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                  Also available:
                    'All of Me'
       
the new CD of Brenda Wootton
              from Knight Design
        http://www.brendawootton.com

Brenda at Buryan CD - Notes and Lyrics

Brenda at Buryan

  bab_cd_front_cover-001.jpg
Brenda Wootton was a Cornishwoman who 'dearly loved to sing'. She had a phenomenal voice and an amazing stage presence, and during her life became a fervent and very vocal exponent of all things Cornish, making her a much-loved Ambassador and “Voice of Cornwall” for the Cornish diaspora and others around the globe. Her astonishing voice, once heard only in family 'party pieces' in the parlour on Sunday nights, and in Church and Chapel Choirs as a young girl, first came to the attention of a wider audience one night in 1964.

As her daughter, I am partly responsible for that - a new 'folk club' had opened in the unlikely setting of an old Tin Mine Counting House at Botallack on the cliffs near St Just, and it was decided that mother, my father John and I would pay a visit to see if it was a suitable venue for a 14-year-old girl. We all enjoyed the experience, and returned regularly, Brenda, of course, joining in the choruses in her inimitable style from the audience. It wasn't long before her talents were recognised, and she was asked on to the stage to sing – and there she stayed, on stages around the world - developing that amazing vocal range, extending her repertoire and gaining a huge following of fans - for the rest of her life.

Within a short while, John the Fish, the resident singer at the Count House, was regularly playing guitar for Brenda, and the duo were then invited, by friend and fellow musician, Alex Atterson, on their first up-country tour. This tour was the first of many, and it was while touring in the summer of 1966, that Brenda and John heard of the imminent closure of the Count House Club. Brenda went into overdrive, and with just 3 weeks’ notice, managed to launch Pipers Folk Club in St Buryan Village Hall the very next week, with Ralph McTell joining Fish on the regular artists list at £3 per night.

Pipers was to remain at St Buryan for only 2 summer seasons, when the chance to move back to the Count House came up, and Brenda grabbed it. Pipers, both at St Buryan and Botallack, became one of the most influential folk clubs in the region in those heyday years of the 'Sixties Folk Revival', and many nationally-known artists were eager for bookings. Performers of the calibre of Michael Chapman, Martin Carthy, Jasper Carrott and Billy Connolly were regular guests. This CD contains the only known published recordings of Brenda and John the Fish at St Buryan in the summers of 1966-67, and we are lucky to be able to hear again the superb quality of her voice in those early days – singing a wide range of songs from her early repertoire, many of which are not recorded elsewhere.

St Buryan Village Hall - granite-built, whitewashed and wooden panelled - played host to a colourful and talented selection of musicians and performers from the sixties folk scene. Ralph McTell, together with Henry ‘the VIII’ Bartlett and Whispering Mick formed a goodtime jug band; Michael Chapman was already established as a firm favourite, as was the Cockney character Derek Brimstone; the irrepressible Noel Murphy, with hippy bells attached to his laced flies, and the hugely-loved Alex Atterson, who gave Brenda and Fish their first chance of touring. Mike Sagar-Fenton, seen here up at Brenda’s ‘hidey-hole’, the Stack, was a resident singer and is responsible for two of these tracks. 

What you’re listening to here – although an amalgamation of recordings taken over several nights – is a performance by Brenda and Fish at a typical Pipers club night. Brenda is new to the business, and still to a certain extent learning her trade – but even at this stage the purity and range of her voice is evident. And in the finale – which includes the two best-loved closing numbers over many years at the club – you can hear Henry Bartlett blowing on his jug, Mick Bennett – Whispering Mick – on kazoo, washboard, swannee whistle and skulls, Ralph McTell on guitar, and everyone else joining in, all singing with great gusto and possibly little finesse – but all loving it. You can hear them, and the audience, loving it. That’s what Pipers was all about.  

Sadly Brenda died in 1994 - this CD is a wonderful tribute to the vision and the voice of a remarkable woman.
Sue Ellery © 2013

 Title Lyrics/Music​
 1. I'm Counting Stars  Music & lyrics: Mike Sagar-Fenton
 2. Marta, Marta  Possibly learned from Nadia Cattouse; has a Caribbean rhythm and likely to be a traditional song, probably from Belize, Nadia’s birthplace
 3. Lady Mary  Lyrics: Old traditional; Source: Mrs May Kennedy McCord of Springfield, Missouri / Vance Randolph Collection; performed by Joan Baez
 4. Port Mahon  Learned from Nadia Cattouse. Composed by Sydney Carter in about 1960 for Nadia Cattouse, sung by her accompanied by Steve Benbow (both appeared at Pipers)
  5. The Old Grey Duck  Trad. Cornish; Recorded at Pendeen in 1956 by Peter Kennedy for the BBC. The tune is that of a well-known carol "The Seven Good Joys" included in Dunstan's Cornish Song Book
 6. Harp Song of the Dane Women  Words: Rudyard Kipling; Music: Mike Sagar-Fenton; a poem from Rudyard Kipling's book Puck of Pook's Hill. Peter Bellamy also sang his own version on his second album of songs set to Kipling's poems, Merlin's Isle of Gramarye
 7. The First Time Ever  Lyrics and music: Ewan MacColl 1962 - MacColl wrote "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face", one of the most beautiful romantic songs ever written, for his wife Peggy Seeger
8. Old Maid’s Song   Trad. American Folk ballad; derived from the broadside ballad "The Wooing Maid," a song which dates to the seventeenth century
 9. Two Brothers  An American Civil War song by Irving Gordon
 10. Going to the Zoo  Words and music by Tom Paxton – written probably early 1960s
 11. Cockleshells/ Waley Waley  Trad. – many variants. The lyrics seems to be a combination of ‘The Water is Wide’ and Marianne Faithful’s ‘Cockleshells’
 12. I’m Troubled   Trad. Negro Spiritual, taken from the The Story of the Fisk Jubilee Singers, and learned from singer Tod Lloyd, as Brenda explains
 13. Stay Not Late  Hester Williams - cannot discover anything else about this song
 14. A Good Man is Hard to Find  Eddie Green, first recorded in 1918
 15. Mingulay Boat Song  Hugh S Roberton, written in the 1930
 16. Old Time Religion  - a traditional Gospel song dating from 1873, when it was included in a list of Jubilee songs, or earlier

All songs traditional except: 1.Mike Sagar-Fenton 4.Sydney Carter 6.Lyrics: Rudyard Kipling, Tune: Mike Sagar-Fenton 7.Ewan MacColl 9.Irving Gordon 10.Tom Paxton 13.Hester Williams 14.Eddie Green 15.Hugh S Roberton
  
1. I'm Counting Stars (Mike Sagar-Fenton)
I’m counting stars all alone
I’m counting stars all alone
I lie and wonder why, the moon still moves round the sky…

I’ve got my eyes open wide
I’ve got my eyes open wide
The window and the wall, but I don’t see them at all…

What is there calling me out?
What is there calling me out?
I’ve not a thing to prove, but somehow I can’t seem to move…

The candles burning down low
The candles burning down low
And as it burns away, I’m counting stars till the day…

2. Marta, Marta
Chorus:
Marta, Marta - Marta, sweet Marta,
Tell me where you get that money from…
Marta, Marta - Marta, sweet Marta,
Tell me where you get that money from…


Chorus
When you go park-side
When you go a water-road
Tell me where you get that money from?

Chorus
See you got a new dress,
Hear that you working less,
Tell me where you get that money from?

Chorus
See you the other night,
Talking to a coolie man
Tell me where you get that money from...

Chorus
He’ll give you diamonds, he’ll give you gold,
Pass your door when you are old,
Tell me where you get that money from…

Chorus
Repeat last line

3. Lady Mary (Trad.)
He came from his palace grand
He came to my cottage door
His words were few but his looks
Will linger for evermore
The look in his sad dark eyes
More tender than words could be
But I was nothing to him
And he was the world to me.

There in her garden she stands
All dressed in fine satin and lace
Lady Mary so cold and so strange
Could find in his heart no place.
He knew I would be his bride
With a kiss for a lifetime fee
But I was nothing to him
And he was the world to me.

Now in his palace grand
On a cold stone bed he lies
His beautiful lids are closed
O’er his sad dark beautiful eyes
And among the mourners who mourn
Why should I a mourner be
For I was nothing to him
And he was the world to me.

4. Port Mahon (Sydney Carter, 1960)
In Port Mahon, I went down to the harbour
A tall ship from England, came up to the quay
I fell in love with a young English sailor
But he only laughed and he whispered to me:

Chorus
From Port Mahon I'll soon be gone
Laughing or weeping, the world will go on.

To Port Mahon came the orders one morning
To haul up the anchor, and not to delay
So the tall ship sailed away from the harbour
But still in my heart I could hear my love say:

Chorus
To Port Mahon came the news of a battle
But never oh never, a letter for me
And many a tall ship came back to the harbour,
But never the one that I waited to see.

 The years passed by, and I married another
And many a woman would like to be me
But sometimes I lie on my bed and I listen
To the sound of the wind, and the sound of the sea
And remember the sailor who whispered to me:

Chorus

5. The Old Grey Duck (Trad. English)
The old grey duck she stole her nest
And laid down in the fields
And when the young ones they came forth
They had no tails nor beels
They had no tails nor beels,
They had no tails nor beels
And when the young ones they came forth
They had no tails nor beels.

Two eggs were addled and one was broke
And they were throw’d away
The young ones could’n clunk nor swim
They all died that same day
They all died that same day
They all died that same day
The young ones could’n clunk nor swim
They all died that same day

Now them that wadden addled nor broke
They didn’t know what to do
They did’n even have the sense
To chaw their shells right through
To chaw their shells right through
To chaw their shells right through
They did’n even have the sense
To chaw their shells right through

Next time we'll put ‘er in the barn
And tie ‘er by the heels
The young ones then may have the chance
To grow their tails and beels To grow their tails and beels
To grow their tails and beels
The young ones then may have the chance
To grow their tails and beels

6. Harp Song of the Dane Women (Rudyard Kipling/Mike Sagar-Fenton)
What is a woman that you forsake her,
And the hearth-fire and the home-acre,
To go with the old grey Widow-maker?

She has no house to lay a guest in—
But one chill bed for all to rest in,
That the pale suns and the stray bergs nest in.

She has no strong white arms to fold you,
But the ten-times-fingering weed to hold you
Out on the rocks where the tide has rolled you.

Yet, when the signs of summer thicken,
And the ice breaks, and the birch-buds quicken,
Yearly you turn from our side, and sicken—

Sicken again for the shouts and the slaughters—
You steal away to the lapping waters,
To look at your ship in her winter quarters.

You forget our mirth, and our talk at the tables,
The kine in the shed and the horse in the stables—
To pitch her sides and go over her cables.
 
Then you drive out where the storm-clouds swallow:
And the sound of your oar-blades falling hollow
Is all we have left in the months to follow.

Ah, what is a woman that you forsake her,
And the hearth-fire and the home-acre,
To go with the old grey Widow-maker?

7. The First Time Ever (MacColl)
The first time ever I saw your face
I thought the sun rose in your eyes
And the moon and stars were the gifts you gave
To the dark and the endless sky, my love,
To the dark and the endless sky.

The first time ever I kissed your mouth,
I felt the earth move in my hand,
Like the trembling heart of a captive bird
That was there at my command, my love,
That was there at my command.

The first time ever I lay with you
I felt your heart so close to mine
And I thought our joy would fill the earth
And last till the end of time, my love,
And last till the end of time.

8. Old Maid's Song (Trad.)
I had a sister Sally, younger than I am
She had so many sweethearts, she had to deny ‘em
As for my own part, I never had many
If you only knew my heart, I'd be thankful for any…

Chorus:
Come a landsman, a pinsman, a tinker or a tailor
Fiddler or a dancer, ploughboy or a sailor
Rich man, a poor man, fool, or a witty
Don’t let me die an old maid, but take me out of pity

I had a sister Sarah, ugly and ill-shapen
Before she was sixteen, she was taken
Now she is eighteen, a son and a daughter
I’m six and forty, and nary an offer -

Chorus
I never would be scolding, I never would be jealous
My husband shall have money to go to the alehouse
While he's there a-spending, I'll be home a-saving
And I’ll leave it to the world if I’m worth the having…

Chorus

9. Two Brothers (Irving Gordon)
Two brothers on their way
Two brothers on their way
Two brothers on their way
One wore blue, and one wore grey

One wore blue and one wore grey
As they marched along the way
A fife and drum began to play
All on a beautiful morning

One was gentle, one was kind
One was gentle, one was kind
One came home, one stayed behind
A cannonball don't pay no mind

A cannonball don't pay no mind
If you're gentle or you're kind
It don't think of the folks behind
All on a beautiful morning

Two girls waiting by the railroad track
Two girls waiting by the railroad track
Two girls waiting by the railroad track
One wore blue, and one wore black

One wore blue, and one wore black
Waiting by the railroad track
For their darlings to come back
All on a beautiful morning
All on a beautiful morning

10. Going to the Zoo (Tom Paxton)
Mummy’s taking us to the zoo tomorrow,
Zoo tomorrow, zoo tomorrow;
Mummy’s taking us to the zoo tomorrow,
We can stay all day.

Chorus:
We're going to the zoo, zoo, zoo;
How about you, you, you?
You can come too, too, too.
We're going to the zoo, zoo, zoo.

See the elephant with the long trunk swingin',
Great big ears and long trunk swingin',
Sniffin' up peanuts with the long trunk swingin';
We can stay all day.

Chorus
See all the monkeys scritch scritch scratchin',
Jumpin' all around and scritch scritch scratchin',
Hangin' by their long tails scritch scritch scratchin';
We can stay all day.

Chorus
Big black bear, all a huff huff a-puffin';
Coat's too heavy, he's huff huff a-puffin',
Don't get too near the huff huff a-puffin',
Or you won't stay all day.

Chorus
Seals in the pool all honk honk honkin',
Catchin' fish and honk honk honkin',
Little seals honk honk honkin'; (high pitched voice)
We can stay all day.

Chorus (slower tempo)
We stayed all day and we're gettin' sleepy,
Sittin' in the car gettin' sleep sleep sleepy,
Home already and we're sleep sleep sleepy,
We have stayed all day.

Chorus
We've been to the zoo, zoo, zoo;
So have you, you, you.
You came too, too, too,
We're been to the zoo, zoo, zoo.

Chorus (faster)
Daddy’s taking us to the zoo tomorrow,
Zoo tomorrow, zoo tomorrow;
Daddy’s taking us to the zoo tomorrow,
We can stay all day.

Chorus

11. Waley Waley/Cockleshells (Trad.)
When cockle shells turn to silver bells,
then will my love return to me.

When roses grow in the wintery snow,
then will my love return to me.

Oh waly, waly, love be bonnie
and gay as a jewel when first tis new...

But love grows old, and waxes cold,
and fades away like morning dew.
 
There is a ship, and it’s sailing the sea,
It's loaded down as deep can be.

But not so deep as the love I am in
I know not e’er I sink or swim.

Oh waly, waly, love be bonnie
And gay as a jewel when first tis new...

But love grows old and waxes cold,
and fades away.....like morning dew.

12. I'm Troubled (Trad. Spiritual)
Chorus
I'm troubled, I'm troubled
Yes I'm troubled in my mind
If Jesus don't help me
Then I surely will die

Chorus
Oh Jesus my saviour
On Thee I depend,
When troubles are near me,
You’ll be my true friend…

Chorus
When laden with trouble
And burdened with grief
To Jesus in secret
I’ll go for relief

Chorus
In darkness and bondage
To Jesus I prayed
To help me to bear it
And he gave me his aid

Chorus

13. Stay Not Late (Hester Williams)
Stay not late for love on you is waiting, within the home of your heart,
Stay not late, the name you have been naming, is keeping vigil by the door.
Stay not late, life's a moment fleeting, the shadows creep across the floor,
Stay not late, if this be our last meeting, you gain much more than you have lost.
Stay not late for there are children calling - to be sheltered, to be born,
Stay not late, our places aren't e'en over, time soon is o'er for you and me.
Stay not late for love on you is waiting, within the home of your heart,
Stay not late, the name you have been naming, is keeping vigil by the door.

14. A Good Man is Hard To Find (Eddie Green)
My heart’s sad and I'm all forlorn
My man's treating me mean
I regret the day that I was born
And that man of mine I never seen
My happiness it never lasts a day
My heart is almost breaking while I say

A good man is hard to find
You always get the other kind
Just when you think that he is your pal
You look around and find him foolin' 'round some other gal
And then you rave, you even crave
To see him laying in his grave
So if your man is nice, take my advice;
And hug him every morning, kiss him every night
Give him plenty lovin', treat him right
For a good man nowadays is hard to find…

A good man is hard to find
You always get the other kind
Just when you think that he is your pal
You look around and find him foolin’ round some other gal
Then you rave, you even crave
To see him layin' in his grave
So if your man is nice, take my advice
And hug him every morning, kiss him every night
Give him plenty lovin’, treat him right
For a good man nowadays is hard to find…

15. Mingulay Boat Song (Hugh S Roberton)
Chorus:
Heel y'ho boys, let her go, boys
Bring her head round and all together
Heel y'ho boys, let her go boys
Sailing homeward to Mingulay!

What care we tho' white the Minch is
What care we for wind and weather?
Let her go boys, every inch is
Wearing homeward to Mingulay!

Chorus
Wives are waiting by the harbour...
They’ve been waiting since break of day,
Bring her 'round boys, and we'll anchor
'Ere the sun sets on Mingulay!

Chorus

16. Old Time Religion (Trad.)
Gimme that old time religion
Gimme that old time religion
Gimme that old time religion
And it's good enough for me.

It was good for my mother
And it was good for my brother
And it was good for my father
And it’s good enough for me

Chorus:
Now won’t you give me that – old time religion
Won’t you give me that – old time religion
Won’t you give me that – old time religion
It’s good enough for me

Now it’ll save you from the fiery furnace
Yes it’ll save you from the fiery furnace
Yes it’ll save you from the fiery furnace
And it’s good enough for me

Chorus
Well it’ll keep you from the devil
Yes it’ll keep you from the devil
It’ll keep you from the devil,
And it’s good enough for me

Chorus
Well it’ll take you up to heaven
Yes it’ll take you up to heaven
Oh it’ll take you up to heaven
And it’s good enough for me

Chorus
It was good for the Hebrew children
It was good for the Hebrew children
It was good for the Hebrew children
And it's good enough for me.

Chorus
Brenda is occasionally singing in the background the black gospel song: 'It’s me, it’s me, it’s me, oh Lord, Standing in the need of prayer, It’s not the deacon or the preacher but it’s me oh Lord Standing in the need of prayer'…
 


Acknowledgements:
This CD would not exist were it not for the efforts of Mike Gluyas, of Morchard Bishop in Devon, in making these recordings at St Buryan 46 years ago and keeping them safe ever since, and his kindness in giving them to me. We met for the first time over 4 years ago outside the pub at Four Lanes, while listening to the Four Lanes Choir singing carols on Christmas morning – and I was thrilled to receive a CD from him shortly after, with all 16 of these tracks – 7 of which are not recorded elsewhere. He has most kindly given me permission to produce them as a CD.

Many thanks to both Mike Gluyas and Mic McCready for their sterling work on the final edit. Mic, a stalwart of Pipers and the local folk scene for more years than I’m sure he’d care to remember, has been an invaluable adviser and editor. And, of course, full credit to John the Fish – Brenda’s first accompanist, well known and loved by everyone on the the folk scene in Cornwall and much further afield, who enabled Brenda to try out her newfound vocation on Piper’s stage. John has acted as a valuable consultant on this CD.

Thanks are also due to the committee and staff of Lowender Perran, the Cornish Celtic Festival at Perranporth, which Brenda attended and supported whenever she could, for allowing us to launch and supply this CD at their Brenda Wootton Anniversary Concert at the festival on October 20th 2013. Thanks also to Joe Cockle for his patience and professionalism in sorting out the artwork for this CD.
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