Judy Collins – Liverpool Lullaby

• “Liverpool Lullaby” set to a themed picture montage. Thanks to Ian Warren.

8.6 “Excellent Folk from the USA”

From her album “In My Life” released in 1966.

I’ve always meant to check out some of Judy’s work and never quite seemed to get around to it, but when I heard her version of “Liverpool Lullaby” on 6Music last year, I was spurred on to download the housing album which I’ve rated 7.75 (“brilliant”). My album review will feature on my Album Chart of 1966, hopefully within the next several weeks.

On the set in question, the Denver-based Folk singer took a turn towards a more tasteful and eclectic production, including covers of Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, Kurt Weill, Jacques Brel, Randy Newman, Donovan and The Beatles, but it’s her version of Stan Bootle’s ode to the harsh realities of the old Scouse working classes which steals my maximum affection.

Originally a 19th century traditional, “Liverpool Lullaby” was rewritten by Stan and first released by Jacqueline and Bridie in 1964.

The booklet in the CD reissue of the Three City Four’s 1965 album “The Three City Four” wrote:

Stan Kelly is a Liverpudlian who was prominent in the early days of the British folksong revival as a singer and songmaker. He has a close feel for the traditional idiom plus a wry sense of humour that gives edge to his serious songs. This one is a good instance. It is based on a Tyneside song [Sandgate Dandling Song] written by Robert Nunn (1808-1853), a blind fiddler, to a traditional tune called Dollia:

When daddy’d drunk he’ll take a knife
And threaten sair to take my life.
Who wouldn’t be a keelman’s wife
To have a man like Johnny?

Stan Kelly has reshaped the song in modern Liverpool terms without sacrificing any of its character and without parodying it.

In typical Scouse fashion, Stan’s lyrics are at once sad, poignant and hilarious

When Littlewoods provides the cash
We’ll get a house in Knotty Ash
And buy your dad a brewery

Same story in any Northern industrial town methinks!

Get it at Amazon.

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