Willy Taylor

from by Rosie Hodgson

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We've set the words of Willy Taylor to a traditional tune transcribed by Ralph Vaughan Williams, but managed to preserve the chorus from the original tune in the form of a fiddle fill. Since then, we have found the same melody on Fay Hield's fantastic album 'Orfeo'. Did someone say 'living tradition'?!


Willy Taylor and his youthful lover,
Full of mirth and loyalty,
They were going to the church to be married,
He was pressed and sent on sea,

She dressed up just up like a sailor,
On her breast she wore a star,
Her beautiful fingers long and slender,
She gave them all just a smear of tar.

On this ship there being a skirmish,
She being one amongst the rest,
The silver buttons flew off her jacket,
There appeared her snow white breast.

Said the captain to this fair maid,
"What misfortune took you here?"
"I'm in search of my true lover,
Whom you pressed on the other year."

"If you're in search of your true lover,
Pray come tell to me his name."
"Willy Taylor they do call him,
But Fitzgerald is his name."

"Get you up tomorrow morning,
Early as the break of day,
There you'll spy your Willy Taylor,
Walking along with his lady gay."

She got up the very next morning,
Early as the break of day,
There she spied her Willy Taylor
Walking along with his lady gay.

She took out a brace of pistols
That she had at her command,
There she shot her Willy Taylor
With his bride at his right hand.

When the Captain came to hear it,
Of the deed that she had done,
He made her a ship's commander,
Over a vessel for the Isle of Man.


from Rise Aurora, released December 1, 2016
Words & music traditional.



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Rosie Hodgson England, UK

Rosie is a folk singer/songwriter from Midhurst, West Sussex. Having grown up surrounded by traditional music, her voice possesses a naturalness and maturity, bringing "a ruby-richness to lyrics new and old". (Folk Radio UK)

Rosie is currently working with fiddle player Rowan Piggott.
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