To Speed The Plough

by Ric Kemper

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A concept album which attempts to follow a rural village from earliest times until its eventual abandonment in the 18th century CE. The music addresses Pagan & Christian themes and covers both folk and rock genres.


released August 31, 2015

Ric Kemper plays and sings all the songs on the album, which he also wrote.



all rights reserved


Ric Kemper England, UK

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Track Name: River Song
Move you move
To the river, its song

Echo the banks
Flash ripples along

Yes the river
Swiftly she flies

Through summer lands
She glitters & winds

Watch the surface
Eddy & whirl

Sun reflected
Deep waters which swirl

Yes the river
Swiftly she flies

Through summer lands
She glitters & winds

Said the river
Purling yet calm

Bestowed her song
Intoned like a charm

I the river
Swiftly fly I

Through summer lands
I glitter I fly
Track Name: The Henge
Will you come & join the dance &
We shall step the ancient round

All hold hands & we begin
Our feet traverse the hallowed ground

Generations trod this ring
Their memory steps with us today

A church now stands where stones once stood
Around the churchyard once again!

Will you come & join the dance
And we shall turn in step once more

If I miss you this time round
We’ll meet again I know for sure

And if I miss you once again
I’ll meet you on the furthest shore
Track Name: Plough Monday
Now to tow the plough
Now to tow the plough
Round the fields we go
Round bare fields we go

Now to pull our plough
Now to pull our plough
Round the town we go
Round the town we go

Plough Monday comes around
Plough Monday comes around
Bless our ancient rite
Bless the candle bright

Through the wind & snow
Through the hail & rain
Give us what you may
To speed the plough we pray
Track Name: Our Lady
Lady the fields flower filled
The sky thronged with song
And scented the air
Scented the air

Lady the verge & the way
With blossom adorned
Bright petals everywhere
Petals everywhere

Lady the river runs bright
And spangles the sun
Reflected in the flow
Reflected in the flow

Lady my eyes fill with tears
My prayers to thee go
Your grace to bestow
Grace to bestow
Track Name: Who Will
Who’ll work the fields
Now the rye it is standing?

Who’ll mill the grain
Now the stone is not grinding?

Who’ll tend the farm
While there’s no-one for hiring?

Who’ll read the psalm
While the bell it is tolling?

Who’ll take the rent
Now the reeve he is absent?

What’s to collect
Now the dwellings are vacant?

Down falls the wheel
Where the river is flowing

Wind tolls the bell
And the pages are blowing
Track Name: The Pilgrim
Mistress of heaven & earth
Lead now the pilgrim
Safe across the sea

Flower, oh bloom of all blooms
Brisk the sea breezes
Keep us
Oh speed us
To thee

Rose of all roses
Queen of the sky
Bear up the pilgrim
Safe on the tide

Star over waves brilliantly
Shine on your faithful
Then safe return we'll see
Track Name: Sisters & Brothers
In the year of the lord
The king got a plan
Men turned out the sisters
And brothers they banned

Confiscated lands
Wherever they rode

Took the roof from our heads
It’s sisters & brothers on the road

The plate & the cloth
The lead & the gold
The silver, the statues
All bundled & sold

The door hangs ajar
The wind it blows cold

With the heavens our rafters
It’s sisters & brothers on the road

Now the king wears a crown
His men stand at arms
In castles & towers
They’re dry & they’re warm

Their coffers are brimming
With our silver & gold

Now the abbey stands ruined
It’s sisters & brothers on the road
Track Name: Sing Bird Sing
Sing bird sing, sing bird sing

Sing bird summering
Through the mead

Sing bird sing, sing bird sing

Sing of buds
And birch branch green

Sing bird sing, sing bird sing

Sylvan twilight
Garlands, crowns
Deck the village with
Verdant boughs

Sunrise swim, river sings

Rise up, sun beam
Waters shine

Rise up sun, rise up sun

Glitter gold
And purify

Summertime, summertime

Comes the dusk
When bonfires blaze
Round the fire
And leap the flames

Leap the flames, leap the flames
Track Name: Long Grey Meg
Long Grey Meg lived on the edge of town
A bare existence
Long Grey Meg she healed with herbs
And charmed both warts & blisters

Runs the hare from coursing hound
The grey mare jumps the river
Runs the doe from hunter’s bow
The shaft can harm her never

Long Grey Meg she turned to stone
The fields with dew drops sparkle
Pastor blessed her, mason dressed her
Carved her as a lintel

Runs the hare from coursing hound
The grey mare jumps the river
Runs the doe from hunter’s bow
The shaft can harm her never
Track Name: Yew Trees
Fades vellum scroll
And stave to fall
Erased the page
And image all

Into the depths
Confusion fell
The gilded glyph
The tower bell

To Horton spire
And suffer fate
The open door
Carved foliate

Then plummet figures
Rood screen wrought
With angel’s wings
Too swift for thought

O beating drum
And storm destroyed
Ghost friar’s cells
Left unrestored

The river jewel
And crystal clear
Free flowing flies
The fleeting deer

Freshwater waking
Visions, hymns
Leazeward winds

The pagan circle
Goddess stream
Cursus, barrow
Bell ringing

A moment’s trance
Lucent waters
Dapples sunlight
Ruined arches

Grey priory
Long vanished time
Yet chant the dreamless
River’s rhyme

Transformed the fields
The time-gnarled trees
Of tale, tradition
Whispers breeze

Soft spoken word
Yet magic spell
Backwards in time
Murmur, ripples

Of other lives
Within the land
A line of yew trees
River wends

And after dusk
Another world
Reveals its shifting
Shape unfurled

The ancient yews
Sing through the wind
Sweet music flow
Stream never end