More Notes and Vignettes from Radical Son

Pentangle: Lord Franklin

Weekend Music

Following on last week's Bert Jansch post, this modest little track is probably my favorite of Pentangle's work. I love the little electric guitar break. 


While looking for information on the song, I ran across a review which said that John Renbourn, the other guitarist in the group, is the singer. I thought it was Jansch, but they have somewhat similar voices. I always supposed that the song, also known as Lady Franklin's Lament, had some historical basis, but assumed it to be vague. That was just my ignorance. I learned yesterday that it actually refers to very specific and well-known people and events. In this version it could be taken as mixing the laments of Lady Franklin and a former crew member. Obviously the former would not speak of "we poor sailors." But the reference to ten thousand pounds in the last verse could either be the sailor's way of expressing his own impossible wish, or the writer's view of the sort of money actually available to the actual Lady Franklin.

Dylan borrowed the tune for "Bob Dylan's Dream," one of his less impressive songs in my opinion. I think he claimed credit for the tune, which is rather shabby. He apparently had a habit of doing that: "Masters of War" is "Nottamun Town." Etc.

If you play guitar and want to know how the accompaniment is done, here is a video of Renbourn demonstrating and explaining it.


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I feel as you do about the song and electric-guitar break, one of my favorite solos in ANY genre of music. I always assumed Jansch took a break from concertina to perform it, though it seems Renbourn, the lead singer and fingerpicking acoustic guitarist, OVERDUBS it, since the picking continues while the concertina seems to lay out until the solo's end.

Consequently, it was odd to read of this on another website: "electric instruments on traditional songs, had [been introduced]– Renbourn’s protestations notwithstanding." Would he have agreed to overdub the solo, or was it Jansch, who certainly could have performed it?

On Dylan: he was happy to borrow from BOTH sides of the Irish Sea, e.g. from the Clancy Brothers' renderings of "Brennan on the Moor" and "Leaving of Liverpool [the erstwhile-capital of Ireland]."

I don't know either of those songs. What Dylan songs use those tunes?

Missed this back in 2011 (!) but a very nice tune. Reminds me of some of the tracks on Nic Jones' Penguin Eggs album, which came later (although I think he'd have been active at the time this came out).

In response to Mac: "Brennan on the Moor" (I think the Clancys' first/only? Top 40) became "Rambling, Gambling Willie" (Dylan, Bootleg Series, Vol 1, track 8), while their hearty rendering of the trad "Leaving of Liverpool" reappeared as "The Leaving" at the end of "Inside Llewyn Davis," sung by "the Kid." See too D's steal of Dominic Behan's "The Patriot Game" (starting My name is O'Hanlon...) in "God on Our Side" (My name it is nothin'...)

The folk tradition! Doubt royalties shared.

I have that first "bootleg" series but I don't recall that song. I'd always heard that the tune of "God on Our Side" was, um, borrowed, but didn't know the source. Hard to share royalties with a tradition, but credit is another story. Dylan is kind of notorious for that. I assume that's why Joni Mitchell called him a plagiarist.

Have it beside me, here in Bidenland. Possibly different release across the pond? "Bootleg Series 1961-1991," Columbia C3K 47382 / CK 47399, volume 1, track 8 (4:11).

I didn't mean it isn't on there, just that I don't recall it. Haven't listened to that set for many years, not since soon after it was released. As I recall I considered the earlier stuff on it to be of mainly historical interest, while some of the later, like "Blind Willie McTell," struck me as among his best work ever.

I will take the occasion to crow that I have the original actual bootleg, the Great White Wonder. :-)

Absolutely agree with you on "Blind Willie"--Knopfler, who plays lead and urged its release, should've GONE ON STRIKE!

Going to revise my comment on the Lord Franklin electric-guitar break. Listening on headphones, I find the concertina does play through the break, though only fitfully audibly, so that wonderful guitar break is overdubbed whether Jansch OR Renbourn is playing it.

Re: royalties, I was referring to Behan, not Anonymous! If I recall, doesn't Dylan dismiss Behan in "Don't Look Back"? Someone offers to introduce them and Dylan replies curtly he'd rather meet poets like Allen Ginsburg? Been decades since I saw the film, so could be wrong.

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