My OTHER favorite Child Ballad is “King Henry,” because it is just… bizarre. A horse and an unspecified number of greyhounds and hawks get murdered in this one, but no humans this time.
Killing your own pets to feed them to a strange giant woman who just barged into your hunting lodge TOTALLY sounds like the sort of thing a king would have to do, doesn’t it?
Wish I knew which King Henry this song was written about, because I unquestionably accept its events as historical fact.
Don’t ever listen to any version of this song other than Heather Alexander’s, because you will inevitably be disappointed. (well, the Steeleye Span version is also acceptable)
Because this post is getting attention again, I would like to append something wonderful that I recently learned. The musician you hear here is trans and now goes by the name of Alexander James Adams. Because of his obsession with fairies n’ shit, he steadfastly maintains the kayfabe story that his previous self, Heather, was a changeling and he, Alexander, was the child she replaced, but won the right to return from fairyland in a “Devil Went Down to Georgia” style fiddle duel with the faerie queen. This is a song he wrote that tells the whole story.
He gives me so much hope
i’m sorry i’m adding this after already reblogging but??? the second song is a refilk of his previous song recorded pre-transition!!! which has more of his Epic Fiddle Playing
Use your hooves and use your head
Don’t let down the Man in Red
“March of Cambreadth” (lyrics), by Heather Alexander, is a classic battle song about killing as many people as possible. “December of Cambreadth” (lyrics), a parody by Bob Kanefsky, is…also about maximization of output, but the similarities end there. Except that the language is, somehow, equally vicious.
(Series: Filksong Genealogy)
Black water, final rescue, dark water, lasting peace
Black water, keeping secrets none may know
Black water, final rescue, bring silence and release
Black water, through the city swiftly flow
“Black Water,” also called “Suicide,” by Mercedes Lackey and C.J. Cherryh, performed by Leslie Fish and Heather Alexander. This is one of those songs that sounds like fantasy until you realize what they’re talking about (obvious, in this case, from the subtitle), and then it’s a little unsettling.
I Am A Creature Of The Wood,
Forsaken In My Solitude
My Song Is Pleasure And Is Pain,
My Song Can Drive A Man Insane
So Come With Me, My Pipes I’ll Play,
And We Will Dance ‘Till Break Of Day
I Shall Be Thy Lover
“Creature of the Wood,” performed by Tricky Pixie (S.J. Tucker, Alexander James Adams, and Betsy Tinney), lyrics by Philip R. Obermarck and music by Heather Alexander
Hickory, birch and willow, oak, ash and thorn,
Hazel, holly, rowan are the nine where the flame is born-
All of you who gather here bear wounds that never healed,
Festered and forgotten, blood stained and congealed
To Alexander’s credit, I’ve never heard a song use the sound of fire (remixed) as percussion.
I knew the risk I took
When down beside you I had laid,
And lo, the breath of two new lives
Was well worth the price I paid
“Wolfen One,” by Heather Alexander
Bonds of blood and bonds of steel
Bonds of god-fire and of need,
Bonds that only we to feel
Bonds of word and bonds of deed,
Bonds we took – and knew the cost
Bonds we swore without mistake
Bonds that give more than we lost,
Bonds that grant more than they take
“Oathbound,” from a novel by Mercedes Lackey, sung by Leslie Fish and Heather Alexander, with Greg Shaver on guitar
Wind’s four quarters:
Air and fire
Earth and water
Hear my desire
Grant my plea
Who stands alone
Maid and Warrior
Mother and Crone
“Wind’s Four Quarters,” by Mercedes Lackey, performed by Heather Alexander
“The Bow’s Turned Back,” by Heather Alexander. I wish I knew where it was sung.
Incidentally, this is a cheerful sea song. Those are rare. Treasure it.
Earth for dame, sun for sire,
Rise from candle to a fire-
With sky of blue and green of grass,
A land of dreams from shattered glass-
“Shattered Glass,” by Heather Alexander
Heather Alexander’s “Fairy Queen”
I’ve never had actual confirmation that this is based on “The Devil Went Down to Georgia,” but…it seems kind of obvious. Anyway, every good supernatural ballad deserves a Celtic version and an American version.