out now banner dr2

These Gathered Branches

Our debut full album These Gathered Branches was released on 20 April 2015. 

Buy These Gathered Branches from bandcamp

Track listing

  1. Mr and Mrs
  2. The Jolly Pinder of Wakefield
  3. Selar Hill
  4. James Snooks
  5. Colli Llanwddyn
  6. The Three Huntsmen
  7. Stars and Bells
  8. Daughter of Megan
  9. Lliw Gwyn Rhosyn yr Haf
  10. The Pit Boy
  11. The Owlesbury Lads
  12. Farewell to Fiunary

 

Information and lyrics

Mr and Mrs

Lyrics and melody by Anna Esslemont; arranged by The Foxglove Trio

This is a poignant song about the emotional reunion of a child with her family after a long period of estrangement.

 

Mr and Mrs I don’t think you know me,

It’s been twenty years since I was here

I’m looking for shelter, I’m in need of refuge,

Will you open your arms to me?

 

Chorus

Take off your coat, child, she said,

Come warm your feet by the fire,

Tell me your aches and your pains,

I can heal you.

 

Mr and Mrs I used to be your child

You can see I’m no baby any more,

My travels and learning are over and now

I’ve come home to your door.

 

Chorus

 

Mr and Mrs it’s been a long time,

Would you mind if I dropped by for tea?

I’ve built up the courage to come back and meet you,

Wouldn’t you like to meet me?

 

Chorus

 

Mother and father would you call me your own

And we’ll never be lonely I say,

We’ll mend all the tears in the family cloth

And we’ll live our lives from day to day.

 

Chorus.

 

The Jolly Pinder of Wakefield

Traditional lyrics; arranged by Patrick Dean and The Foxglove Trio

These lyrics, taken from Child Ballad 124, tell the tale of when the pinder (a medieval official who guarded land and caught stray animals) met Robin Hood and his merry men at a location which we believe is now the site of Pinderfields Hospital in Patrick’s home city of Wakefield.

 

“There is neither knight nor squire,

Nor baron that is so bold,

Dare make a trespasse to old Wakefield,

And his pledge goes to the pinfold,”

All this beheard three fine young men,

'T was Robin Hood, Scarlet, and John;

With that they spied the jolly pinder,

As he sat under a thorn.

 

“Now turn, turn again,” said the pinder,

“For a wrong way have you gone;

For you’ve forsaken the king’s highway,

Made a path over the corn.”

“Well that were great shame,” said Robin Hood,

“We being three, and thou but one.”

The Pinder leapt back then three good foot,

'T was three good foot and one.

 

He leaned his back fast unto a thorn,

And his foot unto a stone,

And there they fought a long summer's day,

A summer's day so long.

Till that their swords, on their broad bucklers,

Were broken fast unto their hands.

“Hold thy hand, hold thy hand,” cried Robin Hood,

“And my merry men every one;

For this is one of the best pinders

That ever I saw with my eye,

“And wilt thou forsake thy pinder his craft,

And live in the green wood with me?”

“At Michaelmas next my cov’nant comes out,

When every man gathers his fee;

I'll take my blade all in my hand,

And live in the green wood with thee.”

 

Selar Hill

Lyrics and melody by Huw Pudner & Chris Hastings; additional lyrics by R. Williams Parry; arranged by The Foxglove Trio

In the late 1990s a group of environmentalists and local residents lost their battle to stop the establishment of an opencast mine at Selar Hill, a beautiful nature spot at Cwmgwrach (literally translated as ‘Witches Valley’) near Swansea. We added some lines in translation from R. Williams Parry's poem ‘Y Llwynog’ (‘The Fox’) as they fit perfectly with the fox imagery in Huw and Chris’ original song.

 

I walked a green forest

Forded a river

Heard a lark singing

On sweet Selar Hill

A sight of rare beauty

He wondered before us

Without even breathing

Like stones we stood still.

 

The fox he stood frozen

His eyes shone like fire

Then slowly his red fur

Slid over the hill

I saw the light fading

Above the old forest

Then bulldozers roared

And the birdsong was still.

 

Chorus

The sun's going down on Selar mountain

What has been lost can never been found

There’s poison in the sweet, sweet fountain

And the fox has gone to ground

 

Saw machines breaking

The bones of the mountain

Strip the wild places

Root trunk and branch

They’ve buried the streams

Of crystal clear water

And covered the slopes

In a dust avalanche.

 

Chorus

 

Saw moonlight and starlight

Shine down on the valley

The valley of witches

And asthma attack

Heard the cry of a vixen

Away on the mountain

And I tried to follow

Along the old track.

 

James Snooks

Lyrics and melody by Hamish Currie; arranged by The Foxglove Trio

In 1820 James Snooks (sometimes erroneously known as Robert or Robber Snooks) became the last criminal to be hanged at the scene of his crimes, in Boxmoor, Hemel Hempstead. This song about James’ days as a highwayman and his eventual capture was Hamish Currie’s entry in the 2012 Watford Folk Club songwriting competition.

 

I’m not begging forgiveness, nor pity, not me!

But you ask how I ended this way,

My name is James Snooks; I’ve ducked and I’ve dived,

Scratching a living each day.

Once worked with the horses at the King’s Arms nearby,

So I know all these places round here,

But I never expected to wind up my days

On Boxmoor by these five chestnut trees.

 

Some stuff had gone missing: my boss called me in,

Asked me if I could explain.

Things got out of hand; I shouted and cussed:

Soon looking for work once again.

I moved up to town, lodged at Mary-le-Bone;

And got by as best as I could,

But I always remembered John Stevens the boy

Took the mail cross the moor, through the wood.

 

And so one May morning I saddled the grey,

Rode back to old Hempstead town,

And I watched and I waited not far from this spot

As the sun, oh so slowly, went down.

“Stand and deliver!” – I can still see his eyes

As he gave me the mail, close to tears.

Blow me down if that bag wasn’t stuffed full of cash.

By the time he was found, I was clear.

 

In Southwark I sent a girl out for some cloth,

Gave her a crisp fifty pounds.

Well that caused quite a stir; there’s a knock at my door

And everything’s come crashing down.

The High Constable’s my old boss from the Arms;

As soon as I saw him I was bound

That he’d show me no mercy:

He’d have me in chains,

Smile as he’s sending me down.

 

It’s now March eleventh of 1802

And the party is getting in swing.

The man at The Swan, he’s raking it in,

But I don’t hold a grudge against him.

Who wants my gold watch? You can have it, you know

If you promise you’ll bury me nice.

What? Will nobody speak? Well that tells me all:

Goodbye, fare thee well, damn your eyes.

 

Colli Llanwddyn

Lyrics by Harri Webb (verses 1 & 5) and Ffion Mair (verses 2, 3 & 4); melody by Meredydd Evans; arranged by Ffion Mair and The Foxglove Trio

Llanwddyn was one of several Welsh communities flooded in the 19th and 20th centuries in order to provide water to English cities. In this song we hear from a school teacher who is shocked to hear that Llanwddyn may be drowned. She gets angry and tries to persuade villagers to sign a petition but later realises that there’s nothing she can do to stop the children she teaches having to move to schools and homes in different communities.

 

Colli tir a cholli tyddyn,

Colli Elan a Thrywerin,

Colli Claerwen a Llanwddyn

A'r wlad i gyd dan ddŵr a llyn.

 

Annwyl mam ac annwyl cogiau,

Clywsoch sôn am godi argae?

Am foddi f'ysgol, pont a thyddyn

Ar plwyf i gyd dan ddŵr a llyn.

 

Annwyl ffrindiau, rhaid ymateb,

Rhowch eich enwau ar y ddeiseb

I achub pobl dda Llanwddyn,

Rhaid atal ddyfod dŵr a llyn.

 

Annwyl plant, rwy'n ymddihero,

Mae Lerpwl am i chi ymado,

Bydd neb ar ôl cyn pen y flwyddyn,

Cyn hir fe ddaw'r hen ddŵr a llyn.

 

Colli tir a cholli tyddyn,

Colli Elan a Thrywerin,

Colli Claerwen a Llanwddyn

A'r wlad i gyd dan ddŵr a llyn.

 

Translation

Losing land and losing farmsteads,
Losing Elan and Trywerin,
Losing Claerwen and Llanwddyn
And the whole country under water and lake. 
 
Dear mum and dear lads,
Did you hear the rumours about building a dam?
About drowning my school, bridge and farmstead
And the whole parish under water and lake. 
 
Dear friends, we must react,
Put your names on the petition
To save the good people of Llanwddyn,
We have to stop the water and lake from arriving. 
 
Dear children, I apologise,
Liverpool wants you to leave,
There'll be no one by the end of the year,
Soon the water and lake will arrive. 

 

Losing land and losing farmsteads,
Losing Elan and Trywerin,
Losing Claerwen and Llanwddyn
And the whole country under water and lake. 

 

 

The Three Huntsmen

Traditional lyrics; arranged by Patrick Dean and The Foxglove Trio.
Incorporated tunes: ‘Young Scottie’ by Charlie Sherritt; ‘Ty a Gardd’ - Traditional; ‘Men of Harlech’ – Traditional

We found the lyrics for this humorous song about three foolish Welsh men in a copy of Folk Songs for Schools which originally belonged to Patrick’s Granny. Since we started performing it we've become aware that there are other versions with much ruder lyrics so we suspect this one is Ralph Vaughan Williams' sanitised version for children.

 

There were three jovial Welshmen as I have heard men say

And they did go a-hunting, boys, upon St David's Day,

And all the day they hunted but nothing could they find

Except the ship a-sailing, a-sailing in the wind,

And a-hunting they did go, and a-hunting they did go.

 

The first he said it was a ship, the second he said "nay",

The third he said it was a house and the chimney'd blown away,

So all the night they hunted but nothing could they find

Except the moon a-gliding, a-gliding in the wind,

And a-hunting they did go, and a-hunting they did go.

 

The first he said it was the moon, the second he said "nay",

The third he said it was a cheese with one half cut away,

So all the next day they hunted but nothing could they find

Except a hare in a turnip field and that they left behind

And a-hunting they did go, and a-hunting they did go.

 

The first he said it was a hare, the second he said "nay",

The third he said it was a calf and the cow had run away,

So all the night they hunted but nothing could they find

Except an owl in a holly bush and that they left behind,

And a-hunting they did go, and a-hunting they did go.

 

The first he said it was an owl, the second he said "nay",

The third he it was an aged man whose beard was growing grey,

So all the next day they hunted but nothing could they find

Except a hedgehog in a bush and that they left behind,

And a-hunting they did go, and a-hunting they did go.


The first he said it was a hedgehog, the second he said "nay",

The third he it was a pincushion with the pins stuck in the wrong way,

So these three jovial Welshmen came riding home at last,

For three whole days we have nothing killed and never broke our fast

And a-hunting they did go, and a-hunting they did go.

 

Stars and Bells

‘O How Lovely is the Evening’ - traditional; ‘Star, Star’ by Glen Hansard; arranged by Cathy Mason and The Foxglove Trio

We think this is a perfect example of how new and old songs can complement each other to create beautiful pieces of music.

 

Oh how lovely is the evening, is the evening,

When the bells are sweetly singing, sweetly singing,

Ding dong, ding dong, ding dong, ding.

 

Falling down into situations

Bringing out the best in you,

You're flat on your back again,

And star, you're every word I'm heeding,

Can you help me to see?

I'm lost in the marsh.

 

Star, star teach me how to shine, shine,

Teach me so I know what's going on in your mind

‘Cause I don't understand these people

Who say the hill's too steep,

They talk and talk forever

But they just never climb.

 

Oh how lovely is the evening, is the evening,

When the bells are sweetly singing, sweetly singing,

Ding dong, ding dong, ding dong, ding.

 

Daughter of Megan

Lyrics by J Dovaston; melody by Patrick Dean; arranged by The Foxglove Trio

Incorporated tune: ‘To the Edges’ by Andy Cutting

This song’s protagonist wishes to dance with a beautiful woman at a ball even though he knows they could never marry because of the difference in their social status. Folk songs with this theme often have a sad ending so we took the opportunity to give our protagonist a glimmer of hope by tweaking the words of the final line.

 

The daughter of Megan, so lovely and blooming,

I met in Glanafon's gay glittering hall,

And high rose my heart, ambition assuming,

To dance with the damsel, the bloom of the ball.

 

Oh daughter of Megan, look not so alluring

On a youth that his hope with thy hand must resign;

For now the sad pang of despair is enduring,

The splendour thou lov'st shall never be mine.

 

Go daughter of Megan, to castles of splendour,

Each eye that beholds thee thy presence shall bless,

And the delicate mind feels a passion more tender

On thy beauties to gaze than another's possess.

 

But daughter of Megan, tomorrow I'm going

On the oceans to sail where the rude billows roar;

I feel my heart full with affliction o'erflowing,

Perhaps I may gaze on thy beauties no more.

 

Oh the daughter of Megan…

I met in Glanafon…

And high rose my heart…

I danced with the damsel, the bloom of the ball.

 

Lliw Gwyn Rhosyn yr Haf

Lyrics by Richard Williams; traditional melody; arranged by The Foxglove Trio

A traditional Welsh song with a typical folk narrative. A man meets a girl and tells her that he’d like to marry her. The girl initially expresses her displeasure at the thought of marrying such a horrible old man but eventually she relents and admits that she had a soft spot for him all along. The refrain "dyna ti'r gwir" means "that's the truth".

 

“Dydd da fo i ti seren olaf,

Lliw Gwyn Rhosyn yr Haf,

Tydi yw’r gywrain ferch a garaf,

Lliw Gwyn Rhosyn yr Haf.”

“Wel, cau dy geg yr hen oferddyn,

Y casaf eiriod ar wyneb y tir!

Mi grogaf fy hun cyn dof i’th ganlyn,

Mewn gair, dyna ti’r gwir.”

 

“Y mae dy gusan di, fanwylyd,

Lliw Gwyn Rhosyn yr Haf,

R’un fath a duliau mel bob munud,

Lliw Gwyn Rhosyn yr Haf.”

“Ac felly mae dy gusan dithau,

Y casaf eiriod ar wyneb y tir,

Yn ail i gam am ail i minau,

R’hen geg, dyna ti’r gwir!”

 

“Dywed i mi pryd cawn briodi,

Lliw Gwyn Rhosyn yr Haf,

Gwn dy fod yn eiddo imi,

Lliw gwyn Rhosyn yr haf.”

“Pan weli di’r gath yn byta’r pwdin,

Y casaf eiriod ar wyneb y tir!

A buwch Sion Puw yn gwneud menyn

R’hen geg, dyna ti’r gwir!”

 

“Os wyt ti am roi fi heibio,

Lliw Gwyn Rhosyn yr Haf,

Wel dyro gusan cyn farwelio,

Lliw Gwyn Rhosyn yr Haf.”

“Wel… waeth i mi ddewud y gwir na pheidio,

Y mwynaf eriod ar wyneb y tir,

Cest ddwy o’r blaen, cei bymtheg eto.

Mewn gair, dyna ti’r gwir.”

 

Translation

 

"Good day to you my final star, 
As white as a summer's rose,
You are the fine girl that I love, 
As white as a summer's rose."
"Well, shut your mouth you vain old man,
The nastiest ever on the face of the land! 
I will hang myself before I come to court you,
In a word, that is the truth."

 

 

 

"Your kiss, my darling one, 
As white as a summer's rose,
Is like honeycomb every minute,
As white as a summer's rose."
"And so is your kiss,
The nastiest ever on the face of the land,
Second only to being wronged, 
You old big-mouth, that is the truth."

 

 

 

"Tell me when we can marry,
As white as a summer's rose,
I know you belong to me,
As white as a summer's rose."
"When you see the cat eating the pudding,
The nastiest ever on the face of the land!
And Siôn Puw's cow making the butter,
You old big-mouth, that is the truth."

 

 

 

"If you are going to refuse me, 
As white as a summer's rose,
Give me a kiss before we say farewell, 
As white as a summer's rose."
"Well... I might as well tell you the truth as not, 
O kindest ever on the face of the land, 
You had two before, you can have another fifteen, 
In a word, that is the truth."

 

The Pit Boy

Lyrics by G.P. Codden; arranged by Patrick Dean

This emotional song was written to commemorate the terrible pit disaster of 1851 at Warren Vale Colliery near Rawmarsh in South Yorkshire. A young man tells his mother not to worry about his safety as he prepares for another shift down the mine. 52 men and boys were killed at Warren Vale on 20 December 1851 but there have been thousands more casualties of the mining industry in the UK and around the world.

 

The sun is sinking fast, mother, behind yon far blue hills,

The signal bell has ceased, mother, the breeze of evening chills:

They call me to the pit , mother, the nightly toil to share:

One kiss before we part, mother, for danger lingers there.

 

My father’s voice I hear, mother, as o’er his grave I tread,

He bade me cherish thee, mother, and share with thee, my bread,

And when I see thee smile, mother, my labour light shall be:

And should his fate be mine, mother, then heaven will comfort thee.

 

Nay, dry thy tearful eye, mother, I must not see thee weep;

The angels from on high, mother, o’er me their watch will keep.

Then oh! Farewell awhile, mother, my fervent prayer shall be,

Amidst those dangers dire, mother, that heaven may comfort thee.

 

The Owlesbury Lads

Traditional lyrics in the chorus; verse lyrics and melody by Cathy Mason

This song tells the story of a group of farm labourers who organised a riot in 1830 to protest against the impact of machinery on their employment prospects. The chorus and idea for the story were taken from a traditional song found in a book called Folk Songs of Hampshire.

 

The 13th of November 1830

The Owlesbury lads prepared to take up arms

To fight for their livelihoods,

To fight for what they understood,

They took up arms against machinery.

 

Chorus

The mob, such a mob, you have never seen before,

And if you live for a hundred years, you never will no more.

 

The 14th of November 1830

To Winchester the Owlesbury lads were sent

To answer for their liberty,

The judge he had no sympathy,

He said they fought against His Majesty.

 

Chorus

 

The 15th of November 1830

My parents came to see me in my cell,

They brought me bread and brought me ale,

They told me that I did not fail,

But they could not restore my liberty.

 

Chorus

 

The 16th of November 1830

The Owlesbury Lads prepared to hear their fate,

Jim he was a ringleader,

They sent him to Australia,

The rest of us wait under lock and key.

 

Chrous

 

A year has passed and can’t you see

That I regret my modesty?

Australia’d be a better fate

Than the hangman’s noose for which I wait,

My darling girl, young Bessie Brown,

Has had a boy, he’s got my frown,

But I won’t know how he turns out

If they teach him of the Owlesbury rout.

 

I start to lose my sanity,

All my grip on reality,

For tomorrow if I do confess

The judge may take my life no less.

 

The mob, such a mob, you have never seen before

And if you live for a hundred years, you never will no more

And if you live for a thousand years, you never will no more

And if you live for a million years, you never ever ever ever ever will no more!

 

Farewell to Fiunary

Lyrics by Norman MacLeod; traditional melody; arranged by The Foxglove Trio.
Incorporated tune: ‘Oor Pal Davy’ by John McCusker & Phil Cunningham.

A beautiful, lonesome song about leaving somewhere you love - an emotion we’re all familiar with.

 

The air is clear, the day is fine

And swiftly, swiftly flows the time;

The boat lies waiting on the tide

To carry me from Fiunary.

 

Chorus

We must up and haste away,

We must up and haste away,

We must up and haste away,

Farewell, farewell to Fiunary.

 

A thousand, thousand tender ties

Release this day my plaintive cries;

The heart within me almost dies

At the thought of leaving Fiunary.

 

Chorus

 

But I must leave those happy vales,

To see how they fill the spreading sails,

Adieu, adieu my native dales!

Farewell, farewell to Fiunary.

Join our newsletter


Want to get our news and latest gigs listing straight to your inbox? Sign up to our newsletter and we'll email you roughly once a month. 

Facebook

facebook likeLike The Foxglove Trio on facebook to hear all of our latest news.

Twitter

TwitterWe're also on twitter - follow @thefoxglovetrio and drop by to say hello!