The Green Willow Tree

Faustus (Benji Kirkpatrick, Saul Rose, and Paul Sartin) do a fine version of a song variously known in the tradition as ‘The Green Willow Tree’, ‘The Golden Vanity’, ‘The Lowlands Low’ etc. Their version, by their own admission, is quite a free ‘cobbling together’ of pieces of several different variants of this song – as the best modern versions of traditional songs often are!

If you would like to find out more about Faustus and the individual members of it (two of whom also play with ‘Bellowhead’) you can explore their website here (note that one of them, Benji Kirkpatrick, has already appeared in this series, playing guitar for Maddy Prior on ‘Dives and Lazarus’).

Mudcat Café has a long thread discussing the many variants of ‘The Golden Vanity’ here. On this thread Bruce Olsen claims that the oldest known variant of this song is found on a broadside ballad sheet printed in 1683.

P.S. If you live in Britain you can take advantage of the opportunity to see Faustus at various festivals and events between now and the end of the year. See the list of their upcoming gigs here.

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Published by

Tim Chesterton

Family man; pastor of St. Margaret's Anglican Church on Ellerslie Road, Edmonton; storyteller; traditional folk musician and occasional songwriter. Email me at timchesterton at outlook dot com.

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