Our second CD, released August 2008
with CD notes and additional information, song samples and sheet music to download and print
For this, our second CD together, we have mined the collections of Sabine Baring-Gould and Cecil Sharp, for these little gems. Some of the songs are presented here for the first time since they were collected. Many are variants of songs that are well known but we feel that the differences give them freshness and renewed charm. The songs we have chosen are mainly from the South-West of England, particularly Devon, though
You can find the words of the songs by using the links below. We have also included a few short mp3 samples for you to listen to.
The notes from the CD booklet are included below. In each case we have given the 'Roud Number' which will guide you to other variants of a song if you use the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library on-line database. We have also included references for songs in the Baring-Gould manuscripts. An explanation of the reference system can be found on www.sbgsongs.org.
In putting this CD together the songs have, of course, been changed by the addition of harmonies, accompaniments and by our phrasing and timing. That is what singers have always done and we can be sure that Baring-Gould's singers would have made their own choices about their performance according to the expectations of their audiences. They would have been sung unaccompanied and with a great deal of freedom in timing - Baring-Gould wrote that, with many of the songs he collected, it would have been more accurate to have written them without a time signature or bar lines. Similarly he recognised that many of the singers used modal scales and that writing them conventionally does not always reflect accurately what was sung. There are a number of modal tunes in our selection and many of them feel unusual and, occasionally, uncomfortable. We have become very fond of these 'weird tunes'.
Martin and Shan Graebe
We are very grateful to Keith Kendrick, Nick Wyke and Becki Driscoll for their help with this CD. They listened to our ideas for accompaniments and then, invariably, exceeded our expectations. It is a privilege to work with such talented people. Sylvia Needham and Doug Bailey also added their vocal talents to the chorus with great effect. If you would like to know more about them and what they do visit their websites:
Keith Kendrick - http://www.keithkendrick.co.uk
Nick Wyke and Becki Driscoll - http://www.englishfiddle.com/
The painting used on the CD cover was done by Chris Molan and is based on the photograph taken by Cecil Sharp of John and Elizabeth Dingle which is in the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library collection. You can see more of Chris's work here.
The photograph of the Dingles, as well as those of Priscilla Cooper, Louie Hooper and Lucy White which appear in the CD booklet and which were taken by Cecil Sharp, has been used with the permission of the EFDSS. The painting also includes fragments taken from the Baring-Gould manuscripts (used with the permission of Merriol Almond and the Baring-Gould Corporation) and from Cecil Sharp's tune book (used by permission of the Master, Fellows and Scholars of Clare College,
Thank you to Malcolm Taylor and the staff of the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library for their valuable help. Visit them at http://www.efdss.org/. Thanks also to Sam Lee who wielded the camera for our photos. Finally, thanks to those friends old and new who have supported our singing and our research in so many ways. You are too numerous to mention but we know who you are - and we look forward to renewing our friendship when next we meet. We hope you enjoy the CD.
And, of course, thanks to the master of the sound-desk, Doug Bailey, and to Sue Bailey who looked after the team so well while we spent some of the nicest days of the spring locked away in the studio. Visit Doug's website http://www.wildgoose.co.uk/ - and buy some CDs!
The notes posted here are an upgrade to the ones published with the CD and contain some corrections. On 'Among the green hay', Shan was accompanied by Becki Driscoll on solo fiddle. And the accompaniment for 'A frigate well manned' was all the work of Keith Kendrick. If I spot any more errors I will post them here. And if you spot any, please let me know!