I remember swapping one of my songs for A Sailor Courted at a late night sing-around at my host’s house after my booking at their folk club in the 1970s, but I’m sorry to say I don’t recall the club or the singer.
Reynardine is a curious traditional song that was often printed by the Victorian ballad presses. Pomeroy is a village in County Tyrone, Northern Ireland.
Whilst sorting out some old guitar class demo recordings I came across Matt Hyland, a song about which I know little, except that Martin Carthy said he heard it sung by a man whose name he didn’t recall in a northern Ireland folk club in the late 1960s.
All the ballad-mongers of Seven Dials had versions of this song and all give the youth’s hometown as Newry, not far from Carlingford. Stephen’s Green is a village near Mallow, County Cork. The photo was taken just outside Newry, on a handsome cycle route.
For come reason, which I never discovered, the McPeake family from Northern Ireland was held in particularly high regard at Hertford Folk Club in the Dimsdale Arms. As they had never played there and weren’t likely to, one night in 1967 I joined in the general acclaim and sang Francis McPeake’s Love Will Never Conquer Me on their behalf, but didn’t record the song until 2010.
In a 1946 BBC broadcast, repeated on Radio 4 on 24th July 1980, James Stephens said that his friend James Joyce told him he’d learned the song from his grandfather, that it was the world’s best loved song and that only he knew it. Stephens said that he and Joyce were outside a Paris café when Joyce sang it to him, and he learned it on one hearing – “A knack I have since lost.”
I did the same. It would be interesting to hear that broadcast again and see how close I got. The Nidderdale photograph was taken by Janina Holubecki.
I like the free and easy way of this traditional Irish song & tune.