Old Songs & Bothy Ballads 8

The Little Ball of Yarn



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Many of the finest traditional singers in the country gather in May each year for the Fife Traditional Singing Festival – a weekend of concerts and workshops held near Collessie in the rural heart the ancient kingdom of Fife. Songs include the widely known Green Grows The Laurel, the powerful east coast fishing disaster ballad Three Score and Ten and a lovely version of Our Captain Calls.


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Old Songs & Bothy Ballads 8: The Little Ball of Yarn


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Recorded in May 2011, the CD opens with Len Graham from Newry in Northern Ireland - a singer with an extensive repertoire of old songs, and Emily Portman, a singer, writer and concertina player, originally from Glastonbury but now based in the North East of England, who is one of the finest young singers in the current folk scene, and Brian Dawson with songs from Lincolnshire. John Valentine from Cove Bay near Aberdeen sings bothy ballads and the cornkisters as does local Fife singer Duncan MacRae from Coaltown of Balgonie. Elizabeth Stewart from Mintlaw sings a couple of songs from her family tradition. Joe Aitken from Kirriemuir sings a song by an Orkney writer in praise of a pair of Clydesdales. Emma Spiers sings a song from Border shepherd Willie Scott. Jimmy Hutchison, originally from Skye and now living in Newburgh sings a transportation ballad and Pete Shepheard leads the company in a farewell song of emigration to bring the collection to a close.

Track List:
For full song texts, click on a song title
1: Green Grows The Laurel : Len Graham
2: The Bold Fisherman : Emily Portman
3: Old Yorkie Watson : Brian Dawson
4: Nicky Tams : John Valentine
5: The Russian Jew : Elizabeth Stewart
6: Willie O : Len Graham
7: Princie and Jean : Joe Aitken
8: O Good Ale : Emily Portman
9: The Owls and the Mice : Brian Dawson
10: Aikey Brae : Duncan MacRae
11: Time Wears Awa : Emma Spiers
12: Dobbin’s Flowery Vale : Len Graham
13: Our Captain Calls : Emily Portman
14: Three Score and Ten : Brian Dawson
15: My Last Fareweel Tae Stirling : Jimmy Hutchison
16: The Little Ball of Yarn : Elizabeth Stewart
17: The Day I Met Wi Hector : John Valentine
18: The Bonnie Wee Shirt : Duncan MacRae
19: The Sweet Nightingale : Emily Portman
20: Over The Hills and Far Away : Len Graham
21: Ye Boys o Callieburn : Peter Shepheard

Thanks to all the singers who have given free use of their recordings towards the funds of the East of Scotland Traditional Song Group organisers of the Fife Traditional Singing Weekend. Copyright in all songs is traditional arranged by the singer except where noted while copyright in the recordings is reserved to the East of Scotland Traditional Song Group and Autumn Harvest Recordings.



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