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Sleeve Notes for Songs of Witchcraft & Magic by Various Artists

Songs of Witchcraft & MagicThis collection of songs reflects the significant part that magic has played in our culture. They connect with myths and folktales that take us back to the distant past; but they also represent a living and evolving tradition. The magic of these songs still exerts power over us today.

The CD contains a 32 page booklet about the songs and their connection to witchcaft.


These songs are a striking demonstration of the breadth and variety of magic  from the brutal revenge of The Brown Girl, through the bizarre transformations of The Two Magicians, to the haunting mysticism of The Bells of Paradise. Magic inhabits the borderland where the psychological and the spiritual meet. It can be severely pragmatic, but may also involve the mysterious depths of the mind and the liberation of the spirit.

The world of these songs  the world of magic  is not remote or rarefied. It is a vivid and compelling world of powerful emotions and intense experiences. A world not just of humans but of animals  seals, serpents, hares, horses, and even mackerel. A world of anger, cruelty, love, fear and courage. A world of brilliant colours  scarlet, green, purple. Of silver wands, velvet mantles and tinkling bells. A world of moonlight, blood and the roaring of the sea.

It is also a world of humour. It is surprising how many of these songs have a vein of dark humour running through them. Magic is obviously far too important to be taken entirely seriously. And both magic and humour centre on the unexpected.

There is also clearly a connection between magic and art. Perhaps that is one of the reasons these songs have inspired such evocative and finely judged performances from the musicians who feature on this CD.

Track Notes

1 The Two Magicians

Bob Fox and Stu Luckley

2 Broomfield Hill

Ruth Barrett

3 The Bitter Withy

Tom Brown

4 The Bells of Paradise


5 Willie's Lady

Martin Carthy

6 Young Orphy

Frankie Armstrong

7 Juniper Gentle & Rosemary

Magpie Lane

8 The Bold Astrologer

Keith Kendrick & Sylvia Needham

9 Thomas the Rhymer

Ron Taylor & Jeff Gillett

10 The Brown Girl

Gill Berry

11 The Laily Worm

Craig, Morgan, Robson

12 The Selkie

Hector Gilchrist & Liz Thomson

13 Alison Cross


14 Notradamus
Al Stewart

Peter Bellamy