Rhymer’s Tower: Ballads of the Anglo-Scottish Border

Andrew Calhoun

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Rhymer’s Tower: Ballads of the Anglo-Scottish Border

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Double CD set. These ballads depict events from 1250 to 1600, featuring historic battles; raids and jailbreaks; clan loyalty and retribution; betrayals by family, friend, and king; fateful enchantment, musing birds, and a fool’s victory.

Disc One 1. The Two Ravens (2:50) 2. Thomas the Rhymer (8:46) 3. The Battle of Otterburn (6:48 4. Flodden Field (2:38) 5. The Flower of Northumberland (6:46) 6. Johnny o Cockley’s Well (7:00) 7. Johnie Armstrong (11:36) 8. Jamie Telfer in the Fair Dodhead (8:14)

Disc Two 1. Jock o the Side (9:02) 2. The Rose of Yarrow (7:02) 3. May Colvin (4:38) 4. Death of Parcy Reed (5:34) 5. The Rookhope Ryde (3:42) 6. Hobie Noble (10:14) 7. Dick o the Broom (16:10)

Includes notes on the ballads’ sources and history, and a map of the borders. Calhoun spent five years researching and developing the material from authentic texts; “Jock o the Side” incorporates verses from eleven different versions of “Jock” and a parallel ballad, “Archie o Cawfield.” All are translated into accessible English. Several are reiving ballads from the century of lawlessness on the border outlined in George MacDonald Fraser’s book Steel Bonnets. In our times of terrorism and upheaval, the ballads’ poetry and power reverberates. From the moral of “Thomas the Rhymer” to the conclusions of “Hobie Noble” and “Dick o the Broom,” what matters, in the end, is to keep your word.

from “Thomas the Rhymer”: And they rode on, and farther on, And they waded through red blood to the knee, For all the blood that is shed on earth, Runs through the springs of that country.

from “Hobie Noble”: Word has gone to the land-sergeant, In Askerton where that he lay, The deer that ye have hunted long Is seen into the Waste this day.

from “Rose of Yarrow”: Go hold your own tongue, father dear, And breed me no more sorrow, A better lord was never born, Than the lad I lost in Yarrow.

from “The Two Ravens”: Now winter it has come and passed, And all the birds are buildin’ their nests, But I’ll fly high above them all, And sing a song for summer’s sake.

Andrew Calhoun – vocal & guitars.

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  1. 1
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    The Two Ravens

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    0:00 / 2:48
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    Thomas the Rhymer

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    0:00 / 8:44
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    The Battle of Otterburn

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    0:00 / 6:47
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    Flodden Field

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    0:00 / 2:37
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    The Flower of Northumberland

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    0:00 / 6:42
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    Johnny o Cockley's Well

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    0:00 / 7:00
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    Johnie Armstrong

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    0:00 / 11:22
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    Jamie Telfer in the Fair Dodhead

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    0:00 / 8:15
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    Jock o the Side

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    0:00 / 9:02
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    The Rose of Yarrow

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    0:00 / 7:04
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    May Colvin

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    0:00 / 4:40
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    Death of Parcy Reed

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    0:00 / 5:36
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    The Rookhope Ryde

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    0:00 / 3:44
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    Hobie Noble

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    0:00 / 10:14
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    Dick o the Broom

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    0:00 / 16:14