Friday, November 04, 2011

Marry, Ageyn Hic Hev Donne Yt

Stick with it until about 2:35, anyway. It suddenly goes all 16th C (see below).

Richard Thompson was a founder of Fairport Convention, the other English electric folk band of the early 70's, and much better known in America than Steeleye Span at the time. I never liked them much, as Sandy Denny's voice was just a little too...something for my taste. The difference has got to be subtle, because it is much like Maddy Prior's.

I never quite forgave Thompson for playing the Joni Mitchell tribute concert, thinking "you need to get out of this." But ethereal voice, unusual tunings, I suppose I can see how you'd have to be on board with Joni if you're Richard. Some magazine - it may have been Playboy - asked popular musicians in the early 2000's what the "top popular songs of the millennium" had been. Everyone else stretched their musical knowledge back a few decades, or maybe a century. They may not have known what a millennium was, or had little idea of history. When I sang old folk songs years ago, many people, even ones you would think quite savvy, had a category "old music" in their brains that covered everything from Depression-era bluegrass backward. They might have the additional bit of knowledge that "Greensleeves" was really old.

Thompson took it seriously and did an entire album on it, starting with Sumer is icumen in. (A song which gave rise to my best literary off-the-cuff joke ever - incredibly brilliant - but gets completely ruined by having to explain it. The punch line is "Loude sing Marcoux." See, that doesn't help you any, does it?) Here's a Fairport Convention tune from the last album he did with them, and the only one I was familiar with until years later.


Jan said...

Well that first one was like fingernails on a blackboard, but the second was very nice. Denny's voice sounds weak in comparison to Prior's though.

karrde said...

I can honestly say that I don't know if he did that first song better than whats-her-name.

Because I've never heard whoever-she-is sing that first song.

Gotta say, though, that a band that can credibly mention--and perform--the best songs of the last 1000 years is a good band.

Gringo said...

The punch line is "Loude sing Marcoux." See, that doesn't help you any, does it?)

No, it doesn't.

Texan99 said...

Dang, I can't make your video clips run this morning. I'm very fond of Fairport Convention, though. I enjoy Sandy Denny more than you, but Jan's right: she's thinner than Maddy Pryor. On the other hand, I enjoy the male voices in FC more than those in SES. FC does a great Sir Patrick Spens, using the tune I associate with "Hugh the Graeme" rather than the one Ewan McColl uses.

Isn't it Richard Thompson who does "Vincent Black Lightning 1952"? Now there's a good song, though modern.

I sing with some neighbors. I can't get them interested in old music. They think music from the 1950s is old. On the other hand, I was surprised to find that much of the folk music I think of as old typically dates from the 19th century, and that polyphony is a fairly recent invention.

I really like Shape Note music. Most of that is 19th century, with some 18th century sprinkled in, and then of course they often adopted popular tunes that may have been around much longer. But the bulk of it is not truly ancient.

Sam L. said...

I like the gitfiddle on #1; song sucks.

I was confusing Sandy Denny with Sandy Dennis. Voice sounds fine to me, but what do I know?