Dipping into the past: (1) Jez Lowe and Orwell's friend Jack Common
Cover Story: (6) Jacques Brel or Flossie Malavialle: Amsterdam. France eclipses Belgium

Desert Island revisited: the 10 folk tracks I would take please, Kirsty

Which 10 tracks would you take, given the chance, if cast away to some desert island, whether for the entertainment of BBC radio listeners or because your ship had sunk?

If you are one of the exclusive band of people who have been reading Salut! Live almost from the start, you will know I first asked the question of myself more than nine years ago.

My work on the Cover Story series comparing different versions of the same songs has been interrupted by proper work obligations - I've been away in Hamburg keeping my head down at G20; this is my link if you really want to see what I have been up to there. But there has been a recent upsurge of interest in the site, and I have three hours to kill before my connecting flight from Dusseldorf back down to Nice, so I thought I'd keep things ticking over with another look at the answers I gave then. And would I would make any changes now?

In 2008, I introduced the feature as the first in a proposed series of playlists. "Try to imagine I am hopping from one island to another in my attempt to escape and therefore qualify for a new list each time," I wrote. "The body's needs, I trust, would be catered for by my luxury items: limitless supply of champagne, red wine and Guinness, to wash down as much French, Indian and Middle Eastern cuisine as I could eat."

That plan went the way of so many when it comes to Salut! Live. Good intentions can come to nought when I become discouraged by low levels of readership (things have picked up quite a lot in recent weeks, the result of a renewed burst of activity on my part). There was one follow-up list, which I shall also update and reproduce in due course, and I did begin to write a third.

Read on for my first list. The picture of Maddy Prior, lead singer of Steeleye Span and the band's public face, is used with the kind permission of Roger Liptrot of the Folk Images site.

A clever chap at YouTube came up with this delicious slice of Steeleye.

Long Lankin........................Steeleye Span

Who Knows Where the Time Goes? ....Sandy Denny

Fareweel Regality..................Rachel Unthank and the Winterset

From Clare to Here............................Bob Fox

Ned of the Hill...................... Kate Rusby and Kathryn Roberts

Never Any Good................................Martin Simpson

Raglan Road..................................... Dubliners

Lady Dillon.......................... Chris Newman and Maire Ni Chathasaigh

Anachie Gordon....................Mary Black (or Sinead O'Connor)

Farewell Farewell............................... Fairport Convention (with Sandy Denny)

So what changes do I have in mind? For a start, I am happy to forego the champagne. I can also live without Guinness so will make do with the red wine, maybe with the odd glass of dry rose. An internet stream to torture myself with Sunderland games would also be handy and since I intend to be the island's ruler (I have in mind a benign left-of-centre dictatorship), it will not be illegal to watch them.

As for the music, I cannot believe I omitted Paul Brady's Arthur McBride from my list. This is not only the finest example I know of the many press gang songs within the folk tradition, but probably the piece of music I regard more highly than any other.

Looking at the 10 original choices, I will relegate Fairport's Farewell Farewell. There is already a Sandy Denny entry so, of the various versions that exist, her Who Knows ... can be one of those recorded by her with the band.

Otherwise, I shall keep the titles as listed, though I might allow myself one more luxury: alternative interpretations, for example Joan Osborne's Raglan Road or the Wainwright Sisters' Long Lankin, Cheating or not, I'd still want to hear Luke Kelly and Steeleye from time to time.

There is much more music I would wish to take with me. The second instalment deals with political song. Thereafter, further selections - American music, maybe, or folk in a foreign language (pipe down the man who said American music already covers that) - may or may not appear. I am making no promises ... but readers are naturally invited to suggest their own choices.


Joan Dawson

Ah yes, how could you overlook the sublime Paul Brady. I fully understand including Arthur McBride but I think the Lakes of Ponchatrain might swing it for me.

geoff lakeman

HOW'S ABOUT Andy Irvine's " Creggan White Hare ?" Colin

Joan Dawson

I also wondered about Andy Irvine ... beautiful voice

Colin Randall

Just shows how folk at its best spoils us for choice. Geoff Lakeman (Comment above) and his talented extended family - sons Sean, Seth and Sam and daughters-in-law Cara Dillon and Kathryn Roberts; and is Mrs Lakeman (Joy) still playing fiddle? - also runs a serious risk of ending up in one of these selections. Geoff's charming album After All These Years was featured here a little whole ago: http://www.salutlive.com/2017/01/geoff-lakeman.html

Bill Taylor

Interesting debate to be had - possibly at another time, another place - on what constitutes a folk song. Does Raglan Road, written as a poem in 1946, qualify? Your including it in your list is good enough for me; it would be in mine, too, though I'd go for Van Morrison's version with the Chieftains (narrowly ahead of the Roger Daltrey/Chieftains) rendition.
My other 9, in no particular order:
House of the Rising Sun - Dave Van Ronk
Hard Times Come Around No More - Kate & Anna McGarrigle
The Goodnight-Loving Trail - Rab Noakes
Mother Get Up, Unbar the Door - Barry Skinner (based on another postwar poem, but none the worse for that)
Let Her Go Down - Steeleye Span
Death Comes Easy - Ian Campbell Folk Group
Continental Trailways Bus - The Johnstons
Missing You - Christy Moore (live version)
Whiskey in the Jar - Metallica (yeah, the heavy metal version, full of good-humoured anarchy and totally keeping to the spirit of the song)

Colin Randall

I saw an elderly German shanty band singing Whiskey in the Jar in the press centre at G20 in Hamburg. That was before the free wine ran out but even so, I am persuaded already on Metallica. What interesting choices otherwise - I have foolishly agreed to sing at an acoustic bar session on Thursday and am torn between House of the Rising, Clare to Here and that other McTell song you find execrable (but is within my comfort zone. I have tried adding a Grenfell Tower verse but am not remotely sure it is appropriate

Bill Taylor

As you know, I've always been a fan of your version of Needle of Death. But I'd love to hear you sing Rising Sun.

Colin Randall

Jake has told me about Neil Young's Needle of Death so I feel another Cover Story coming on ...

Bill Taylor

Excellent! Until now, I didn't know he'd done that. All I knew was his Needle and the Damage Done.

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