All Jolly Fellows that follow the Plough

That was early one morn at the break of the day
The cockerels were crowing the farmer did say
Come rise my good fellows come rise with good will
Be your horses want something their bellies to fill.

For when four o'clock comes then up we arise
And down to the stables so merrily flies
With rubbing and scrubbing our horses I vow
We're all jolly fellows that follows the plough.

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

And we harness our horses and away we do go
Tripping over the plain boys as nimbly as dough
And when we get there so jolly and bold
To see which of us a straight furrow can hold.

Our master came to us and this he did say
What have you been doing, this long summer’s day?
You've not ploughed an acre I’ll swear and I vow
You're all idle fellows that follow the plough.

Well I stepped up to him and made this reply
We've all ploughed an acre so you've told a dammed lie
We've all ploughed an acre, and I’ll swear and I vow
We're all jolly fellows that follow the plough.

He turned himself round and he laughed at his joke
It’s gone two o'clock boys, its time to unyoke
Unharness your horses and rub them down well
For you're all jolly fellows that follows the plough.

So all you young fellows where ever you be
Take my advice and be ruled by me
Never fear your own master and then he will vow
That you're all jolly fellows that follows the plough.

 

        Cecil Sharp remarked that, "Almost every singer knows ‘All Jolly Fellows Who Follow the Plough’: the bad singers often know little else." Not that Jeff fits into that category of course! In fact his version is unusual as it has an interesting different tune. The more usual tune is in fact a version of the ubiquitous ‘Villikins and Dinah’. Sharp was of course right and there are few folk-song collections that don’t include a version of this tune.

Song transcribed by Will Duke & Brian Wood

Song notes: John Howson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Sweet Country Life

A sweet country life is to me both dear and charming
For to walk abroad on a fine summer’s morning
Your houses your cities your lofty gay towers
In nothing can compare with the sweet shady bowers
Your houses your cities your lofty gay towers
In nothing can compare with the sweet shady bowers

Nor do I admire your robes and fine dresses
Your silks and your scarlets and other excesses
For my own country clothing is to me more endearing
Then your sweet pretty mantle for ‘tis my own spun wearing
For my own country clothing is to me more endearing
Then your sweet pretty mantle for ‘tis my own spun wearing

No fiddle no flute no hautboy or spinet
In ought can compare with the lark or the linnet
And down as I lay all among the green bushes
I was charmed by the notes of the blackbirds and thrushes
And down as I lay all among the green bushes
I was charmed by the notes of the blackbirds and thrushes

As Johnny the ploughboy was walking alone
To fetch home his cattle so early at morn
There he spied pretty Nancy all among the green bushes
She was singing much more sweetly than the blackbirds and thrushes
There he spied pretty Nancy all among the green bushes
She was singing much more sweetly than the blackbirds and thrushes

‘Twas down in the meadow beneath the lofty mountain
There he sat a milking by the side of a fountain
The flocks they did graze in the dew of the morning
Bright Phoebe did shine the hills all adorning.
The flocks they did graze in the dew of the morning
Bright Phoebe did shine the hills all adorning.

So now to conclude and to end my ditty
Come all you country lasses that are so neat and pretty
Oh never do forsake your own country employment
No cities can afford of so sweet an enjoyment.
Oh never do forsake your own country employment
No cities can afford of so sweet an enjoyment.

   

        Although printed on broadsides by Pitts and Jennings, both of London, in the first quarter of the 19th century, Lucy Broadwood felt that the words to this song were probably to be found originally on an 18th century sheet. As such, they ‘were not folk’. Luckily ‘the folk’ liked the song, and collected word sets have been found in Gloucestershire by Cecil Sharp (Cecil Sharp’s Collection of English Folk Songs ed. Maud Karpeles, 1974, Vol.2.) and in Wales (Journal of the Welsh Folk Song Society ii, pp.166-7). A Scottish text, titled ‘Lord Eglinton’s Song’, is to be found in volume 1 of Andrew Crawford’s Collection of Ballads and Songs (1975).

Song transcribed by Will Duke & Brian Wood

Song notes: Mike Yates

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Country Schottische

 

        At village dances there were favourite dances that would need to be played if the crowd were to go home satisfied. These would include couple dances such as the ‘Heel and Toe Polka’, ‘The Barn Dance’ or a Schottische. Here we have a fine country schottische typical of those played all over the country.

Tune notes: John Howson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jan's Courtship

Come listen son Jan, now thou art a man
I'll give thee best council in life
Come sit down by me, and my story shall be
I'll tell how to get thee a wife
Yes I will, man I will, sure I will
And I'll tell how to get thee a wife

By self thee must dress in thy Sunday go best
They'll at first turn away and be shy
But boldly thou kiss each pretty maid that thou see'st
And they'll call thee their love bye and bye
Yes they will, man they will, sure they will
And they'll call thee their love bye and bye

Now a courting Jan goes, in his Sunday best clothes
All primmed up in tattered nor torn
From his top to his toe, with a bright yellow rose
He looked like a gentleman born
Yes he did, man he did, sure he did
And he looked like a gentleman born

Now the first pretty lass that Jan did see pass
Was a farmer's fat daughter called Grace
Now he'd scarce said "How do" and a kind word or two
When her fetched him a slap in the face
Yes her did, man her did, sure her did
And her fetched him a slap in the face.

Now Jan never caring no nothing at all
Was a walking one day by the locks
He kissed the parson's wife, which caused such strife
And Jan was put into the stocks
Yes he was, man he was, sure he was
And Jan was put into the stocks

Now he said if this be the way, to get me a wife
Quoth Jan then Ill never have none
I'd sooner stop single, the whole of my life
And home to me mummy I'll run
Yes I will, man I will, sure I will
And back to my mummy I'll run.

 

        Originally a 17th century song titled ‘Come Hither My Dutiful Son, and Take Counsel of Me’, which John Gay alludes to in his Beggar’s Opera of 1728 (Act III, Scene VIII). By the 1820’s it had become known as ‘Poor Bob’ and, as such, was included in The Universal Songster, a three volume collection of folk and popular songs. This is one of the songs that Archer learnt from Sam Bennett. It seems to have been influenced by the word set published by the Reverend Sabine Baring Gould in his Songs of the West (revised edition, 1905).

Song transcribed by Will Duke & Brian Wood

Song notes: Mike Yates

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

    

Last New Year's Eve

Last New Year's Eve as of it seen
Dick mounted on a dapple grey
And off he went to Castle Green
To court the parson's daughter Jean.

Sing Wack for lay, wack for lay
Wack for titty fah lariay

At last they rode up to the hall
And then for Mistress Jean did call
The trusty servant let him in
That they their courtship might begin

Wack for lay, wack for lay
Wack for titty fah lariay

My father sent me here to woo
And I can fancy none but you
If you consent to marry me now
I feed you as fat as me fathers old sow.
Chorus…

If I consent to be your bride
Then what for me can you provide?
For I can neither cord nor spin
Pray what in a week can you bring in?
Chorus…

Oh I can plough and I can sow
And I can reap and I can mow
To market sell me fathers hay
I can handle sixpence every day
Chorus..

Six pence a day will never do
For I must have silks and satins too
Beside a coach to take the air
Grrr.. That’s the woman that’s make me swear
Chorus…

 

       Writing in 1857, Robert Bell had this to say of the song ‘Last New Year’s Eve’, or ‘Richard of Taunton Deane’, to use Bell’s title. ‘This song is very popular with country people in every part of England, but more particularly with the inhabitants of the counties of Somerset, Devon and Cornwall’. Indeed, George Fradley’s use at times of a strong ‘country’ accent suggests that this west country legacy may not have totally disappeared. There could, however, be another reason. Cecil Sharp, who collected five versions of the song, said that one singer and a neighbour ‘sang and danced together while singing with great spirit’ and I wonder if this suggests that at one time the song had been performed on the stage as a jig (a song that was acted out by two or or more performers).

Song transcribed by Will Duke & Brian Wood

Song notes: Mike Yates

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cock-a-doddle do

I only had three and six, I thought I’d buy some stock
I handed this man me three and six, he gave me back a cock a doodle loo
Its nothing to do with you, it's a jolly fine cock, You all know what
It's me cock a doodle loo
Oh! me cock a doodle loo, it's nothing to do with you
It's a jolly fine cock, you all know what, it's me cock a doodle loo

Now I put me cock under me arm, went walking down Loss Row
I gave me arm a bit of a twist, me cock began to crow
A lady passing by, she got a terrible shock
She said young man, if you don't look out, you're going to lose
Your cock a doodle loo, Its nothing to do with you, it's a jolly fine cock, You all know what, It's me cock a doodle loo

Now I put me cock in the back yard, along with another old hen
Me cock got into an awful rage, and fluttered on top of the hen
So I called me mother to look, she gave my head such a knock
She says "You fool, why can't you see, me hens got under
Your cock a doodle loo, Its nothing to do with you, it's a jolly fine cock, You all know what, It's me cock a doodle loo.

Now kind friends, I must be going, I can no longer stay
For if I sing you another song, it will take me half a day
But before I finish this song, the door I'm going to lock
Is there any young lady in the room, would like to look at me
Cock a doodle loo, Its nothing to do with you, it's a jolly fine cock, You all know what
It's me cock a doodle loo.
 

        A song from the Victorian Music Halls. Referring to a Scottish version, Sheila Douglas had this to say about the song. ‘...there has never been anything wrong with a good belly laugh now and then. It’s the kind of comic song to be sung straight-faced or with an expression of outraged innocence when the audience laughs.’ (Sheila Douglas Come Gie’s a Sang, Edinburgh, 1995) The Norfolk singer Walter Pardon had a version set in London’s Victoria Park which is probably closer to the original song.

Song transcribed by Will Duke & Brian Wood

Song notes: Mike Yates

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


John Barleycorn


There were three men came out of the west
Their fortunes for to try
And these three men made a solemn vow
John Barleycorn should die
They ploughed, they sowed, they harrowed him in
Throwed clods upon his head
And these three men made a solemn vow
John Barleycorn was dead

And there he lay for some little time
Till the rains from Heaven did fall
When Little Sir John sprung up his head
Made liars of them all.
They let him stand till mid summer
When he grew both pale and wan
And Little Sir John, he growed a long beard
Much like unto a man.

They hired men with scythes so sharp
Who cut him off at the knee
They rolled him and tied him by the waist
And served him most barbarously.
They hired men with sharp pitchforks
Who pricked him to the heart
But the loader served him worse than that
For he tied him to a cart.

They carried him away unto a barn
A prisoner to endure
But soon they fetched him out again
And laid him on the floor.
They hired men with crabtree sticks
Who cut him skin from bone
But the miller he served him worse than that
For he ground him between two stones.

They flung him in a cistern deep
And drowned him in water clear
And the brewer he served him worse than that
For he brewed him into beer.
Now barleycorn is the best of grain
That ever was sown on land
It will do more things than any grain
By the turning of your hand.

It will turn a boy into a man
And a man into an ass
It will turn your gold into silver
And your silver into brass.
It will make the huntsman hunt the fox
Who never sound a horn
It will bring the tinker to the stocks
The people for to scorn.

Here’s John Barleycorn in a nut-brown bowl
And cider in a can
But John Barleycorn in a nut brown bowl
Will prove the strongest man.

 

        ‘John Barleycorn’ is known from an early 17th century broadside, ‘A Pleasant new Ballad to sing both Even and Morne, Of the bloody murther of Sir John Barley-corne’ which was preserved in the Roxburghe Collection. Another text, this time in the Pepys Collection, was printed in London by John Gosson (1607-41). Early scholars, no doubt influenced by Frazer’s Golden Bough, tried to link the song to an ancient and widespread rite concerning the symbolic killing of the Grain (or Vine) Spirit. Others, however, see it as little more than a clever and amusing song without ritual content. The song has been collected widely throughout Britain - Robert Burns knew a fragment of it - whilst a text printed c.1860 by P.Brereton of Dublin has influenced singers in both Ireland and Canada.

Song transcribed by Will Duke & Brian Wood

Song notes: Mike Yates

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Farmer out of Gloucestershire

There was a jolly farmer came out of Gloucestershire
And all his intentions were to court some lady fair
Whose eyes shone like the morning star, whose hair was crimp and gay
She had grace within her face that was mixed with modesty.

As these two lovers stood talking, they loved each other well
Some person overheard them and her father they did tell
He promised her he would send him, far over the raging main
That he may no longer keep his fond daughter company.

It was in the springtime of the year, when pressing first began
In the thickest of the battle then, they placed the farmers son
Where he did receive a dreadful wound, in the hollow of his thigh
In the veins , he felt such pains, he was wounded dreadfully.

Then he was safely protected up to a sergeant laid
And the one he fixed his eye upon was the sergeants pretty maid
Most tenderly she dressed his wounds and bitter they did smart
Then said he, one like thee was the mystery of my heart.

Straight up to his commander and offered very large
It was five hundred sovereigns to buy my loves discharge
No money shall be wanted, farewell forever do
You can spend your days in old England and roam abroad no more.

And when she came to her father’s gate where they had both been before
So happy that young couple were to think they were safe on shore
Saying Father I have found him, and I’ve brought him safe on shore
We will spend our days, in old England

   
    This is one of a number of songs where a resourceful young girl rescues her sweetheart from the army or the navy. The couple, as is usual, then return home to marry. Lucy Broadwood printed a word set in her book English Traditional Songs and Carols (1908) and the Copper Family of Rottingdean in Sussex continue to sing it, under the title ‘Brisk and Lively La’d.

Song transcribed by Will Duke & Brian Wood

Song notes: Mike Yates

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Constant Billy

 

        The popularity of 'Constant Billy' is indicated by its inclusion in a small core group of tunes that were used at a large number of locations where morris dancing was practised during the 19th century. A variant of the tune was printed as early as 1718 and it remained popular for almost two centuries by its association with various song texts. Like every other morris dance musician before him, Jamie Wheeler has recast the tune to accommodate his own playing style, while still maintaining that all-important rhythm demanded by the dancers.

Tune notes: Keith Chander

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Sucking Pig

Come ye that love a bit of fun and listen here awhile
I’ll tell you of a droll affair that will give you cause to smile
A parson dressed all in his best cocked hat and bushy wig
He went up to a farmer’s house to choose a sucking pig.

Good morning said the parson, good morning sir to you,
I’ve come to choose a sucking pig, which you know it is my due
Therefore I pray go fetch me one that is both plump and fine
For I have asked a friend or two along with me to dine.

So in the sty the farmer goes among the pigs so small
And he chooses for the parson, the least amongst them all
When the parson saw the same, how he did rant and roar
He stamped his foot and he shook his wig and he almost cursed and swore.

Well then sir said the farmer, since my offer you refuse
I pray you go into the sty, there you may pick and choose
In the sty the parson ventured, without any more ado
The old sow ran with open mouth, and she at the parson flew.

Well the first she grabbed him by the coat and took off both the skirts
She ran her head between his legs and rolled him in the dirt
The parson cursed the very hour he’d ventured for the pig
You’d have laughed to see the little ones how they shook his hat and wig.

Well the next she grabbed him by the breeches, as he so loudly cried
Oh! Free me from this cursed pig or I shall surely die.
The little pig his waistcoat tore, his stockings and his shoes,
The farmer said you’re welcome, I hope you’ll pick and choose.

Well at length they let the parson out, all in a handsome trim
The sow and pigs so neatly in the dirt had rolled him
His coat was to a spencer turned, his brogues were ripped behind
And beside his backside was all bare and his shirt hung out behind.

He’d lost his stockings and his shoes, which grieved him full sore
Beside his waistcoat, hat and wig, they were all to pieces tore
Then of the parson, he scampered home, as fast as he could run
The farmer almost split his sides with laughing at the fun.

The parson’s wife stood at the door awaiting his return
But when she saw his awful plight, she into the house did run
My dear what is the matter, and where have you been she said
Get out you slut, the parson cried, for I am almost dead.

Go fetch me down a suit of clothes, go fetch ‘em down I pray
And bring me my old greasy wig, without any such delay
And for the usage I’ve received all in that cursed sty
I never will relish sucking pig, until the day I die.

To me Folla del lay, folla del lay, folla delara lay
Folla del lay, folla del lay, folla delara lay.

 

        Will learned this song from one of the singers who influenced him most: Arthur Howard who came from a sheep-farming family near Holme and who died in 1982 at the age of 79. In the notes with the recording that Arthur made of ‘The Suckling Pig’, Ian Russell writes, "This was probably the first song Arthur sang in public. As a young lad he would work as one of a team of grouse beaters and, if they were rained off, they would while their time away entertaining each other in remote moorland pubs such as the Isle o’ Sky. At a time when a tenth of a man’s produce and stock was paid to the church in tithes, the song must have seemed even more impudent."

Song transcribed by Will Duke & Brian Wood

Song notes: John Howson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Old Man and his wife

There was an old man in the wood, as you shall plainly see sir,
He vowed he’d do more work in a day than his wife would do in three sir,
If that be so the old wife said and this you will allow sir
While I go drive the plough today and you shall milk the cow sir

But you must watch the speckled hen less she should lay away sir
And you must watch that spool of yarn that I spun yesterday sir
The old wife took the stick in hand and went to drive the plough sir
The old man took the pail in hand and went to milk the cow sir.

But Tiny winced and fussed about and Tiny flipped her tail sir
And Tiny gave the man a kick that milk ran from the pail sir
Oh Tiny pretty Tiny dear, my pretty cow stand still, ah
If I milk you another day it’s sore against my will, ah

He went to feed the sow and pigs, which were within the sty sir
He knocked his head agin the durn which made the blood to fly sir
He went to watch the speckled hen less she should lay away sir
He clean forgot the spool of yarn his wife spun yesterday sir.

He went within to get a stick, to give the pig her hire sir
The pig ran in between his legs and tipped him in the mire sir
And as he looked at cow and pig, he said I do agree sir
If my wife never works again, she’ll not be blamed by me sir.

 

        Whether titled ‘The Old Man and his Wife’ or ‘The Drummer and his Wife’, this is quite an old piece, and one that has proved especially popular in North America, be it in the Appalachians, the Ozarks or the Mid-West. In England it took on a new lease of life via a version that Cecil Sharp and Sabine Baring Gould included in their 1906 edition of English Folk Songs for Schools, although George learnt his version from another singer, rather than from a book.

Song transcribed by Will Duke & Brian Wood

Song notes: Mike Yates


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Three Old Crows

There were three old crows sat on a tree, and they were as black as crows could be
All sing : There were three old crows sat on a tree, and they were as black as crows could be

And one old crow said to his mate “What shall we have this day for bait?
All sing : And one old crow said to his mate “What shall we have this day for bait?”

They flew across the burning plain, to where an oxen had been slain
All sing: They flew across the burning plain, to where an oxen had been slain

They perched upon his big backbone and pecked his eyes out one by one
All sing: They perched upon his big backbone and pecked his eyes out one by one

And this old crow flew into a tree and said “You old bugger, you shan’t shoot me”
All sing: And this old crow flew into a tree and said “You old bugger, you shan’t shoot me”

Amen.

Two Old Crows

There were two crows sat on a tree as black as black as crows could be
Said one old crow unto his mate “What will we have this day to eat?
We’ll fly away to yonder barn and fill our gutses up with corn
And when we have eaten and flown away, what will the poor old farmer say?”
I’ll go away and get my gun, and I’ll shoot those black things one by one
For the more I sows, the more I grows, it’s eaten by those bloody crows.

 

        Two versions of the ballad The Three Ravens (Child 26), which is first known from its appearance in ‘Melismata’. ‘Musicall Phansies’. ‘Fitting the Court, Cittie’, and ‘Countrey Humours’ published in London in 1611. In its original form, the ravens discuss what they might take from the body of a knight who lies slain in a nearby field. Later versions, though, have lost this element of the story and are far more mundane in character. Charlie and Bob, in common with most singers who still know a version of this song, use well-known tunes for their versions, in there cases, ‘Ye Banks and Braes of Bonny Doon’ and ‘Old Hundred’.

Song transcribed by Will Duke & Brian Wood

Song notes: Mike Yates

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


The Bonny Labouring boy

For as I strolled out one morning all in the blooming spring
I overheard a lovely maid in grief she did sing
About her cruel parents, they did her so annoy
For they would not let her marry, the bonny labouring boy.

For Johnny was her truelove’s name, as you can plainly see
Employed by her parents, a labouring boy to be
To harrow plough and sow the seed upon her fathers land
And soon she fell in love with him as you can understand.

She courted him for twelve long months but little did she know
That her cruel parents would prove her overthrow.
They watched them late one evening, down in a shady grove
Pledging their joys together in constant bonds of love.

Her father stepped up to her and took her by the hand
He swore he’d send young Johnny unto a foreign land
He locked her up in her bedroom her comfort to annoy
And he kept her there to weep and mourn for her bonny labouring boy.

Her mother came next morning and unto her did say
Your father is intending not to see you thrown away
So boldly she made answer and she made this reply
That single I will still remain for my bonny labouring boy

For his cheeks are like the roses red, his eyes as black as sloes
He is mild in his behaviour wherever he may go
He’s manly, neat and handsome, and his skin as white as snow
In spite of my parent’s malicy, with my labouring boy I’ll go.

So come fill your glasses to the brim and let them go merrily round
Here’s health to every labouring boy, that plough and till the ground
For when their work is over, they’ll come back home with joy
And its happy is the girl that gets the bonny labouring boy.

 

        Many folk songs from the early 19th century had the theme of the ploughboy who falls in love with the rich man's daughter and is susequently pressed to sea by the girl's outraged father. In its day 'The Bonny Labouring Boy' was printed on many ballad sheets, enjoying great popularity. In the 20th century it occurred in the oral tradition in many areas of the country and has been recorded frequently. Probably the best known East Anglian version is that sung by Harry Cox.

Song transcribed by Will Duke & Brian Wood

Song notes: John Howson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


The Thrashing Machine

There was an old farmer in Dover did dwell
He had a fine servant her name it was Nell
He had a fine servant of sweet seventeen
When he showed her the way of his thrashing machine.

One day while the men were away in the hay
The Farmer saw Nell and to her he did say
Come into the barn where we cannot be seen
And I’ll show you the way of my thrashing machine.

The barn door stood open they both went inside
Nell laid her two cogs on the handle with pride
She pulled on the lever, she gave him full steam
For that was the way of his thrashing machine.

The first three months things went very well
Then Nellie’s old belly a story could tell
For under her apron ‘twas plain to be seen
Some chaff had blown there from his thrashing machine

The Judge he stood there with a pen in his claw
“Why you dirty old farmer, you’ve broken the law
There’s no turning today for the fields are so green
Pay three quid a week for your thrashing machine”.

 

        One of the most popular songs of its type - well, popular with singers if not collectors! - and versions have been heard throughout Britain and Ireland. Mechanical thrashing machines were first introduced into the countryside in the late 18th century, although it was not until the 1830’s that use of the steam thrashing machine became widespread, and the song probably dates from this period. Almost all singers, including George, use the melody of ‘Villikins and Dinah’ to carry the words. Annie O’Neil, an Irish traveller, also sang a fine version.

Song transcribed by Will Duke & Brian Wood

Song notes: Mike Yates

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rose Cottage

 

        Billy Bennington had a large repertoire of country dance tunes, particularly hornpipes and polkas, most of which he knew the titles of. This one however he named himself after his own cottage in Barford. He remembered that it was a popular tune for the Norfolk Long Dance.

Tune notes: John Howson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


The Squire of Tamworth


A jolly young squire near Tamworth we hear
He courted a nobleman’s daughter so dear
And for to get married it was their intent
All friends and relations had given their consent.

The time was appointed for the wedding day
A young farmer he was chosen to give her away
But when the young farmer the lady did spy
Oh my heart this fair lady the lady did cry.

Instead of getting married she took to her bed
Where the thoughts of the farmer still run in her head
The thoughts of the farmer still ran in her mind
And away for to gain him she quickly did pine.

Coat, waistcoat and trousers she then did put on
And she went hunting with her dogs and her gun
She hunted all around where the farmer did dwell
For she knew in her heart that she loved him so well.

Now she off times did fire but nothing did kill
‘Till at length till the young farmer came into the field
And for to have discourse with him it was her intent
With her dogs and her gun for to meet him she went.

“I thought you’d have been at the wedding “he cried
“To wait upon the squire and to give to him his bride”
“Oh no”, said the farmer “The truth to you I’ll tell
I couldn’t give her away for I love her so well”.

The lady was pleased to hear the farmer so bold
She handed him a glove that was studded with gold
She said that she had found it whilst coming along
As she was a hunting with her dogs and her gun.

The lady went home with her heart full of love
And gave out a notice that she had lost her glove
“And the man who shall find it and bring it to me
Oh the man who shall find it his jewel I’ll be.”

As soon as the farmer did hear of the news
Straightway with the glove to the lady he goes
He said “My honoured lady I’ve brought you your glove
And I should be pleased if you’d grant me your love.”

“Your loves already granted” the lady replied
“For I love the sweet breath of the farmer,” she cried
“I’ll attend to the dairy and the milking of the cows
While my jolly young farmer goes whistling as he ploughs”

So now they are married, I’ll tell of all the fun
How she hunted a farmer with her dogs and her gun
And now that she got him well tied in a snare
She’ll enjoy him forever, I’ll vow and declare.

 

        During the American War of Independence an American prisoner, Timothy Connor, produced a hand-written song book, dated 1777 to 1779, in which he wrote down the words to songs that he knew. ‘The Squire of Tamworth’, also known as ‘The Golden Glove’ or ‘Dog and Gun’, was one of the songs that Connor included in his book. Numerous broadside printers, both here and in America, helped keep the song alive during the 19th century and collected sets have been reported from all over the English-speaking world. According to the Victorian antiquarian Robert Bell, "It is traditionally reported to be founded on an incident which occurred in the reign of Elizabeth", although, sadly, Bell appears to have been relying on hearsay and was unable to provide any evidence for his statement.

Song transcribed by Will Duke & Brian Wood

Song notes: Mike Yates

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trip unto the Fair

One summer morning Johnny he rose
And dressed himself in his holiday clothes
Unto Miss Molly then he did say
“Come dress yourself, make no delay
We’ll trip unto the fair oh, we’ll trip unto the fair oh,
We’ll trip unto the fair.”

Miss Molly she smiled and winked at John
And her best new gown did then out on
“Come” she say, “Now let us be gone
Much pleasure I feel and declare”.
And as they linked arm in arm
Took an umbrella for fear of the storm
And as they tripped along the way
Those pretty young lambs did skip and play
When going unto the fair oh, when going unto the fair oh,
When going unto the fair.

And when unto the fair they came
With cake and wine, John fed his dame
And when unto the show they came
Cried Molly “I’d like to go there”.
When from the show they did come out,
Around the stalls John led her about
He bought her ribbons red, yellow and blue
And he promised what I won’t tell you
Coming home from the fair oh, Coming home from the fair oh,
Coming home from the fair.

And then when dusk it did come on
Sure Molly’s two eyes like stars did shine
“Come” she say “Now let us be gone,
Much pleasure I feel and declare.”
And as they tripped the meadows along
John sang to Molly a nicer song
Her foot did slip and by chance fell down
Said Johnny to Molly “You’ll green your gown”
Coming home from the fair oh, Coming home from the fair oh,
Coming home from the fair.
 

        Better known as ‘Jockey to the Fair’. John Bell, writing in 1877, had this to say of the song. “Jockey songs constitute a distinct and numerous class, and belong for the most part to the middle of the last century, when Jockey and Jenny were formidable rivals to the Strephons and Chloes of the artificial school of pastoral poetry”. (John Bell, Early Ballads & Ballads and Songs of the Peasantry of England) ‘Jockey to the Fair’ is, perhaps, best known today as a Morris Dance tune.

Song transcribed by Will Duke & Brian Wood

Song notes: Mike Yates

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Two Sisters

Two sisters walked by the river brim, bough down, bough down
Two sisters walked by the river brim, the bough shall bend to me
Two sisters walked by the river brim, the elder one pushed the younger one in
Singing I’ll prove as true to me love as me love proved true to me.

Oh Sister, sister lend me thy hand, bough down, bough down
Oh Sister, sister lend me thy hand, the bough shall bend to me
Oh Sister, sister lend me thy hand, and thy shall have both houses and land
Singing I’ll prove as true to me love as me love proved true to me.

I’ll neither give thee hand nor glove, bough down, bough down
I’ll neither give thee hand nor glove, the bough shall bend to me,
I’ll neither give thee hand nor glove, until thou give me Dai(?) to love
Singing I’ll prove as true to me love as me love proved true to me.

At first she sank and then she swam, bough down, bough down
At first she sank and then she swam, the bough shall bend to me
At first she sank and then she swam, until she came to a mill dam
Singing I’ll prove as true to me love as me love proved true to me.

The miller he came with his rod and his hook, bough down, bough down
The miller he came with his rod and his hook, the bough shall bend to me,
The miller he came with his rod and his hook, and fished the fair damsel out of the brook
Singing I’ll prove as true to me love as me love proved true to me.

Oh miller I’ll give thee guineas ten, bough down, bough down
Oh miller I’ll give thee guineas ten, the bough shall bend to me
Oh miller I’ll give thee guineas ten, he took them and then he pushed her in again
Singing I’ll prove as true to me love as me love proved true to me.

The miller was hung on yonder gate, bough down, bough down
The miller was hung on yonder gate, the bough shall bend to me
The miller was hung on yonder gate, for drowning the farmer’s daughter Kate
Singing I’ll prove as true to me love as me love proved true to me.


        George’s version of this rare and ancient ballad (number 10 in Professor Child’s collection) is lacking in one crucial respect. Following the murder of the young girl, a musical instrument, such as a harp or fiddle, is made from her hair and bones. When played, the instrument sings out the details of the girl’s death for all to hear. Most English versions have now lost this motif which has, however, survived in Scottish sets, such as those sung by Jock Duncan and those that were sung by the late Betsy Whyte

Song transcribed by Will Duke & Brian Wood

Song notes: Mike Yates

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Sussex Pig

You all have heard of the Christmas goose, and the walloping great pie
But I think to myself it’s not much use to tell such a precious lie
I will tell you of a wonder now that’s as true as I’m a sinner
About a wonderful Sussex pig we had for Christmas dinner
To my Tol lala rol lol Tol lala rol lol Tol lala rol li day,
Tol rol rol rol rol rol rol rol rol ri day.

Now the very day this pig was born he cut some running capers
He swallowed a field of turnip tops and forty tons of taters
They took and draw out all his teeth, but it only made him snarly
For he bolted a wagon load of sweeds and a sack of oats and barley
To my Tol lala rol lol Tol lala rol lol Tol lala rol li day,
Tol rol rol rol rol rol rol rol rol ri day.


This Sussex pig he got so fat, you might think it a lark,
They say his head when three weeks old was as large as Noah’s ark,
One leg was as big as a greasy pole with a ton of bristles on it
And his curly tail when pulled out straight were longer than the comet.
To my Tol lala rol lol Tol lala rol lol Tol lala rol li day,
Tol rol rol rol rol rol rol rol rol ri day.

To kill this wonderful Sussex pig, the folks got tired of trying
Without telling one word of a lie, he were twenty years a dying
Two hundred men then set to work with lots of knives and choppers
And it took them all about seven years to cut off one of his trotters
To my Tol lala rol lol Tol lala rol lol Tol lala rol li day,
Tol rol rol rol rol rol rol rol rol ri day.


These men had one leg for their lunch, so to Cowdray Park they took it
They had to boil the river up before that they could cook it
His bones were sent up to North Mill to be ground up for flour
And they ground about ten thousand sacks in less than half an hour
To my Tol lala rol lol Tol lala rol lol Tol lala rol li day,
Tol rol rol rol rol rol rol rol rol ri day.

To see this wonderful Sussex pig the people came in clusters
And bakers bought these sacks of flour and made their quarter busters
Now you may not think this all true, but I don’t care a fig
For everything I’ve said is true about this wonderful pig
To my Tol lala rol lol Tol lala rol lol Tol lala rol li day,
Tol rol rol rol rol rol rol rol rol ri day.
Tol lala rol lol Tol lala rol lol Tol lala rol li day,
Tol rol rol rol rol rol rol rol rol ri day.
 

        Known elsewhere in the country as ‘The Wonderful Suckling Pig’ (not be confused with Will Noble’s song of the same name which is a completely different song), ‘The Sussex Pig’ belongs to a large group of songs that concern larger than life individuals - be they human or animal. Perhaps the best-known song in this group is ‘The Derby Ram’. It’s actually quite an old piece which, fittingly, is sung to an old tune, ‘Bow Wow Wow’ or, to use another title, ‘The Barking Barber’, which has also been used for quite a number of other songs, including Pop Maynard’s ‘Shooting Goshen’s Cock Ups’.

Song transcribed by Will Duke & Brian Wood

Song notes: Mike Yates

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Green Broom

Now there was an old man and he lived in a wood
And his trade it was making of broom
And he had a naughty boy Jack to his son
Who would lay in his bed ‘till twelve noon-twelve noon
Who would lay in his bed ‘till twelve noon

The father was vexed and sore life perplexed
With passion he entered the room
“Come Sirrah” he cried, “I’ll liquor your hide
If you will not go gather green broom, green broom
If you will not go gather green broom, green broom
And it’s broom, broom, lovely green broom
If you will not go gather green broom.

Jack lay in his nest, still taking his rest
Nor valued he what was his doom
But now you shall hear, his mother drew near
And made him go gather green broom, green broom
And made him go gather green broom, green broom
And it’s broom, broom, lovely green broom
And made him go gather green broom.

Jack’s mother arose and fell in a rage
And swore she would fire the room
If Jack didn’t rise and go to the wood
And fetch home a bundle of broom, green broom
And fetch home a bundle of broom green broom
And it’s broom, broom, lovely green broom
And fetch home a bundle of broom.

This wakened him straight, before it was late
As fearing the terrible doom
“Dear mother”, quoth he”Have pity on me
I shall fetch home a bundle of broom, green broom
I’ll fetch home a bundle of broom, green broom”
And it’s broom, broom, lovely green broom
I will fetch home a bundle of broom”.

Then Jack he arose and he slipped on his clothes
And away to the woods very soon
For the breezy old wife, he took a sharp knife
And he fell to the cutting of broom, lovely broom
And he fell to the cutting of broom, lovely broom
And it’s broom, broom, lovely green broom
He’s fell to the cutting of broom.

Jack followed his trade and readily made
His goods up for country grew,
This done, Honest Jack, took them up on his back
And cried will you buy any broom, green broom
And cried will you buy any broom, lovely broom
And its broom, broom lovely green broom
And cried will you buy any broom.

Then Jack he came by a gentleman’s house
In which was abundance of broom
Jack stood at the door and began for to roar
Crying “Maids will you buy any broom, green broom’
Crying “Maids will you buy any broom?”,
And its broom, broom lovely green broom”
Crying, “Maids will you buy any broom?”.

“I’ll tell you they’re good, just fetched from the wood
And fitted for sweeping out rooms
Come handle my ware, for girls I declare
You never felt better green broom, green broom
You never felt better green broom,
And its broom, broom, lovely green broom
You never felt better green broom.

Now the maid did she call, the steward of the hall
Who came in his silks and perfumes
He gave Jack his price, and up in a trice
Jack sold all his bundle of broom, green broom
Jack sold all his bundle of broom,
And its broom, broom lovely green broom
Jack sold all his bundle of broom.

Likewise to conclude, they gave him rich food
With liquor of spicy perfume
The hot boiled and roast, it caused Jack for to boast
No trade’s like the making of broom, green broom
No trade’s like the making of broom lovely broom
And its broom broom lovely green broom
No trade’s like the making of broom.

For first I am paid, and then I am made
Pray welcome my perfumed broom
Here’s money, me drink, what trade do you think
Compares with the making of broom, green broom
Compares with the making of broom, lovely broom
And its broom, broom lovely green broom
Compares with the making of broom.

Now I have a good trade, more goods must be made
For furnishing stewards and grooms,
Wherefore I shall lack, apprentice, quoth Jack
I shall teach him the selling of broom, green broom
I shall teach him the selling of broom, lovely broom
And its broom, broom lovely green broom
I shall teach him the selling of broom.

Now Jack by design, when the ‘prentice did sign
Did teach him the making of broom
And as Jack before, the lad began for to roar
Crying “Maids will you buy any broom, green broom?”
Crying “Maids will you buy any broom, lovely broom?”
And its broom, broom lovely green broom
Crying, “Maids will you buy any broom?”

Now, I am a poor lad and me fortune is bad
And I’ve come from the wood to sell broom
Come handle my ware, for girls I declare
You never felt better green broom, green broom
You never felt better green broom, lovely broom
And its broom, broom lovely green broom
You never felt better green broom.

Now a lady was sat, in her window on high
She called for her maid for to come
She said “Go to the gate now, and let the lad in
For I fancy both him and his broom, green broom
I fancy both him and his broom, lovely broom
And its broom, broom lovely green broom
I fancy both him and his broom.

Now the contract was made, and the money was paid
And the job it was over full soon
And then he was fed, with the best to be had,
And he sold all his bundle of broom, green broom
And he sold all his bundle of broom
And its broom, broom lovely green broom
He sold all his bundle of broom.

Now it’s whittles (victuals?) and drink, and what do you think
I got it for selling me broom
It’s whittles (victuals?) and drink, and what do you think
I got it for selling me broom, lovely broom
And me broom, broom, lovely green broom,
I got it for selling me broom.

 

        ‘Green Broom’ may have begun life on the 18th century stage. The earliest known text appears in volume 6 of Thomas D’Urfey’s ‘Pills to Purge Melancholy’ of 1720 and it was subsequently printed on a number of Victorian broadsides. According to the Norfolk fisherman and singer Sam Larner, ‘Green Broom’ was used by the drift-net fishermen as a work song. "When (they) were hauling in their nets they would ‘come in on the chorus and pull’."

Song transcribed by Will Duke & Brian Wood

Song notes: Mike Yates

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Family Jig

 

        Whenever the Cann family gathered together, there was music, with Bob’s Uncle Jim on concertina and his Uncle George on melodeon, particularly at Christmas when his father would make cider! This typical country dance jig would always be a family favourite at these gatherings.

Tune notes: John Howson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Three Maids a milking did go

Three maidens a milking did go
Three maidens a milking did go
And the wind it blew high and the wind it blew low
And it blew the milking pails to and fro
And the wind it blew high and the wind it blew low
And it blew the milking pails to and fro.

Now the first that they met was a man
A man whom they very well knew
And they kindly asked of him, "Young man have you any skill,
Will you catch me a small bird or two?"
And they kindly asked of him, "Young man have you any skill,
Will you catch me a small bird or two?"

"Oh! Yes I have very good skill
Oh! Yes I have very good skill
If you come along with me, under yonder shady tree
I will catch you a small bird or two.
If you come along with me, under yonder shady tree
I will catch you a small bird or two."

So across the green meadows they went
And across the green meadows they went.
And he tapped at the bush and the bird it flew in
Just above her lily-white knee
And he tapped at the bush and the bird it flew in
Just above her lily-white knee.

Here's a health to the bird in the bush
Here's a health to the blackbird and thrush
For two birds of one feather, they will always flock together
Let the people say little or much.
For two birds of one feather, they will always flock together
Let the people say little or much.

Here's a health to Victoria our Queen
Here's a health to Victoria our Queen
For we'll drink down the sun, and we'll tarry down the moon
And we'll drink 'till the sun doth rise again
For we'll drink down the sun, and we'll tarry down the moon
And we'll drink 'till the sun doth rise again.

 

        Printed frequently on Victorian broadsides, this is a song that caused the early collectors much soul-searching. Writing in 1891, Frank Kidson had this to say, "If not very old, it is good, and it could be wished that the succeeding verses to the first (the only one which I have printed), were equally meritorious and more suitable for this work." (Traditional Tunes).

        Luckily, singers were not so prudish, and the song has turned up repeatedly all over the place, Cecil Sharp, for example, noting eight versions from Somerset, Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire. Alfred Williams found it "existing in several forms" in the Thames Valley prior to the Great War (the version that he prints in his book ‘Folk-Songs of the Upper Thames’, 1923 seems to have been edited) and the Reverend Baring Gould was sufficiently shocked by it that he felt compelled to rewrite the text as ‘Here’s a Health to the Blackbird’ ( in ‘Songs of the West’, 2nd ed. 1891-95).

Song transcribed by Will Duke & Brian Wood

Song notes: Mike Yates

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


The Jolly Woodcutter

Here's a health unto the jolly woodcutter who sits at home at ease
He takes his whithe in his working hand, and leaves it when he please
He takes his whiff and he winds it, he lays it on the ground
Around the faggot he binds it, drink round my boy, drink round.
Drink round my boys, drink round my boys, and see you do not spill
For if you do, you shall drink two, and that is our masters will.

Here's a health unto the ploughman, who toils beneath the sun
He takes a ploughshare on his back, and sings for everyone
He treads the meadows gaily, whatever the weather may be
And takes his quart pot daily, a hearty drinker he.
Drink round my boys, drink round my boys, and see you do not spill
For if you do, you shall drink two, and that is our masters will.

Here's a health unto the blacksmith, who swings his hammer fine
He has such strength at hand my boys, I wish as such were mine
His anvil rings a merry peal, sweet music for to hear,
Until the landlord calls him for drinking of strong beer.
Drink round my boys, drink round my boys, and see you do not spill
For if you do, you shall drink two, and that is our masters will.

Here's a health unto our master, the founder of the feast
That all his works might prosper and his soul in heaven may rest
That all his works might prosper whatever he takes in hand
For we are all his servants and all at his command.
Drink round my boys, drink round my boys, and see you do not spill
For if you do, you shall drink two, and that is our masters will.

And now we've drunk our master's health, why should our missus go free
Why shouldn't she go to heaven, to heaven as well as he?
She is the best provider, so broad as well as so tall
So take up your cup and sup it all up for it is your harvest home.
Drink round my boys, drink round my boys, and see you do not spill
For if you do, you shall drink two, and that is our masters will.

Our maid she would a hunting go, she'd never a horse to ride
She mounted on her master's boar and spurred him in the side
Chink Chink Chink Chink, the bridle went, as she rode oe'r the down
So here's unto our maidens’ health, drink round my boys drink round
Drink round my boys, drink round my boys, and see you do not spill
For if you do, you shall drink two, and that is our masters will.

Drink round my boys, drink round my boys, until it come to me
The longer we sit here and drink, the merrier we shall be.

 

        Variants of ‘The Jolly Woodcutter’, or ‘The Harvest Health’ or ‘Our Master’s Will’ as it is also called, were published in Lucy Broadwood’s English County Songs (1893) and William Barrett’s English Folk Songs (1891). According to Broadwood, it was the tradition to sing this song during the filling of drinking horns at Harvest Home suppers. Bob’s version, sung to the old tune ‘Jack Pudding’, or ‘The Jolly Miller’ as it became known later, comes from a family called Budd who sang the song during performances of the Boxgrove Tipteers, local mummers who used to perform just to the north-east of Chichester in West Sussex.

Song transcribed by Will Duke & Brian Wood

Song notes: Mike Yates

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Down in the fields where the buttercups all grow

Now Mary Green loves me and I love her too
We blush when we meet like all true lovers do
Behind the plantation, where green meadows run
We spoon in the dark and we have lots of fun
Down in the fields where the buttercups all grow
Our courtship was swift, but our honeymoon slow
But she changed her mind, when I let myself go
Down in the fields where the buttercups all grow.

The songsters were greeting the day newly born
The sheep in the meadow, the cows in the corn.
Now when sheep and cows have been round there a bit
It isn’t a place for a lady to sit
Down in the fields where the buttercups all grow
A cow licking Mary’s face tickled her so
She thought it was me, and said, “Don’t slobber Joe",
Down in the fields where the buttercups all grow.

We walked side by side through the long winding grass
The rhubarb grew sideways to let us both pass
We stood ’neath the trees, and the birds up above,
Were all busy dropping their tokens of love.
Down in the fields where the buttercups all grow
Now she climbed a stile and said, “Turn your head, Joe”
I had a stiff neck, so we let matters go,
Down in the fields where the buttercups all grow.

Now Mary and I stood behind a haystack
When a bumblebee flew down the small of her back
I saw what had happened and in her distress,
I pushed my right hand down the back of her dress
Down in the fields where the buttercups all grow
My hand down her back, when she struck me a blow
I'd no idea that bee was so far below
Down in the fields where the buttercups all grow.

Now a ten gallon cask stood on top of a hill
Come crashing towards us, my heart it stood still
But Mary stood bravely, her flinching was nil,
For her legs were so bandy, the barrel rolled through
Down in the fields where the buttercups all grow.
Our courtship was swift, but our honeymoon slow,
The house was so small, so we both had to go,
Down in the fields where the buttercups all grow.

 

        This must be one of the most popular of all songs with southern country singers, probably stemming from the 78 recording by the northern comedian Charlie Higgins, issued in 1931 (Rex 8065). It was written by the prolific comic song-writer William Hargreaves. Hubert learned it from the famed blind Suffolk melodeon-player Walter Read who also had a considerable repertoire of songs.

Song transcribed by Will Duke & Brian Wood

Song notes: Mike Yates
 


Welcome  About Veteran  Veteran catalogue  

Other labels  Subscribers scheme   Links