The Deserter Lyrics

Fairport Convention


publisher: ©Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC
writers: Richard John Thompson, Ashley Hutchings, David Mattacks, Simon John Nicol, Sandy Denny
album: Track 5 in album Liege & Lief
release date: 1969-12
popularity : 203 users have visited this page.
length: 4:24
arranger: Fairport Convention
engineer: John Wood
guitars: Richard Thompson, Simon Nicol
violin: Dave Swarbrick
viola: Dave Swarbrick
drums: Dave Mattacks
bass guitar: Ashley Hutchings
producer: Joe Boyd
vocal: Sandy Denny
composer: [unknown]

Cover Art


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As I was a-walking down Radcliffe highway
A recruiting party came a-beating my way
They enlisted me and treated me till I did not know
And to the Queen's barracks they forced me to go

When first I deserted, I thought myself free
Until my cruel comrade informed against me
I was quickly followed after and brought back with speed
I was handcuffed and guarded, heavy irons put on me

Court martial, court martial, they held upon me
And the sentence passed upon me, three hundred and three
May the Lord have mercy on them for their sad cruelty
For now the Queen's duty lies heavy on me

When next I deserted, I thought myself free
Until my cruel sweetheart informed against me
I was quickly followed after and brought back with speed
I was handcuffed and guarded, heavy irons put on me

Court martial, court martial, then quickly was got
And the sentence passed upon me, that I was to be shot
May the Lord have mercy on them for their sad cruelty
For now the Queen's duty lies heavy on me

Then up rode Prince Albert in his carriage and six
Saying "Where is that young man whose coffin is fixed?
Set him free from his irons and let him go free
For he'll make a good soldier for his Queen and country

Track Listing

  • 1 Come All Ye
  • 2 Reynardine
  • 3 Matty Groves
  • 4 Farewell, Farewell
  • 5 The Deserter
  • 6 Medley: The Lark in the Morning / Rakish Paddy / Foxhunter's Jig / Toss the Feathers
  • 7 Tam Lin
  • 8 Crazy Man Michael