Song of the Day, August 31: Herring Song by Eliza Carthy

Today’s song is Herring Song by Eliza Carthy. The daughter of folk legends Norma Waterson and Martin Carthy, Eliza is a gifted fiddler, singer, and songwriter in her own right. After starting her career in her early teens working with her parents, she recorded a handful of albums of mostly traditional music with Nancy Kerr, the Kings of Callicutt, and as a solo artist. Her breakout album was the daring, electrifying double release Red Rice in 1998. This album mixed very traditional tunes, traditional songs reinvented with jazz or pop interpretations, amazing original work, and brilliant covers.

This song, also known as Bolliton Sands or The Red Herring, is a traditional tune approached with delightful simplicity. Part of a tradition of repeating and counting songs, it celebrates the various parts of an especially large and wonderful herring and the ways those parts can be used until “I have no more of my herring to sing.”

So what do you think they made of his head?
The finest oven that ever baked bread
Sing herring, sing head, sing oven, sing bread
And indeed I have more of my herring to sing

Eliza and her band are spot on and the joy they present in the singing of this silly celebration is infectious. Treat yourself to Herring Song today.


About Robert Hulshof-Schmidt
Freelance writer, researcher, online comic vendor, and project manager. Fan of a wide range of music -- especially folk and 80s pop -- vintage comics, British TV, and LGBT fiction.

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