The First of May, Four Up & Old Molly Oxford

James Bell

Joy & Jealousy

  1. The First of May, Four Up & Old Molly Oxford


Three tunes from the Morris dancing world, in a tuneset loosely inspired by May Day in Oxford that I had taken to call “First of May, Up at Four and off to Old Molly Oxford”. I first heard ‘The First of May’ performed by Oxford folk band Magpie Lane. It features on their album ‘The Oxford Ramble’ - one of my favourite albums ever. As does ‘Old Molly Oxford’ come to think of it, although I think that one I had heard before, as it often crops up in folk sessions and Morris dance-outs. The middle tune, ‘Four Up’, I had assumed was traditional because the Morris side that I play for often do it, but it turns out it was written by Barry Goodman (of the Outside Capering Crew, amongst many other things), and you can hear his version on the ‘Grandson of Morris On’ album.

Credits & Copyright

Recorder played by Helen Rose. Traditional, adapted and recorded by James Bell in 2012/3, except 'Four Up' written by Barry Goodman. Released in November 2013. Remastered in February 2017. (P) House of Lyra.