Fox On The Run – pop song or bluegrass asks Will Cornell

Will Cornell… Would be interested seeing opinions from over there on this song….which many in US thought/still think is a bluegrass chestnut, but actually was an original by Manfred Mann’s Tony Hazard! Banjoist Bill Emerson used to keep a portable cassette player in his car and whenever he heard something unusual that he thought could be arranged for his bluegrass band, he’d tape it. “Fox On The Run” was captured that way. The Country Gentlemen shook up the bluegrass world time and time again by breaking away from “tradition” but many assumed this was some old Appalachian tune. To my knowledge, it’s never appeared on any US issued “hits” compilation by Manfred Mann, so it baffled many over here. WAS it a hit over there? By the way, no relation to the Sweet song which was roughly the same time period…but IS the same tune Tom T Hall had a hit with…and coming from someone who wrote great songs, his version nowhere near as good as the CGs…or Mann’s. Hall may’ve sold the most copies of it after all which is a shame.

Alan Esdaile… Manfred Mann’s version got to number 5 here in 1968 and was a very big hit. Still gets played on the radio from time to time. Country Gentlemen sounds very fast to me but does sound like an authentic bluegrass track.

Will Cornell… I  could almost imagine early Fairport or Steeleye doing this. Walking thru the corn leading down to a river is not something a lot of lasses did in 1967 lyrics. The bluegrass band I worked with 40 yrs ago extended that chorus from 3 parts to 4, and harmony was very effective. Solos on mandolin, banjo, flat-top guitar and sometimes (when they had a guest sit in) fiddle, really great on this tune.

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