(1972) Various Artists – Songs and Music of The Redcoats

Argo issue number: ZDA 147

Produced by: Kevin Daly
Recorded by: Adrian Martins and Iain Churches

The album was inspired by Lewis Winstock’s book of the same title: Songs and Music of the Redcoats: A History of the War Music of the British Army 1642-1902, Leo Cooper Ltd, London 1970.

Martyn Wyndham-Read – vocals, guitar

The Druids:
Keith Kendrick – vocals, concertina, guitar
John Adams – vocals, accordion, mandolin
Mick Hennessey – vocals, bass

Musicians from the Band of the Scots Guards
Major James H. Howe, MBE – Director of Music
L/Sgt. Michael Gray – oboe
Sgt. William Verdon – clarinet
Musician Allan Timperley – clarinet
Musician Tony Jeffrey – bassoon
Sgt. Gerald Manvell – percussion

Gerry Fox – vocals, guitar, mandolin
Jim Younger – concertina
Dennis Clarke – flute, chorus
Vin Garbutt – whistle, chorus
Frank Grubb – chorus
Kevin Daly – chorus
Lewis Winstock – chorus


Side One

Civil War
The English March – Scots Guards
John Gwyn’s Air – Scots Guards
When the King Enjoys His Own Again – MW-R vocal, guit, VG whistle, DC flute
When Cannons Are Roaring – KK, JA, MW-R

Over the Hills and Far Away – MW-R
Sergeant Morris’ Song – JA

Seven Years War
The Marquis of Granby – Scots Guards
The Girl I Left Behind Me – MW-R
How Stands the Glass Around? – Druids
Hot Stuff – Gerry Fox

America’s War of Independence
The Grenadier’s March – Scots Guards
Light Infantry Song – KK
Over the Water to Charlie – Scots Guards
Roslyn Castle – Scots Guards
The British Grenadiers – Scots Guards, Druids

Napoleonic Wars
Love, Farewell – MH
One and All – KK lead vocal, Druids accompaniment, vocal chorus
The Owl – Druids
The Rogues’ March – Scots Guards, Druids

Side Two

Napoleonic Wars (continued)
Sahagun – KK unaccompanied
Lochaber No More – Gerry Fox, concertina accomp
The Sodger’s Return – JA vocal

Hey for the Life of a Soldier – Scots Guards, Druids
Paddy’s Resource – Scots Guards
Cheer Boys Cheer – JA

Indian Wars
Bang Upon the Big Drum – MW-R
Here’s to the Last One to Die – MW-R

Late 19th Century
The Jolly Die-Hards – MW-R
Colonel Burnaby – Druids
The Connaught Rangers – Gerry Fox

South Africa
Rory O’More – Scots Guards
Razors in the Air – Druids
The Waggon Loafers – MH & band and chorus
Soldiers of the Queen – MW-R

One of the real gems of Argo’s output, this fantastic canter through the music and songs of the British army from The Civil to the Boer War, made 23 years before Sean Bean and John Tams stole our hearts in Sharpe. What songs! What singing! What tunes! What playing! An inspired decision to match some of the finest of the Argo folk stable (Druids, Gerry Fox, Martyn Wyndham-Read) with the Scots Guards’ band.

Here’s the contemporary review in The Gramophone, which explains what it’s all about:

“As well as providing a lot of largely unknown music which ranges from the lively to the sentimental this record is complementary to two recent books by Lewis Weinstock, Songs and Music of the Redcoats and Songs and Marches of the Roundheads and Cavaliers, two immensely interesting and historically valuable surveys of true soldier music, that is to say music which the troops actually sang and played over a period of two and a half centuries rather than patriotic effusions written by and for civilians, many of which are, of course, now better known.

“The 34 items are conveniently divided into groups in more or less date order, ranging from the Civil War to that in South Africa, which saw scarlet replaced by khaki.

“Among the better known songs and marches are Over the hills and far away, first popularised in 1706 by Farquhar’s play “The Recruiting Officer”, The girl I left behind me, which dates back to 1758, Over the water to Charlie, which is of similar vintage, The British Grenadiers, and, of course, Soldiers of the Queen, which enjoyed immense popularity during the South African War. But the real treasures are among those with which most listeners will be much less familiar.

“I myself am particularly glad to have an earlier Grenadier’s March, the haunting Love, Farewell, a favourite with the Connaught Rangers during the Napoleonic Wars, The Owl, a highly attractive part song which dates from 1609 but was still sung a couple of centuries later, and Rory 0′ More, which I learn was a hit tune of 1837.

“The singing is pleasantly straightforward, as it should be, and although any attempt to play on the instruments thought to be originally intended is expressly disclaimed the accompaniments capture admirably the mood and spirit of what we know or contemporary performances. In the purely instrumental numbers the Scots Guards Quintet of oboe, two clarinets, bassoon and percussion is first-class. The recording is good and this is a disc which goes a long way towards filling a big blank in recorded folk lore.”

(more coming on The Scots Guards and Maj Jimmy Howe)

~ by folkcatalogue on April 25, 2010.

26 Responses to “(1972) Various Artists – Songs and Music of The Redcoats”

  1. This LP is odd for having been issued with both a coloured cover and a monochrome cover. Mick Hennessy of the Druids went on to find international fame and acclaim with the Derbyshire band Roaring Jelly playing stand-up bass.

  2. Thank you for making available on the web. My,much loved copy, is full of pops and crackles. I long for the day when Argo re-release this music, I’m sure it would be a big sellers among all the reconstruction societies.

  3. I have a near perfect example of this and will consider selling it on eBay. It has been played only twice to my certain knowledge. It has no scratches visible, and the album sleeve is excellent too.

    I just have no idea what it is worth as none seem to be for sale anywhere I can find. Any ideas?


  4. Can anybody tell me is this record available as a download anywhere? My copy is rather old and I would like to save a copy to my computer and my iPod.

    • if you haven’t got a way of transferring your vinyl, you’re welcome to a copy of mine

      • I too would appreciate knowing where I can download this album. My father was one of the Scots Guards musicians and the copy he had has gone missing, after he passed away.

      • Hi,
        Is their any chance the Redcoats album is available for download or on CD??
        Kind regards Paul

      • Hi Paul, it’s never been released on CD and i don’t suppose it ever will. Sad, isn’t it?

  5. I have this LP cost me a Mega 50p in near mint condition 2 weeks ago.
    the label states 1971 NOT 1972.
    Brilliant album IMHO

  6. I have this record and the book both are wonderful. Got them years ago.

  7. […] (1972) Various Artists – Songs and Music of The Redcoats …Apr 25, 2010 … The album was inspired by Lewis Winstock’s book of the same title: Songs and Music of the Redcoats: A History of the War Music of the British … […]

  8. If anybody knows where I can purchase this LP cassette or cd of the Songs and Music of the Redcoats. I would be most obliged for this info. I purchased this LP from the Army Museum in Chelsea in the 70`s but it has been lost in the many moves since. I now live in Florida after ending my career with the British Army in 1985. So any help on obtaining this music I would be most grateful. Thank you.

    • Barry

      I have the LP I have the ability to eater record it as cassette tape or a mp3. I searched online the book is still available , but the lp does not seem to be. Let me know what you would like to do. At this point copyright has long since passed.

  9. Is the sheet music available?

  10. Wow, you guys are breathtaking!

    One of the sons of the (now deceased) musicians (“Guadsmans Son” – sic – July 28 2011) makes an appeal for a help finding a replacement copy and not one offer is made by any of you.

    Not one.

  11. I came seeking a cd re-issue too. Since there seems no imminent prospect of a re-issue, and I haven’t had a turntable for twenty years I wll download the album from YouTube. This post is by way of drawing people’s attention to its availability. I am only twenty minutes into it and I went searching for it :)

  12. A great recording. I have known it since 1976 when I was given a tape of it. I have a download that i found a few years ago came via a music share site. Take care if you use such a site. My download came with so many adds and web links I had to clear my hard drive. That said I still have a good clean copy of the album

  13. Full album download link


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: