Mary Black sings ‘Annachie Gordon’

Here is the very great Irish singer Mary Black singing the classic Scottish ballad ‘Annachie Gordon’. I believe she is following the interpretation of the song by Nic Jones on his 1977 album ‘The Noah’s Ark Trap’ (sadly unavailable nowadays, at least by legal means).

In recounting the history of this fine old song, Wikipedia has this to say:

The words were printed in Maidment’s “North Countrie Garland” (1824) and in Buchan’s “Ancient Ballads and Songs 2” (1828). The tune was first printed in Bronson’s “Traditional Tunes of the Child Ballads”. The story is along the lines of “Romeo and Juliet“, with the two lovers dying at the end. Sometime between 1800 and 1829 a broadsheet ballad called “A New Song” was printed. In it the name “Auchanachie Gordon” has been replaced by “Hannah Le Gordon” but is otherwise very similar. It is hard to explain why the hero has been given a girl’s name. Perhaps the Scots name was so unfamiliar to the Newcastle printer than he made a somewhat garbled choice of name.

Nic Jones recorded the song as Annachie Gordon on his 1977 album “The Noah’s Ark Trap” (1977). Mary Black included it using the same name on the album “Mary Black”. Loreena McKennitt recorded it on “Parallel Dreams” (1989). Other versions include June Tabor‘s on “Always” (2005), Sharon Shannon‘s on “Libertango” (2004), John Wesley Harding‘s on “Trad Arr Jones” (1999) and Oliver Schroer‘s instrumental version on “Celtic Devotion” (1999). Sinéad O’Connor also recorded a version on the Sharon Shannon Collection released in 2005, and Gabrielle Angelique recorded the song on her Album: “Dance with the Stars” (2006). The Unthanks 2009 Album “Here’s the tender coming” also contains a version. The earliest professional recording was by Berzilla Wallin on “Old Love Songs and Ballads from the Big Laurel, North Carolina” (1964).

Read the rest here.

Mary Black has one of the most distinctive and beautiful singing voices in Irish music today (a field that is certainly crowded!). Her website is 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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