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Jack Frost

[Mike Waterson]

Mike Waterson wrote Jack Frost in about 1970. A 1971 demo of this song was included in 2017 on the bonus CD of the reissue of his and his sister Lal'a album Bright Phoebus. Another demo from 1996 with somewhat different lyrics was included in 2004 on the Watersons' 4 CD anthology Mighty River of Song. Mike's niece Eliza sang very much the original version in 2006 on Waterson:Carthy's album Holy Heathens and the Old Green Man. Martin Carthy commented in the album notes:

Mike (Waterson) wrote Jack Frost more than 35 years ago and, unusually for him, has not let it disappear in the ether. It's one of the few songs which he has written which we could ask him to sing at any time and which he would remember—guitar part and all—with no difficulty. He is easily the most underrated songwriter around today (certainly by himself), but he does have his admirers for the unforced ease of his language and for his timing.

Lyrics

Mike Waterson sings Jack Frost on
Mighty River of Song
Eliza Carthy sings Jack Frost on
Holy Heathens and the Old Green Man

Talk of heroes, woe for Nelson,
I must disagree.
Sing the praise of Alexander,
He's no use to me.

Here we only have one hero,
One hero of great fame.
Ne'er failing in his duty,
Listen, I'll tell to you his name.

Countless drawings, endless sketches
On my window pane.
Master craftsman, skilled engraver,
Jack Frost is his name.

Endless drawings, countless sketches
On my window pane.
Master craftsman, skilled engraver,
Jack Frost is his name.

From the cold wastes of Siberia,
Every winter he has come.
Never failing in his duty
Till the winter time is gone.

From the cold wastes of Siberia,
Every winter he has come.
Never failing in his duty
Till winter time is gone.

Napoleon, he came to Moscow
Sure of its defeat
Sprang the bear, as flew the eagle,
Came the grand retreat.

Flew the eagle into Moscow,
Sure in its defeat.
Ran the bear and sprang the winter,
Came the grand retreat.

Three hundred thousand marched on Moscow,
Never thinking it would fail,
Three hundred thousand marched to Moscow
To perish in the blizzards and the gale.

From the cold wastes of Siberia,
Came the hero in my tale.
Three hundred thousand came to Moscow
To perish in the blizzards and the gale.

Countless drawings, endless sketches
On the window pane.
Master craftsman, skilled engraver,
Jack Frost is his name.

From the cold wastes of Siberia
Every winter he has come.
Never failing in his duty
Till the winter time is gone.

Endless drawings, countless sketches
On the window pane.
Master craftsman, skilled engraver,
Jack Frost is his name,
Jack Frost is his name.

Acknowledgements

Transcribed by Reinhard Zierke. Thanks to Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg for corrections.