“Foxhunting and music are as inseparable as bread and butter, whether it be the music of hounds, of the horn, or of ‘John Peel,’” wrote the late Alexander Mackay-Smith in the preface to his 1974 book, The Songs of Foxhunting.
Though Mackay-Smith’s book is long out of print, purchasers of the first edition that year also received an LP-recording of every song in his book. In the fifty years hence, precious few of those records remain. But in 2011, Foxhuting Life secured, through the courtesy of the late Mrs. (Marilyn) Mackay-Smith, the studio tape of the original 1974 LP recording. That year, FHL produced a quantity of the first and only CDs of Mackay-Smith’s original and complete recording.
There are just a few CDs left in stock made from the digitized 1974 studio tape. What would make a nicer gift for a foxhunting friend? Go to our shop before they’re gone or click on Videos and CDs (foxhuntinglife.com). For a sample, Foxhunting Life subscribers may click on the image on the linked page to access the John Peal recording. Be sure to log in.
Mackay-Smith spent ten years collecting the music, lyrics, seventy-seven illustrations, and the background stories behind twenty songs that foxhunters have loved to sing for over two centuries. The 1974 first edition was numbered and signed in a quantity of 1500 and beautifully bound in red cloth in an oversized format. To record the LP record, Mackay-Smith arranged for a choir and a New York studio.
The music and stories include John Peel; Drink, Puppy, Drink; A-Hunting We Will Go; The Fox (“A fox went out on a chilly night”); The Fox Jumped Over the Parson’s Gate; The Hunting Day (“What a fine hunting day, ‘Tis as balmy as May”); Here’s a Health to Every Sportsman; Rouse, Boys, Rouse; The Fox Chace (The morning was fair, As I rode to take the air”); The Ballad of the Badsworth Hunt; The Huntsman’s Rouse; The Killruddery Hunt; The Hunting of Arscott of Tetcott; Steepleford Hunting Song; Holmbank Hunting Song; Beau Reynolds (Ye sportsmen all of high renown”); A Southerly Wind and A Cloudy Sky; Reynard the Fox, With His Last Will and Testament (“‘Twas the twenty-first of March in the year ninety-three); Hunting Song of Mr. Meynell’s Time; and The Billesdon Coplow Run.