Dean McPhee / Mary Arches Devon Folklore Tapes V: Ornithology

Folklore Tapes
26th January 2022

Format Info

2x10" with Booklet
Twin Ten-Inch Gatefold Edition Contains 2x 10" Records & 12page Research Booklet & Download Code Housed in manilla hand stamped & numbered paper sleeve (bag no longer available) Ltd Edition: 500

Comes with Exclusive The Spirit Of Place, 10 Years of Folklore Tapes CD Sampler, exclusive to Monorail Music.

Heed the magpie’s disquieting call. It’s a death knell lurking in birdskull. Perfidious bird; an emissary of ill omen in avian and human lore alike. If, as has been reckoned, magpies possess the capacity for self-scrutiny, might they possess yet greater powers? Enact rites our occluded minds fail to comprehend? Let’s enter, then, the minds of mags, crows, ‘daws, so their deaths, lives and secrets may rattle the louder inside our own.

The cackle of the jackdaw, betraying runes of rut so unseemly a libertine would blush. With no moral code to transgress, the ‘daw’s perversity knows no bounds. Would you like to know more? This is neither the time nor the place. Oh, just this tidbit then: there’s a single erogenous feather about the male ‘daw’s nether quarters. Locating this feather, the female plucks and the male, sprouting female organs, seeds itself purely for pleasure.

By the by. A green-eyed lady, proprietor of a shop brimming over with woolen things, kept a ‘daw about her person. By day it would perch upon her shoulder, whispering its filthy secrets. Her jumpers a mess of dandruff and dejecta, she’d give it its freedom at night, only for it to return ever-faithful in the morning. The green-eyed lady wondered sometimes as to the ‘daw’s twilit whereabouts. She need have feared. Taking woolens from her shop, the jackdaw had secreted these near the scenes of murders far and wide across the land. One day, there was a knock at the green-eyed lady’s door…

Crows, shape-shifters all. From egghatch they lay claim to a preternatural grasp of language. Not only of its own kind, nor solely its avian fellows, but of every species it spies. In turn, this gift allows the crow, through incantation, to transmute at will. It thus passes unnoticed among our kind. Look about you: this or that person might be harbouring crow’s wings, and you’ll never know.

To their birdly foes, the magpie is regarded as an unwitting seer, its every titter and gulp sifted for signs of bad tiding or glad. Indeed, in birdlore there exists a vast and complex tradition of rhyme devoted to interpreting the ways of the mag. Here we’ll try to expand on a few of these avian sayings and the mysterious acts to which they refer…

Barum Ware (Excerpt)

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