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about

Most versions of "Geordie" don't end well, but this one does; I like to think it's because his wife has a little more grit and determination here than in other versions. I first learned this from June Tabor's unbeatable recording on the Silly Sisters album, and an additional verse was added from the The Oxford Book of Ballads. It is the inspiration for this whole album concept, and the album title comes from the final verse.

lyrics

There was a battle in the north, and nobles there were many,
And they have killed Sir Charlie Hay, and laid the blame on Geordie.

Oh, he has written a long letter and sent it to his lady,
You must come up to Edinburgh town and see the news of Geordie.

When first she looked the letter on, she was both red and rosy;
She had not read a word but one when she grew pale as a lily.

“Go fetch to me my good grey steed, my men shall all go with me;
For I shall neither eat nor drink, till Edinburgh town shall see me.”

And she has mounted her good grey steed, her men they all went with her,
And she did neither eat nor drink till Edinburgh town did see her.

At first appeared the fatal block, and then the axe to head him,
And Geordie coming down the stairs with bars of iron upon him.

Though he was chained in fetters strong, of iron and steel so heavy,
There’s not a one in all the court was so fine a man as Geordie.

Now she’s down on her bended knee, I’m sure she’s pale and weary.
“Oh, pardon, pardon, noble king, and give me back my dearie,
Oh, give me back my dearie.”

“I have born him seven sons, the eighth is in my body;
Oh, pardon, pardon, noble king, and pity a woeful lady,
Oh, pity a woeful lady.”

“Go tell the heading man make haste,” our king replied full loudly.
“Oh, noble king, take all that’s mine, but give me back my Geordie,
Oh, give me back my Geordie.”

The Gordons came and the Gordons ran,they were stark and steady,
And all the word among them all was, Gordons, keep you ready.

An aged lord at the king’s right hand says, “Noble king, but hear me;
Let her count out five thousand pounds and give her back her dearie.”

Some gave her marks, some gave her crowns, some gave her dollars many;
She’s counted out five thousand pounds and gotten again her dearie.

She’s blinked blithely in Geordie’s face, says, “Dear, I’ve bought thee, Geordie,
But the blood would have flowed all on the green before I lost my laddie,
Before I lost my laddie.”

He took her by the middle small and he kissed her lips so rosy;
“The fairest flower of womankind is my sweet bonny lady.”

credits

from The Fairest Flower of Womankind, released April 28, 2017
Guitar (low) & Vocals: Lindsay Straw
Guitar (high): Owen Marshall

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Lindsay Straw Boston, Massachusetts

Boston-based traditional folk singer, guitarist & bouzouki player.

"Hearken(s) back to more innocent times, of Greenwich Village and pure folk." - The Living Tradition

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