Thursday, January 23, 2014

A Definite Favourite

I suspect today's ballad merits a better-reflected and better-researched post sometime in the future. I said just the other day that I couldn't choose a favourite fiddler, which is true. I'd be hard-put to settle on a favourite movie, or a favourite book, or a favourite band, but this old song I find so perennially haunting that I shall have to make an exception and admit that I do have a favourite ballad. My only regret in the matter is that I first read it as a poem. . .I read it for years and years as a poem that I liked very much, and no setting I've subsequently found for it has a tune that carries, to my ear, quite the perfection of the words, though the many masterful singers have given more than adequate performances of it with the tunes they were given. Here's Anais Mitchell and Jefferson Hamer with one setting of "Sir Patrick Spens." And here's an early Jean Redpath recording of another:

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