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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released February 8, 2017

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about

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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Track Name: The banks of Newfoundland
Full lyrics are on my website at www.chrisfoster-iceland.com
Track Name: The New York Trader
Full lyrics are on my website at www.chrisfoster-iceland.com
Track Name: The Grey Cock
Full lyrics are on my website at www.chrisfoster-iceland.com
Track Name: The cobbler and the butcher
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
Track Name: The herring's head
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
Track Name: Georgie
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
Track Name: Rufford park poachers
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
Track Name: The false hearted knight
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
Track Name: The gypsy countess
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
Track Name: Lady Maisry
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
Track Name: Australia
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
Track Name: The golden glove
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