Tag Archives: folksong

The Crooked Path, winding its way into the world

The Crooked Path is published today! Stories link together. What is done in one time and place spreads out across the world to shape the future: there is never a single beginning, never a simple end. But, since this tale … Continue reading

Posted in Allegory, fantasy novel, Hadley Rille Books, Harriet Goodchild author, novel, The Crooked Path | Tagged , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Short Story: Usher’s Well

She waits by the window. Behind her, the kitchen clock beats out the time. Seconds slip away into minutes; minutes pile up into hours. Strangers’ voices fill the room: the pips, the news, The Archers, drama, more news. She listens. … Continue reading

Posted in Child Ballad, death, folk music, folk song, Harriet Goodchild author, Karine Polwart, Music, short story | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

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

A land divided: songs and politics in Kidnapped

More thoughts of Scottish history remembered in song again this time. One of my favourite rainy day books (and today is a very rainy day) is Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson (1886). It’s set in 1751, in the aftermath of … Continue reading

Posted in Appin Murder, Highland politics, Jacobite uprising, Kidnapped, Robert Louis Stevenson, Scotland | Tagged , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Blood in the borders

Very short post this one: a reminder that the United Kingdom hasn’t always been so, and may not be so again. History’s a bloody, messy thing and today’s a day to remember that. It’s the 499th anniversary of the battle of … Continue reading

Posted in Child Ballad, folk music, folk song, Scotland | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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

From Faversham to Tunis: the pirate’s tale

I don’t, on the whole, recommend that you go to folk song as evidence for what actually happened in one period of history or another. Facts get distorted as stories are improved by the telling (or singing). Nevertheless I’ve found … Continue reading

Posted in Child Ballad, folk music, folk song, Music, pirates, Spiers and Boden | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

bread, beer and blood

It’s summertime, in my hemisphere anyhow, and oats and beans and barley grow and thus today’s song is John Barleycorn. This is as bloody a tale of murder as any border ballad. Little Sir John is brutally slain, dragged around, … Continue reading

Posted in Billy Bragg, folk music, folk song, Imagined Village, John Barleycorn, Music | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment