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The Snow Is On the Ground

from Fond Desire Farewell by Debra Cowan



traditional-From the singing of Jeff Warner

Collected from Eleazer Tillett by Jeff's parents, Anne and Frank Warner, this song conveys to me that special beauty that only winter can bring. In Tillett's version, the second line reads “And the birds is all dropped from the trees”. We decided to go back to the song titled “Remember the Poor” from the Forget Me Not Songster for the original lyric. Other changes made in the lyrics came from another version of the song performed by the New England-based quartet Nowell Sing We Clear.


Cold winter is come with its cold chilling breath
And the verdure's all dropped from the trees
All nature seems touched by the finger of death
And the streams are beginning to freeze
When the hills and the dales are all covered with white
And Flora attends us no more
When you are enjoying a good fire-side
Will you grumble to think on the poor?

When the north wind's ascending and chilling the ground
And the sportsmen again shooting go
And the happy young lads o'er the rivers can slide
And the icicles hang at your door
When our lips and our fingers are trembling with cold
And the rivers are froze on the shore
When the bright twinkling stars they proclaim the cold night
It's the time to remember the poor

When the poor harmless hare is tracked to the woods
With his footsteps indented in snow
And the robin red breast he approaches your cot
And in danger the traveler goes
When your minds are annoyed by the wide swelling flood
And the bridges are useful no more
When your bowl warms with something reviving and hot
Will you grumble to think on the poor

Soon a day it will come when our Saviour we'll see
All nations shall join in one voice
All the world shall unite to salute the sweet 'morn
All the ends of the earth shall rejoice
When grim death's deprived of his killing sting
And the grave rules triumphant no more
Saints, angels and men hallelujah shall sing
That's the time to remember the poor
Saints, angels and men hallelujah shall sing
Then the rich must remember the poor


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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