Martinmas Time

Many thanks to Jonathan Hagger for referring me to this highly original take on the old traditional song ‘Martinmas Time’. The singer is James Yorkston and he is backed by the Big Eyes Family Band; it comes from their album ‘Folk Songs‘.

Mainly Norfolk gives us a bit of recording history of this song; apparently it was hugely popular in years gone by in northeast Scotland, but comes to us today via the editing of Bert Lloyd, who taught it to Ann Briggs (who was featured in this series a few days ago). If you want another version of the song for comparison purposes, I’d recommend this one by Maddy Prior, who recorded it on her excellent CD ‘Seven for Old England’. She has a slightly different set of lyrics (or rather, a different nonsense chorus!). Her lyrics can be found on Mudcat here.

James Yorkston’s website is here, and Wikipedia has a brief summary of his career to date here.

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