Level: Intermediate Tuning: Drop D
Lord Randal is one of the most well-known of the English murder ballads. It is the story of a young man who has lunch with either his girlfriend or, in the version I sing, his stepmother. He returns home not feeling well and through a series of probing questions from his mother realizes he has been poisoned. It’s sort of like CSI 1700’s style.
My arrangement is an adaptation of Martin Carthy’s version from his 1972 album Shearwater. Carthy was one of my guitar idols in the early ’70s. I loved both his unique guitar style and his approach to interpreting traditional songs. On Lord Randal he used a dulcimer as the main accompaniment instrument and I was drawn to how it drove the story along. While note trying to emulate a dulicmer, I did try to capture the energy of that accompaniment part in my guitar arrangement arranged.
Originally, back in 1973, I arranged and played this using Carthy’s tuning of DADEAE. However, these days I don’t use open tunings that often. So I have adjusted the guitar part to be played out of Drop D tuning.