Friday, September 24, 2010

For the Birds: The Crow on the Cradle

Show of Hands: The Crow on the Cradle


The Crow on the Cradle was written by Englishman Sydney Carter. Carter was a Shaker and a pacifist, and his best known song was Lord of the Dance. In the mid 1960s, the world was gripped by the fear of nuclear war, and The Crow on the Cradle reflects that. The crow was a symbol of death from pre-Christian times in England, so finding one on the cradle of a newborn would not be a good sign. Judy Collins and Pete Seeger both recorded the song, but it sounds best to me when a British male sings it. I first heard The Crow on the Cradle performed by Nick Dow, and he instilled the song with the appropriate sense of dread. Unfortunately, Dow’s version is not available, but English duo Show of Hands come pretty close to the feeling I remember.


Anonymous said...

love these bird songs!

Anonymous said...

Loved the For The Birds series. Anytime is a good time to put up a Kate Rusby song! The Crow on the Cradle was my favorite, though. Wasn't familiar with the Judy Collins or Pete Seeger versions, but I did find a pretty good Jackson Browne version on youtube. I agree that the Brit voice just seems right. Thanks for the whole bunch.