British folk revivalist Shirley Collins will release her first album in 38 years next month titled Lodestar, and we’ve already heard several of the traditional songs that will be included on the LP. “Death And The Lady” and “Cruel Lincoln” are both folk songs from Collins’ homeland, but this new single, “Pretty Polly,” is one of the few American ballads included on Lodestar. Collins recorded a version of it alongside Alan Lomax in Timbo, Arkansas when the two journeyed through the Ozarks collecting songs in 1959. Like all folk songs, “Pretty Polly” has a long history and there are many different versions of its lyrics, but this particular rendition tells the story of a girl who falls for an army captain and disguises herself as a man so she can follow him into battle. It’s a timeless love story, and the accompanying puppet show lends it some whimsy. Watch below.
Lodestar is out 11/4 via Domino.