Constant Billy

Last spring my friend Michael, who is a regular at the South East London Folklore Society, sold me a compact disc of recordings of William Kimber. William Kimber was an Oxfordshire Morris Dance & Anglo Concertina player who was a key figure in the 20th century Morris revival. Kimber first met Cecil Sharp in 1899 & they had a long association & friendship.

The CD was of old interviews with Kimber & archive recordings of his playing. I grew up in Wimborne, East Dorset, which has an annual folk & morris festival which was a calendar event when I was growing up. The tune Constant Billy leapt out at me. The song collector Kidson identified this tune as a late 17th century song popular with morris sides & very much a standard.

There are very similar Highland & Irish tunes from the 18th century so it is hard to give a definitive source. I like it very much & am putting an arrangement in my repertoire.

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