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In the Footsteps of the Vagabond

Traditional Music inspired by important places in John Bradburne's life - Cumbria, Devon, Norfolk and Zimbabwe.  Arranged and performed by Phil Berthoud, with help from his wife Mahrey (vocals, recorder), son Louis (drums and percussion, daughter Rhianna (artwork) and her partner Billy Tucker (mixing and mastering).

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100% of profits go to

Mutemwa Leprosy Settlement

  1. The King’s Head Hornpipe (The King's Head Hornpipe; The Elterwater Hornpipe)

  2. Skirwith, Cumberland (John Bradburne poem set to Untitled Air from Cumbria)

  3. A Starry Night for a Ramble (The Old Garden Gate; Starry Night for a Ramble)

  4. Seventeen Come Sunday

  5. Woodland Flowers (Woodland Flowers; The Ulverstone Volunteers)

  6. Cumberland Nelly

  7. Bell Ringing

  8. The Perfect Cure (The Perfect Cure; The Helm Wind; Trip to the Lakes)

  9. The Wanderer

  10. Adam Lay y Bounden

  11. Bold Carter


Skirwith, Cumberland – poem written by John Bradburne 1949


Phil Berthoud – Guitars, Fiddle, Mandolin, Bass, Harmonium, Keyboards

Mahrey Berthoud – Vocals, Recorder

Louis Berthoud – Drums and Percussion

With John Bradburne’s voice recorded in Mutemwa featured on track 4


Cover design and artwork – Rhianna Berthoud

Mixed and mastered by – Billy Tucker


"This album is inspired by my Godfather John Bradburne.  It comprises a selection of traditional music from Cumbria, Norfolk and Devon, with a distinct Zimbabwean flavour.  All significant places in John’s life.  Many thanks to Kate McPherson and The John Bradburne Memorial Society for supporting this project.  And thanks also to John for his never-ending inspiration." - Phil Berthoud

100% of profits from the sale of this CD go to Mutemwa Leprosy Settlement, where John selflessly devoted his last ten years to the care of the residents.

More information on John, his extraordinary life, his beautiful poetry and the cause for his sainthood can be found at - website of The John Bradburne Memorial Society.

Track 1:

The Kings Head Hornpipe – from the Humphrey Senhouse manuscript of 1747.  The tune is also related to The Tankard of Ale, so the inspiration is pretty obvious!  However, it’s quite an awkward tune to play, so a sober head is required.  Maybe referring to The Kings Head at the foot of Helvellyn in the Lake District, just twenty odd miles from the Senhouse’s home in Netherhall. *

The Elterwater Hornpipe was written by William Irwin (1822-89), who worked for the Elterwater Gunpowder Company.  He was a fiddler who played at pubs and social gatherings. *

Track 2:

Skirwith, Cumberland – one of John Bradburne’s poems is set to an Untitled Air from Cumberland, found in the Joseph Barnes Manuscript of 1762. *

Track 3:

The Old Garden Gate – a Norfolk tune, collected by Vaughan-Williams, who noted that it was “a good example of the extraordinary breadth and melodic sweep…to be found in English folk song.”  The song begins with the familiar “As I walked out one May morning”, also found in Seventeen Come Sunday (track 4).  I have arranged the melody with parallel fifth backing – a technique heard often in English folk music and, consequently, in the music of Vaughan-Williams.

A Starry Night for a Ramble - This old favourite, which was collected from Mr Newstead of Wickmere, Norfolk in 1932, was also mentioned in the autobiography of inveterate poacher Frederick Rolfe “I Walked by Night”.  Rolfe lived in the King’s Lynn area of Norfolk most of his life and he mentions the following words to the song:

A starry night for a ramble, in the flowery dell,

Through the bush and bramble, kiss and never tell.


I like to take my sweetheart out (“Of course you do”, says she)

And softly whisper in her ear, “How dearly I love thee”.


When you picture to yourself a scene of such delight,

Who would not take a ramble on a starry night.


There are versions of this song popular in Australia.  The version I’ve used is the Norfolk version, although I’ve gone for a minor key accompaniment, which alters the character somewhat.

Track 4:
Seventeen Come Sunday – this west country song was collected by Cecil Sharp in 1904.  The roving out on a May/fine morning theme and coming across a fair maid theme is a common one in English Folk and is found in The Lowlands of Holland, The Jolly Harrin, Horn Fair, Cloddy Banks and Cupid the Ploughboy, to mention a few.

Track 5

Woodland Flowers - This barndance was learned from the Bob Cann album “Proper Job”.  Bob Cann (1916-90) was a well-known melodeon player from Dartmoor, Devon.  The tune is believed to have been composed by Felix Burns (1864-1920), a Scottish multi-instrumentalist who spent most of his life in Carlisle, Cumberland.  This tune is said to have been his personal favourite (of 120 pieces he had composed).  Bob Cann’s version brings a strong Dartmoor flavour to the original tune.

The Ulverstone Volunteers, along with The nearby Whitehaven Volunteers were a kind of home guard or “Dad’s Army” of the early nineteenth century during a turbulent time politically – this is a lively jig from the Matthew Betham manuscript of 1815.  *

Track 6

Cumberland Nelly - An old and beautiful tune from The Pepys Collection of Broadsides  from the late 17th Century.


Track 7:

Bell Ringing - This song about a bell-ringing contest in Devon is found in the collection “Songs of the West”, by Sabine Baring-Gould.  The tune suggests the sound of bell-ringing, as does the use of guitar harmonics in the introduction.  The villages Broadwood, Ashwater and Northlew are near Broadbury Down in West Devon.

Track 8

The Perfect Cure - A well-known Norfolk jig.  Included in the English Folk Dance and Song Society’s collection “The Coronation Country Dance Book” in 1937, from a transcription of melodeon player Herbert Mallett of Aldborough, Norfolk.  This tune is in G major, but I’ve arranged it in the key of D minor, as this works so well for this tune.

The Helm Wind - a relatively recent tune, composed in 2002 by Peter Corkhill, featured here with kind permission from Peter.

Trip to the Lakes

A lively 3 part Lakeland jig given the electric guitar treatment!

Track 9:

The Wanderer - recorder tune composed and performed by my wife, Mahrey, after attending a concert and exhibition for John's Centenary in Manchester.

Track 10

Adam Lay yBounden was recorded by John on his cassette recorder at Mutemwa.  Boris Ord, organist and choirmaster of Kings College, Cambridge from 1929-57, set the mediaeval English text to music.  The melody here is Ord’s, with my own arrangement.

Track 11

Bold Carter - A tune collected by Vaughan Williams from Mr J Whitby, the sexton at Tilney All Saints, near King’s Lynn, Norfolk.  This tune is featured in the slow first section of the track.  When the rhythm picks up, it is followed by a largely improvised piece, driven by guitars, fiddle and mandolin, with an excellent drum solo from Louis.

* These tunes are included in the excellent book Bonny Cumberland – Music from the Manuscripts of Fiddlers in the Lake District c 1750-1880, compiled by John Offord.

all these tunes are traditional, arranged Phil Berthoud © 2022, except:


All drums and percussion performed and composed by Louis Berthoud © 2022

The Wanderer, composed by Mahrey Berthoud © 2022

The Helm Wind, composed by Peter Corkhill © 2002

All other music composed by Phil Berthoud © 2022

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