Recently discovered tapes of Cornish singing star Brenda Wootton performing with John the Fish nearly 50 years ago have come to light, and have now been produced as a new CD. The duo were singing at the then newly-formed Pipers Folk Club at St Buryan Village Hall in 1966-67 - a club Brenda had formed in just 2 weeks, following the announcement of the imminent closure of the now legendary Count House Folk Music Club on the cliffs at Botallack.
This CD, ‘Brenda at Buryan’ was made possible when the owner of the recordings, Mike Gluyas, approached me outside the Victoria Inn at Four Lanes on Christmas Day 2008.
“We had gone – as we often did with Brenda years ago – to listen to the Four Lanes Choir singing carols outside the pub at lunchtime. Mike told me of his tapes, which he had recorded all those years ago and stored safely ever since, and very kindly offered to give them to me, with permission to turn them into a CD. I was living in North Wales at the time, and it has only become possible recently, with our move back home to St Just this summer, to turn this dream into a reality.
The quality of these vintage live recordings is astonishing – Brenda’s voice sounds pure and clear, and you can really hear the atmosphere in the club – everyone is just loving it. As far as I’m aware, this is the only published recording ever made while the club was at St Buryan, so it’s a real treasure trove. Brenda performs 16 tracks in all, in her own inimitable style, and 7 of these songs have never been recorded elsewhere, so it’s very exciting to hear them again after all this time."
The lyrics are printed in full under this title in the Discography section of this site.
Brenda at Buryan CD
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|Titles||Lyrics & Music by:|
|1. I'm Counting Stars||Music & lyrics: Mike Sagar-Fenton|
|2. Marta Marta||Possibly learned from Nadia Cattouse; has a Caribbean rrythm 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 or the singer/songwriter|
|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|