Like a lot of English folksong, Spencer the Rover was written down and preserved by generations of the Copper Family of Sussex, to be revived by the likes of Fairport Convention, Steeleye Span and John Martyn. Martyn was part-gabshite, part-genius, his drinking, his contrariness and his diabetes leading eventually to amputation and early death; so far I've avoided both, more by luck than judgement, but have come closer than I'd like. Driving across Scotland recently with Martyn on the player I kinda re-evaluated him and his work; his own compositions are psalms for our times, hewn from his anger as he hurtled to the graveyard called Excess.
These fuckers at Transatlantic Sessions manage to unfailingly over-syrup everything they touch, their company rich in virtuosity but not a musician amongst them. Spencer the Rover just manages to survive the sugar rush; the album version is far superior, worth however long it takes.