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Salisbury Plain

from Fond Desire Farewell by Debra Cowan

supported by


traditional-from the singing of A.L. Lloyd

Collected by Ralph Vaughn Williams in 1904, this song appears in the Penguin Book of English Folk Songs, co-authored by Lloyd and RVW.


As I walked over Salisbury Plain
There I met a scamping young blade
He kissed me and enticed me so
'Til along with him I was forced for to go

We came upon an inn at last
There for man and wife we did pass
He called for ale, wine and strong beer
'Til at length we both to bed did repair

“Undress yourself, my darling,” says he
“Undress yourself, and come sleep with me”
“Yes, I will,” then says she
“If you will keep all those flash girls away.”

“Those flash girls you say you need not fear
For you'll be safely guarded, my dear
I'll maintain you a lady so gay
For I'll go a-robbing on the highway”

Early next morning my love he arose
So nimbly he put on his clothes
Straight to the highway he did set sail
And 'twas there he robbed the coach of the mail

It's now my love in Newgate Jail do lie
Waiting each moment for to die
The Lord have mercy on his poor soul
For I think I hear the death-bell do toll


from Fond Desire Farewell, released April 28, 2009
Arranged and Produced by Dave Mattacks

Debra Cowan: Vocals, Acoustic guitar on “Wall...” “Night Owl...” “Salisbury...”, English Concertina on “Rainbow”, “Night Owl”
Dave Mattacks: Drums, Cymbals, Percussion, Piano, Pump Organ, Hammered Dulcimer, Wurlitzer Piano, Toy Piano
Duke Levine: Acoustic Guitar, Mandola, National Guitar, Octave Mandolin Marty Ballou: Upright Bass Joyce Andersen: Fiddle

With: Billy Novick: Clarinet and Wolf Ginandes:Tuba on “Alcohol”
Additional Vocals: Mike Barry on “Rainbow”, “Lili...” and “Yon Green Valley”
Ruth Peterson, Mike and Julie Barry on “Darkest Hour...” Mike, Julie and Liam Barry on “Lili...”


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Debra Cowan Shrewsbury, Massachusetts

Singer Debra Cowan performs a cappella and with guitar, interpreting a wide range of folk songs. Debra has two acclaimed solo recordings to her credit, and her third, “Fond Desire Farewell” was produced by former Fairport Convention drummer Dave Mattacks. A former California resident, she now resides in Massachusetts and tours all over North America and the United Kingdom. ... more

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