Jackie Oates is clearly getting into the Christmas spirit as she is offering a free download ‘Gathering Rushes In the Month of May’ which features Alasdair Roberts on guitar whom she collaborated with on Hyperboreans. Jackie first heard Anne Briggs singing this lovely song which she states “came to life during a night of idle singing with Alasdair Roberts”.
The photo above was taken when Alasdair performed at ‘The Louisiana’ in Bristol back in 2009 with Jim Moray. During his set he asked Jackie up on stage to perform two numbers from the yet to be released Hyperboreans.
Gathering rushes was thought propitious for love encounters, probably because rushes grew in lonely spots and offered good cover for secret sport. A. L. Lloyds’ comments; ‘How many country girls through the centuries have been heartened by the sweet nobility of this song? A girl bears a bastard. She is afraid of her father’s displeasure, but her pride in her baby and in the way she got it triumphs over her fear. The song has been common enough (the present set was got in Suffolk in 1937) but no collector thought it fit to publish. Queer lot’. The tune that accompanies the melody is one which Alasdair wrote and named after Bath’s Celto-Roman tutelary deity, ‘Sulis Minerva’.
Jackie Oates: Vocals, 5 String Viola
Alasdair Roberts: Guitar
Barney Morse-Brown: Viola de Gamba
Ged Lynch – Percussion
photo: Folk Radio UK (All Rights Reserved)