Over the Hills and Far Away: updated

I thank Jonathan Hagger for introducing me to the wonderful music of the New Scorpion Band. As Jonathan comments about them on his blog:

To be honest I think they are somewhat excluded from the scene by its movers and shakers because they don’t quite fit the snobbishly rigid qualifications for membership that those with influence within the tradition impose. They can read music, they do not disdain the parlour folk and music hall traditions, they sing military songs and religious hymns and often turn up with classical musicians on records and in concert. But, I think they are far more authentic than all the middle class guardians of the tradition pretending to be Northumbrian shepherds or factory workers.

Here they are at the 2010 Fylde Folk Festival singing ‘Over the Hills and Far Away’.

Of course, this song was made famous by John Tams, who sang it on the ‘Sharpe’ movies. Tams had substantially rewritten the song, retaining the chorus but adding several verses of his own. The original song dates to the early 1700s and exists in at least two distinct versions, one to do with soldiering and the other to do with loving! Wikipedia gives a good overview of the two versions; Mudcat focusses here and here on the many permutations of the ‘soldiering’ version (which the New Scorpion Band is singing above), and Mainly Norfolk gives some good history as well.

The New Scorpion band is Tim Laycock, Brian Gulland, Robin Jeffrey, Sharon Lindo, and Robert White. You can find out a lot more about them from their website, which is well worth a visit.

UPDATE: It appears that the videos of the New Scorpion Band have all been removed from YouTube. My apologies; I will keep an eye on things and try to reinsert our video if it appears again.

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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.

5 thoughts on “Over the Hills and Far Away: updated”

  1. You’re welcome. They are certainly one of my favourite discoveries of the summer.

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