The Best of Nowell Sing We Clear, 1975-1986 – CD


GHM-202 (remastered 1989)
Recorded by Bill Spence at The Eldron Fennig Folk Museum of American Ephemera
and St. Mark’s Community Center, Guilderland Center NY
Cover design by Mark Schmidt
Produced by John Roberts & Tony Barrand

  • Nowell Sing We Clear (FHR 013, recorded January 1976) Tracks 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 12 & 19
  • The Second Nowell (FHR 026, recorded December 1979) Tracks 1, 2, 14, 15, 18, 21 & 22
  • Nowell Sing We Clear, Vol.3 (FHR 036, recorded February 1985) Tracks 3, 6, 10, 11, 13, 16, 17 & 20

This entire compilation was previously released as Front Hall FHR-301



Click titles to see the lyrics

1. A Child this Day is Born 2:55
2. While Shepherds Watched 2:37
3. Leaping And Dancing 3:20
4. The Cherry Tree Carol 3:30
5. Sussex Carol 1:44
6. The Carnal And The Crane/King Herod And The Cock/The Miraculous Harvest 5:36
7. Coventry Carol 1:41
8. The Bitter Withy 2:31
9. The Holly And The Ivy 2:58
10. Green Grow’th The Holly 1:46
11. Winter/Spring 1:37
12. Rise Up Jock (Bob Pegg) 5:17
13. Gower Wassail 2:17
14. Gloucestershire Wassail 4:01
15. Apple Tree Wassail/The Derby Ram 4:40
16. Sherburne (“Original” Version) Lyrics ©1949 St. Nicholas Music, Inc. 1:44
17. Kris Kringle 3:23
18. The Cutty Wren 3:30
19. An Orkney New Year’s Carol 2:16
20. Carol For New Year’s Day 4:02
21. The Wren (The King) 1:30
22. Lord Of The Dance (Sydney Carter) 3:00
Total Time 68:46

In the summer of 1975, dance musicians Fred Breunig and Steve Woodruff moved to southern Vermont and teamed up with the singing duo of John Roberts and Tony Barrand. Nowell Sing We Clear was first performed in December of that same year. I conceived of it as a traveling road show which could visit small communities on a regular basis to broaden the range of music and custom to which people had access in the joyous midwin ter season. The program explores and reveals the active and still vital themes of the birth of Jesus and the celebration of the return of the light at the winter solstice. The combined interests and skills of the performers in contra and morris dancing and in ballads and bawdry afforded an unusual approach to Christmas music.
Tony Barrand.

This recording is a compilation of songs from the first three volumes of Nowell Sing We Clear spanning the period from January 1977 to February 1985. Some of the songs were recorded in our living room, and others during a concert in Guilderland Center, NY, sponsored by Old Songs, Inc. It was a pleasant surprise to discover how consistent the sound and performance quality is. Perhaps the world doesn’t change as much as we think it does. Of course, we’re dealing here with Christmas and Chrstmastide, a time which has affected us in pretty much the same way for a long time. It has always been our hope that the tradition of Nowell Sing We Clear will become part of your Christmas tradition.
Bill spence, Front Hall Records.

Additional information

Weight 2.3 oz
Dimensions 5.5 × 5 × .25 in
Go to Top