the song
title : Lemady
written by : traditional, arranged by Martin Green, Eliza Carthy and Saul Rose
song copyright : none; arrangement : Martin Green, Eliza Carthy and Saul Rose (copyright control)

the performance
musicians
Eliza Carthy joint lead vocal
Martin Green piano-keyed accordion
with :
Eddi Reader joint lead vocal
music
key : modal F major
time-signature : slow 6/8
tempo : quaver: MM 92
form : V V ¼v V v V V Vx
lyrics

Lemady

as I was a-walking one midsummer’s morning
fields and the meadows were covered with green
birds were sweetly singing, so pleasant and so charming
early in the morning by the break of the day

“hark!” says the fair maid “the nightingales are singing
birds they are winging their notes up in the air
small birds and turtle-doves on every bough are building
day is just a-glimmering, arise my dear”

– brief vocalise

“rise up my fair one and pick your love a posy
it’s the fairest flower that ever my eyes did see
it’s I will pick you posies, both lily-white pinks and roses
there’s none so fair a flower as the lad I adore”

– vocalise

“Lemady, Lemady, you are a lovely creature
you’re the fairest flower that ever my eyes did see
I’ll play you a tune all on the pipes of ivory
early in the morning by the break of the day”

“why should my true love go banish from me
or if he should die I would never see him more
it was my cruel parents that looked so slightly on me
because of the colour that my true love wears”

“Lemady, Lemady, you are a lovely creature
you’re the fairest flower that ever my eyes did see
I’ll play you a tune all on the pipes of ivory
early in the morning by the break of the day”

Lemady, Lemady
Lemady, Lemady

explanations
I haven’t been able to find out much about this folk song: whilst the lack of a consistent ‘focus’ (he/she/it) of verses is quite common in folk song, what we seem to have here is a combination of standard elements of lovers’ complaints

the designation of the girl, ‘Lemady’ is also unusual: possibly it derives from an alteration of ‘my lady’ or from the old word ‘leman’ meaning a lover or sweetheart (or from a mixture of both – “the answer’s a leman”!)

as this is a vocal duet none of the above text is marked as backing vocal (see the commentary below!)

the recording
personnel
produced by : Martin Green & Eliza Carthy?
recorded by : Jon Wilkinson at The Steam Rooms, London
mixed by : Jon Wilkinson at The Steam Rooms, London
mastered by : ? in ?
technical
signal path : DDD
track timing : 4:37
song timing : 4:34
released on
album : Dinner track 7

commentary
Eliza and Eddi effectively double up to sing lead on the only vocal track on the album: Eliza sings the main melody and Eddi provides a counterpoint, often parallel in thirds or unison; the short vocalise passages are freer and include solo flights