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Fine Horseman

[Lal Waterson]

Lal Waterson sang her own composition on her and her brother Mike's 1972 album Bright Phoebus. She was accompanied by Richard Thompson and Martin Carthy, acoustic guitars, Clare Deniz, cello, and Sue Harris, oboe. A 1971 demo with just guitar accompaniment and somewhat different verses was included in 2017 on the of the album's reissue's bonus CD.

Anne Briggs sang an early version of this song on her 1971 album The Time Has Come. She commented in her sleeve notes:

Lal Knight has written a number of songs—this is the first of hers that I heard. I'd like to sing all the songs she's written, but better still I'd like to hear her sing them herself. Ordinary guitar tuning in Am shape.

Cover Versions

  1. Anne Briggs on her album The Time Has Come (1971)
  2. Dave Smith and Judy Dinning [of Lucky Bags, qv infra] on their LP Waiting for the Change (Rubber Records RUB 043, 1983)
  3. Silly Sisters (Maddy Prior and June Tabor) with Dan Ar Braz, guitar, Huw Warren, keyboards, Jim Sutherland, percussion, and Patsy Seddon, Camac electro-harp, on their second album No More to the Dance (1988)
  4. Barbara Dickson on her album Dark End of the Street (1995)
  5. Dick Gaughan on his album Redwood Cathedral (1998) and The Definitive Collection (2006)
  6. Lucky Bags on their album Delight in Disorder (1998)
  7. Erica Smith on her album Erica Smith (2001)
  8. Dayteller (Jim Boyes, vocals and electric guitar; Barry Coope, keyboards; Steve Page, percussion; Sam Smith, oud; Gary Warmington, stick bass) on the tribute album Shining Bright: The Songs of Lal & Mike Waterson (2002)
  9. June Tabor with the Creative Jazz Orchestra live at the Purcell Room, London, October 4, 1998 on her anthology Always (2005)
  10. The Owl Service on their EP Wake the Vaulted Echo, (2006),
    on The Pattern Beneath the Plough, Parts 1 and 2 (2011),
    and on the anthology The Inner Octave (2011)
  11. King Creosote on Migrating Bird: The Songs of Lal Waterson (2007)
  12. Tinkerscuss on their album Mythago (2007)
  13. Lisa Knapp on the CD Music and Migration III (2013)
  14. Promise & the Monster, Feed the Fire (2016)

Lyrics

Lal Waterson's 1971 demo Lal Waterson on Bright Phoebus

Sleeping in my bed,
Strange dreams are running through my head.
And I dreamed you were
Playing with my hair.
Fine fine sparrow, fine fine horseman.

Sleeping in my bed,
Strange thoughts are running through my head.
And I dreamed you were
Playing with my hair.
Fine fine sparrow, fine fine horseman.

Rain falls and the wind roars,
All the folks were indoors.
As we came through a ford
Riding over the moors.
Like some fine flying sparrow and a fine fine horseman.

Rain falls and the wind roars,
All the folks are indoors.
We came through a ford
Riding over the moors.
Fine flying sparrow, fine fine horseman.

Your dreams among my dreams
Are blue seas amongst sunbeams;
Shades of orange, shades of green
These are your dreams amongst my dreams
Fine flying sparrow, fine fine horseman.

Your dreams among my dreams
Are blue seas among sunbeams;
Shades of yellow, shades of green
These are your dreams among my dreams
Fine flying sparrow, fine fine horseman.

Good morning to you, farming man,
Here's to your heart, your family and land.
I'll pay down a ring and a golden band
On a field for a ride around
For a fine flying sparrow and a fine fine horseman.

Good morning to you, farming man,
Here's to your heart, your family and land.
I'll pay down a ring and a golden band
On a field for a ride around
For a fine flying sparrow, fine fine horseman.

Good morning likewise maiden and man,
My family's dead, my heart is in the ground.
I have no land:
This is no time for a farming man
Nor a fine flying sparrow or fine fine horseman.

Morning likewise maiden and man,
My family's dead, my heart is in the ground.
I have no land:
This is no time for a farming man
Nor a fine flying sparrow or fine fine horseman.

(repeat first verse)

(repeat first verse)

Anne Briggs sings Fine Horseman

Sleeping in my bed,
Dreams run through my head.
I dreamed you were
Playing with my hair.
Fine flying sparrow and a fine horseman.

Rain falls, wind roars,
All the folks indoors.
We came o'er the ford
Riding over the moors.
Fine flying sparrow and a fine horseman.

Your dreams among my dreams
Are blue seas amongst sunbeams;
Shades of yellow, shades of green
These are your dreams among my dreams
Fine flying sparrow and a fine horseman.

(repeat first verse)

Links

See also the Mudcat Cadé thread Origin: Fine Horseman (Lal Waterson).