Lord Bateman in 'Who Thrilled Cock Robin' (House of Erotica, 2015)

Lord Bateman in ‘Who Thrilled Cock Robin’ (House of Erotica, 2015)

My story in Who Thrilled Cock Robin? Erotica inspired by Folk Songs was inspired by the folk song ‘Lord Bateman’,

I listen to quite a bit of folk music, but when I was searching for inspiration for a song to turn into a story I didn’t look much further than Jim Moray’s Sweet England released in 2003.

I’m a big fan of Jim Moray. He is one of a new generation of folk singers who have injected modern recording techniques and freshness into traditional folk songs. In fact the whole of Sweet England is a statement of intent. He takes a set of pretty well known ballads and songs and energises them. You can hear this from the very first track, his re-interpretation of Early One Morning, which brings out the underlying menace in the song.

My first experience of his music was at the Beverley Folk Festival, I think in 2003. He was first on the bill of a concert of guitar music which had John Renbourne/Martin Simpson as its headline act. He played solo on an electric guitar accompanied by some sampling and electronic gadgetry and delivered a stunning set that left half the audience cheering wildly for its skill and daring and the other half open mouthed and stunned. The climax to the set was an electric (in all senses of the word) version of the ballad Two Sisters at the end of which he walked off leaving his guitar on the stage thrumming with reverb and feedback. Cool!! I should add I’m also a fan of Jimi Hendrix and The Grateful Dead!

I can’t find an electric version on You Tube, but here’s a fine live one played on acoustic guitar: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OJs3UXoEFHw

JimMoray-20120318-KAW06In fact Two Sisters was one of several songs on this CD I was tempted to choose as the inspiration for my story in Who Thrilled Cock Robin?. It’s a tale of sibling rivalry and terrifying revenge as one sister shoves the other into the mill pond for stealing her man and leaves her body mangled in the mill wheel. Nice! In some versions of the ballad there is a supernatural element to the ending where the sister gets her come-uppance. I was also tempted by Gypsies, a song with the common trope of love across class boundaries (you know, gentry lady rejects comfort and riches to get fucked by a gypsy!) or The Suffolk Miracle which has the similar theme of, this time, thwarted love across classes, but with added ghost. Yup, the stories in folk songs sure pack a punch!

In the end I opted to base my story on the ballad Lord Bateman. Without giving too much away, I turn this into a story of love and redemption by taking the song back to its alleged origins in the Crusades as my knight, Lord Bateman, and Sofia, a Sultan’s daughter, fall in love as they tell stories to one another whilst he’s imprisoned in Turkey. The story pads out the detail not needed for a song, which I’ll talk about in a future blog. So, yes, my version of Lord Bateman is a rather sweet love story (well, there is some sex, of course)…no bdsm, no weirdness…a good old fashioned love story!

This is Jim Moray’s version of Lord Bateman from Sweet England: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XaS3IkNbCGk

About the anthology

Who Thrilled Cock Robin? Erotica Inspired by Folk Songs is an anthology of erotica stories inspired by folk song.

Folk songs, with their themes of lust and love, sex and transformation, magic and mayhem, are a rich source of inspiration for the erotica writer. The eight stories in this volume are wildly diverse, with an assortment of pairings and a mixture of moods. Whether you like filthy fairytales, contemporary kink, paranormal or historical settings for your sexy shenanigans, you’ll find something to delight you within.

The anthology features stories by Elizabeth Coldwell, Janine Ashbless, Aishling Morgan, Vanessa de Sade, Helen J Perry, JM Kaye and Zak Jane Keir.

Buy links

Amazon.co.uk Kindle

Amazon.co.uk print

All Romance Books

Introduction to the anthology by Sally Anne Rogers

Defining what folk music actually is, is nearly as difficult as deciding what actually makes a story erotica rather than romance, horror, sci-fi or literary fiction. Is it the subject matter? The instruments it’s played on? The language used? While folk music tends to consist of songs which have been passed down orally for so many generations that their original composers are unknown (but bands like the Levellers are often described as ‘modern folk’), and erotica tends to have quite a lot of explicitly described sexual activity, the boundaries still blur. People tend to fall back on claiming that they’ll know it when they come across it.
The eight stories that make up this collection are all, broadly speaking, erotica and the songs they relate to are all, broadly speaking, folk songs. Some are light-hearted bawdy romps; one is a gentle, almost traditional romance; a couple are dark, twisted and just a little scary. Authors were given free reign to choose a song that they reckoned fell into the folk category, and then to see what kind of story they came up with. So there’s a gloriously eclectic mix on offer: present-day realism, paranormal, historical, LGBT, heterosexual, kinky or vanilla.

Vanessa de Sade picked the most contemporary piece of music: her story Widicombe Woods was inspired by Widicombe Fair, a modern take on the traditional ballad by Max Scratchmann and Michael Dyer, where a maiden has good reason to take drastic action rather than be married off to an unsuitable man.
My True Love’s Ring, by Zak Jane Keir, gives a BDSM-style makeover to a song variously known as Sovai, Sovay, Cecilia or The Female Highwayman, in which a woman who doubts her lover’s commitment decides to put him to the test with a spot of cross-dressing.

An unsettling and memorable reworking of King Henry, one of the Child ballads, pits Henry I against the terrifying dark goddess Erecura in Janine Ashbless’s More Meat, while Lord Bateman, a tale of an imprisoned crusader and the woman who sets him free, was sparked off by Jim Moray’s version of the old song with the same name according to Slave Nano.

Probably the best-known song drawn on for this anthology is Clementine, whose unfortunate heroine was chosen by Aishling Morgan for some 21st century full-tilt filthy fun. Elizabeth Coldwell offers a story based on Heer Halewijn, one of the earliest folk songs in existence. The original is in Dutch, and there is an English song on an identical theme known as Lady Isabel and the Elf Knight. In Halewijn’s Song, a resourceful heroine outwits a murderous elf-lord but only after she’s had her fun with him.

Broadstairs Bloke Week, by Helen J Perry, not only has its roots in The House Carpenter, sometimes called The Daemon Lover but also makes affectionate mention of the thoroughly real Broadstairs Folk Week. Finally, J M Kaye picks another Child ballad, Alison Gross, as the starting point for The Wyrm, featuring an overly arrogant young man who gets more than he bargained for when he wanders into the path of a witch with evil intentions.

Child ballads, it’s perhaps worth mentioning, are not specifically for or about children, but are a hugely comprehensive collection of folk songs amassed and published by one Francis James Child over a century ago. I must also mention that the original idea of doing an anthology based on folk songs came from Slave Nano and to him and all my other authors I extend my thanks.

To you, dear readers, I extend an invitation to slip between these pages with a song in your heart, as soon enough you should have your hand in your pants as well.

Share