Hark! The Village Wait

March 1970

RCA VICTOR Records (SF 8113)

Ashley Hutchings; Terry Woods; Gay Woods; Tim Hart; Maddy Prior
Other musicians - Gerry Conway - Drums (tracks 2,3,5-8)
                                    Dave Mattacks - Drums (tracks 4, 10-12)

Recorded at Sound Techniques, London
Producer - Sandy Roberton / Steeleye Span
Engineer - Vic Gamm

The debut album which saw the band broke up even before finishing its recording. See the timeline for full details plus the 'missing' song that was intended to be recorded for the album.
The closest we came to a live performance for this line up was at the 1995 Reunion Concert (The Journey) which had all the members apart from Terry Woods.  The album was played live in its entirety in 2017 and released as a live album in 2021.

The title refers to a 'wait' which is a small group of musicians employed by a town/village to play at festivals/events.

Instruments played:

Maddy Prior - Vocals, 5 string banjo;
Gay Woods - Vocals, concertina, autoharp, bodhran
Tim Hart - dulcimer, electric guitar. fiddle, 5 string banjo, harmonium 
Terry Woods - Electric guitar, concertina, mandola, 5 string banjo, mandolin
Ashley Hutchings - bass;

1. A Calling-On Song 
(1.13, written by Hutchings) 

 'This is a calling on song for the group taken from a sword dance, Hutchings rewrote the lyrics which are sung in four part harmony.  Surprisingly does not seem to have been used much live, if at all In the 70's

[1995] The Journey' Concert. (available on The Journey CD, 1999) 
[2017] Hark! The Village Wait Tour. Available on Hark! The Village Wait Live CD (2021)

2. The Blacksmith 
(3.41, Trad. Introduced by Maddy) .
Prior-Lead vocals; G Woods; Hutchings; Hart-Electric Guitar; Conway-Drums; T Woods-Mandola. Was intended to be the single from the album if the band had survived. 
Sleeve notes:  "Collected in 1909 by Ralph Vaughan Williams from a Mrs. Powell in Herefordshire. Maddy collected this version from a number of texts in the Folk Song Journals. This Southern English song, like the better known Twanky Dillo, uses the “Blacksmith” as an epitome of virility with the hammer filling the bill as a phallic symbol. A close variant of this tune is used to the John Bunyan hymn, To be a Pilgrim.

Overall the Blacksmith, in either this, or the Mk2 version , does not appear to have been played live very frequently across the decades. I suspect (no evidence though) it was heard around 1970/71 as it was played in sessions/ATV but after that it disappears until 1986/87 as a "Mk3" version, based on the Mk2 version,  When it reappears in 2008 & 2014/15 it is back to the original tempo and style, as it is during the the Hark! tour in 2017 but gets a bold reworking in 2019 but has sadly not been released.

[1970]  June BBC Session and July ATV 'Music Room'. Both on 'Please to see the King Castle CD Reissue' (2006).  Although performed by Steeleye MK2 this variant is actually close to this original version with more instrumental breaks. Recorded for the only time without drums it still however retains the Mandolin/Banjo driven tempo of the original. Better quality versions of the BBC Session are widely available.  
[1986/1987] BBC Session and 'Back In Line' World Tour including US in '87. Available on 'In Concert' CD 1994. A reworking of the song and more in line with the Please to See the King Version although Maddy introduces it as the Mk.3 version as that line up had not yet attempted it.  
[1995]  The Journey concert (available on The Journey CD ,1999). Hart-Acoustic Guitar; Carthy-Banjo; Hutchings; Prior; M Gregory-Drums. A close approximation to the original in timing and tempo with Martin Carthy stepping into Terry Wood's place but using a banjo rather than the similar sounding Mandola.
[2008] Spring Tour. Available on 'Live at Distance' CD (2009)'.  A Mandolin driven version in keeping with this original version but has more instrumental breaks.  
[2009] Spring 40th Anniversary Tour 
[2013]  Spring 2013 Tour. Peter on Mandolin but retains tempo of original Hark! version.  
[2014] Autumn 45th Anniv. Tour. Original Hark! tempo
[2017] Hark the Village Wait Tour.  Original Hark! tempo.  Hark! The Village Wait Live CD (2021)
[2019] Dec 50th Anniversary Tour. A reworking of the song and is available to listen to here

3. Fisherman's Wife 
(3.12, words Ewan McColl; trad. tune; Introduced by Hutchings.)
Gay Woods-Lead Vocals & AutoHarp; Prior-vocals; T Woods-Mandola; Hart-5-string Banjo; Hutchings; Conway-Drums.

Album notes:  The words by Ewan MacColl, set to a traditional Scots tune, manage effectively to convey the quiet despair of the fisherman's wife resigned to the frequent absence of her husband with lapsing into self-pity but rather extending an underlying feeling of pride at her lot in life.   

Hutchings: “Although it was written in the 1950s, it is in traditional style and I got it from the tape library which Ewan had in his house.”

[1995] The Journey Concert. Available on 'The Journey' CD (1999). Wood & Prior-Vocals; Hart-Acoustic Guitar; Hutchings; Gregory-drums; J Kirkpatric-Concertina. A change of instrumentation. The original was a fairly subtle backing with Drums and Banjo dominating whilst this version has John's concertina replacing the banjo and Gay's AutoHarp, but maintaining the original tempo. Gay takes more of the vocal lead with a longer instrumental break in the middle.
[2017] Hark! The village Wait Tour. Sung by Julian Littman in a faithful, but slightly shorter reproduction.  Hark! The Village Wait Live CD (2021)

4. The Blackleg Miner
(2.46, Trad. Suggested by Tim)
Hart-Lead vocals & Electric Guitar; T Woods-Electric Guitar & Banjo & Vocal; Hutchings; D Mattacks-Drums; Prior.

An Industrial 20th Century song collected in 1949.  Caused a bit of controversy for the band when they re introduced it during the UK Miners strike, especially when they played it in towns like Nottingham which generally didn't support the strike. 

Original sleeve notes: It is strange that a song as powerful and as singable as this should be so rare, yet it has only once been collected, from a man in Bishop Auckland, County Durham, in 1949. Seghill and Seaton Delaval (presumably the Delaval mentioned in the song) are adjacent mining villages about six miles north of Newcastle upon Tyne, but it is difficult to date the song due to the innumerable mining strikes which have occurred. It is, however, interesting as much as it illustrates the violent hatred felt by the “union” men towards the blacklegs.

Ashley Hutchings: “This is the most modern traditional song on the album, possibly dating from the early part of the 20th Century, and is sometimes sung by singers from Northumberland. I believe it was suggested by Tim.”

Maddy (notes in Present CD) - This song has transformed itself several times through my life, mainly as a consequence of changing political and social circumstances. It began for me as a piece of history about the coal mining world of the 19thC. But with the advent of he Miners Strike in '84 it became extremely relevant. We sang it throughout that time and what had been a strong lyric became a war cry, which changed its dynamic depending on what part of the country we were playing. And now, ,many years later, with the demise of the coal mining industry, it has again become an historical piece.

Typical of most of the tracks on the debut album the song rarely, if ever, live in the 70's as far as we can tell -one person does think it was played in '74 at the Albert Hall. It is in the live set from 84-86 but falls away in the 90's and is played 2002-04 after being re recorded for the 'Present' Album. It is brought back for the 2013 Wintersmith Tour and stays off-and-on right through until 2019. Coincidentally we have good officially released versions of all the periods it has been in the set.

Studio Re-recording (2.57, 2002) - 'Present' CD (2002). In the later 80's style. 

[1984] UK/US and Australia Tours. Available on Gone to Australia CD (2001). Prior; Kemp; Knight; Pegrum; Johnson.  Reworking of the song that set the songs tempo and dynamics right up until 2017. Starts with the violin and feature the bass of Kemp much more prominently that the Hutchings era versions. Include Violin/Guitar instrumental breaks. The 1984 version does feature the guitar higher in the mix than Bass compared to 1986 version. when it was reworked slightly.
[1985] UK and US Tours. Live UK recording available on Back In Line Album (1986). Prior; Kemp; Knight; Pegrum; Johnson.
[1986] US Tour.
[1990] UK Autumn Tour.
[1995] . The Journey CD (1999). Hart & Prior - lead vocals; Carthy-Banjo; Hutchings; M Gregory-Drums. A relatively faithful rendition of the original with two a-capella opening verses.
[2002] Reunion Tour.
[2004]  Winter 35th Anniv. Tour. Available on '35th Anniversary World Tour DVD' (2004), 'Folk Rock Pioneers in concert CD' (2006) & 'Official Bootleg CD' (2004). These versions are all based on the 2002 re-recording with same line up and feature Bass intro and continues in a style similar to the 1980's version but with more Guitar solo's throughout rather than violin.  
[2013] - The Wintersmith Tour. Available on 'The Wintersmith Tour' DVD. A more guitar driven version right from the start with violin taking the solo instrumental role.
[2014] Oct UK 45th Anniv. Tour.
[2015] UK Winter Tour; Festivals & US Summer Tour; UK Autumn 'Catch Up' Tour.
[2016] UK Dodgy Bastards Tour & Cropedy. 
[2017] Hark the Village Wait Tour. Introduces a higher tempo reworking driven by Benji on the Banjo, who sings it with Maddy. This sets the template for the next couple of years.  Hark! The Village Wait Live CD (2021)
[2018] UK Autumn Tour & Festivals (Including Shrewsbury - on YouTube). Also Available on '50th Anniversary Tour' DVD (Not the CD)
[2019] Jan-Irish Tour. Autumn 50th Anniv. Tour. 

5. The Dark-Eyed Sailor. 
(5.59 Trad. Introduced by the Woods) .
G Woods - lead vocal & concertina; Hart-Dulcimer; T Woods-Electric guitar; Hutchings; Conway-Drums.  

Original Sleeve notes - "A song after the fashion of John Riley commonly found on broadsides. Gay and Terry [Woods] heard this version from Al O'Donnell, a friend and singer in Dublin. It must be remembered that sea voyages a few centuries ago could take years to complete and it is not surprising that the two lovers should each take one half of a ring as a token of their enduring love.

Hutchings: “This was brought in by Terry & Gay, and it's a song I still perform today with The Albion Band.”

Appears on lost MK1 line up 1970 BBC Session but as it was a Woods song does not actually appear live in the set until 1994, when Gay brought back on her return and continued to sing it right up until she left in 2000. It returned in 2017 when Hark! was played, and for the first time was sung by Maddy. With Julian on concertina and Benji on Banjo it resulted in a very faithful reproduction.


[1994] UK '25th Anniv. Tour'. Appears on '25th Anniversary Video' (1995). Gay Woods-Lead vocal; Prior-vocal; Knight-violin; Johnson; Harries; Genockey. Melody carried by Knight's violin but otherwise a faithful reproduction with Gay bringing it into the set for the first time.
[1995] The Journey Concert. Available on 'The Journey' CD (1999). G Woods-lead vocals; Prior-vocals; Hart-acoustic guitar; Hutchings; J Kirkpatrick-concertina; M Gregory-Drums. Slightly quicker tempo with John's concertina dominating the melody more than the original which Gay's more subtle concertina mixed with Tim's dulcimer and more pronounced Bass. UK 'The Journey Continues' tour

[1997] Brampton Live festival so probably others as well

[1998] 'Horkstow Grange' UK Tour
[1999] '30th Anniversary' UK Tour
[2000] US Spring Tour
[2017] Hark! The Village Wait UK Tour. Sung by Maddy for the first time in a faithful reproduction.  Hark! The Village Wait Live CD (2021)
[2021] UK Autumn Tour. Sung by Maddy with Violetta/Ruth in harmony.

6. Copshawholme Fair 
(2.35, Written by David Anderson in c1830). Introduced by Tim & Maddy)
Maddy & Tim sang it previously, unlike all the other songs which were 'freshly' collected for the album.. Prior-Lead vocals & Step Dancing; G Woods-Bodhran & Step Dancing; Hart-Dulcimer; T Woods-Mandolin & Concertina; Hutchings; Conway-Drums. Starts off in 3/4 time going into a 6/8 jig towards the end. The sounds of Gay and Maddy's dancing to the song while being recorded is included.

Original Sleeve notes:  "Geoff Wood, a song collector from Leeds, found this hidden away in the Cumberland County Library in Carlisle a few years ago. It had been recorded directly onto a 78rpm record sometime during the 1930s and then filed away for posterity. The song tells of the annual hiring or “mop” fair that was held at the small village of Copshawholme in Cumberland until quite recently".

Tim and Maddy 'Folk Songs of Old England' Album notes:  "In earlier times fairs were not only places for fun and enjoyment but were long established meeting grounds where trade dominated the proceedings. Hiring, or Mop fairs as they were sometimes called, were usually held once a year and seem to have survived to a much later date in Cumberland fulfilling their function even after the First World War. After the serious bartering of the day was over music, dancing and other merry-making prevailed"

[2017] 'Hark! the Village Wait' UK Tour. Makes its live debut, another casualty of the album never touring and not being sung at the 'Journey' concert. It was sung by Spud Sinclair with a moody guitar driven sound which I think also featured Julian on mandolin but with Jessie May's fiddle rather than accordion carrying the melody.
[2018] UK Autumn Tour. Only song played live across all of 2018/2019 that did not appear on the 50th Anniv. Tour DVD/CD set. but now features on the Hark! The Village Wait Live CD (2021)
[2021] UK Autumn Tour. Still sung by Spud with extra emphasis on the tune at the end. 

7. All Things are Quite Silent
(2.38, Trad. Suggested by Hutchings).
Prior-Lead vocals; G Woods-vocals; Hart-electric guitar; T Woods-electric guitar; Hutchings; Conway-Drums. According to Tim the only song to feature the conventional line up of Bass/Guitar and Drums.

Original sleeve notes: A woman's lament for her husband who has been abducted from his bed and press ganged into the navy. But take heed; although this system of impressment had almost faded out by 1835 it has never been abolished by Act of Parliament. Ralph Vaughan Williams collected this haunting song from a Ted Baines of Lower Bedding, Sussex, in 1904.

Probably played live for the first time in 2009 before returning on a 2015 tour and being re recorded in 2016 on Dodgy Bastards album (See separate listing). It is this slower version with subtle mainly acoustic backing and fiddle solo which is also played on the 2017 Hark! tour.

Studio Re-recording (2016) Dodgy Bastards Album. Slower tempo, stripped down version with mainly violin accompaniment 

[1970] Lost Mk1 line up 1970 BBC Session. 
[2009] 40th Anniv. Tour. Sang by Maddy with Rose Kemp who guested on some concerts. 
[2015] Autumn 'Catch Up' Tour. Introduction of the stripped back version that was recorded for Dodgy Bastards.
[2016] Autumn Dodgy Bastards Tour; Cropedy (listen here which is the only place to hear this version live).
[2017] Hark the Village Wait Tour. A return to the original Hark! version/tempo with more instrumentation  Hark! The Village Wait Live CD (2021)

8. The Hills of Greenmore 
(4.02, Irish Trad. Introduced by T Woods)
An Irish hunting song. Prior-Lead vocals; G Woods-vocals; Hart-electric guitar; T Woods-electric guitar; Hutchings-check; Conway-Drums.

Original sleeve notes: A mighty song! But a little known one. This saga of hare hunt and its variant The Granemore Hare hail from around Keady in County Armagh. In the song the only one to get the rough end of the stick is the ‘pussy’. Do we detect a Monigan in the hunt?

[1970] Lost Mk1 line up 1970 BBC Session.
[2017] Hark! The Village Wait tour. S
ung by Benji a faithful reproduction.  As with 'Copshawholme Fair' above, it was not played at the 'Journey' concert so this was almost certainly the first live appearance of the song.  Hark! The Village Wait Live CD (2021)

9. My Johnny was a Shoemaker
(1.11, Trad. Introduced by the Woods) G Woods & Prior-vocals.

Original sleeve notes: This version, taken from Colm Ó Lochlainn's excellent Irish Street Ballads (Vol. II) is only one of several, the song having attained wide currency in both Britain and Ireland, even turning up in a Welsh version in 4/2 time. The word ‘reive’ in the second verse, not to be confused with ‘reef’, means to draw cord through eyelet holes; implying perhaps that Johnny will be doing a new kind of sewing.

[1971] We think sung by Martin Carthy in a few gigs shortly before he and Ashley left. 
[1994] Spring Tour. Maddy and Gay sing it on Gay's return to the band. Appears on '25 Live' Anniv. Video
[1995] 'The Journey' concert & Spring UK Tour. Played on BBC Radio Concert from Yeovil.  Not included on the Journey CD. The daughters of both Maddy and Gay joined them on stage to sing it, probably why it was not included.  
[1996] Australian Tour; Status Quo Tour -On 'Sails of Silver' CD Reissue
[1997] UK Spring and Autumn 'Time' Tours.   
[2015] US Tour. Maddy and Jessie May Smart with subtle guitar or keyboard accompaniment
[2017] Hark! the Village Wait tour.  Hark! The Village Wait Live CD (2021)

10. Lowlands of Holland
(6.00, Trad. Introduced by the Woods).
G Woods-Lead vocal; Prior/Hart/Woods 3 part harmonies; Prior- 5 String Banjo; Hart-fiddle; T Woods-electric guitar; Hutchings; Mattacks-drums. Maddy plays the banjo.

Original Sleeve notes:   Although it happens quite often in the field of folk music that many versions of a particular song are reported, it is rare that, so in the case of Lowlands of Holland, completely differing story lines are recorded. James Reeves suggests that “there may have been an original in which a young bridegroom is pressed for service in the Netherlands, but in some of the later versions Holland appears to have become New Holland, the former name for Australia, which has perhaps been confused with the Dutch East Indies.” The words of the version we perform refer to Galloway (Scotland) but the song crops up in all parts of the British Isles. Our tune was learned from Andy Irvine, a former member of Sweeney's Men.

Another song that was not played live at all until Gay brought it back when she returned in 1994 with the slower atmospheric version. Re-appears in 2017 for the Hark! tour, sung by Maddy for the first time. Benji plays Banjo and is another uptempo version similar to the 'Journey' version.

[1994] Spring Tour. Gay sings it on her return to the band. Appears on '25 Live' Anniv. Video. This is played at an atmospheric slow tempo with Peter on violin and Tim on Keyboard. 
[1995] 'The Journey' concert and appears on 'The Journey' CD.  A higher tempo version than the original with Tim Hart's acoustic guitar driving the rhythm instead of Terry's electric guitar and Carthy steps into play the Banjo instead of Maddy. Missing is a fiddle which was played by Tim on the original. May have been played on tour in 94/95 but we are missing set lists.
[2017] Hark! The Village Wait tour. Sang by Maddy with Benji on Banjo.   Hark! The Village Wait Live CD (2021)

11. Twa Corbies 
(2.06, trad. Introduced by Hart, A Scottish ballad).
Prior/G Woods/Hart-All vocals; Hart-Harmonium; T Woods-electric guitar; Hutchings; Mattacks-drums.

Original Sleeve notes: otherwise known as the Two Ravens, and sometimes called The Three Ravens. First printed in Scott's Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border in 1803 it is one of the most popular of the Scottish ballads. For those unused to the dialect the two birds are discussing the pros and cons of eating a newly slain knight.

Not played live up until 1995 when it appeared as a more 'intense' version with Tim Harries keyboard and Peter's violin playing and a longer instrumental break at the end. This was the version that would be re-recorded for the 'Time' Album. Was probably brought back because Maddy had been singing it in her solo work in '93 and recorded it for her 'Year' Album.

Studio Re-recording (3.38) Time Album 1996.


[1995] UK Spring Tour & The Journey concert where it was played by the current line up at the time, not the Hark! line up. Appears on 'The Journey' CD (1999) and on the BBC Radio Yeovil concert.
[1996] Australia 'Time' tour; Status Quo tour
[1997] Autumn UK 'Time' Tour & in Europe.  
[2017] Hark! The Village Wait tour. More faithful playing to the original, moody with mainly harmony singing. Jessie May plays an Octave violin to take Tim's harmonium role.  Hark! The Village Wait Live CD (2021)

12. One Night As I lay on my Bed

(3.30, Trad. Introduced by Hutchings after hearing Ewan MacColl sing it)
Prior-Lead vocal; G Woods-vocal; Hart-Dulcimer; T Woods-5 String Banjo; Hutchings; Mattacks-drums. Described  as "featuring all the musicians playing around the melody. Drums, dulcimer, banjo and bass are all engaged in playing around the tune" No mention anywhere of being played live at all until 2017.  

Original sleeve notes: Collected by H.E.D. Hammond from a Mr. House of Beaminster, Dorset, in 1906, this ballad can perhaps claim to have the most discreet ending of any folk song. Similar songs are quoted frequently in 16th and early 17th century literature, musical and otherwise; even Robert Burns re-wrote a version calling it As I Lay on My Bed on a Night.

[2017] Hark the Village Wait tour. Benji Kirkpatrick - Lead vocals & Bouzouki; Littman-acoustic guitar. A relatively faithful playing, slightly more uptempo and sung by Benji and driven by his Bouzouki rather than Banjo.  Hark! The Village Wait Live CD (2021)
[2018] Festivals and UK Autumn Tour, including the 2018 Shrewsbury Folk festival which is available on Youtube. Appears on the '50th Anniversary DVD' (2019) but not on the CD's
[2019] January Irish Tour
[2022] UK Autumn Tour    

LP / CD Covers

1970 Original LP 

RCA Victor (SF 8113).
This original cover was also used by Mooncrest (CREST 22) when they reissued the album in 1974 in the UK. This is the cover used for the 2006 Castle Music releases.

1976 Chrysalis LP

This cover was used by Chrysalis when they reissued the LP in the US (1st US release) and Internationally. Not released in the UK. The cover was used by Shanachie in 1991 when they released the album on CD in the US. 

1991 CD Release

This cover was used by Mooncrest when they issued the CD in the UK. It remained the only CD release in the UK until 2006 (Castle Music) 

Followed by...