would give the guy "Songs From the Wood"
and "Heavy Horses," and although there are
some driving rock-style songs not usually associated
with Celtic music, to me these CDs in their entirety,
conceptually capture the Celtic "spirit"
more than anything else Tull has probably done."
A.Coigreach in the St. Cleve Chronicle.
Tull? Not really. Tull hasn't really done that much
Celtic material; certainly not albums. I think Celtic
is confused with English, which is a mistake.
'Jack-In-The-Green' is an English character, as Ian
acknowledged numerous times on stage. Some have
argued here that the song relates to the Green Man.
I'd disagree, but in any case, the Green Man is a
figure of English, not Celtic folklore. Okay, there's
some cross-over, but as generally understood, he's
English. 'Cup Of Wonder' does indeed have a Celtic
theme, as does 'Ring Out, Solstice Bells'. And that's
about all for 'Songs From The Wood'. The other songs
are either purely English or just generic 'rural'
material. 'Pibroch' has a Gaelic title, but no more.
the elemental earth/forest imagery of stuff like
'Jack in the Green', 'Velvet Green', and 'Hunting
in the sense of being a little coarse, maybe, but not
elemental. I can understand there being deeper
meanings in 'Velvet Green', but I don't understand
what you're reading into 'Hunting Girl'. Similarly
for the Heavy Horses album. 'Acres Wild' refers to
Skye (the Winged Isle), but there's nothing
specifically Celtic about any of this album.
Tradition and the loss of rural values are
investigated, but that applies toany culture. You say
the Celts were particularly 'lusty', but the maypole
and morris dancing are English traditions, remember!
I particularly disagree with the idea of 'Heavy
Horses' (the song) being Celtic - it's so English!
fact, I think just the album titles themselves would
be kind of intriguing for a Celtic Music
they're in English, for a start! Just to clarify,
Celtic refers to the cultures of Wales, Scotland,
Ireland, Cornwall, Brittany, part of Spain and a
couple of enclaves I've probably forgotten - the
point is, NOT ENGLAND! The arrival of the Saxons
drove the Celtic nations, and hence cultures (in
Welsh, the word for 'nation' is the same as for
'language') into their current locations, replacing
the previous cultures or at best assimilating them to
the point of their being unrecognisable. The Norse
and Normans complicated English culture still
further, so by the 'rural heyday' celebrated by
'Songs From The Wood' and 'Heavy Horses', the Celtic
influences had virtually been lost.
Neil A. Thomason; First published in the SCC of March
comment by Andrew Jackson
would have to disagree with the statement that
"the May-pole and Morris dancing" are
English traditions."Morris dancing" is
certainly an English tradition, although it has its
roots in ritual sword-dances performed by the Maruts
of ancient India and by the ancient Greeks, in both
cases to accompany fertility rites. Morris dancing is
thus closely related to the Scottish sword-dance,
although it is true to say that Morris is a uniquely
English development of the ritual. The May-tree is
central to European folk-culture. Usually a fir-tree
was brought into the village, set up, and decked with
ribbons: the community would then dance around the
tree during their May-day celebrations. In some
countries (J.G. Frazer gives Sweden as his primary
example), the fir-tree is stripped of its branches
before being decorated with leaves, flowers, ribbons
and so on. Thus the tree becomes a "pole",
by default! It serves exactly the same symbolic
function, of course. It would take an exceptional
scholar to prove that the first individual or
community to strip the branches from the May-tree
before setting it up was English . . . or Swedish, or
German, or French, for that matter. The veneration of
tree-spirits was so widespread that any distinction
between "English"and "Celtic" in
this instance is meaningless. The root-system of
European folk beliefs and practices is just too
complex! It is true to say that the May-pole has in
England as part and parcel of the curious Morris
dancing tradition, and has not survived in Scotland,
Ireland or Wales. However, the Celts were as
tree-worshipping as the next man in their day!
"Tradition" does not originate from or
belong to a single country, in this instance.