The Dark-eyed Sailor

 

'Twas of a comely young maiden fair,
Who was walking out for to get the air.
She met a sailor lad on the way,
So she paid attention, so she paid attention.
To what he had to say.

Said William, "Lady why roam alone?
The night is coming and the day near gone."
She said, while tears from her eyes did flow,
"Tis the dark-eyed sailor, 'twas the dark-eyed sailor,
That proved to my overthrow."

Said William, "Drive him from your mind.
Some other sailor lad, as good, you'll find."
She drew her dagger and then did cry -
"For my dark-eyed sailor, for my dark-eyed sailor,
A maid I'll live or die."

Then half a ring did young William show.
She seemed distracted midst joy and woe.
"Oh welcome William, for I've land and gold.
For my dark-eyed sailor, for my dark-eyed sailor,
A man so brave and bold."

'Twas in a village down by the sea,
They joined in wedlock, and I well agree.
All maids be true, while your love is away,
For a cloudy morning, for a cloudy morning,
Brings forth a sun-shiny day.
 

(Roud 265, Laws N35) This classic broken-token song, often known as 'Fair Phoebe and her Dark-eyed Sailor', tells the story of two lovers who break a token - such as a ring - in half when they are parted, so that they will know each other when they are finally reunited. The song originated in the late eighteenth century, was printed on street ballad sheets in the early nineteenth century, and survived in the oral tradition into the twentieth century when it was particularly popular in Suffolk. It was a favourite of Fred Whiting from Kenton and E. J. Moeran recorded Jack Clark at the Eel's Foot in Eastbridge singing it in 1947. VT140CD Good Order.

Song transcribed by John Howson

Song notes: John Howson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Scarlet and the Blue

 

I stood beside the old grey mare,
And I stood beside me plough,
And I've laid aside my two tine fork,
Because I shall not want it now.

No more to work in the harvest fields,
And gather in the golden corn -
I've been and joined the army,
And I'm off tomorrow morn.

Then hurrah for the scarlet and the blue, see the helmets glitter in the sun,
And the bayonets flash like lightening to the beating of the old militia drum.
There's a flag in dear old Ireland, pointing upwards to the sky,
And the watchword of our soldier is, to conquer or to die.
 

(Roud 163). Also known as 'The Jolly Ploughboy' this is often thought of as a traditional Irish song. It was in fact written in the late 1870s by John J. Blockley and was popularised on both sides of the Atlantic by Irish comedians, Ed. Harrington and Tony Hart. Another popular song in Suffolk which has been collected widely. Fred Whiting sang it VTC2CD Songs Sung in Suffolk, as did Bob Hart of Snape (MTCD301-2 A Broadside) and Charlie Whiting of Southolt performed it in the film Akenfield.

Song transcribed by John Howson

Song notes: John Howson


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Sweet William

 

“Now that you’ve had your will of me,
Please sir tell me your name,
So when my baby it is born I may call it the say-ayam,
I may call it the same.”

”Oh, some do call me Happy Jack,
Some do call me Jim,
But when I get to the King’s High Court
They call me Sweet William-ayim,
They call me Sweet William.”

She ran ‘til she came to the King’s High Court,
And loudly she rang the bell,
And who should come but the King himself,
To let this fair maid in-in-in.
To let this fair maid in.

”What has he stolen my fair pretty maid?
Your money or your (pail?)”
”No, but he’s stolen away my maidenhood,
And that’s the worst of all-all-all,
And that is the worst of all.”

”Oh if he be a married man,
Hang-ed he shall be,
But if he is a single man,
His life it shall go free-ee-ee,
His life it shall go free.
 

(Roud 67, Child 110). This is a rare ballad usually known as 'The Knight and the Shepherd's Daughter'. It has been noted down in most corners of England and all over Scotland where it sometimes called 'The Forester' or 'Lord or Earl Richard, Lithgow or Richmond'. The story line is usually that a knight persuades a shepherd's daughter to give up her maidenhead. She chases after him to the King's court, she on foot and he on horseback, and demands marriage. He attemps to bribe her but is threatened with execution if he doesn't marry her. Often the story then reveals that she is herself of higher status. Although both Emily Sparkes and Charlie Carver's (Disc Two, track 6) versions have slightly muddled story lines it is remarkable that these are the only traces of the song to have been collected in Suffolk. Furthermore there seems to be only one other actual recording of it from England; that made
by Peter Kennedy of Louise Holmes from Herefordshire (Folktrax 90-502 The Baffled Knight - now deleted).

Song transcribed by John Howson

Song notes: John Howson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Faithful Sailor

 

Oh it was on a cold and stormy night, the snow laid on the ground.
A sailor boy stood on the quay, his ship was outward bound,
His sweetheart standing by his side shed many a silent tear,
And as he pressed her to his breast he whispered in her ear:

Chorus:
”Farewell, farewell, my own true love, this parting gives me pain.
I'll be your own true guiding star when I return again.
My thoughts shall be of you, of you, when the storm is raging high.
Farewell my love, remember I'm your faithful sailor boy.”

Oh it was in a gale that ship set sail, he kissed his love goodbye.
She watched the craft 'til out of sight, 'til a tear bedimmed her eye.
And she prayed to him in heaven above, to guide him on his way.
Those loving, parting words that night re-echoed o'er the bay.
(Chorus)

But sad to say that ship returned, without that sailor boy.
Oh he died whilst out upon the voyage, and the flag was half-mast high.
And his comrades when they came on shore told her that he was dead,
And a letter he had sent to her, the last lines sadly said:

Final chorus:
”Farewell, farewell, my own true love, on earth we meet no more.
I soon shall be from storm and sea, on that eternal shore.
And I hope to meet you in that land, that land beyond the sky,
Where you will not be parted from your faithful sailor boy.”
 

(Roud 376 - Laws K13). A Victorian 'tear-jerker' written by G. W. Persley, which certainly slotted well into the repertoires of traditional singers. It was popular in Scotland and also crossed the Atlantic where it became widespread, with at least five 78 rpm records produced, under a number of names including the Carter Family's 'The Sailor Boy's Farewell'. In England Fred Jordan sang it regularly VTD148CD A Shropshire Lad and locally it was another favourite of Fred Whiting's VTC2CD Songs Sung in Suffolk and of Blaxhall's Cyril Poacher (MTCD303 Plenty of Thyme).

Song transcribed by John Howson

Song notes: John Howson

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Buttercup Joe

 

Oh I'm a fair old country chap.
My father comes from Farer (Fareham)
My mother she's got some more like I,
She knows how to rare 'em
Here's me they call I bacon fat.
Others bacon head.
(But I can prove I ain't soft?) although we be country bred.

Chorus:
For I can drive a plough, milk a cow,
I can reap or sow.
Fresh as a daisy in yon field -
Call I Buttercup Joe.

Well you should see my young woman -
They all call her the Mary.
She works as busy as a bee,
In Farmer Giles's dairy.
Why don't she make those dumplings nice,
By jove I mean to try them,
And I ask her if she'd like to splice a country chap like I am.
(Chorus)
 

(Roud 1635). Albert Richardson recorded 'Buttercup Joe' on a British Zonophone 78 rpm record in 1928 and it became popular with many rural singers across the south of England. It seems to have been largely ignored by early collectors, although George Gardiner, Alfred Williams and Cecil Sharp each noted it down once. In more recent years though, collectors like Gwilym Davies recorded the song over a dozen times and in East Anglia Neil Lanham recorded it from Jack Tarling of Steeple Bumpstead and Albert Bromley of Shotley.

Song transcribed by John Howson

Song notes: John Howson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Barbara Allen

 

Oh mother, mother, make my bed,
Make it deep and hollow.
For my young man have died of love,
And I shall die tomorrow.

Oh father, father dig my grave,
Dig it deep and narrow.
For my young man have died of love,
And I shall die of sorrow.

Those two are dead and in their graves.
And buried with each other.
How happy those two might’ve been,
If they had loved one another.
 

(Roud 54, Child 84). This is a truncated version of a very widespread ballad. It may have started life on the London stage - Samuel Pepys mentions hearing it in his 1666 diary - but we don't really know where its origins lie. The ancient motif, usually found in the ballad, of plants (usually a rose and a briar) growing from the lovers' graves to form a true-lovers' knot, is found in both Chinese and Celtic mythology. Emma Briggs learned it from her mother, who may have learned it when she worked in service. When Emma was young she hated her mother singing it because she felt it was so depressing. A more complete version from Suffolk is from Gypsy singer Phoebe Smith VT136CD The Yellow Handkerchief.

Song transcribed by John Howson

Song notes: John Howson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Your Aged Mother and Me

 

The home was so bright and so cheery within,
While outside in the cold by the door,
Stood a poor aged couple, whose tears could be seen,
Rolling down their old cheeks more and more.
The son they had loved had grown into a man,
And proclaimed wealth and prosperity,
While we in the workhouse must end our old days,
Your poor aged mother and me.

So think, my boy, of your childhood,
We've nursed you in days gone by.
Do not turn us from your door, my lad,
Out in the street to die.
But think the days of your childhood, my lad.
When we nursed you on our knee.
Don't be unkind to us, now we are old,
But shelter your mother and me.
 

(Roud 10716). Although this seems to be a typical Victorian sentimental song in form, it has defied recognition. Tom learned it from his father Bert Smith. There is a mention of a workhouse and the earliest record of these institutions is 1600 and they were abolished in 1930. The song was probably written between 1890 and 1915.

Song transcribed by John Howson

Song notes: John Howson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


He Stood in a Beautiful Mansion


He stood in a beautiful mansion surrounded by riches untold,
And he gazed at the beautiful picture that hung in a frame of gold;
Was a picture of a lady, so beautiful, young and fair,
To the beautiful life-like features, he murmured in sad despair:

Chorus:
"If those lips could only speak and those eyes could only see,
If those beautiful golden tresses were there in reality;
Could I only hold your hand as I did when you took my name,
But it's only a beautiful picture in a beautiful golden frame."

And as he gazed at that picture, these words you would hear him say,
"All my wealth I would freely forfeit and toil for you night and day."
(Chorus)

He sat there and gazed at the painting then slumbered, forgetting all pain.
And there in that mansion, in fancy she stood by his side again;
Then his lips they softly murmured the name of that once sweet bride,
Then with his eyes fixed upon that picture, he awoke from his dream and cried:
(Chorus)
 

(Roud 5307). This song became popular with several Suffolk singers, particularly in the Blaxhall area where Ginette Dunn (in her book 'A Fellowship of Song') mentions Alice Messenger, Bessie Hammond, Percy Webb and Bob Hart as all singing it. It was written by Chas Ridgewell & Will Godwin and published c.1906.

Song transcribed by John Howson

Song notes: John Howson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Sailor Cut Down in his Prime

 

One day I stood out (the but?) of the Royal Albion,
Dark was the morning and cold was the day.
When why did I spy but one of my young shipmates,
Lay draped in a blanket far colder than clay.
He'd called for a candle to light him to bed then,
Likewise a flannel to wrap round his head,
For his poor head laid aching, and his poor heart lay breaking,
For he was a young sailor cut down in his prime.

Chorus:
We'll beat the drum o'er him and play the pipes merrily,
We will play the dead march as we carry him along.
Take him to the graveyard and fire three volleys o'er him,
For he was a young sailor cut down in his prime.

His poor aged father and his good old mother
Oft times had told him about his fast life.
How he with those flash girls his money had squandered,
And along with those flash girls it took his delight.
But now he is dead and is laid in his coffin,
And six jolly sailor boys walk by his side,
And each of them carries a bunch of white roses,
As a mark of respect for their comrade who died.
(Chorus)

 

At the corner of the street you will see two girls standing,
One to the other will whisper and say,
"Here comes the young laddie whose money we squandered,
Here comes the young sailor cut down in his prime."

On the top of his tomb-stone you'll see these words written:
"All you young fellows, take warning by me,
And never go courting the girls of the city,
For the girls of the city were the ruin of me.”
(Chorus)

 

(Roud 2). This song is often known as the 'Royal Albion', which is a corruption of the Royal Albert, a London dock first opened in 1880. However it dates back to at least the eighteenth century, to a broadside entitled 'The Buck's Elegy'. The song has survived well in the oral tradition in both Britain and North America, with a host of different protagonists including sailors, soldiers and cowboys, in varying locations from 'The Streets of Laredo' to 'St James' Hospital'. Other Suffolk recordings include Fred Whiting's on VTC2CD Songs Sung in Suffolk and Bob Hart on MTCD301-2 A Broadside.

Song transcribed by John Howson

Song notes: John Howson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cupid the Ploughboy

 

Oh as I walked out one May morning, the May was all in bloom,
Just to take the fresh air and smell all the sweet perfume.

There I saw Cupid the ploughboy, cutting his furrows deep and low,
A-cutting the clods to pieces, some barley for to sow.
I wish that pretty young ploughboy mine eyes had never have seen,
For it's Cupid the pretty young ploughboy that looks so sharp and keen.

Oh and if I write to him a letter, my mind to him unfold,
Do you think he would take it scornfully or say that I'm too bold.
I wish he would take it kindly and turn my heart again,
For it's Cupid the pretty young ploughboy that looks so sharp and keen.

The ploughboy he consented for to take her for his wife.
He sent to her a neat reply, that darling of his life.
Saying "If you'll wed with a ploughboy, then forever I'll prove true,
For it's you my heart have won, love, and I'll have none but you.

The lady she consented to be the ploughboy's bride,
They went unto the church together and there the knot got tied.
And now they live in a plenty, well, they've both got gold in store,
The lady and the ploughboy they're joined for ever more.

 

(Roud 986, Laws 07). This ballad, which tells of a young lady who spurns the advances of a wealthy man in order to marry her ploughboy sweetheart, was popular in Southern England and is older than many of its sort. Most of the early collectors came across versions including Ralph Vaughan Williams and Cecil Sharp and it appears in the Collinson, Butterworth and Gardiner collections. The Rev. Sabine Baring-Gould noted it down in Devon and he believed that it originated in a black-letter ballad of about 1670 called 'Cupid's Triumph'. As 'Cupid the Ploughboy' it was published by several broadside printers including Pitts, Disley and Fortey in London, Dalton in York and Walker in Newcastle and it appears in Timothy O'Connor's manuscript songbook, which was compiled in the 1770s. Although a once common ballad, the only other recording is that of the Norfolk singer Walter Pardon (MTCD305-6 Put a Bit of Powder on it Father).

Song transcribed by John Howson

Song notes: John Howson
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Green Mossy Banks of Lea

 

When presently up came a farmer,
I plucked up my spirits once more.
Said I, "Sir is this your fair daughter?
This beautiful girl I adore.


Ten thousand a year is my fortune -
A lady your daughter shall be,
And ride in a carriage and horses,
On the green mossy banks of the lea.

(Roud 987 - Laws: O15). Another courting ballad, which seems to have originated in the 1820s and as published by many broadside printers. It was often noted down in England, North America and Ireland but rarely in Scotland. In East Anglia it was collected widely by Ralph Vaughan Williams, George Butterworth and E. J. Moeran. In Norfolk it was noted from James Landamore at Wroxham (1910), George Locke at Rollesby (1910), Walter Gales at Sutton (1921) and a recording was made of Harry Cox of Catfield singing the song which can be heard on TSCD512D The Bonny Labouring Boy (1967). In Cambridgeshire, Cecil Sharp got it from Tom Ison at Ely (1911) and in Essex a Mr Bloomfield sang it to Vaughan Williams at Herongate (1904) and Fred Hamer recorded it from Harry Green of Tilty (1967). The latter featured on the cassette VT135, which will eventually be re-released on CD. In Suffolk the only other recording is that of Jumbo Brightwell on the now deleted LP - 12TS261 Songs from the Eel's Foot (1975).

Song transcribed by John Howson

Song notes: John Howson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trousers on the Door

 

Now me ma she had a lodger, a nice young man was he,
He courted me sister Julia, they were as happy as could be.
Then all of a sudden he left us, we really don't know why,
All we know that he has gone and made poor sister cry.

Chorus:
For all he left was a pair of trousers hanging on the bedroom door.
When we look at them they seem to say, "You'll never see the lodger anymore."
All day long poor sister Julia cried,
She said, "What's the use of a pair of trousers if you haven't got a man inside?"

Ma used to treat him as a son, he had just what he chose.
He used to borrow money and he wore all father's clothes.
Now the reason why he left us we really can't explain,
All we know that he is gone with father's watch and chain.
(Chorus)
 

(Roud 5308). In Michael Kilgarriff's book 'Sing us one of the old songs' he gives 'All he left was a pair of trousers' as having being sung by Ada Cerito (1877-1944). The British Library gives it as written and composed by Murray & Leigh in 1898 and published in London, by Francis, Day and Hunter. There seems to be no other recording of the song.

Song transcribed by John Howson

Song notes: John Howson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

21 Years on Dartmoor

 

 
Now the judge sez stand up lad and dry up your eyes:
You're going to Dartmoor for 21 years.
Now kiss me goodbye babe I hope you'll be true,
For you're sentenced to Dartmoor for 21 years.

It's hailing, it's raining, the moon give no light,
It's hailing, it's blowing, you look down the line,
You look down the railroad; seem a mighty long way,
But she says I hope you'll be oh true dear, until I get back.

Now he counted the months sir, he counted the nights,
He counted the (hours?) dear but the moon gave no light.
He counted the stars dear, he counted those days,
But he counted a million of you prison lads.

Now come on you young fellas that is (heartbreak?) and true,
If you trust any old woman you'll be (deaf?) if you do.
Now hold up your (???) dear and dry up your eyes,
For 21, oh years boys is a mighty long time.
 

(Roud 2248, Laws E16). 'Twenty One Years' originated in America and is usually set in Nashville, Tennessee although it seems not to be connected with a specific incident. It was recorded on a Decca 78 rpm record by 'Mac and Bob' in the early 1930s and became popular with duet singers. In England it became a favourite amongst Gypsy singers and Ewan MacColl and Peggy Seeger recorded it from Caroline Hughes in Dorset (1963) and from Nelson Ridley in Kent (1974). Lubidy Rice who sings the other version on this album (Disc Two, track 3) had Traveller connections as did Louie Fuller who can be heard singing the song on VT131CD When the May is all in Bloom.

Song transcribed by John Howson

Song notes: John Howson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stepdance

 

And he got his boots upon his feet
Now we all know how to use them.
He's left us in no doubt,
And when he dance and sing my boy,
And I come right from me (shed?)
 

Whenever there was a gathering of Gypsy stepdancers, short ditties were often used for dancing to if there wasn't a musician present. Peter Kennedy recorded a Gypsy family, the O'Connors, at Friday Bridge, Cambridgeshire in 1956 using mouth music to step to, and on Veteran there is an example called 'tuning' from the Cornish Travellers Sophie Legg and Betsy Renals on VT119CD Catch Me if you Can.

Song transcribed by John Howson

Song notes: John Howson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Mistletoe Bough

 

The mistletoe hung in the castle hall,
The holly branch hung on the old oak wall.
The Baron's retainers were blithe and gay,
Keeping their Christmas holiday.
The Baron beheld with a father's pride,
His beautiful daughter, young Lovel's bride.
While she with her bright eyes seemed to be,
The star of the goodly company.
Oh! the mistletoe bough!
Oh! the mistletoe bough!

"I'm tired of dancing now," she cried,
"Here, tarry one moment, I'll hide, I'll hide,
And Lovel be sure thou art first to trace
A clue to my secret hiding place."
Away she ran and her friends all began,
Each nook to search and each nook to scan,
And young Lovel cried, "Oh where dost thou hide?
For I am lonely without thee, my own dear bride."
Oh! the mistletoe bough!
Oh! the mistletoe bough!

They sought her that night and they sought her next day,
They sought her in vain till the weeks passed away,
And years flew by, and the tale at last,
Was told as a sorrowing tale of the past,
And when Lovel appeared the children cried,
"See the old man weeps for his own dear bride."
Oh! the mistletoe bough!
Oh! the mistletoe bough!
 

At length an oak chest that had long lain hid,
Was found in the castle, they raised the lid,
And a skeleton form lay mouldering there,
In the bridled wreath of a lady fair.
Oh! sad was her fate, for in sportive jest.
She hid from her Lord, in an old oak chest,
It had closed with a spring, and a dreadful doom,
For the bride she laid clasped in a living tomb.

 

(Roud 2336). Thomas Haynes Bayley wrote this ballad in 1884 and it is said to be based on a true story, with the location being either Brockdish Hall, near Diss in Norfolk or Bramwell House near Basingstoke in Hampshire. Both of these have locations have legends about a bride being locked in an oak chest during a game of 'hide and seek' and being found dead years later. The song became popular in Victorian drawing rooms, but was also printed on street ballad sheets and taken up by traditional singers in both England and North America.

Song transcribed by John Howson

Song notes: John Howson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Eggs and Bacon

 

Oh landlord, landlord can you fill our glasses,
Then we may tonight both be merry be.
For in the basket you'll find some eggs, sir,
And some bacon you can fry for me.

Young man, young man you are quite mistaken,
Instead of eggs there I've found a child.
So perhaps you'll give me back your answer,
If you your bacon find.

Then one young sailor he sat there weeping.
The other six say, "It is worth no while.
For fifty pounds I will down pay,
To any fair maid that'll will take this child.

Young Nancy listened and heard his story.
She said, "Sir, Sir that mine ought to be.
I'll take the child and I'll tend it kindly.
If the money I see down paid.”

He smiled upon her and then he said, say,
"You are the lass I danced last Easter time.
So now I must fulfil my duty,
And I must the fiddler pay.”

So now together in wedlock join-ed,
In a little church down by the sea.
The bells were ringing and sailors singing,
And there bacon and eggs for tea.
 

(Roud 377). This song was widespread in southern England where it was often called 'The Basket of Eggs' as well as in Scotland where it was known as 'The Foundling Baby'. English folklorist Roy Palmer has traced this song to 'The Man of War's Garland', a chapbook that was printed in 1796. It tells of two sailors who steal a woman's basket, thinking it to be full of eggs which they plan to have cooked in an alehouse. When a child is discovered in the basket they offer five hundred pounds to any woman who will foster the child. Of course, the whole thing is a set-up by the mother who, having recognised one of the sailors - the father of the child, takes the money before declaring herself! Ralph Vaughan Williams came across the song from several singers in the eastern counties including, in Norfolk, Joe Anderson at Kings Lynn in 1905 and George Locke at Rollesby in 1910, and in Suffolk, Jake Willis at Hadleigh in 1907. Fred List of Framlingham also sang it to Keith Summers in the 1970s and that recording can be heard on VT154CD Good Hearted Fellows.

Song transcribed by John Howson

Song notes: John Howson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Sarah


Have you heard about Sarah, 'cos she work on the farm,
And while she's so good to I, I'll do her no harm.
When she told I she'd marry I, well I looked twice as big,
For I'd sooner have Sarah than master’s best pig, and,

Chorus:
She's proud and she's beautiful,
She's fat and she's fair,
As the buttercups and the daisies,
That grow in the air.

Now I and my Sarah was a milking a cow,
And us two over balanced and she fell somehow.
"Have you hurt yourself very much?" I started to yell.
She was rubbing her arm, but that weren't where she fell, for,
(Chorus)

Then me Sarah she fell in the river one day,
And she would have been drowned if I hadn't have been that way.
Then she looked at I as though I'd done a terrible crime,
And she said, "Just you mind where you grab I next time," for,
(Chorus)

Now when I told my mother of the girl I had won,
She said, "She ain't good enough for my lovely young son,
And my father he looked at I so loving and kind,
And he wanted to know if my Sarah was blind, but,
(Chorus)

Oh and when we get marr-ied, don't we have some fun,
For the parson, they tell I, make two into one.
Well a bet that'll puzzle him, as betwixt you and me,
There's enough meat on Sarah for to make two or three, and,
(Chorus)
 

(Roud 16652). Under the title 'Sarey' this song, written by Fred W. Leigh and George Bastow, was first performed in the music halls in 1906 by Bastow himself. It became popular with country singers (particularly in Sussex), probably through Albert Richardson's recording of it in 1931, when it was released as the B side to 'Farmer's boy' on Zonophone T60660. In Suffolk it was a favourite with Tannington farmer Tony Harvey and Norfolk's Ray Hubbard can heard singing it on VT155CD Norfolk Bred.

Song transcribed by John Howson

Song notes: John Howson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All Jolly Fellows That Follow the Plough

 

It was early one morning at the break of the day,
The cocks were a-crowing, and the farmer did say,
"Arise my good fellow, arise with good will,
For your horses want something their bellies to fill."

When five o'clock comes to the stable we're away.
To fill up our horses with corn and with hay,
And with rubbing and scrubbing our horses, I vow,
We're all jolly fellows that follow the plough.

When six o'clock comes then our breakfast we meet,
With bread, beef and pork, boys, we heartily eat.
With a piece in our pocket, I'll swear and I'll vow,
We're all jolly fellows that follow the plough.

When seven o'clock comes to the fields brave and bold,
To see which of us a straight furrow can hold.
Then with whistling and singing, I'll swear and I'll vow,
We're all jolly fellows that follow the plough.

Then our master comes to us and thus he did say,
"What have been been doing boys all this long day?
For you haven't ploughed an acre, I'll swear and I'll vow,
And you're damn idle fellows that follow the plough."

But I turned round on him and made this reply,
"We've all ploughed our acres so you tell a lie.
We've all ploughed our acre, I'll swear and I'll vow,
And we're all jolly fellows that follow the plough."

Then he turned to one side and he laughed at the joke,
"It's past two o'clock, boys and it's time to unyoke.
Un-harness your horses and rub them down well,
And I'll give you a jug of the very best ale."

So come all young fellows, take warning by me,
And don't fear your master, whoever he may be,
But tell him quite plainly with a curse and a bow
That we're all damn good fellows that follow the plough.
 

(Roud 346). Cecil Sharp remarked that, “Almost every singer knows 'All Jolly Fellows that follow the Plough': the bad singers know little else”. Not that Gordon Syrett was in that category of course, and Sharp was certainly right in that there are few country folk song collections that don't include this song. Almost all are to the same tune, which is a variant of the ubiquitous 'Villikins and his Dinah'. On Veteran other recordings of the song include Suffolk's Tony Harvey on VTC1CD Stepping it out! and Jeff Wesley from Northamptonshire, with an interesting variant of the tune. VTC4CD Down in the Fields

Song transcribed by John Howson

Song notes: John Howson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


No, Sir, No


Tell me one thing, tell me truly
Tell me why you scorn me so,
Tell me why, when asked a question,
You will always answer "No".

Chorus: No sir, no sir, no sir, no-oh-oh-oh
No sir, no sir, no sir, no.

My father was a Spanish merchant,
And before he went away,
He told me to be sure and answer,
"No" to all that you should say.

If while walking in the garden,
Plucking flowers all wet with dew,
Tell me, wouldn't you be offended
If I pluck-ed one for you?

And if while walking in the garden,
I should ask you to be mine,
Tell me would you be offended.
Would you then my heart decline?
 

(Roud 146). Cecil Sharp collected a version of 'O No, John' and it was published in 'Folk Songs from Somerset' in 1908. It was republished in Novello's 'School Songs' and in Vol. 2 of 
the 'Selected Edition of English Folk Songs' in 1921. As a result, Sharp's version, albeit with altered words to make it suitable for schoolchildren, became one of the most well known 
songs in the country. The song has been widely collected and appears in other forms often called 'Ripest Apples' or 'Twenty, Eighteen'. Emily's version is slightly truncated, with no 
mention of tying the garter or the couple actually making it to bed, but for the full story listen to Sam Larner on TSCD511 Now is the Time for Fishing.

Song transcribed by John Howson

Song notes: John Howson

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Blackberry Fold

 

The squire and his sister they were sit in the hall,
And while they were sitting, they heard a maid call.
Now while they were singing a sweet love-ly song,
Pretty Betsy the milk girl come trippling along.

"Do you want any milk sir?" pretty Betsy did say.
"Oh yes." said the squire, "Come in, pretty maid."
"For you are the young girl whom I do adore,
So I hope that my dear you won't leave me anymore."

"Oh hold your tongue squire, and let me go free,
And do not poke fun upon my poverty.
There are ladies of honour more fitting for you,
Than I a poor milk girl brought up to her cow."

Then a ring from his finger, he instant-ly drew,
And right in the middle he broke it in two.
One half he gave to her, so that I have been told,
And they both went a-walking down a Blackberry Fold.

“Pretty Betsy, pretty Betsy I will now have my will.”
“Oh and so be it squire. I'll be true to it still.”
“Well if you deny me out in this open field.
With my glittering sword, I will cause you to yield.”

With a wriggling and a squiggling pretty Betsy got free,
And with his own weapon she pierced his bod-y.
She pierced his bod-y and the blood then she drew,
Then home to her father like lightening she flew.

Then home to her father with tears in her eye,
"I have wounded the squire, the squire," said she.
"It was on my fair body he grew very bold,
So I've left him lay bleeding down a Blackberry Fold."

Oh the carriage it was sent for to fetch the squire home,
And likewise a doctor for to dress up his wound.
Oh and when it was dressed and he lay on his bed.
"Go and fetch me my Betsy, the milk girl," he said.

Pretty Betsy come trembling and trembling again,
And then unto her, oh these words did refrain:
"For the wound that you gave me, then it was my own fault.
So never let my ruin remain in your thought."

Oh a parson was sent for and he came to the bed,
And with the gold ring, oh these two he did wed.
And now they are married so that I've been told,
Oh they're oft times seen a-walking down a Blackberry Fold.
 

(Roud 559, Laws 010). This ballad was particularly popular in the southern counties of England following widespread distribution by many 19th century broadside printers including: Such, Disley and Fortey (London), Williams (Portsea), Bloomer (Birmingham) and Swindells (Manchester) under it's usual published name, 'The Squire and the Milkmaid'. With its tale of courtship, broken tokens, seduction and finally marriage it was also noted down in mid Suffolk by E.J.Moeran in 1921 from George Hill at Stonham. Other East Anglian recordings which are available are from Harry Cox (Rounder CD1839 What Will Become of England & TSCD512D The Bonny Labouring Boy) and from Phoebe Smith under the title of 'The Sheepfold' VT136CD The Yellow Handkerchief.

Song transcribed by John Howson

Song notes: John Howson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Banks of the Sweet Dundee

 

It's of a farmer's daughter, so beautiful, I'm told.
Her parents died and left her five hundred pounds in gold.
She lived all with her uncle, 'twas the cause of all her woe.
Soon you shall hear this maiden fair, did prove his overthrow.

Her uncle he kept a ploughboy, young a Mary loved full well.
And in her uncle's garden their tales of love did tell.
There was a wealthy squire who oft came her to see,
But still she loved the ploughboy, on the banks of sweet Dundee.

Now her uncle arose one morning, and he tapp-ed at her door.

"Come rise up pretty maiden, 'tis a lady you may be.

The squire is waiting for you on the banks of sweet Dundee."

"A fig for all your squires, your lords, your dukes likewise.
My William had appeal to me like diamonds in my eyes."
"Be gone, unruly female, you ne'er shall happy be,
For I mean to banish William from the banks of sweet Dundee."

Her uncle and the squire went riding out one day
Young William stood in favour, to hear her uncle say,
"Indeed, it's my intention. I'll tie him to a tree,

Or else I'll bribe the press-gang, on the banks of sweet Dundee."

Now the press-gang came to William, when he was all alone.
He boldly fought for liberty, but they were three to one.
His blood did flow in torrents, "Come kill me now," said he,
"For I'd rather die for Mary on the banks of sweet Dundee."


Now that maid was one day walking, lamenting for her love.

She met the wealthy squire down in her uncle's grove.
He put his arms around her, said "A kiss my pretty maid?"

"Stand off, stand off." said Mary, "Stand off base man from me,"
"You've sent the only lad I love from the banks of sweet Dundee."

He clasped his arm around her. He tried for to force her down.
Two pistols and a sword she espied beneath his morning gown.
Young Mary snatched the rapier and his sword he used full free.

But she did fire and shoot the squire on the banks of sweet Dundee.

Now her uncle overheard the noise. He hastened to the ground.

"Since you have shot the squire, I'll give you your death wound."
"Stand off. Stand off." said Mary, "Undaunted I will be."
She the trigger drew and her uncle slew on the banks of sweet Dundee.

Now the doctor he was sent for. A man of noted skill.
Likewise there came the lawyer For him to court the will.
He willed his gold to Mary, who fought so manfully.
And now she lives quite happy on the banks of sweet Dundee.

 

(Roud 148 - Laws M25).  A widely sung ballad which seems to have been particularly popular in East Anglia and certainly in mid Suffolk. In Roy Palmer's 'A Book of British Ballads' he introduces this ballad as 'Villainy and virtue, blood and tears, innocence triumphant: here are the ingredients for a 19th century melodrama'. It attracted the attention of many broadside printers and thus was another widely published ballad. It was obviously popular in Scotland, also turned up in Ireland and in North America. In the eastern counties Clive Carey collected it in 1911 from Mrs Yeldham in Thaxted, Essex and in the same year Cecil Sharp noted it down from John Darling in Ely, Cambridgeshire, then in 1960 Sam Steele recorded it from Billy Rash of West Wratting, Cambridgeshire and Reg Bacon of Radwinter, Essex: the latter recording can be heard on VT150CD Heel & Toe.

Song transcribed by John Howson

Song notes: John Howson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Which Gate?

 

One evening at a fancy ball I met a lovely girl.

Oh, she was a lovely girl, but she had a saucy curl.

She took me to the pictures, both the fares I had to pay.

She borrowed half a quid from me and then she stole away.

 

But she told me to meet her at the gate.

Meet her at the gate.

But she didn't say what gate.

I've been to Margate, Ramsgate, Billingsgate, and my gate:

I can't find her anywhere.

But when I asked a policeman.

He said, "Pop around to my gate.

You might find your lady there."

 

(Roud 10709). This fragment of a much fuller song differs quite a bit from the original, written by Harry Castling and Chas Collins. It was published in 1929, when it was popularised by S. W. Wyndham as 'She told me to meet her at the gate'. The gate referred to by the policeman as the likely place for him to find his ladyfriend is, in fact, Newgate, site of the former gaol.

Song transcribed by John Howson

Song notes: John Howson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Twenty One Years on Dartmoor

 

Twenty one years boys they put me to jail.
To serve down in Dartmoor because I have no bail.
The judge said to the jury, "I know it is fine.
For twenty one years boys is a mighty long time."

The judge said, "Stand up boy and dry up your tears.

You're sentenced to Dartmoor for twenty one years."

So hold up your head boy and say you'll be mine.
All the best friends must part babe so must you and I.

The steam from the whistle the smoke from the stack.

For we shall be true babe until I get back.
It's raining, it's hailing, and the moon gives no light.

Oh baby please tell me why you never write.

I've counted the days babe. I've counted the nights.

I've counted the minutes. I've counted the lights.

I've counted the footsteps. I've counted the stars.
I've counted ten million of these prison bars.

Oh governor, good governor you (????) for all.
Your place has got a smell in just like an old stall.
Oh governor, good governor you're still in your chair.

While I lay breathing this filthy old air.

 

 (Roud 2248 - Laws E16). See the notes for 'Gypsy' Charlie's version - Disc One, track 23.

Song transcribed by John Howson

Song notes: John Howson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jim the Carter's Lad

 

Now my name is Jim the Carter and a jolly cock am I.

For I always am contented, let the weather be wet or dry.

For I crack my fingers at the snow, and I whistle in the rain.
I've braved the storms for many a day and I can do so again.

For it's crack, crack, goes me whip, I whistle and I sing.
As I sit upon the wagon, I'm as happy as a king.
For me horse is always willing, and for me I'm never sad.
There's none can lead the jollier life than Jim the Carter's lad.

Now my father was a carrier many years 'ere I was born.

He used to rise at daybreak and would do his round each morn.

He would often take me with him, and especially in the spring.

And I'd love to sit upon the cart and hear my father sing.

 

Crack, crack, goes me whip, I whistle and I sing.
As I sit upon the wagon, I'm as happy as a king.
For me horse is always willing, and for me I'm never sad.
There's none can lead the jollier life than Jim the Carter lad.

Now the girls they all smile on me as I go driving past.
For me horse is such a beauty and he jogs along so fast.
For we've travelled many a weary mile and happy days we've had.

For there's none can treat a horse more kind than Jim the Carter's lad.

So now I'll bid you all adieu, for it's time I was away.
I know my horse will weary be if I much longer stay.
So to see your smiling faces, it makes my heart quite glad.

And I hope you'll grant your kind applause, to Jim the Carter's lad.

 

(Roud 1080). Published by 19th century broadside printers, this is a song which has been collected in Ireland, Scotland and just about every English county from Cornwall to Northumberland, with the carter's /carrier lad's name changing from Jim to Sam to Joe depending on the location. Having an association with horses, it was also a favourite with East Anglia singers, and other recorded versions include: Tony Harvey VTC2CD Songs Sung in Suffolk, Ted Cobbin (MTCD340 A Story to Tell) and Ray Hubbard VT155CD Norfolk Bred.

Song transcribed by John Howson

Song notes: John Howson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sweet William

I saw a damsel in distress.
Oh and up to me she came.
Saying, "Since you’ve had then your will of me.
Pray tell to me your name."

"For it is some they call me Jacks pretty maid.
And some they call me John.
But when I’m come to the Kings highway.
They call me Sweet William oh.
And they call me Sweet William.
But when I’m come to the Kings highway.
They call me Sweet William.

Then she turned her head and away she went.
Oh as hard as she could run.
She ran ‘til she came to the water’s edge.
She pitched on her breast and swam oh.
She pitched on her breast and swam.

She swam ‘til she came to the dry land again.
She took to her heels and ran oh.
She took to her heels and ran.
She ran ‘til she came to the water’s edge.
She pitched on her breast and swam.

She ran right to her master’s house.
Her captain for to see.
Saying call for one of your valiant men.
That has been a robb-ed me.
As he robbed you of five hundred pounds?
As he robbed you of your hall?
No he’s robbed me of my maidenhead.
And that is the worst of it all oh.
And that is the worst of it all.

Then he call-ied down all his valiant men.
By one, by two, then three.
And the very first man that he called down.
The very same man was he.

Then he paid her down five hundred pounds.
Oh and putting into a purse.
Saying “When the child that is born you see”.
We’ll put it out to nurse oh.
We’ll put it out to nurse”.
And when the child that is born you see.
We’ll put it out to nurse”.

"I told you that was a wicked old song!"

 

(Roud 67 - Child 110). See notes for Emily Sparkes' version - Disc One, track 4.

Song transcribed by John Howson

Song notes: John Howson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Died For Love

 

There was a young farmer who once courted me.

He stole my heart and sweet liberty.

He stole my heart with a sweet good will.

And I must confess that I love him still.

 

There is an alehouse in the town.

My love go in and sit himself down.

He takes another girl on his knee.

Now don’t you think that’s a grief to me.

 

Grief to me as I’ll tell you why.

Because she’s got more gold that I.

Her gold will waste and her silver fly.

And she’ll become a poor girl like I.

 

Oh don’t I wish my baby was born.

Sit smiling on his dadda’s knee.

And I myself in a cold, cold grave.

With green grass growing over me.

 

The farmer coming home one night.

He call-ed for his hearts delight.

Upstairs he flew and the door he broke.

He found his love hanging there by a rope.

 

He took a knife and cut her down.

Into her bosom a note he found.

"Since I can’t be this young farmer’s wife.

then with this rope I have ended my life."

 

So dig me a grave both long, wide and deep.

Strew it with flowers that do smell sweet.

And on my bosom, two turtle doves.

To let the world know I died for love.

 

(Roud 60 - Laws P25). A very widely distributed song in England, Ireland, Scotland and North America, which was published by several 19th century broadside printers. Emily's version is one of the most complete to be found in the oral tradition, with a first verse setting the scene for a story of betrayal which finally ends in suicide. Although 'Died for Love' is the usual name, it has appeared under many titles including 'Bold /Brisk Young Farmer /Sailor /Lover', and 'The Alehouse /Tavern in the Town' or 'I Wish My Baby it was Born'. In the West Country, particularly amongst Gypsy communities, it is known as 'Over Yonder's Hill' and has a couple of additional floating verses about a flower that would cure heartache. Two fine versions of this form can be heard on Veteran, sung by Jean Orchard on VT151CD Holsworthy Fair and Viv Legg on VT153CD Romany Roots. In east Suffolk, Blaxhall's Geoff Ling regularly sang 'Died for Love' and he can be heard on TSCD660 Who's that at my Bed Window?

Song transcribed by John Howson

Song notes: John Howson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our Goodman

 

Strolling home one evening, without my horse and cart.

I then espied another man's face, in bed, instead of mine.

I asked my wife, "Whose face is that? Whose ever can it be?"

She said, "It is a baby dear my mother sent to me."

 

For it's thousands miles I've travelled.

A thousand miles and more.

But a babies face with whiskers on.

I never saw before!

 

(Roud 114 - Child 274). This song was first printed in the eighteenth century and was also known as 'Old Cuckold'. It was published in both Scotland and England, it then crossed to Ireland, spread into Germany and then into other parts of Europe and on to North America where it became particularly widespread. It became popular amongst traditional singers in England - always on the lookout for a good comic song - although it often ended up in a fragmented form. Under the title 'Seven Drunken Nights' it continued in popularity through the Second World War, when it became a part of many a soldier's repertoire, and in the past forty years it gained a higher profile still after it was recorded by Irish folk group The Dubliners and reached number 7 in the U.K. pop charts In 1967. The only other recording made of it in East Anglia is from Norfolk's Harry Cox on Rounder CD1776 Classic Ballads 2.

Song transcribed by John Howson

Song notes: John Howson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Balaclava

 

It is a famous story, proclaim-ed far and wide.

And let your children's children make the echo ring.

How Cardigan the fearless, his name immortal made.

When he crossed the Russian valley with his gallant Light Brigade.

 

Horty Nolan brought the order: "Good God can it be true?"

Cried Cardigan the fearless, "and my brigade so few!

To face those deadly cannon from yonder teeming mass.

Why it's madness sir: where shall we charge, what gun bring up the pass?"

 

"There, there my lord, there are the guns, there are your fullmen too."

He turned his horse's head away and he bid the Earl adieu.

 

Then six hundred stalwart warriors, of England's pride the best.

Did grasp the lance and sabre on Balaclava's crest.

And with their trusty leader, Earl Cardigan the brave.

They crossed that Russian valley, to glory and the grave.

 

(Roud 1443 - Laws A14). The Battle of Balaclava, which included the Charge of the Light Brigade, took place on the 25th October 1854. Like many other battles of the Crimean War it was celebrated in street ballads, including this one, 'Oh 'tis a famous story' or 'Balaclava', published by Such in London. It is not a common ballad in oral repertoire, but it was a favourite of Norfolk singer Walter Pardon and it was featured on the now deleted LP LED211 'Our Side of the Baulk'.

Song transcribed by John Howson

Song notes: John Howson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Poor Old Jeff

 

'It's ten long years ago today, that I remember well.
When I sat down by poor Nelly's side, and a story she did tell.
''Twas about a poor old darkie Jeff, that had lived for many a year.
But now he's dead and in his grave. No trouble doth he fear.
 

Chorus:
For good old Jeff is gone to rest.
We know that he is free.
Disturb him not, but let him rest.

Way down in Tennessee.


But she took my arm, we walked along, into an open field.
And there she paused to breath awhile. Then to his grave did steal.
She sat down on that little mound, and softly whispered there.
"Come to me father, 'tis thy child." She gently dropped a tear.

(Chorus)

 

But since that time, how things have changed, Poor Nelly that was my pride.
Is laid beneath that cold brave sod, down by her father's side.
I planted there upon her grave, a weeping willow tree.
I've bathed its roots with many a tear, That it might shelter me.
(Chorus)

 

This song was published by the Poet's Box, at Overgate, Dundee which operated between 1880 and 1945, although it is possible that some material was published as early as 1850. In 1885 this publisher produced a catalogue of 2,000 titles consisting of humorous recitations, dialogues, temperance songs, medleys, parodies, love songs, and Jacobite songs, but later their emphasis turned towards local songs and Bothy ballads. This rather unusual broadside, set in Tennessee, tells of the death of a father and his daughter. Interestingly, the father in this story seems to have been a black man - rather unusual for a broadside published in Scotland: the word 'free' could therefore be interpreted as indicating that Old Jeff was a slave in Tennessee.

Song transcribed by John Howson

Song notes: John Howson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Iron Door

 

The was a damsel so fair and handsome.
These lines are true so I’ve been told.
On the banks of the Shannon in this lofty mountain.
Her parents claim-ed great stores of gold.

Her hair was black as the raven’s feather.
Her form and features describe who can.
And if her folly belonged to nature.
For she fell in love with a servant man.


Her father built a dungeon of bricks and mortar.
With a flight of steps for it was underground.
And the food he gave her was bread and water.
The only fare that for her was found.

Three times a day he cruelly beat her.
Unto to her father she thus began.
"If I must die now my own dear father.
I’ll lay down my life for my servant man."

Her father found that his daughter had vanished
Like a lion he did roar.
He said, "From Ireland you shall be banished.
Or with my broad sword I will spill your gore."

"So be it." said it young William,  "Be at your leisure.
Since now her I’ve freed her do all you can.
Forgive your daughter. I’ll die with pleasure.
For the one in fault is your servant man."

When her father found him so tender hearted.
Down he fell on the dungeon floor.
He said, "True lovers should never be parted.
Since love could enter an iron door."

And soon they joined to be parted never.
To dwell in riches this young couple came.
Now this young lady amid loyal treasures.
Lives love forever with her servant man.

 

(Roud 539 - Laws M15). This ballad was published by a remarkable number of 19th century broadside printers including Such, Disley, Fortey, Paul, Birt, Taylor and Catnach in London, Willey in Cheltenham, Dalton in York, Walker in Durham, Stewart in Carlisle and Fordyce and Ross in Newcastle, usually under the name 'The Cruel Father and Affectionate Lovers'. Other titles, which are more descriptive of the storyline, include 'Since Love Can Enter an Iron Door', 'The Daughter in the Dungeon' and 'Mary and her Servant Man'. It was collected from many southern English singers, yet rarely further north apart from a couple of versions collected in Scotland and several in Ireland. It was also widespread in North America particularly in Nova Scotia. In East Anglia the only sightings come in the Ralph Vaughan Williams manuscripts where the song was noted down in 1905 from Charles Potiphar at Ingrave, Essex and from John Chesson, in King's Lynn, Norfolk.

Song transcribed by John Howson

Song notes: John Howson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Banks of the Sweet Dundee

 

It was early one morning her uncle come straight way.

He rapp-ed at her bedroom door and unto her did say.

Come arise my pretty female a lady you may be.

For the squire is waiting for you down on the banks of the sweet Dundee.

 

A fig for all your squires. Your dukes and those likewise.

Young William's hand appeals to me like diamonds in my eye.

"Begone, unruly female, unhappy you shall be.
For I will banish William from the banks of the sweet Dundee."

Her uncle and the squire rode out one summer's day.
Young William is in favour. Her uncle he did say.
"But I have my intentions. I will tie him to a tree.
or let the press-gang bribe him from the banks of the sweet Dundee."


Oh the press-gang came to William, when he was all alone.
He boldly fought for liberty, but they were six to one.
The blood did fly in torrents, "Pray kill me now," said he.
"For I'd rather die for Mary on the banks of the sweet Dundee."

Well she was out a-walking lamenting for her love.
She met the wealthy squire all in her uncle's grove.
He put his arms around her, "Stand off, false man," said she.
"For you have killed the man I loved on the banks of the sweet Dundee."

He put his arms around her and he tried to throw her down.
Two pistols and a sword she spied beneath his morning gown.
She boldly took the weapons which she did use so free.
Then she did fire and shot the squire on the banks of the sweet Dundee.

Oh a doctor soon was sent for, as a man of note was ill.
And likewise for the lawyer, that he might sign his will.
He willed all his gold to Mary, who fought so manfully.
Then he closed his eyes, never more to rise on the banks of the sweet Dundee.

 

(Roud 148 - Laws M25). See notes for Stan Steggle's version - Disc One, track 38.

Song transcribed by John Howson

Song notes: John Howson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

M-o-n-e-y

 

It's money that makes the matter go. It's a saying old but true.

That when you've got the ready cash your friends they'll stick like glue.

But when your purse is empty, those friends you thought sincere.

Will proudly turn upon their heels and quickly disappear.

It is then you mummer to yourself, "I must have been a fool.

To let those artful fellows make me their ready tool.

But if fortune smiles on me again, you bet I will reply.

And the only one that I will trust is my m-o-n-e-y."

 

Chorus:

M-O-N-E-Y that is the stuff to bring you joy.

When you've got the L.S.D. everybody seems so free.

Folk you've never seen before, flock around you by the score.

Girls to win your love will try, for your M-O-N-E-Y.

 

Now the parson he preaches in the church, but does not do it free.

The lawyer too will give advise, but he always wants his fee.

The butcher too will smell a rat, if funds are getting low.

And if you want your meat on credit, he'll quickly tell you, "No!"

Your wife will be cold and distant, to please her you may try.

But she won't be easy 'til she gets your m-o-n-e-y.

(Chorus)

 

(Roud 2426). Another of Gordon's songs which seems to have come from the Poet's Box in Dundee and which was probably published between 1880 and 1900. It was popularised by a Harry Russell who was said to have had great success with it. Apart from Gordon's, the only other recording that seems to exist was made by Peter Kennedy in 1953 at the Blaxhall Ship in east Suffolk where the landlord, Arthur Hewitt, sang an almost identical song under the title 'LSD (Landlord's Special Ditty)'. (see Folktracks FSB036 Down at the Old Blaxhall Ship).

Song transcribed by John Howson

Song notes: John Howson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Love and Duty

 

At his post a soldier standing, duty tells him he must stay.

True love's calling over yonder, which command must he obey?

For little Nell his wife was dieing, why, oh why, was his lot so hard?

For like a dream by chance she would vanish while he was standing here on guard.

 

Blinding tears his eyes are filling as he thinks "What shall I do?

Stick to my post and lose my darling without one last farewell."

For though he'd proved himself a hero with the foe stood face to face.

To leave would be dishonour on his good name bring disgrace.

 

So he stands betwixt love and duty fighting that bitter fight.

His heart it is torn with anguish between the wrong and right.

But a soldier's love still remains the same, his countries cause he would have to shame.

For love stood first and who shall blame, for he stands between love and duty.

 

In a far off distant mansion stands a mother worn and old.

'Tis a last the old, old story and had oft been heard and told.

Mother's joy and boyhoods downfall, who had brought disgrace and shame.

For she knew he was a thief and an outcast having forged his father's name.

 

Then the stern old father enters, "Where's my one time son?" said he.

She never having deceived him, had her head hung down in grief we see.

For she stands betwixt love and duty fighting that bitter fight.

Her heart was torn with anguish between wrong and right.

But a mother's love still remains the same, her darling's cause she would never shame.

For love stands first and who shall blame, for she stands betwixt love and duty.

 

The full title is 'Twixt Love and Duty' and it was written in 1989 (when Gordon Syrett was just two years old) by Chas Williams, with music by Leo Dryden whose most famous composition was probably 'The Miner's Dream of Home' which he wrote with Will Godwin in 1891.

Song transcribed by John Howson

Song notes: John Howson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bonny Bunch of Roses

 

??? was Napoleon.

A name was feared (and line boy Oh?).

He said, "I'll raise an army and through tremendous danger go.

In spite of all the unity I'll sting the bonny bunch of roses. Oh."

 

He raised a terrible army, six hundred thousand strong.

He was so well provided. He'd enough to sweep the world along.

He took some squires and princesses to swell that mighty throng.

On the road to march to Russia to conquer and as bold he go.

 

When he came in sight of Moscow, nearly over powered by the driven snow.

All of Moscow laid in blazing so he lost his bonny bunch of roses oh.

 

(Roud 664 - Laws J5). Another 19th century broadside ballad that was published by all of the major broadside houses: the earliest dating from before 1830. While Napoleon was a threat to Britain, patriotic songwriters poured out defiant and derogatory broadsides, and on his disastrous 1813 defeat in Russia, a flood of street ballads appeared with titles like ' The Ashes of Napoleon', 'Grand Conversation With Napoleon' 'Napoleon's Farewell' and 'Young Napoleon' or 'The Bonny Bunch of Roses'. In East Anglia it was collected by Cecil Sharp in Ely from Robert Grimditch in 1911 and by George Butterworth in Wroxham from James Landamore in 1910. It was a popular song at the Blaxhall Ship in Suffolk and Cyril Poacher can heard singing it on TSCD658 A Story I'm Just About to Tell as can George Ling on VT154CD Good Hearted Fellows.

Song transcribed by John Howson

Song notes: John Howson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Ship that Never Returned


On a Summer's morn when the waves were rippled, by a sweet and gentle breeze.
A ship set sail with a car-go ladened, for a port beyond the sea.
There were sweet farewells. There was solemn partings (while the foam)? could yet be concerned.
But they never thought that her love would perish, on the ship that never returned.

 

No it never returned. No it never returned, and it's fait is still unknown.

From that day to this I've been watching, waiting for the ship that never returned.

 

Said a pale faced boy to his loving mother, "Let me cross this wild, wide sea.

For they tell me that, in a foreign country there is health and wealth for me."

Now his mother listened with a fond affection and her heart still to him yearned.

As he sent him forth with a mother's blessing on the ship that never returned.

 

No it never returned. No it never returned, and it's fait is still unknown.

From that day to this I've been watching, waiting for the ship that never returned.

 

(Roud 775 - Laws D27). Another popular song in East Anglia, this was composed by American songwriter Henry Clay Work who was a Chicago printer. He actually preferred his song-writing activities to printing, and his in-laws are said to have commented: 'his name may be Work, but that ain't his nature!' Even so he became a prolific writer and other classics he wrote include, 'Marching Through Georgia' and 'My Grandfather's Clock'. 'The Ship that Never Returned' was published in 1885 but it was probably a recording on an Edison Bell cylinder, released sometime before the First World War, which fixed it in the English traditional singer's repertoire.

Song transcribed by John Howson

Song notes: John Howson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Jealous Lover

 

So soon she drank and then she fainted.

"Take me home young man." she cried.

"For it was poison that you gave me.

To take my innocent life away."

 

"If it was poison that I gave you.

I myself have taken the same.

We will die in each others arms together."

Young man be aware of Jealous crime.

 

(Roud 218 - Laws P30). This fragment is actually the last two verses of a longer song that describes how a servant (sometimes a sailor or ploughman) gains the attention of the daughter of the house. She refuses to marry him and he follows her to a dance where he sees her dance with another and vows to poison her. Emily takes the story up from there. A widely distributed song in the British Isles, Ireland and Scotland, which was published by many 19th century broadside printers, usually under the title ‘Oxford City'. Other titles that the song has been collected under include 'Jealousy', 'Newport Street' and 'Poison in a Glass of Wine'. It is a rarely in East Anglia, although Cecil Sharp did collect it at Littleport, Cambridgeshire in 1911 from a Mrs Leverinton and Ralph Vaughan Williams encountered the song in King's Lynn, Norfolk from William Harper in 1905 and in East Horndon, Essex from James Punt in 1904.

Song transcribed by John Howson

Song notes: John Howson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Grenadier and the Lady

 

Oh as I walk-ed out one morning in May.

There I saw a couple together at play.

Oh one was a lady I'll vow and declare.

and the other a soldier, a bold grenadier.

 

"Oh now!" said the soldier, "Shall we walk together?"

He rapped his coat round her, to keep her from the weather.

They walked 'til they came down to yonder spring.

Where the small birds they whistle and the nightingales sing.

 

The soldier he caught up the lady by the middle.

And out of his knapsack he pulled out a fiddle.

And he played her such merry tunes caused the valleys to ring.

"Hark! Hark!" said the lady, How the nightingales sing."

 

"Oh now," said the soldier, "It's time to give o'er."

"Oh no." said the lady, "Play me one tune more."

"It's the charms of your music and the deeds of your strings."

"Hark! Hark!" said the soldier, "How the nightingales sing."

 

"Oh now," said the lady, " Won't you marry me?"

"Oh no." said the soldier, "That never can be."

"I've a wife and three children in the North country.

And a prettier woman did your eyes ever see?"

 

"And to the East Indies love, I am bound out.

To enjoy the sweet wine and the city brown stout.

But if ever I return again. It'll be in the spring.

When the small birds they whistle and the nightingale sing."

 

(Roud 140 - Laws P14) This 19th century ballad that warns of the unreliability of soldiers does not seem to have reached Scotland or Ireland, yet was extremely prevalent in America and Canada. In England it seems to have been mainly found in southern counties, particularly in the west country: Cecil Sharp collected it from no less that nine different singers in Somerset between 1904 and 1907 and H.E.D. Hammond noted it down four times in Dorset around the same time. Two recordings of the song from Cornish singers are available on Veteran: from Viv Legg VT153CD Romany Roots and from Charlie Pitman VTC9CD Old Uncle Tom Cobleigh and All. Charlie Carver's rendition is a rare example from East Anglia, although Ewan McColl and Peggy Seeger did also record it in Essex from the Gypsy singer Nelson Ridley.

Song transcribed by John Howson

Song notes: John Howson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Faithful Sailor

 

'Twas on one cold and stormy night, the snow laid on the ground.
A sailor boy stood on the quay, his ship laid outward bound.

His sweetheart standing by his side shed many a silent tear.

And as he drew her to his breast he whispered in her ear:

Chorus:
Farewell, farewell, my own true love, this parting gives me pain.

I'll be your own true guiding star if I return again.
My thoughts they'll be of you, of you, when the storm is raging high.

Farewell, farewell, remember me, your faithful sailor boy.

The ship set sail and with a gale she watched it's sails unfurl.

And as it sped upon it's way her heart (been in a whirl?).

She prayed a prayer to him above, to guide him on his way.

And as the vessel fades from view, these word re-echoed o're the bay.

(Chorus)

The ship returned and sad to say, without that sailor boy.

For he had died when on the voyage, the flags flew half-mast high.
His comrades when they came a shore told her that he was dead.

A letter that he wrote to her, the last lines sadly said:

Final chorus:
Farewell, farewell, my own true love, on earth we'll meet no more.

For I soon shall be from storm and sea, on that eternal shore.

I hope to meet you in that land, that land (for soft rolls free?).

Farewell, farewell, my own true love, your faithful sailor boy.

 

(Roud 375). See the notes fro Charlie Carver's version - Disc One, track 6.                                                                                                                       

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Song transcribed by John Howson  Song notes: John Howson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ball of Yarn

 

Oh it was one fine summer's day, in the merry month of May.

I was strolling down my dear old father's farm.

When I met a pretty miss, and I shyly asked her this.

"May I wind up your little ball of yarn?"

 

"Oh no sir." said she, "You're a stranger, I can see.

And you might do me some harm."

"Oh no, my turtle dove, you're the only one I love;

Let me wind up your little ball of yarn."

 

So I took this pretty maid, to a spot beneath the shade.

Intending not to do her any harm.

And to my surprise, when I gazed into her eyes.

I was winding up her little ball of yarn.

 

Now a year or two passed by, and I'm telling you no lie.

I met her with a baby in her arms.

I said "Oh, sweet young miss, oh, I never expected this.

When I wound up your little ball of yarn."

 

Now all you fair young maids, take a lesson from the shade.

And don't get up too early in the morning.

For the blackbird in the bush keeps on whistling to the brush.

"Keep your hand on your little ball of yarn."

 

(Roud 1404). Often thought of as a classic English folk song, it has turned up all over the British Isles, in North America and even Australia. American folklorist Vance Randolph found versions in the Ozark Mountains and suggested that the 'ball of yarn' might refer to a vinegar-soaked wadding used as a primitive contraception device, although it was evidently not so effective in this case! Hubert Smith said that he learned this song when he was about five, but it wasn't until he was twenty that he picked it up properly. Certainly a popular song in Suffolk, and another good version is that of Gordon Woods of Framsden VTC2CD Songs Sung in Suffolk.

Song transcribed by John Howson

Song notes: John Howson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nobody's Child 

 

As I was slowly passing an orphans home one day.

I stopped there for a moment just to watch some children play.

Alone a boy was standing and when I asked him why.
He turned with eyes that could not see and he began to cry.

Chorus:
"I'm nobody's child, nobody's child. Just like the flowers I'm growing wild.
No mammy's kisses, no daddy's smiles. Nobody wants me, I'm nobody's child."

People come for children and take them for their own.

But they all seem to pass me by and I'm left all alone.

No mummy's arms to hold me, to soothe me when I cry.

Sometimes I get so lonely I wish that I could die.

I'd walk the streets of heaven, where all the blind can see.

And just like those other kids, there'd be a home for me.

(Chorus)

 

(Roud 10718). 'Nobody's Child' was published by Charles Sheard & Co. Ltd in 1868, composed by Alfred Lee and Frank W. Green and performed by Harry Liston. A hundred years later, in the 1960s, it found a new popularity when it was recorded by a number of different artistes including Hank Williams, Lonnie Donegan, Billy Fury and Tony Sheridan and the Beat Brothers - who became the Beatles!

Song transcribed by John Howson

Song notes: John Howson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

They Won't Know I Come From the Country

 

I've lived in the country all my life.

And I ain't got a kid nor a wife.

But I'll be a-going to London town next week.

For the first time in my life.

I've heard talk about their roughs and thieves.

They've got up in London town.

When a fellow comes up from the country.

Oh, they always takes him down!

 

But they won't know I comes from the country:

No, their little game I'll spoil.

I've bought these togs, and tailor say.

"They're the latest London style! "

I've learned to talk like a cockney:

I can say "What-ho, not 'arf!"

But they won't know I come from the country.

No! ha! ha! ha! ha!

That's what makes I laugh.

 

I'll go to the Tower of London.

That's where the Queen lives, so they say.

And of course I'll go to the Haymarket:

I'm a rare good judge of hay.

I'll see Piccadilly Circus.

For a circus show's alright.

And I'll see those lovely performances.

They have there every night.

 

But they won't know I come from the country.

No: when for a stroll I go.

I'll wear my hat on the side like this.

And I'll swing my stick like so.

If a policeman says "Move on there!".

I'll say, "What-ho, not arff".

But they won't know I come from the country.

No! ha! ha! ha! ha! ha!

That's what makes I laugh.

 

(Roud 10715). The original title of this song, which was penned by the prolific songwriter Fred W. Leigh was 'They won't know Oi coom from the coontry'. It was published by Francis, Day & Hunter in 1909 and was included in the Devonian Year Book of 1915. Bill Murray of Dartmoor sings a version he learned from ninety year old Frank Webber who learned it as a young man from two Australian brothers at the Taw River Inn in Sticklepath. The fairly common subject, of the countryman going to London for the first time and showing he is not as daft as may be thought, occurs in other songs like Cyril Poacher's 'I'm a Young Man from the Country' (on the now deleted LP 12TS252 The Broomfield Wager) but apart from the Devon connection, Tom Smith's song seems not to have turn up anywhere else.

Song transcribed by John Howson

Song notes: John Howson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Fox and the Hare

 

Now the fox and the hare.

And the badger and the bear.

The birds in the green wood tree.

The pretty little rabbits are engag-ed in their habits .

And they’ve all got a mate but me.

 

She was sixteen stone all muscle and bone.

And I might have been a millionaire.

She might have been mine but she fell in decline.

By swallowing a mouse in the beer.

 

(Roud 1140). This song seems to be a rarity. In the Roud folk song index there are only eight versions listed and five are from North America. On further investigation the song turns up in 'On the Trail of Negro Folk-Songs (Harvard University Press 1925) as 'Dere's de fox an' de hare' as well as in Ireland where Cork balladeer Jimmy Crowley sings a version he got from John O'Connell from Baile Mhuirne, Co. Cork. Of the versions collected in England, one was noted by Frances Collinson in 1942 from a Mr Ring in Bethersden in Kent whilst the others are all from East Anglia. Neil Lanham recorded it from Beryl Cowan in Colchester, Essex and Fred Hamer recorded it from Harry Green in Tilty, Essex. Emily Sparkes' rendition here is just a verse and a chorus whilst Harry Green's is much fuller, with eight verses: this can be heard on Veteran cassette VT143 which will be re-released on CD.

Song transcribed by John Howson

Song notes: John Howson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jolly Ploughboy

 

I once was a merry ploughboy. I was ploughing in the fields one day.

When an idea came and struck me and I said, "I'd run away.

For I'm sick and tied of the country life, and the place where I was born.

So I'm going to take the good King's Shilling and I'm off tomorrow morn."

So hurrah for the Scarlet and the Blue.

See the flags a waving in the sky.

And the watch word of our soldiers are we'll have home rule or die.


I stood beside my old grey mare, I stood beside my plough.

No more would I go ploughing the field, to reap or to sow.
No more would I go harvesting that beautiful golden corn.

I've been and took the good King's Shilling and I'm off tomorrow morn.

 

So hurrah for the Scarlet and the Blue. See the helmets that glitter in the sun.

And the bayonets shine like lightening to the beating of the old militia drum.

There's a flag in dear old Ireland waving proudly in the sky.

And the watch word of our soldiers are we'll have home rule or die.

 

(Roud 163). See the notes for Roy Last's version - Disc One, track 2.                                                                                                                                

Song transcribed by John Howson

Song notes: John Howson