A podcast where a guy with no expertise on anything explains the history and evolution (to the best of his researched knowledge) of every folk song, in order by Roud Index number.
15 - The Cruel Ship's Carpenter
Roud 15 is called "The Cruel Ship's Carpenter," but if you know it, it would probably be as "Pretty Polly." And old English song about a brutal, calculated murder which became an American bluegrass standard, this song has a well-traced history behind it.
In this episode, I bring along Paul Slade of http://www.planetslade.com/ to talk about it with me.
The Wratten Murders
A little diversion from the normal path down the Roud Folk Index, Matt sets off on a quest to solve a mundane little mystery and discovers a horrific and little known true crime story with twists and a turns which consumes his life.
Daviess County Historical Society and Museum: https://www.daviesscountyhistory.com/
Paul Slade: http://www.planetslade.com/
The Windfarmers: https://soundcloud.com/user-485899048
Adam Gordon: https://youtu.be/dpiQuuFz8D
14 - The Daemon Lover
Roud 14, "The Daemon Lover." Or "The House Carpenter." It's a song that epitomizes a literary and cultural motif that's been expounded on in depth by people a lot smarter than me, but I try to capture the ideas here.
A lot of people helped with this episode, so thanks to all of them, and all of your for listening.
13 - The Dowie Dens of Yarrow
Roud 13 is called "The Dowie Dens of Yarrow." It's as much about a small area of Scotland and it's history as it is about a man betrayed and the woman who mourns him.
12 - The Elfin Knight
Roud 12 is called "The Elfin Knight." You would definitely know it better as "Scarborough Fair." Its about a magical man and his would-be young bride. And it's about an old merchant's fair in North Yorkshire. And it's about 4 herbs, which you know very well.
There's a lot of modern history with this song, so as such, there's a LOT of information.
11 - The Baffled Knight
This episode focuses on Roud 11, "The Baffled Knight." It's a moral swamp and I have a few breakdowns about it. The oldest published version was in 1609 and that's almost as long as it's been since I last released an episode.
Customer ReviewsSee All
excellent- every folk song ballad podcast
I really love this traditional ballad material, and enjoy the deep exploration of the roots and variations
Really good podcast
Very informative and interesting. I started listening expecting to only learn the basics of folk songs, but it’s been really cool listening hearing the COMPLETE history and songs to modern day.
Matt is a Master Storyteller
I cannot recommend this podcast highly enough - for fans of music, history, literature, or even of a great story. For aside from being exhaustively researched and having high production value, this podcast is the work of a master storyteller.
The storytelling in this podcast happens on a couple of levels: first, Matt is telling story of the life of the folk song itself: where it was born, how it grew up, and where it lives today. This is. in and of itself, often a fascinating story: Matt is able to take historical records and index entries for a song and turn these into an absorbing narrative. My favorite example of is the way the journey of the folk song is detailed in Episode 2: The Unfortunate Rake.
But on another level, Matt can just spin a good yarn himself. Some of my favorite moments in the podcast thus far have been when Matt undertakes to tell the story of the song in long form, filling in some of the blanks of the story along the way. During these times, he has the listener completely in his thrall. A great examples of this is the intro to Episode 4: Lord Thomas and Fair Eleanor.
Treat yourself to this podcast!