A young girl in ragged clothes with Ash-blond hair, and half a song.

Christmas carols 3


Carols really are fascinating. Many have their own individual stories, many are bundled up in their time, sometimes the history has been lost to us. We know the familiar stories about the origins of Silent Night (the organ broke down, so Gruber had to compose a new hymn. It’s not really true, but a great story), and the supposed Jacobite origins of Adeste Fidelis, but here’s a rather lovely story about a rather haunting American carol, “I wonder as I wander”.

It was discovered in North Carolina, buy John Jacob Niles, who like Vaughn Williams was a folk song collector. He was in his early thirties when he was song collecting in the Appalacians.

He was in the town of Murphy in North Carolina, a town which had grown up pretty quick and industrial, but this was the early thirties, the time of the Great Depression. There was a squatting…

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Priest, Dad, A long way away. You can call me Father Father Father.
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