Gwilym logo


 Musical Activities
Collecting and Research

Books and Recordings


Tom Goblin - and other songs of mystery and intrugue

How to order the CD - scroll down

Gwilym's CD based on many years collecting, singing and researching in England and the USA. 

Check out all the tracks on SoundCloud

Full Track list and notes below

  1. Following the Old Oss – Written by Tony Dean of Sussex in honour of the Padstow May Day custom.  The snatch of tune at the end is from the Padstow May Day carol.  Tony tells me that once when he sang the song in a Padstow pub he was told not to sing it again and to “leave the Cornish songs to the Cornish”.  The reference to "Merv and Charlie" in verse 2 concerns those 2 great characters of Padstow, Mervyn Vincent and Charlie Bate.
  2. Across the Blue Mountains – collected occasionally in the Appalachian Mountains.  I learnt this from the traditional singer Colleen Cleveland from New York State.  The tune is obviously a version of “I Gave my Love a Cherry”.  A verse from the song “High Germany” has crept in there somewhere.
  3. Gallant Hussar/Black Joke – 2 of my favourite Morris dance tunes, the first from Bledington in Gloucestershire and the second from Adderbury in Oxfordshire.
  4. Bold Sir Rylas – originally collected by Alfred Williams from Daniel Morgan of Cheltenham.  Later, Daniel’s son recorded the song for song collector John Baldwin and this version is based on his tune, melded with a version from West Virginia where the song is known as "Bangum".
  5. George Collins – This old ballad was sung in the 1950s by Enos White of Axford, Hampshire, to Bob Copper.  Of the versions collected in England, a large proportion turn up in Hampshire.
  6. Rye Tither – an Appalachian version of the song known variously as “The Yorkshire Bite” or “Jack and the Robber".  This song was given to me years ago by Annie MacFie (was Anne Albin) a Kentucky singer on a tour to England.  She wrote to me I learned the song during the early 1980s from an old neighbor on Cow Creek Rd. in Powell County, Kentucky.  His name was Ralph Knox, and he would have been in his 70s then, a veteran of WWII, who had served in England.  Ralph called the song "Rye Tither," as I still do, though I've seen it in British collections as "The Crafty Farmer."  Rather remarkably, Ralph remembered it from his youth as one of many ballads sung by his father, John Knox. I doubt he had heard it for 50 years, yet he was able to recollect all these lines except for "Where did you get that horse, pray tell? Why, I swapped for the cow that I went to sell," which I came up with to fill in the one blank spot in his memory. Ralph passed away around 25 years ago [i.e. about 1990].”   I was very excited to hear an American version of this song as I had previously recorded a version from the Gloucestershire gypsy Danny Brazil.
  7. Long a-Growing – basically as collected by me from Harry Brazil, a gypsy singer from Gloucestershire, with some amendments.
  8. John Blunt – a cheeky song which continues in oral tradition to this day.  Collected in 1906 from Mrs Seale of Dorchester Union (workhouse), Dorset.
  9. Freddie Archer – Freddie Archer was born in Cheltenham in 1857 and became England’s leading jockey of the time.  He took his own life in a fit of depression in 1886 at the height of his fame and fortune.  The broadside following his death went into oral tradition and collected various times, usually incomplete.   The tune and some of the words here are as collected with additions by me.  I have collected fragmentary versions from the Gloucestershire gypsies Danny Brazil and Biggun Smith.
  10. Cirencester Fair – From a broadside published in Cirencester.  The broadside left the place name blank for you to insert your own neighbourhood fair.  My friend Tony suggested that the words would fit the tune “Buttercup Joe”.  Old records state that the name of the town used to be prononounced "Cisister" but these days people refer to it just as "Ciren".
  11. House Carpenter – epic Appalachian ballad derived from England’s west country.  This version is based on that sung by Doug Wallin of North Carolina.  The ballad derives from a Devon ballad of about 1600 entitled "A Warning to Married Women".  I like the supernatural implications of this song, which is still current in oral tradition in the Appalachians .
  12. The Deerhurst Serpent – an old Gloucestershire folk tale set to words and music by me.  I like to think of this song, and also Bold Sir Rylas on this album, as versions of the St George and the Dragon legend.
  13. Limbo – Collected from James Blooming of Upper Farringdon, Hampshire, by George Gardiner in 1909.  The tune to my ear sounds very Irish.  Limbo was the nickname for debtor's prison.
  14. Tom Barbary – Other versions of this ballad are known as “Willie of Winsbury”.  This tune was collected from Charles Bull of Marchwood, Hampshire, in 1907 with text from Fred Osman of Lower Bartley, also in Hampshire.
  15. Stow Fair – a Cotwold version of “Widdecombe Fair”, collected in 1928 by Harry Albino from Thomas Lanchbury of Wyck Rissington, Oxfordshire.  “Djud” is Cotswold dialect for “dead”.  I rather like the notion of tourists visiting Stow-on-the-Wold to buy their "Uncle Tom Goblin" souvenir mugs!

To order: by cheque payable to G Davies - £10 plus £2 P & P (or equivalent to £5 P & P for overseas.)

Address: "Tom Goblin"
               "Sweets of May"
                11a Greet Rd
                Glos GL54 5JT

Or by Paypal to