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[trad. arr. John Kirkpatrick]
This Morris dance tune from Bledingon was performed by John Kirkpatrick and chums (including Martin Carthy) in 1976 on the album Plain Capers. It was included in 2001 on the anthology The Carthy Chronicles.
Two years earlier, in 1974, John Kirkpatrick and Sue Harris recorded Glorishears for their album The Rose of Britain’s Isle. This track was included in 2002 on the Topic anthology The Acoustic Folk Box. And he recorded this as part of a medley of four Morris tunes on his 1996 album Force of Habit. This track was included in 1997 on the anthology New Electric Muse 2.
John Kirkpatrick commented in the Plain Capers sleeve notes:
An unusual dance for several reasons. It is a leapfrog dance, and following Cecil Sharp’s inexplicable habit of abandoning the proper names in favour of descriptive nicknames is usually referred to simply as Leapfrog. In the A music the team walks round in a full circle and each man takes a solo turn as he reaches the top—box half caper, full caper, and finally leapfrog. The music accompanying this part of the dance is obviously designed for slow capers but the corresponding quick version of it is not known. Other versions survived at Headington, where a similar tune was used, and Field Town, with a totally different 6/8 tune, but it seems reasonable to suppose that most traditions would have had a leapfrog dance.
The Fieldtown version of Glorishears was recorded by Ashley Hutchings next to the tune Fieldtown Processional on his album Son of Morris On in 1976 too. And Chris Wood, Roger Wilson and Martin Carthy recorded Glorishears in 1998 on their album Wood – Wilson – Carthy.
Alistair Banfield, who perfors Glorishears with Ashdown Forest Morris Men, comments on the name of the dance:
Glorishears is actually a corruption of “Glorious Years” which if said quickly, becomes Glorishears. It is said to have been performed to honour the jubilee of Queen Victoria (not sure which jubilee) and thus to celebrate “…the glorious years of the reign of our Queen…”