Category Archives: love

Love in folk songs

I’ve been listening to Nic Jones (great man; his set at Towersey a few years ago is one of the highlights of my musical experience) and, well, after an evening in the company of Annachie Gordon and a Bonny Light … Continue reading

Posted in Child Ballad, folk music, folk song, love, Music, Nic Jones, verse | 1 Comment

Night visiting

Well, it’s autumn, the evenings are darkening, the clocks are about to go back and Hallowe’en is approaching. Time to think about ghost stories. One of the most poignant I know is the Wife of Usher’s Well (Child Ballad no. … Continue reading

Posted in Allegory, Child Ballad, death, folk music, folk song, Karine Polwart, love, Music | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The tender side of a monster

History in song again. I think Henry VIII a monstrous figure, even within the context of his time. He set no limit on himself, and others suffered for it. Nevertheless there is a very tender portrayal of him in Child … Continue reading

Posted in Child Ballad, death, folk music, folk song, Henry VIII, Jane Seymour, love, Music | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Lady Glencora and Lord Bateman

I’m going to follow up my post on Kidnapped with another one exploring a folk song reference in a nineteenth century novel. This time the book is Anthony Trollope’s Can You Forgive Her? and the song is Lord Bateman (sometimes … Continue reading

Posted in Anthony Trollope, Child Ballad, Chris Wood, folk music, love, Nineteenth century fiction | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Cross-dressing lovers and faithless sailors

I was at a folk festival a couple of weeks ago and Ioscaid were playing. I hadn’t heard them before but hope I will again very soon. One of the songs in their set seemed familiar enough to start with, … Continue reading

Posted in folk music, folk song, love | Tagged , , , , , | 8 Comments

Knights, and their impossible demands

More upon knights in this post (for some reason, my readers like posts about knights and who am I to disappoint them?).  Child Ballad no. 2 is The Elfin Knight. It has a certain overlap with The Outlandish Knight (Child … Continue reading

Posted in Allegory, Child Ballad, Dr Faustus, folk music, folk song, Imagined Village, knights, love | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Old tales, retold

Where do stories come from? Who knows, is the only answer; from somewhere deep inside us as we try to make sense of our place within the world. However, once they exist they get retold, over and over, and reformed … Continue reading

Posted in Child Ballad, death, folk music, folk song, Kathleen Ferrier, love, Malinky | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Love – and death – on the highway

Highwaymen ride high in the popular imagination. A higher class of cutpurse and the archetype of the romantic rogue. As the type specimen I offer you Alfred Noyes’ The Highwayman (1906)*. There’s a fair few ballads about highwaymen (Salisbury Plain and Newry Town … Continue reading

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True true love. But no happy ending.

I was a bit scathing about true love in my last post. So to redress the balance I’m going to quote, in full, my all time favourite ballad. It’s The Unquiet Grave (Child Ballad no. 78; Oxford Book of Ballads … Continue reading

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