A week ago I turned on Jools Holland's Later to hear a song about a highwayman being hanged. That's real folk music. And this performance is reminiscent of a young Martin Carthy and Dave Swarbrick.
[Later. That performance had disappeared from Youtube, so here is another - with no violinist]
Contemplations from the Marianas Trench tells the story of the song:
In 1701 a chimney named Jack Hall was hanged for burglary. When a child Jack Hall had been sold to a chimney sweep for a guinea.
According to Sharp the song was written before 1719 because there is reference to a tune "Chimney Sweep" which has the same metre as Jack Hall in a publication that year ...
The song was made popular in the 1850s with the adaptation Sam Hall by English comic minstrel, C.W. Ross, in the 1850's.Sam Carter, who won the Horizon Award for Best Newcomer at the 2010 BBC Folk Awards, also sings more contemporary songs such as Dreams Are Made of Money.