Mithras

Mithras are a folk music group from Northamptonshire in England. Not currently active, their last gig was in 1996.  Their record For We Trade In Fun has been re-released on CD.

 The group consists of:

Bob Plewes - Vocal / Guitar

Margaret Buckley - Vocal / Concertina

Jeremy Eddon - Vocal / Flute / Guitar


Mithras pictured at the annual Christmas meeting at the Dun Cow Folk Club, Daventry, Northamptonshire in 1996.

Left to right: Jeremy, Margaret and Bob


Listen to some sample recordings by clicking the links below. Apologies for the poor quality. Unfortunately, the master tape was lost by the record company. These mp3 files were made from a well worn LP.



Discography


Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed

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The first LP by Mithras was a home made recording made in 1974 by Paul Marshall, mostly at the Old Sun, Nether Heyford. 500 copies were produced for sale around the folk clubs. Unfortunately the original master tape was lost by the pressing company - a shame since copies are still sometimes requested by fans.


JOHNNY IS A SHOEMAKER and POLLY ON THE SHORE, from the McCalmans and Songwainers in that order are about young men going to sea - the first is the romantic version, the second is a bit nearer the truth.

THE HILLS OF ISLE AU HAUT was written by Gordon Bok, a fisherman from Maine, and learnt from Sara Grey. "Martir" in the second verse is a stretch of water off Nova Scotia; Plymouth in the third verse is in New England, not Devon. This was recorded live at the Old Sun.

ASIKATALI is a song about oppression and arose from the Sharpeville incident. The words are Zulu with regional inflections and we know what they mean.

MORNING AGAIN by Tom Paxton, is something of an experiment for us ...

SALVATION BAND was written by Roger Watson of Muckram Wakes and we're grateful for the fine backing of John Leslie (melodeon) and his brother Chris (fiddle), from Banbury. Ethnic tambourine is from Margaret.

We got NO MORE I'LL LAY ME BOBBINS UP from Gary and Vera Aspey from Manchester. Jeremy's voice is by courtesy of Rentaeunuch Ltd.

SHE MOVED THROUGH THE FAIR is a lovely Irish air which we'd sing if we could do it in a different key.

THE SHEARING'S NOT FOR YOU is arranged from the version by Miriam Backhouse of Doncaster. The experts will spot that the third verse should be sung by the lady, but we thought we'd give the lad a better image. The relieved cheering at the end is from Bob's dad, who only came to one session ...

FLOWERS OF THE FOREST is a fragment of a long ballad in lament for the Scots who fell at the Battle of Flodden in 1513. The poem was written in 1664.

BELLS OF RHYMNEY is a musical setting by Pete Seeger of the poem by Idris Davies. the son of a Rhymney miner.

POVERTY KNOCK is Roy Bailey's version, with thanks again to John and Chris Leslie for helping us on second concertina and fiddle respectively.

 

 Chris and John Leslie, Margaret, Bob and Jeremy listen to playback at The Old Sun recording session.

For We Trade In Fun

Cottage Records COT 801, September 1976

Re-released on CD on the Kissing Spell label  and available from Amazon.co.uk,   HeyDay Mail Order,   CDQuest and others.

In 1976 Mithras was signed to the Cottage Records label run by singer-songwriter John Golding. The result was a high quality recording by Monty Bird at Bird Sound Studios in Stratford-upon-Avon.


WE'LL SING HALLELUJAH  was written by Richard Thompson and learnt from Paul Downes and Phil Beer.

LORD FRANKLIN Sir John Franklin's expedition to seek the North-West passage round Canada sailed from the Thames in May 1845. Despite the loss of both vessels Erebus and Terror, it is apparent that one of the ships made it. The song was written before all the facts were known.

NO MORE I'LL LAY ME BOBBINS UP was collated by Gary and Vera Aspey. The disillusioned girl in the song must have been typical of rural people initially attracted by industrialization in the North of England. Rearranged since the first LP.

THE RECRUITED COLLIER Before TV commercials recruitment into the armed forces was less subtle, entailing bribery, enticement, or outright violence. A Scottish song arranged from the version given by Miriam Backhouse.

FROM THE NORTH Gary and Vera's tune to a set of words by Cicely Fox-Smith called "Lancashire Hunting Songs" published in 1909.

COATS OFF FOR BRITAIN Leon Rosselson's song will probably be topical for some time to come. Can we make it clear there is no typecasting in this version whatsoever!

OCTOBER WINDS A translation from Gaelic sometimes called the "Castle of Dramore". It is a lullaby whose imagery may go a bit over a baby's head, a characteristic of translated lullabies, it seems.

COUNTRY LIFE An idyllic ditty from a Yorkshire shepherd via the Watersons.

HERE'S TO THE LAST TO DIE We understand this or something very akin, to be the 'anthem' of the Royal Flying Corps in the First World War and after.

THE ROSE OF YORK Written by two Scots, Leslie Hale and Ken Thompson, from an episode in a novel called 'Covenant with Death'. Another song with a Great War theme, though the laurels and glory of the previous song are absent.

THE DAY I SMASHED THE TELEVISION SET / CHARLIE IN THE MEADOW A poem by Jeremy Tailor, followed by one of John Conolly's lesser heard songs.

PULLING DOWN SONG A good farewell song based on the departure of a traveling fair, by John Tams of Muckram Wakes.



Other popular songs in the Mithras repertoire but not available on record include THE LITTLE TAILOR, ADIEU SWEET LOVELY NANCY, and COCK OF THE NORTH. These were recorded live at The Old Sun Folk Club, Nether Heyford, in 1985 and 1978 respectively.


The Old Sun, Nether Heyford

© Paul Marshall 2001

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