Trad Arr Jones

Most of Nic Jones’s records are impossible to find nowadays. My love for these records, their unavailability, and a coincidental trip to Yorkshire last summer all helped inspire this record.

Trad Arr Jones is my tribute to Nic’s arrangements, song choices and performances. But it is also a tribute to his songwriting. That’s what makes these traditional songs his own. I wanted more people to hear them and this seemed like a good way. Thanks to everyone who humoured me on this, including Andrea Goode and Zero Hour.

It would have been ridiculous (and, let’s face it, impossible) for me to copy Nic’s guitar parts, so I re-arranged his songs for Robert Lloyd and me to play. Thanks to Robert, Kurt and Nigel for having good taste in music.

I urge you to track down the original records. I also urge that they soon be reissued, but perhaps you can’t do anything about that. These albums brought traditional music to life for me. Hence, this record.

Performed by John Wesley Harding and Robert Lloyd
Produced, engineered and mixed by Kurt Bloch
Recorded at Egg Studios, Seattle, WA November 19-21, 1998
All songs written by Nic Jones, published by Mollie Music Ltd.
Paintings and Photo by Shelley Jackson
Design by Hammi

Trad Arr Jones was reissued by Appleseed Recordings in 2000.

Notes to Reissue:

The extra tracks – the last four – are performed by The Minstrel in the Galleries who are:
Lord John Wesley Harding, The Rake, Master Crispin Solo-Project, Little Musgraveburger, Hippy Longstocking and Dame Alisoun

These four songs were recorded and mixed at Studio Litho, Seattle, WA on 26/27 April 2000 AD. They were produced by Kurt Bloch, recorded by David Fisher and mixed by Kurt Bloch, David Fisher and JWH. In this production, the following parts were played:
Vocals and Acoustic Guitar: JOHN WESLEY HARDING
Electric Guitar and Bass: KURT BLOCH
Accordion, Mandolin, Octave Mandolin and Backing Vocals: JED JEDRZEJEWSKI
Drums: MIKE MUSBURGER
Accordion, Hammond, Harpsichord and Piano: JASON STACZEK

All songs traditional arranged by Nic Jones and then substantially rearranged by The Minstrel in the Galleries, except The Humpback Whale (Robertson C/C).

Mastered and Remastered by St Vincent de Paul Stubblebine, SF, CA

Preface To The New Edition

When I sent Nic Jones a copy of the first edition of Trad Arr Jones, I got the impression that, because he’d heard a couple of my previous records, he had expected the whole project to rock out a little more: perhaps he thought there was a lack of bass and drums. So when Appleseed offered to reissue the record and suggested some extra tracks, I had no doubt how I wanted to record them.

Since Trad Arr Jones was made, The Minstrel in the Galleries have been made flesh. Performing staples of British Folk Rock extremely loud, wearing magnificent rented costumes and even performing the odd Mummer’s Play when given the chance, The Minstrel harken back to a day when hair was long and codpieces nothing to be ashamed about. The shows are quite something to behold (I’ve never missed one….) and though only The Humpback Whale has featured in their set previous to this recording, The Minstrel picked up the gauntlet thrown down by Appleseed and met at the Fremont Lists to provide you with more progressive folk than anybody but Mediaeval Kenevil himself could handle.

So here are four more of Nic Jones’ songs viewed through the Glam Folk filter, MitG-style. These songs are dedicated with love from The Minstrel In The Galleries to Lila Jean Thayer Sangster, born to Master and Mistress Crispin that very day.

With best wishes
Lord John Wesley Harding
(JWH appears courtesy of Hollywood Records)

Thanks for their help with this reissue to:

Jim Musselman
Josh Michaell
Andrea Goode
Rob Seidenberg
David Fisher
Studio Litho
David Agnew
Pete English

A Singer’s Request

Dark the night and long til day
Do not bid us further stray
Dark the night and long til day
Do not bid us further stray

Now the sun it does decline
Pour the beer and pour the wine
Let us lead your thoughts astray
From the world and from the day

Dark the night and long til day
Do not bid us further stray

We bring songs from history
Love and war and mystery
We can lead you from despair
Or can chill the darkening air

Dark the night and long til day
Do not bid us further stray

And you can choose to pass us by
With a cruel or a scornful eye
We shall see the ending through
Then we’ll turn and say to you

Dark the night and long til day
Do not bid us further stray
Dark the night and long til day
Do not bid us further stray
Dark the night and long til day

Music and lyrics trad arr. Jones (Mollie Music)


"The Singer's Request" is the recurring musical theme of Nic Jones' From the Devil to a Stranger. I thought it most appropriate to start this record with it too. It describes the kind of songs within a Nic Jones record:

"We bring songs of history
Love and war and mystery"

and, therefore, within Trad Arr Jones. The song was apparently adapted by Nic from a Walter Scott poem called "The Minstrel's Request", which I have yet to find.

Little Musgrave

As it fell out upon a day
As many in the year
Musgrave to the church did go
To see fair ladies there

And some came down in red velvet
And some came down in Pall
And the last to come down was the Lady Barnard
The fairest of them all

She’s cast a look on the Little Musgrave
As bright as the summer sun
And then bethought this Little Musgrave
This lady’s love I’ve won

Good day good day you handsome youth
God make you safe and free
What would you give this day Musgrave
To lie one night with me

I dare not for my lands, lady
I dare not for my life
For the ring on your white finger shows
You are Lord Barnard’s wife

Lord Barnard’s to the hunting gone
And I hope he’ll never return
And you shall slip into his bed
And keep his lady warm

There’s nothing for to fear Musgrave
You nothing have to fear
I’ll set a page outside the gate
To watch til morning clear

And woe be to the little footpage
And an ill death may he die
For he’s away to the green wood
As fast as he could fly

And when he came to the wide water
He fell on his belly and swam
And when he came to the other side
He took to his heels and ran

And when he came to the green wood
’Twas dark as dark can be
And he found Lord Barnard and his men
Asleep beneath the trees

Rise up Rise up Master he said
Rise up and speak to me
Your wife’s in bed with Little Musgrave
Rise up right speedily

If this be truth you tell to me
Then gold shall be your fee
And if it be false you tell to me
Then hanged you shall be

Go saddle me the black he said
Go saddle me the grey
And sound you not the horn said he
Lest our coming it would betray

Now there was a man in Lord Barnard’s train
Who loved the Little Musgrave
And he blew his horn both loud and shrill
Away Musgrave Away

I think I hear the morning cock
I think I hear the jay
I think I hear Lord Barnard’s horn
Away Musgrave Away

Lie still, lie still, you little Musgrave
And keep me from the cold
It’s nothing but a shepherd boy
Driving his flock to the fold

Is not your hawk upon its perch
Your steed is eating hay
And you a gay lady in your arms
And yet you would away

So he’s turned him right and round about
And he fell fast asleep
And when he woke Lord Barnard’s men
Were standing at his feet

And how do you like my bed Musgrave
And how do you like my sheets
And how do you like my fair lady
That lies in your arms asleep

It’s well I like your bed he said
And well I like your sheets
But better I like your fair lady
That lies in my arms asleep

Get up, get up young man he said
Get up as swift as you can
For it never will be said in my country
I slew an unarmed man

I have two swords in one scabbard
Full dear they cost my purse
And you shall have the best of them
I shall have the worst

So slowly, so slowly he rose up
And slowly he put on
And slowly down the stairs he goes
Thinking to be slain

And the first stroke Little Musgrave took
It was both deep and sore
And down he fell at Barnard’s feet
And word he never spoke more

And how do you like his cheeks, lady
And how do you like his chin
And how do you like his fair body
Now there’s no life within

It’s well I like his cheeks she said
And well I like his chin
And better I like his fair body
Than all your kith and kin

And he’s taken up his long long sword
To strike a mortal blow
And through and through the Lady’s heart
The cold steel it did go

As it fell out upon a day
As many in the year
Musgrave to the church did go
To see fair ladies there

Music and lyrics trad arr. Jones (Mollie Music)


A song of tragic lust, "Little Musgrave And Lady Barnard" is the name of Child Ballad #81, though it is better known to rock fans by the name "Matty Groves", as sung by Sandy Denny and Richard Thompson with Fairport Convention. This is a different version and in his original liner notes to Ballads And Songs, Nic Jones says he was originally drawn to it because of its length! Christy Moore has also sung this song and noted that his version is from Nic's original. The ultimate folk ballad of sexual deceit and violent death, "Little Musgrave" was known as far back as 1611:

"And some they whistled, and some they sung
Hey down, down
And some did loudly say
Ever as the Lord Barnet's horn blew,
Away, Musgrave, Away!"

(from Beaumont and Fletcher's The Knight Of The Burning Pestle)

The Golden Glove

Oh it’s of a young squire in Tamworth we hear
And he courted a nobleman’s daughter so fair
For to marry her it was his intent
And the friends and relations had given their consent

Now a date was appointed for their wedding day
And the farmer he was appointed to give her away
But as soon as the lady this farmer did spy
Her heart was inflamed and bitterly she did cry

And she turned from the squire but nothing she said
But instead of getting married she took to her bed
And the thoughts of the farmer so ran in her mind
A way for to have him she quickly did find

Coat waistcoat and trousers the young girl put on
And away she went a-hunting with her dog and her gun
And she hunted around where the farmer he did dwell
Because in her heart oh she loved him so well

And she oftentimes fired but nothing she killed
Until this young farmer came into the field
And to talk with him it was her intent
With her dog and her gun then to meet him she went

Oh I thought you would be at the wedding she cried
To wait on the squire and to give him his bride
Oh no said the farmer I’ll take a sword in my hand
By honor I’d gain her whenever she command

And the lady was pleased when she heard him so bold
And she gave him a glove that was made out of gold
And she told him that she found it as she was coming along
As she went out a-hunting with her dog and her gun

And this lady went home with a heart full of love
And she gave out a notice that she’d lost her glove
And whoever found it and he brings it to me
Whoever he is then my husband shall be

The farmer he was pleased when he heard of the news
And with a heart full of love to the lady he goes
Oh lady oh lady I’ve picked up your glove
And I hope that you’ll be pleased for to grant me some love

Oh it’s already granted and I will be your bride
For I love the sweet breath of the farmer she cried
I’ll be mistress of your dairy and I’ll milk all your cows
While me jolly old farmer goes whistling on his plow

And its when they got married and they told of the fun
How she’d gone out a-hunting with her dog and her gun

Music and lyrics trad arr. Jones (Mollie Music)


This charming tale of transvestitism can be found in a few folk books in various versions. I have no idea where Nic Jones' particular version comes from (which is on The Noah's Ark Trap - an album title I wondered about until he told me it was the name of a chess opening) and I found a similar version in my favorite folk resource, a huge compendium called American Folk Poetry by Duncan Emrich. Unlike most of the songs on the record, no one dies (even though the protagonist is waving a gun around, the song makes it clear that she didn't hit anything) though you have to feel sorry for the jilted squire, left standing at the altar in verse three while the rest of the story unfolds.

Annachie Gordon

Buchan, it’s bonny, and there lives my love
My heart it lies on him, it will not remove
It will not remove for all that I have done
Oh never will I forget my love Annachie
For Annachie Gordon, he’s bonny and he’s braw
He’d entice any woman that ever him saw
He’d entice any woman and so he has done me
Never will I forget my love Annachie

Down came her father, standing on the floor
Saying Jeanie you’re trying the tricks of a whore
You care nothing for a man who cares so very much for thee
You must marry with Lord Salton and leave Young Annachie
For Annachie Gordon he’s only but a man
Although he may be pretty but where are all his lands
Salton’s lands are broad and his towers they stand high
You must marry with Lord Salton and forget Young Annachie

With Annachie Gordon I’d beg for my bread
Before that I’d marry Salton with gold to my head
With gold to my head and with gowns fringed to the knee
Oh I’ll die if I don’t get my love Annachie
And you that are my parents oh to church you may me bring
Ah but unto Lord Salton I’ll never bear a son
A son or a daughter I’ll never bow my knee
I’ll die if I don’t get my love Annachie

When Jeanie was married and from church she was brought home
And she and her maidens so merry should have been
When she and her maidens so merry should have been
She’s gone to a chamber and she’s crying all alone

Come to bed now Jeanie, oh my honey and my sweet
For to style you my mistress it would not be meet
It’s mistress or Jeanie it’s all the same to me
For it’s in your bed Lord Salton I never shall be
And up and spoke her father and he’s spoken with renown
All you who are her maidens won’t you loosen off her gown
But she fell down in a swoon, so low down by their knees
Saying Look on for I’m dying for my love Annachie

The day that Jeanie married was the day that Jeanie died
That’s the day that young Annachie come rolling from the tide
And down came her maidens and they’re wringing of their hands
Saying woe to you Annachie for staying from the sands
So long from the land and so long upon the flood
They’ve married your Jeanie and now she is dead

All you that are her maidens won’t you take me by the hand
Won’t you lead me to the chamber that my love lies in
And he’s kissed her cold lips until his heart turned to stone
And he’s died in the chamber where his true love lay in

Music and lyrics trad arr. Jones (Mollie Music)


"Lord Saltoun and Auchanachie" is Child Ballad #239 and the words of "Annachie Gordon" are very similar though the tune seems to me to be very much Nic's own. The last song on The Noah's Ark Trap, I was drawn to it immediately, particularly because of its wonderfully seductive melody. My attention was immediately drawn to the line where her father tells the maidens to "loosen off her gown": chilling. "Annachie Gordon" is also a concert staple of Mary Black's and I presume this was heard first from Nic Jones.

The Flandyke Shore

I went unto my love’s chamber window
Where I often had been before
Just to let her know unto Flandyke Shore
Unto Flandyke Shore
Never to return to England no more
Never to return to England no more

I went unto my love’s chamber door
Where I never had been before
There I saw a light springing from her clothes
Springing from her clothes
Just as the morning sun when first arose
Just as the morning sun when first arose

As I was walking on the Flandyke Shore
Her own dear father I did meet
My daughter she is dead he cried
She is dead he cried
And she’s broken her heart all for the love of thee
So I hove a bullet on to fair England’s shore
On to fair England’s shore
Just where I thought that my own true love did lay

Music and lyrics trad arr. Jones (Mollie Music)


One of the songs of mystery, this is the only song on Trad Arr Jones from the classic Penguin Eggs. It is also the only one that I have performed live in the past, prior to recording this album. When I first heard the album this is the song that immediately haunted me. Apparently from a broadside, this song, in this version, is not improved by any explanation of its mysterious and wonderful symbolism—windows, doors, light shining from clothes, chance meetings and shooting of bullets. The song's literal meaning is less important that its whole effect. The melody was collected by the great folk scholar Cecil Sharp from Mrs. Notley at Moreton in 1906.

William and Nancy’s Parting

Come all you pretty maidens that have a mind to go
All along with your lover for to face the daring foe
I’ve a mind to venture where the cannonballs do fly
All along with my love I’ll go

He says ’My lovely Nancy I hope you’ll not repine
For I must go onboard our noble fleet to join
Our orders are to sea my dear and now we must obey
And behind me you must stay’

She says ’My lovely William oh don’t you leave me here
I’ll dress me as a seaman and along with you I’ll steer
Let me go along with you your mess mate for to be
And I’ll fight so manfully’

He says ’My lovely Nancy great danger is at sea
Perhaps we may be shipwrecked or else be cast away
And in the line of battle perhaps you may be slain
So behind me you must remain’

’Your pretty little fingers they are so long and small
You’ll think it but hard usage our cable ropes to haul
When the winds they do blow high and the billows loudly roar
At home you must be on shore’

So now my love has gone abroad as I do tell you plain
Kind heaven shall protect him as he’s ploughing on the main
Protect him from all danger where the cannonballs do fly
And send my William home again

Music and lyrics trad arr. Jones (Mollie Music)


From Nic Jones, his self-titled second album, William and Nancy is a much slighter, and very pretty, version of Canadee-i-o's familiar image of a woman going to sea dressed as a man. However in this version, the man dissuades her from going, and so Nancy never gets to either a) rescue her beloved at war (Jack-A-Roe) or b) have her life threatened by the other sailors and saved by the ever-dashing captain (Canadee-i-o). I wanted to include at least one of the quicker shorter songs and could have picked any number ("The Lass Of London City" or "The Noble Lord Hawkins" etc...) but this won out because of the great riff, which is split between Robert Lloyd and myself. As with all the other songs, it was the arrangement of the original that I wanted to recreate.

William Glenn

It’s of a ship and a ship of fame
Launched off the stocks, bound to sail the main
With one hundred and fifty brisk young men
Well picked and chosen every one
And William Glenn was the captain’s name
He was a fine and a tall young man
As fine a sailor as sailed the sea
And we were sailing to New Barbary

On the first of April, then we set sail
Blessed with a fine and a prosperous gale
And we were bound for New Barbary
With all of our whole ship’s company
We hadn’t been sailing a league or two
Til all of our whole ship’s jovial crew
They all fell sick but 63
As we were sailing to New Barbary

One night the Captain then he did dream
A voice came to him and said to him
"Prepare yourself and your company
For tomorrow night you must lie with me"
This woke the captain in a terrible fright
It being the third watch of the night
And aloud for the bosun then he did call
And to him told his secrets all

"Bosun" he said "it grieves my heart
To think I’ve played a villain’s part
A man I slew in Staffordshire
And all for the sake of his lady fair
And of the ghost of that I am afraid
That has in me such terror bred
So keep the secret within your breast
And pray to the lord that he gives you rest"

We hadn’t been sailing a league but three
Til raging grew the roaring sea
There rose a tempest up in the skies
Which did our seamen much surprise
And the main mast sprung by the break of day
Which made our rigging all but to give way
And did our seamen much afright
The terrors of that awful night

And then the bosun he did declare
That the captain was a murderer
This so enraged the whole ship’s crew
That overboard our captain threw
Our treacherous captain he being gone
Immediately there came a calm
And the winds abated and so did the sea
And we went sailing to New Barbary

And when we came to the Spanish Shore
Our good little ship for to repair
The people there were amazed to see
Our dismal case and such misery
Now seamen all wherever you may be
I pray you take a warning from me
As you love life won’t you have care
And never go sailing with a murderer.

Music and lyrics trad arr. Jones (Mollie Music)


This song of mystery and supernatural seafaring is mentioned briefly in the notes of The Child Ballads, but I couldn't find a written version of this for a long time outside of Nic's version on To The Devil A Stranger. I finally found it in Songs And Ballads From Nova Scotia Ballads by Helen Creighton. In the Child ballads, it is mentioned as Captain Glenn, in a list of songs featuring a curse that is lifted from a ship when the cause of it is thrown overboard. To me, this song neatly dovetails two of my favorite things: ghosts and folk songs. In my own songs, I have a hard time not writing about ghosts too often so you can imagine how delighted I was to find Nic's oeuvre so full of them! This telling is certainly more streamlined than printed versions, though some of it has been edited to make it even more mysterious. This is one of the most spine-chilling songs I have ever heard and was, in a way, the reason for this album. While it is probably not the same William who has said goodbye to Nancy in the last song, it's nice to think that it might be.

The Bonny Bunch Of Roses

By the margin of the ocean
One pleasant evening in the month of June
The pleasant singing blackbird
His charming notes did tune
Then I saw a woman
All in great grief and woe
Conversing with young Bonaparte
Concerning the bonny bunch of roses, oh

And then up and spoke the Young Napoleon
And he took hold of his mother’s hand
Oh mother dear be patient
And soon I will take command
I’ll raise a terrible army
And through tremendous danger go
And in spite of all of the universe
I’ll conquer the Bonny Bunch of Roses, oh

And when first you saw the Great Napoleon
You fell down on your bended knee
And you asked your father’s life of him
And he’s granted it most manfully
Then he took an army
And over the frozen alps did go
He said I’ll conquer Moscow
And come back for the Bonny Bunch of Roses, oh

And so he’s took three hundred thousand fighting men
And kings likewise for to join his throng
He was as well provided for
Enough to take the whole world on
But when he came to Moscow
All overpowered by driving snow
And Moscow was a-blazing
And he lost the Bonny Bunch Of Roses-o

Oh my son don’t speak so venturesome
For England she has a heart of oak
And England and Ireland and Scotland
Their unity has never been broke
So son think on your father
In St.Helena, his body it lies low
And you will follow after
Beware of the Bonny Bunch of Roses, oh

And it’s goodbye to my mother forever
For I am on my dying bed
Had I lived I might have been clever
But now I bow my youthful head
And while our bodies do molder
And weeping willows over us do grow
The deeds of brave Napoleon
Will sting the bonny bunch of roses-o

Music and lyrics trad arr. Jones (Mollie Music)


This song of history is a dramatic dialogue between Napoleon Bonaparte's son, The Duke Of Reichstadt (1811-1832,) and his widow, the Empress Mary Louise after his death. Don't be like your father, she tells her son. I have seen this song in many books (including Songs Of The West by Baring-Gould which has a fairly similar tune) and to Nic's version I have added a riff and an electric guitar solo played by Kurt Bloch.

Master Kilby

In the heat of the day
When the sun shines so freely
There I met Master Kilby
So fine and so gay

I pulled off my hat
And I bowed to the ground
And I said ’Master Kilby
Oh, where are you bound?’

’I’m bound for the west
In hope to find rest
In the arms of my dear Nancy
I’ll build a new nest

And if I was the master
Of ten thousand pounds
In bright gold and silver
Or in King William’s crown

I would part with it all
With my own heart so freely
It’s all for the sake
Of my charming Nancy

She’s the fairest of girls
She’s the choice of my heart
And her skin shines like silver
In every part

Oh, I gave her some kisses
It was down on the sea shore
But still she lay asking
Lay asking for more’

Music and lyrics trad arr. Jones (Mollie Music)


My mother, who teaches singing, has taught "Master Kilby" to her pupils, but to hear the subtle difference between what she teaches and what Nic sings is to understand why his versions of these traditional songs are so original. Each verse, rather than resolving the melody, leaves you hanging and wanting more, just like Nancy (another Nancy!) in the last verse.

In this very sexy love song, the familiar folk character, the narrator, pops up and meets Master Kilby. He asks him where he's going and Kilby tells him that he is going to meet his girlfriend. Kilby becomes lost in memories of her beauty. I don't know whether the original version of this song stops at the same moment or resolves quaintly like the other melody. From the moment I heard this song, on a very poor audio tape travelling around in a touring van, I was hooked on its unfulfilled mystery. Our version just fades in and out to suit this mood. The song is originally found on From The Devil To A Stranger.

Annan Water

Oh Annan Water’s wondrous deep
And my love Annie’s wondrous bonny
I’m loathed that she should wet her feet
Because I love her best of any
Go saddle to me my bonny grey mare
Go saddle her soon and make her ready
For I must cross that river tonight
And all to see my bonny lady

And woe betide you Annan Water
At night you are a gloomy river
And over you I’ll build a bridge
That never more true love may sever

He has ridden over field and fell
On moor and moss and many a mile
His spurs of steel were sore to bite
And from the mare’s feet flew the fire
The mare flew over moss and moor
And when she’d won the Annan Water
She couldn’t have ridden a furlong more
Had a thousand whips been laid upon her

And woe betide you Annan Water
At night you are a gloomy river
And over you I’ll build a bridge
That never more true love may sever

Oh boatman come put up your boat
Put up your boat for gold and money
For I must cross that stream tonight
Or never more I’ll see my Annie
The sides are steep, the waters deep
From bank to brae the waters pouring
And your bonny grey mare she sweats for fear
She stands to hear the waters roaring

And woe betide you Annan Water
At night you are a gloomy river
And over you I’ll build a bridge
That never more true love may sever

And he has tried to swim that stream
And he swam on both strong and steady
But the river was broad and strength did fail
And he never saw his bonny lady
Oh woe betide the willow wand
And woe betide the bush of briar
For it broke beneath the true lover’s hand
When strength did fail and limbs did tire

And woe betide you Annan Water
At night you are a gloomy river
And over you I’ll build a bridge
That never more true love may sever

Music and lyrics trad arr. Jones (Mollie Music)


Buried in The Child Ballads, in the notes to #215, Nic Jones found and adapted this lyric, a slightly poetic version of an older ballad and turned it back into a folk song. His version on Songs And Ballads, with its eerie guitar and missing bars (an effect heightened by my exceptionally crackly copy of this rare record...) is a long way from ours but I think the song is exceptionally powerful. We didn't want to be too near the original and this was consequently the only song we recorded with bass, percussion, voice and guitar, all live. Kate Rusby also has a version of this on her most recent record.

Isle Of France

Oh the sky was dark and the night advanced
When a convict came to the Isle of France
And round his leg was a ringing chain
And his country was of the Shamrock Green

I’m from the Shamrock this convict cried
That has been tossed on the ocean wide
For being unruly I do declare
I was doomed to transport these seven long years

When six of them they were up and past
I was coming home to make up the last
When the winds did blow and the seas did roar
They cast me here on this foreign shore

So then the coastguard he played a part
And with some brandy, he cheered the convict’s heart
Although the night is far advanced
You shall find a friend on the Isle of France

So he sent a letter all to the queen
Concerning the wreck of the Shamrock Green
And his freedom came by a speedy post
For the absent convict they thought was lost

God bless the coastguard this convict cried
For he’s saved my life from the ocean wide
And I’ll drink his health in a flowing glass
And here’s success to the Isle Of France

Music and lyrics trad arr. Jones (Mollie Music)


I have no idea where this song is from and my inquiries have drawn a blank - however, it is one of the songs on the great side two of The Noah's Ark Trap, which for me rivals side two of Abbey Road (by famous Liverpool folk-traditionalists The Beatles) for artistic wholeness. Transportation is a familiar theme in Victorian era folk songs and in this song, the convict is washed up on the Isle Of France, presumed dead or possibly escaped, where a Coast Guard comes to his aid. (I could have almost guaranteed you that "His country was of the shamrock green" was a line I would never sing, but it's funny how these things happen....) I tried to add to the effect of the original with a creaky pump organ and a double-tracked vocal, echoing Nic's use of this on The Indian Lass - another song on the same side of that record.

Canadee-i-o

It's of a fair and handsome girl, she's all in her tender years
She fell in love with a sailor boy, it's true that she loved him well
For to go off to sea with him, like she did not know how,
She longed to see that seaport town, called Canadee-I-O.

So she bargained with a young sailor boy, all for a piece of gold
Straightway he led her all down into the hold
Saying I'll dress you up in sailor's clothes, your jacket shall be blue,
You'll see that seaport town, called Canadee-I-O.

Now, when the other sailors heard the news, they fell into a rage,
And with all the whole ship's company, they were willing to engage,
Saying "We'll tie her hands and feet me boys, overboard we'll throw her
And she'll never see that seaport town, called Canadee-I-O."

Now, when the captain he's heard the news, he said that ne’er shall be
For if you drown that fair young maid, then hanged you shall be
He said "She'll stay all in sailor's clothes, her colour shall be blue,
She'll see that seaport town, called Canadee-I-O."

Now when they came down to Canada, scarcely above half a year,
She's married this bold captain, who called her his dear,
She's dressed in silks and satins now, and she cuts a gallant show
She's the finest of the ladies down in Canadee-I-O.

Come all you fair and tender girls, wheresoever you may be,
I'd have you follow your own true love when he goes out on the sea,
For if the sailors prove false to you, well the captain he might prove true,
To see the honour that I have gained by the wearing of the blue.

Billy, Don’t You Weep for Me

"Sally where are you going? that you do look so gay
I know that I've not asked you to take a walk today"
"You have not asked me; well indeed, it's a tidy cheek of you,
For you think that there's no more young chaps; I've got a dozen or two
Billy don't you weep for me,
I'm going to St. James Park, me cousin Joe to see"

"Cousin Joe, now who is he - he's a soldier I can tell
For I know that you're fond of lobsters both raw and boiled as well"
"My Cousin Joe's a guardsman, and he is a handsome chap
"And he wears such fine moustachios and a stunning furry cap"
"Oh Billy don't you weep for me
I'm very fond of Cousin Joe, and he's very fond of me"

"We're going to the play tonight, Jack Sheppard for to see
And when that it is all over, we'll all have a jolly good spree
I've got money for a pint of stout and when we're short of tin
I'll even go and porn me smock to buy us a bottle of gin
Billy don't you weep for me
I'm going after Cousin Joe and I'll sit all on his knee”

"Whatever is the use of him? He never can keep you
You'll have to work from morn til night, that's what you'll have to do
You'll have to make shirts at a penny each, or else stand at the tub
And mark my words, there’s many a day you'll go very short of grub
And then, Sally, you'll cry for me
Book it back to Cousin Joe, and sit all on his knee !"

In about a twelve months after, young Sally come back to me,
She said that she was sorry that she'd ever been on that spree
Wanted me to take her back, says I, "Don’t come to me
For I see you got a baby to dance all on your knee"

"Oh Billy how can you serve me so? You really drive me mad
I'll have you up before the beak and I'll swear you are it's dad
When you get before the bench they will not let you speak
And you'll have to keep the young one on 30 pence a week
So, Billy, how can you serve me so?
For I'm sure the child belongs to you, not to Cousin Joe".

Well in a week she gets this summons but she found it was no go,
For the magistrate decided that the child belonged to Joe.
She went up to Billy's backyard, quickly the door she shut,
And when at last they found her, she'd drowned in the water butt
So young women take a warning from me
Never love a soldier or sit all on his knee.

Edward

What’s that blood all on your shirt?
Son, come tell to me
Oh that’s the blood of me own greyhound
He wouldn’t run with me, with me
He wouldn’t run with me

Oh, it’s too pale for your greyhound’s blood
Son, come tell to me
Then it’s the blood of me own grey mare
He wouldn’t hunt with me, with me
He wouldn’t hunt with me

Oh, it’s too red for your grey mare’s blood
Son, come tell to me
Then it’s the blood of my own dear brother
He wouldn’t ride with me, with me
He wouldn’t ride with me

And what were you all quarreling about?
Son, come tell to me
Oh it’s all about a little holly bush
And it might have made a tree, a tree
Might have made a tree

And what will you do when your father comes to know?
Son, come tell to me
I’ll set sail in the little sailing boat
I’ll sail across the sea, the sea
I’ll sail across the sea

And what will you do with your pretty little wife?
Son, come tell to me
Oh she’ll sail along in my little sailing boat
She’ll sail along with me, with me
She’ll sail along with me

And what will you do with your eldest son?
Son, come tell to me
Oh I’ll leave him here for you to raise
Rock all upon your knee, your knee
To rock all upon your knee

And when will you come back again?
Son, come tell to me
When the sun and the moon they’re on yonder hill

I know that will never be, never be, I know that will never never be

The Humpback Whale

’56, I sailed on board a ship called Byron One
She’s carried trawler men on deck and a harpoon whaling gun
A tractor for a whale winch and the ship’s an old fair mile
Twin diesels turned the screws around, she’ll whale a fine old style

Oh you trawler men, come on, forget your snapper and your prawn
For it’s out of Ballard we’ll sail, fishing for the humpback whale

Keep a sharp look out, my lads, the whale she’s on the run
And we’ll drive her into Byron bay and we’ll shoot her with our guns
The harpoon and the lines fly through very deep into the whale
She split the timbers of the ship with a flurry of her tail

Oh you trawler men, come on, forget your snapper and your prawn
For it’s out of Ballard we’ll sail, fishing for the humpback whale

The rigging struts are snapped in two, we reel beneath the blow
The gunner fires a killer shot and that humpback sent below
Make her tail fast to the bows, we got no time for bed
For four and twenty hours each day, we kept that factory fed

Oh you trawler men, come on, forget your snapper and your prawn
For it’s out of Ballard we’ll sail, fishing for the humpback whale

The flinnsin men upon the land, some had been jackaroos
They skin the blubber from the whales like they’re skinning kangaroos
A hundred whales and then fifty more, through the factory we did send
Then the orders came ‘Knock off, my lads, your season’s an end

Oh you trawler men, come on, forget your snapper and your prawn
For it’s out of Ballard we’ll sail, fishing for the humpback whale

Back into Baliner we steered, tied up and stowed the gear
All hands headed for the pub and we filled ourselves with beer

Oh you trawler men, come on, forget your snapper and your prawn
For it’s out of Ballard we’ll sail, fishing for the humpback whale

Canada-I-O text with etching.

Nic Jones

Wes and Nic Jones