Blodscar Rocks

SS205
Transcribed score of folk song, Blodscar Rocks
Blodscar RocksRobson Booth
00:00 / 00:46

This song is featured on the main tape of the Seaton Snook Tape Ballad by Robson Booth.  Its authorship is unknown, but it is possibly by Booth himself.  

The melody is in F Aeolian mode - for a description of modes in English folk music, see this page.  The Aeolian mode is not at all unknown in English folk music, but it is certainly not one of the more common modes.  It does however fit with the theory that I Can Hear A Siren was written in the Aeolian mode.  Like the earlier song, it also finishes on the Dominant (fifth note, or Soh).  

The recording features a solo male voice accompanied by a viola in the same tuning and played in the same manner as on the Viola Loops, also by Robson Booth. 

There are some irregularities in pronunciation - "hisself" in the third line of the second bar, with an 'f', but "yersel" in the burden, without the 'f'.  This, along with the presence of the viola accompaniment, leads us to believe this is Booth singing the song: as he was 20 by the time he moved to Seaton Snook, there is a strong reason to suspect that Booth did not have a strong or consistent local accent. 

The tune tells the story of a young man who drank too much, slipped, hit his head ("crown'd hisself"), and presumably died on Blodscar Rocks, an outcrop at Seaton Snook that claimed the lives of many unfortunate sailors, notably the Dorothea in 1868.  We have no idea as to who "William" was, if indeed he were a real person at all.  The form of the song being that of verse followed by a short burden (the "chorus" which tended to be sung by everyone) lends itself to a song with a much longer narrative, and this gives the impression of being an extract rather than a complete song. 

"Ee-i-an-ti-oh" was the phrase used by children in the Seaton Snook area in the nursery rhyme and children's singing game, The Farmer's In His Den (Roud number 6306):

The farmer's in his den

The farmer's in his den

Ee-i-an-ti-oh

The farmer's in his den

The farmer wants a tab etc...