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London

Steeleye Span: London (Chrysalis CHS 2107)

London / Sligo Maid
Steeleye Span

Chrysalis CHS 2107 (single, UK, September 1976)
Chrysalis 6155 074 (single, p/s, Germany, 1976?)

Steeleye Span: London (Chrysalis 6155 074)

[trad. / Hart / Prior / Knight / Johnson / Kemp]

This is a nineteenth Century broadside of wigs and dandys set to music by Rick Kemp. Steeleye Span recorded it for the last (and one of the finest) album of their “classic” line-up, Rocket Cottage. This track was also released as a single with the instrumental B-side Sligo Maid.

The Australian-only compilation Recollections reissued this track with an introduction by Maddy Prior:
“Most large cities have songs written about them at some time or another. Chicago, New York have had songs about them. London has one that comes from the eighteenth century, that Rick managed to dig up from a song book called New Academy of Compliments which sounds rather fun. It's a slightly satirical view of London, as seen from the equivalent of the West End, rather the in-fashion side of London, the austere eccentricities of clothes, powdered wigs and all that sort of thing.”

Lyrics

Steeleye Span sing London

2× Chorus
There's your lords and ladies fine
Riding in a coach and six,
Nothing to drink but claret wine,
Talking politics.

London is a dainty place,
A great and gallant city!
All the streets are pav'd with gold
And all the folks are witty.

There's your beaux with powder'd clothes,
Bedaub'd from head to chin;
Their pocket-holes adorned with gold
But not one sous within.

Chorus

There your English actor goes
With many a hungry belly,
While heaps of gold are forc'd, God wot,
On Signor Farinelli.

Chorus

London is a dainty place,
A great and gallant city!
Alle the streets are pav'd with gold
And all the folks are witty.

There's your dames with dainty frames,
Skins as white as milk,
Dressed each day in garments gay
Of satin and of silk.

London is a dainty place.