Fire and Wine
Fire and Wine, the first song on Steve Ashley's first album, Stroll On, is also one of his best known ones. Anne Briggs recorded it three years earlier than Steve Ashley on her 1971 album The Time Has Come. She commented in her sleeve notes:
Written by a good friend of mine. One of the few contemporary songs that's captured some of the essence of a good traditional song. It conjures up an image in my mind of sitting round a roaring fire on a winter's day with good friends and an unlimited supply of what everyone wants, and reflecting on what's happening outside.
Played in an open tuning, both E strings dropped to D and the B string to A.
Vulcan's Hammer sang Fire and Wine in 1973 on their album True Hearts and Sound Bottoms.
Hannah Sanders and Liz Simmons sang Fire and Wine on their 2013 CD World Begun.
Belinda O'Hooley and Heidi Tidow sang Fire and Wine in 2017 on their CD WinterFolk Vol. 1. They noted:
We met Steve at South Brent Folk Festival in 2013, and fell in love with this beautiful quirky, wry song. Light the fire, open the wine, winter's coming…
Steve Ashley sings Fire and Wine
We live a shorter day.
The sun is hunting
For a place to stay.
And Jack Frost's fingers
Are in the wind again.
Ragged Robin is see-sawin'
In one half of a coconut shell.
He can't find the bacon rind,
Hunger makes his redbreast swell.
Chorus (after each verse):
Now is the time for fire and wine,
Fire for body and wine for mind.
We will sing and play till break of day,
And we will sing the frost away.
Cold October bowls me over,
Damp November makes me sneeze,
Then December cruelly sends the
Winter frost to freeze my knees.
Winter brings us to the singers
And the drinkers glass in hand.
Roll up smokers, cards and jokers,
Listeners all who sit and stand.
Song lyrics reproduced with kind permission of Steve Ashley.