Dave Swarbrick wrote this song about his wife. The tune used as the basis for the instrumental at the end comes from a banjo piece by Eddie West, and was also used by Martin Carthy in his version of the song Famous Flower of Serving Men.
There exist lots of versions of this song: An early studio version from the Manor Sessions is available on the Dave Swarbrick anthology Swarb!. The first officially released version is on the eponymous album Rosie from 1973 by a temporary Fairport Convention consisting of Dave Swarbrick (violin and vocals) and Dave Pegg (bass) with guests Richard Thompson (guitars), Sandy Denny and Linda Thompson (vocals) and Gerry Conway (drums). This version was released as a single Rosie / Knights of the Road and later on the double CD compilation Meet on the Ledge: The Classic Years 1967-1975.
The 2004 CD re-release of Rosie contains a live recording of this song from the Howff, London, on April 23, 1973. Another live version recorded on January 26, 1974 at the Sydney Opera House, Australia, is on the Live album from 1974 with Denny / Donahue / Lucas / Mattacks / Pegg / Swarbrick. Swarbrick has great difficulty with the vocals on this version, as for some reason the tune is played a fourth higher than the original version.
In 1983, Dave Swarbrick played this with his group Whippersnapper as closing number of their debut gig at Burnt Post Club, followed by Pachelbel's Canon. This track was included in 2003 on the Dave Swarbrick anthology Swarb!.
Other Fairport Convention live versions are e.g. on the cassette The Boot - 1983 Fairport Reunion and on the video It All Comes 'Round Again recorded at Cropredy in 1987. The line up of the latter is Allcock (keyboards) / Donahue / Mattacks / Nicol / Pegg / Swarbrick. A 1996 live version from Melbourne Assembly Hall was released on the Fairport unConventioNal 4CD set. A 1998 live recording is on Dave Pegg's 50th Birthday Party. Another live recording from Birmingham Symphony Hall on March 6, 1999 is on SwarbAid.
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