D I S C O G R A P H Y
[Flesh & Blood cover]

CD - Park Records, PRKCD38
(UK, 1997)

Maddy Prior:
Flesh & Blood

1. Sheath & Knife [5:40]
2. The Rolling English Road [3:32]
3. Honest Work [3:16]
4. Finlandia [3:41]
5. Hind Horn [5:50]
6. Bitter Withy [3:18]
Dramatis Personae
    7. Who Am I? [2:52]
    8. Cruel Mother [3:44]
    9. Boy on a Horse [3:42]
    10. Jade [3:34]
    11. Brother Lawrence [3:56]
    12. The Laugh and the Kiss [2:03]
    13. The Point [0:09]
14. Heart of Stone [6.19]

musicians: Maddy Prior - vocals
Nick Nolland - keyboards, backing vocals
Troy Donockley - uilleann pipes, electric and acoustic
    guitars, whistles, cittern, backing vocals

Terl Briant - drums and percussion
Andy Crowdy - acoustic bass
other credits: Produced by Nick Holland and Troy Donockley
Engeneered by Steve Watkins
Recorded at Warehouse Studios, Oxford
Photography by David Herrod and Jay Alice Preece
Sleeve designed by Terri Donockley
Graphics & artworks by Roger & Juanita at Riverline     Reprographics
Coordination and executive producer by John
    Dagnell
© 1997 Park Records

Review



N o t e s   a n d   L y r i c s

      One of the great incest ballads. A devastating and compelling story told in so few words. The rude intrusion of music and dancing into a mind torn with grief is heart rending.
      I more and more realise how much of my taste and style is based in the 60's revival - formed by many talented musicians and singers all of whom researched with great energy their own repertoires that have now become part of a background body of material available to all. I am greatful for having been among them.
      I first heard this sung by Tony Rose and it has taken me 20 years before I could find a way to sing it that I did not lean too heavily on this version.

It's whispered in the kitchen, it's whispered in the hall
The broom blooms bonny, broom blooms fair
The king's daughter goes with child, among ladies all
And they'll never go down to the broom anymore.

It's whispered by the ladies one unto the other
"The king's daughter goes with child, to her own brother"

He's ta'en his sister down to his father's deer park
With his yew-tree bow and arrow slung fast across his back

Now when that you hear me give a loud cry
Shoot from thy blow an arrow, and there let me lie

And when he has heard her give a loud cry
A silver arrow from his bow he suddenly let fly

He has made a grave both long and deep
He has buried his sister with their babe all at her feet

And when he came to his father's hall
There was music and dancing and minstrels and all

The ladies asked him, "what makes thee in such pain?"
"I've lost a sheath and knife, I will never find again"

"There are ships of your father's a-sailing on the sea
Can bring as good a sheath and knife unto thee"

"All the ships of my father's a-sailing on the sea
Can never bring such a sheath and knife to me

"And when he has heard her give a loud cry
A silver arrow from his bow he suddenly let fly

He has made a grave both long and deep
He has buried his sister with their babe all at her feet

And when he came to his father's hall
There was music and dancing and minstrels and all

The ladies asked him, "what makes thee in such pain?"
"I've lost a sheath and knife, I will never find again"

"There are ships of your father's a-sailing on the sea
Can bring as good a sheath and knife unto thee"

"All the ships of my father's a-sailing on the sea
Can never bring such a sheath and knife to me"


      This is a piece of personal nostalgia. My father would read poetry to us as children, and this is by G. K. Chesterton was always one of my favourites. Now it reminds me of the England that I first travelled when I toured the folk clubs, before the advent of motorways. It wasn't the French that straightened the roads in the end, but our own modern urgency.
      It may help to know that there was (is?) a massive cemetery at Kensal Green.

Before the Roman came to Rye or out of Seven strode,
The rolling English drunkard made the rolling English road.
A reeling road, a rolling road, that rambles round the shire,
And after him the parson ran, the sexton and the squire;
A merry road, a mazy road, and such as we did tread
The night we went to Birmingham by way of Beachy Head.

I knew no harm of Bonaparte but plenty of the squire,
And for to fight the Frenchman I did not much desire;
But I did bash their bagonettes because they came arrayed
To straighten out the crooked road an English drunkard made,
Where you and I went down the lane with ale mugs in our hands,
The night we went to Glastonbury by way of Goodwin Sands.

His sins they were forgiven him; or why do flowers run
Behind him; and the hedges all strengthening in the sun?
The wild thing went from left to right and knew not what was which,
But the wild rose was above him when they found him in the ditch.
God pardon us, not harden us; we did not seen so clear
The night we went to Banochburn by way of Brighton Pier.

My friends, we will not go again to ape an ancient rage,
Or turn the folly of our youth to be the shame of age,
But walk with clearer eyes and ears this path that wandereth,
And see undrugged in evening light the decent inn of death;
For there is good news yet to hear and fine things to be seen,
Before we go to Paradise by way of Kensal Green.


      I am not often moved to sing other writer's songs - especially If I don't know them personally. I find that what I like is much in their performance as in the song. Here I make an exception, and have stayed close to the original, because Todd Rundgren's song of unemployment is such an unusual and touching piece, so devoid of preaching and easy answers, and yet deeply poignant.

I'm not afraid to bend my back
I'm not afraid of dirt
But how I fear the thing I do
For the lack of honest work
My family is lost to me
They could not bear the hurt
To see the state their boy is in
For the lack of honest work

I hold no blame for anyone
'Twas I who did arrange
To pay my union dues so I'd
Not have to learn or change
And when I was replaced was I
Who started down the hill
And drank away my savings 'till
I couldn't stop myself

The prophets of a brave new world
Captains of industry
Have visions grand and great designs
But non have room for me
They see a world where everyone
Is rich and smart and young
But if I live to see such things
Too late for me they come

I know I'm not the only one
To fall beneath the wheel
Such company can not assuage
The loneliness I feel
So many are resigned to be
Society's debris
But I will be remembered for
The life life took from me


      This bitter sweet melody hidden in Sibelius's Finlandia Troy realised would make a great pipe tune, and it perfectly compliments and rises out of the mood of the Honest Work.

(instrumental)


      This is not a ballad I've heard sung before, but the motifs are familiar; the exchange of rings, the 7 year absence, the return on the wedding day disguised as a beggar. According to Francis James Child in his English and Scottish Popular Ballads, the anticedents of the story go back to beyond the 14th Century to much longer romances of which the ballad is a mere extract. One version is set in the Crusades, and has more magical qualities to it, Saladin whisking him back to his homeland. The beginnings of our social structure date from this time and the long part-ings that continually occur in traditional songs may hold a memory of these expeditions, where men would return overdue, battle scarred, and unrecognisable, and in the absence of modern bureaucracy, some token was needed to establish identity. Little is made of how the women's hearts may have changed and they are invariably, if sometimes unconvincingly, overjoyed.

Chorus:
Young Hind Horn to the King's is gone
Hey lililu and ho ho lan
He fell in love with the King's daughter Jean
With a hey down, hey diddle downy

She gave him a gay gold ring
With three bright diamonds glittering

When this ring grows pale and blue
Then my love is lost to you

He hoisted his sails and went to sea
Spent seven years in a far country

One day he's looked his ring upon
It grew pale and it grew wan

Young Hind Horn is come to land
There he met an old beggar man

What news, what news come tell to me
No news but our queen's wedding day

Will you give me your old brown cap?
And I'll give you my gold laced hat

Will you give me your begging weeds
And I'll give you my good grey steed

The old beggar man goes dressed so fine
And young Hind Horn like an old beggar man

When he came to the king's gate
He asked for drink and he asked for meat

He asked for the sake of St. Peter and Paul
He asked for the sake of young Hind Horn

The bride came tripping down the stair
With combs of red gold shining in her hair

With a glass of red wine in her hand
To give to the poor old beggar man

And he has drunk up all the wine
And into the cup he's dropped the ring

Came ye this by sea or land?
Or got ye't off a dead man's hand?

I got it not by sea or land?
But I got it off your very own hand

The bridegroom he comes down the stair
But neither bride nor beggar was there

The bridegroom had her first to wed
But young Hind Horn had her first to bed


      The tradition has always presented an alternative to orthodox dogma, both social and religious. This story of the boy Jesus portrays him as all too human, and the does not accord with the given Bible Image. It stikes em as a parable concerning power and the need for everyone to learn how to use it.
      I first heard this song from the lovely rhythmic singing of Roy Bailey, But I finally tracked it down in Bert Lloyd's Folk Song in England, a must for anyone interested in folk music.

As I fell out on a bright holiday
Small hail from the sky did fall
Our Saviour asked his mother dear
If he might go and play at ball

"At ball? At ball? My own dear son?
It's time that you were gone,
And don't let me hear any mischief
At night when you come home."

So it's up the hill, and down the hill
Our sweet young Saviour run,
Until he met three rich young lords
"Good morning" to each one.

"Good morn", "good morn", "good morn"
said they, "Good morning" then said He
"And which one of you three rich young lords
will play at the ball with me?"

"Ah, we're all lords' and ladies' sons
born in a bower and hall
And you are nought but a poor maid's child
Born in an ox's stall"

"If I am nought but a poor maid's child
born in a ox's stall
I'll make you believe at your latter end
I'm an angel above you all"

So he made a bridge of beams of the sun
And over the river ran he
And after him ran these rich young lords
And drowned they all three.

Then it's up the hill, and it's down the hill
Three rich young mothers run
Crying "Mary Mild, fetch home her child
For ours he's drowned each one."

So Mary Mild fetched home her child
And laid him across her knee
And with a handful of withy twigs
She gave him lashes three.

"Ah bitter withy. Ah bitter withy
that causes me to smart,"
And the withy shall be very first tree
To perish at the heart.


Dramatis Personae

      This is a series of songs about personality. The structure is based on the ancient concept of the 'chakras'. They are located up and down the spine as energy vortexes, 'chakra' meaning wheel. Each 'chakra' has its own colour (I have referred to the commonly used rainbow) its own sense (smell, taste etc.), its own element (earth, water etc.), even its own body part, gland and healing function.
      There is a parallel in the Tree of Life of the Qabalah in the movement from physical and mental to spiritual, but at the same time each 'chakra' is equally important and fulfils its own function and is an essential part of the whole.
      I have dwelt upon these for some years and find a constantly changing and growing realisation of their possibilities, which means that any attempt to fix them is at best personal, partial and transient.


      Riddles are one of the oldest forms of literature. The Saxons were very keen o nthem, and the number of cryptic crosswords printed today attest to their continuing popularity. For the answer to this riddle you need to look to the North of England and not be distracted by two year's growth. For me this encapsulates a dedication to fundamental earthlines.

He's my baby and I prize him
I've kept him in his bed
Till he was two years grown.
I've fed him on ox blood
An dry bone-meal
And now he is ready to be shown
Who am I?

From his plate up to his button
His body is pure white
And full six inches long.
He stands proud with rest,
Puts flags out east and west
, With a crown of green herring-bone
Who am I?

I show him to neighbours
Who auction him away,
But I buy him back again.
I chop up his children
And feed them to my own
As he shivers out in the winter rain.
Who am I?


      This draws on stark ballad imagery to paint a portrait of sex, reproduction and death, all of which are inexticably linked, for without sex and consequent reproduction we would not need to clear some space with death, and without death we wouldn't need (?) sex.

Sweet juices, crushed from the fruit run over her lips,
Down her breasts, down her body, down between her hips.

Strong legs wrap around a tree, squeezes with her thighs.
Breathes life through roots with quiet sighs.

A child she bears beneath its shade with labour hard and long.
A moment's tenderness, a moment's passion, short and sweet the song.

She cradles, then buries it beneath the earth, under a drowning moon.
Nourishment, blood and bone, for the roots to find.

The cruel mother lives in the grove, dancing her life away,
Sweet as the juice on a soldier's lips on a summer's day.


The power of the sun fuels the whole process.
Ride away boy on a horse,
Ride away, he stands against the sun.
He is proud and he is strong
Ride away, a soldier of the wind.

Great lion's mane, curls on his check,
Wet with sweat that runs all down his back.

War machine, he's fighting for the right.
Computer driven man, sure that he battles towards the light.

Power is his aim, fire is his sword
Biting at the flesh, burns the bones without a word.


Jade
(Prior/Kemp)

The heart of the piece. Compassion around which all other functions revolve.

Jade is a child, who is eighty years old
Delight, delight shines in her pale eyes.
Laughter is her medicine, she says it keeps her young,
And she never lies.

Bitterness, she has never known, although she has seen
All of life's murderous deceits.
She weeps for the innocent, but is amused by the proud
In all their conceit.

Holding the drunken soldier, in his wild delirium,
She does not to avoid his fetid breath.
Gently she runs her fingers through the smallest child's hair
And fears not death.

Patterns keep on changing, she lives each strident hour
That clangs and rings down all the days.
For love it is everything, this world's many masks
And all its touching ways.


        Brother Lawrence was born Nicolas Herman of humble parentage in Lorraine, Eastern France in about 1611.
        He became monk and served as a monastry cook for thirty years. This was not a job he liked, but he rose above his discontent; indeed, his sanctity so impressed those around him that an abbot, L'Abbe Joseph de Beaufort, vicar general to Cardinal Noailles, exchanged letters with him and preserved his thoughts and philosophy in a book 'Moeurs et Entretiens du Frere Laurent'.
        Brother Lawrence represents the antithesis of what most of us think of as communication. Unlike us he does not appear to have been on 'all broadcast and no receive'. His method of communion was to listen.

There's a rush in the kitchen, there's monks in the hall
It's past time for dinner, they're silent monks all
The cook is a good man with ladle and plate
He will not be rushed in the steam and the heat

Though a simple man, he just seemed to know
As it is above, so it is below

He hums to himself all the hymns he has known
While he pulls up the leeks, they're so carefully grown
He doesn't like chapel bent down on his knees
Just wasting his time with these words and decrees.

He does all his work in the presence of the Lord
He is praying while salting the monks' holy food
He fights the good fight with utensils as a sword
He is peeling potatoes to the glory of God


      Someone once said to me that the split second when you laugh at a joke is a moment of enlightenment. Suddenly you understand.

The laugh and the kiss they join heaven and earth
The laugh is a treasure, the kiss is a birth.
The tricksters have twisted and now they will kiss
And all of creation shall join in their bliss

It showers down blessings on all those below
And they give their blessing for this ebb and flow.
These points of meeting in the eternity
Unite us in our humanity.

The laugh and the kiss they join heaven and earth
The laugh is a treasure, the kiss is a birth.
These points of meeting in the eternity
Unite us in our humanity.


The Point
(Prior/Kemp)

This is the point. Infinity. The last note.
(instrumental)


Heart of Stone
(Kemp)

And finally a deeply revealing song from Rick Kemp - a great song writer and extraordinary man.

I was talking on the phone to an abstract friend
All the way from days of innocence
About the way things were, and the way things are.
How a new life starts as an old life ends
With the promise of a new experience,
How the strangest things become our guiding star.
Mostly re-runs of old movies we've been
Half a lifetime vanished, could have been a dream.

What're you going to do about this heart of stone
That twits your mind and bends your bones
What're you going to do about this bad old heart of stone?

I said good-bye, really had to fly,
Should have been on my way some time ago
To set the world aright, and to make my mark,
How I keep a brave face, with a smile in place
'cos I really don't want to let it show
That I fear failure like a demon in the dark.
Always searching for perfection
Always searching for a voice to call my own!

What're you going to do about this heart of stone
That twits your mind and bends your bones
What are you going to do when you're all alone at night?
How're you going to make this old friend sing
How're you going to fix his damaged wings
What're you going to do about this bad old heart of stone?

I was cruising in a clapped-out care worn carriage
Near the crumbling stones of Hadrian
Passing monuments to passing men.
Heading for a frontier town in time
On the borders of a new millenium
Weighing my prospects on a scale of ten.

Leisure and luxuries they've never been so high.
Pride and prejudice they reach right up to the sky.
What're you going to do about this heart of stone…..


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