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This was produced by riverside city and grant from the National Association of educational broadcasters. Today we're going to be traveling through England. And that is I travel there several years ago and I hope that you will come along with me today in music. I'll just tell you about a little bit about why we were there my husband and I were there because I had a Fulbright. Scholarship and we were looking for the source of the Richie family songs and we found that there wasn't one source or two sources with it they were all over the place. And then quite outside the Ritchie songs there were many other songs that we liked also so we just took everything we could find on tape and met many wonderful people who were there. One of the interesting things that we. Sort of stumbled onto one time was down in Rutland in England. Now Ratman sure has the distinction of being the smallest shire in England and they're very proud of it they're the church ringers of Abraham told us this with great pride. They're proud also of their church
and of their bell ringing which is considered a family tradition honor of operating a bell is passed down from father to son. They even treat the bells as personalities they call them the given names like great Tom or Little John or things like that. Controlling that heavy bell is not any joke it's really not easy I was invited to try it. I almost got my head smashed up against a ceiling because that when the bell pulls you know turns over and pulls up there's quite a there's quite a pool on there on the room and you have to learn how to let the rope slide through your hands as it goes up. They're going to bring a change here. I don't know quite how to describe it it's just a wonderful sound that you hear all through England and that's the church bells ringing their rounds or changes. Thank you. Thank.
You and thank. You England wasn't a continuous thing we had an apartment in London where we spent much of our time and whenever we'd hear something interesting we would dash up in our little French car that we bought and the English for English people usually try to push us off the road because they like our steering wheel being on the wrong side and so on but one time one day we heard of something that sounded fascinating but we didn't quite know what was going to be about. We couldn't the way it was described to us us who were then in charge of all the folk music collecting for the BBC said Come with us we're going up to Hexie
as in Lincolnshire and there they have a very strange. I guess it's called. It was it happened on January 6 the turning of the year. There's some sort of strange old pagan custom. And I said What is it like and he said well it's like the whole town goes out and plays football. All in one game everybody joins in. And this sounded like something that I'd like to see. So we got in our car and we went up to taxi in Lincolnshire and we found that it's a very strange and very rich celebration. It starts at the King's Arms that's the name of a pub in Lincolnshire. And they call this whole the whole day this whole celebration the Hexa hood games is probably the remnant of a primitive pagan winter ritual. There's not much space to tell about it here but it consists of several teams and tug o war is fighting to gain possession of the wood as they say or the hood and the hood is a long tightly rolled up piece of leather on the eve before the games the hood carolers gather in their headquarters the King's Arms and
they warm up to be on their rounds. They have three songs that they sing and they're all drinking songs. And everybody gets madly drunk. They had to told you that I couldn't explain it and I really can't because it would take very very long time and lots of scholarly discourse to really explain this. The celebration but anyway here's one of the songs I saying and it's John Barleycorn. Let's listen to it. Was the the the the a the the the a the
the. A The them breaking the yes that the the. That was a that was the
A and the the the the the that. Uh
uh uh uh. They was. That was John Barleycorn recorded in Lincolnshire. And they were very very merry when they got to the end of that song. It started a little bit slower they got more and more excited as they went along and that's the way the festival games went along it started a little bit with very everybody being very proper and the day was over. We were all practically rolling in. Not so much a drink as with excitement of Adele and finally one by one of the by the rival pub and had to leave the King's Arms that year
and go in and be in honor in St.. And the rival Pub. And we hope that next year it would come back to the King's Arms because that was the one who said we were allowed to. One of the ways I used to get people to sing the right kind of songs otherwise they would sing. You know in Ireland they would sing Take this bunch of shamrocks to my mother in America and so on like that. The way I get them to sing the right kind of songs was to ask if they knew Barbara and of course everybody knows Barbara. It was no trick. Then they would immediately know what kind of songs I wanted. So one particular thing nice thing it is about Barbarella which sort of is the thing that is about music is that everybody knows a different way to sing it. Not just every family or every town but almost everybody. So it is very interesting to find the different versions of these songs snatcher to some of the ways that we sing it that after a song before just to give you an idea.
And this is megaman for instance starts out like this. When. Well. And I think my dulcimer here and show you with a verse or two or three. The way we sing it in Kentucky this is our Richie family member Ellen. And said very little town called Sebree. I found an old
gardener who played the concertina and his name is Mr Rue. I don't know that I ever had a first name Arab I always called him Mr. Root and that's the way he was introduced to us. We sort of took him out of his garden he was gardening he's doing some gardening for somebody else and he sat down with his concertina and played for us and his work clothes. He had a very charming proper Devon as he called it. Accent was such a thick accent because the dialect and he kept insisting that he couldn't sing and he couldn't play as well as he used to when he was young. But he hath We thought he did pretty well and here's the way Mr indenture sings. Barbara Allen. Yeah.
Then slowly Salerno newly and slowly she made her will she and I saying yeah oh my you bury me tell the whole family she my family from Polo
bar. Well Barbara Ellen is heard all over England and really all over the world I suppose in some form or other and hearing Gabriella reminds me of another sound that was heard all over England and that was the beautiful dance music Brother Morris and sword dances. You can hear them almost at any less sound. The sound you're going to hear next. Almost any fere are a festival throughout England almost any time of the year. The folk dancers the sword dancers the Morris dancers are out. The one I'm going to play for you now is called the heirs and sword dance and it was performed by the English country dancers at a festival. And my friend Peter Kennedy was dancing there in it. And we had a wonderful time we took pictures and we all sort of wanted to get out and dance to the music is very very infectious. Now this is probably a Northumbrian dense
since it's in Northumbria that the complicated stepping that you can hear in the dance has reached just the highest level of Compton's. The dancers used to work clogs but nowadays they were light sleepers which produce a sound well sort of like a modern day tap dancer. The polls here during the day broke out when the dancers came together in a close circle and when the leader lifted the swords above his head it had formed a star and they clung together and was very nice to see in many of the sword dances of England the captain or father places his head in the center of the star at the end of the loch Sowers and then each of the dancers who were supposed to be his sons in the old pagan rituals draws out his sword with a flourish and it's supposed to kill him. Now they are not sharp and they don't really try. For murder so that he's a new spared. But he falls on the floor as though he's dead and then after a short time he's revived and proclaims that his visit to the underworld has enabled him to leave there all of the past years mistakes bad luck and hardships and has fitted him for robust leadership for the
coming year. And so the dance ends and celebration. Oh and I am the bigness. Was not a wonderful sound I always want to get up and dance all over again when I hear it another sound that you hear at fairs and at festivals. Of course are the fair songs the songs
about fairs and one of the most famous ones of all time is a very and widely known one called Widdecombe fair. The reason it's so widely known is that it was it was collected by the Rev.. Baring-Gould endeavor incher early in this century and. Published it and you know people have started singing it around but when he published it he revised it so that it is quite different from the way it was sung to him at first and we know this for a fact because I know a girl's version. When it come Farah since I was a little girl and it turned out that the man that we collected from in England. From the same person that we got it from a from his father so that it was interesting to see how much it had been changed down through the years since people learned it from this new source. Let me try to sing it the way I used to sing it as we go around our fireside at home which
was barring girls revision. This is the way it goes. Forest wants to ride with. Oh. Oh. With Peter. And now I hear it from the source itself from the west a boy whose father saying to the collector who may sound like the way I sing. You know it used to sound before it was changed.
John Deere Langmaid I grade mare ride her little golden. Heart My rider through there with your doctor and your doctor probably a. Pair she went up on a high hill right here where is all mare Dan Merica new wheel with blue Brewer gave it about your low ball. So I know where your old mare. Right. Oh LOL LOL did you order for one bird. Other three bear with young breeder reactors you
gave your partner did we lose Dom Cobb. All you know the result gone probably all. Wayne was old hard the more Knight. Riders all over the old Liviu Largo Tom parish shows all Mary are pure godly white with blue or young brewer only which parts your Spotted Dick will come called Blue Ball. And although night long we are sharking growing. Right. Oh the lower lip curled little old. Tom Pearce's all married for Rutland news rooms with Jan Brewer reacting. You'll get the Hollywood bounce your dick will Don Garber.
While we were in Devon sure we met a man named George Endicott who is a sort of a singing postman and he had a little daughter whose name is Dan. And at the end of all of our singing and going on together Diane asked if she might sing a song. And she had a very sweet little voice and she sang a version of orange and lemon. Well it's I guess it's pretty much the same all over the world. This orange and lemon is about bells. And we're going to follow it with another style of bell ringing in England which is the handrails. We'll say more about it though before we play them. So let's listen now to Diane and a cot as she sings orange and lemon. If you chop chop chop chop the last.
One. Using the. Mat and yet they're still there to chop chop chop you put your arms around them they catch them and then you say run the last in which they want and if you're going to thank you and that whenever they start showing each family another part and see which side legs and Kentucky you used to call it needles are London Bridge. It's the same kind of arch game I remember walking through the art you know two little girls or is mostly girls because boys wouldn't play that game. That it's what hold up their arms and make an arch and everybody went through and we sang thread that runs. Many. Cars. Many many
cars. And you come down with your arms and you catch the unlucky or lucky person who's in the in the in the middle of the arms. And of course you've named yourself beforehand just like that and it's orange and lemon and that game and our game it could be anything. The gold and silver are needle and thread are you know could be orange and lemon apples and pears. And you say to your captive you whisper in his ear what you want to be apples or pears misuses apples and he goes by. And one person if you choose pears he goes behind the other at the same time toward the end. So there's not much new in the world is there. Now I promise you to hear the handrails and this is a Christmas song. But that's all right too because it sounds very nice on the handrails and we don't mind what time of year it is really. This was done in paying him also and we're going back to where we started out the program. The captain of the hand bell ringers is Charles Wilson and Redmond sure and him being him.
And he's there seven men in the team one for each note in the scale and each of them ring two bells. If the tunes go higher or lower than one octave and most of tunes do and they've been meeting and ringing bells for many years as a sort of club much more sociable in church bell ringing with calls you stand around a table instead of sort of flying up and down on the bell rope. They all stand around a small table covered with a heavy cloth to deaden the sound of you know picking up the bells and setting them down. That would make a lot of nuisance if they had to do it on a table that wasn't covered. Also sometimes they ring real changes where the bells are rotated around the circle until a change is completed. One man rings a note and then he hands his bill to the next man and takes his left hand Bill in his right hand and gets the next person's balance on his very complicated. They perform for various functions in the village and of course a ring carols from house to house at Christmas time. So here's Hark the herald angels sing.
M.A. the way the saying goes we didn't sign with
you. And I hope that you will be traveling through the America and. Many of the portions of this program were compiled from recordings made by bright scholarship in the British Isles. Next program will include those folk tunes related to man's livelihood program was produced by Isidore habe and directed by Stuart silver. As I rode out with Gene Ritchie recorded production of Riverside Radio in New York City reduced under a grant from the National Association of educational broadcasters. This is the N.A. E.B. Radio Network.
As I roved out
Episode Number
Field Trip England
Producing Organization
National Association of Educational Broadcasters
WRVR (Radio station : New York, N.Y.)
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Series Description
Hosted by folksinger Jean Ritchie, As I Roved Out explores folk music of America and the British Isles and the people who make it.
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Host: Ritchie, Jean
Producer: Gouds, Moyra
Producing Organization: National Association of Educational Broadcasters
Producing Organization: WRVR (Radio station : New York, N.Y.)
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 64-4-6 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:29:30
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Chicago: “As I roved out; 6; Field Trip England ,” University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed December 8, 2023,
MLA: “As I roved out; 6; Field Trip England .” University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. December 8, 2023. <>.
APA: As I roved out; 6; Field Trip England . Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from