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"Matty Groves" is an ancient ballad following the time-old plot of seduction (aristocratic lady and commoner whereby the lady is the chief instigator), marital disloyalty and retribution in the form of a duel with the marriage breaker and homicide of the disloyal wife by the jealous and vengeful husband.
There are numerous versions and the version I would love sing is to be found amongst those collected by Cecil Sharp whereby the scene is set in Scotland. Sadly its 30 verses make it much too long for "sophisticated" audiences so I have to make do with a shortened version, which I found in a popular German songbook. This version has only 18 verses and is set in England and appears to the most commonly sung today as I have found it at many sites on the Internet. Even so this shortened version requires some 6 minutes if plentiful theatrical gestures are thrown in. I have to keep varying my voice volume and tempo as its monotonous character can send non-English speaking listeners off to deep slumber.
"Matty Groves" has been recorded by:
Fairport Convention on "Liege And Lief" CD(s) & MP3 Album(s)
Fairport Convention on "In Real Time, Live '87" CD(s) & MP3 Album(s)
Various Artists on "The Best of British Folk"
Various Artists on "Troubadours Of British Folk: Vol. 2"
Fairport Convention on "Old New Borrowed Blue"
Fairport Convention on "Cropredy Festival"
Geoff Grainger on "Ditty Box"