Readers recommend playlist: songs about forests and woodlands

Here is this week’s playlist – songs picked by a reader from your suggestions after last week’s callout. Thanks for taking part. Read more about how our weekly Readers Recommend series works at the end of the piece.

What a lovely day for a stroll! Come with me, children, as we set off with a light tread and a twinkling heart, humming a cheery tune, for we’re heading for a Walk in the Black Forest (beginning with Horst Jankowski).

The YouTube Playlist.

What could possibly go wrong? We can just walk or, if you fancy, play Robin Hood (with Dick James’s theme to the 1938 film) like we used to do when we were kids, or we can pretend to be Bold Sir Rylas (as in Spiers and Boden’s modern interpretation)? That would be fun.

Our spirits lift as we follow the track into the forest’s depths. Is that a Cukoo we hear, as the Wind and Leaves rustle our cares away? How spiritual the green woods are, we can feel nature’s call and we achieve a Oneness with the Forest (Bobby Brown).

Let us pause in A Glade Somewhere in the Forest. Have a sandwich, why don’t you? We have meat paste and sardine and, for the vegetarians, lettuce and quinoa with an organic, sun-dried mistletoe chutney. We’ll settle on a mossy bank and drift into a contented slumber and can almost imagine Bo Diddley’s Babes in the Wood cavorting among the verdure.

Something’s not right though; the air is somewhat heavy and scented with damp from soil rich in organic matter. It feels a bit odd, as if we are being observed by unseen eyes. Perhaps it’s time to leave.

We make it to the River (also King Trigger’s 1992 one-hit wonder) and our dugout canoe – the quickest way out, hopefully, that will allow us to avoid the hazards that the ever darker, more claustrophobic woods can throw at us. The trees seem to crowd in as we paddle. The gloaming has become the “glooming”. This Enchanted Forest (Mohawk and the Rednecks) isn’t so appealing any more, it’s more like Dirty Filthy Mud’s disturbing Forest of Black.

It’s dark and it’s getting colder as the trees shade out the sunlight. The wind has changed from a light zephyr to a howling, screaming gale. There’s something going on here, Deep in the Woods (the Birthday Party). Shadowy forms, weird lights … a ceremony of some kind … there’s some strange men here. They are misshapen, leathery, weathered people of the woods, they are not like us … But wait! That’s no human, that’s the friendly face of a kindly forest spirit that has come to show us the way home! He’s been waiting for us right here, under Joe Hisaishi’s Huge Tree in the Tsukamori Forest (Tsukamori no Taiju, from My Neighbour Totoro). We’re safe and heading back for a cozy evening by the fire. What an adventure.

The A list in full

1. Horst Jankowski: A Walk in the Black Forest
2. Dick James: Robin Hood
3. Spiers and Boden: Bold Sir Rylas
4. Cukoo: Wind and Leaves
5. Bobby Brown: Oneness with the Forest
6. Forest: A Glade Somewhere
7. Bo Diddley: Babes in the Woods
8. King Trigger: The River
9. Mohawk and the Rednecks: Enchanted Forest
10. Dirty Filthy Mud: Forest of Black
11. The Birthday Party: Deep in the Woods
12. Joe Hisaishi: The Huge Tree in the Tsukamori Forest (Tsukamori no Taiju)

Not all songs appear on the Spotify playlist as some are unavailable on the service.

New theme: how to join in

The new theme will be announced at 8pm (GMT) on Thursday 16 February. You have until 11pm on Monday 20 February to submit nominations.

Here’s a reminder of some of the guidelines for RR:

  • If you have a good theme idea, or if you’d like to volunteer to compile a playlist from readers’ suggestions and write a blog about it, please email
  • There is a wealth of data on RR, including the songs that are “zedded”, at the Marconium. It also tells you the meaning of “zedded”, “donds” and other strange words used by RR regulars.

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