Thursday, November 27, 2008


When the stone is grown too cold to kneel
In crystal waters I'll be bound
Cold as stone, weary to the sounds upon the wheel

Now be thankful for good things below
Now be thankful to your maker
For the rose, the red rose blooms for all to know

"Now Be Thankful" performed by Fairport Convention, 1970

Fairport Convention, motley troubadours and the best of the British folk-rock scene of the 60s, played beautiful and dark Olde English folk music, jigs, and reels. Teenage guitar genius Richard Thompson stands at top right.

The King sits in Dunfirmline town, drinking of the blood-red wine

"Where can I get a steely skipper to sail this mighty boat of mine?"

So begins "Sir Patrick Spens," a popular Child Ballad (#58), probably of Scottish origin, sung for centuries. The King calls for the greatest sailor to run a royal errand--though it's the middle of winter and the sea is treacherous. Sir Patrick is named, and he comes forth, for he cannot refuse his King, though he knows it will mean his death. At sea, a "mermaiden" warns Sir Patrick of his fate.

Forty miles off Aberdeen, the waters fifty fathoms deep
There lies good Sir Patrick Spens with the Scots lords at his feet

Fairport singer Sandy Denny died in 1978

"Who Knows Where the Time Goes?" by Fairport Convention, written and sung by Sandy Denny. Please click button to listen:

No longer the teenage guitar genius from Fairport (and missing the ringlets) guitar virtuoso Richard Thompson still plays and writes the most amazing songs. Here he plays an original ballad,"1952 Vincent Black Lightning." Although the song is about a motorcycle--and a biker and redheaded girl--it clearly reflects traditional English balladry. In olden times, the motorcycle might have been a beloved steed. The love story would remain the same. Listen, and watch the fingers.

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