Monday, January 18, 2016

Songs of Renown: Martin Simpson and Martin Taylor's One Day, in memory of Taylor's son.

One Day is a song composed by the UK jazz guitarist Martin Taylor as a tribute to his son Stewart Taylor, who took his own life in 2005, aged just 21.

Taylor composed the tune and melody for the song and write a few words, which he then passed onto his friend, the UK folk/traditional guitarist Martin Simpson, who expanded the melody and wrote the lyrics.

Martin Simpson recorded the full song on his 2009 album True Stories.

Simpson's version is a profoundly moving and beautiful tribute to Martin Taylor's son.

When asked about the song, Martin Simpson said: 

“I’m still kind of reeling from that whole experience, of being asked to do that. It was an extraordinary thing to ask me to do, really. He had faith in me, which was really delightful. It could have been very difficult and might have failed completely. Apart from anything else, finding out about the twin oak trees was really an extraordinary gift.”

The song draws upon Martin Taylor's Gypsy heritage and the lyrics refer to the Gypsy tradition whereby a deceased child is buried with an acorn in each hand.

"The twin oaks in the hedgerow, they grow strong from such sadness,
Grown from the grave of a lost Gypsy child,
The leaves and the long grass they whisper your name, my Romany Chavo
So dear and so wild."

More information on the song and Simpson's version is here, here and here.

Earlier blog pieces featuring Martin Simpson are here.

A live instrumental version by Martin Taylor, prepared for the Japanese's Earthquake and Tsunami Appeal, is here

A home video version of Martin Simpson playing and singing the song live is here:

Another live version of Martin Taylor playing the song on ABC Radio is here

One Day

Well my heart is broken
for I loved you so dearly
you're my romany charl
my dear gypsy boy

But the life that we shared
it was gone in a moment
and with it all pleasure
and with it all joy

You rode a horse like a king
and you sang like an angel
but it bought you no peace
by night and by day

When sunlight burns cruel
and moonlight shines balefully
there would be nowhere to go
and no reason to stay

You rode a horse like a king
and I watched you so proudly
with my heart in my mouth
afraid you might fall
and when the fall came
there was no-one could catch you
no one could help you
no one at all

The twin oaks in the hedgerow
they grow strong from such sadness
drawn from the grave
of a lost gypsy child

and the leaves and the long grass
they whisper your name
my romany chavel
so near and so wild

One day I will hear hoofbeats
and not grieve for the rider
and the song you sing
will bring peace and not pain
and the fields where you rode
on your pushty ride
will bloom with the promise of laughter again

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