[Carols & Capers cover]

CD - Park Records PRK CD9
(UK, 1991)

Maddy Prior
& The Carnival Band

Carols & Capers

  1. The Boar's Head Carol
  2. Away In A Manger
  3. My Dancing Day
  4. Monsieur Charpentier's Christmas Stomp
  5. See Amid The Winter's Snow
  6. A Boy Was Born
  7. Poor Little Jesus
  8. Turkey In The Straw / Whiskey Before Breakfast
  9. Wassail!
  10. Joy To The World
  11. Cradle Song
  12. Shepherd's Rejoice
  13. Old Joe Clark
  14. Ane Sang Of The Birth Of Christ (Balulalow)
  15. Monsieur Charpentier's Christmas Swing
  16. Quem Pastores
  17. While Shepherds Watched
  18. I Saw Three Ships
Musicians: Maddy Prior - vocals
Andrew Watts - shawms, curtal, Breughel bagpipes, clarinets, recorders, vocals
Giles Lewin- shawm, fiddle, recorders, medieval bagpipes, tin whistle, vocals
Bill Badley - acoustic and electric guitars, lute, mandolin, mandocello, banjo, vocals
Jub- double bass
Raf Mizraki - drums, percussions, bells, 'cello, vocals
other credits: Produced by Andrew Watts and Chris Baylis
All titles arranged Andrew Watts except [8] arranged Giles Lewin and [14] arranged Bill Badley
Sleeve design by Nigel Orme
Typesseting and layout by Jerry Burman

N o t e s   a n d   L y r i c s

       Maddy Prior and The Carnival Band were first brought together in 1984 for a BBC Radio 2 broadcast of Christmas carols. This became the basis of the album A Tapestry of Carols (Saydisc CD-SDL 366) which was enthusiastically received by the press and the public. As a result, Maddy and the band gave three U.K. concert tours and made several TV and radio appearances. Another Radio 2 commission led to their recording Sing Lustily And With Good Courage (Saydisc CD-SDL 383), a collection of gallery hymns which was also acclaimed. While Maddy and The Carnival Band are happy to maintain their separate identities and careers, they enjoy these occasional collaborations which give them the chance to combine their different styles and talents.

       Since medieval times, carols and dancing have gone hand in hand; in fact the word carol probably comes from the old French `carole' meaning a round dance. Today's Christmas carols are a far cry from the sung dances of the middle ages - on this record there are hymns, spirituals, lullabies, feasting and wassail songs as well as dance carols. So what makes them all `carols'? Partly the plain fact that they are sung around Christmas and celebrate the birth of Jesus, but more importantly their combination of good tunes with simple words to express the religious feelings of ordinary people. In addition, they contain a strong feeling of celebration which means that secular carols like The Boar's Head and dance tunes like Old Joe Clark can rub shoulders with Away In A Manger and a Scottish cradle song. So there's no irreverence intended in this motley collection of songs and dances spanning five centuries. In fact, the meeting of heaven and earth, the divine and the human, is what Christmas is about.

The Boar's Head Carol
Trad., possibly 16th century English
shawms, curtal, mandolin, guitar, bass, tabor
The boar's head in hand bear I
Bedecked with bay and rosemary;
So I pray you my masters be merry,
Quot estis in convivio.
[So many as are in the feast]

Caput apri defero,
[I bring the boar's head]
Reddens laudes Domino
[Giving praises to God]

The boar's head as I understand
Is the rarest dish in all the land,
Which thus bedecked with a gay garland,
Let us servire cantico.
[serve with a song]


Our steward hath provided this
In honour of the King of bliss,
Which on this day to be served is
In Reginensis atrio.
[In the Queen's hall]


Away In A Manger
USA late 19th century
guitar (19th century original)

Away in a manger,
no crib for a bed,
The little Lord Jesus
Laid down his sweet head.
The stars in the bright sky
Looked down where he lay,
The little Lord Jesus
asleep on the hay.

The cattle are lowing
The poor baby wakes,
But little Lord Jesus,
No crying he makes.
I love thee Lord Jesus,
Look down from the skies
And stay by my side
Until morning is nigh.

Be near me, Lord Jesus;
I ask thee to stay
Close by me for ever
And love me, I pray;
Bless all the dear children
In thy tender care,
And fit us for heaven
To live with thee there.

My Dancing Day
English 19th century
clarinet, 'cello, curtal, bass

Tomorrow shall be my dancing day,
I would my true love did so chance
To see the legend of my play,
And call my true love to my dance.

Sing O my love, O my love, my love, my love
This have I done for my true love.

Then was I born of virgin pure,
Of her I took fleshly substance.
Thus was I knit to man's nature,
To call my true love to my dance.


In manger laid and wrapped I was,
So very poor this was my chance,
Betwixt an ox and a silly poor ass,
To call my true love to my dance.


Tomorrow shall be my dancing day,
I would my true love did so chance
To see the legend of my play,
And call my true love to my dance.


Monsieur Charpentier's Christmas Stomp
Une jeune pucelle / A la venue de Noel / Ou s'en vont ces gais bergers

French traditional, after Marie-Antoine Charpentier (c.1645-1704)
fiddle, recorder, lute, guitar, bass, drums, clarinet, Breughel and medieval bagpipes

See Amid The Winter's Snow
Words E. Caswall (1814-1878), Tune J. Goss (1800-1880)
fiddle, clarinet, lute, curtal, bass, side drum

See amid the winter's snow,
Born for us on earth below;
See the tender lamb appears,
Promised from eternal years.

Hail thou ever-blessed morn!
Hail redemption's happy dawn!
Sing through all Jerusalem,
Christ is born in Bethlehem!


Lo within a manger lies
He who built the starry skies;
He who, throned in height sublime,
Sits amid the cherubim.


Say, ye holy shepherds, say
What your joyful news today;
Wherefore have ye left your sheep
On the lonely mountain steep?


`As we watched at dead of night,
Lo, we saw a wondrous sight;
Angels singing ``Peace on earth''
Told us of our Saviour's birth.'


Sacred infant, all divine,
What a tender love was thine,
Thus to come from highest bliss
Down to such a world as this.


A Boy Was Born
German 16th century
violin, recorders, curtal, lute, bass

A boy was born in Bethlehem,
Rejoice for that Jerusalem!

For low he lay within a stall
Who rules for ever overall

He let himself a servant be,
That all mankind he might set free.

Then praise the Word of God who came
To dwell within a human frame.

And praised be God in threefold might,
In glory bright
Eternal good and infinite.

Poor Little Jesus
Words and tune USA traditional

O, poor little Jesus,
This world gonna break your heart.
There'll be no place to lay your head, my lord.
O, poor little Jesus.

O, Mary the mother,
O, Mary, she bow down and cry,
For there's no place to lay his head, my Lord.
O, poor little Jesus.

Come down, all you holy angels,
Sing round him with your golden harps,
For some day he will die to save this world.
O, poor little Jesus.

Turkey In The Straw / Whiskey Before Breakfast
USA traditional
fiddle, clarinet, guitar, bass, drums

Traditional English
fiddle, clarinet, banjo, bass, drums

A wassail, a wassail all over the town
Our cup is white and our ale is brown
Our cup is made of the white maple tree
With a wassailing bowl we'll drink to thee.

O master and mistress, oh are you within?
Pray open the door-knob and let us come in.
O master and mistress sitting down by the fire,
See us wassailers a-travelling in the mire.

There was an old man and he had an old cow,
And how for to keep her he didn't know how,
He built up a barn for to keep his cow warm,
And a drop of strong beer will do us no harm.

Here's to the maid in the lily white smock,
Who tripped to the door and slipped back the lock. Who tripped to the door and pulled back on the pin
For to let these jolly wassailers in.

Joy To The World!
Words Isaac Watts (1674-1748), Tune Lowell Mason (1792-1872)
fiddle, metal clarinet, guitar, bass, percussion

Joy to the world! The Lord is come,
Let earth receive her King.
Let every heart prepare him room,
And heaven and nature sing.

Joy to the world! The Saviour reigns,
Let men their tongues employ,
While fields and floods, rocks, hills and plains
Repeat the sounding joy.

No more let sins or sorrow grow,
Nor thorns infest the ground.
He comes to make his blessings flow
Far as the curse is found.

He rules the world with truth and grace,
And makes the nations prove
The glories of his righteousness
And wonders of his love.

Cradle Song
Words Isaac Watts (1674-1748), Tune USA early 19th Century
clarinet, fiddle, guitar, bass

Hush my dear, lie still and lumber,
Holy angels guard thy bed.
Heavenly blessings without number
Gently falling on thy head.

Sleep me babe; thy food and raiment,
House and home, thy friends provide;
All without thy care and payment,
All thy wants are well supplied.

How much better thou art attended
Than the Son of God could be
When from heaven he descended
And became a child like thee.

Soft and easy is thy cradle;
Coarse and hard the Saviour lay,
When his birthplace was a stable
And his softest bed was hay.

Lo, he slumbers in a manger,
Where the horned oxen fed;
Peace, my darling, here's no danger,
Here's no ax a-near thy bed.

May'st thou live to know and fear him,
Trust and love him all thy days;
Then go dwell for ever near him,
See his face and sing his praise.

Shepherd's Rejoice
Words Isaac Watts (1674-1748), Tune USA 19th Century
clarinet, banjo, bass, drums

`Shepherds, rejoice, lift up your eyes,
And send your fears away;
News from the regions of the skies -
A Saviour's born today!
Jesus, the God whom angels fear,
Comes down to dwell with you!
Today he makes his entrance here,
But not as monarchs do.

`No gold or purple swaddling bands,
Nor royal shining things;
A manger for his cradle stands,
And holds the King of Kings.
Go, shepherds, where the infant lies,
And see his humble throne;
With tears of joy in all your eyes,
Go, shepherds, kiss the Son.'

Thus Gabriel sang, and straight around
The heavenly armies throng;
They tune their harps to lofty sound,
And thus conclude the song;
`Glory to God that reigns above,
Let peace surround the earth;
Mortals shall know their maker's love
At their Redeemer's birth.'

Lord! and shall angels have their songs
And men no tunes to raise?
Oh, may we lose our useless tongues,
When they forget to praise.
Glory to God that reigns above,
That pitied us forborn;
We join to sing our maker's love,
For there's a Saviour born.

Old Joe Clark
USA traditional
fiddle, clarinet, banjo, bass, drums

Ane Sang Of The Birth Of Christ (Balulalow)
Scottish 16th Century

I come fra hevin here to tell
The best nowells that e'er befell
To you thir tythings trew I bring
And I will of them say and sing.
To you this day is born ane child
Of Marie meik and Virgin mild.
That blissit bairn bening and kind
Sall you rejoyce baith hart and mind.

Lat us rejoyis and be blyth
And with the Hydris go full swyth
And see what God of his grace hes done
Throu Christ to bring us to his throne
My saull and life, stand up and see
What lyis in ane cribbe of tree.
What Babe is that, sa gude and fair?
It is Christ, God's Son and Air.

The silk and sandell thee to eis
Ar hay and sempill sweilling clais,
Whar thou greit glorious God and King
As thou in hev'n war in thy ring.
And war the warld ten times sa wide,
Cled ouer with gold and stanes of pride
Unworthie yit it were to thee
Under thy feet ane stule to be.

O my deir hart, yung Jesus sweit,
Prepare thy creddil in my spreit!
And I sall rock thee in my hart
And never mair fra thee depart.
Bot I sall praise thee evermoir
With sangis sweit unto thy gloir.
The kneis of my hart sall I bow,
And sing that rycht Balulalow.

Monsieur Charpentier's Christmas Swing
Or, nous dites Marie / Joseph est bien marié

French trad., after Marie-Antoine Charpentier (c.1645-1704)
Breughel bagpipes, recorders, guitar, bass, drums

Quem Pastores
German 16th Century (Transl. Sam Sharpe)
recorders, lute

Quem pastores laudavere,
Quibus angeli dixere,
Absit vobis jam timere
Natus est rex gloriae.

Ad quem magi ambulabant
Aurum, thus, myrrham portabant
Immolabant haec sincere
Nato regi gloriae.

Christo regi, Deo nato,
Per Mariam nobis dato,
Merito resonet vere
Laus, honor et gloria.

The one whom shepherds worshipped -
Shepherds to whom angels said
``Do not be afraid'' -
The King of glory is born.

Kings journeyed to him,
They brought gold, frankincense and myrrh.
They offered these truly
To the new-born King of Glory.

To Christ the King, God incarnate,
Given us through Mary,
As is truly due, let
Praise, honour and glory resound.

While Shepherds Watched
Words Nahum Tate (1652-1715), Tune T. Phillips (1735-1807)
clarinet, lute, bass

While shepherds watched their flocks by night,
All seated on the ground,
The angel of the Lord came down,
And glory shone around.

`Fear not' said he (for mighty dread
Had seized their troubled mind);
`Glad tidings of great joy I bring
To you and all mankind.

`To you in David's town this day
Is born of David's line
A Saviour, who is Christ the Lord;
And this shall be his sign:

`The heavenly babe you there shall find
to human view displayed,
All meanly wrapped in swaddling bands,
And in a manger laid.'

Thus spake the seraph; and forthwith
Appeared a shining throng
Of angels praising God, who thus
Addressed their joyful song:

All glory be to God in high,
And to the earth be peace;
Good-will henceforth from heaven to men
Begin and never cease.'

I Saw Three Ships
English traditional
recorder, tin whistle, fiddle, guitars, Breughel bagpipes, bass, drums, bells

I saw three ships come sailing in
On Christmas day, on Christmas day
I saw three ships come sailing in
On Christmas day in the morning

And what was in those ships all three?

Our Saviour Christ and his lady.

Wither sailed those ships all three?

O they sailed into Bethlehem.

And all the bells on earth shall ring.

And angels in all heaven shall sing.

And all the souls on earth shall sing.

Then let us all rejoice amain!

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