Song of the Day, June 27: If My Love Loves Me by June Tabor and Oysterband

TabOysterLoveLoveToday’s song is an old tune that puts a surprising twist on a traditional theme. When June Tabor and Oysterband reunited for their second shared outing, Ragged Kingdom, they wanted to explore the “mystery, magic, and mayhem” in traditional and modern folk. One of the standouts in their selections is If My Love Loves Me.

It’s a very old song (Roud 30), also known as Willie’s Lyke-Wake. Considered extinct in Britain, it remained a popular folk song in Scandinavia, returning to Scotland in fragmentary form in the early 20th Century. It tells the tale of an insecure lover and a plot to find out if love is true. Unusually, the schemer is the man, who fakes his own death to see if the woman he loves cares enough to come to his wake. When she kisses the “corpse” he springs up and declares his undying love. Macabre indeed, but compellingly constructed.

Tabor turns in an elegant vocal, and the Oysters propel the song with charming urgency. The result easily lives up to their mission statement, a standout in both musical catalogs.

Enjoy this delightful 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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