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The Green Fields of England

Peter Bellamy
Language: English

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The Transports, 2013


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This unique project relates the true story of Henry Cabell and Susannah Holmes, convicts transported to Australia on the “First Fleet” in 1787 and the trials and tribulations which culminated in that historic voyage. The tale is presented as a cycle of new compositions in the idiom of traditional English folk song, linked by narrative passages in the style and to the melodies of broadsheet ballads of the time. The orchestral passages and arrangements for the accompanied songs have been conveived in such a way as to underline the overall feeling of “period” and the instruments used are those likely to have been heard in the church bands or “quires” of East Anglian villages in those days. The singers have been chosen from the front rank of the English folk song revival, and the melodies composed to suit their individual style. A detailed account of the historical background to the story by Eric Fowler (the man who originally researched it) is included in the booklet.
mainlynorfolk.info

Henry Cabell: Mike Waterson
Susannah Holmes: Norma Waterson
The Turnkey: Martin Carthy
The Father: Nic Jones
The Mother: June Tabor
Abe Carman:A.L. Lloyd
The Shantyman: Cyril Tawney
The Convict: Martin Winsor
The Coachman: Vic Legg
The Transport: The Watersons
Street Singer: Peter Bellamy

The Ensemble
Rod Skeaping: director;
Philippa Davies: flute;
Sophia Wilson: oboe;
Keith Thomlinson: whistle, garklein-flötlein;
Felix Warnock: bassoon;
Alan Lumsden: serpent;
Oliver Brookes: cello;
Dave Swarbrick (Ian Campbell Group e Fairport Convention): violin on The Ballad of Henry and Susannah

Un’opera che racconta una storia vera, quella di Henry Cabell e Susannah Holmes, “two poor fellows” che nel 1783 furono condannati alla deportazione per aver commesso dei furti a causa della miseria. I due erano amanti e dalla loro relazione era nato un bimbo ma ai due non fu in un primo momento concesso di sposarsi e la famigliola corse il serio rischio di essere smembrata. Uno dei loro carcerieri s’impietosì e intercesse per loro presso il ministro dell’interno.

Il convoglio “First Fleet” entra in Botany Bay, 1788. Disegno del tenente William Bradley.
Il convoglio “First Fleet” entra in Botany Bay, 1788. Disegno del tenente William Bradley.


Così Henry e Susannah poterono unirsi in matrimonio e nel 1787, dando corso alla sentenza, furono imbarcati con il figlioletto su uno degli 11 vascelli del convoglio battezzato “First Fleet”, il primo trasporto verso l’Australia. Dopo 250 tremendi giorni di navigazione le navi approdarono nell’attuale zona di Botany Bay (Sidney), dove fu allestito il primo insediamento europeo e anche la prima colonia penale inglese nel continente australiano.
Farewell to our lovers and our kind relations,
Farewell to the homes we love well.
There is never an ending to our tribulations
For they've damned us like sinners to Hell.

Here's adieu, here's adieu
To the green fields of England
Now we're parting from you.

The sweet fetters of love they are wrenching asunder
As they tear us from sweethearts and wives.
And on some foreign shore we are sentenced to wander
In exile the rest of our lives.

Here's adieu, here's adieu
To the green fields of England
Now we're parting from you.

Here's adieu, here's adieu
To the green fields of England
Now we're parting from you.

From Devon, from Derby, from Wiltshire and Wales,
From Norwich, from Newark and Frome,
We are herded together from verminous gaols
And like vermin are forced from our homes.

Here's adieu, here's adieu
To the green fields of England
Now we're parting from you.

There's cheats and cut-purses and rogues with no name,
There's swindlers and sheep-stealers bold,
There's poor poaching fellows took nothing but game
And there's footpads took nothing but gold!

Here's adieu, here's adieu
To the green fields of England
Now we're parting from you.

There's coiners and clippers and ladies of pleasure,
There's dicers and drunkards and whores,
There's butchers and bakers who dealt in short measures
And a few who have broken no laws.

Here's adieu, here's adieu
To the green fields of England
Now we're parting from you.

There's some who expected to go to the scaffold,
There's others who thought to go free.
But now one and all in the hulks lie a-shackled
And together must plough the salt sea.

Here's adieu, here's adieu
To the green fields of England
Now we're parting from you.

There's some of our number are handsome and hearty,
There's others the voyage will mend.
But there's never a soul of our miserable party
Will live to see England again.

Here's adieu, here's adieu
To the green fields of England
Now we're parting from you.

So farewell to all judges so kind and forgiving,
Farewell to your prisons and cells.
For though me must leave all that makes life worth living,
We are leaving you bastards as well!

Contributed by Dq82 - 2018/1/4 - 15:16



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