POOR STRANGE GIRL

 

 

Poor Strange Girl Album Cover

Thank-you so much for purchasing a copy of “Poor Strange Girl”. This page contains more in-depth detail about the songs and tunes included on the CD along with lyrics and notation for the tunes and songs.

 

Poor Strange Girl (Traditional/A Jones arr. A Jones)

Vocals/Tenor Guitar: Alice Jones
Fiddle: Tom Kitching
Double Bass: Hugh Bradley

This is based on a song collected by Cecil Sharp in 1917 from Eliza Pace. Eliza was living in Hyden County, Kentucky and was the source of some really great songs. The collected version of this is recorded as “Poor Stranger” and I have adapted both the words and the tune considerably.

Poor Strange Girl

One morning, one morning, one morning in May,
I met with a fair damsel as she went on her way.
I heard that fair lamenting as she roamed,
I am a poor strange girl and I’m so far from my home.

William, oh William its for your sake alone,
I left my old father, my mother and my home.
I left my poor mother to weep and to moan,
And now I am a poor strange girl and I’m so far from my home.

My parents objected, they said you were too poor.
They deemed you unworthy to enter in our door.
They said that you’d leave me in grief and all alone,
And now I am a poor strange girl and I’m so far from my home.

Adieu to old Kentucky, no longer can I stay,
Since hard times and misfortunes have forced me to stray.
Hard times and misfortunes occasion me to roam,
Now I am a poor strange girl and I’m so far from my home.

And it’s oft times, so fondly, that I cast my memory back,
To the promise that you made me whilst by my side you sat.
You said that you loved me, your heart lay on my breast,
And if we never married your heart could never rest.

Although your body’s absent my heart is always true.
There’s no one in this wide world I love as well as you.
No other should have me, make me for to moan,
Now I am a poor strange girl forever I shall roam.

Go and build me a cabin on yonder mountain high,
Where the wild geese can see me as they do pass me by.
Where the turtle dove can hear me, help me for to moan,
That I am a poor strange girl and I’m so far from my home.

There’s a bottle of good whiskey and a bottle of good wine.
You drink to your true love and I’ll lament for mine.
You can drink with your true love whilst I’m left all alone,
Saying I am a poor strange girl and I’m so far from my home.

I’ll eat when I am hungry, I’ll drink when I am dry,
I couldn’t care less if I live or die.
I’ll love you ’till I’m lifeless, my body entombed.
And I’ll always be that strange girl so far from my home.

Woody Knows Nothing (Traditional/E Darling/A Jones arr. A Jones)

Vocals/Piano: Alice Jones

I first heard this song on a record called “True Religion”, by the legendary Erik Darling. I think he had some hand in adapting it from it’s original collected version but it is a traditional song with a few different variants along with some additional verses that are not included in this version. I was actually inspired to learn this song after hearing Beverly Smith sing it unaccompanied at the Ryburn 3 Step folk club. She was staying with Pete and Sue Coe after the club night and, luckily for me, Pete recorded and “collected” (nicked) the song from her and passed it on to me. I have adapted it slightly by repeating the first verse as a chorus so that there’s plenty of opportunity to sing along!

Woody Knows Nothing

CHORUS
Woody knows nothing but pecking in a bough,
Ah, but the sky’s so blues.
I never knew ’till I found you,
Just what love could do, could do,
Just what love could do.

Red bird sitting in a sycamore tree,
Singing out her soul,
When a big bad snake came up that tree,
Swallowed that poor bird whole, whole,
Swallowed that poor bird whole.

CHORUS

Can’t you see that turtle dove,
Flying from pine to pine,
Mourning for her own true love,
Just as I mourn for mine, oh mine,
Just as I mourn for mine.

CHORUS

Jay bird pulls a four horse plough,
Sparrow why can’t you?
Because my legs are skinny and weak,
They might break in two, in two.
They might break in two.

CHORUS

I’m just a poor little country girl,
Money have I none,
But there’s silver in the moon,
And there’s gold in the rising sun, oh sun.
Gold in the rising sun.

CHORUS

The Larkman / The Herron Tree (A Jones)

Whistle/Tenor Guitar: Alice Jones
Fiddle: Tom Kitching
Double Bass: Hugh Bradley

The first tune in this set was inspired by this verse from Bob Pegg’s song “The Stone Head” which was written as part of the Calderdale Songs Project.

“A lark man came on Wednesday,
He crept from the mist like a thief.
He left a lark shut in a cage for musical relief.
But I wouldn’t heed it, I didn’t need it, to ease my day along.
When night came, the blackness came and put an end to it’s song.”

As far as I understand larkmen indulged in this hobby whereby larks would be trained to replicate the songs of wild larks on command so that they could be entered into lark-singing competitions. A young lark would be shut into a little wooden box, taken up to the moors and secreted in a safe place so that they could hear and therefore learn the songs of the wild moorland larks. These birds would then be presented at competitions to be judged by larkmen from different regions, on the quality of the singing and the number of different calls replicated.

The Larkman

The second tune was named after a tree that is situated near to the River Ryburn in the village of Triangle, West Yorkshire. A dear friend of mine had once explained to me that he saw herons as a good omen and that they represented a kind of guardian like presence in his life. Eerily, ever since he told me this, I have found that I see heron’s at points in my life where I hope for good omens. This is likely due to the fact that the Ryburn valley is an area in which herons thrive but I also like to see them as a positive symbol. On one particular day, when pondering a particularly difficult decision, I spotted an entire tree of nesting herons: resembling branch upon branch of tattered umbrellas, I took it to be affirmation of what I can thankfully say was the best decision I have made in a very long time.

This tune is dedicated to the memory of Dave Eckersley of Herron Publishing.

The Herron Tree

The Cruel Mother (Traditional arr. A Jones)

Vocals/Harmonium: Alice Jones
Fiddle: Tom Kitching
Double Bass: Hugh Bradley

The theme of this song is one that is surprisingly common in folk music. There is no explanation as to what causes the lady in this tale to commit such a horrific act but one can imagine she must have found herself in a somewhat desperate situation. This version of the ballad has been heavily adapted with the words coming from a number of different sources.

The Cruel Mother

There was a lady lived in York,
All alone a-lonely.
She was courted by her father’s clerk,
All down by the greenwood side.

She leaned her back all against some oak,
All alone a-lonely.
First it bent and then it broke,
All down by the greenwood side.

She leaned her back against a thorn,
There she had two pretty babes born,
All down by the greenwood side.

She had a penknife long and sharp,
All alone a-lonely.
She pressed it through their tender hearts,
All down by the greenwood side.

She stuck that knife into the green,
All alone a-lonely.
But the more that she wiped it more blood was seen,
All down by the greenwood side.

She threw that knife so far away,
But the further she threw it, the closer it came,
All down by the greenwood side.

She digged a grave both wide and long,
All alone a-lonely.
She buried them under a marble stone,
All down by the greenwood side.

She left them there beneath that stone,
All alone a-lonely.
Thinking that she would a maiden go home,
All down by the greenwood side.

As she was at her father’s hall,
She saw two pretty babes playing at the ball,
All down by the greenwood side.

Babes, oh babes if you were mine,
All alone a-lonely.
I’d dress you up in the scarlet so fine,
All down by the greenwood side.

Mother, oh mother we once were thine,
All alone a-lonely.
You never dressed us in scarlet so fine,
All down by the greenwood side.

You digged that grave so wide and long,
And you buried us under a marble stone,
All down by the greenwood side.

Babes, oh babes come tell to me,
All alone a-lonely.
If you know what the future holds for me,
All down by the greenwood side.

Mother, oh mother you know right well,
All alone a-lonely.
‘Tis we for heaven and you for hell,
All down by the greenwood side.

Green Bushes (Traditional arr. A Jones)

Vocals/Piano: Alice Jones
Fiddle: Tom Kitching

This song is taken from the Frank Kidson publication “Traditional Tunes”. It was collected from Mrs Holt who was a resident in Alderhill, Meanwood. She remembered it as “being sung in Stockport in about 1838. I have been lucky enough to have spent the last few years researching and working on songs from Frank Kidson’s collection along with folk legend Pete Coe. It is an absolute treasure trove of material that continues to yield interesting and unusual versions of songs both familiar and unfamiliar to me. This song stood out for me particularly because the situation is entirely controlled by the female. She plays the role of the philanderer and abandons her true love in favour of a more appealing suitor she bumps into whilst in the woods… a most uncommon folk song denouement!

Green Bushes

As I was a-walking one morning in May,
To hear the birds whistle and to see the lambs play,
I spied a fair maiden so sweetly sang she,
Down by the green bushes where she chanced to meet me.

I stepped on up to her and thus I did say,
How far are you going to wander this way,
I’m in search of my true love the maiden said she,
Down by the green bushes where he vowed to meet me.

I’ll buy you fine beavers and fine silken gowns,
I’ll buy you fine petticoats flounced down to the ground,
If you will prove loyal and constant unto me,
Forsake your own true love and marry with me.

I want none of your beavers and none of your fine hose,
For I am not so poor as to marry for clothes,
But if you will prove loyal and constant unto me,
I’ll forsake my own true love and I’ll marry with thee.

Come let us be going kind sir if you please,
Come let us be going from under these trees,
For yonder he’s coming my true love I see,
Down by the green bushes where he thinks he’ll meet me.

But when that he got there and he found she was gone,
He stood like a lambkin that was all forlorn,
She’s gone with some other and forsaken me,
Adieu the green bushes forever said he.

I’ll be like other schoolboys, spend my life in play,
And I’ll never again be lead foolish away,
And false-hearted women shall deceive me no more,
Adieu the green bushes it’s time to give o’er.

Wedding Mazurkas (A Jones)

Whistle/Harmonium: Alice Jones
Double Bass: Hugh Bradley

I wrote these two tunes as wedding presents for dear friends. The first tune was written for Liz and Colin Cryer who are long-standing members of the Ryburn Longsword clan. The second tune I wrote for Gordon and Sue Wood who are fabulous dancers and keen supporters of the local live music and dance scene.

Liz and Colin's Wedding Mazurka 1

Gordon and Sue's Wedding Mazurka

Her Bright Smile Haunts Me Still (Words: J.E. Carpenter, Music: W.T. Wrighton, Arr: A Jones)

Vocals/Piano: Alice Jones

I found this song in the collection of Frank and Anne Warner. It was sung to them by sisters Eleazar Tillet and Martha Etheridge in 1951 who learnt it from Eleazar’s husband “Tink”. Eleazar and her husband were a rich source of interesting songs some of which could be traced back to not-so-traditional sources. This song was published in a book called “Heart Songs Dear to the American People” and is often cited as a civil war song. I have again, adapted the structure of the song to allow for extra opportunity to join in with choruses!

Her Bright Smile Haunts Me Still

It’s been so long since last we met,
We may never meet again.
I have struggled to forget,
But the struggle was in vain.
For her voice lives on the breeze,
Her spirit comes at will,
And at midnight on the seas,
Her bright smile haunts me still.

Refrain
At midnight on the seas,
Her bright smile haunts me still

CHORUS
For her voice lives on the breeze,
Her spirit comes at will,
And at midnight on the seas,
Her bright smile haunts me still
At midnight on the seas,
Her bright smile haunts me still.

At the first sweet dawn of light,
When I gaze upon the deep,
Her form still greets my sight,
Where the stars their vigil keep,
And when I close my aching eyes,
Sweet dreams my senses fill,
Yet from sleep when I arise,
Her bright smile haunts me still.

Refrain
From sleep when I arise,
Her bright smile haunts me still.

CHORUS

I have sailed a fallen sky,
I have trod the desert path,
I have seen the storm arise,
Like a giant in his wrath,
And every danger I have known,
That a reckless life can fill,
Still her presence is not flown,
Her bright smile haunts me still.

Refrain
Her presence is not flown,
Her bright smile haunts me still

CHORUS

And when I close my aching eyes,
Sweet dreams my senses fill.
Yet from sleep when I arise,
Her bright smile haunts me still.

Refrain
From sleep when I arise,
Her bright smile haunts me still.

CHORUS

When I Am Far Away (Traditional arr. A Jones)

Vocals/Harmonium: Alice Jones
Fiddle: Tom Kitching

This is another song from the Frank Kidson collection. I found it amongst his vast collection of broadsides.

When I Am Far Away

When I am far away from home,
On some strange and distant shore,
I’ll think of those I left behind,
And never may see more,
No matter where I chance to roam,
The burden of my lay,
Shall be may you guard my friends,
When I am far away.

CHORUS
When I am far from home,
When I am far away,
May you protect and guard my friends,
When I am far away.

When I am far away from home,
Across the rough and the troubled main,
I’ll pray that he who made us all,
May let us meet again.
We may be parted for many years,
But still the burden of my lay,
Shall be may you protect and guard my friends,
When I am far away.

CHORUS

When I am far away from home,
You’ll find new friendships may arise,
But, oh my heart sincerely feels,
That true affection never dies,
So let me fervently declare,
In this my simple lay,
May you protect and guard my friends,
When I am far away.

CHORUS

When I am far away from home,
And I’m lost beyond the sea,
I will forever think of you,
And wherever you may be,
As long as I can speak aloud,
Then the burden of my lay,
Shall be may you guard my friends,
When I am far away.

CHORUS

Digerpolskan / The Duhk Strut Reel (G Fredrikson/A Jones)

Whistle/Tenor Guitar: Alice Jones
Fiddle: Tom Kitching
Double Bass: Hugh Bradley

The first tune of this set is a beautiful polska written by Göran Fredrikson who I first came across as part of the Swedish supergroup Blå Bergens Borduner. It also features on an excellent album by fellow band member Anders Norudde called “Kan Själv!”. I am a massive fan of Scandinavian music and dancing and I play this tune for dancing at any opportunity I get!

The second tune of the set was written for my good friend and virtuoso banjo-player, Leonard Podolak after a particularly fabulous weekend at Shrewsbury Folk Festival 2014. His playing makes me want to dance and never stop!

The Duhk Strut Reel

Adieu to Old England (Traditional arr. A Jones)

Vocals/Piano: Alice Jones
Double Bass: Hugh Bradley

This is a song that I got from Gina Le Faux when I was in a trio with her and superb double bassist Hugh Bradley (who just happens to feature on this album!). I have adapted the words based on various versions. It seems that this story is frighteningly relevant again today in light of recessions and such hardships of recent years.

Adieu to Old England

Once I could ride in a coach,
Six horses to draw me along.
Now I’m in stirrups, stirrups so strong,
That I know not which way I can turn.

CHORUS
Here’s adieu to old England, adieu,
Here’s adieu to some thousands of pounds.
If this world had been done before my life had begun,
Then my sorrows would then have had bounds.

Once I could drink of the best,
The best of good beer brimming brown.
Now I am glad if some water be had,
That floweth from town unto town.

CHORUS

Once I could eat of the best,
The best of good bread only white.
Now I’m glad that I trust in a dry barley crust,
And I’m glad that I have it to bite.

CHORUS

Once I was housed as the best.
In a mansion that’s well furnished,
But now I am glad if some cover be had,
The pig sty to shelter my head.

CHORUS

Once I could sleep on a bed,
With a mattress of the fine comfort down,
Now I am glad of a clutch of clean straw,
To keep my poor bones from the ground.

CHORUS

Once I was clothed as the best,
In a broadcloth and fine linen spools,
Now as naked as born unto the dust I’ll return,
Kind neighbours my story is done.

CHORUS

The Castle By The Sea (Traditional arr. A Jones)

Vocals/Tenor Guitar/Harmonium: Alice Jones
Fiddle: Tom Kitching

This is another song taken from the collection of Frank and Anne Warner. It was collected from the wonderful Lena Bourne Fish in 1940. I have adapted the tune a little and I wrote much of the second half of the song as the version of the words printed in the book do not include the additional parrot-based verses.

The Castle By The Sea

Rise, arise my lady fair,
And you my bride shall be.
We’ll go and live in a sylvan bower,
In my castle by the sea.

Bring with you your marriage fee,
Which you can claim today.
Also bring your swiftest steeds,
The milk-white and the grey.

She’s mounted on her milk-white steed,
Him on the turban grey.
They took the path by the wild sea shore,
Or so I’ve heard them say.

She saw the walls of the castle high,
They looked so dark and cold.
She wished she’d stayed in Boston town,
With her ten thousand pounds in gold.

He halted his horse by the wild sea shore,
My bride you’ll never be,
For six young maidens I drowned here,
And the next one you shall be.

Take off, take off your silken robes,
And lay them here by me.
For they are too rich and costly love,
For to rot in the briny sea.

Then turn your face to the water side,
Your back to the yonder tree.
For it’s not right that such a man,
A naked woman should see.

So he’s turned his face to the water side,
And his back to the lofty tree,
And she took him into his arms,
And she’s chucked him in the sea.

Lie there, lie there you false young man.
Drown in place of me.
For if six young maidens you drowned here,
Go and keep them company.

She then did mount her milk-white steed,
Led the turban grey,
She took the path by the wild sea shore,
Or so I’ve heard them say.

She’s halted her horse at the willow tree,
That grew at her father’s gate.
She wept that she had made it home,
Just two hours before day break.

But her parrot being up in the tree so high,
It began to flutter and cry.
Saying what is the matter my lady fair,
That you’re out so long this night.

Please hush my pretty parrot bird,
Don’t tell tales on me.
For you won’t believe the things I’ve heard,
Or seen or done this day.

So she told the bird of the castle walls,
That were so dark and cold,
And of that wild and wicked youth,
Whose intentions were so bold.

Then hush, hush my own lady fair,
I’ll won’t tell tales on thee,
For I just cried out to scare the cat away,
At least that’s what I shall say.

Well done, well done my dear polly,
Well done, well done cried she.
Your cage will be made of the glittering gold,
And your doors of the best ivory.

Sometimes she saddles her milk-white steed,
Sets out from her door.
She rides along the path that leads,
Along the wild sea shore.

And she sees the walls of the castle high,
They are still dark and cold,
But she knows then man that once lived there,
Well his bones have turned to mould.

And she sheds a tear for the six young maids,
And the watery grave they share,
But she did not tell what happened there,
At least that’s what I did hear…

Long, Long Trail A-Winding (Words: Stoddard King, Music: Alonzo Elliot, Arr. Alice Jones)

Vocals/Harmonium: Alice Jones

I first heard this song at a “Ryburn 3 Step Concert Party” performed by Pete Coe, Chris Coe and Johnny Adams of The New Victory Band. It was a very popular song during the First World War and was recorded many times by many different people, featuring most notably in “Oh What A Lovely War”. This version, however, was taught to Pete and Chris Coe by Chris’ mum Kath Richards. I grew up in a terraced house in Ripponden three doors away from the house where Pete and Chris lived and when I was about six-years old Kath moved up from Birmingham, into the house next-door to us. Kath was more than a neighbour though, she quickly became the beloved “terrace Gran” to all the children on the terrace; she looked after my brother and me after school, advised my Mum on meat (having been a first class butcher herself) and most of all was a friend, great supporter and companion to us all. I don’t remember ever hearing her sing but she had a couple of songs in her repertoire and this was one of them. This song is dedicated to her memory. I will miss Kath forever and I will always be thinking of her whenever I sing it.

Long, Long Trail A-Winding

Nights are getting very lonely,
Days are very long.
I am growing weary only,
Waiting for your song.
Old remembrances are thronging,
Through my memory.
Thronging ’till it seems,
That the world is full of dreams,
Just to bring you back to me.

CHORUS
There’s a long, long trail a-winding into the land of my dreams,
Where the nightingales are singing and the white moon beams.
There’s a long, long night a-waiting until my dreams all come true.
And that’s the day that I’ll be going down that long, long trail with you.

Sometimes I think I hear you calling,
Calling sweet and low.
And I think I hear your footsteps falling,
Everywhere I go.
Though the road between us stretches,
Manys the weary mile.
Somehow I forget,
That you’re not with me yet,
When I think I see you smile.

CHORUS

 

I would like to take the opportunity to thank the following people for all of their love, support and encouragement during the process of producing this recording:

With thanks to:

Mum and Dad for… well everything really!

Jon Loomes for his excellent recording expertise, Tom Kitching for being an amazing fiddle player and all around brill person to work with, Hugh Bradley for his funky bass input and fellow coffee snobbery, Murray Grainger for his visual and creative skills, David Crickmore for all his advice, mastering assistance and general support, Neil Ferguson for his mastering services, Elly Lucas for taking photographs of me that actually make me look normal!

Pete and Sue Coe for their endless support and inspiration, Gill Loomes for the coffee, hoummous and chatting, Ryburn 3 Step and all the fabulous friends and supporters, Michael Beeke for his listening services and counselling support!

All of the people that inspired me to write tunes and learn songs: Pete Coe, Chris Coe, Dave Eckersley, Liz and Colin Cryer, Gordon and Sue Wood, Leonard Podolak, Kath Richards, Frank Kidson, Frank and Anne Warner and many more people that I have probably forgotten to mention…

UA-65719732-1
FACEBOOK
FACEBOOK
Instagram
YouTube
Follow by Email