Most people don’t know that Simon and Garfunkel got ‘Scarborough Fair’ from Martin Carthy. Paul Simon learned the song from Martin in the early 1960s in London, and, sadly, went on to record it on ‘Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme’ without admitting that he was copying Martin’s arrangement, or even acknowledging that it was a traditional song and not his own composition (the story of how they reconciled that quarrel is told in this newspaper article). The song goes back a long way in the English and Scottish folk traditions; it was originally called ‘The Elfin Knight‘.
Here is Martin, one of the grand old gentlemen of the English folk music world, with his own performance of ‘Scarborough Fair’.
For those who want to know more about Martin, check out his website here. He is one of the best loved figures in the world of traditional English folk music today.