Sound & Rumour
Topic Records TSCD501 (CD, UK, 1998)
Martin Carthy: vocals [1, 4, 8b, 9, 11a], guitar, mandolin
John Kirkpatrick: vocals [1, 3, 7, 9, 12], Anglo concertina, button accordion, single-row melodeon
Howard Evans: trumpet
Richard Cheetham: trombone
Martin Brinsford: percussion and mouth-organ
All tracks trad. arr. Carthy / Kirkpatrick / Evans / Cheetham / Brinsford except :
Track 5 Pipe Major Donald MacLean
Track 13a Jimmy Shand snr., H. Stewart
|The Ned Fielding who shows up in the The Flash Lad is the
same man who, as Henry Fielding, was, and is, loved for his novels. But, as
much as he was loved by readers, so was he hated by those who came in
contact with what became known as his Gang, who were organised by him as an
early police force in London - and a brutal bunch they were.
The songs and tunes on this CD come, mostly, from printed sources and two of them from recordings. They are The Roving Journeyman, which John learned from the Topic recording of the gypsy family, The Willetts, and Soldier, Soldier, which I learned from the Columbia World Series recording of the great sean nos singer from Connemara, Colm Keane. Of the two sea songs, Old Horse (with extra verses from the totally unrelated Poor Old Horse), comes from the collection trawled from dozens of whalermen's personal logs by Gale Huntington and called Songs the Whalemen Sang, while The Old Virginia Lowlands is from one of Stan Hugill's books. It's a version of The Golden Vanity from Stan's family, and must be one of the few versions which is not just a historical curiosity, but a real live, feet-on-the-ground story of real betrayal of real people. An Acre of Land has the sort of archaic tune, and The Rambling Comber the sort of loping 5/4 tune that was by no means uncommon among country singers at the turn of the century - but not so common now (except with people like us).
The Morris tunes run the gamut, as Morris tunes deceptively do, from the elegance of The Rose from Fieldtown, to the stomp of Headington and Bampton with Rodney, The Quaker and The Flowers of Edinburgh, to the set of Trunkles from Wheatley, whose apparent nod to Chu Chin Chow is entirely in your mind. Betty Fitchett's Wedding comes from the Camborne melodeon player, Bob Rundle, and The German Schottische from the bottomless put that is John's repertoire, which also includes some corkers from the 18th century like Charming Maid and the medley which includes Auretti's Dutch Skipper.
The Heroes of St Valery is a retreat march commemorating events which took place in 1940. During the invasion of northern France, by the Allied Expeditionary Force, the 51st Highland Division were at St Valery-en-Caux, near Dieppe, where, taken completely by surprise by the speed of the Nazi advance, as was the entire AEF, they were captured intact, marched to the east, and spent the war in POW camps. In one of these, Pipe Major Donald MacLean of the Seaforth Highlanders wrote this tune. I continue to be amazed and moved by the breadth and depth of music which continues to flow from an instrument which has a range of just nine notes - the highland bagpipes.
I think the whole band felt that, when we stopped playing in 1987, we still had plenty of life left in us and that, when we played the Sidmouth Festival eight years later, it felt as though we'd never been away, or at worst, we'd been in a state of suspended animation. Or cryogenitally [sic] frozen.
Martin Carthy, August 1998