The Best of the Bunch – A Discography of Walter Pardon’s recordings

Compiled by Chris Holderness, May 2021

Walter Pardon (1914-96) of Knapton in Norfolk was a highly regarded singer who was ‘discovered’ later in life after he had amassed a large repertoire of songs, most of which were learned from his family, and came to wider notice through albums released of his music and public performances. He probably needs little introduction in that respect.

Walter was born in a cottage in Knapton and lived in the same house all his life. He carried on singing songs old songs in isolation, in his own home, for a great many years until he was persuaded to record some of them by his cousin Roger Dixon. This tape was passed onto local revival singer Peter Bellamy who, in turn, brought Walter to the attention of record producer Bill Leader. The rest, as they say, is history… Walter was recorded by Leader and Mike Yates extensively in the 1970s and also by Jim Carroll and Pat MacKenzie. Four LP records of his singing, and occasional melodeon playing, were released in his lifetime. These brought wider recognition of his music and led to many public performances, as well as a trip to America in 1976. He became a greatly respected and influential singer as a consequence.

A Proper Sort Leader LED2063, 1972
The Poacher’s Fate; Let the Wind Blow High or Low; Old Brown’s Daughter;   The Rambling Blade; Van Diemen’s Land; The Dark-Eyed Sailor; The Trees They Do Grow High; A Ship to Old England Came; The Miller and his Sons; The British Man O’War; Jack Tar Ashore

Our Side of the Baulk Leader LED2111, 1977
The Pretty Ploughboy; Up to the Rigs; I’ll Beat the Drum Again (The Female Drummer); Down by the Dark Arches; Grace Darling; You Generals All (Lord Marlborough); I’ll Hang my Harp on the Willow Tree; The Wreck of the Ramillies; Jones’ Ale; The Old Miser; Balaclava

A Country Life Topic 12TS392, 1982
Raggle-Taggle Gypsies; Peggy Bawn; The Bold Princess Royal; One Cold Morning in December; The Devil and the Farmer’s Wife; An Old Man’s Advice; Uncle Walter’s Tune (melodeon); A Country Life; Cupid the Ploughboy; The Dandy Man; Jack Hall; I Wish, I Wish; Broomfield Hill; The Hungry Army

Bright Golden Store Home-Made Music HMM LP301, 1983
Caroline and her Young Sailor Bold; Blow the Winds -I-O; Naughty Jemima Brown; Old Joe the Boat is Going Over (melodeon); Come Little Leaves; The Parson and the Clerk; Bright Golden Store; Two Jolly Butchers; Thornaby Woods; Rakish Young Fellow; Uncle Walter’s March (melodeon); Poor Smuggler’s Boy; Hold the Fort; Rosin-a-Beau

Compilation LPs
An English Folk Music Anthology Folkways FE38553
The Deserter; Lord Lovel; The Maid of Australia

A World Without Horses Topic TSCD514, 2000
The Rambling Blade; The Lawyer (Mowing the Barley); The Bold Fisherman; The Dark-Eyed Sailor; Talk about ownership of songs; The Bush of Australia; Female Drummer; The Bold princess Royal; The Banks of Sweet Dundee; The Deserter; The Trees They Grow High; Two Jolly Butchers; The Loss of the Ramillies; The Handsome Cabin Boy; The Pretty Ploughboy; The Cunning Cobbler; The Devil and the Farmer’s Wife; The British Man O’War; The Jolly Waggoner; The Rakish Young Fellow

Put a Bit of Powder on it, Father Musical Traditions MTCD305/6, 2000
CD 1: Cupid the Ploughboy; A Country Life; The Poor Smuggler’s Boy; I’m Yorkshire Though in London; Seventeen Come Sunday; The Parson and the Clerk; Blow the Winds-I-O; Hold the Fort; All Among the Barley; Black-Eyed Susan; Caroline and her Young Sailor Bold; Lord Lovel; The Skipper and his Boy; Thornaby Woods; An Old Man’s Advice; If I Were a Blackbird; The Bonny Bunch of Roses-O; The Green Bushes; Polly Vaughan; The Saucy Sailor; Little Ball of Yarn; The Huntsman (Tally Ho, Hark Away)

CD 2: Put a Bit of Powder on it, Father; The Cuckoo; Old Joe the Boat is Going Over (melodeon); Cock-a-Doodle-Do; The Harland Road / Wheel Your P’rambulator; Ben Bolt; Uncle Walter’s Tune (melodeon); Two Lovely Black Eyes; Alice Grey; Rosin-a-Beau; Not for Joseph, Not for Joe; The Old Armchair; The Marble Arch; Wake Up Johnny / When the Cock Begins to Crow / Saving Them All for Mary / Down By the Old Abbey Ruins; The Mistletoe Bough; On a See-Saw (melodeon); Your Faithful Sailor Boy; Here’s to the Grog; Nancy Lee; Up the Chimney Pot / Slave Driving Farmers / Bound to Emigrate to New Zealand; Husband Taming; Uncle Walter’s March (melodeon); If I Ever Get Drunk Again; Naughty Jemima Brown; The Dandy Man; For Me, For Me; While Shepherds Watched

Compilation CDs
Hidden English Topic TSCD600, 1996  
The Broomfield Wager

A Century of Song: A Celebration of Traditional Singers since 1898 EFDSS CD02, 1998
Bright Golden Store

Root and Branch 1  EFDSS CD 1   
Won’t you Come to Me in Canada?

Stepping it Out Veteran VTC1CD  
Sons of Labour

When the Wind Blows Veteran VTC5CD   
The Topman and the Afterguard; Spanish Ladies

It Was on a Market Day: Two Veteran VTC7CD 
Black-Eyed Susan

Topic Records Voice of the People Series

Vol 1: Come Let Us Buy The Licence TSCD651  
Peggy Bawn    (rec. Knapton, 1978)

Vol 2: My Ship Shall Sail the Ocean TSCD652 
A Ship to Old England Came; Jack Tar Ashore   (both rec. Knapton, 1974)

Vol 4: Farewell, My Own Dear Native Land TSCD654 
Van Dieman’s Land   (rec. Knapton, 1974)

Vol 6: Tonight I’ll Make You My Bride TSCD656  
Raggle-Taggle Gypsies   (rec. Knapton, 1975)

Vol 10: Who’s That at My Bedroom Window? TSCD660 
Let the Winds Blow High or Low   (rec. Knapton, 1974)

Vol 14: Troubles They Are But Few TSCD664
The Hungry Army   (rec. Knapton, 1978)

Vol 15: As Me and my Love Sat Courting TSCD665     
I Wish, I Wish; One Cold Morning in December   (both rec. Knapton, 1978)

Vol 17: It Fell on a Day, a Bonny Summer Day TSCD667 
Jack Hall   (rec. Knapton, 1976)

Vol 18: To Catch a Fine Buck Was my Delight TSCD668
The Poacher’s Fate  (rec. Knapton, 1974)

Up to the Rigs People’s Stage Tapes 11
At Rambling Green; Balaclava; Down By the Dark Arches; I’ll Hang My Harp on a Willow Tree; The Maid of Australia; Old Brown’s Daughter; The Parson and the Clerk; The Pretty Ploughboy; The Rakish Young Fellow; The Reason Why (One Cold Morning in December); The Rich Irish Girl (Let the Winds Blow High or Low); Up to the Rigs of London Town; Van Diemen’s Land

Walter Pardon was extensively recorded in the 1970s, with these releases giving a very full picture of the artistry of one of England’s finest traditional singers. The CD material on Topic, Veteran and Musical Traditions labels is still in print and easily available, ensuring that nearly all of his recorded repertoire can still be heard.

Chris Holderness, May 2021          
For the East Anglian Traditional Music Trust