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Fiddler's Green

[ Roud 26370 ; Ballad Index FR439 ; John Conolly]

This sentimental song is so ubiquitous that many people believe it is a traditional song. But it was written in 1966 by John Conolly.

Tim Hart and Maddy Prior recorded Fiddler's Green in 1969 for their second duo album Folk Songs of Old England Vol. 2. The record's sleeve notes comment:

Written by John Conolly, this is a fine example of the work of this singer/song-writer from Grimsby describing the fisherman's Utopian concept of the after-life.

Aly Bain and Mike Whellans sang Fiddler's Green in 1971 on their Trailer album Aly Bain & Mike Whellans and in 1975 on the Trailer anthology Our Folk Music Heritage.

The Clancy Brothers with Louis Killen sang Fiddler's Green in 1972 on their LP Show Me the Way.

Archie Fisher and Barbara Dickson sang Fiddler's Green in 1971 on their Decca album Thro' the Recent Years.

Filey Fishermen's Harmony Group sang Fiddler's Green on the 1985 anthology Sounds of Yorkshire: A Musical Souvenir of Yorkshire and Humberside.

John Conolly sang his own song on his and Pete Sumner's Fellside CD of 1998, Trawlertown, and on the Fellside's anthology Flash Company: A Celebration of 25 Years of Fellside Records (1976-2001). Paul Adams commented in the latter album's notes:

John is the most unlikely writer of a hit song I know. It depends on how you define “hit”. There was a time in the 70s when you would hear this song sung every week in just about every folk club in the country. One of its great accolades is that people think it is traditional—doesn't do much for John's bank balance, though. It has been recorded numerous times. There are even Fiddler's Green festivals. Look out for Fiddler's Green slippers, mouse-pads and woolly hats.

And here John Conolly with Bill Whaley and Dave Fletcher sings Fiddler's Green at Faldingworth Live:

Jon Boden sang Fiddler's Green as the February 26, 2011 entry of his project A Folk Song a Day. He noted in his blog:

One of those songs that conveniently became traditional only a few years after being written! I understand John Connolly is gradually recouping some of his lost royalties. Quite right too—a fabulous song.


Sorry, I can't show the lyrics here as I don't have the copyright owners' permission to publish them. But please feel free and ask me to send you the song's lyrics.