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Carols and Capers

Maddy Prior & The Carnival Band: Carols and Capers (Park PRK CD9)

Carols and Capers
Maddy Prior & The Carnival Band

Park Records PRK CD9 (CD, UK, November 1991)

I Saw Three Ships
Maddy Prior & The Carnival Band

Park Records PRK CD16 (CD EP, UK, December 1992)

Maddy Prior & The Carnival Band: I Saw Three Ships (Park PRK CD16)

Recorded at VM Studios, Oxford;
Produced by Andrew Watts and Chris Baylis;
Engineered by Chris Baylis;
Mastered at Porky’s by Denis Blackham


Maddy Prior: vocals;
Andy Watts: shawms, curtal, clarinet, recorders, Breughel bagpipes, vocals;
Giles Lewin: shawm, fiddle, recorders, medieval bagpipes, tin whistle, vocals;
Bill Badley: acoustic and electric guitar, lute, mandolin, banjo, vocals;
Jub Davis: bass;
Raf Mizraki: drums, percussion, bells, ’cello, vocals


CD Carols & Capers

  1. The Boar’s Head Carol (Roud 22229) (3.06)
  2. Away in a Manger (Roud 25304) (1.49)
  3. My Dancing Day (Roud 21931) (2.36)
  4. Monsieur Charpentier’s Christmas Stomp (2.55)
  5. See Amid the Winter’s Snow (Roud 27069) (4.06)
  6. A Boy Was Born (2.36)
  7. Poor Little Jesus (Roud 10067) (2.22)
  8. Turkey in the Straw / Whiskey Before Breakfast (2.07)
  9. Wassail! (Roud 209) (3.53)
  10. Joy to the World (Roud 23690) (2.43)
  11. Cradle Song (Roud 8885) (3.25)
  12. Shepherds Rejoice (Roud 7105) (2.27)
  13. Old Joe Clark (Roud 3594) (1.31)
  14. Ane Sang of the Birth of Christ (Balulalow) (Roud 23036) (2.53)
  15. Monsieur Charpentier’s Christmas Swing (2.19)
  16. Quem Pastores (2.14)
  17. While Shepherds Watched (Roud 936) (3.05)
  18. I Saw Three Ships (Roud 700) (3.46)

All titles arr. Andrew Watts except [8] arr. Giles Lewin and [14] arr. Bill Badley

EP I Saw Three Ships

  1. I Saw Three Ships (Dance Doctor’s Christmas Re-Mix) (3.08)
  2. The Boar’s Head Carol (Roud 22229) (3.06)
  3. Poor Little Jesus (Roud 10067) (2.22)
  4. I Saw Three Ships (Roud 700) (3.46)

Track Notes

Away in a Manger

USA late 19th century
guitar, 19th century original

My Dancing Day

English 19th century
clarinet, ’cello, curtal, bass

Monsieur Charpentier’s Christmas Stomp

Une jeune pucelle / A la venue de Noel / Ou s’en vont ces gais bergers

French trad., after Marie-Antoine Charpentier (c.1645-1704)
fiddle, recorder, lute, guitar, bass, drums, clarinet, Breughel bagpipes, medieval bagpipes


See Amid the Winter’s Snow

Words E. Caswall (1814-1878), Tune J. Goss (1800-1880)
fiddle, clarinet, lute, curtal, bass, side drum

A Boy Was Born

German 16th century
violin, recorders, curtal, lute, bass

A boy was born in Bethlehem,
Rejoice for that Jerusalem!

For low he lay within a stall
Who rules for ever overall

He let himself a servant be,
That all mankind he might set free.

Then praise the Word of God who came
To dwell within a human frame.

And praised be God in threefold might,
In glory bright
Eternal good and infinite.

Turkey in the Straw / Whiskey Before Breakfast

USA trad.
fiddle, clarinet, guitar, bass, drums



trad. English
fiddle, clarinet, banjo, bass, drums

Joy to the World!

Words Isaac Watts (1674-1748), Tune Lowell Mason (1792-1872)
fiddle, metal clarinet, guitar, bass, percussion

Cradle Song

Words Isaac Watts (1674-1748), Tune USA early 19th Century
clarinet, fiddle, guitar, bass

Shepherds Rejoice

Words Isaac Watts (1674-1748), Tune USA 19th Century
clarinet, banjo, bass, drums

Old Joe Clark

USA trad.
fiddle, clarinet, banjo, bass, drums


Ane Sang of the Birth of Christ (Balulalow)

Scottish 16th Century

Monsieur Charpentier’s Christmas Swing

Or, nous dites Marie / Joseph est bien marié

French trad., after Marie-Antoine Charpentier (c.1645-1704)
Breughel bagpipes, recorders, guitar, bass, drums


Quem Pastores

German 16th Century
recorders, lute

Quem pastores laudavere,
Quibus angeli dixere,
Absit vobis jam timere
Natus est rex gloriae.

Ad quem magi ambulabant
Aurum, thus, myrrham portabant
Immolabant haec sincere
Nato regi gloriae.

Christo regi, Deo nato,
Per Mariam nobis dato,
Merito resonet vere
Laus, honor et gloria.

The one whom shepherds worshipped -
Shepherds to whom angels said
“Do not be afraid” -
The King of glory is born.

Kings journeyed to him,
They brought gold, frankincense and myrrh.
They offered these truly
To the new-born King of Glory.

To Christ the King, God incarnate,
Given us through Mary,
As is truly due, let
Praise, honour and glory resound.

(Transl. Sam Sharpe)

While Shepherds Watched

Words Nahum Tate (1652-1715), Tune T. Phillips (1735-1807)
clarinet, lute, bass

I Saw Three Ships

English trad.
recorder, tin whistle, fiddle, guitars, Breughel bagpipes, bass, drums, bells

Sleeve Notes

Maddy Prior enjoys many and various musical activities. She has been singing with Steeleye Span for around twenty years and continues to do so with undiminished enjoyment. She also works regularly with her husband Rick Kemp, writing and performing their own compositions. Their album Happy Families was released on the Park Label in 1990 (PRK CD4). She has done projects with June Tabor and numerous television and radio appearances. She still likes to tour when the commitment of family life (Alex and Rosie) allows. Working with the Carnival Band holds a special affection for her. She says that the joyful and enthusiastic way the projects are approached make them a delight to do.

The Carnival Band made their debut on the towpath of the Leeds-Liverpool Canal in the summer of 1984. They range from medieval dances to music hall songs in a style that draws on early music and traditional music from Europe, East and West, and America, North and South. They have toured frequently in Britain and Belgium, giving concerts and working with schools and community groups and in 1989 made their first album, Madame Lucette.

Maddy Prior and The Carnival Band were first brought together in 1984 for a BBC Radio 2 broadcast of Christmas carols. This became the basis of the album A Tapestry of Carols (Saydisc CD-SDL 366) which was enthusiastically received by the press and the public. As a result, Maddy and the band gave three U.K. concert tours and made several TV and radio appearances. Another Radio 2 commission led to their recording Sing Lustily and With Good Courage (Saydisc CD-SDL 383), a collection of gallery hymns which was also acclaimed. While Maddy and The Carnival Band are happy to maintain their separate identities and careers, they enjoy these occasional collaborations which give them the chance to combine their different styles and talents.

Since medieval times, carols and dancing have gone hand in hand; in fact the word carol probably comes from the old French “carole’ meaning a round dance. Today’s Christmas carols are a far cry from the sung dances of the middle ages - on this record there are hymns, spirituals, lullabies, feasting and wassail songs as well as dance carols. So what makes them all “carols’? Partly the plain fact that they are sung around Christmas and celebrate the birth of Jesus, but more importantly their combination of good tunes with simple words to express the religious feelings of ordinary people. In addition, they contain a strong feeling of celebration which means that secular carols like The Boar’s Head and dance tunes like Old Joe Clark can rub shoulders with Away in a Manger and a Scottish cradle song. So there’s no irreverence intended in this motley collection of songs and dances spanning five centuries. In fact, the meeting of heaven and earth, the divine and the human, is what Christmas is about.

“Now may I well hop and sing
For I have been a Christes bearing.
Home to my fellows now will I fling.
Christ of heaven to his bliss us bring!”
With hoy!
For in his pipe he made so much joy.

Shepherd’s carol. Anon. 15th Century