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Just a Note (The Exile Song)

[Ewan MacColl]

Peter Bellamy sang The Exile Song in 1985 on his EFDSS album Second Wind. This track was also included in 1999 on his anthology Wake the Vaulted Echoes. He commented in the original album's sleeve notes:

Progenitor and Genius of the revival, [Ewan MacColl] composed the moving, economical Exile Song for his radio ballad [Song of a Road] about the Irish labourers who came over for, in Ewan's words, the first building of the M1.

Lal Waterson and her daughter Maria Gilhooley (Marry Waterson) sang Just a Note on the album A Bed of Roses by Lal and her son Oliver Knight. This track was included in 2004 on the Watersons' 4CD anthology Mighty River of Song.

Jon Boden sang The Exile Song as the June 12, 2011 entry of his project A Folk Song a Day. He noted in his blog

This goes quite well as a pair with The Lock Keeper—summing up the sadness of having to work away from home. Ewan MacColl has perhaps been somewhat underrepresented in this project. What a great song writer he was.

Belinda O'Hooley and Heidi Tidow learned Just a Note from the singing of Lal and Marry Waterson and sang it on their 2014 CD The Hum. This is their official YouTube video:

Peta Webb and Ken Hall sang Just a Note on Stick in the Wheel's 2017 anthology of English folk field recordings, From Here.

Lyrics

Just a Note on Song of a Road Peter Bellamy sings The Exile Song

Just a note for time is short dear.
Hard the work and long the day,
But my heart is with you, Mary,
Though I'm many a mile away.

Just a note for time is short dear.
Hard the work and long the day,
But my heart is with you, Mary,
Though I'm many's the mile away.

Kiss the children for me Mary,
Do not let them pine or grieve.
Tell them how I'm working for them,
Why our home I had to leave.

Kiss the children for me Mary,
Do not let them pine or grieve.
Tell them how I'm working for them,
Why our home I had to leave.

Building dams, airfields and factories,
Moving concrete by the load —
But I'll be with you in November
When I'm finished on the road.

Building dams, airfields and factories,
Shifting concrete by the load —
But I'll be with you in October
When I'm finished on the road.

Lal Waterson & Maria Gilhooley sing Just a Note

Just a note for time is short dear.
Hard the work, and long the day,
But I'm thinking on you, Mary,
Though you're many's the mile away.

Kiss the children for me Mary,
Do not let them pine nor grieve.
Tell them that I'm working for them,
And why our home I have to leave.

Building dams, airfields and factories,
Shifting mountains by the load —
I'll be with you in September
When I'm finished with the road.

(repeat first verse)