Willy O’Winsbury

The first recorded version of Willie O’Winsbury was by Andy Irvine in 1968 on the Sweeney’s Men eponymous album. According to Andy; “This is Child 100. I collected the words from different versions and as the story goes, on looking up the tune, I lighted on the tune to number 101. I’m not sure if this is true but it’s a good story”. It is rumoured that Andy wrote the tune himself. I wouldn’t be surprised as the man is a genius.

Fairport Convention recorded “Farewell, Farewell” in 1969 ,with lyrics written by Richard Thompson, to the tune used on the Sweeney’s Men version.

John Renbourn recorded a version in 1971 on his album Faro Annie.

Anne Briggs recorded a version for her eponymous album in 1971 too. I work part time as a drayman & once listened to this version 6 times in succession & then had to park up to wipe the tears from my eyes.

Pentangle recorded a version in 1972 on their Solomon’s Seal album

Paul Giovanni wrote an instrumental version for the procession scene of The Wicker Man.

This Richard Thompson live performance from 1989 is brilliant.

The song is Child Ballad 100 It is a traditional Scottish ballad that dates from at least 1775, and is known under a number of different names, including Lord Thomas of Winesberry.

There are numerous recorded versions.


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1 Comment

  1. The Anais Mitchell and Jefferson Hamer is also really lovely and worth checking out if by any chance you’re not familiar…


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