Jewels

by Chris Foster

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    My only truly solo album. Single takes, no other musicians, just me singing and playing guitar. Recorded at Dave Woods' excellent Broad Oak Studio (www.broadoakstudio.co.uk) in Herefordshire, England. The album was released on the Tradition Bearers label (catalogue number LTCD1102) in 2004, and there may be physical CDs available direct from (http://www.folkmusic.net/catalog/index.php?cPath=48_62), In the meantime, I am happy to make it available as a download here.
    Here are some reviews published when the album first came out:
    Chris Foster – Jewels
    ...Even more than before, the emphasis is on traditional British ballads. .. Foster performs them in his characteristic style with the typically British guitar accompaniment, in which the melody is played and at the same time harmonies are added. Foster is a true master in this. With ‘The Banks of Newfoundland’ as a marvelous opening track, Foster knows how to fascinate me from the beginning and keeps on doing so through the entire CD, despite the limited instrumentation.
    ... ‘Jewels’ is a skilful, honest, warm and sympathetic album with which I hope Foster will finally receive the appreciation that he long since deserves already.
    Marius Roeting, New Folk Sounds, Holland.
    Chris is one of the outstanding performers associated with the folk revival. His singing is sure and distinctive and his guitar accompaniments are adventurous yet sensitive.
    He is at his best in interpreting ballads which he invariably delivers in a gripping and engaging manner. There are a number really fine performances of them here; "Lady Maisry", "The False Hearted Knight" and a stunning
    "Georgie" amongst them. His involvement with the study of Baring-Gould's collections is reflected in the inclusion of "The Gypsy Countess". We can leave the academics to argue over how much BG altered the text and just bathe in the beauty of this performance. Vic Smith, Sussex Folk Diary
    His ability as an artist working within the Tradition is to create music whose sense of history is easily matched by an unassuming feel for its current relevance. Artist and material share a total engagement, and here you’ll find two staples of repertory from first steps – ‘The Banks Of Newfoundland’ and ‘The New York Trader’, still in set lists now - tough tales of Atlantic crossings with added and unexpected hardships. There are real riches within this album of earnest, moving songs and I’d cite the version of Cecilia Costello’s majestic night-visiting ballad, ‘The Grey Cock’ as a career highlight. Vital and wonderfully intense.
    ‘Jewels’ is an unaffected, subtle CD that will grow and grow on you, and there is a depth and resonance to Foster’s voice whether in breezy, humorous mode as on ‘The Cobbler And The Butcher’ or eloquent and spare on ‘Lady Maisry’ that brings out the songs’ inherent beauty. As he says in the insert notes “I find they offer a richness of imagery, insight and music that still speaks to me powerfully in the 21st century.”
    This is not wine bar “folk-U-like” – it’s quietly epic, well worthy of being under LT’s Tradition Bearer imprint and if you didn’t discover Chris Foster first time around, do it now. A potent and satisfying record.
    Clive Pownceby, BBC website
    ... more
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1.
Full lyrics are on my website at www.chrisfoster-iceland.com
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Full lyrics are on my website at www.chrisfoster-iceland.com
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Full lyrics are on my website at www.chrisfoster-iceland.com
4.
This is just a little story but the truth I'm going to tell All about a cunning cobbler who in Yeovil town did dwell (NB original version said Dover) And a jolly butcher with a beautiful wife But the cobbler he loved her as dearly as his life Singing… Chorus fol the riddle I do fol the riddle day One day the butcher went to market to buy himself an ox But then the cunning cobbler as sly as any fox He put on his Sunday coat and a courting he did go To the jolly butcher's wife because he loved her so Singing… Chorus Now when the little cobbler come into the butcher's shop The butcher's wife knew what he meant and she bid him for to stop "O" says he "me darling have you got a job for me?" And the butcher's wife so saucy said "I'll go up stairs and see" Singing… Chorus So the butcher's wife she went up stairs and gave the snob a call "Yes I've got an easy job for you if you have brought your awl And if you do it workmanlike some cash to you I'll pay" "Well thank you" says the cobbler and he began to stitch away With his… Chorus But as the cobbler was at work a knock come at the door The cobbler scrambled under the bed and he hid upon the floor "O" says he "me darling what will your husband say?" But then she let the policeman in along with her to play With his… Chorus The cobbler lay there trembling far too terrified to move And the policeman says "My dear O my darling O my love" The cobbler he was thinking well how he loves his wife He feared the old bed would collapse and take away his life And his… Chorus But then the butcher come from market in the middle of the night The policeman he jumped out of bed and he soon got out of sight The butcher's wife so nimbly she locked the bedroom door But in her fright she quite forgot the cobbler on the floor With his… Chorus And then the butcher got a surprise when he climbed into his bed "Something here is very hard" the butcher smiled and said She said "It is my rolling pin" which made the butcher laugh "How long have you been rolling dough with a policeman's staff?" Singing… Chorus And then the butcher threw the truncheon underneath the bed And there it smashed the piddle pot and cracked the cobbler's head The cobbler cried out "Murder!" said the butcher "Who are you?" "O I am a little cobbler who goes mending ladies shoes" With my… Chorus "Well if you are the little cobbler then come along with me I will pay you for your mending before I set you free" And then he locked him in the bull pen and the beast began to roar And the butcher laughed to see him as he rolled him over and over again With his… Chorus And then early in the morning just as people got about The butcher smeared his face with blood and then he turned him out He pinned a paper on his back and on it was the news This cobbler to the bedroom goes to mend the ladies shoes With his… Chorus And the people all were laughing just to see the cobbler run His coat and britches were so torn and they could clearly see his bum He run home to his wife but she locked and barred the door And she said "That'll teach you not to go out mending anymore" With your… Chorus Singing… Chorus © traditional arranged Chris Foster
5.
What'll we do with the old herring's head We'll make it into loaves of bread Herring's head loaves of bread And all such things Chorus The herring is the king of the sea The herring is the fish for me The herring is the king of the sea Sing wack faloodle day And what'll we do with the old herring's eyes We'll make 'em into puddings and pies Herring's eyes puddings and pies And all such things Chorus And what'll we do with the old herring's gills We'll make 'em into physical pills Herring's gills physical pills And all such things Chorus And what'll we do with the old herring's scales We'll make 'em into buckets and pails Herring's scales buckets and pails And all such things Chorus And what'll we do with the old herring's fins We'll make 'em into needles and pins Herring's fins needles and pins And all such things Chorus And what'll we do with the old herring's belly We'll make it into jams and jelly Herring's belly jams and jelly And all such things Chorus And what'll we do with the old herring's guts We'll make 'em into comic cuts Herring's guts comic cuts And all such things Chorus And what'll we do with the old herring's back We'll make it into a fishing smack Herring's back a fishing smack And all such things Chorus And what'll we do with the old herring's tail We will make it into a ship with a sail Herring's tail a ship with a sail And all such things Herring's tail a ship with a sail Herring's back a fishing smack Herring's guts comic cuts Herring's belly jams and jelly Herring's fins needles and pins Herring's scales buckets and pails Herring's gills physical pills Herring's eyes puddings and pies Herring's head loaves of bread And all such things Chorus © traditional arranged Chris Foster
6.
Georgie 03:45
As I crossed over London Bridge It was on one morning early There I beheld a fair woman Lamenting for her Georgie "Go fetch to me some little boy That can go on an errand quickly That can run ten miles in an hour With a letter for a lady" "And saddle to me my milk white steed Bridle him so rarely That I may go to Newcastle gaol To plead for the life of Georgie" And when she came to Newcastle gaol She bowed her head so lowly And down on her bended knees she fall Saying "Spare me the life of Georgie" "O it’s no murder George have done Nor have he killed any But he took twelve of the King’s fat deer And sold them in the army" The judge looked over his right shoulder And seeming very sorry He said "I'm afraid you have come too late He is condemned already" "Well six babies I have with me And I love them so dearly And I would part with them every one If you will spare me the life of Georgie" The judge looked over his left shoulder And seeming very hard hearted He said "I'm afraid you have come to late Because there is no pardon granted" "Well let George hang in a chain of gold Which a few there are not many Because he came from a noble life And he was loved by a virtuous lady" © traditional arranged Chris Foster
7.
They say that forty gallant poachers They was in a mess They'd often been attackéd When their number it was less Chorus O poacher bold as I unfold Keep up your gallant heart And think about those poachers bold That night in Rufford Park The keepers they began the fight With stones and with their flails But when those poachers started Why they quickly turned their tails Chorus A buck or doe believe it so A pheasant or a hare Were put on earth for everyone Quite equal for to share Chorus They say that forty gallant poachers They was in a mess They'd often been attackéd When their number it was less Chorus © traditional arranged Chris Foster
8.
It's of a false knight he came from the north land And he came a courting me He promised to take me down to that north land And there his bride make me "Go and fetch me some of your mother's gold And some of your father's fees And two of the best horses out of the stable Where there stand by thirty and three" Then she's mounted up on her milk white steed And he on the daple and grey And away they did ride to the great waterside Hours before it was day "Jump off jump off your milk white steed And deliver it unto me For six pretty fair maids I've drowndéd in here And the seventh one you shall be" "And take off take off that silken gown And lie it upon yon' stone For I think it’s too rich and I think it's too rare To rot all in the salt sea" "Well if I must take off my silken gown Then turn your back upon me For I don't think it's fit that a villain like you A naked woman should see" "And stoop you down and cut that briar That hangs right over the brim In case it should tangle my golden curls Or tear my lily white skin" And then she gave him a push and a hearty push And she pushed that old false knight in Cryin' "Lie in there you false hearted knight Lie in there instead of me If six pretty fair maids you have drowndéd in here Well the seventh one has drowndéd thee" Then she's mounted up on her milk white steed And she lead the daple and grey And away she did ride to her father's own house Two hours before it was day And the parrot was up in the window high And he cried aloud and did say "I'm afraid that some villain he came here last night And he carried my lady away" Well her father he was not quite sound asleep But he never heard what that bird did say So he cryeth "What waketh my pretty Polly Two hours before it is day" "O the old cat was up in the window high And that cat he would me slay So loud did I cry that help should be nigh To drive that old cat away" "Well done well done my pretty Polly No tales you will tell upon me Thy cage shall be made of the bright glittering gold And the door of white ivory" © traditional arranged Chris Foster
9.
Well there came an earl a-riding by And a gypsy maid then he did see "O nut brown girl" to her he said "I want you to come away with me" "I’ll take you up carry you home And I'll put a safeguard over you Your shoes shall be made of the Spanish leather Your silken stockings all of blue" "All night you lie 'neath the starry skies All day you walk in the rain and snow Now you shall lie in a feather bed Wrapped in the arms of a husband O" "But I like to lie 'neath the starry skies I do not mind the rain and snow So I'll be away come night and come day To follow away with the gypsies O" "But I will wed you sweet maid he said I will marry you with a golden ring You shall dance and merry merry be And we shall have such a fine wedding" "But I'll not marry you kind sir she said I'll not wed you with a golden ring For I'm free as the wind and I swear I can find The man that will make my wedding" "But no more would you be put in the stocks Or trudge about from town to town You shall ride in pomp and pride In a red embroidered velvet gown" "But I'll pawn my hat pawn my coat Sell my silken stockings blue I'll pawn my petticoat then my shift To follow away with the gypsies O" "Because my brothers three no more I'd see If I went along with you I'd rather be torn by thistle and thorn With my bare feet all in the dew" "Well then I'll lock you up in a castle tall Bar you up in a room so high You gypsy maid from the green wood glade So that never a gypsy shall you find" Three gypsies stood at the castle gate They sang so high and they sang so low The lady sits in her chamber late And her heart it melted away as snow They sung so sweet they sung so shrill That fast her tears began to flow Then she's put down her velvet gown Her golden rings and all her show She's took off her high heeled shoes Made of the Spanish leather O To run away in the rain and snow To follow away with the gypsies O And it was past midnight when her lord come home Where his lady was he would know The servants replied on every side "O she's gone away with the gypsies O" "Saddle my horse bridle my mare And hang my sword to my saddle bow So I may ride to seek my bride Who has gone away with the gypsies O" So they saddled his horse bridled his mare And they hung his sword to his saddle bow So he could ride to seek his bride Who was gone away with the gypsies O He rode high he rode low And he rode through hills and valleys O He rode 'til he spied his own fair bride Following along with the gypsies O "What makes you leave your house and lands? What makes you leave your money O? What takes you abroad from your wedded lord To follow away with the gypsies O?" "I want none of your house and lands I want none of your money O I don't want to be wed to a lord she said I'll follow away with the gypsies O" "But last night you slept in a feather bed Wrapped in the arms of a husband O Now you shall sleep on the cold cold ground And walk along in the rain and snow" "But I don't want sleep in a feather bed Held in the arms of a husband O I'd rather sleep on the cold cold ground And walk along in the rain and snow" "No that will not be I swear" said he As he drew his sword from his saddle bow Three times he smote on her lily white throat Then her red blood down did flow Three gypsies stood at the castle gate And they sang so high and they sang so low The lady sits in her chamber late And her heart it melted away as snow © traditional arranged Chris Foster
10.
Lady Maisry 07:40
O the young men of the North Country Have all a wooing gone To win the love of Lady Maisry But of them she would have none "O hold your tongues young men said she And think no more on me For I've given my love to an English lord Who promised to marry me" Then word has to her father gone As he put on his shoe That Lady Maisry goes with a child Unto some English lord Then in there come her bold father dear Stepping on the floor He says "they tell to me my daughter Maisry That you are become a whore" "O a whore father a whore father That is what I'll never never be Though I've given my love to an English lord Who promised to marry me" "But couldn't you have gotten a duke or a lord From your own country But now you have gone with this English lord To bring this shame on me" "Now where are all my merry young men Whom I give meat and fee To pull the thistle and the thorn To burn her vile body" Then her father's to the green wood gone Her brother has to the broome All for to kindle a bold bonfire To burn her body in Then in there come an old woman Lady Maisry's nurse was she But before she could speak one single word A salt tear blinded her eye "O your father has to the green wood gone Your brother has to the broome All for to kindle a bold bonfire To burn your body in" And her father he was the first man Who tied her to a stake And her brother he was the second man Who did the fire make And her mother was the first woman Who did the fire fetch And her sister she was the second woman Who lighted it with a match They blew the fire and they kindled the fire 'Til it reach her knee "O mother mother quench the fire For the smoke it'll smother me" "O had I but a little footboy My errand he could run He would run unto gay London town And bid my lord come home" "O nurse go and fetch to me my little footboy Who is called my sister's son So that he may go and tell to my own true love That I am sick at home" Well the first two miles that little boy walked The second two he run And he run until he come unto some broad waterside And then he's fell upon his breast and he swum Until he come to some dry land again Then he took to his heels and he run And he run until he come to some high park gate Where lords were sitting at their meat "O if you did but know what news I have brought Not a bite more would you eat" "O is my park gates overthrown Or is my walls falling down" "O your high park gates they are all overthrown Your high park walls they are all a falling down And your Lady Maisry lies sick at home And shall die before you can come" "O mother go and fetch to me my milk white steed And saddle it with speed So that I may go and kiss her cherry cheeks Before they are turned to clay" "Now where are all my merry young men By one by two and three" Then he's mounted up on his milk white steed To go to his Lady Maisry They blew the fire and they kindled the fire 'Til it did reach her head "O mother mother quench the fire For I am nearly dead" Then she's turned her head on her right shoulder She saw her lord come riding home "O mother mother quench the fire For I am nearly gone" Then he's mounted off of his milk white steed And he's leapt into the fire He was thinking to save his Lady Maisry But he had stayed too long And the Lady she was buried in a cold church yard The lord was buried in the choir And out of her heart there sprung a sweet rose And out of his mouth a sweet briar And they growed so high unto the church wall Until they could not grow any higher And there they did twang in a true lover's knot For all true lovers to admire © traditional arranged Chris Foster
11.
Australia 03:21
Come all you good people where so ever you may be Come listen a while to my story Now when I was a young man and my age seventeen I ought to been serving Victoria our queen But those hard hearted judges O how cruel they have been To send us poor lads to Australia I fell in with a damsel she was handsome and gay I neglected my work more and more every day And to keep her like a lady I went on the highway And for that I was sent to Australia Now the judges they stand with the whips in their hands And they drive us like horses to plough up the land You should see us poor young fellows working in that gaol yard How hard is our fate in Australia Australia Australia I would never see no more Worn out by fever cast down to death's door But should I live to see say seven years more O I would then bid adieu to Australia © traditional arranged Chris Foster
12.
O it's of a young squire near Tamworth we hear He courted a nobleman's daughter so fair And he promised for to marry her and it was his intent All friends and relations they gave their consent The time was appointed for the wedding day A young farmer was chosen to give the bride away But as soon as the lady the young farmer did espy It overthrew her heart "O my heart!" she did cry And then she turned from the squire and nothing she said Instead of getting married she took to her bed The thoughts of the farmer so ran in her mind That a way for to have him she quickly did find Coat waistcoat and trousers she then did put on And off she went a'hunting with her dog and gun She hunted all around where the farmer he did dwell Because in her heart she lovéd him so well Well she often times fired but nothing could she kill 'Til at length the young farmer come into the field To converse with him it was her intent So with her dog and gun to meet him then she went "O I thought you would be at the wedding" she cried "To wait on the squire and give to him his bride" "O no sir I'd rather take a sword all in my hand By my honour I would gain her if ever she command" Well the lady was pleased for to find him so bold And gave to him a glove that was floweréd with gold She told him she had found it as she came along As she was a'hunting with her dog and gun And then the lady went home with her heart full of love And she gave out a notice that she had lost her glove "And the man that shall find it and bring it unto me No matter who he is my husband he shall be" Well the farmer was pleased when he heard of the news And straight to the lady with her glove he goes Saying "Dear and honoured lady it was I picked up your glove I hope that you are pleased and will give to me your love" "O it's already granted" the lady replied "It's already granted and I will be your bride I'll be mistress of the dairy and go milking my cow While the jolly farmer is whistling at the plough" Now when they were married she told him of the fun Of how she went a'hunting with her dog and gun And now she's got him so fast in her snare She'll love him forever I vow and declare © traditional arranged Chris Foster

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released May 1, 2004

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Chris Foster Reykjavik, Iceland

Chris Foster grew up in the south west of England. A master of his trade, he was recently described as “one of the finest singers and most inventive guitar accompanists of English folk songs, meriting legend status.” Over the past 40 years, he has toured throughout the UK, Europe, Canada and the USA. He has recorded six solo albums as well as working on many collaborative projects. ... more

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