The Pretty Ploughboy



It’s of a pretty ploughboy stood gazing o’er his team,
His horses stood underneath the shade.
That wild youth goes whistling, goes a-whistling to his plough,
And by chance he used to meet a pretty maid, a pretty maid,
And by chance he used to meet a pretty maid.

“If I should fall in love with you, it’s my pretty maid
And your parents they came for to know,
The very first thing would be, they’d send me to the sea,
They would send me in the wars to be slain, to be slain,
They would send me in the wars to be slain.”

Now when her aged parents they came for to know
That ploughboy was a-ploughing on the plain,
The pressgang was sent and they pressed her love away
And they sent him in the wars to be slain, to be slain,
And they sent him in the wars to be slain.

It was early next morning when she early rose
With her pockets well lined with gold.
See how she traced the streets with the tears all in her eyes,
In search of her jolly ploughboy bold, ploughboy bold,
In search of her jolly ploughboy bold.

Now the very first she met was a brisk young sailor bold,
“Have you seen my pretty ploughboy?” she cried.
“He’s gone unto the deep; he’s a sailing in the fleet;
He’s a sailing on the tide, pretty maid, pretty maid,
He’s a-sailing on the tide, pretty maid.”

Now she rowed until she came to the ship her love was in
And straightway to that captain did complain.
“I’ve come for to seek my pretty ploughboy,
That is sent in the wars to be slain, to be slain,
That is sent in the wars to be slain.”

She took out fifty guineas and she trolled them on the floor,
And gently she told them all o’er,
And when she’d got her ploughboy safe all in her arms,
Then she rowed her pretty ploughboy safe on shore, safe on shore,
Then she rowed her pretty ploughboy safe on shore.


(recorded at Patcham, Sussex by Mike Yates, 1989) Bob had this well-known and well-loved song from his mother. It's one of those songs about true lovers overcoming all that is put in their way, so that the couple can be united at the end. Just about every known 19th century broadside printer issued the song (the earliest being from around 1820) and versions have been collected from singers throughout Britain, Ireland, Scotland, Canada and America.

Song transcribed by Dan Quinn

Song notes: Mike Yates

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the Bushes at the Bottom of the Garden

Father’s got a garden and taken such a pride
Cutting bushes at the bottom just to hide
Views of ugly houses, chimneys and the such
And now there is a forest and we thank him very much

Cos every night when the moon shines bright
In the bushes at the bottom of the garden
Every night it’s a lovely sight
In the bushes at the bottom of the garden
By the light of the moon all the couples all spoon
And they don’t say beg your pardon
And the old tomcat takes the tabby next door
In the bushes at the bottom of the garden.

Father’s little bushes are getting quite a name.
People do exaggerate and though it is a game
Getting more historic nearly every hour
People talk about them like the Abbey or the Tower

Washing day is a sight they say
In the bushes at the bottom of the garden
Wet or fine they hang the washing line
In the bushes at the bottom of the garden
There’s baby’s shawls and father’s smalls
And sister’s I beg your pardon
There’s a shirt of brother Tom’s and a pair of mother’s gloves
In the bushes at the bottom of the garden.

They say, I believe, that Adam met Eve
In the bushes at the bottom of the garden
King Charles, it is said, he went and lost his head
In the bushes at the bottom of the garden.
When Godiva bare, except for the hair
All around her beg you pardon,
Peeping Tom, its true, had a darn good view
From the bushes at the bottom of the garden.

Years ago, old King Pharaoh
In the bushes at the bottom of the garden
Found his daughter coy with a brand new baby boy
In the bushes at the bottom of the garden.
He said “this is ruin, what have you been a-doin’?”
But she said “I’ll beg your pardon.
You’re making a mistake, cos I found it by the lake
In the bushes at the bottom of the garden”.

(recorded at Sudbury, Derbyshire by Mike Yates, 1984) In the Bushes at the Bottom of the Garden was written c.1925 by Clarkson Rose. In 1931 it was recorded by Norman Long (Columbia DB-738) and in the following year at least three other recordings appeared. These were by Leonard Henry (Sterno 905), Leslie Sarony (Decca F-2896) and Randolph Sutton (Imperial 2683). George told me that his family learnt the song via a song-sheet.

Song transcribed by Dan Quinn

Song notes: Mike Yates

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reed Cutter’s Daughter


Come all you young fellows who intend to start roaming,
Pray pay attention and listen to me.
For I once loved a girl and I would have married
But I belonged to the road and I had to be free.
For I was a tinker a-fixing and mending
Camped by a village and earning my pay,
While she had a house and a father to care for,
The reed cutter’s daughter from Hoveton way.

For the times they are hard when a girl loves a rover,
When really she shouldn’t and knows that it’s so.
Each night as the sun set to me should wander,
Each morn as it rose to the house she would go.
I knew that some day we’d be sad for the parting
Each morn I would wish and each night I would pray,
So happy together with this blue-eyed maiden,
The reed cutter’s daughter from Hoveton way.

When I think of the short time that we spent together
Often a frown passes over my brow.
She told me that some day I’d grow to forget her
But many’s the time that I think of her now.
I was cruel to be kind when the time came for parting
With a kiss and a smile and “I’ll see you again”.
But just as I found her I left her a-standing
The reed cutter’s daughter from Hoveton way.

Yes, I thought it was cruel, now I see it was kindness.
She could not leave there and I could not stay.
But oft times I wonder if I’m still remembered
By the reed cutter’s daughter from Hoveton way.
By the reed cutter’s daughter from Hoveton way.


(recorded at Whittlesbury, Northamptonshire by John Howson, 1988) This is probably quite a recent composition. Jeff heard it being sung on the television. Originally the story was told from the girl's point of view, but Jeff changed it round, making the boy the storyteller. Hoveton, mentioned in the song, is near Wroxham in the Norfolk Broads.

Song transcribed by Dan Quinn

Song notes: Mike Yates
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Still I Love Him

Now when I was single, I had a black shawl
And now that I’m married, I’ve got none at all

Ch: Still I love him and can’t deny him,
I’ll go with him wherever he goes.

He stood at the corner and whistles me out
With his hands in his pockets his shirt hanging out

I had a blue handkerchief, red, white and blue
And outside the pawn shop I tore it in two

He hits me and kicks me and gives me black eyes
He says I goes drinking with men on the sly


(recorded at Brighton, Sussex by Mike Yates, 1977) Ewan MacColl & Peggy Seeger published a version of this in their book Travellers' Songs from England and Scotland (London, 1977. pp. 137 38) along with the following comment. 'This is probably one of the most frequently reported songs in the British Isles and, undoubtedly, one of the least printed. Texts show considerable regional variation, though the refrains remain consistent and most versions retain the stanza which begins, "When I was single I wore a black shawl". This would seem to indicate a relationship with "The Joyful Maid and Sorrowful Wife", a song in which a wife's loss of youth and freedom are symbolically represented through juxtaposed items from her premarital and post marital wardrobe.' For a text of The Joyful Maid and the Sorrowful Wife, see Sam Cowell's ‘120 Comic Songs’ (London, 1850) or Dave Harker's ‘Songs from the Manuscript Collection of John Bell’ (Durham, 1985. P.342).

Song transcribed by Dan Quinn

Song notes: Mike Yates

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dabbling in the Dew

 

"Oh where are you going to my pretty little dear.

with your red rosy cheeks and your coal black hair?".

"I'm going a milking kind sir" she answered me.

"And it's dabbling in the dew makes the milk maids fair."

 

"Suppose I were to feed you my pretty little dear

with dainties on silver the whole of the year?"

"Oh no sir, Oh no sir, kind sir," she answered me.

"For it's dabbling in the dew makes the milk maids fair."

 

"Suppose I were to clothe you my pretty little dear

in silks and in satins the whole of the year?"

"Oh no sir, Oh no sir, kind sir," she answered me.

"For it's dabbling in the dew makes the milk maids fair."

 

"Suppose I were to carry you my pretty little dear

in a chariot with horses a gay gallant pair?"

"Oh no sir, Oh no sir, kind sir," she answered me.

"For it's dabbling in the dew makes the milk maids fair."

 

 

Ah but London's a city my pretty little dear.

and all men are gallant and brave that are there.

"Oh no sir, Oh no sir, kind sir," she answered me.

"For it's dabbling in the dew makes the milk maids fair."

 

"Oh fine clothes and dainties and carriages so rare

bring grey to the cheeks and silver to the hair.

What's a ring on the finger when rings are round the eyes

For it's dabbling the dew makes the milk maids fair."


(recorded at Horton, Somerset by John Howson, 1995) The theme of this song dates back to the 14th century and in some versions, it is ‘strawberry leaves’, not ‘dabbling in the dew’, that ‘makes the milkmaids fair’. In the 19th century it became popular all over Southern England and was published in ‘Nursery Rhymes of England’ by J.O. Halliwell in 1842. George Butterworth found in it Sussex, Ralph Vaughan Williams noted it down in Cambridgeshire and Herefordshire and Cecil Sharp discovered it to be particularly popular in the West Country: between 1904 and 1907 he noted it down from nine singers in Somerset alone. In Inglesham, Wiltshire the song was also used as a finale to the Christmas Mumming play.
 

Song transcribed by Dan Quinn

Song notes: Mike Yates

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Chainmaker Lad

Oh, chainmaker lad he’s a masher,
He’s always a-smoking his pipe.
He’s always a-whistling the wenches
Especially on Saturday night.

Saturday night is my delight,
Sunday morning too.
Monday morning going to school
He’s always after me.

But collier boys, collier boys,
Collier boys come in,
Down the road as black as coal
And that’s the chap for me.

(recorded at Warley, Worcestershire by Mike Yates, c.1976) Lucy Woodall and her fellow female chain-makers used to sing this song in the chain-making shops, where they worked. The song may have been a local composition, or it could have been an adaptation of another song that was originally unconnected to the chain-making trade. The song probably dates from the end of the 19th century. Eric Partridge dates the term masher, meaning a lady-killer, to 1882-83 (’Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English’. London, 2002 edition. p.725)..

Song transcribed by Dan Quinn

Song notes: Mike Yates

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


The Miner’s Dream of Home

It’s ten weary years since I left England’s shore
In a far distant country to roam.
How I longed to return to my own native land
To my friends and the old folks at home.
Last night as I slumbered I had a strange dream,
‘Twas a dream that brings distant friends near.
I dreamt of old England, the land of my birth
To the heart of our sons ever dear.

Ch: I saw the old homestead and the faces I loved,
I saw England’s valleys and dells.
And I listened with joy, as I did when a boy,
To the sound of the old village bells.
The log was burning brightly,
‘Twas a night that should banish all sin.
For the bells were ringing the old year out and the New Year in.

As the joyous bells rang out I wended my way
To the cot where I lived as a boy.
I gazed in the window, yes there by the fire
Sat my parents. My heart filled with joy.
The tears trickled fast down my bronzed furrowed-cheek
As I gazed on my mother so dear.
I guessed in my heart she was raising a prayer
For the son who she dreamt not was near.

At the door of the cottage we met face to face,
‘Twas the first time for ten weary years.
Soon the past was forgotten, we stood hand in hand
Father, mother and wanderer in tears.
Once more in the fireplace, the oak log burned bright
As I promised no more would I roam.
As I sat in that old vacant chair by the fire
And sang that dear song “Home, Sweet Home”.


(recorded in Kenton, Suffolk by John Howson, 1986) The words to this extremely popular song were written by the Music Hall singer Leo Dryden (1863 -1939), with music by Will Godwin. According to Music Hall specialist Tony Barker, "Dryden must immediately have realised the song's immense appeal for, in an Era advert, dated 31st October, 1891, he announced it as a 'song that will be sung in every home where the mother tongue is spoken'. The rousing melody and sentimental lyrics telling of a homesick prospector dreaming of 'England's valleys and dells', certainly made such an impact with the British public that it passed almost at once into the canon of popular song. Dryden claimed that Francis, Day and Hunter paid £20, the most they had paid up to that time, for the publication right. Its fame was so great that it was remembered long after the name of its singer had been forgotten. Such was Dryden's eventual eclipse that, after the First World War, he sang the song in the streets unrecognised." Dryden made a cylinder recording of The Miner's Dream of Home in 1898 (Berliner E2013). Fred Whiting always said that it was his favourite song.

Song transcribed by Dan Quinn

Song notes: Mike Yates

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Young Collins

Young Collins early in the morn
Went a-whistling through some fields of corn.
He spied a milkmaid neat and trim
To milk her cow tripped over the plain.
To milk her cow tripped over the plain.

Young Collins viewed her as she passed.
He says “My sweet and pretty lass,
Will you along with me now go?”
Her answer was “Young Collins, no”.
Her answer was “Young Collins, no”.

He says “Fair maid, I mean you no harm.
I’ll make you mistress of my farm.
The ewes and lambs and poultry too.
Will you be mine? Say yes or no”.
“Will you be mine? Say yes or no”.

The tears of love went down her brow
Where she sat a-milking of her cow.
So now the happy knot is tied
And now she is Young Collins’ bride.
And now she is Young Collins’ bride.


(recorded at Patcham, Sussex by Mike Yates, 1989) Both John Pitts and James Catnach issued a broadside song Young Colin Stole My Heart Away during the first quarter of the 19th century, but this is not the song that Bob sings here. In fact, Bob is only the third singer to supply us with the song and, as all the known versions are from singers in Sussex, perhaps it is the work of a local Sussex printer. The other versions came from Henry Hills of Lodsworth, and George Townsend of Lewes, and the latter's version can be heard on MTCD304 ‘Come, Hand to Me the Glass’.

Song transcribed by Dan Quinn

Song notes: Mike Yates

 



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Codfish

There was little man and he had a little horse
And he saddled it and bridled it and cocked his leg across

Ch: With an eye-ti-eye, eye-ti-eye, eye-tiddley-eye-tiddley-eye-ti-eye

Now he rode and he rode till he came to a brook
And there he saw a fisherman a-fishing with a hook

“Fisherman, fisherman, fisherman” said he,
“Have you a codfish to sell me?”

“Yes, sir, yes, sir, I have two
One for me and one for you”.

Now he got the codfish by the backbone
Slung it across his shoulder and went off home.

Now when he got home, he couldn’t find a dish
So he put it in the place where the old woman pissed.

Now all that night the old woman cried
“There’s a devil in the pisspot, I can see his eyes”.

Now one got the shovel, the other got the broom
And they chased the poor cow son all around the room.

Now they hit him in the head, they hit him in the side,
And they hit him in the knackers till the poor sod died.

Now this is the end of the never-no-more
There’s an apple up your gongapooch and you can have the core.

(recorded at Hayes, Middlesex by John Howson, 1989) The earliest known British version of this song can be dated to 1620 - 1650 and can be found in Bishop Percy's Folio Manuscript, now housed in the British Library, London. The song is there titled The Sea Crabb and it is clearly the same song that George Bregenzer picked up from some soldiers in the 1930s. It was first known as a tale, rather than a song, and there are early versions from Italy (c.1330 -1400) and France (c.1610 - 20). The tale was also widespread, with versions being noted in the Far East (Korea, Indonesia and India), in the Near East (Turkey and Bosnia) and in both northern and southern Europe. For a full study of the song, see Roger deV. Renwick's Recentering Anglo /American Folksong’ (University Press of Mississippi, Jackson. 2001. pp. 116 150).

Song transcribed by Dan Quinn

Song notes: Mike Yates

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Seeds of Love

We sowed the seed of love
For then it blossom in the spring.
There is April, May and likewise June
And the small birds they all do sing,
And the small birds they all do sing.

The gardener standing by,
I asked him to choose for me.
He chosed the violet, the lily and the pink,
And those flowers I refused all three,
And those flowers I refused all three.

The violet I did not like,
Because it faded so soon,
But the lily and the pink I fairly overlooked
And I vowed I would stay till June,
And I vowed I would stay till June.

Well June brought forth the rose
And that is the flower for me,
For I’ve oft times plucked at the red and rosy bud
Till I gained the willow tree,
Till I gained the willow tree.

The willow tree won’t twine
And the willow tree won’t twain,
For no more did the fair and elusive young maid
That once stole this heart of mine.

(recorded at Hawkesbury Upton, Gloucestershire by Mike Yates, c.1975) According to some authorities The Seeds of Love was composed by a Mrs Fleetwood Habergham (d. 1703), of Habergham, Lancashire. Dr Whitakar in his ‘History of Whalley’ says that she was 'Ruined by the extravagance and disgraced by the vices of her husband' and that she 'soothed her sorrows by some stanzas yet remembered among the old people of the neighbourhood.' To be honest, we don't know whether or not The Seeds of Love was composed by Mrs Habergham, but we do know that it was printed on several 19th century broadsides and that it has turned up repeatedly on the lips of traditional singers.

Song transcribed by Dan Quinn

Song notes: Mike Yates

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Jones’s Ale

There were six stalwart young fellows came over the hill together,
Through all kinds of weather to find a jovial crew.
We said we had found a very fine brew and it satisfies us so it’s bound to suit you
And you’ll be in the best of good company too,
When Jones’s ale was new, my boys,
When Jones’s ale was new.

The first to come in was a tinker, with his melting pot and iron.
Who better could you rely on to join a jovial crew?
He said “I will make you a pan or a kettle and all my wares are made of good metal
And I myself am in jolly good fettle”,
When Jones’s ale was new, my boys,
When Jones’s ale was new.

And the next to come in was a tailor with his slave board and his thimble.
What man could look more nimble to join a jovial crew?
He said “I will make you a coat or a cloak as I make for the gentry and other good folk.
Now we’ll sit ourselves down and we’ll tell a good joke”,
When Jones’s ale was new, my boys,
When Jones’s ale was new.

And the next to come in was a soldier with his knapsack o’er his shoulder.
What man could look more bolder to join a jovial crew?
He said “I will fight for England’s crown before this country shall be run down
Let every man spend half a crown”,
When Jones’s ale was new, my boys,
When Jones’s ale was new.

And the next to come in was a sailor with his bell bottoms and his compass.
Who better to quell a rumpus or to join a jovial crew?
He said “I’ve got a girl in every port and up to now I’ve never been caught
So we’ll sit ourselves down and we’ll draw us a quart”,
When Jones’s ale was new, my boys,
When Jones’s’ ale was new.

And the next to come in was a rich man and you could tell he was in clover.
He searched the whole world over to find such a jovial crew.
He said “I have come a very long way and now I am hear tis my pleasure to say
For all you can drink I am willing to pay”,
When Jones’s ale was new, my boys,
When Jones’s ale was new.

And the next to come in was a poor man and his coat was all in tatters
And I don’t see that it matters when you join a jovial crew.
“If you have any work I am able and willing and raring to earn a good honest shilling.
Now I see that these tankards are ready for filling”,
When Jones’s ale was new, my boys,
When Jones’s ale was new.


(recorded at Sudbury, Derbyshire by Mike Yates, 1984) Jones's Ale is a song with a veritable pedigree. Tom D'Urfey included it in his early 18th century song collection ‘Pills to Purge Melancholy’ (1719 - 20), and it was also listed in Thackeray's 17th century broadside catalogue. Robert Bell included a 19th century broadside text in his ‘Ballads and Songs of the Peasantry of England’ (1857), together with a note that the song was probably originally a lampoon levelled at Oliver Cromwell and his wife, who were named 'Nolly and Joan' by the Royalist Party (the names found in D'Urfey's set).

Song transcribed by Dan Quinn

Song notes: Mike Yates

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Green Grow the Laurels

Once I had a sweetheart but now I have none.
She’s gone and she’s left me to weep and to mourn.
She’s gone and she’s left me another to see,
But I’ll soon find another much better than she.

Ch: Green grows the laurels, soft falls the dew,
Sorry was I, love, at parting from you
Sorry was I, love, at parting from you
But I’ll change the green laurels to violets of blue.

I passed by her window both early and late,
The look that she gives me that makes my heart break.
The look that she gives me a thousand would kill,
Though she hates and detests me, I love that girl still.

I wrote her a letter on red rosy lines,
She wrote me an answer all twisted and twined,
Saying keep your love letters and I’ll keep mine,
Saying you write to your love and I’ll write to mine.

Now it’s oft times I wonder why young girls love men
And oft times I wonder why young men love them,
But to my own knowledge, well I should know,
Young girls are deceivers wherever they go.

 

(recorded at Whittlesbury, Northamptonshire by John Howson, 1988) This is another song that turns up all over the place, and yet, surprisingly, there are only a couple of broadsides known; one printed by an obscure printer in Gateshead (Stephenson), the other by Fortey of London, who gave it the rather clumsy title of I Changed the Green Willow for the Orange and Blue. Scholars, unlike singers, have argued for years over the song. According to Lucy Broadwood, 'the orange and the blue' refers to the girl's wedding dress. Anne Gilchrist, on the other hand, noted a resemblance between the versions that use the phrase 'bonnets of blue' with the blue bonnets worn by the supporters of the Young Pretender, and so saw a connection with the Jacobite cause. But, Miss Gilchrist also suggested that, as the term 'orange and blue' was used in the Orange song The Protestant Boys, the song symbolised the union of Irish and English Protestants. Whatever the origin, though, it's a popular song and versions can be found in many British and American collections.

Song transcribed by Dan Quinn

Song notes: Mike Yates

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Wassail

Ch: Way-sail, way-sail, to my jolly way-sail,
And joy shall go with our jolly way-sail.

Our bread it is white and our ale it is brown
And our bowl it is made of the seedy-more tree,
To my way-sailing bowl I will drink unto thee.

Here’s a health unto collie and to her left eye,
Pray God send our master a good Christmas pie.
And a good Christmas pie that we may all see,
To my way-sailing bowl I will drink unto thee.

Here’s a health unto collie and to her left arm,
Pray God send our master a good crop of corn,
And a good crop of corn that we may all see,
To my way-sailing bowl I will drink unto thee.

Here’s a health unto collie and to her left leg,
Pray God send our master a good fattened pig,
And a good fattened pig that we may all see,
To my way-sailing bowl I will drink unto thee.

Come butler, come butler, a bowl of your best,
I hope that in heaven your soul it will rest.
But if butler don’t bring us a bowl of his small,
Then down will go butler, bowl and all.

There was an old woman, she had but one cow,
And how to maintain it she did not know how.
So she built up a barn to keep her cow warm
And a drop of your cider won’t do us no harm.


(recorded in Gloucestershire by Mike Yates, c.1975) Cecil Sharp collected no fewer than twenty-seven Wassail songs in the West Country. Maud Karpeles recounts the following story from Bratton in Somerset: 'The wassailers used to meet in the orchard about seven or eight o'clock in the evening, join hands, and dance in a ring round an apple tree singing the song. At the conclusion they stamped on the ground, fired off their guns, and made as much noise as they could while they shouted in unison the words appended to the song. Having placed some pieces of toast soaked in cider on one of the branches, they proceeded to another tree, around which they repeated the ceremony. When Cecil Sharp asked the singer what happened to the toast, he replied. "All gone in the morning; some say the birds eat it, but…" (’Cecil Sharp's Collection of English Folk Songs’ edited by Maud Karples. London, 1972. Volume 2, p. 635.) Wassail songs, and the related mid-winter visiting songs that can be found throughout Europe, are often very ancient affairs. They mix both Christian and Pagan elements (Len's mention of the ox reminds us of the bull-cults that once flourished around the edge of the Mediterranean Sea, for example) and, at one time, were well-known in many parts of England.

Song transcribed by Dan Quinn

Song notes: Mike Yates

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


At the Cross

At the cross, at the cross, I picked up a dross
And I threw it at an old woman’s door.
Th’old woman came out and she give me such a clout
That I said I wouldn’t do it any more.

 

(recorded at Oxspring, Yorkshire by John Howson, 1992) Will learnt this parody of the Sankey and Moody hymn from his father. Apparently, George Fradley, who can also be heard on this CD, sang an additional verse of the parody.

Song transcribed by Dan Quinn

Song notes: Mike Yates

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Once I Had an Old Hen

Once I had an old hen,
The old hen did very well please me,
And every time I fed my hen,
I fed her all under the tree-tree,

Ch: Henny went chick-chack,
Cock-a-doodle-doo.
And here’s good luck to my cocks and hens, my cock-a-doodle-doo.

Once I had an old duck,
The old duck did very well please me,
And every time I fed my duck,
I fed her all under the tree-tree,

Ducky went quack quack, henny went chick chack
Cock-a-doodle-doo,
And here’s good luck to my cocks and hens, my cock-a-doodle-doo.

Once I had an old goose etc

Goosey went ganny-ganny etc

Once I had an old turkey etc

Turkey went gob-gob etc

Once I had an old sheep etc

Sheepy went baa-baa etc

Once I had an old cow etc

Cowy went moo-moo

Once I had an old horse etc

Horsey went neigh-neigh etc

Once I had an old wife,
My old wife she did very well please me,
And every time I kissed my wife,
I kissed her all under the tree-tree

Wifey went nag-nag etc


(recorded at Bampton, Oxfordshire by John Howson, 1987) Versions of this well-known nursery rhyme have long been popular in the Thames Valley. Alfred Williams noted versions prior to the Great War, though he failed to print them in his ‘Folk Songs of the Upper Thames’ (1923) and in the early 1950s the BBC recorded a set from a singer in Burford. Whilst the song is clearly of British origin, it must be said that most collected versions are from the United States. For an American version, listen to the Ozark singer Almeda Riddle singing My Little Rooster on the 4 CD set 'Sounds of the South' (Atlantic 7 82496 2).

Song transcribed by Dan Quinn

Song notes: Mike Yates

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



Bailiff’s Daughter of Islington

There was a youth and a well-bred youth,
He was a squire’s son,
He fell in love with the Bailiff’s daughter dear
That lived in Islington.

But she was coy and never would
On him her heart bestow,
Till he was sent to London Town
Because he loved her so.

And when he had served his seven long years,
And ne’er his love could see,
“Oh, many tears have I shed for her sake
And she’s little thought of me.”

Then all the maids of Islington
Went forth to sport and play,
All but the Bailiff’s daughter dear,
She secretly stole away.

She pulled off her gown of green
And put on mean attire
And straight to London she did go
Her true love to inquire.

And as she went along the road,
The weather being fine and dry,
She sat her down on a mossy bank
And her true love came riding by.

She stepped up to his horse’s head
Took hold of the bridal rein
And she said “Kind sir, will you let me ride a mile
To ease my weary pain?”

He says “Fair maid, whence came you from?
Oh, where were you bred and born?”
“In fair Islington, kind sir” said she,
“Where I’ve had many a scorn”.

“I prithee sweetheart tell to me,
Oh, tell me whether you know
The Bailiff’s daughter of that place.”
“She died, sir, long ago.”

“If she be dead, then take my horse,
My saddle and bridle also
And I will away to some foreign land
Where no man shall me know.”

“Oh no, kind sir, do not do so,
For she is by your side.
She is here alive, she is not dead,
And ready to be thy bride.”

“Oh, farewell to father and farewell to mother,
Farewell to friend and foe.
For now I’ll enjoy my own true love
Whom I thought was dead so long ago.”


(recorded at Patcham, Sussex by Mike Yates, 1989) True Love Requited; or, The Bailiff's Daughter of Islington was printed as a blackletter broadside by P. Brooksby, at the Golden Ball in London's Pye-Corner sometime towards the end of the 17th century. Fifty years later Cluer Dicey, a printer then working in Bow Churchyard, included the song in his catalogue. In 1764 Dicey joined up with Richard Marshall and the pair continued to issue ballads, including The Bailiff's Daughter of Islington, at Aldermary Churchyard. A couple of 19th century printers, Jackson of Birmingham and Shelmerdine of Manchester, kept the song in print and versions have been collected throughout England, Scotland, Ireland, Canada and America. Most versions seem to be very similar; both in text and tune, and this may be because the words were printed in various issues of the ‘Music Hall Monthly Song Book’ (probably dating from the end of the 19th century) and in such books as ‘The News Chronicle Songbook’ c.1930. It was also popularised by Music Hall singer Ernest Pike, who also sang The Gypsy's Warning and There's a Long, Long Trail A-Winding. As this latter song was written in 1913, Pike must have been singing The Bailiff's Daughter around that time. Bob's minor tune however, learnt from his mother, is not the one commonly heard today, but is one that, over the years, has more usually been used for a number of folk carols.

Song transcribed by Dan Quinn

Song notes: Mike Yates

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 




Ledbury Clergyman

In Ledbury Town in Herefordshire
They rucked up a row with the parson there.
This pious gentleman, so they say,
He was far too fond of going astray.

Ch: So if going astray should be your plan,
Just think of the Ledbury clergyman.

This pious gentleman did, you know,
A very religious example show.
Instead of learning the folk to preach and pray
He was kissing and cuddling night and day.

This parson he was a roving blade,
He courted the cook and the servant maid,
Gave out his text and winked his eye
“Come kiss me girls and multiply”

Now sooner or later, tale went round
That a young chickabidee had come to town.
And its features did the truth disclose
Of the Ledbury parson’s eyes and nose

They summoned him up and made him pay
One half a crown a week, they say.
So, clergymen, my warning take
And think of the Ledbury parson’s fate

This parson got in a terrible rage,
He swore to the child he never would pay.
And to cure his sins, he preached and prayed
With Lizzie the cook and Kitty the maid

Then up to the church then toddled the cook
And in her arms this child she took.
And the parson on them glanced his eye
“Oh look at your daddy” the cook did cry.

Now this parson said ‘twas his desire
And from this sinful world retire,
And join the Mormons he would strive,
And marry one hundred and fifty wives

Then from the church he got the sack,
They took the surplice off his back.
And they wouldn’t allow him to preach nor pray
Till ten long years had passed away

Now married men just mind your eye,
Don’t get kissing and cuddling on the sly.
Those single chaps might go astray,
But they’d better get married without delay.


(recorded at Moreton Valence, Gloucestershire by Mike Yates, c.1975) The Reverend John Jackson, Rector of Ledbury in Herefordshire from 1860 to 1891, was the subject of a scandal in the year 1869. It seems that he was accused of fathering a child on one of his servants and he was suspended from duty for a period of two years. Although exonerated, he found that he could not live down the allegation. No doubt this song about his alleged nocturnal activities didn't help his peace of mind! A broadside about the cleric, titled The Frolicsome Parson Outwitted, can be found in Charles Hindley's ‘Curiosities of Street Literature’ (1871).

Song transcribed by Dan Quinn

Song notes: Mike Yates

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You’ll Want Me Back Some Day

A lad and a lassie once stood
In a pathway that led to a wood.
The lad to the lassie replied
“There’s something that takes us apart.
Just fancy that we’d never met,
Yes, try and live and forget.
For you’ll soon find another that’s true
Who will cherish you all your life through

Chorus:

For you wish me to forget you
You said ‘’tis best we part’.
When all my life I’ve loved you,
In return you’ll break my heart.
‘Men’s ways deceive us ever’
I’ve oft times heard folks say.
But believe me when I tell you dear,
You’ll want me back some day.”

It was barely a year from the day
When a letter I received from her to say,
“Come back and please miss me old dear,
I would cherish you all your life through.


(recorded at Blaxhall, Suffolk by John Howson, 1985) R. Donnelly wrote this song in 1909, under the title You Wish Me to Forget You, and it doesn't appear to have been that popular with 'the folk'. Apart from Geoff Ling, only two other singers seem to have known the piece. David Occomore collected a set from a Mrs Knight of Chelmsford, Essex, and Nick and Mally Dow found it being sung in Dorset by Bill House of Beaminster.

Song transcribed by Dan Quinn

Song notes: Mike Yates

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Robin a-Thrush

Oh, Robin a-thrush he married a wife
With a hoppity-moppity moan-oh.
She turned out to be the plague of his life
With a higgety-jiggety-ruppety-petticoat – Robin a-Thrush cries moan-oh.

And she never got up till twelve o’ clock
She put on a gown and never a smock

She swept the floor but once a year
The reasons she says that brooms were so dear

She milked the cow just once a week
She said it made the butter taste sweet

Her cheese when made is put on the shelf
And it never gets turned till it turns of itself

Well it turned and it turned and it turned on the floor
And it rolled and it rolled and it rolled at the door

Well it rolled and it rolled to Banbury Fair
And the old dame followed it on a grey mare

The song was sung for gentlemen
And if you want any more you must sing it again


(recorded at Whittlesbury, Northamptonshire by John Howson, 1988) This misogynistic piece is similar to the ballad The Wife Wrapped in Wether's Skin (Roud 117, Child 277) and belongs to a quite ancient Indo-European family of folktales and songs that also spawned Shakespeare's play The Taming of the Shrew. Clearly audiences then had a different sense of humour from that found today! Jeff's version of the song is quite close to that collected by Cecil Sharp from Sister Emma of Clewer in Berkshire, although he first heard it sung by a local singer, Perce Foster from Perryend, who was born c.1905.

Song transcribed by Dan Quinn

Song notes: Mike Yates

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



Mucking About in the Garden

We’re a happy family, I’d like you all to know.
We live with Uncle Joe
In a little bungalow.
It’s a lot of garden and it keeps him on the go.
When a friend says “Where’s your Uncle?” we just answer “Oh

He’s mucking around the garden, dear old Uncle Joe,
Seeds begin to grow,
Weeds begin to grow.
Well, mucking around the garden, dear old Uncle Joe,
Works for hours among the flowers and then begins to crow,
“Oh, everything is loverly, loverly, everywhere, everywhere”.
Morning, noon and night he’s on the go.
Oh, mucking around the garden, dear old Uncle Joe,
Says ripe tomatoes, apples and plums, watching his onions grow.

Spoken: How’s that?


(recorded at West Hoathley, Sussex by Mike Yates, 1977) George probably picked this one up from an early 78rpm gramophone record. The song was clearly popular in 1929, when four different recordings appeared of the song. These were by Tommy Handley & Leslie Sarony (Columbia 5555), Ronald Frankau & Tommy Handley using the names 'North & South' - (Parlophone R-506), Clarkson Rose (Zonophone 5429) and Randolph Sutton (Edison Bell Radio 1253). Surprisingly, George seems to have been the only country singer to have had the song.

Song transcribed by Dan Quinn

Song notes: Mike Yates

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Master and Man

Oh master, oh master, don’t sack me today,
Cos I’ve been a good servant to you.
I’ve done all I can like a hard working man
What more can a hard working man do?
Now stop, hold your tongue. I won’t, it’s my own.
I can stop you from talking much faster.
So you’re always boozed, it’s talkings no use.
That’s the reason I’ve sacked you today.

Now what good do you do with the money you earn
Cos you’re always boozing in pubs.
These pubs, bear in mind, are much better you’ll find
What you calls your upper class club.
Stop, hold your tongue. I won’t, it’s my own
I can stop you from talking much faster.
You’ve got your wealth and I’ll have my strength
I can prove Jack’s as good as his master.

Now you’ve got a wife like a saint, you believe,
She believes in divorces in parting.
I’ve got a wife with a pair of hard working hands
And we smothers our troubles together.
Stop, hold your tongue. I won’t, it’s my own.
I can stop you from talking much faster.
Why, you’ve got your strength and I’ll have your wealth
And we’ve proved Jack’s as good as his master.

So can we shake hands, let’s be master and man
And we’ll smother our troubles together.
I’ve got a wife with a large family at home
So you know they are starving for bread.
Oh stop hold your tongue, I won’t it’s my own
You don’t stop I shan’t let you see.
So let us shake hands, let’s be master and man
And we’ll prove ones as good as the other.

(recorded at Brighton, Sussex by Mike Yates, 1974) Master and Man is something of a rarity. Apart from Mary's version, I have only come across the song once before and that was on a broadside without imprint that probably dated from the second half of the 19th century. According to the sheet, the song was 'a favourite duet by Wiggins & Monagan', two names that seem to be absent from the standard histories of the Music Hall.

Song transcribed by Dan Quinn

Song notes: Mike Yates

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lankin


You can have my daughter Betsy so young and so sweet
You can have as much money as the stones in the street.

I don’t want your daughter Betsy or the stones in the street
I would rather see your life’s blood rolling down at my feet.

False Lankin nipped the baby and caused it to cry
And the nurse kept on singing “hush-a-baby-by-by”.

There was blood on the staircase, the was blood in the hall,
There was blood on the carpet where the lady did fall.

(recorded at Sudbury, Derbyshire by Mike Yates, 1984) A mason is owed money for building work on a Lord's castle. The mason, seeking revenge when the Lord is absent, kills the Lord's child and wife. The child's nurse is also implicated in the killings and, like the mason, is subsequently executed. So runs the story to one of the most gruesome ballads that Professor Child included in his English and Scottish Popular Ballads. The ballad may be based on an actual event that occurred at Balwearie Castle in Fife, which was built in the 15th century, although the story is also associated with other places in Perthshire, the Scottish Borders and in Northumberland. Over the years much has been written about this ballad. Anne Gilchrist, for instance, has ingeniously suggested that the name Lamkin /Lammikin (which Child saw as an epithet) possibly indicated that the murderer was pale-skinned and, as such, could possibly have been suffering from leprosy, which was well-known in medieval Britain. Gilchrist, adding that one supposed medieval 'cure' for the disease was to be obtained by taking human blood (obtained from an innocent child and preserved in a silver bowl), was thus able to offer a 'complete' explanation for the events described in this ballad. George's fragment probably comes originally from the broadside text printed in London by John Pitts c.1820.

Song transcribed by Dan Quinn

Song notes: Mike Yates

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Madge

Whilst walking down the street one day upon my pleasure bent
Was after business worries of the day,
I met a girl who shrank from me, in her I recognised
A schoolmate from the village far away.
“Is that you, Madge” I said to her. She quickly turned away.
“Don’t turn away, Madge, for I’m still your friend.
Tonight I’m going back home again to see the old folks and
Perhaps some message you would like to send”.

Ch: “Just tell them that you’ve seen me and they will know the rest.
Just tell them that I’m looking well, you know.
And whisper if you get a chance, to mother dear and say
I love her as I did long, long ago”.

“Your cheeks are pale, your eyes are dim, pray tell me are you ill,
When last I saw you they shone clear and bright.
Oh, won’t you come back home again, the change would do you good
Your mother wonders where you are tonight.”
“I’m gong to go back home again, but not just yet, you know.
It’s pride alone that’s keeping me away.
Tell them not to worry, for I’m all right, you know,
Just tell them I’ll be coming home some day”.

(recorded at Oxspring, Yorkshire by John Howson, 1992) Will had this Music Hall song from Clifford Robinson, a gamekeeper from the Holme Valley. The only other collected version seems to have been in 1962, when the Canadian collector Edith Fowke noted a set from Vince O'Toole of Peterborough, Ontario.

Song transcribed by Dan Quinn

Song notes: Mike Yates

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Lovely Joan

A noble knight it was indeed
Mounted on his milk white steed.
He rode he rode himself all alone
Until he came to lovely Joan.

“Good morning to you, pretty maid”
“And twice good morning, sir,” she said.
”What, are you milking all alone?”
“Oh, yes” replied sweet lovely Joan.

Then he pulled out a purse of gold.
He said “Pretty maid, all this behold.
All this I’ll give for your maidenhead”.
Her cheeks they blushed like roses so red.

“Oh no, noble knight, I pray you forebear,
To lie with you I do not care.
For on tomorrow, I’ll be wed
Unto my own true love instead”.

Then he did make a solemn vow
He would have her whether or no.
And this he said to frighten Joan
As she sat milking all alone.

“Then give the gold into my hand
And I shall be at your command.
For the gold it is more use to me
Than twenty husbands, sir” said she.

But as these very words she said
She mounted on his milk white steed.
She rode away and he called in vain
But Joan she ne’er looked back again.

Nor did she think herself quite safe
Not till she came to her true lover’s gate.
She’s robbed the lord of his steed and gold
And left him the empty purse to hold.

Now it pleased her true love to the heart
To think how well she played her part.
“Tomorrow morning we’ll be wed
And I shall be your knight instead”.

A man on a horse sees a girl working in the hayfields. He offers her his gold ring in exchange for her maidenhead, but the girl tricks him and rides off with his ring and horse, leaving him to fume alone in the meadow. There are quite a number of similar folksongs where the girl surrenders to the young man's charms and then finds herself pregnant and jilted. But, in one or two of the earlier ballads, such as The Broomfield Hill (Roud 34, Child 43) or Blow Away the Morning Dew (Roud 11, Child 112), we find a more resourceful girl, one able to outwit her would-be seducer. And this is the background for the song Lovely Joan. It's a song that was published by at least sixteen 19th century broadside printers and several Edwardian collectors noted versions. Ralph Vaughan Williams was so taken by the tune that he used it as a counter-melody for his well-known arrangement of the tune Greensleeves. Bob had the song from his mother.

Song transcribed by Dan Quinn

Song notes: Mike Yates

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Bill the Weaver

“Oh mother dear I’ve just got married
Better had I longer tarried,
For my wife she does declare
That the britches she will wear”.

“Come loving son no more discover
I’ll have thee go home and love her
And give thy wife just what’s her due
For I don’t want no more of you”.

Now the neighbours they did tell him,
For they all did want to please him,
“I’ll tell thee where and I’ll tell thee how
Who I saw with your wife just now.

We saw her with Bill the Weaver
They were very close together
On the footpath by thy door
In they went and we saw no more”.

Now he went home all in a wonder
Knocking on the door like thunder.
“Who is there?” the weaver cried,
“It is my husband, thee must hide”.

Up the chimney then he ventured,
She opened the door and her husband entered.
He searched the rooms and the chambers round,
But not a soul could there be found.

Up the chimney then he gazed,
He stood there like one amazed.
There he saw that wretched soul
Perched on the top of the chimney pole.

“Now, Bill the Weaver, I have got thee,
I shall neither hang nor drown thee.
I shall stifle thee with smoke”.
Thus he thought, but he never spoke.

So he built up a roaring fire
Just to please his own desire,
Which made poor Bill to cough and sneeze
Where he sat at little ease.

As he stacked on more fuel,
His wife said “As I am your jewel.
As long as I am thy lawful wife
Please take him out and spare his life.
As long as I am thy lawful wife
Please take him out and spare his life”.

There was never a black devil or a chimney sweeper
Half as black as Bill the Weaver.
Hands and face and clothes likewise,
He sent him home with two black eyes.

(recorded at Badsey, Worcestershire by Mike Yates, c.1975) Bill, or Will, the Weaver seems to have been popping up and down lady's chimneys since the early part of the 18th century. There are quite a number of early 19th century broadsides - English, Scottish and American, and versions of the song have turned up all over the place, especially in America. Gavin Greig noted no fewer than eleven versions of the song in the north-east of Scotland and Sam Henry reported a single text from Ulster. In America the song is probably best known from the version recorded by Doc Watson of North Carolina (on Smithsonian-Folkways CD SF 40012) who had picked it up from a 1930s commercial recording by Dave McCarn.
 

Song transcribed by Dan Quinn

Song notes: Mike Yates

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



Father’s in the Pigsty

One day, a tramp came to our door
Said he hadn’t any food at all.
Oh I said “My man, that’s awful hard
If you go down to our backyard
My father’s in the pigsty,
My father’s in the pigsty,
My father’s in the pigsty
You can tell him by his hat.”

A girl I courted years ago
Got married to a man named Joe.
One day I met her on the train,
I said “Have you any family, Jane?”
“I’ve only got six, thank you.
I’ve only got six, thank you.
I’ve only got six, thank you”.
Says I “Well, don’t thank me”.

Me and my father went out one day
Down to the fields a-making hay.
A great big bull came rushing out,
And then I heard the farmer shout
“Don’t let him see anything red, sir.
Don’t let him see anything red, sir.
Don’t let him see anything red, sir”.
So I covered up father’s nose.

‘Twas on the day I married my wife,
I thought I was set up for life.
For she was a good cook, I’d heard tell
And served a man his meals up ever so well.
But on the day that I got home late
On the day that I got home late
On the day that I got home late,
I scraped it off the wall.

The girls all follow the fashion show.
Where it’ll lead to, I don’t know.
The skirts get shorter every day
And they’ve got a problem, sad to say.
For they’ve two more cheeks to powder,
They’ve two more cheeks to powder,
They’ve two more cheeks to powder
And another head to bob.

So now I’ve sung my little short song,
I’ve sung it right and I’ve sung it wrong
And if you think that that’s a shame
I’ll start at the beginning, I’ll sing it again.
But I don’t mean to do that.
But I don’t mean to do that.
But I don’t mean to do that,
Because I’ve got more sense.


(recorded at Whittlesbury, Northamptonshire by John Howson, 1988) This sounds like a song from the end of the Music Hall tradition. It is another song that Jeff picked up from Perce Foster of Perryend. Surprisingly, Jeff is the only singer who has recorded it. The tune is better known as In and Out the Windows.

Song transcribed by Dan Quinn

Song notes: Mike Yates

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


The Folkestone Murder

All people pay attention and listen to my song.
I’ll tell you of a murder, it won’t detain you long.
It was near the town of Folkestone, this shocking deed was done.
Maria and sweet Caroline were murdered by Switzerland John.

He went unto their father’s house at nine o’clock one night,
And little did poor Caroline think he owed her any spite.
“Will you take a walk, dear Caroline, along with me?” cried he
And she agreed to accompany him to Shoreham cliff next day.

Her mother said “Dear daughter, you’d better stay at home,
For I do not think that it’s safe for you to go with that man alone
You had better take your sister, along with you to run”.
“Dear mother, I’ve no objection. Dear sister, you may come”.

So early in the morning, before the break of day,
Maria and sweet Caroline from Dover they did stray.
But before they reached at Folkestone, the villain he drew his knife.
Maria and sweet Caroline, he took away their life.

Down on the ground the sisters fell just in their blooming youth,
“For mercy” cried the innocents, their eyes were filled with tears.
He plunged the dagger in their breasts, their lovely breasts so deep.
He robbed them of their own sweet life and left them there to sleep.

He kissed their pale lips as they lay on the ground.
He took their capes from off their backs and on him they were found.
He said “Farewell, sweet Caroline, your blood my hands has stained,
No more on earth shall I see you but in heaven we’ll meet again”.

At seven o’clock next morning, the bodies they were found
In a lonely spot near Folkestone, lay bleeding on the ground.
And if you go unto that spot, these letters you will find
Cut deeply into the soft green turf – Maria and Caroline.

When the prisoner he was taken, his own life he tried to take,
But he was taken to Maidstone jail and there condemned to die.
He said “Farewell to all my friends in this world I’m left alone.
I’m doomed to die for murder far from my native home.

“Hark the solemn bell is tolling, for the scaffold I must prepare.
I hope that in heaven my soul may rest and meet Maria there.
Now all young men take warning and beware of this fate of mine,
And all young women think of Maria and lovely Caroline.


(recorded at Stoney-in-Oxney, Kent by Mike Yates, 1984) The Folkestone Murder is based on an event that occurred in 1856 /57. Dedea Redanies, born in Belgrade in the 1830s, came to England and enlisted into the British Swiss Legion, then stationed at Dover castle. He began courting a young girl called Caroline Back, whose father worked as a dredger in Dover harbour. Redanies was apparently of a jealous nature and he accused Caroline of flirting with a sergeant in his unit. On 3rd August the couple took a walk to Shorncliffe Camp, accompanied by Caroline's sister Maria, and Redanies killed both girls at Steddy's Hole, some five miles from Dover. Redanies attempted to escape, but was captured the next day at a farm near Canterbury, after unsuccessfully trying to take his own life. He was hanged at Maidstone Prison on New Year's Day, 1857. Almost all of the collected versions of the song have come from either Kent or Sussex, although a couple of versions have turned up in Labrador and Newfoundland.

Song transcribed by Dan Quinn

Song notes: Mike Yates

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


The Barley Mow

Oh, here’s good health to the half a pint, good health to the barley mow.
Here’s good health to the half a pint, good health to the barley mow.

Oh, the half pint, gill pot, spill-a-drop, fill-a-drop, little drop more,
Here’s good health, good health to the barley mow.

And here’s good health to the pint etc

Oh, the pint, the half pint, gill pot, spill-a-drop, fill-a-drop, little drop more,
Here’s good health, good health to the barley mow.

And here’s good health to the quart etc

And here’s good health to the half a gallon etc

And here’s good health to the gallon etc

And here’s good health to the barrel etc

And here’s good health to the brewery etc

And here’s good health to the master etc

And here’s good health to the King etc

And here’s good health to the Queen etc

And here’s good health to the country etc
 

(recorded at Sudbury, Derbyshire by Mike Yates, 1984)The Barley Mow is one of the best-known cumulative songs from the English folk repertoire and was usually sung at harvest suppers, often as a test of sobriety. Alfred Williams, who noted a splendid set in the Wiltshire village of Inglesham some time prior to the Great War, wrote that he was 'unable to fix its age, or even to suggest it, though doubtless the piece has existed for several centuries.' Robert Bell found the song being sung in Devon and Cornwall during the middle part of the 19th century, especially after 'completing the carrying of the barley, when the rick, or mow, of barley is finished.' Bell's comment that 'the effect of The Barley Mow cannot be given in words; it should be heard, to be appreciated properly' is certainly true, and most singers who know the song pride themselves on being able to get through it without making a mistake

Song transcribed by Dan Quinn

Song notes: Mike Yates

 

               


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