Music Monday: Johnny o’Bredislee (esp. by June Tabor)

March 21, 2016

Johnny o’Bredislee is a classic Scottish ballad. We heard it for the first time sung by June Tabor at the Carrboro Arts Centre. The whole concert was nigh perfect. Like John Henry, we felt the music in our bones.

Alas, it doesn’t seem to be on YouTube (but I strongly recommend getting the track). There are other recordings like this one by Old Blind Dogs:

And one the Corries (which is waaaay too twee for my tastes):

The reasonable but boring version by the Islanders:

And this very cool recording by John Strachan and collected by Alan Lomax and Hamish Henderson:

You owe it to yourself to get the June Tabor version. The accordion alone makes it worth the entrance fee. That arrangement and performance has a brutal intensity lacking from the others. (And the live version was about 10x that.)

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