Gurt Dog

from by Faustus

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about

The Gurt (‘great’) Dog of Somerset, native to the Quantocks, is a benevolent variety of the black dog archetype in folklore; a guardian who watches over lost travellers, women and children, and brings them home. Mothers would let their children roam freely outside, “and did not bother to keep a close watch over them, for they knew that the Gurt
Dog would guard them from harm” (The Land of the Green Man, Carolyne Larrington). Elsewhere, the Black Dog is often believed to be of ill omen, or leads the unwary to their death. In her Dictionary of British Folk-Tales in the English Language Katherine Briggs writes that, in some traditions, black dogs lead the wild hunt, while on the Continent, “the Black Dog is usually the witch’s familiar, such as the black
dog that accompanied Faustus”.

lyrics

GURT DOG
Lyrics: Olivia Mccannon / Music: Paul Sartin

Last night the moon refused to shine.
The clouds rubbed out the stars.

I was alone on the wide dark moor,
But I wasn’t scared, not I.

Mother had no idea I’d gone,

And left my fleece-lined bed.
She’d sung a song whose words, you see,
Kept ringing in my head.
Soundly sleep,
Sweetly sleep,
Time for those legs to stop.
Gurt Dog growls,
On the prowl,
And your bed is so warm and soft.

I asked her twice to tell me more,

She yawned with no reply.
As soon as she had drifted off,

I lightly stepped outside.

I climbed up through the twisted trees,
Out up onto the ridge, where
My neck was gripped by a fingering breeze,
And I hardly dared to breathe.

Soundly sleep,
Sweetly sleep,
Child up on the moor.
Gurt Dog growls,
On the prowl,
You should be safe indoors.

I was frozen, couldn’t hear,
Or feel or speak a thing, when
A hundred horses thundered near,
And whirled me into a ring.

The rain lashed down, and the lightning cracked,
I could not run or hide.

I saw the horses move apart,
The trees bend to one side.

Soundly dream,
Sweetly dream,
Close your ears and pray.
Gurt Dog howls,
On the prowl,
For children who’ve run away.

A muzzle pushed into my palm,
Velvet it was and warm.
The hills were kind, the moor was small,
I’d soon be safely home.

He galloped me up to my door,
I stretched to kiss his nose.
Then climbed back into my fleece-lined bed,
Dry down to my clothes.

Soundly sleep,
Sweetly sleep,
At last your eyes are closed.

Gurt Dog snores,
Eye on your door,

His back to the wind that blows.

Now mother sings that song again,
And sleeps, but doesn’t know.

I’m on the moor again tonight,

To give that Gurt Dog a bone.

Soundly dream,
Sweetly dream,
Mother, your work all done.
On the moor,

Again tonight,
To give that gurt dog a gurt bone.

To give that
black dog
a white bone.
To give that
black dog
a white bone.

credits

from Death and Other Animals, released October 7, 2016
Benji Kirkpatrick - voice, bouzouki, guitars, mandolin
Saul Rose – voice, melodeons
Paul Sartin - voice, oboe, cor anglais, violin

Recorded at Halsway Manor
Produced and engineered by Rupert Christie
Mixed by Sam Burden at Empire Record Studios
Mastered by Nick Cooke at Pure Records

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Faustus England, UK

‘’One of Britain's outstanding folk bands.’ - **** The Guardian
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‘The concept? To rescue contemporary folk from the curse of feyness…
Bloke-folk!... Fans of Led Zep III should take a thoughtful interest.’ **** Independent on Sunday
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