Our Song of the Day comes from Waterson:Carthy, this Union Chapel gig from 2002 was recorded live for BBC4 and this performance featured both Saul Rose and Tim Van Eyken alongside Norma Waterson, Martin and Eliza Carthy.
Raggle Taggle Gypsies (Roud 1, Child 200) can also be found on Waterson:Carthy’s Broken Ground album of 1999 which was released on Topic Records. According to Steve Roud and Julie Bishop’s in The New Penguin Book of Folk Songs (2012) the ballad is:
Definitely in the top five Child ballads in terms of widespread popularity, and possibly second only to ‘Barbara Allen’, the Gypsies stealing the lady, or, to put it the other way round, the lady running off with the sexy Gypsies, has caught singers’ attention all over the anglophone world for more than 200 years. For obvious reasons, the song has long been a favourite with members of the travelling community.
Stars in My Crown can be found on Common Tongue, released two years earlier in 1997 (Topic Records) on which the line-up then included Saul Rose, Lal Waterson, Maria Gilhooley, Mike Waterson and Eleanor Waterson. Martin’s accompanying liner notes add:
Stars in my Crown is number 787 in the Baptist Sankey hymnal and was brought to Norma’s attention unconsciously while she was watching Dennis Potter’s last interview with an extraordinarily sensitive Melvin Bragg. Leastways, she doesn’t remember him saying ‘787’, but he did. We had the hymnal, found the song and learned it. It was, of course, a feature of his last play Cold Lazarus. We enjoy singing hymns and it’s a blast, whether it be Sacred Harp from USA, or black gospel, or English Baptist stuff.
Don’t miss our special ticket giveaway to see Eliza Carthy, Martin Carthy and Martin Simpson live. More details can be found here.