Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Spontaneous Poetics (Ballads) - 25

[Jacqui McShee (of Pentangle) sings, unaccompanied, the traditional song "When I Was In My Prime"]

AG: So (Bruce Martin's) own ballad, "William and the...

BM: Lambeth 

AG:  ...Lambeth Witches.  So "William and the Lambeth Witches"

BM: One comment on this is (that) the..

AG: (This ballad is by) Bruce Martin

BM: ... the old Celtic Goddess was named Diana, and was emphasized by the moon. Witches, with all their love and affection to the world, had a nasty habit of being old and ugly and turning themselves into very young girls and dragging off the nearest guy to the sack. Yeah. It's kind of nasty, but what Diana used to do is figure (that) that was a little out of line and show them up. So..
"Twas down the Lambeth Road/ That sprayed Sir William rode/ That night his home/ was a circle of stone/ And the Celtic sun shone bright/ The Celtic sun shone bright/ As he slept beneath his cloak/ A soft voice beside him spoke/ Fair lad make your bed/ Beside me instead/ For I shall shelter you from this night/ I shall shelter you from this night/  As he followed her to her home/ For she was as fair as ere he'd known/ And she passed through the hall/ And laid down by the wall/ She bade him join her there/ Bade him join her there/ 'Twas Diana from behind the cloud/ Shone down merciful and proud/ She left the bed/ And Sir William fled/ From the face of an old wrinkled hag/ The face of an old wrinkled hag/ 'Twas down the Lambeth Road/ That pale Sir William rode/ He raced his steed on/ To the pale grey dawn/ And never looked back he/ Never looked back he."

AG: That's like a synthetic classical ballad. Pretty good actually."She left the bed/ And Sir William fled/ From the face of a wrinkled old hag.

BM: I was thinking of filling it full of Medieval words.. 

AG: You can't even pronounce them!  Yeah. It's amazing, he couldn't read that but he has a really good sense of rhythm, because it actually does fit..perfectly!

BM: I based it on..

AG: You stumble when you read it and yet, when you write, you actually have the right rhythm. It's mysterious.

BM: I had a tune in my head. I used the Cecil Sharp tune for "When I Was In My Prime".

[Nina Simone (accompanied by Al Schackman on guitar) sings the traditional song, "When I Was In My Prime"]

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