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Sleeve Notes for Frost Bites by Belshazzar's Feast

Frost BitesAn unusual musical celebration of Christmas. The album contains songs, tunes and carols related to Christmas and originating from England, Europe and America. Vocals, melodeon, fiddle, oboe, cor anglais and bass clarinet and percussion.


A traditional musical celebration of Christmas. Songs, tunes and carols related to Christmas, originating from England, Europe and America. Song notes provide information of provenance.

Belshazzar’s Feast are Paul Sartin (vocals, fiddle, oboe and cor anglais) and Paul Hutchinson (accordion). Both have classical and traditional musical backgrounds which are evident here and they have a fine reputation for entertaining as well as unusual and skillful arrangements.

Hutchinson formed the highly influential Push and Pull Dance Band and now spends much time on community concerts and teaching.

Sartin plays with Bellowhead and Faustus, teaches, conducts and dabbles in academia when bored (Oxford and Newcastle).

Guest musicians: Pete Flood, percussion and Brendan Kelly, bass clarinet and Jennifer Bailey, voice.

Track Notes

1 Cherry Tree Carol/Yuleogy
Trad / Paul Hutchinson

In this Appalachian version of the ubiquitous song, the story of which is derived from St Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus’ birthday is given as 5th January, the date of Christmas day in the Old Style or Julien calendar between 1752 and 1799. Taken down from William Wooton at Hindman, Knott County, Kentucky by Cecil Sharp and Maud Karpeles and printed in their 80 English Folk Songs. Yuleogy is dedicated to a favourite and outstanding colleague. Probably.

2 King Herod and the Cock/Parson's Farewell

From Mrs. Plumb of Armscote, Worcestershire, by way of Cecil Sharp, the Oxford Book of Carols and ensemble Magpie Lane. This is one episode of the ancient Carnal and the Crane ballad sequence. Parson’s Farewell is contained in John Playford’s The English Dancing Master, 1651.

3 Tomorrow Shall Be My Dancing Day

Collected in Cornwall by William Sandys in 1833, although apparently it can be found on broadsides and is thought to date back several centuries earlier. Published in Traces of Ancient Mystery (Richard McGrady, 1993), and in the Oxford Book of Carols.

4 Masquerade Royal/As Joseph Was A-Walking

Based on the French song Je Suis Madelon Frique which evolved, via André Campra's L'Europa Galante (Paris, 1697), into the tune of a longways set dance. Found in The Dancing Master Volume II, 3rd edition (1718) and Walsh’s Compleat Country Dancing Master Volume II (1719). Walsh later renamed it Temple Barr. Passed on by contemporary English dancing master Andrew Shaw. Joseph is an adaptation of an old Breton carol, from the Second Book of Carols by Ralph Dunstan, published in 1925.

5 Lonesome Scenes of Winter
John Leahy

A North American song from John Leahy of Douro, Ontario, collected by Edith Fowke in 1958, who issued it on the Leader label (Far Canadian Fields) and in the Penguin Book of Canadian Folk Songs.

6 Gerald Road Mazurkas/Sans Day Carol
Paul Hutchinson / Trad

Composed to honour Val, a special resident of the aforementioned road situated in the leafy suburbs of West Worthing while Sans Day Carol is named for the village of St. Day, Cornwall, itself dedicated to the Breton St. Day or St. They who inspired a following in the county. The first three verses were sung by Thomas Beard in the village, the fourth an originally Cornish-language later addition (Oxford Book of Carols).

7 One Cold Morning in December

Walter Pardon sang this at home in Knapton, Norfolk, on 24th June 1978. Mike Yates’ recording is featured on Volume 15 (As Me and My Love Sat Courting) of Topic’s Voice of the People series.

8 Hampshire Mummers' Song

Sung by Godfrey Arkwright of Kingsclere, Hampshire in 1897 to Lucy Broadwood, this carol was in the repertoire of the Kingsclere Mummers, and appears to some extent to be comprised of ‘floating verses’.