Last week a post appeared on my Facebook timeline saying something about Guardian Music’s playlist. I don’t read The Guardian, wasn’t aware of ‘Guardian Music’ and don’t normally follow playlists but its one-sentence content mentioned The Trees They Do Grow High, a traditional folk song that I know from Pentangle’s Light Flight – Anthology album.
According to the Guardian article the song goes back at least as far as the 17th century. It tells the story of a king who marries his daughter to a nobleman’s son. It is only after the wedding that the princess discovers that her husband is only 14 years old. The king defends his decision saying, “He’s young, but he’s daily growing”, and that forms the refrain for the song.
Pentangle’s version is quite simply the most beautiful song I’ve ever heard. The guitars of Bert Jansch and John Renborn weave an enchanting tapestry of sound, Danny Thompson’s double bass adds depth and interest, the understated drums of Terry Cox push the tune along, and over all that Jacqui McShee’s clear voice reaches out to caress the listener as the tale unfolds.
This is not so much a track-of-the-week as a track-of-a-lifetime. If you’ve never heard it, listen now. And if you have, listen again. However you feel right now The Trees… will lift your spirit.