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Most Beautiful Ballad Performance?

13 Nov 11 - 07:23 AM (#3256082)
Subject: Most Beautiful Ballad Performance?
From: Tigger the Tiger

One of my votes would go to Tommy Makem and the Clancy Bros. in the very early performance of The Butcher Boy on Seeger's show. What are your favorites?


13 Nov 11 - 07:58 AM (#3256097)
Subject: RE: Most Beautiful Ballad Performance?
From: Maryrrf

Here's a link to that performance. Tommy Makem and the Clancy Brothers - Butcher Boy


13 Nov 11 - 08:31 AM (#3256112)
Subject: RE: Most Beautiful Ballad Performance?
From: MGM·Lion

Don't want to get into the definition thing too soon: but what performances are you after? Is Butcher Boy a ballad? By which definition? NB ~ the term is in general taken to exclude first person narratives; tho clearly there will be some exceptions.

~Michael~


13 Nov 11 - 08:35 AM (#3256114)
Subject: RE: Most Beautiful Ballad Performance?
From: MGM·Lion

Anyone else remember being as impressed as I always was by Ewan MacColl's singing of The Battle Of Harlaw? I remember a Princess Louise Ballads & Blues session in about 1957 when Ewan sang that, followed by Peggy singing The House Carpenter.

Oh, you young people don't know what ballad-singing was in the old times, Hrrmmmppphhh Hrrrmmmppphhh...


13 Nov 11 - 11:03 AM (#3256183)
Subject: RE: Most Beautiful Ballad Performance?
From: GUEST,GloriaJ

Elizabeth Cronin singing Lord Gregory.I wasnt there to hear it of course, but the recording is unexpectedly sublime


13 Nov 11 - 11:32 AM (#3256207)
Subject: RE: Most Beautiful Ballad Performance?
From: Tigger the Tiger

Sorry for my lack of definition of the ballad form. I learned folk songs in the sixties from the performers in the clubs and from other students at protest marches. Just sort of a person to person education.I guess I am looking for a certain vocal quality and ability to communicate through song.


13 Nov 11 - 11:34 AM (#3256209)
Subject: RE: Most Beautiful Ballad Performance?
From: MGM·Lion

So - narrative songs, yes?


13 Nov 11 - 11:36 AM (#3256211)
Subject: RE: Most Beautiful Ballad Performance?
From: MGM·Lion

Agreed re Mrs Cronin's Lord Gregory. Seamus Ennis used to sing it superbly also.

~M~


13 Nov 11 - 11:38 AM (#3256213)
Subject: RE: Most Beautiful Ballad Performance?
From: Vic Smith

Gloria J wrote:-
Elizabeth Cronin singing Lord Gregory.I wasnt there to hear it of course, but the recording is unexpectedly sublime.


I can think of a very few who might be considered the equals of Mrs Cronin - Walter Pardon, Jeannie Robertson, Sheila Stewart, Paddy Tunney and a handful of others - but none who I would consider to be better than her.


13 Nov 11 - 12:26 PM (#3256244)
Subject: RE: Most Beautiful Ballad Performance?
From: Banjiman

Well, I've been listening to "Sheath & Knife" by Gordeanna McCulloch today..... stunning.


13 Nov 11 - 12:52 PM (#3256258)
Subject: RE: Most Beautiful Ballad Performance?
From: MGM·Lion

Tony Rose the best singer of The Banks Of Green Willow IMO. Also did an excellent Sheath & Knife; though agree Gordeanna's v fine also.

Clude Waters/Drowned Lovers ~~ Little to choose for me between Martin Carthy's & Nic Jones' ~ similar tunes but not identical, ditto texts,
tho Martin's is fuller & includes the "Thought it was his true love's voice, but it was no such thing; It was the voice of her mother", which makes the story a bit clearer; and the "Brother stood on the further bank", whcih Child denounces as an absurdity but is effective dramatically:

I often play them back-2-back. Kate Rusby's version is Nic's, pretty well word4word & note4note.

~M~


13 Nov 11 - 12:54 PM (#3256261)
Subject: RE: Most Beautiful Ballad Performance?
From: MGM·Lion

Clyde Waters, bugger·it!...


13 Nov 11 - 12:54 PM (#3256263)
Subject: RE: Most Beautiful Ballad Performance?
From: GUEST,GloriaJ

Nice to see some respected critics agree with me about Mrs Cronin.Talking of Sheath And Knife (and Gordeanna MacCulloch is a great singer) I think Tony Rose's version was beautiful - a real lesson in how to sing a ballad


13 Nov 11 - 01:49 PM (#3256298)
Subject: RE: Most Beautiful Ballad Performance?
From: Jim Carroll

Mrs Cronin - wonderful
Most memorable was hearing Sheila Stewart singing Tiftie's Annie for the first time - 'hairs on the back of the neck' experience I can still feel
Quite like Clude's Water!
Jim Carroll


13 Nov 11 - 03:44 PM (#3256371)
Subject: RE: Most Beautiful Ballad Performance?
From: MGM·Lion

Ah ~ well Clude up!


13 Nov 11 - 04:56 PM (#3256398)
Subject: RE: Most Beautiful Ballad Performance?
From: Tunesmith

Well, here's the marvelous Hedy West's take on Barbara Allen.

youtube link


13 Nov 11 - 05:22 PM (#3256405)
Subject: RE: Most Beautiful Ballad Performance?
From: Commander Crabbe

Here is Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh singing "Leaving Limerick" on Transatlantic Sessions Episode 5 (Run the time on to 13:18)

TS5 Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh

And here's Emily Smith singing "The Silver Tassie" form TS4

Emily Smith

CC


13 Nov 11 - 11:15 PM (#3256554)
Subject: RE: Most Beautiful Ballad Performance?
From: Beer

Does this qualify??

http://youtu.be/5uKGWpqnS8E

Hope it does.
ad.


13 Nov 11 - 11:48 PM (#3256559)
Subject: RE: Most Beautiful Ballad Performance?
From: Beer

Commander Crabbe, you put me in a dream world.
Thank you for those great links.
ad.


14 Nov 11 - 12:03 AM (#3256562)
Subject: RE: Most Beautiful Ballad Performance?
From: GUEST,babypix

When I first heard Liam Clancy singing Eric Bogle's "The Band Played Waltzing Matilda" on a radio program interview, I was listening on the car radio, and had to pull over to the side of the road, I was so teary.

Let's also not forget Martyn Wyndham-Read's singing of Henry Lawson's verse set to music, "The Water Lily"

Deborah Robins


14 Nov 11 - 12:53 AM (#3256576)
Subject: RE: Most Beautiful Ballad Performance?
From: GUEST,Azoic

June Tabor's "The Irish Girl", "The Border Widow's Lament" and "As I Roved Out" all featuring the great Huw Warren on piano.
"


14 Nov 11 - 08:48 AM (#3256748)
Subject: RE: Most Beautiful Ballad Performance?
From: Commander Crabbe

Beer

You're welcome, and yes it would qualify for me.

Chris


14 Nov 11 - 09:40 AM (#3256764)
Subject: RE: Most Beautiful Ballad Performance?
From: Sailor Ron

The late 'Big'Pete Roger singing Fair Flower of Northumberland, the finest version I've ever heard.


14 Nov 11 - 10:19 AM (#3256783)
Subject: RE: Most Beautiful Ballad Performance?
From: RoyH (Burl)

Sailor Ron, Thank you for mentioning the late Pete Roger. 'Big' he certainly was, in stature,personality, and sense of humour. In fact those qualities were so 'Big' in him that it was easy to overlook that he was a damn fine singer. A really fine singer, who could handle a ballad as well as anybody, famous or not. A grand bloke. I still miss him.


14 Nov 11 - 11:36 AM (#3256832)
Subject: RE: Most Beautiful Ballad Performance?
From: Banjiman

Other seemed to like this ......Annachie Gordon

I'm far too biased too comment!

Being a little younger than some of you, I'd really appreciate links to some great ballad performances from the 60s/ 70s..... if anyone has any?


14 Nov 11 - 11:53 AM (#3256838)
Subject: RE: Most Beautiful Ballad Performance?
From: Elmore

The Flying Cloud by Louis Killen, or, more recently, Mathy Groves by Elizabeth LaPrelle


14 Nov 11 - 01:45 PM (#3256917)
Subject: RE: Most Beautiful Ballad Performance?
From: Anne Neilson

Anything by Jeannie Robertson (Matty Groves, Harlaw, Son David, Twa Brithers, Lord Donal/Randall) and similarly from Lizzie Higgins and Sheila Stewart.
And from Revival singers there are impressive performances from Norman Kennedy and Enoch Kent.


14 Nov 11 - 04:31 PM (#3257023)
Subject: RE: Most Beautiful Ballad Performance?
From: Dave Sutherland

If we can gloss over June Tabor's "Border Widow's Lament" I can't find much here with which to disagree. Ewan MacColl did a fine version of "Lord Gregory" but his renditions of "James Herries" and "Child Owlett" remain the best performances of a ballad that I have heard.


14 Nov 11 - 07:17 PM (#3257119)
Subject: RE: Most Beautiful Ballad Performance?
From: Bill D

"beautiful"? I am not sure... but impressive?

Davy Stewart doing "The Merchant's Son and the Beggar's Daughter" with melodeon ....amazing

Jeannie Robertson- "My Son David"

Jean Redpath singing almost anything..(she was my introduction to Scots music, and I retain a prejudice)


15 Nov 11 - 05:05 AM (#3257290)
Subject: RE: Most Beautiful Ballad Performance?
From: Paul Davenport

Liz and I were running the Whitby Folk Week ballads session on Thursday afternoon in 2009. Our way of working includes allowing people to pick up on a 'thread' rather than waiting in a 'round robin' kind of way. Suddenly a quiet voice spoke up in a corner, 'Paul, could I jump in here?' I replied in the affirmative and Ray Fisher began to sing. The ballad was a version of 'The Cruel Sister'. Her voice was quiet but true and the room (which was full to overflowing) was silent as we listened. A truly magical performance , and the last time I heard her sing. I still feel that performance and am privileged to have been there.


15 Nov 11 - 05:11 AM (#3257291)
Subject: RE: Most Beautiful Ballad Performance?
From: GUEST,Baz Parkes

Mike Waterson's Tam Lin


15 Nov 11 - 06:08 AM (#3257314)
Subject: RE: Most Beautiful Ballad Performance?
From: GUEST,AlanG at work

Tony Rose's Young Hunting


15 Nov 11 - 08:17 AM (#3257372)
Subject: RE: Most Beautiful Ballad Performance?
From: theleveller

When I first heard Bert Jansch's Jack Orion I was spellbound - I still never tire of it, Martin Simpson's version of Bonnie Annie is pretty special, too.


15 Nov 11 - 10:14 AM (#3257448)
Subject: RE: Most Beautiful Ballad Performance?
From: Arkie

Would certainly like to have heard Pete Roger singing "Fair Flower of Northumberland". I first heard that ballad as it was sung by Sara Grey and her version is my favorite to date though I have consciously searched for other versions.

I put together a weekly radio program of Ozark music and a track scheduled to run this week is Almeda Riddle singing "Four Marys". I do not claim it to be 'most' beautiful but it is impressive. Almeda's version of "Four Marys" is supposedly unique to a relatively small area around Pangburn, Arkansas in that Mary's baby is stillborn.


15 Nov 11 - 10:14 AM (#3257449)
Subject: RE: Most Beautiful Ballad Performance?
From: Arkie

Would certainly like to have heard Pete Roger singing "Fair Flower of Northumberland". I first heard that ballad as it was sung by Sara Grey and her version is my favorite to date though I have consciously searched for other versions.

I put together a weekly radio program of Ozark music and a track scheduled to run this week is Almeda Riddle singing "Four Marys". I do not claim it to be 'most' beautiful but it is impressive. Almeda's version of "Four Marys" is supposedly unique to a relatively small area around Pangburn, Arkansas in that Mary's baby is stillborn.


16 Nov 11 - 12:27 AM (#3257866)
Subject: RE: Most Beautiful Ballad Performance?
From: GUEST,DrWord

"Birmingham Sunday" Richard & Mimi Farina

dennis


16 Nov 11 - 03:11 AM (#3257905)
Subject: RE: Most Beautiful Ballad Performance?
From: Jim Carroll

"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


16 Nov 11 - 05:12 AM (#3257943)
Subject: RE: Most Beautiful Ballad Performance?
From: Valmai Goodyear

May I draw the attention of ballad enthusiasts to another of our very popular all-day ballad forums at the Lewes Saturday Folk Club on Saturday 3rd. December with Paul & Liz Davenport, who also perform at the club in the evening?
Full details are on this thread.

Next year we have ballad forums and performances by Anne Nielson & Gordeanna McCulloch on Saturday 30th. June and Craig Morgan Robson on Sunday 16th. September.

We also have a free ballad session on Sunday 22nd. January from noon-3.00 p.m. at our headquarters in the Elephant & Castle, Lewes.

I am delighted to report that ballad singing continues to flourish in Lewes.

Valmai (Lewes)


16 Nov 11 - 08:16 AM (#3258029)
Subject: RE: Most Beautiful Ballad Performance?
From: Vic Smith

Baz Parkes wrote:-
"Mike Waterson's Tam Lin "


If the British folk revival has produced a better ballad performance than this, then I would like to be pointed towards it.


16 Nov 11 - 09:48 AM (#3258064)
Subject: RE: Most Beautiful Ballad Performance?
From: TheSnail

One of the Great Folk Moments of my life was sitting next to Moira Craig of Craig Morgan Robson on a friends patio while she sang The Great Silkie. I can't find a recording of that but here she is with a version of Tam Lin - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SeL4b0QTY1I


16 Nov 11 - 10:35 AM (#3258100)
Subject: RE: Most Beautiful Ballad Performance?
From: Paul Davenport

If the British folk revival has produced a better ballad performance than this, then I would like to be pointed towards it.
Mike's 'Seven Yellow Gypsies' runs it pretty close.


16 Nov 11 - 06:38 PM (#3258464)
Subject: RE: Most Beautiful Ballad Performance?
From: Beer

This is a great thread. I am a lot of names mentioned I am not familiar with but I sure do enjoy looking them up and hearing songs that are fabulous. Keep them coming.
Thanks Tigger
ad.
from across the Atlantic


16 Nov 11 - 07:08 PM (#3258474)
Subject: RE: Most Beautiful Ballad Performance?
From: Greg B

This one


17 Nov 11 - 08:29 AM (#3258679)
Subject: RE: Most Beautiful Ballad Performance?
From: Elmore

The False Lover Won Back by Ed Miller, Jock O' Hazeldean by Priscilla Herdman.


17 Nov 11 - 09:22 AM (#3258699)
Subject: RE: Most Beautiful Ballad Performance?
From: Vic Smith


Bill D wrote:-
"Davy Stewart doing "The Merchant's Son and the Beggar's Daughter" with melodeon ....amazing."


How can dismiss his performance of this song as being merely "amazing". It's much, much, much better than just amazing.

I'm a bit of a fan of Davy Stewart, you know!