26 September 2021


 A look back at recordings I made over my career.

Part 5.  RAMBLING ROBIN  LP  Burlington 1982

This marked a big step up in my career. It was great to be able to carry an LP around—a sort of status symbol! It was recorded at a new studio set up by Nigel Pegrum, the Steeleye Span drummer, in Milton Keynes. He was great to work with. My accompanists were Rob Whalley on fiddle, (again) and Jez Lowe on all kinds of things including cittern, dulcimer and harmonium. Jez and I were seeing a lot of each other at that time—staying with each other when touring etc.

 Burlington, which was an off-shoot of Plant Life, released it and did a good job of distribution. I was very pleased with it and audience reaction was very good. It sold well and a lot of people have told me how much they have enjoyed it over the years. On the whole reviews were good too:

This from Swagbag: “I hadn’t heard Pete Castle’s voice before and I was very impressed with it. True it has echoes of Martin Carthy at times, but that is surely not a disadvantage. But he is certainly no copy and has a style of his own with a careful choice of pleasing material… a good deal of thought has gone into the selection of this record’s concept.”

There has to be the odd bitchy, unnecessarily spiteful one though from a reviewer who sets out to make himself seem ‘clever’:

“His guitar is played with the skill and ingenuity of your better than average floorsinger… his choice of material is the usual trad fare… after numerous listenings inspiration still eludes me.” That was from Southern Rag. But it still sold and people continue to book me 40 years on, so ‘Yah, Boo, Sucks’ to him! 

(Picture below is Pete and Nigel outside the studio.)


Rambling Robin

Little Sir Hugh

Oxford City

Canst Thou Not Weave Bonelace (tune)

The Other Side of Jordan

May Song

The Devil and the Farmer’s Wife

The Swan Swims So Bonny O

The Mare and the Foal


My Son John

Roll the Cotton Down

Rambling Robin became my signature tune for years after and I couldn’t do a gig without it. The only other person I’ve heard sing it is Christie Moore, and that was long after I’d learned it. I did The Other Side of Jordan again later with Aroti Biswas and Hangman is now in my repertoire attached to a story. That, and a different version of The Swan Swims… are in my Folk Tales of Song & Dance book which came out earlier this year.

Here’s the Mare and the Foal:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DcZM1lh_FTM

And the current version of Hangman: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kL-ybVDHTaM


No comments:

Post a Comment