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True Hearted Girl

from battleplan by Bella Hardy

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    Winner: Best Singer BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards 2014 Bella Hardy's new studio album battleplan, the brooding follow-up to the award winning Songs Lost & Stolen. On battleplan, traditional ballads are re-imagined from a female perspective, and personal experiences are reflected against fairy tales and folklore. Allowing the old and the new to mingle more than on previous albums, Bella has chosen to record some of her favourite traditional songs; songs which would be familiar to many had they not undergone a fair amount of repurposing, amalgamating and, in some cases, entire tune transplants – as is essential to the folk process. In Hardy's hands, songs some hundreds of years old could've been written yesterday, while those from her own pen have the echoes of history behind them. Of her own songs, Bella says: "I've always snuck bits of my own life into songs - that's just the way I write. But in the past I've altered it enough so it's no longer about me. I don't feel the need to turn songwriting into my therapy, although I enjoy it in others. But on this album I've been more honest, which I don't regret." Produced by Mattie Foulds (responsible for recordings by Karine Polwart, Alasdair Roberts, Lau and many more), Bella is backed on battleplan by her band The Midnight Watch, featuring the top drawer talents of Mattie himself on drums, Anna Massie on guitar & banjo, Angus Lyon on keys & accordion, and James Lindsay on bass.

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This is an amalgamation of variants of The Unfortunate Rake collection of songs, which includes Young Girl Cut Down In Her Prime, The Unfortunate Lass, When I Was On Horseback, St James' Infirmary, and Bad Girl (Roud 2). Concerning a girl dying of syphilis, I've taken the date of 14th of May from 'When I Was On Horseback', and set it back a couple
of weeks to tie in with a famous rhyme concerning first day of May activities (which would explain the contracting of the disease). My name for this song is a nod to Norma Waterson's version which was always a favourite; she calls it The Unfortunate Lass, but used the True Hearted Girl title for the album by herself and Lal on which it appeared.


When I was on horseback, wasn't I pretty
When I was on horseback at the break of the day
Wasn't I pretty when I rode from the city
And met with my downfall on the first day of May

Come mother, come father, and sit down beside me
Come sit down beside me and hear my sad case
For my poor heart it is breaking, and my head it is aching
And my soldier has left me in shame and disgrace

Why couldn't he tell me before he disordered me
Why didn't he tell me his secret in time
For I could have bought pills, and the salts of white mercury
But now I am done for, and cut down in my prime

So beat the drum slowly, and play the pipes lowly
Play me a dead march as we come along
And lift my wretched body and lay me down easy
I'm a true hearted girl, never meant to do wrong


from battleplan, released April 22, 2013
Trad/Bella Hardy


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Bella Hardy UK

“Brit folk's finest” Mojo Magazine • “Enduringly seductive” The Telegraph • “A fine, no-nonsense interpreter of traditional music and an excellent songwriter” The Guardian • “An aura of sophisti-cation that will win over listeners who never set foot in a folk club” The Sunday Times • “…a shining star in the folk scene’s firmament” fRoots Magazine • “A triumph of folk art-pop” Songlines Magazine ... more

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