Heart of the Hills Vol. 1

by Mardell McCombs

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    In these ballads, dating mainly from the 1600 to 1700’s you will find the following tales:

    The ghost of a dearly departed summoned from the grave gives doleful warnings.

    A fair maid receives nocturnal visitations from a shape-shifting sea creature.

    Plus a serial killer, murder most foul, infanticide, love, lust, betrayal and the mother-in-law from hell!

    Not to mention the curious case of the Little Pig.

    Includes unlimited streaming of Heart of the Hills Vol. 1 via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
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04:22
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released September 15, 2019

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Track Name: Betty Martin
BETTY MARTIN traditional

Pretty Betty Martin, tiptoe, tiptoe
Pretty Betty Martin tiptoe fine
Pretty Betty Martin, tiptoe, tiptoe
Pretty Betty Martin tiptoe fine

Pretty Betty Martin, tiptoe, tiptoe
Pretty Betty Martin tiptoe fine
Pretty Betty Martin, tiptoe, tiptoe
Put on a red dress and say you’re mine

Look out, yonder comes Pretty Betty Martin
Pigtail swinging’ and red dress a-flyin’
First time I saw Pretty Betty Martin
Said Look out Boys, this one’s mine

Pretty Betty Martin, tiptoe, tiptoe
Pretty Betty Martin tiptoe fine
Pretty Betty Martin, tiptoe, tiptoe
Put on a red dress and say you’re mine
Track Name: The Unquiet Grave
THE UNQUIET GRAVE traditional

Cold blows the wind to my true love
And gently drops the rain
I've never had but one true love
In the green-wood he lies slain
I'll do as much for my own true love
As any young girl may
I'll sit and mourn all on his grave
For a twelve month and a day

When twelve months and a day was passed
The ghost did rise and speak
Why sittest thou on my grave and mourn
And will not let me sleep
There is but one thing I want my love
There is just one thing I crave
And that is a kiss from your red wine lips
Then I'll go from your grave

My lips they are as soulless clay
My breath reeks earthy strong
And if you kiss my clay cold lips
Your time will not be long
Go fetch me water from the desert
And blood from out a stone
Go fetch me milk from a fair maid's breast
That young man never has known

Twas down in yonder garden green
Where you and I did walk
The fairest flower that ere was seen
Is now withered to a stalk
The stalk is withered dry my love
An so will hearts decay
So do you be content, my love
Til God calls you away

A stalk has withered dead sweetheart
The flower will ne'er return
And since I've lost my own true love
What can I do but mourn?
When will we meet again, sweetheart
When will we meet again?
When the autumn leaves that fall from the trees
Turn green and spring up again

Cold blows the wind to my true love
And gently drops the rain
I've never had but one true love
In the green-wood he lies slain
In the green-wood he lies slain
Track Name: The Silkie of Skule Skerrie
THE SILKIE OF SKULE SKERRIE traditional

In Norway there sits a maid
Byloo my baby she begins
Little know I my child's father
Or if land or sea he's living in

Then there arose at her bed's feet
Ain grumely guest I'm sure it was he
Saying here am I thy child's father
Although that I'm not comely

I am a man upon the land
And I am a Silkie in the sea
And when I'm in my own country
My dwelling is in Skule Skerrie

Then he has taken a purse of gold
And he has put it upon her knee
Saying give me my little wee son
And I'll teach him for to swim in the sea

And lo you will marry a gunner good
And a proud good gunner I'm sure he will be
And the very first shot that ere he does shoot
He will kill both my young son and me

And lo she did marry a gunner good
And a proud good gunner I'm sure it was he
And the very first shot that ere he did shoot
He killed the son and the Great Silkie

In Norway there sits a maid
Byloo my baby she begins
Little know I my child's father
Or if land or sea he's living in
Track Name: The Cruel Mother
THE CRUEL MOTHER traditional

There was a fair maid lived in York
O’ the rose and the linsey-o
She fell in love with her father’s clerk
Down by the greenwood side-e-o

He courted her for a year and a day
O’ the rose and the linsey-o
Till that young maid he did betray
Down by the greenwood side-e-o

She leaned her back against a thorn
O’ the rose and the linsey-o
And there two little babes were born
Down by the greenwood side-e-o

Smile not so sweet my babes she said
O’ the rose and the linsey-o
If you smile so sweet, you’ll smile me dead
Down by the greenwood side-e-o

She took her penknife, twas keen and sharp
O’ the rose and the linsey-o
And pierced those babes right through the heart
Down by the greenwood side-e-o

She buried them ‘neath earth and stone
O’ the rose and the linsey-o
She turned her back and headed home
Down by the greenwood side-e-o

And as she walked towards her father’s hall
O’ the rose and the linsey-o
She spied two boys a-playing ball
Down by the greenwood side-e-o

She said sweet babes, if thou wert mine
O’ the rose and the linsey-o
I’d dress you up in silks so fine
Down by the greenwood side-e-o

Oh mother dear, when we were thine
O’ the rose and the linsey-o
You did not treat us then so fine
Down by the greenwood side-e-o

She said oh babes, you can tell me sure
O’ the rose and the linsey-o
For my sins what must I endure
Down by the greenwood side-e-o

Seven years to swim as a fish in the flood
O’ the rose and the linsey-o
Seven years to fly as a bird in the wood
Down by the greenwood side-e-o

Seven years to ring as a mourning bell
O’ the rose and the linsey-o
Seven years to burn in the flames of hell
Down by the greenwood side-e-o

Young maidens all, now my warning heed
O’ the rose and the linsey-o
Don’t follow where false lovers lead
Down by the greenwood side-e-o
Track Name: The Old Woman and the Pig
THE OLD WOMAN AND THE PIG traditional

There was an old woman and she had a little pig
Mmmm
There was an old woman and she had a little pig
Mmmm
There was an old woman and she had a little pig
Didn’t cost much cause it wasn’t very big
Mmmm

Now this old woman kept the pig in the barn
Mmmm
This old woman kept the pig in the barn
Mmmm
This old woman kept the pig in the barn
Prettiest little thing she had on the farm
Mmmm

The little old woman fed the pig on clover
Mmmm
The little old woman fed the pig on clover
Mmmm
The little old woman fed the pig on clover
Till it laid down and died all over
Mmmm

The little piggy died cause it couldn’t get it’s breath
Mmmm
The little piggy died cause it couldn’t get it’s breath
Mmmm
The little piggy died cause it couldn’t get it’s breath
Wasn’t that an awful death?
Mmmm

The little old woman she died of grief
Mmmm
The little old woman she died of grief
Mmmm
The little old woman she died of grief
Wasn’t that a sad relief?
Mmmm

The little old man he sobbed and sighed
Mmmm
The little old man he sobbed and sighed
Mmmm
The little old man he sobbed and sighed
Then he too lay down and died
Mmmm

Well that was the end of the one, two, three
Mmmm
Well that was the end of the one, two, three
Mmmm
Well that was the end of the one, two, three
The man and the woman and the little piggy
Mmmm

The good old book lies on the shelf
Mmmm
The good old book lies on the shelf
Mmmm
The good old book lies on the shelf
If you want anymore you can sing it yourself
Mmmm
Track Name: Down in a Willow Garden
DOWN IN A WILLOW GARDEN traditional

Down in a willow garden
Where me and my love did meet
Twas there we sat a’courtin
My love dropped off to sleep

I had a bottle of burgundy wine
Which my true love did not know
And there I poisoned that dear little girl
Down under the banks below

I stabbed her with my dagger
It was a bloody knife
I threw her into the river
It was a dreadful sight

My father often told me
That money would set me free
If I would murder that dear little girl
Whose name was Ruth Connelly

And now he sits by his own cottage door
A’wipin’ his weepin’ eyes
And now he waits for his own dear son
Upon the scaffold high

My race is run beneath the sun
Cruel hell’s now waiting for me
For I have murdered that dear little girl
Whose name was Ruth Connelly
Track Name: Fair Annie of the Lochroyan
FAIR ANNIE OF THE LOCHROYAN traditional

O who will shoe my bonny feet
And who will glove my hand?
And who will kiss my rosy cheek
When you're in some far off land
Your pa will shoe your bonny feet
Your ma will glove your hand
And I will kiss your rosy cheek
When I come back again

O who will build a bonny ship
And set her on the sea?
So that I may go and seek my love
My own Lord Gregory
Then up and spake her father dear
And a wealthy man was he
He will build a bonny ship
And set her on the sea

Yes he has built a bonny ship
To sail upon the sea
The mast it was of the beaten gold
The spars of ivory
They had not sailed but twenty leagues
But twenty leagues and three
When they met with a rank robber
And all of his company

Are you the queen of heaven he cried
Come to pardon all of our sins?
Or are you the Mary Magdalen
That was born at Bethlehem?
I'm not the queen of heaven she cried
Come to pardon all your sins
Nor am I the Mary Magdalen
That was born at Bethlehem

I am the lass of the Lochroyan
Who is sailing o'er the sea
To see if I can find my love
My ain Lord Gregory
Then see ye now yon bonny bower
All covered o'er in thyme?
When ye've sailed it three times round
Lord Gregory is within

So row the boat, my mariners
Until we reach the land
For it's now I see my true love's castle
Close by the salt sea strand
They sailed it round and sailed it round
And long and loud cried she
Now break, now break ye fairy charms
And set my true love free

She's taken her young son in her arms
And to the door she's gone
And long she's knocked and loud she's called
But answer she's got none
Open the door Lord Gregory
Open and let me in
The wind blows cold, blows cold my love
The wet drops from my chin

The shoe is frozen to my foot
The glove unto my hand
The wet lies frozen in my hair
And I can scarcely stand
Then up and spake his ill mother
As ill as she could be
You're not the lass of the Lochrohan
She is far out o'er the sea

Away, away ye ill woman
Ye don't come here for good
You're but some witch who strolls about
Or a mermaid of the flood
Open the door, Lord Gregory
Open the door I pray
For thy young son is in my arms
And will be dead ere day

Ye lie, ye lie, ye ill woman
So loud I hear ye lie
For Annie of the Lochroyan
Is far out o'er the sea
Fair Annie turned her round and about
Well since all this is so
May never a woman who has born a son
Have a heart so full of woe

When the day had dawned and the cock had crowed
And the sun begun to peep
Then up and rose Lord Gregory
And sore, sore did he weep
O, I have dreamed a dream Mother
The thought it grieves me great
That Annie of the Lochroyan
Lay dead at my bed feet

If it be for Annie of the Lochroyan
That you make all of this moan
She stood last night at your bower window
But I have sent her home
O he's gone down unto the shore
To see what he could see
And there he saw Fair Annie's barque
Go roaring o'er the sea

O Annie, O Annie aloud he cried
O Annie, Annie my dear
But all the loud that he did cry
Fair Annie she did not hear
The wind blew hard the waves rose high
And dashed the boat on shore
Fair Annies' corpse was in the foam
The babes' rose nevermore

Then first he kissed her clay cold cheek
And then he kissed her chin
At last he kissed her clay cold lips
That had no breath within
O woe betide my ill Mother!
An ill death may she die
She has not been the death of one
She's been the death of three

Then he pulled out a little dart
That hung down by his side
And thrust it through and through his heart
Then he lay down and died
Track Name: Pretty Polly
PRETTY POLLY traditional

Polly, pretty Polly come go along with me
Polly, pretty Polly come go along with me
Before we get married some pleasure to see

William oh William I'm afraid of your ways
William oh William I'm afraid of your ways
I fear you will lead my poor body astray

Polly, pretty Polly you're guessing just right
Polly, pretty Polly you're guessing just right
I dug on your grave by the full moon last night

She stepped a few steps further and what did she spy
She stepped a few steps further and what did she spy
But a new duggen grave with a shovel lying by

She wept and she pleaded, begged for her life
Wept and she pleaded, she begged for her life
Bur his eyes showed no mercy, as he drew out his knife

He stabbed her in her heart, and her hearts blood did flow
He stabbed her in her heart, and her hearts blood did flow
And into the grave pretty Polly she did go

He threw a little dirt over her and started for home
He threw a little dirt over her and started for home
Leaving none but the wind and the wild birds to mourn

It's a debt to the devil young William must pay
It's a debt to the devil young William must pay
For killing pretty Polly and running away

Polly, pretty Polly come go along with me
Polly, pretty Polly come go along with me
Before we get married some pleasure to see
Track Name: Little Matty Groves
LITTLE MATTY GROVES traditional


One day, one day, one high holy day
The best day of the year
When all good folk to the church did go
The gospel for to hear

Now the first lady down come dressed in red
The next came dressed in green
Lord Arlen’s wife was all in white
As fair as any queen

And when the meeting it was done
She cast her eye about
And there she saw Little Matty Groves
A'standin' in the crowd

Come home with me Little Matty Groves
Come home with me tonight
Come home with me Little Matty Groves
And lie with me this night

Oh, I won't go home, no I can't go home
Oh I dare not, for my life
By the rings on your fingers I can tell
You are Lord Arlen’s wife

Tis true, I am Lord Arlen’s wife
But Lord Arlen, he's not home
He is gone off to the far corn field
To bring the cattle home

Now a servant who was standing by
He heard all that was said
And he swore Lord Arlen he would know
Before the sun was set

All in his haste to carry the news
He filled his breast and ran
And when he came to the broad mill stream
Took off his shoes and swam

When he climbed up on the green green grass
He took to his heels and run
Until he came to Lord Arlen’s gate
Where he loudly knocked and rung

Get up! Get up! Lord Arlen, he cried
And hear the news I've brung
Little Matty Groves lies with your lady wife
And their hearts beat as one

Is this the truth you tell to me?
Or dare you to speak some lie?
You'll be a rich man ere it is day
Or you'll hang from the tree so high

Lord Arlen summoned up his men
His horn blew loud and shrill
And away they rode with all good speed
To his castle on the hill

Now Little Matty Groves, he had laid him down
And he took a little sleep
And he woke to find Lord Alen there
A'standin' at his bed feet

Saying: How do you like my feather bed?
How do you like my sheets?"
And how do you like my lady wife
who lies in your arms asleep?

Very well do I like your feather bed
Very well do I like your sheets
But better do I like your lady wife
Who lies in my arms asleep

Get up! Get up! Lord Arlen, he cried
Get dressed as quick as you can
Let it never be said in all England fair
That I slew a naked man

O I won't get up, no I can't get up
Oh I dare not for my life
For you have two fine beating swords
And I've not a pocket-knife

Tis true, I've two fine beating swords
They cost me deep in purse
But you shall choose the better of them
And I will take the worse

Then do you strike the very first blow
And strike it like a man
And i will strike the very next blow
And I'll kill you if I can

Little Matty struck the very first blow
But he hit Lord Arlen’s sword
Lord Arlen struck the very next blow
Matty Groves, he struck no more

And then Lord Arlen took his wife
And set her on his knee
Saying who do you like the better of us now
Little Matty Groves or me?

Then up and spoke Lord Arlen’s wife
Never had she spake so free
I'd rather one kiss from dead Matty's lips
Than you and all your finery

Lord Arlen jumped up in a rage
And loudly he did bawl
He stabbed his dear wife through the heart
And pinned her against the wall

A grave, a grave, Lord Arlen, he cried
To put these lovers in
But bury my lady at the top
For she was of noble kin

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