The Close Shave

This is a variant on the song Barrack Street, sometimes Patrick Street, with words and music by Bob Bickerton.  This is a New Zealander’s take on the old song tradition of a young man being deceived by a fair young woman. It’s performed in a reasonably well-known version from Andy Irvine.

The Close Shave

Come gather round you diggers all who work the goldfields rare
It’s of a trick was played on me and it’s caused me to despair
I came to town the other day me precious gold to trade
And there I met a pretty maid who did me heart betray

And her lips were red as roses and her eyes a deep sky blue
Her hair was yellow as the gold she stole from me and you

We went into a Public House and there we did imbibe
Whiskey and strong porter and dreadful stuff beside
‘T was then she asked me up to bed to which I did agree
But truth to tell I fell asleep before she’d earned her fee

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I Courted a Sailor

One of my favorites from Kate Rusby. I’m always fooled into thinking her songs are traditional in origin. This is a great example.

I Courted a Sailor

I courted a sailor for six months and many,
I courted a sailor, now he’s far from me.
I courted a sailor for six months and many,
I courted a sailor, now he’s far from me.
On a fine summer’s evening he said his heart was grieving
On a fine summer’s evening these words he said to me

CHORUS
Oh I’m bound for the waves, the waves dearest Annie,
I’m bound for the waves, the waves upon the sea.
Oh I’m bound for the waves, the waves dearest Annie,
I’m bound for the waves, the captain calleth me.

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Follow the Heron Home

A huge tip-of-the-hat to singer Ed Miller for introducing me to Karine Polwart‘s music. This captivating melody and inexplicably amazing poetry combine in one of the best new additions to the tradition I have ever heard.

The heron is her favourite bird. According to Karine, the song was written after she had been a guest at a Shetland Folk Festival. She had been singing at an outlying island event, and as she was being taken home by sea, in the early morning, a heron rose in front of the boat and flew ahead. In the song the heron represents the return of Spring, light after darkness, hope after grief.

Follow The Heron Home

The back of the winter is broken,
And light lingers long by the door.
And the seeds of the summer have spoken
In gowans that bloom on the shore

By night and day we’ll sport and we’ll play
And delight as the dawn dances over the bay
Sleep blows the breath of the morning away
And we follow the heron home

In darkness we cradled our sorrow
And stoked all our fires with fear
Now these bones that lie empty and hollow
Are ready for gladness to cheer chorus

Long may we sing of the salmon
And the snow-scented sounds of your home
While the north wind delivers its sermon
Of ice, and salt water, and stone chorus x 2