"Henry Martin" (or "Henry Martyn") is a traditional Scottish folk song about a youngest brother who turns pirate to support his older brothers. The first known printed version dates from the early 17th century and consisted of 82 verses describing the exploits of the freebooter Sir Andrew Barton and his two brothers, Robert and John. Barton was captured on August 2, 1511 and subsequently beheaded. His story appears as Child Ballad 167. Over the years, through oral tradition, the song has been shortened and the name of the protagonist changed from Andrew Barton to Henry Martin. In this form, the tale is Child Ballad 250. In "The Folk Handbook" pub 2007, it states that the song has been widely collected from singers in England and North America, and is represented in Wales by the singing of Phil Tanner. It notes that, surprisingly, given the opening line "There were three brothers in Merry Scotland," there is just a single existing record from Scotland where the hero is given the name 'Robin Hood'.

Musician and folklorist A. L. Lloyd described Henry Martin as "one of the most-sung ballads of our time." It has been recorded, amongst others, by Joan Baez, Donovan, Bert Jansch, Figgy Duff, Sherwood, (Sam Larner), ((Phil Tanner)) and Broadside Electric on their album Black-edged Visiting Card.

Loading more stuff…

Hmm…it looks like things are taking a while to load. Try again?

Loading videos…