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The Lakes of Cold Finn

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Place Collected: Didbrook
Date collected: 1927-1935
Roud Number: 189

A widely-collected song on both sides of the Atlantic, although Mr Nightingale’s version is the only one to surface in Gloucestershire. The song was printed on broadsides and possibly dates back to the 1820s but cannot be traced any earlier than that. Although on the surface it appears to be a song about a straightforward drowning accident, there are clues as to unspoken dangers. It is as if we are not being told the whole story. But perhaps that is merely due to the powerful tunes and the amount of detail expended on a seemingly simple, if tragic, occurrence. Nevertheless, the story continues to have a hold on traditional singers.


Notes by Gwilym Davies and Jon Lighter