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Bob Johnson & Peter Knight: The King of Elfland's Daughter

Bob Johnson & Peter Knight: The King of Elfland's Daughter

The King of Elfland's Daughter
Bob Johnson & Peter Knight

Chrysalis CHR 1137 (LP, UK/US, 1977)
Chrysalis 6307 600 (LP, Germany)
Chrysalis 51-1137 (LP, NL)
Edsel Records EDCD342 (CD, NL, 1991)

Bob Johnson & Peter Knight: Too Much Magic

Too Much Magic / Lirazel
The Elfland Ensemble (Bob Johnson & Peter Knight)

Chrysalis CHS 2151 (single, p/s, UK, 1977)

The Request / Lirazel
Chris Farlowe / Mary Hopkin

Chrysalis 11 346 (single, p/s, Holland, 1977)

Bob Johnson & Peter Knight: The Request

After the novel “The King of Elfland's Daughter” by Lord Dunsany (1924).

Orchestrated and conducted by Peter Knight
except for The Rune of the Elf King, which was orchestrated by Paul Lewis.

Performers

Christopher Lee as The King of Elfland;
Mary Hopkin as Lirazel;
Frankie Miller as Alveric;
Alexis Korner as A Troll;
P.P. Arnold as The Witch;
Derek Brimstone and Chris Farlowe as Villagers of Earl

Narrated by Christopher Lee

Tracks

Side 1Side 2
  1. The Request (3.23)
  2. Lirazel (4.11)
  3. Witch (3.35)
  4. Alveric's Journey Through Elfland (4.57)
  1. The Rune of the Elf King (3.59)
  2. The Coming of the Troll (1.53)
  3. Just Another Day of Searching (5.09)
  4. Too Much Magic (3.58)
  5. Beyond the Fields We Know (4.29)

Texts

The Request

In their ruddy jackets of leather that reached to their knees, the men of Erl appeared before their Lord. He leaned in his carven chair and heard their spokesman. “For seven hundred years the chiefs of your race have ruled us well. And yet the generations stream away and there is no new thing.”

“What would you?” said the Lord. “We would be ruled by a magic Lord”, they said.

Grant us what we need it is our right of you,
Alveric, your son, must go in spite of you.
Beckon him in wondrous ways
To venture into timeless days,
Beyond the fields we know and into Elfland.

The King of Elfland's daughter is a woman grown,
Told of by the songs that faery winds have blown.
She will bear a magic son,
Alveric must be the one
To bring her here and give us all a magic Lord.

“So be it, our Lord has spoken,
Only the dark ones know all that magic brings,
So be it, our choice is foolish,
The Parliament of Erl knows only earthly things.”

“So be it, the answer to out need,
So be it, our Lord has agreed,
Turn your face towards that light that beats from Faeryland,
It's Elfland.”

A villager of Erl, Chris Farlowe
Drums, percussion, Nigel Pegrum
Bass, acoustic and electric guitars, Bob Johnson

Lirazel

So the old Lord summoned his son, Alveric, and said to him, “Go from here eastwards and pass the fields we know, till you see the lands that clearly pertain to Faery; and cross their boundary, which is made of twilight, and come to that palace that is only told of in song.”

“It is far from here,” said the young man Alveric.

“Yes,” answered he, “it is far.”

“What do you bid me do,” said the son, “when I come to that palace?”

And his father said, “To wed the King of Elfland's daughter. Her name is Lirazel, she is a princess of the magic line.”

Music from the wind and trees,
And breezes through the moss and grass,
At last the dance should soon begin in Elfland.
Buttercups that hide in shade
Have kissed the blade of grass they passed
The toadstool feels afool, he has his hat on.

Bouncing, prancing, foolish dancing,
Trolls decide to run and hide
Then back to back, they're back again bewildered
Without delay, it's light to play
To turn about and twist and shout
Hand in hand, the trolls resist an Elf-call.

The trolls are all dancing to their melody, so ugly,
Falling all over themselves,
Thinking themselves to be devilish elves.
The soldiers of Elfland are standing at ease, easy to please
Watching the trolls fall asleep,
I ask them all to get back on their feet.

Music comes from everywhere,
The earth below, the glow from worms
That turn in time to chiming fairy acorns.
Dandelions, pretty heather,
Stand together proud to share
The air that sings the music that it brings us.

Travellers from far unknown
Have blown the shells of twilight blue,
I think they knew full well we would be dancing.
A troll decides to wake as fairy
Winds pretend that they are things
And make the trolls a dancing tune to prance to.

And soon all the trolls are awake, devilish, all gibberish
Asking the soldiers to dance with them, prance with them,
Beat on their drums to the dance of the day
Thousands of creatures are clapping and laughing
The elves and the goblins join with us, sing with us
Brighter the wind as the fiddlers play.

Lirazel, Mary Hopkin
Drums, percussion, Nigel Pegrum
Acoustic guitars, Bob Johnson
Autoharp, synthesiser, Peter Knight
Bass, Herbie Flowers
Percussion, Ray Cooper

Witch

Near the Castle of Erl there lived a lonely witch, on high land near the thunder, which used to roll in summer along the hills. There she dwelt by herself in a narrow cottage of thatch, and roamed the high fields alone to gather the thunderbolts; thunderbolts that hat no earthly forging, that made such weapons as had to parry unearthly danger.

All alone the lonely heath
The little children cry
Witch, Witch,
High on a broomstick,
Riding through the sky.

All alone the fire at night
When owls and bats do fly
Witch, Witch,
Spinning a spell
There's thunder in the sky.

Chorus (2x):
Earth and fire and wind and water,
Dew of morning, miles of may,
Scent of Thyme and sight of lilac,
Thunderbolt iron will win the day.

All alone behind the houses
Creeping through the dark
Witch, Witch,
Bringing the shadows,
How the dogs do bark!

All alone the fire at night
The sparks and ashes fly
Witch, Witch,
Making a blade
There's thunder in the sky.

Chorus

Burn, burn, you stormy wanderers,
Light the way.
Burn, burn, you stormy wanderers,
Thunderbolt iron will win the day

The Witch, P.P. Arnold
Drums, Nigel Pegrum
Bass, Herbie Flowers, Bob Johnson
Electric guitars, Bob Johnson
Electric piano, Peter Knight

Alveric's Journey Through Elfland

So it was that Alveric, after travelling towards the Elfin mountains, pushed through a hedge into a field untended, and there suddenly close before him was the frontier of twilight. It stretched across the field in front of him, blue and dense like water. He looked back once, over the fields we know, but nothing seemed to answer or heed his farewells, and so he strode on boldly into those long masses of twilight.

Bright as the sun, blue as the night,
Nothing stirring.
My eyes are blinded by the light,
Still I travel on.
I was never born to kill, but if I must, I will
I dare not fail,
And a task is laid on me.
Now a forest damp and dark
Looms around me,
There is evil in the air
And all around me.
Thick and black a clinging vine
Tries to hold me,
Now I understand the words
That the old witch told me.
Draw the sword, raise it high,
Now is not the time to die.
Draw the sword, wield it well,
Now is not the time to fail.

Chorus:
Runesinger, doombringer, be my light through the night.
Deathdealer, soulstealer, be my friend to the end.

Spire on spire, higher and higher,
Like blue sapphire, the palace looms.

Through portals wide she seems to glide
And I can neither breathe nor move.

With crown of ice and wondering eyes
She turns and sighs, “Who are you?”

“Mortal man, from Earth I am
From fields and lands you do not know.”

Crystal doors are open wide,
Guards are rushing,
Now the sword is in my hand,
Weaving, flashing.
There is blood upon the blade
And the bodies fill the glade.
At my side I hear a voice
“We must leave now for there is no choice.”
As we run I can hear
Her father's footstep ringing clear.
Fills with rage he climbs his tower,
Gathering his deadly power.
Dull and grey with earthly light
The Elfin border comes in sight.
Headlong through the mist together,
Soon we will be safe together.

Chorus

And so Lirazel looked upon the fields we know and Alveric watched her bringing her beauty to our fields more delicate even than the wild roses brought, and he saw that her crown of ice had melted away.

Alveric, Frankie Miller
Drums, Nigel Pegrum
Bass, Herbie Flowers
Percussion, Ray Cooper
Electric guitars, Bob Johnson
Vocals, Barry St John, Liza Strike, Vicky Brown, Bob Johnson

The Rune of the Elf King

On the high balcony of his gleaming tower, the King of Elfland stood. He knew well the harshness of material things and all the turmoil of time, and he knew that there hung over his daughter now the doom of all mortal things. And then he wept and all Elfland shivered ...

Silence be on all Elfland.
Troubled am I your King.
Lirazel is far from Elfland,
Perishing like an earthly thing.
Even as I stand before you,
Time surrounds her spirit,
as time decays the earthly flowers.
Why should my daughter be taken by pitiless years?
This shall not be ...

Time is passing, never ceasing,
Time will take it's toll too soon.
Bring me plume and bring me parchment,
I will write a mightly rune!
Send for a troll!

Time there was, when she was with me,
Time to think and time to dream.
Soon the rune will travel Earthward,
Once again she'll stand by me.
Where is the troll?

Time will tell and I will conquer
All the power of Sun and Moon.
Summon the Guard! Where's the parchment?
We shall see who calls the tune.
Now fetch the troll!

The King of Elfland, Christopher Lee

The Coming of the Troll

Over hedges and ditches and bushes and stiles
Miles and miles
I'm running, I'm running,
A message I bring to shout or sing
Jump and spin
I'm humming, I'm humming,
Like a top, I never stop
Whirling, twirling round
Look at me, it's plain to see
The world is in my hand.

Chorus:
I am free, I am free
I'm so free nothing can stop me
I'm as wild as the wind
I can laugh, I can sing
And you can't catch me
I am free, I am free

Light as a feather and quick as the wind
Like a bird on the wind
I'm flying, I'm flying
Faster than lightning, never a sound
Over the ground
I'm flying, I'm flying
Like a top, I never stop
Whirling, twirling round
Look at me, it's plain to see
The world is in my hand.

Chorus

The Troll, Alexis Korner
Drums, Nigel Pegrum
Bass, Herbie Flowers
Electric guitar, Bob Johnson
Violins, Peter Knight
Clarinet, Mike Bait
Vocals, Lavinia Rogers, Denise Garcia, Eleonor Keenan

Just Another Day of Searching

Into the Castle of Erl jumped the troll, and bowing low before Lirazel he presented the Elf King's rune. No sooner had she read the rune than fancies from Elfland began to pour over the border. Little queer sounds of Elfin creatures came to her, scents swam from those miraculous flowers that glowed by the lawns she knew, all Elfland was calling. She rose at once, and now Earth had lost on her the grip that it only has on material things.

There passed ten years over the fields we know while Alveric searched for Lirazel, and all the while the King of Elfland watched, for he knew by magic when Alveric's sword drew near. It had troubled his kingdom once and he knew well the flavour of thunderbolt iron when he felt it loom on the air. From this he had withdrawn his frontiers far, leaving a space that to cross would weary the comer. But when Alveric was far to the north, the Elf King loosened his grip, and Elfland came racing back as the tide over flat sands ...

Masters of poetry know how to say it,
And maybe a wise man knows what it means.
Judas they say is the man to betray it.
Love is the word but the meaning is feeling the love,
The love I feel for her.

Love is a friend when your love is beside you,
But love shows no mercy when you're all alone,
Love is a princess, a princess from Elfland.
Love is the word but the meaning is feeling the love,
The love I feel for her.

Chorus:
Just another day of searching, up and down,
Will tomorrow bring me sorrow?
Will it bring me
Just another day of searching?

How can a poet describe what I'm feeling
And how can the wise man comfort me now?
It's only my own heart that yearns for my princess
The love is mine, and the feeling is mine in a word,
And the word it is love.

Chorus

Alveric, Frankie Miller
Drums, Kenny Clarc
Bass, Herbie Flowers
Electric piano, Peter Knight
Strings quartet, The Maggins String Quartet
Vocals, Barry St John, Liza Strike, Vicky Brown

Too Much Magic

It was while Alveric searched for Lirazel that all manner of things slipped through the border, and in Erl that had sighed for magic, there was indeed magic now, and a fear settled on Erl.

There's imps up in the lumber loft,
The trolls are in the stables
Goblins hiding under the bed
While we hide under the tables.
Faces at the windows,
Horrible flickering lights
And things that chase us down the road
If we go out at night.

Chorus (after each verse):
Magic, magic everywhere,
Magic in the very air
Elfin horns are blowing, there is
Too much magic.
We dare not go a-wandering
For fear of what the night may bring
A curse upon all elvish things,
Too much magic.

There's many a creature of fable,
Many a monster of myth
Crept through the elfin border,
To see the will-o-the wisp.
And every time we go to bed,
We pray the Lord will keep
us from the dark unearthly things
As we lie in our sleep

Yesterday upon the stair,
Once again today,
I saw a goblin crouching there
I wish he'd go away
Down the streets of tile and thatch
The faery army creeps
We sowed the seed of discontent and

discontent we reap ...

A Villager, Derek Brimstone
Drums, Tony Newman
Bass, Herbie Flowers
Acoustic guitars, Bob Johnson
Glockenspiel, piano, Peter Knight
Children of Erl, Gayhurst Junior School Choir

Beyond the Fields We Know

In the hall that was built of moon light, dreams, music and mirage, Lirazel knelt before her father's throne and besought a rune that should restore to her Alveric, bringing him over the border and into the Elfin lands. And with him she prayed might come some garden of Earth, or bank where violets lay, or hollow where cowslips swayed, to shine in Elfland forever.

“I have no rune,” he said, “that has power to lure anything from the mundane fields. No rune but one, and that the last of the potencies of our realm.”

And so it was that those in Erl saw coming towards them a shimmering line of silver sweeping over the fields. Slowly it came, like the blended twilights of old lost summer evenings. It flowed past the houses, and broke over them with a burst of unearthly foam. Elfland had poured over Erl.

Beyond the fields we know
There's a fine and shining line
And some day we will go
Where there is neither tide nor time.
Twilight falls on marble halls,
Silver spires that touch the sun,
Golden horns that faintly blow,
Beyond the fields we know,
Beyond the fields we know

Beyond the fields we know,
There's a palace made of songs
And some day we will go
Where there is neither right nor wrong.
Like the leaves, we'll ride the breeze
Through the blue until we see
Those Elfin mountains all aglow
Beyond the fields we know,
Beyond the fields we know

Lirazel, Mary Hopkin
Drums, Kenny Clarc
Bass, Herbie Flowers
Acoustic guitars, Chris Spedding
Mandolins, Peter Knight
Choir, The English Chorale
Vocals, Lavinia Rogers, Denise Garcia, Eleonor Keenan

Bringing Elfland with her, the Princess Lirazel returned... From Alveric had fallen away that heavy burden of years and all the sorrow of wandering, and the Parliament of Erl, gazing over their familiar lands, perceived that they were no longer the fields we know.

Review

Wider Erwarten wird von den beiden ehemaligen Steeleye-Span-Mitgliedern kein Folk-Rock-Album geliefert, sondern eine Art Folk-Oper mit Christopher Lee als Märchenerzähler, mit herzerfrischend poppigen bis herzzerreißend mit Streichern und Bläsern aufgemotzten Kleinodien im Stil der 60er Jahre, nicht zuletzt dank der Mitwirkenden: Mary “Those Were the Days” Hopkins, P.P. “The First Cut Is the Deepest” Arnold, Chris “Out of Time” Farlowe plus Alexis Korner, Frankie Miller und Christopher Lee in einem dramatischen Rezitativ, an dem Verdi seine Freude gehabt hätte. Und das alles erfrischend unkompliziert...

Sounds, 1977

Acknowledgements

Thanks to Sam Holland for correcting typos.