derwentwater was beheaded on 24th February 1716 for supporting James Stuart's bid for the throne in the first Jacobite uprising.
Pete: "I learnt this from the singing of Lou Killen, on an LP I got out of the library in the late 1960s. It's said that the tune was composed for Northumbrian small pipes by one of Radclyffe's tenants a few weeks after his death, and the words by Robert Surtees, County Durham antiquarian and good friend of Sir Walter Scott, about a century later."
Tracks 9 & 10. Princess Royal & Upton Stick Dance
Ashley Hutchings' nomination for English National Anthem, led by a Parkinson Whistle into one of the rumtyest morris tunes ever.
Track 11. Nottamun Town/Pretty Polly
Nottamun Town possibly derives from the Feast of Fools or Mummers’ Plays and their absurd topsy-turvy worlds and from the English Civil War. In this war, Charles I raised his first army around Nottingham and it may be a corruption of that city’s name that gives the song its title. It is suggested elsewhere that Nottamun is a corruption of Northampton, which would be more apt for the band's location (but seems rather unlikely). A popular theme at the time with diarists and pamphleteers was ‘The World Turned Upside Down’ and there are many famous woodcuts dating from this period with illustrations of cats chasing dogs, men wearing boots on their hands and the like.
Pretty Polly is an old Appalachian tune used in Woody's 'Pastures of Plenty', Bob's 'Ballad of Hollis Brown' and many more.