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Sleeve Notes for Ghosts & Greasepaint by Barry Lister

Ghosts & GreasepaintBarry Lister must be one of the best ballad singers in the country. He has been singing in groups since the sixties but this is his first solo album. It is not quite solo since Barry has brought in some of his friends to provide other voices and some backings.


Barry Lister:  Vocals
Additional vocals:  Tom Addison, Dave Lowry, Sean OShea
Guitars and melodeon:  Ed Rennie
Violin and viola:  Jackie Oates

Track Notes

1 Edwin in the Lowlands

I had this song from that great little book, The Penguin Book of English Folk Songs. Collected in 1907 by Vaughan Williams and Charles Gamblin, I have sung it for more years than I care to remember. What a great drama!

2 The Trim Rigged Doxy

Again, a long-time favourite of mine, though I can’t remember where I got it. Many years ago I sang it for Alan Dilly of Great Western Morris to dance to in the Sidmouth Jig Competition. He didn’t win.

3 Hunting the Hare

Sung by Barrys new group - The Claque Dave Lowry extracted this many years ago in the 70s from the Baring-Gould manuscripts. It was collected in the 1890s from Mr Nankivel (known as Old Capul) at Merrivale Bridge. Baring-Gould’s assistant, Mr Bussell, thought that the tune was a 17th Century dance tune.

4 George Collins

Also from ‘Penguin’ this is another old friend. This version does not give the full story. For instance, the girl by the stream is a water sprite and is angry at his marrying a mortal. There are many variants.

5 The Factory Set

The Handloom Weaver and the Factory Maid trad. The Factory Girl Jagger/Richards The Doffing Mistress trad. Monday Morning Cyril Tawney Tom and I, on our journeys between Cheltenham and Exeter for Songwainers practices, would sing to each other. This set is the result of a trip or two. I think our old friend Cyril would approve and I hope Mick Jagger and Keith Richards do too.

6 St. James Hospital

One of the first songs I learnt, and most definitely from the singing of A L Lloyd, who had a great influence on me. Great drama again.

7 Sir Richards Song

One of my favourite songs from Oak, Ash and Thorn (Kipling/Bellamy). Peter Bellamy often stayed with me in Devon and told me of this forthcoming LP. He duly presented me with it and the accompanying song book on the understanding that I would sing some of the songs. I have, and I also read Puck of Pook’s Hill. What great songs and stories.

8 Limadie

Sean and I have sung this for ever. He can’t think where he got the tune but the words are probably from several versions. We recently discovered that we have both sung it in productions of Lark Rise.

9 The Bonny Bunch of Roses

I learned this for Folk South West’s production of As I Walked Out to celebrate Cecil Sharp’s centenary of collecting his first folk song in Hambridge, Somerset. To sing this in the village and meet some of the descendants of the source singers was very moving.

10 Come to my Window

Sung by - The Claque Another song from Baring-Gould. He believed that the tune was Elizabethan. It was collected from a blacksmith, John Woodrich (also known as Ginger Jack), who had heard it in an alehouse in Bideford in 1864. Dave and I first recorded it in 1976 with ‘Isca Fayre’.

11 Long Lankin

This started out as my solo and we also arranged it for four voices when Sean and I sang with Alison and the late Martin Bloomer in ‘Hollinmor’. Lots of suspense, violence and gore, and a great piece of theatre.

12 Admiral Benbow

Dave Lowry found this in Exeter Library but can’t remember in what! It certainly appears in The British Tar in Fact and Fiction, according to the late Dave Stevenson of ‘The Songwainers’.

13 Jack Orion

One of the oldest songs in my repertoire, its Welsh roots date back to the 9th Century. Chaucer remarks on it in the 1380s. Though long forgotten in its Welsh form, it lives on as Glenkindie in Scotland. A L Lloyd put this tune to Glasgerion, and so it lives on. Tom was a bit of a naughty boy, but hanging was a bit harsh I think.