FOLK MUSICIANS ON THIS PAGE: LOST SONGS OF ST. KILDA (SCOTLAND) * JEAN REDPATH * ANNE BRIGGS * TRACY CHAPMAN * GILLIAN FRAME * KATHRYN TICKELL * CLIFTON CHENIER * JOHN RENBOURN * BERT JANSCH * DAVY GRAHAM * PO’ GIRL (with ALLISON RUSSELL) * FAIRPORT CONVENTION (with SANDY DENNY) * FOTHERINGAY * RICHARD & LINDA THOMPSON * RICHARD THOMPSON * LINDA THOMPSON * KELLY JOE PHELPS * CUSTER LA RUE * RHEINGANS SISTERS * EMMA LANGFORD * SALOME LECLERC * CARLOS NAKAI * CATHIE RYAN
Nearly a century ago, the last 36 residents were evacuated from the most remote part of the British Isles, St. Kilda, an isolated archipelago off the beautiful and rugged western coast of Scotland. After 86 years, the music of St. Kilda has been discovered, recorded in a Scottish care home by Trevor Morrison, an elderly man who was taught piano by an inhabitant of St. Kilda. Heard by the outside world for the first time these haunting melodies offer a last link to the so-called ‘island on the edge of the world’.
Jean Redpath sings the murder ballad “The Banks of Red Roses” (Roud #603) from her 1962 album “Skipping Barefoot through the Country.” She writes that it is related to a beautiful Irish pastoral song of the same name by dint of its first two verses. Jean attributes this Scottish version was collected by Hamish Henderson from a blind fiddler in Elgin, Morayshire. She learned it from Ella Ward in Edinburgh.
Three Scottish Songs: I. The Bonnie Lass of Fyvie Practically every town and village in Scotland is honored in song, with Fyvie perhaps getting more than its fair share. Located on the River Ythan, in the northeastern Scottish country of Aberdeen, Fyvie is widely known through its place-name reference in this song and the ballad of “The Trumpeter of Fyvie” (Tifty’s Annie”, Child No. 233). This is one of the most popular songs in northeastern Scotland. II. Willie’s RareThis lyric lament is probably all that remains from a once longer ballad. It is sometimes considered a variant of “Rare Willie Drowned in Yarrow” (Child No. 215), and is listed as such in numerous anthologies. The source is William Thomson’s “Orpheus Caledonius”, 1733, one of the earliest published collections of Scots songlore. III. The Fife Overgate Several forms of this ribald Scots ballad are known, but the version sung here is mostly from my own family tradition in Leven, Fifeshire. The tune, refrain and half of the text were learned from my mother’s singing, with the remaining verses conflated from several other sources. The first verse is unique in that it places the song in an East Fife setting.
Scottish singer and fiddler recommended by Neal Rosen:
Kathryn Tickell, Northumbrian pipes player:
King of Louisianna’s Zydeco music:
Some noted English folk music guitarists:
Playlist of entire album The Enchanted Garden (featuring Jacqui McShee on vocals):
Playlist of entire album A Maid in Bedlam (featuring Jacqui McShee on vocals):
This song was also recorded on an early album by Simon & Garfunkel:
Po’ Girl featuring Allison Russell (of Birds of Chicago) and Awna Teixeira:
Featuring Sandy Denny, vocals, and Richard Thompson, guitar. Recommended by Linda Hess:
Also covered by Judy Collins, this song was written by Sandy Denny:
Playlist of entire album Liege & Lief:
The entire album of their CD “Pour Down Like Silver”:
Playlist of entire album of their classic “Shoot Out the Lights”:
The entire album of their CD “I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight”:
The first of Richard Thompson’s Facebook Live concerts recorded at his home in New Jersey during the coronavirus lock down of 2020. Richard is joined by his partner Zara Phillips for part of the performance.
Recommended by Gil Levine:
Phelps performs a Robert Johnson song at the Freight and Salvage Coffeehouse in Berkeley, CA on October 23rd, 2013:
Chamber music group Baltimore Consort featuring singer Custer La Rue perform English ballad “Fare Ye Well, Lovely Nancy”:
Featuring Custer LaRue on vocals:
I think this Appalachian folk song is usually called “Gypsey Davy”:
Irish folk/pop singer:
Canadian artist sings in French:
Leonard Cohen song is sung in French and English:
Not sure whether this is folk music or New Age:
Irish singer performs songs in English and Gaelic: