FolkCast ShowNotes


FolkCast 020 - August 2007
Items, Artists and Weblinks Listen to show

00:00:00 to 00:00:29

FolkCast Theme Music: Fisherman's Priest by Ken Nicol
Your hosts are Phil Widdows and Ken Nicol

00:00:29 to 00:05:44
The Flood by Faith, Folk & Anarchy
00:05:44 to 00:09:40
Endless Summer by Jenna
00:09:40 to 00:12:00
Cold August Night by John Statz
00:14:57 to 00:53:30

John Barleycorn

Interview with Mark Coyle of
Woven Wheat Whispers
about the new "Dark British Folk" compilation
John Barleycorn Reborn



Music Featured

1: John Barleycorn (excerpt) by Fairport Convention
2: North Country Maid by The Owl Service
3: Horn Dance by Sharron Kraus
4: To Make You Stay by Tinkerscuss
5: Nottamun Town by Drohne
6: All Hallow's Eve by The Story

00:53:58 to 00:56:30

Johnny Sands by Phil Hare

00:56:30 to 01:00:04
Johnny Lad by Sarah McQuaid
01:00:55 to 01:01:52

The Story Behind The Song
The Mary Stanford of Rye


When Master John Stanford of London town died
They read out his will, and his legacy spied
It said take this bequest for to build me a craft
So that with it my name shouldn’t die
And give it to the RNLI

So they fashioned a lifeboat
of Liverpool Class
Thirty eight foot from her stem to the aft
And a close-reefed mainsail
on a twenty foot mast
And to grant the last wish of his life
Named it Mary, after his wife

She went into service in 1916
And sixty three times
from the boathouse she screamed
‘cross the shale of Rye Bay
through the teeth of the storm
And into the mouth of the waves
All sailors lives for to save

Johnny come home, they all sing from the pier
On the 15th day of November each year
And one day the sea she will give up her dead
And home will come young Johnny Head
Home will come young Johnny Head

Now young Johnny Head
had just turned seventeen
And to serve on the lifeboat was
young Johnny’s dream
His father was the coxswain
his brother in the crew
And to serve he was willing to die
On the Mary Stanford of Rye

On November 15th
with the storm at its height
The Alice of Riga was losing her fight
Seven miles from Dungeness
she was drifting and lost
And the crew prayed and cried to the moon
That’s when they heard the maroon

It was four in the morning when young Johnny Head
On hearing the signal he leapt from his bed
With his father and brother they ran like the wind
That whipped up the furious waves
For there were lives to be saved







Please donate to the RNLI


Rye RNLI Station

The RNLI at Rye Harbour today


To haul out the lifeboat took blood, sweat and tears
It took them two hours
Must have seemed like two years
Exhausted and spent, they set her afloat
And into the barbarous waves
Rowed Mary to Alice’s aid

It was almost noon on that terrible morn
And the families and launch crew had waited since dawn
When suddenly somebody pointed and cried
And there in the surf and the spray
The Mary Stanford she lay

It was 6.45 when the shoremen lost sight
of the Mary as she pitched out into the night
And at 6.51 the coastguard he rang
saying stand down your lifeboatmen brave
For the Alice is already saved

Nobody knows, from that day to this
Why the coastguard got word at eleven past six
But the message he kept forty minutes or more
While seventeen brave men of Rye
Rowed into the tempest to die

Her body was battered
Her keel was upright
No close-reefed mainsail
No crewman in sight
They hauled her ashore and they knelt round and prayed
Then gazed out again at the main
And the tears they ran like the rain

Then one by one the sea gave up her dead
First Willie Clark, then young Jimmy Head
Then Albert and Rob, the two Cutting boys
And three from the Pope family
And nine more sons of the sea

But young Johhny Head
He never came home
He lies out somewhere in the ocean alone
His comrades lie buried in the churchyard at Rye
And they keep him a space for his bed
One day they’ll find Johnny Head

So the next time you sail around Hastings and Rye
Look to the distance and keep out an eye
And if you see a young man from the RNLI
Standing guard over the foam
You’ll know that Johnny’s come home


The Story is told by Babba
The Song is performed by Meet On The Ledge
"...Bye bye ..."

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