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Lish Young Buy A Broom – Johnny Campbell

Johnny Campbell introduces the video to the second single from his new album, True North, shot in the snow around the coppermines in Coniston.

Ahead of the release of his new album, True North, Johnny Campbell is releasing a recording of ‘Lish Young Buy a Broom’ [Roud 1865], with a lush accompanying video (premiering here on Tradfolk today) shot by Jonathan Doyle.

About ‘Lish Young Buy a Broom’

The ballad has roots deeply entrenched in the Lake District’s verdant landscapes. Tracing its lineage to a 1953 recording, ‘Lish Young Buy a Broom’ found voice through Len Irving, a 64-year-old singer from Wreay, Cumberland. Irving, steeped in the region’s folklore, attributed the creation of this tune to William Graham, an infamous poacher whose legend was cemented through the murder of a local gamekeeper, leading to his exile. Like so many traditional songs, however, the authenticity of Graham’s authorship remains an enigma, lost in the folds of history.

Johnny Campbell explains, “I’d been playing this song for the last three years across Europe and the UK, testing it out on tours before recording it a couple of times on, and around Scafell Pike, England’s highest mountain. I first heard it through Leeds Folk artist, Sam Barrett, who heard it from Geoff Woods, who used to run the Grove Folk Club in Leeds, the longest-running Folk club in one continuous location in the world.” Campbell’s research suggests that the song is related to ‘The Brisk Young Tinker/Traveller’, a Cumbrian song.

The album creates a tapestry of Northern English identity through traditional song.

Johnny Campbell

Campbell’s latest album, True North, was captured in the great outdoors, recorded at the highest peaks of England’s northernmost counties. “The album creates a tapestry of Northern English identity through traditional song,” he explains. “Some songs take a more psychogeographical approach, where the industry and landscape have a symbiotic influence and connection. ‘Lish Young Buy a Broom’ is a more playful ballad that represents the wanderlust and the romance of Northern England. The whole ethos behind the album is that it is field recorded, in less than a handful of takes, in a specific location captured for posterity in that precise moment in time. That is the meaning behind True North, and about life – taking your chances; appreciating the here and now.”

Of the video itself, he tells us: “The video was shot by Jonathan Doyle. It was unintentionally recorded in the snow, up at the copper mines above the village of Coniston, Cumbria. Though not the ideal weather to film in, to see yourself separate from the landscape is not what the album is about, and fits the ethos perfectly.”

The album, which has already seen the release of an initial single (‘Here’s the Tender Coming‘, featuring the Brothers Gillespie), arrives on January 26th. A rough and ready collection of songs that celebrate the singer’s proud northern identity and the landscapes he delights in, it features collaborations with the aforementioned brothers, as well as Mikey Kenney and Gary Miller. As ever, Campbell is currently on tour, with shows listed right up until July, including his very own Moorforge Folk Festival.

To order the album, head to Johnny Campbell’s bandcamp page. For more info on the artist himself, head to johnnycampbell.co.uk.