minstrel: A Calling-On Song

Lisa and Ken Theriot Lnktheriot at satx.rr.com
Tue Jun 10 17:15:43 PDT 2008

Vivien wrote:

[In point of fact - the *tune* is traditional.  It's the Earsdon Sword
Dance Song.  The Watersons have a recording of it on their classic album
_Frost and Fire_.   It appears to be 19th century based on internal

Cool; I didn't know it qualified as filk.  I recognize several passages
of the lyric from the original as well.  The Steeleye Span liner notes

Songs similar to this one are used by the leaders of rapper and long
sword dance teams to preface the dancing and to drum up a crowd. The
duration of these songs depended on how long it took for a satisfactory
audience to assemble. It was customary to introduce each member of the
team as the son of a famous person such as Bonaparte, Nelson,
Wellington, etc. This, however is our own "calling-on", the tune and the
basis for the words coming from the captain's song of the Earsdon Sword
Dance Team.

And Ashley Hutchings said: "It's a completely contemporary song, but in
traditional style, which I wrote especially for the album."  That's a
bit disingenuous if the tune is identical and some of the lyrics are
"borrowed" but par for the course with filk.

Is the Watersons recording a parts version as well?  Is it the same as
the SS arrangement?


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