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England

Donald Swann
Sydney Carter

Donald Swann
Sings Songs of Faith and Doubt by Sydney Carter

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  • Sings Songs of Faith and Doubt by Sydney Carter
    • 1964 – Argo EAF 48 EP
  • Side One
    1. Lord Of The Dance
    2. The Devil Wore A Crucifix
    3. The Rat Race
  • Side Two
    1. Every Star Shall Sing A Carol
    2. The Mask I Wore
    3. Friday Morning

Sleeve Notes

  • All tracks written by Sydney Carter
  • The cover photograph of St. Mary Le Bow, Cheapside, taken in 1949, is reproduced by kind permission of Radio Times Hutton Picture Library
  • ARGO RECORD COMPANY LIMITED, 113 FULHAM ROAD LONDON SW3
  • Made in England Printed by Graphis Press Limited

Sleeve Notes

Nobody can write a folk song, but you can write a song which is in the folk style or tradition and a number of people are now doing this. Many of these new songs are political; few are religious. Yet the religious ballad or carol is as traditional as any song of protest. The outward form of my own faith and doubt is religious rather than political.' So writes Sydney Carter, whose songs I am singing on this record. Better known in folk song clubs as the author of such songs as The Man with the Microphone and Down Below, he writes mainly for radio and television. Many of his songs — including The Youth of the Heart which I sang in 'Al the Drop of a Hat' — were first written for revue. Others were heard in 'That Was The Week That Was.' The melodies used on this record are original except in the case of Lord of the Dance. This tune is based on a Shaker hymn called Simple Gifts. 'I am attracted by the Shakers', Sydney Carter says, 'because they used dancing as well as singing in their worship. Christ is often pictured, metaphorically, as a shepherd or a king; why notes an actor, or a dancer? His whole life, it seems to me, is the expression in dramatic form of the way things are, and were, and ever will be.' The words of Friday Morning need, perhaps, some introduction. They are put into the mouth of one of the thieves who was crucified with Jesus. In his agony he blames the Creator of the universe. 'He is the guilty one', he tells his neighbour, 'He didn't have to make the universe like this. It's God they ought to crucify!' His neighbour is Jesus of Nazareth.

On this record I have accompanied these songs on the piano. This is not the only or the 'right' way. It's just that the piano is my instrument; for most people, it would now be the guitar. In Lord of the Dance you could use drum, flute, organ, tambourine or anything you felt like; and you could dance, as well as sing. It has in fact been danced already in one church at Battersea. Friday Morning, on the other hand, can be sung completely unaccompanied.

DONALD SWANN