> Tim Hart & Maddy Prior > Songs > I Live Not Where I Love
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I Live Not Where I Love

[ Roud 593 ; Ballad Index ChWI200 ; VWML HAM/2/9/22 , CJS2/9/1305 ; Bodleian Roud 593 ; trad.]

Frank Purslow: Marrow Bones James Reeves: The Everlasting Circle

Tim Hart and Maddy Prior recorded this Elizabethan madrigal in 1971 for their album Summer Solstice. They performed it live for the Steeleye Span BBC radio programme “Peel's Sunday Concert” on 15 September 1971. This programme was included as bonus CD on the 2006 reissue of Steeleye Span's third album, Ten Man Mop or Mr Reservoir Butler Rides Again.

Steeleye Span sang this song live on their 1982 Australian tour at the Royal Opera House in Adelaide with Tim Hart, Maddy Prior and Peter Knight singing. This recording was published on the Australian-only LP On Tour, and reissued in 1999 on the CD A Rare Collection 1972-1996. The latter version includes Maddy's introduction which didn't appear on the original On Tour album release.

Jon Rennard sang I Live Not Where I Love in 1970 on his Traditional Sound album Brimbledon Fair.

Lea Nicholson sang I Live Not Where I Love in 1971 on his album Horsemusic.

Jean Redpath sang I Live Not Where I Love in 1975 on her eponymous album Jean Redpath. She noted:

A lengthy note in The British Broadside Ballad and its Music (Simpsonā€”Rutgers U. Press, 1966, pp. 336-339) discusses the possible relationship of this song to two 17th century sources:

  1. The Constant Lover written by P.L. (Peter Lowberry) and licensed in 1638 (approx.), sung to “a Northerne tune called Share the absence of my Mistresse”.
  2. A Paire of Turtle Doves: Or, a dainty new Scotch Dialogue between a Yong man and his Mistresse, both correspondent in affection, etc. To a pretty pleasant tune called ‘The Absence of My Mistresse, or I live not where I love’.” This gem was written by Martin Parker and published in 1640. It is hard to tell who borrowed from whom. The language has changed considerably since Elizabethan times—witness the first verse from a Reliquary of English Song:

    Loyal lovers, that are distant
    From your sweethearts many a mile
    Pray come and help me at this instant
    In mirth to spend away the while
    Singing sweetly and com pletely
    In commendation of my love
    Resolving to part never
    Though I live not where I love

In my own borrowings. Lea Nicholson, Jacqui McDonald and Jon Rennard have all played a part.

Derek Sarjeant and Hazel King sang I Live Not Where I Love on their 1976 album Hills & Dales.

Mary Black sang I Live Not Where I Love on her 1984 album Collected.

Tim Laycock sang I Live Not Where I Love in 1984 on his Dingle's album Giant at Cerne. He noted:

[…] Upstream from Tolpuddle is Puddledown, formerly the home of Robert Barratt, who sang some fine songs for the Hammond Brothers, including I Live Not Where I Love [VWML HAM/2/9/22] , which first appeared on broadsheets just before the start of the English Civil War.

Richard Digance played the tune I Live Not Where I Love on guitar in 1985 on Buttons & Bows Volume 2: A Further Celebration of British Tunes.

Strawhead sang I Live Not Where I Love in 1987 on their album of songs of the English Civil War, Law Lies Bleeding. Their words are from an original in the Roxburghe Ballads and their tune is from Popular Music of the Olden Times (1859).

Ship of Fools (John Renbourn, Maggie Boyle, Steve Tilston and Tony Roberts) recorded I Live Not Where I Love in 1988 for their eponymous Run River album John Renbourn's Ship of Fools. This YouTube video shows them at the Thekla, Bristol on 20 September 1989:

Linda Thompson sang I Live Not Where I Love in 1987 on Simon Nicol's album Before Your Time; this track was included in 1996 on her anthology Dreams Fly Away: A History of Linda Thompson.

Cherrington & Ward sang I Live Not Where I Love in a 1989 recording that was included in 2018 on the Fellside anthology Destination: Fellside Recordings 1976-2018.

Chris Robson sang Though I Live Not Where I Love at a concert at the Hardy Hall, Dorchester that was released in 1990 on Nick Dow's CD An Evening of Traditional Songs from Dorset.

Jo Freya sang Though I Live Not Where I Love in 1992 on her Saydisc album Traditional Songs of England. The liner notes commented:

This beautiful song is unusual in that it is effectively a pure love song rather than a lament. Our version is a composite of a number of variants collected in the south of England and a printed broadside.

Jane Threlfall and Carl Hogsden sang Though I Live Not Where I Love on their 1995 CD Who?.

Kitty Vernon sang I Live Not Where I Love (You Soldiers All) in 1998 on her and Mick Pearce's WildGoose CD Dark the Day. She noted:

This version of I Live Not Where I Love was given to us by an Irish traditional singer who had got it from her sister in Ireland, who had learned it locally, believing it to be a different traditional version from the one more commonly heard. Only later did we find out it was actually Strawhead's Gregg Butler's reworking of the song for a Civil War set. The song provided us with the album title, although ironic to tell, the actual line did not appear in Gregg's original! Such is the folk process.

The New Scorpion Band sang I Live Not Where I Love in 2004 on their CD The Downfall of Pears. They noted:

Collected by the Hammond brothers from Mr Robert Barratt at Puddletown in Dorset in 1905 [VWML HAM/2/9/22] , and also by Cecil Sharp from Mr Robert Parish at Exford in Somerset [VWML CJS2/9/1305, CJS2/10/1420] . The song seems to be related to, and perhaps directly descended from, Thomas Morley's With My Love My Life Was Nestled, published in his First Book of Ayres of 1600.

Jon Boden sang I Live Not Where I Love as the 16 August 2010 entry of his project A Folk Song a Day.

Nancy Wallace sang I Live Not Where I Love on the anthology Folk Awards 2010.

Mark Block sang I Live Not Where I Love on his 2014 CD The Hawthorn Spring. He noted:

There are lots of recordings of this song, which I first heard sung by the vocal harmony trio Artisan, and the world doesn't really need another one, but here's mine anyway. I hope you like it.

Lyrics

Tim Hart & Maddy Prior sing I Live Not Where I Love

Come all ye maids that live at a distance
Many miles from off your swain
Come and assist me this very moment
For to pass away some time
Singing sweetly and completely
Songs of pleasure and of love
For my heart is with him all together
Though I live not where I love

When I sleep I dream about you
When I wake I find no rest
For every moment thinking of you
My heart e'er fixed in your breast
Although far distance may be assistance
From my mind his love to remove
Yet my heart is with him all together
Though I live not where I love

All the world shall be one religion
Living things shall cease to die
Before that I prove false to my jewel
Or any way my love deny
The world shall change and be most strange
If ever I my mind remove
For my heart is with him all together
Though I live not where I love

So farewell lads and farewell lasses
Now I think I've got my choice
I will away to yonder mountain
Where I think I hear his voice
And if he calls then I will follow
Through the world though it is so wide
For my heart is with him all together
Though I live not where I love

(repeat first verse)