The Curate's Egg
Poor Old Horse
Poor Old Horse has enjoyed its intermittent existence since 1992, when Jerry
Epstein gathered us together to sing as a trio in New York's Christmas Revels.
The name is from an old sea shanty, and has no significance whatsoever.
David Jones (right) is originally from South East London. For the past thirty-odd
years he has lived in various parts of the USA, finally settling in Leonia NJ,
gateway to the golden west. A stalwart of The Starboard List and The Bermuda Quadrangle,
David is renowned as a solo artist and has released several recordings, most recently
From England's Shore. His recordings for children have won national acclaim. These
include Widdecombe Fair and the aptly titled Songs Of Exquisite Taste.
Heather Wood was born in Yorkshire, and started her singing career in the 1960s
with Peter Bellamy and Royston Wood in the Young Tradition. She later sang with
Royston as "No Relation", and with Andy Wallace as "Crossover".
Heather has been working with David Kleiman at Heritage Muse, an e-publishing
company, on a CD-ROM issue of the original publication of the FJ. Child's English
and Scottish Popular Ballads. She is also a songwriter, an editor, secretary of
the SETI League, and much, much more. Heather's first solo recording, The Love
That I Have Chosen, has finally been released! She espouses the notion that traditional
music should be enjoyed and not enshrined. (We all agree.)
Tom Gibney, the token American, was born in the Bronx (NY). His parents both
come from musical families in Ireland - grandfathers on both sides were fiddle
players and singers. His mother's family, the O'Dowds of Sligo, are well known
for their music. Tom is an enthusiastic and respected singer of traditional songs.
He plays fiddle at local contradances in Princeton NJ, and provides occasional
accompaniment to POH on guitar, banjo, and fiddle.
The Curate's Egg
Poor Old Horse
~ Tom Gibney, David Jones, Heather Wood ~
George Collins (1) - An English/American composite. Heather's prelude and postlude
are from PBEFS, while the American version is from Roy Harvey and the North Carolina
Ramblers (County 502). The lady in question is a mermaid. Don't toy with the affections
of a mermaid.
Claudy Banks (2) - The very first song collected on behalf of the English Folk
Song Society, by Kate Lee from the Copper Family in 1898.
That Was Before I Met You (3) - A C&W standard which David has been singing
since he first moved to the U.S. in 1965.
Reynardine (4) - A warning to any young lady in the thrall of a mysterious
stranger. This version was popularized by Bert Lloyd.
Lady Isabel & The Elf Knight (5) - A further warning to young ladies. Also
provides hints on how to deal with unpleasant situations which might arise. Tune
is from MTBOV. Text is from Bronson. In this American version, the role of Lady
Isabel is played by Polly. The Elf Knight (the villain) plays himself.
Frigate Amphitrite (6) Life on the high seas and in port. David learned
this from PBEFS.
We Have Fed Our Sea (7) - A part of Rudyard Kipling's "Song of the Dead"
which speaks of Britain's maritime heritage, and the lot of those sailors who
did "pay the price of admiralty." Musical setting by Peter Bellamy.
Nothing So Grand As A War (8) - Title says it all. Words and tune are Heather's.
Titanic (9) - Loosely adapted from the singing of Bessie Jones (New World Records,
#80278). You can guess how it ends.
The Outside Track (10) - A lovely, lonely song about the inevitable passage
of time, and those who wind up drifting in its wake. The text is a poem by Australian
poet Henry Lawson (1867-1922), with tune by Gerry Hallom.
The Bright Shining Morning (11) - A bucolic gem from the singing of Louis Killen.
This is one of the songs which we sang as a trio in the New York Christmas Revels
of 1992. We later formed Poor Old Horse so that we could continue singing it.
Brigg Fair (12)- An odd little love song. Originally from Joseph Taylor, Heather
learned it from Shirley Collins.
Jimmy Randall (13) An American version of Lord Randall, cryptic as usual.
Learned from Lani Herrmann, who says that she learned it wrong from a record by
Harry and Jeanie West.
Will My Mother Know Me There (14) - Gospel pyrotechnics from the singing of
L.V. Jones and his Virginia Singing Class (Yazoo 2021).
Farewell and Adieu (15)-An immensely popular sailor's song, thought to date
from the late 17th century. This Americanized version is from Jeff Warner.
Her Bright Smile Haunts Me Still (16) - Evocative song of love lost, collected
by Frank and Anne Warner from sisters Eleazar Tillett and Martha Etheridge (Appleseed
1035). The song was composed in 1864
by J.E. Carpenter and W.T. Wrightson, and appears in many collections, including
Bogie's Bonnie Belle (17) - Another song of love lost, from the singing of
Davy Stewart (Topic 12T157). Although each of us has sung this as a solo piece,
it is great fun as a threesome.
Daniel Prayed (18) - A rousing gospel trio from Doc Watson, Fred Price, and
Clint Howard (Smithsonian Folkways CD SF 40029/30).
When This Old Hat Was New (19) - As we all know, the old days were SO much
better than the present. This song confirms that opinion. One of the few songs
to say something nice about the Romans.
Bronson: Bronson, B.H., Traditional Tunes to the Child Ballads, vol I, Princeton
University Press, 1959. MTBOV: Davis, Arthur Kyle, Jr., More Traditional Ballads
of Virginia, University of North Carolina Press,
Chapel Hill, 1960.
PBEFS: Penguin Book of English Folksongs, Penguin Books, 1959. Warner: Warner,
A., Traditional American Folk Songs, Syracuse Universitv Press. 1984.
Right Reverend Host. "I'm afraid you've got a bad Egg, Mr. Jones!"
The Curate. "Oh no, my Lord, I assure you! Parts of it are excellent!"
- Punch, 9 November 1895