this is gonna be weird

minnow at minnow at
Mon Nov 22 11:04:34 EST 2004

>On Mon, 22 Nov 2004 minnow at wrote:
>> It's like Little Matty Groves, another version of which I was told as a
>> child by a woman in Corbridge; it helps to know that [a] Matty had been
>> her lover before he went off to the wars and was Missing In Action
>> Presumed Dead [2] she was pregnant when he left, and [3] there were two
>> Lords Donal, father (who killed her) and son (who had married her
>> because he was Matty's best friend and she was in trouble).

Kyla replied:

>Oh, interesting. Of course, the version of Little Matty Groves I know is
>the drastically shortened, talked version on Frank Hayes's album "Never
>Set the Cat on Fire," and has things like "and now we come to the portion
>where they get undressed. All forty-seven verses of it." Reciting the
>Frank Hayes version is one of my parlor tricks, although I haven't done it
>in years now.

The line "Come here often?  What's your sign? and off they went to bed"
sums up exactly what it is that is wrong with the song in its Fairport
Convention incarnation, really.  It does need the back-story to make any
sort of sense apart from "Everyone in this song is stark raving nuts".

The fire alarm went off at one in the morning at a convention back in the
1980s, and with splendid unanimity the entire circle of late-night filkers
(including Gordie Dickson) said "O-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o--oH *shit*" with the
exact Frank Hayes intonation.  (Not the rising to soprano one, the other.)

When it was discovered that it was a false alarm caused by someone in the
Health Club in the basement, the words "stupid Scottish git" were clearly
audible from at least three places in the huddled groups of peeved and
pyjamaed people, too.


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