There was a small Twitter discussion last week where we decided to do a song focussing on a more “hard” character. The Pretty Drummer boy was suggested and will certainly be done by us soon. But we decided to focus on Dick Turpin: the famous highwayman. The song is called Turpin Hero.
Myself and Becca heard this song being performed on a BBC documentary about Highway men called Britain’s Outlaws: Highwaymen, Pirates & Rogues. The song was performed by presenter Dr Sam Willis and folk musician Jim Causley and we loved the feel of the song so made a snap decision to quickly learn it.
The song is number 621 in the Roud index and first seen in print as an 1850s broadside (see below)
Image taken from http://www.vwml.org (efdss)
The song starts with Turpin meeting a lawyer on the road and tricking him into telling him where he has hidden his gold (stitched into the seams of his cloak) and ends with his final demise after being arrested for shooting a fighting cock in a drunken rage. We have kept the style of the song that Willis & Causley had with it (as well as a recent recording by Jake Bugg); adding only a slightly quicker tempo and a second set of vocals, that’s right, I’m bloody singing!!
Hope you enjoy this week’s song, and our fancy new setting 😉