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Origin: Fine Horseman (Lal Waterson)

DigiTrad:
SCARECROW


Related threads:
Lyr Req: The Scarecrow (Lal & Mike Waterson) (8)
Lyr Req: John Parfit (from Martin Carthy) (10)
Lyr Req: Dominion of the Sword (Martin Carthy) (28)
Lyr Req: Apple-Tree Wassail (from Watersons) (18)
Lyr Req: Winifer Odd (Lal Waterson) (5)
Lyr Req: The Welcome Sailor (Lal & Norma Waterson) (3)
Lyr Req: Rocking My Baby to Sleep (Mike Waterson) (5)
The Scarecrow (Lal Waterson) (20)
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Lyr Add: Rambleaway (Waterson:Carthy) (22)
Lyr Req: Maid on the Shore (from Martin Carthy) (5)
Lyr Req: Petit Homme (from Eliza Carthy) (9)
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Stiofáin 29 Jul 01 - 07:01 AM
nutty 29 Jul 01 - 08:05 AM
Stiofáin 29 Jul 01 - 09:47 AM
Charley Noble 29 Jul 01 - 10:58 AM
McGrath of Harlow 29 Jul 01 - 11:44 AM
McGrath of Harlow 29 Jul 01 - 11:51 AM
Stiofáin 31 Jul 01 - 03:07 AM
nutty 31 Jul 01 - 03:45 AM
nutty 31 Jul 01 - 03:47 AM
GUEST,erica smith 31 Jul 01 - 11:44 AM
Stiofáin 01 Aug 01 - 11:00 AM
nutty 01 Aug 01 - 11:14 AM
running.hare 01 Aug 01 - 01:39 PM
Stiofáin 01 Aug 01 - 02:24 PM
GUEST,erica 02 Aug 01 - 10:44 AM
Jim Dixon 11 Mar 02 - 10:13 PM
Ralphie 12 Mar 02 - 04:19 AM
GUEST,jay 12 Mar 02 - 04:44 AM
GUEST,Kelly 03 May 05 - 05:42 PM
michaelr 03 May 05 - 09:26 PM
GUEST,Lynne 21 Feb 06 - 08:06 PM
Charley Noble 21 Feb 06 - 08:19 PM
GUEST,A. Misra 04 Jun 07 - 03:39 PM
GUEST,buspassed 05 Jun 07 - 11:09 AM
GUEST,DNA 24 Aug 07 - 10:10 PM
Joe Offer 25 Aug 07 - 02:19 AM
The Borchester Echo 25 Aug 07 - 03:00 AM
GUEST 25 Aug 07 - 04:09 AM
Giant Folk Eyeball (inactive) 25 Aug 07 - 04:22 PM
GUEST,Ina 07 Sep 07 - 01:59 PM
The Borchester Echo 07 Sep 07 - 02:26 PM
GUEST,punkfolkrocker 07 Sep 07 - 04:47 PM
Jack Blandiver 07 Sep 07 - 05:20 PM
GUEST,guest baz parkes 08 Sep 07 - 07:42 AM
GUEST,punkfolkrocker 08 Sep 07 - 09:48 AM
GUEST,punkfolkrocker 08 Sep 07 - 09:52 AM
GUEST,FlameOfFire 21 Dec 07 - 07:15 PM
GUEST,julie2 16 Apr 08 - 12:13 AM
GUEST,henryp 16 Apr 08 - 07:51 AM
Phil Edwards 13 Nov 13 - 04:16 PM
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Subject: Fine Horseman - Ideas on Lyrics?
From: Stiofáin
Date: 29 Jul 01 - 07:01 AM

Salût,

I've always wondered about the story behind "Fine Horseman" by Lal Waterson. I find it's a great, great song but never really got behind its meaning.

Any Ideas?

Cheers, Stiofáin


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Subject: RE: Help: Fine Horseman - Ideas on Lyrics?
From: nutty
Date: 29 Jul 01 - 08:05 AM

Lyrics for Fine Horseman and other Bright Pheobus songs are here

Fine Horseman


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Subject: RE: Help: Fine Horseman - Ideas on Lyrics?
From: Stiofáin
Date: 29 Jul 01 - 09:47 AM

Thanks, but I already knew the lyrics. Still, I don't get them! Maybe I'm a bit daft?!

"fine flying sparrow, fine fine horseman"

Maybe this is a matter of one's own imagination, like many other songs are. Still I'm interested in other people's thoughts about the song.

Stiofáin


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Subject: RE: Help: Fine Horseman - Ideas on Lyrics?
From: Charley Noble
Date: 29 Jul 01 - 10:58 AM

I've always loved the Silly Sisters' rendition of this. The song reminds me of some lost dream with a Balkin chorus. I really don't want to understand it or analyze it further. Some things are better left that way.


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Subject: RE: Help: Fine Horseman - Ideas on Lyrics?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 29 Jul 01 - 11:44 AM

Strange words. Like a fragment from a longer story, rewritten. If it is, I don't recognise it. Two rich lovers riding out and meeting a poor peasant - that seems a likely enough element in a ballad.

Anyway it set me thinking about that word "fine" and I did a DT search on it. No fewer than 685 songs with the word, and this wasn't one of them.

A search for "Fine horseman" came up with nothing, "fine horse" came up with:

Word was sent to Anna Thea
That her brother was in prison
Bring me gold and six fine horses
I will buy my brother's freedom

Which I am not suggesting as a source or a model, just an echo.

Actually what it makes me think of is some of William Morris's verse. I mean stuff like The Haystack in the Floods., Riding Together Once again, I'm not suggesting these as a source. But the song by Lal does have a pre-raphaelite feeling about it. If there is a source or inspiration I think that would be the direction to look.

If analysing and understanding things means trying to pin them down to one single simple meaning, I'm with Charlie on that. But it needn't and it shouldn't. I think trying to understand where something strange comes from is always worthwhile.

Links fixed. --JoeClone, 11-Mar-02.


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Subject: RE: Help: Fine Horseman - Ideas on Lyrics?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 29 Jul 01 - 11:51 AM

Damn - I screwed that up. That last bit was meant to be like this:

Actually what it makes me think of is some of William Morris's verse. I mean stuff like Riding Together" and The Haystack in the Floods.

Once again, I'm not suggesting these as a source. But the song by Lal does have a pre-raphaelite feeling about it. If there is a source or inspiration I think that would be the direction to look.

If analysing and understanding things means trying to pin them down to one single simple meaning, I'm with Charlie on that. But it needn't and it shouldn't. I think trying to understand where something strange comes from is always worthwhile.


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Subject: RE: Help: Fine Horseman - Ideas on Lyrics?
From: Stiofáin
Date: 31 Jul 01 - 03:07 AM

Thanks for your ideas. I agree with you about analyzing lyrics - just wanted to be sure there's no crystal clear story behind the song which I'm just too blind to see ;)

Oh, and although I love the Silly Sisters version of the song (which was actually the first version I've heard of it), I find Dick Gaughan's crooning rendition even stronger! Never heard Lal Waterson singing it, though.

Cheers, Stiofáin


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Subject: RE: Help: Fine Horseman - Ideas on Lyrics?
From: nutty
Date: 31 Jul 01 - 03:45 AM

The link I gave gives sound clips of all the tracks sung by Lal and Mike Waterson ....... Just click on the Track List and you will hear Lal singing her song


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Subject: RE: Help: Fine Horseman - Ideas on Lyrics?
From: nutty
Date: 31 Jul 01 - 03:47 AM

Sorry I stand corrected on that one ...... I have heard a sound clip of this ..I will try to find it


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Subject: RE: Help: Fine Horseman - Ideas on Lyrics?
From: GUEST,erica smith
Date: 31 Jul 01 - 11:44 AM

i just started singing this song and i'm so taken with the dreamlike quality of the lyrics . . . especially the "your dreams among my dreams" verse. so utterly simple and gorgeous.

the lovers in the first verses ride across the moors with abandon and sleep this unearthly kind of sleep, rich with images that have the ability to pass between them . . . the 'farming man' in later verses is an interesting counterpoint . . . the only defined character in the song, he is completely ruined and abandoned.

whenever i sing this song i feel it as a kind of trance, and the images just flicker in and out . . .

only once sang it in public so far, and this drunk man had an outburst, disrupting the show with this slow, loud clapping. he had to be carted away like the Soy Bomber. lal's songs really get to us here in the coldhearted city.


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Subject: RE: Help: Fine Horseman - Ideas on Lyrics?
From: Stiofáin
Date: 01 Aug 01 - 11:00 AM

Cheers Erica,

"i just started singing this song and i'm so taken with the dreamlike quality of the lyrics (...) whenever i sing this song i feel it as a kind of trance"

That's very much how I feel about the song, too. Maybe we should leave it to what our own minds make of it. Maybe this is what the song is really about; and the sparrow is a symbol of our mind: let it fly!


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Subject: RE: Help: Fine Horseman - Ideas on Lyrics?
From: nutty
Date: 01 Aug 01 - 11:14 AM

Can't find the audio file ....SORRY
I'm sure it was on www.tunes.com... one of my favourite sites which sadly has been swallowed by www.rollingstone.com.


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Subject: RE: Help: Fine Horseman - Ideas on Lyrics?
From: running.hare
Date: 01 Aug 01 - 01:39 PM

I also couldn'tfind the adio clip, but would love to have the tune for this song.


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Subject: RE: Help: Fine Horseman - Ideas on Lyrics?
From: Stiofáin
Date: 01 Aug 01 - 02:24 PM

Even audiogalaxy.com doesn't host the original version. Dick Gaughan and Silly Sisters versions are there, though. Normally you can get virtually every song from there...


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Subject: RE: Help: Fine Horseman - Ideas on Lyrics?
From: GUEST,erica
Date: 02 Aug 01 - 10:44 AM

an early version of the song is on anne briggs, "the time has come." i have no idea about finding sound clips, though -- sorry!


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Subject: Lyr Add: FINE HORSEMAN (Lal Waterson)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 11 Mar 02 - 10:13 PM

Copied from http://wwwmcc.murdoch.edu.au/~gillard/watersons/bright.html

FINE HORSEMAN
(Lal Waterson)

Sleeping in my bed,
Strange thoughts are running through my head.
I dreamed you were
Playing with my hair.
Fine fine sparrow fine fine horseman.

Rain falls and the wind roars,
All the folks are indoors.
We came through a ford
Riding over the moors.
Fine fine sparrow fine fine horseman.

Your dreams among my dreams
Are blue seas amongst sunbeams;
Shades of yellow, shades of green
These are your dreams among my dreams
Fine fine sparrow fine fine horseman.

Good morning to you, farming man,
Here's to your heart, your family and land.
I'll pay down a ring and a golden band
On a field for a ride around
For a fine fine sparrow fine fine horseman.

Morning likewise maiden and man,
My family's dead, my heart is in the ground.
I have no land: this is no time for a farming man
Nor a fine fine sparrow or fine fine horseman.

Sleeping in my bed,
Strange thoughts are running through my head.
I dreamed you were
Playing with my hair.
Fine fine sparrow fine fine horseman.


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Subject: RE: Help: Fine Horseman - Ideas on Lyrics?
From: Ralphie
Date: 12 Mar 02 - 04:19 AM

Hi all
Erica is being a little bit reserved I think...!
She has recorded a lovely version of Horseman on her latest CD.
go to www.maidmusic.com
Also, I agree with a lot of the above comments..Sometimes we don't need to understand what we hear..
And Erica, The cookies were lovely...Ralphie


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Subject: RE: Help: Fine Horseman - Ideas on Lyrics?
From: GUEST,jay
Date: 12 Mar 02 - 04:44 AM

I still like Lal's original version best. Her way of singing makes the song even more "strange" and mysterious. It's like the lyrics - simple but effective.

Cheers


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Subject: RE: Help: Fine Horseman - Ideas on Lyrics?
From: GUEST,Kelly
Date: 03 May 05 - 05:42 PM

The song makes me sob every time I sing it. It speaks to impossible love to me. Not able to touch except in dreams. To be together in dreams and freedom but not in reality. Placing our hopes in the land but and to lose it all, including one's family. I'm going to attempt to perform it this weekend.
Wish me luck.


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Subject: RE: Help: Fine Horseman - Ideas on Lyrics?
From: michaelr
Date: 03 May 05 - 09:26 PM

Good luck, Kelly. Where are you performing?

Cheers,
Michael


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Subject: RE: Help: Fine Horseman - Ideas on Lyrics?
From: GUEST,Lynne
Date: 21 Feb 06 - 08:06 PM

I think this song is about someone who has met with tremendous tradegy and has had the merciful opportunity to escape to sleep only to wake again to a living hell. The writer has done a wonderful job of conveying a dream like quality that mystifies us... but aren't dreams often that way? The fact that this song produces such an emotional response that eludes description is a tribute to its success.


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Subject: RE: Help: Fine Horseman - Ideas on Lyrics?
From: Charley Noble
Date: 21 Feb 06 - 08:19 PM

Lynne-

Nicely put!

It's probably time for me to listen to this one again.

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Help: Fine Horseman - Ideas on Lyrics?
From: GUEST,A. Misra
Date: 04 Jun 07 - 03:39 PM

kind of reminds me of one of Wordsworths lyrical ballads coupled with the eerie quality of sylvia Plaths Ariel. A thing of great beauty and mystery.


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Subject: RE: Help: Fine Horseman - Ideas on Lyrics?
From: GUEST,buspassed
Date: 05 Jun 07 - 11:09 AM

Lal's daughter Marry sang 'Fine Horseman' at the RAH concert and had I not known better I could have sworn it was Lal singing, though I suppose in a way it was.

Such a wonderful song.


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Subject: RE: Help: Fine Horseman - Ideas on Lyrics?
From: GUEST,DNA
Date: 24 Aug 07 - 10:10 PM

I love this song...but I've only heard the Silly Sisters singing it. I can't find Lal singing it...*sad*


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Subject: RE: Help: Fine Horseman - Ideas on Lyrics?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 25 Aug 07 - 02:19 AM

Hi, DNA - it's on an album called Bright Phoebus (click) by Mike and Lal Waterson. I don't believe it's on any other Watersons collections.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Help: Fine Horseman - Ideas on Lyrics?
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 25 Aug 07 - 03:00 AM

Bright Phoebus is a 1972 vinyl recording and is one of the Lost Leaders.
It has never been issued on CD, just as a highly dubious CD-R.
A recent BBC R4 programme and subsequent discussion explains the sad background.


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Subject: RE: Help: Fine Horseman - Ideas on Lyrics?
From: GUEST
Date: 25 Aug 07 - 04:09 AM

'Never the Same' and 'To Make You Stay' from Bright Phoebus have both had official (AFAIK) reissues on the 'Never the Same' compilation on Honest Jon's Records. As far as I am aware they are the only tracks that have, which is a deeply unsatisfactory state of affairs. Without wanting to revisit this whole debate again, if two track can be licensed, why on earth not the whole album? If it can inspire its own BBC documentary, if it is frequently cited as 'seminal' 35 years after release, it would probably sell enough copies to justify it...

Cheers

Nigel


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Subject: RE: Help: Fine Horseman - Ideas on Lyrics?
From: Giant Folk Eyeball (inactive)
Date: 25 Aug 07 - 04:22 PM

Oops, that was me. Loose cookies.

What I forgot to say was that both Fine Horseman and The Scarecrow are two of the finest, in my opinion, contemporary (ish) folk songs around, and it's no wonder they're still eulogised and covered despite being unavailable. Buggered if I know what either of them are about, though. Both sound fishily pagan to me...

Cheers

Nigel


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Subject: RE: Help: Fine Horseman - Ideas on Lyrics?
From: GUEST,Ina
Date: 07 Sep 07 - 01:59 PM

"Bright Phoebus" was available on CD (don'zt know whether it still is) - I have a copy..


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Subject: RE: Help: Fine Horseman - Ideas on Lyrics?
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 07 Sep 07 - 02:26 PM

Bright Phoebus is not (and never has been) available on CD,
It was issued (with no attendant publicity) on CD-R by the company that currenly owns the publishing rights, as I said.
A BBC R4 documentary, as cited above, and subsequent discussion, explained all:


Lost Leaders


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Subject: RE: Help: Fine Horseman - Ideas on Lyrics?
From: GUEST,punkfolkrocker
Date: 07 Sep 07 - 04:47 PM

"Bright Phoebus is not (and never has been) available on CD"



errrmmmm.. although you still insist on this..


the overpriced muffled & distorted sounding,
incompetently mastered

[from a significantly less than master tape HiFi audio source]

release of bright "Bright Phoebus"

some of us recently purchased off Amazon,
before we learned here of the full sad story
of this 'lost' LP..


well.. it's definitely a factory pressed CD [and not a CDR].



it's a shit CD..

but for the sake of objectivity.. nonetheless.. definitely a CD..


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Subject: RE: Help: Fine Horseman - Ideas on Lyrics?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 07 Sep 07 - 05:20 PM

I recently borrowed a copy on CD (not CD-R) from a friend & thought it sounded pretty good for a folk-pop album; especially the perverted rockabilly of Danny Rose which is the most convincing thing I've ever heard from Mattacks, Hutchings, Thompson et al.


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Subject: RE: Help: Fine Horseman - Ideas on Lyrics?
From: GUEST,guest baz parkes
Date: 08 Sep 07 - 07:42 AM

I may have missed this elsewhere, but only last night I was playing
Shining BrightTopic TSCD519. It features "songs recorded for Bright Phoebus and a further dozen written at the same time".
There's a fine version of Fine Horseman by Dayteller featuring Dayteller...including Coope and Boyes
Apologies if I'm preaching to the converted.

Baz


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Subject: RE: Help: Fine Horseman - Ideas on Lyrics?
From: GUEST,punkfolkrocker
Date: 08 Sep 07 - 09:48 AM

..and the fine Anne Briggs version on "The Time Has Come"....

which i think i remember may
have preceded the Watersons own 'Phoebus'
LP recording..


[or it might not have.. but then again i cant be arsed checking release dates right now..]


BTW.. despite the poxy audio quality of the recent 'Phoebus' CD release..

it is almost a classic LP..


..well deserving its highly respected status
amongst UK Folk Rock enthusiasts..

i just hope somewhere hidden safely in a secret highly guarded security vault
remains a professionally conserved well recorded origional master tape....????}


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Subject: RE: Help: Fine Horseman - Ideas on Lyrics?
From: GUEST,punkfolkrocker
Date: 08 Sep 07 - 09:52 AM

oops.. sorry.. just noticed the Briggs version has already been mentioned here..

[when i first checked with 'Cont/F' and couldn't find any mention..
i must have ticked the 'Up' instead of 'Down' option..]


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Subject: RE: Origin: Fine Horseman (Lal Waterson)
From: GUEST,FlameOfFire
Date: 21 Dec 07 - 07:15 PM

Lal's daughter Maria Gillhooley has been singing Fine Horseman beautifully for a few years now with a very slight amendment to the lyric (she sings "Fine flying sparrow" not "Fine fine sparrow"). I saw her do it at the Royal Albert Hall Waterson family show back in May of this year and at a recent Blue Murder gig. And she also did it here, at the Lal Waterson tribute show at Cecil Sharp House...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FuDpGbXuBlc


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Subject: RE: Origin: Fine Horseman (Lal Waterson)
From: GUEST,julie2
Date: 16 Apr 08 - 12:13 AM

Anne Briggs also did a beautiful cover of this. It's on her album "The Time has Come". Can't believe nobody else has mentioned this yet!


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Subject: RE: Origin: Fine Horseman (Lal Waterson)
From: GUEST,henryp
Date: 16 Apr 08 - 07:51 AM

Lal Waterson died on 4 September 1998, ten years ago this year. Two new CDs commemorate her life and music.

Jo Freya's Lal Waterson Project, Lal, CD, No Masters NMCD27

2008 Concerts

3rd August - Lal Waterson Project, Dranouter
5th August - Lal Waterson Project, Sidmouth
2nd December - Lal Waterson Project, York


Various Artists, Migrating Bird: The Songs of Lal Waterson, CD, Honest Jon's HJRCD31


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Subject: RE: Origin: Fine Horseman (Lal Waterson)
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 13 Nov 13 - 04:16 PM

Any idea what the chords are? (Also curious about Winifer Odd and Child Among The Weeds... just if anyone knows off hand...)


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