Essential Traditional Folk Songs #3: Chris Wood sings ‘Cold, Haily, Windy Night’

This song exists in at least two main versions: ‘Cold, Haily, Windy Night’ and ‘Cold Blow and the Rainy Night’. I first heard it in the second version; it was recorded by Planxty on their 1974 album ‘Cold Blow and the Rainy Night’ with a rather different tune. But here Chris Wood sings it in what I think of as a more traditionally English version.

Chris introduces this as a song about young love but of course it is actually one of the many traditional folk songs in which the man has his way with the woman and then leaves her to deal with the consequences. As usual, Mainly Norfolk has a good summary of the recording history of the various versions of this song. As Malcolm Douglas at Mudcat Cafépoints out, the song as we now know it is more of a compilation of verses from various traditional sources, rather than a traditional song in its own right.

Chris Wood’s website is here.

For those who might be interested, I created my own version of this song and wrote a new tune for it; you can hear it on my CD ‘Folk Songs and Renovations‘. Listen to the whole track on Bandcamp here.

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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.

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