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> Martin Carthy > Songs > Carthy’s March / The Lemon Tree

Carthy’s March / The Lemon Tree

[Dave Swarbrick]

Dave Swarbrick played Carthy’s March on his first solo album Swarbrick. This recording was also included in the 3CD compilation New Electric Muse Vol. 2. Martin Carthy and Dave Swarbrick played both Carthy’s March and The Lemon Tree live on 23 February 1990 at Focal Point, St. Louis, MO, USA; this was released on their album Life and Limb. Martin Carthy commented in the latter album’s notes:

Dave actually dreamed Carthy’s March, woke up, wrote it down and went straight back to sleep leaving the problem of how to play it till the morning. I’m glad he solved it. The Lemon Tree is in memorian Trevor Lucas, who was a very special friend and who died very suddenly. At the wake in Trevor’s house in Sydney, Dave saw, growing in the back garden, the first lemon tree he’d seen in his life, and that moment presented itself as an obvious choice of title when he wrote the tune honouring the occasion a short time after.

Another 1990 live recording, from Carson’s, Cincinnati, was released on the Dave Swarbrick anthology Swarb! (which includes a performance of the Pepperpot medley from the same gig). They also played this on their 1992 video 100 Not Out and recorded with the Band of Hope for their CD Rhythm and Reds. The latter track was added to the 4CD Martin Carthy anthology The Carthy Chronicles. In 2003, Swarbrick and Carthy with Dave Pegg on bass recorded these tunes for Swarbrick’s album English Fiddler. He commented in the liner notes:

I wrote Carthy’s March many years ago as I slept. I dreamt I saw Martin playing it. I woke up, hastily searched for some manuscript paper, wrote it down and tried to play it... I couldn’t play it. It was too difficult. I had to go back to sleep for three days to practise it!

The Lemon Tree is another in memoriam for my dear pal Trevor Lucas who died many moons ago. Trevor was very insistent on buying a house in Sydney that had a lemon tree growing in the garden ... he was a keen gin and tonic drinker. Eventually to his great joy he found one. At his funeral, I had the brainwave of smuggling a couple of lemons back to England, it’s illegal to bring fruit back to Britain in case it contains some dreadful bug or whatever ... but! if you don’t mind a little discomfort ... and grow a couple lemon trees in my greenhouse in memory of Trevor. After a 24 hour flight, I arrived hot and sweaty back at home in the UK. I rushed to the kitchen and sliced open the two lemons ... which were so hot I was afraid they’d germinate right there and then! ... they were seedless.