Variations on a theme #2

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Feb 10 2011, 11:27

As with the last time I wrote a journal entry here (quite some time ago!), I have been listening to multiple versions of a single song on spotify.

This time the song in question is Bold Riley, a traditional sea shanty (as far as I know).

I have been familiar with this song for many years in the version performed by the Oysterband, which is still my firm favourite. More recently I have come to know the Kate Rusby version, which sadly isn't available on spotify at the moment.

My play queue for this morning consisted of 9 versions of the song, including the Oysterband one. I don't recall having heard any of the other versions here before, although several of the artists, including The Wailin' Jennys, Tim van Eyken and Louis Killen, are familiar to me.

There was quite a nice range of treatments, from traditional a cappella shanty singing (such as Killen's version and the one by Holdstock & MacLeod), through to fairly modified arrangements such as the one from Rising Gael, via fairly straightforward versions with instruments (often squeezeboxes of some description, such as in both the Oysterband and Tim Van Eyken versions).

One of the songs I listened to that claimed to be Bold Riley, the version by Wyldefyre, appears to be one of those cases that occasionally crop up on spotify where all the songs on an album get mislabelled. In this case, the song was actually a version of The Trees They Grow So High. I assume that Bold Riley is probably there as one of the other tracks but I haven't got round to looking for it yet. It seems to be quite a nice album, despite the labelling problem. This is another band that I will need to check out further.

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