John Peel

Artist
James Bell
Released
2013
Genre
Traditional
  1. John Peel -:-- / 04:33

“From a view to a kill in the morning…”

History

A traditional song that was historically very popular, about a real life figureL a famous huntsman who lived in Cumberland (now Cumbria) around 1800. The song gave its name both to the BBC Radio 1 DJ (whose real name was John Ravenscroft) and to a James Bond short story by Ian Fleming called ‘From A View To A Kill’. Written in the Cumberland dialect, it’s usually sung as ‘D’ye ken John Peel…’, but that dialect didn’t feel right for me to sing in, so I artistic-licensed it. This also features a tune called ‘Alexandra Park’ (which I got from Nick Barber’s bumper book of English tunes) and another called ‘Red House’, which seems to think it’s ‘Greensleeves’ but clearly isn’t.

Lyrics

Do you know John Peel with his coat so grey?
Do you know John Peel at the break of day?
Do you know John Peel when he’s far far away.
With his hounds and his horn in the morning?
 
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For the sound of his horn brought me from my bed,
And the cry of his hounds which he oftime led,
Peel’s “View, Halloo!” could awaken the dead,
Or the fox from his lair in the morning.
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Do you know that bitch whose tongue was death?
Do you know her sons of peerless faith?
Do you know that fox, with his last breath
Cursed ’em all as he died in the morning?
 
—————————————–
For the sound of his horn, etc.
—————————————–
 
Yes I know John Peel and Ruby too
And Ranter and Royal and Bellman as true,
From the drag to the chase, from the chase to the view
From a view to a kill in the morning
 
—————————————–
For the sound of his horn, etc.
—————————————–
 
And I’ve followed John Peel both often and far,
Over rasper fence and the gate and the bar,
From low Denton Holme up to Scratchmere Scar,
Where we vie for the brush in the morning
 
—————————————–
For the sound of his horn, etc.
—————————————–
 
Then here’s to John Peel with my heart and soul
Come fill to him another strong bowl,
And we’ll follow John Peel through fair and through foul
While we’re waked by his horn in the morning.
 
—————————————–
For the sound of his horn, etc.
—————————————–

Credits & Copyright

Traditional, adapted and recorded by James Bell in 2012/3. Released in November 2013. Remastered in June 2017. (P) House of Lyra.

Photo by Pete Ashton (CC BY-NC 2.0)