Sleeve Notes for Fruits of the Earth by Jim Causley
Jim Causley is one of the exciting young singers who are making a name for themselves in the traditional song arena. This album is mainly of traditional material and includes some unusual pieces as well as some self penned material.
Jim Causley Vocals, Accordion and Diddycordion
James Dumbelton Harmony Vocals, Guitar, Mandolin, Crowdy-Crawn and Shaky Cans
John Dipper Fiddle
John Barleycorn Trad arr Causley
I first discovered this gorgeous version of the song on a dreadful cd of songs collected in Somerset by Cecil Sharp and performed by a classical male quartet featuring a counter tenor lovely! Great songs though and this one was sung to Sharp in August 1906 by a Mr John Stafford of Bishops Sutton in the Mendip Hills. It has a big place in my heart and the last verse never fails to give me goosies, to quote Norma Waterson!
Arscott of Tetcott (the hunting of) Trad arr Causley/Dumbelton
According to Sabine Baring-Gould, in its heyday this was one of the most popular Devonshire songs, second only to Widecombe Fair. Its a fantastic story and the Arscott family still live in the manor at Tetcott to this day. I am always fascinated how these songs continue to be poignant in modern times.
Tan Yard Side (down by the) Trad arr Causley
The beauty of this song from Phoebe Smith never fails to turn me into a blubbering dollop of jelly although Im sure her singing could melt the hardest of hearts. I hope the pretty girl in the song appreciated how much she was adored.
(unless he was a minger that changes everything) (that said; if he was rich)
The Pricklie Bush Trad arr Causley/Dumbelton
I learnt this classic song as a kid from one of Mums Judy Collins LPs. I wasnt planning on recording it for this cd but one day I happened to sing it to James and he remarked what a lovely minor tune it had! To which I said what?! Its the most major tune in the world!! He proved me wrong with his fantastic accompaniment and Im very glad he did. This ones for my own dear family who are a lot more compassionate than the family in the song!
Old Riverside (down by the) Trad arr Causley
Sophie Legg from across the border was the source of this deceptively wicked song with its enticingly sweet tune. Some do find this one shocking but can I just say that I am not a misogynistic pig and remind yall it was learnt from a lady! I had the rare pleasure of hearing Sophie give a talk about her fascinating life at Wadebridge festival last summer (2004) and so Id like to dedicate this one to her and all her clan of gorgeous singers.
Harvest Song Trad arr Causley
I learnt this one when I used to sing with the wonderful Wren Trust who continue to do great work for traditional music in Devon. I love this song for its joyous, heart-warming anthemic-ness makes me proud to be a country boy!
This song first came about in my Exeter College days. I was lying in a field thinking of England and various other random things such as cyder and the Prayer Book Rebellion of 1549! This ones for James A: coz he said he liked it and B: for being a little angel.
The Carnal and the Crane Words Trad Music Causley
Im a big fan of the apocryphal ballads with their slightly mixed-up and often sinister versions of bible stories set amid the English countryside! And no one sang them better than Shropshire singer May Bradley. Her singing chills me to the bone in the most delightful way. I didnt learn this one from her though! (although I bet shed of loved it) Its not set in England and the exotic tune came to me when I was stuck on a long train journey sat next to a somewhat pissed Glaswegian. Thats how I deal with such situations make up weird tunes for apocryphal carols.
The Lusty Young Smith Trad/Dipper arr Causley/Dipper
Love a bit of smut I do; of all the filthy songs in my repertoire, this one gets requested the most. I actually find it quite exciting to sing if not a little disappointing in the penultimate verse, poor bloke! The tune in the middle is by John and named On the Er after a humorous morning in the recording studio. Lets just say, you had to be there.
Sing Ivy Trad arr Causley/Dumbelton
I found this song on an album of songs for children called Supermum by the irrepressible Sandra Kerr. At first it may appear as a nonsensical childrens song but its actually from the same family as Scarborough Fair. Who knows what the enchanting riddles meant to whoever first created it? As with John Barleycorn and the wassail song; one cannot ignore the strong pre-Christian undertones.
The Whimple Wassail Trad/Causley arr Causley
Jim Causley is extremely proud to present this song to the world! This is the wassail song from my village in East Devon. A little history now: for many years Whimple was the home of Whiteways cyder and the cyder factory was the main source of employment in the area. Whiteways cyder was world famous and the village boasted the largest cyder apple orchards in the country. It sadly all came to an end when Whiteways was bought-up by Showrings of Shepton Mallet, makers of Babycham. In the early nineties the factory was demolished and an uninspiring array of lego houses were built in its place. The industry is gone yet still the wassailing continues I am very pleased to say.
The song is preceded by the Whimple Wassail Processional Tune and buffered-up at the end by a jig what I wrote called Knock on Wood which was inspired by the song Green Broom but also wouldnt offend Tom Cobleigh and his pals! Verse four I poached from an unnamed Cornish wassail song from the Baring-Gould manuscripts simply because it makes me chuckle. Many thanks to Richard Webber of the Whimple History Society for his kind help. This song is dedicated to all the good people of Whimple!
Yonders Hill (Blind Beetles) Trad arr Causley/Dipper
This beautifully quirky tale of rejection came from a precious tape of the Dorset gypsy singer Queen Caroline Hughes, kindly lent to me by the afore mentioned Norma Waterson. It knocked me over backwards when I first heard it and I cant believe more people dont sing it. Big love to John for playing as beautifully as the song.
Simply my philosophy for life!
1 John Barleycorn
2 Arscott of Tetcott (the hunting of)
3 Tan Yard Side (down by the)
4 The Pricklie Bush
5 Old Riverside (down by the)
6 Harvest Song
8 The Carnal and the Crane
9 The Lusty Young Smith
10 Sing Ivy
11 The Whimple Wassail
12 Yonders Hill (Blind Beetles)