Mudcat Café message #3257905 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #141474   Message #3257905
Posted By: Jim Carroll
16-Nov-11 - 03:11 AM
Thread Name: Most Beautiful Ballad Performance?
Subject: RE: Most Beautiful Ballad Performance?
"Fair Flower of Northumberland"."
Two excellent versions of this beautiful ballad - a very early one on an old vinyl album by The Exiles (Enoch Kent, Bobby Campbell and Gordon McCulloch) sung beautifully by Gordon.
Another totally different version, is to be found sung by Ewan MacColl on the ballad set 'Blood and Roses' - still available from Camsco.
It has one of my favourite verses of all the ballads, when the runaway's mother comforts her daughter for having been betrayed by the escaped Scotsman, saying archly:

And when she got in her mother did smile,
Oh, but your love was easy won.
Saying, "You're not the first one the Scots have beguiled,
And you're still the fair flower of Northumberland".

"Young Hunting"
One of the most exquisite performances of this is to be found on the album "Songs of the Irish Travellers" sung by elderly Traveller Martin McDonagh of Roscommon, to the background sound of his son chopping wood for the family business. It is only a part of the story, but complete in itself - 11 verses lasting six and a half minutes....bbrrrr!
All the items on the album were recorded by collector Tom Munnelly and issued on cassette in 1983, but more recently reissued by the Dublin Traveller organisation Pavee Point. It includes a few of the finest examples of Irish versions of Child ballads, including Johnny Barden (Thomas of Winesbury), False Lankum (Lamkin) and The Tri-Coloured House (The Elfin Knight).
One also to look out for is the re-issue (by the Goilin Club) of Tom Munnelly's and others' recordings of ballads from source singers from the North and South of Ireland, 'Early Ballads in Ireland (recorded between 1968-1985) (Johnny Scott, The Demon Lover, The Suffolk Miracle....). I think this has to be a double CD - a gold mine for ballad buffs.
Jim Carroll