4 October 2021


 A look back at recordings I made over my career.

Part 28  POOR OLD HORSE  Steel Carpet Music MATS026  CD 2008
Pete Castle with Sarah Matthews: fiddle, viola, vocals; Doug Eunson: melodeon, vocals; Edmund Hunt: whistles, Northumbrian pipes; Sue Castle: vocals.

There had been a five year gap since my previous recordings (for a whole variety of reasons) so this appeared with a whole new line up. During that time Lucy had been forced to give up playing because of ongoing health problems, and I’d lost track of Bing and Trevor. Luckily I was able to recruit Sarah and Doug who were making a name for themselves on the folk scene and Edmund, who is becoming a name in the classical world as a composer, was introduced to me by a mutual friend. Putting them all together we came up with a very satisfactory mix. We recorded it at Meadow Farm Studio just up the road from where we live in Belper. 

I am very pleased with the album even though it hasn’t sold anywhere near as well as it should have. That’s largely down to the fact that people aren’t buying CDs as much these days—they want downloads. I’d love to do another CD, I love the process of recording, and I have enough new material but I guess Poor Old Horse is probably my last one. But it’s not a bad one to finish on.

It contains a good, representative mixture of the material I was doing—and still am doing. 10 songs, 2 stories and a tune which was to give the musicians a chance to show off! Of the songs the title track is associated with Derbyshire, and In Sheffield Park and Barbara Allen have Kentish connections. Nightingales Sing, and Poor Sally… are from books I’d had from my very early days on the folk scene. I’d probably tried them countless times but not actually learned them. I sang Firelock Stile back in the 1980s but gave it a very different treatment this time, similarly the Female Servingman. Virginia is an early transportation ballad from before Australia was discovered. (Other people have actually sung it as 'Australia') And then there was a bit of Shakespeare: When That I Was A Little Tiny Boy is the final ‘speech’ from Twelfth Night. Many people picked it out as a highlight of the album. The two stories are very different: Like Meat Loves Salt is one of my favourite Derbyshire tales and is a cross between King Lear and Cinderella, and The Storytelling Stone is a Native American story which explains where all the stories and songs we know came from.

“Pete's latterly celebrated 30 years as a folk professional, and he's achieved this longevity through a combination of genuine talent, integrity and sheer hard work, reliably ploughing his own steady furrow where tradition is the starting-point for his own musical exploration rather than a constraint on his imagination. Although the true extent of Pete's prowess and the full measure of his easy-going nature necessarily comes through best in live performance, his CDs have always been a source of delight and have satisfied enough to be returned to more often than you might think.”  David Kidman in Stirrings

[Below: recording at Meadow Farm studios]


Poor Old Horse

Nightingales Sing/The Soldier’s Jig

Female Servingman

Like Meat Loves Salt (story)

In Sheffield Park

Barbara Allen

Firelock Stile


Poor Sally Sits a-Weeping

Opera Reel

The Storytelling Stone

When That I Was a Little Tiny Boy


Listen to Poor Old Horse   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=64mnpU81JCM

And Little Tiny Boy…  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5NTe7m4R3U4

 And, although I said this was probably my last CD, there is one more but it’s another ‘group’ album...


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