(1973) Martyn Wyndham-Read – Harry the Hawker is Dead

Argo issue number: ZFB 82

Produced by Kevin Daly
Recorded by Iain Churches

Availability: never released on CD

Martyn Wyndham-Read – vocals, guitar
(Don’t know who accompanies on some tracks on fiddle, banjo, whistle and concertina)

Side One
1 When Jones’s Ale Was New – (+ fiddle, banjo, whistle)
2 Perry Merry Winkle Domine – (+ concertina)
3 The Sailor Home from the Sea (words Dorothy Hewett, music MW-R)
4 Harry the Hawker Is Dead (Martin Graebe) – MW-R unaccompanied
5 Bluey Brink
6 The Female Rambling Sailor – MW-R unaccompanied

Side Two
1 Lachlan Tigers – (+ fiddle, banjo, whistle)
2 Ginny on the Moor
3 Cane Cutter’s Lament – MW-R unaccompanied
4 The Bullockie’s Ball – MW-R vocal + fiddle
5 The Shearer’s Lament (lyrics Matt O’Conner, music MW-R)
6 Christ Was Born in Bethlehem – MW-R vocal + concertina

All tracks, except where indicated, trad, arranged by MW-R.
All tracks MW-R guitar and vocals, except where indicated.

The second Argo LP that Martyn Wyndham Read appears on. The first – a collaboration with The Druids, The Scots Guards, Gerry Fox et al – came out in 1971: Songs and Music of the Redcoats.

The Argo LPs are sandwiched by MW-R’s Australia recordings (which began in 1963), appearances on compilations on Topic and solo issues on Trailer.

Sailor Home from the Sea/Cock of the North
Sailor Home from the Sea was the first tune that MW-R ever wrote for a poem.

The poem, by Australian communist poetess Dorothy Hewett, was published in 1963, MW-R wrote the tune “back in about 1964” and played it to audiences in Britain on his return in 1967.

Some time after it morphed into a song called Cock of the North, a staple in the repertoire of Finbar and Eddie Furey. MW-R explains the, erm, folk process:

“I well remember singing my tune to Sailor Home From The Sea into Eddie Furey’s tape recorder circa late 1960’s and then in the early ’70’s being on tour in Germany and staying at Willy Schwenken’s house,” he recalled. “Willy made records of the vinyl variety and also had an extensive collection. While browsing through some of these I saw that there was a recording of the Furey’s live concert at some hall.

“One of the tracks was I think Cock of The North. So, being curious, I played that track, sure enough it was Sailor Home From The Sea having been, as Bob Bolton so accurately describes as ‘being painted green’, something about having learnt the song from their grandmother and it was all about gun running, to be honest I am not too sure about this bit being on the actual record but I am sure that I have heard them introduce it this way.

“One thing I am sure of is that each time I have seen Eddie and asked him about this he has always had a pressing engagement in a different direction.”

Here are The Fureys doing Cock of the North. No mention of gun running, but it’s a nice tune.

Home from the Sea and The Shearer’s Song re-appear on MW-R’s Fellside album Beneath a Southern Sky, one of ten post-1995 albums available from his website. Click here to find out more.

For information on the Australian folk revival of the early sixties (and MW-R’s part in it), check out Warren Fahey’s Australian Folklore Unit website.


~ by folkcatalogue on December 9, 2009.

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