Article MT069

Just Another Saturday Night:

Sussex 1960

[Track List] [Introductions] [The Pubs] [The Times] [The Singers] [The Songs] [CD 1] [CD 2] [Credits]

Musical Traditions' first CD release of 2001: Just Another Saturday Night: Sussex 1960 (MT CD 309-10), is now available.  See our Records page for details.  As a service to those who may not wish to buy the records, or who might find the small print hard to read, we have reproduced the relevant contents of the CD booklet here.  As usual, photo credits can be seen by hovering the cursor over the picture.


Cover picture
CD 1 
1 - Barbara AllenJim Wilson
2 - The Cunning CobblerGeorge Spicer
3 - Young Maria (Jealousy)Louie Saunders
4 - Lansdown Fair'Pop' Maynard
5 - What is the Life of a ManHarry Holman
6 - A Bricklayer Bold'Brick' Harber
7 - Do You Want Us to Lose the War?Bill Porter
8 - The Oak and the AshJack Arnoll
9 - The Lakes of ColdflynnScan Tester
10 - My Lot Took the Cake'Pop' Maynard
11 - The Wind Across the Wild MoorSarah Porter
12 - Rigs of London TownJim Wilson
13 - The Folkestone MurderGeorge Spicer
14 - The Pride of Kildare'Pop' Maynard
15 - The Nobleman and the ThresherHarry Holman
16 - The Rest of the Day is Your OwnCyril Phillips
17 - The Girl I Love So Trueunknown singer
18 - The Poor Old Weaver's Daughter'Pop' Maynard
19 - Untitled PolkaBill Agate
20 - Died For LoveSarah Porter
21 - The Scarlet and the BlueGeorge Spicer
22 - Never Go a-RushingJim Wilson
23 - The Week Before Easter'Pop' Maynard
24 - The Croppy BoyTed and Bet Porter
25 - She's Proud and She's BeautifulCyril Phillips
26 - Down by the Seaside'Pop' Maynard
CD 2 
1 - The Hobnail Boots that Father Wore       Harry Holman
2 - The Cabin Boy and the Lady Gay'Brick' Harber
3 - Joe the Carrier LadCyril Phillips
4 - Down By the Deep River SideSarah Porter
5 - Patsy Flanagan'Pop' Maynard
6 - The Bonny Bunch of RosesBill Porter
7 - The Valley of SwitzerlandHarry Holman
8 - Rolling in the Dew'Pop' Maynard
9 - The Bitter WithySarah Porter
10 - Brennan on the Moor'Brick' Harber
11 - The Volunteer OrganistGeorge Spicer
12 - Brianey O'LynnJim Porter
13 - Oxford City'Pop' Maynard
14 - Buttercup JoeJim Wilson
15 - Once I Had a Dark Eyed LoverSarah Porter
16 - Spencer the RoverJim Porter
17 - Rumpsy Bumpsy'Pop' Maynard
18 - The Dying StockmanCyril Phillips
19 - The Game of All FoursSarah Porter
20 - Cremona (Lamorna)Harry Holman & 'Pop' Maynard
21 - The Young Sailor Cut DownHarry Holman
22 - What D'you Think of That?unknown singer
23 - The Outlandish KnightSarah Porter
24 - William Lennard'Pop' Maynard
25 - The Dark Eyed Sailor - an endingScan Tester & the company


At the end of 1999 a Musical Traditions reader, Steve Pennells, wrote to me saying that someone he once knew, named Brian Matthews, used to take a tape recorder around the pubs in Sussex in the late '50s and early '60s, and should have a lot of very interesting recordings.  Steve had lost touch with Brian around 1964 when he moved from Brighton out into the country "over Heathfield way", but he'd just seen a recently re-bound antique atlas, with Brian Matthews named as the binder, and giving an address in Punnetts Town (two miles from Heathfield).

Steve gave me a list of some of the singers he knew Brian had recorded (Brick Harber, Jim Wilson, Scan Tester, Pop Maynard, George Townshend ...), and kindly stated: "If the tapes are still in existence, they should be of considerable interest to you and Musical Traditions - about the only people willing and able to deal properly with them".

I duly wrote to Brian and didn't have to wait too long before I had a phone call from him - Yes, he'd be pleased to let me have the stuff to do with as I saw fit ... and a week later a parcel containing eight 5" reels of tape arrived on my doorstep.  There's a lot of material on eight tapes … and it took a good while to listen to it all, transfer it to DAT, load it into the computer for basic editing and output it onto CD-R for safe storage.

The task was finally accomplished and the George Townshend material was chosen for the first of MT's Brian Matthews Collection releases.  However, I did mention in the booklet accompanying it that 'several other future publications lurk in the Collection ...' This present double CD is one of them.

It contains pretty well every recording Brian made in the Sussex pubs in 1959 and 1960.  As he points out below, unobtrusive pub recording is fraught with hazards and a singer may well be half-way through the first verse of a song before you're aware of his having started.  For this reason a few of the tracks presented here fade in at some point in the first verse - exactly as it might have seemed if you'd been there yourself.

This publication is particularly important for a number of reasons.  Firstly, of course, all the recordings are previously unpublished - unheard, even.  Secondly, they make a number of important singers - Pop Maynard, Brick Harber, George Spicer - accessible again after some years of unavailability.  But most importantly, in my view, they provide the first publication of a hitherto unknown singer.

Sarah Porter is a splendid Traveller singer who, as far as we know, was only ever recorded by Brian Matthews.  She may, quite possibly, never have even been heard by anyone else outside her own community.  She sings seven songs on these CDs, all of which deserve serious attention.  Like Caroline Hughes, she is not the easiest singer to listen to if you're unused to the Gypsy style, and all the songs are considerably fragmented.  Nonetheless, attentive listening brings its usual rewards and reveals her considerable musicianship and her stylish development of some wonderful tunes.

Brian Matthews recalls:

My interest in English folk music followed the same route as that of many of my contemporaries; from traditional jazz, blues and American folk song, and eventually back to England.  I was strangely unaware of our tradition, yet here it was all around.  My own grandfather sang at special family gatherings.  Always the same two songs, I Wish I Were Single Again and The Female Drummer, songs he'd learned from the cook when first employed at Crawley Down, near East Grinstead, in the 1880s.  As children, my brothers and I were reduced to laughter when he sang in all seriousness, "When I was a young girl about the age of sixteen." Sadly I never recorded him, although had I tape recorder at the time, and I would have had every opportunity, for in his latter years he lived at home with us.  Later I was to record my mother singing The Female Drummer, but for the moment that tape has gone missing.

In the late Fifties I happened upon The Left Bookshop in Gloucester Road, Brighton, run by Jack Perkins, where my interest was further kindled when I found various folk song booklets and two 78rpm records of Ewan MacColl, all published by the Workers' Music Association.

In 1958 a friend and I started a coffee bar in King Street which we called The Ballad Tree after Evelyn Kendrick Wells' book, which I happened to be reading at the time.  The Ballad Tree was popular with the local art students, at least until opening time at The Running Horse, a splendid pub just a few doors up the street.  At weekends the coffee bar was packed with student types from London and elsewhere, who descended on the coast with bedroll and guitar and were termed 'beatniks' by the local press.  Among them there were some fine players, notably Pete Stanley, Wizz Jones, Long John Baldry and John Pierce, who occasionally sang something from the British Isles to a largely unimpressed audience.  The predominance of American song only made me more determined to hear more English traditional song.

It so happened that at the southern end of King Street a new bank was under construction, and it was from a stone mason working on the site that I collected just one verse of Joan's Ale, a song that he, Tom Hill of Tottenham, had learned from his father.  George Spicer - photo courtesy Doris SpicerThat was enough to get me hooked, and at the first opportunity, and when funds permitted, I purchased a small 5" spool tape recorder, a Stellaphone domestic machine.

With my grandfather in mind, Crawley Down seemed an obvious first choice, and as it turned out a lucky one, for just a few miles south in The Punchbowl pub I made contact with George Spicer and managed to arrange and record his singing at The Oak Tree, Ardingly.  That evening in November 1959 he gave me five songs (four of which are included on these CDs) and told me about The Cherry Tree at Copthorne, Pop Maynard's local.  Subsequently a visit to Copthorne brought me into contact with Ken Stubbs who, much to my surprise, was already working in that area, along with Steve Pennells, Frank Purslow and Reg Hall.  Recording these pub sessions was difficult, for they were invariably noisy and, with several singers present, the very song you would like to record would start at the other side of the bar, or when you were least prepared.

Sometimes the singer wasn't too helpful either - I once missed a good song from Sarah Porter when she said "I'll give you a song in German" and so I didn't set up the tape machine.  She then proceeded to sing an Anglo-Romani song which went:

Ridge poles and tent rods and cloths to put on
Down with the hummel for the tickner atch on
Down with the scant and give 'em some scrant
Fake things away and put 'em to pan.

We fed our old grys and there let them go
Where to jal and find 'em, God only knows!
We curs in the morning and atch around
When we did find them they were down in the pen.

We jals up the stinger, the stinger was locked
We jals up the jigger and give a loud knock
Out jals the mort "What is your fault?"
"You've got our old grys, we're willing to pay"
"By Jove, you'll pay, and you'll clear right away!"

Glossary: hummel - hay; tickner - child; atch - stay; scrant - food; fake - put away; pan/pani - water; gry - horse; jal - go; stinger - gate, jigger - door; mort - woman.

After a serious ear operation, and my business partner's move to Germany, the Ballad Tree closed and I found myself working as an 18th century furniture restorer for Stephen Moore at Castle Place, Lewes.  Here was an excellent opportunity to make contact with George Townshend, who I already knew of from Ken Stubbs.

In common with most of my generation, I did not own a car, which considering the number of pubs I was visiting was probably just as well.  So I had to rely on public transport and my own legs.  The lightest of recorders gets surprisingly heavy after a few miles.  Whenever possible I cut across country and was often reminded of a tale told me by Bill Wratten, a stonedresser at Isfield Flow Mill.  "A lady was pushing her wheelbarrow across a neighbouring farmer's field, when she just caught sight of his hat over the top of a hedge, and fast approaching.  She quickly turned her barrow back round to the direction she had come from, and sat on it.  At being told off for trespassing, she apologised and said, "Oh well, I'll go back the way I came".  So she turned her barrow round again and continued." As it happened, I never had to resort to anything similar.  I've trespassed all my life and have only been turned off by townsfolk playing the rural game.

Reg Hall remembers:

It is very unlikely that any of the music on this CD would ever have been recorded had it not been for the vision and activities of Mervyn Plunkett.  A natural radical and rebel with a chequered background, his motivation was complex and ever changing.

I don't know exactly how he became involved in this music but by 1955 he had access to a tape recorder and had been directed to Pop Maynard by a reporter on the local paper.  I met Mervyn that year when Ken Stubbs (who worked in Gravesend near my home and lived in East Grinstead near Mervyn's) brought him to a musical evening we were running in a riverside pub in Gravesend.  Mervyn enthused about Pop Maynard and sang his Dark Eyed Sailor.  As a consequence of that encounter, he invited me down to The Swan in East Grinstead for an evening when Bob Copper was the invited guest, and he had me playing the melodeon in the alleyway to bring the crowd in.  On 28th November I was invited to a do in the Oak Room of The Whitehall in East Grinstead where the guests of honour were Hamish Henderson (who came down from Edinburgh specially) and none other than Pop Maynard.  Back in Mervyn's cottage in West Hoathley that night he played tapes of George Spicer, who lived at the other end of the parish, and over the next weeks and months the momentum built up.

Jean Hopkins, a young school teacher, was lodging with the Plunketts, and through Mervyn became aware of the songs in her family, sung by her grandfather and great-uncles, Charlie, Harry, and Goff Burgess of Firle, and she began to sing them herself.  Even the woman who came in to do a bit of cleaning, Dot Wood, had songs from her parents, and the owner of most of the houses in West Hoathly, Ursula Ridley, could sing the songs she had learned as a teenager back around the Great War from Mr Pickard the carrier.  Mervyn was the chairman of the East Grinstead Folk Song Group (a club, not an ensemble), and reported back to their meetings, arranging sessions and events and carrying a lot of dead weight with him, but all his discovering and recording was done on his own initiative and at his own expense.  When he and I went out together we split the tasks, mine being to break the ice with the melodeon and create some of the atmosphere and generally keep the evening moving, while Mervyn did whatever MC-ing was necessary and kept an eye on the tape recorder.

Early on, Mervyn recorded an elderly woman, Mrs Lester, sitting up in a hospital bed in East Grinstead singing The Folkstone Murder and Seventeen Come Sunday, an old chap called Bert, singing It's Nothing To Do With Me and My Spotted Cow, and Ernie Burton singing Bold Reynolds, Hares In The Old Plantation and Barbara Allen.  I didn't meet any of them or George Tompsett of Cuckfield, but at our various pub sessions I met and heard Jim Wilson of Three Bridges, Brick Harber, Bill Hawks, Peter Gander, Jack Norris (the last three of Cuckfield), Corn Botting, Jack Arnal and Horace Gladman of Balcombe.  Sometimes they had been invited by Mervyn following a lead, but others just happened to have been in their local.  It became clear to us that if we followed up every lead ("My dad's a good singer", etc.), we would have been saturated and we couldn't have kept in touch with the people we already knew.

On occasion we saw a bit of stepdancing, and one night in the Cherry Tree at Copthorne a chap played a tin tray like a country tambourine player, and that prompted us to go looking for a tambourine player.  The landlord in a pub near Balcombe said he knew of an old chap who played the tambourine and mouth-organ at the same time.  Within the hour we had dragged Bill Agate away from a quite Sunday night at home listening to the wireless to play a few tunes in the pub.  Once we had found Scan Tester (see I Never Played To Many Posh Dances, p.59) the musicians began to come out of the woodwork, and from then on our pub sessions were built around the West Hoathly Country Band of Music, as our rabble of concertina, melodeons, spoons, mouth-organs and assorted percussion was known.  Cyril Phillips was still farming (and I don't remember how we came across him) and he invited us to several young farmers dos and harvest suppers.  Peter Kennedy came down in 1956 to record a programme for the BBC As I Roved Out series, and we went up to London a couple of times to the English Folk Music Festival in Cecil Sharp House, and Pop Maynard sang solo and Scan Tester played solo on the stage of the Royal Festival Hall.

Mervyn left Sussex in 1959 and many of our contacts were lost, although we did return from time to time (Posh Dances, pp.57-69).  Ken Stubbs started organising regular pub sessions in the Cherry Tree and other pubs, one notable event being Pop's 90th birthday party in 1962, and he came across other singers, such as George Townsend and Louie Fuller (Saunders).  George 'Pop' Maynard playing marbles at Tinsley Green. Photo by John JacksonI found those sessions too slow and formal, as well as being a long way from home, so I didn't go to many of them.  The sessions Mervyn and I had organised earlier were much more free and easy and allowed for the spontaneous, and anyone who has been to a do in a country pub can expect plenty of that.

There's no doubt in my mind that those early pub sessions in Sussex have coloured our minds about what went on in country pubs before us.  The reality that I learned about after the event is that none of our singing friends sang in their local pubs regularly.  Pop would sing at Tinsley Green on Good Friday after the World Marbles Championship, and only on special nights (say after a wedding) in the Cherry Tree.  Jack Norris and his mates had regular sing-songs in Cuckfield, and they made a wonderful job of Come All You Jolly Ploughmen (too rough for the Voice of the People) and The Trees Are All Bare at the New Year, but their standard repertory was hits from Tin Pan Alley.  Cyril Phillips did his Farmer Giles act at village socials and George Spicer did quite a bit of singing, but even Scan Tester in his latter days wasn't encouraged to play in the two pubs he had known all his life in Horsted Keynes.

The Pubs:

Steve Pennels recalls: Many of the pubs we went to were within reach of the London-Brighton railway, so getting to The Plough at Three Bridges, The Half Moon at Balcombe, the Cuckfield pubs, The Rose and Crown and The Ship, was easy enough.  Pop Maynard's pub The Cherry Tree at Copthorne involved more complicated logistics.  Of course, getting home was even more awkward, but all part of the fun.

All the pubs had at least two bars - reinforcing the class system.  Since the war, the homogeneous working class with its traditions and 'knowing what to do', although rapidly breaking up, was still represented by the older regulars.  With a singer like Jim Wilson and a bit of music, almost all the country pubs then could suddenly catch fire with singing and dancing in the older manner.

The Stone Quarry at Chelwood Gate was the only pub we knew about with irregularly organised 'dos' from within the community.  The majority of the sessions Brian and I went to were arranged - initially by Mervyn Plunkett then by Ken Stubbs after Mervyn moved out of the area.  They were usually held in the public bar, but at the Cherry Tree, in the rarely used saloon bar.  Pop Maynard's son would bring him through towards the evening's end, often with Harry Holman, to sing a few of his wonderful songs.  With his white beard, he was definitely from a character from an earlier era.

Pop was a long time associate of Tom Willett (The Roving Journeyman, 12T84, 1963 - Topic's first LP of English traditional singing); they met hop picking every Autumn in the years before the Great War.  George Spicer, Jim Wilson and Cyril Phillips had loud singing and speaking voices and were used to singing in public.  All were adept at the rough and tumble back-chat of the public bar.  Brick Harber, a small wiry man who always wore a trilby as opposed to the usual cap, was quieter and I think, less-used to singing in public.  I got on quite well with him - he had worked for the Electricity Board, as I did, so we had some common ground.


It's also worth remembering that although the singing on these CDs all took place in the five Sussex pubs in which Brian Matthews did his recording, there still were, in those days, plenty of other pubs in the area where similar events might be organised or happen spontaneously.  Jim Ward remembered The Cherry Tree and The Builders Arms at Copthorne, The Half Moon at Balcombe, The White Hart at Selsfield, The Punch Bowl at Turner’s Hill, The Rising Sun at Charlwood, The Dr Johnson at Langney Green and The Wheatsheaf at Marsh Green as all being singing pubs.  Chris Addison reports that Ken Stubbs used to talk about the Vinol's Cross pub in West Hoathly as being a singing pub, as was The Wheatsheaf in Marsh Green, and of course The Queen's Arms (Elsie's) at Cowden Pound.  Also the Working Men's Club in Edenbridge, where Bill (Mousey), Frank and Walter Smith used to sing.  This latter is in Kent, but this is border country we're talking about here - and Surrey and Hampshire are not too far away - all with their own sets of singing pubs and intermingling circles of singers.

The Times:

Vic Smith has done a great deal of research for this project, part of which was an interview with that fine representative of a younger generation of Sussex singers, Bob Lewis.  This provided some extremely interesting background information on the the times and the area - an edited and condensed version follows:

The period that we are really talking about now is the time after the Second World War.  There was a new impetus in collecting in those years, coinciding with the times that the radio broadcasts were taking place, As I Roved Out and so on.  Bob Copper was going around recording and collecting ...

To my mind it is a very significant period because a number of things happened to make the whole ethos of singing change.  Village life was never really quite the same - I’m sure that they said the same after the First World War as after the Second - but you had a start of the break-up of the community.  There was a decline in agriculture, in terms of the number of people employed on the land.  A lot of the village schools closed down around that time, children were being bussed into the local towns for their education.

Additionally, this was the sort of tail-end of the Empire in those years after the war - you had a lot of ex-colonials coming back from Malaya, etc... from the former colonies ... ex-rubber planters and so on.  They came back and were looking to set themselves up in some kind of livelihood - rather like a lot of ex-servicemen, who were coming out of the forces with a bit of a nest-egg.  So these sorts of people - they had some money - and their target was the village pub.  All of a sudden, you had an influx into the rural communities, with something of a Colonel Blimp-ish attitude... the ex-colonials regarded anything other than their own class as a lower form of life.  They took over the village pubs and then wanted to impose their ideas on them.  It used to be that the whole pub was a sort of public bar or taproom... then all of a sudden you had this gin and tonic brigade, all the ex-pats, congregating in them.  The pub became their personal club!

This really was a great upset to village life.  They actually started to discourage some local people from using the pubs.  Whereas local people had come to the pub as a focus to the community - you know, the church, the school, the pub - they were getting a bit of the cold shoulder.  A lot of the local singers no longer had a platform... they were being discouraged.  Well, I suppose the new landlords thought they had to be careful... I can recall situations where you had sing-songs in pubs where someone would say one word out of place and the next minute there would be a punch-up.  So I suppose they thought of the idea of a sing-song with people enjoying themselves equated with trouble in a pub.  I think that this pulled the rug out from under the feet of a lot of singers, people who had lived in the village all their lives and had always sung in their locals.

The other side of that was that after the war there were an awful lot of gash motorcars going around, ones that had been parked up during the war.  People who had made money bought a lot of new cars, but a lot of people, like myself, bought their first second-hand car then.  A lot of country people had the money to go out and buy themselves an old car or a motorbike or motorbike and sidecar.  That meant that they became more mobile, so instead of singing down in their own local... well, if they couldn’t go and sing in their own local, they could get on their bike and go off somewhere else.

So the likes of Scan went out of Horsted Keynes; I'm not saying that they were anti-him singing and playing there, but he was off up to The Stone Quarry.  All of a sudden, rural people, singers, would travel 20-30 miles to somewhere where they knew they had mates or knew that they would be welcome.  So that meant that there was a great deal more interchange of ideas and singers came more into contact with each other.

In the Fifties, a lot of things hadn’t really changed much, so far as the likes of Pop Maynard were concerned.  Most farm workers and other rural people did a bit of poaching on the side, a few rabbits and pheasants, and that was by and large turned a blind eye to, or used to be.  Then a lot of these would-be gentleman farmers - hobby farmers - came in.  They came down at the weekends and strutted around with a gun underneath their arms.  Then another change happened - the introduction of myxomatosis. The handy dinner wasn’t there any more.  The rabbit population was decimated.

Since we’re talking about singers and collectors ...  If you [Vic] had lived in the village of Heyshott, for example, you would have been a foreigner.  If your family had been there two hundred years, you might have been accepted.  People that moved in were regarded with very deep suspicion... so someone coming around and wanting to collect songs... many of the early collectors were educated people, school teachers and the like.  There was a lot of suspicion...  What do these people want?  Are they out to make money out of us?  Collectors were going to have a bit of an uphill struggle to get some of the best things that were around.  I think that they missed out on an awful lot.

Predominantly, the singers that were collected from were men, very few women.  Well a lot of women singers, my mum for example, would never have set their foot inside a pub.  The only place that most women would sing would be at home.  The barriers would come down with strangers about.  You didn’t get let into someone’s home very easily unless you were well accepted and well known.  There must have been a whole raft of things that were missed.

The likes of George Spicer got collected from, but not his wife, who was a very fine singer.  I heard the tapes that Ron made of his mother.  Until he played those to me, long after her death, I had no idea that she was a singer - a fine singer and very worthy of being collected from.

But the great thing was that people did still sing.  One of the great losses in life is that, as a nation, most people don’t sing now.  The idea that a singer was someone exclusive was not there then.  Photo of Bob Blake, George Belton, Cyril Phillips, George Spicer and Bob Copper, courtesy Vic Smith.Everybody sang.  Some sung well, some didn’t, but singing was as normal as breathing.  We sang up the woods, we sang anywhere.  You sang when you felt in the mood - you’d be in the pub and someone would start a song and all of a sudden the whole place lit up.  It was never, “Well, let’s have a sing” - it either happened or it didn’t.

Sometimes, when I lived in Elsted, in the late fifties, early sixties, there were some people that I met who sung, but they’d never met the likes of Bob Copper.  I knew Gordon Hall for a long time before I knew he was a singer.  The sessions that went on at Marsh Green and the dos they had at The Cherry Tree and the things that I used to go to with George Belton - they were more contrived, more organised things, as opposed to something that was just spontaneous.  That’s not to negate them at all - they certainly served a very useful purpose.  They also put a lot of singers in contact with one another.  But for them, there’s a lot of people that I would never have met.

The Singers:

George 'Pop' Maynard: was born in Smallfield, Surrey, on Old Christmas Day, 6th January, 1872. In childhood he moved with the family to the next village, Copthorne, on the Surrey and Sussex border, and lived there for most of the rest of his long life - but worked over a wide area of those counties and in Kent.  He died at the age of 90 years on November 29th, 1962.

Pop Maynard - photo by Roderick BalkhamHe was skilled in many rural crafts; woodcutting, harvesting, flawing (bark stripping), bark hatching (dressing the bark ready for the tanner), barrel-stave making, hop picking and poaching.  He was also - famously - a player of games; shove ha'penny, quoits, darts and marbles.  When, in 1948, his team won the marbles tournament at Tilsley Green on Good Friday, he was interviewed by the BBC, and was subsequently seen on TV on several occasions at this annual event.

Singing was part of family life and George learnt many songs from his father, brothers and neighbours.  He once paid a mate 6d to teach him The Rusty Highwayman while they were out in the field hoeing.  Despite having had little education he was literate and so was able to learn more songs from the penny ballad sheets (broadsides) hawked around the villages in those days.

He appeared on the BBC Radio As I Roved Out series, and sang Polly on the Shore on the EP Four Sussex Singers (Collector LEB 7), 1961.  Two BBC LPs of his songs, recorded by Peter Kennedy in 1956, reside in the EFDSS' Vaughan Williams Memorial Library, and eight of these, plus seven recorded by Paul Carter and Ken Stubbs in 1962, appeared on Pop's only commercial album Ye Subjects of England (Topic 12TS86), 1976.

Sarah Porter and other members of the Porter family.  Brian Matthews contributes: Sarah Ann Porter was born in 1905 and died aged 75 in 1980.  She came from the travelling family of Williams, her mother being a Barton from Rogate in Hampshire.  Sarah Porter - photo courtesy Ambrose PorterThey travelled extensively in Sussex, Kent, Surrey and Hampshire, following the usual traditional occupations, mainly fruit and hop picking.

It was in or around 1910 when Sarah's singing was first noted by two men who arived at her waggon on bicycles.  In Sarah's words:

"When I was a kid, five years old, two blokes, that was at Dorking in Surrey, honest.  I sung that out to them and they put that into a book.  That was all, well, when I was a kid - I didn't know it really, all, but they ever interesting into it and they were old men to that.  It is true."
The song in question was The Bitter Withy.  Could they have been the Hammond brothers, I wonder?  [Since their MSS have not yet been fully calalogued, it may be some years before we find out - Ed.]

Sarah had that old fashioned way of speech common in this area of the southeast, and amongst Travellers generally, where dropped 'h's and inital aspirants produce such delights as "We lived in a hold 'ouse."

She was to marry James (Jim) Porter who was born in 1901, died aged 78, and to have five children.  Sometime around 1925 they settled in Stoneywood, Greenwoods Lane, Punnetts Town, along with Jim's brothers Bill, born around 1885 and Tom, 1904, and second cousin Edward (Ted) born 1901, died 1977, and some other travelling families, notably the Harrises and Townsends.  Sarah and Jim lived in a 25 foot showman's waggon with a cut glass skylight.

The men in the Porter family came from Chatham, Kent, where, because of the shortage of work at the time, they falsified their ages to gain entry into the Navy and receive a regular income.  Jim and Ambrose Porter - photo courtesy Ambrose PorterAfter about ten years, when the land at Stoneywood went into new ownership, they had to move on - the Townsends to the Hailsham area, the Harrises to Halland, and the Porters just a few miles down the road to the hamlet of Three Cups.

Here they settled into a row of small cottages where Jim was able to carry on his scrap metal business, which still continues today in the capable hands of Ambrose, one of two surviving sons.  The other son, Moses, also lives there.

Jim and Sarah supplemented their income fruit and hop picking, where, according to Janey, Ambrose's wife, Sarah would sing all day long.

Ted Porter (born 1901 and died aged 76) and his wife Annie (Bet), who came from Mayfield, were engaged in the chicken fattening business, an industry started in this area in the 18th century.  Young birds were conveyed in specially constructed 'back crates' by 'Higglers', who acted as general carriers, walking many miles over difficult terrain to avoid heavy road charges.  These higglers often walked up into Kent and returned with up to three dozen birds in their crate.  This was an unpleasant job to say the least, with chicken fleas getting under the collar.  The birds were taken to a small farm where they were fattened and prepared for the London market.  Ted was 'feather man', collecting and selling the feathers to the upholstery trade.  Like Sarah and Jim they carried on the seasonal trades, gathering holly around Christmas to make wreaths which they sold locally and to contacts in Covent Garden.  I recall seeing Ted emerge from the wood with a large bundle of holly across his back and looking remarkably like an illustration in a fairy story book.

Bill Porter (born c.1885, died 1968) had retired by the time we knew him, spending most of his time in his garden.  On the day he died, he had got my wife Audrey to take him to the local weekly market, which she often did, where he purchased several plants and three hundred cabbage plants.  That afternoon he passed away in his trailer.

Barnet Fair, 1965 - photo by Brian MatthewsSarah and Jim were often to be found at the annual Romany Horse Fair at Horsmonden, Kent.  This year, after several hundred years, the police have decided that it is too dangerous and stopped it from taking place.  Isn't it sad that anything in this country with a little bit of colour is deemed disreputable?  Should it happen abroad, everybody would rave about it.  We shall miss the colour, excitement, the games of pitch and toss, the galloping horses and carts, and above all the speech, peppered with Romany words.  Sarah knew a good number, some of which I learned, which in turn opened several trailer doors to Audrey and me at Epsom, Barnet and The Dicker, where we met the Smiths, Boswells and the writer Dominic Reeves.

I shall never know just how many songs Sarah knew, for just when her interest was rekindled the Three Cups Inn changed landlord and singing was stopped.  My own circumstances had changed too, what with living in a semi-derelict cottage without electricity and only well water, a wife and young baby.

Smoky lanes emerge through misty haze
In black beamed bar.
An ancient wrapper for a near-forgotten past
A voice, wild, warmed by ale,
Etched by landscape and the pain of distant migration
Severs the cosy warmth.
A young queen's head flickers gold in the light of spitting logs.
Words unheeded move as the bass in a band
I float on the melody and drift like
Woodsmoke on the heath.
Romany peppers the air:
        Mandi besh by kushti yog
        An rocker Romany
        Mandi del shey a chooma.
Ah!  Dreams are a wonder
But dreams like embers die
Mandi jals kitchema akoi.
George 'Spike' Spicer: was born at Little Chart, Kent in 1906 and left school at the age of 14, when he went to work on a local farm as a general farmhand. After two years he became an under herdsman and at the age of twenty-six the head man.  His early working life was spent on farms in the Dover and Deal area and continued on various farms in Kent near Faversham, Canterbury, Maidstone and Biggin Hill before moving to Selsfield, Sussex, in 1940, where he was employed as head herdsman with pedigree Guernsey cattle.  Here he was to work for virtually all of the next 31 years until retiring in 1971.  George had a vast store of songs ranging from music hall tearjerkers to classic traditional ballads.  Many he learnt from his parents, others from various relatives and still more from pub singsongs.  After retiring he remained very active as a part time gamekeeper, village cricket umpire and enthusiastic gardener; he won over a thousand certificates at various flower shows for his skills.

George Spicer - photo courtesy Vic SmithA renowned singer, throughout his life George performed in village pubs at sing arounds - including the Cherry Tree at Copthorne where he encountered 'Pop' Maynard - and various others around the Ashdown Forest area.  He often sang in company with Harry Holman of Copthorne, a friend of Pop's.  During the 1950s he regularly took his son Ron along to play accordion while he did the singing.

The collector Ken Stubbs maintained that George was never 'discovered' by song collectors. He insisted George was so well known as a singer that anyone visiting the area in search of traditional material could not help but find him.

Brian Matthews remembers him as 'a fine powerful singer who would dominate most pub sing-songs ... much to the annoyance of other singers, I gather.' This was so marked that Brian only heard his son Ron Spicer sing in public after George's death.

George died at Selsfield, Sussex in 1981 at the age of 75.  He made one complete Topic LP, Blackberry Fold (12T235), 1974, and could be heard on tracks of several others: he sang I Wish there was no Prisons on the EP Four Sussex Singers (Collector LEB 7), 1961; and The Thrashing Machine and Lilly White Hand on When Sheepshearing's Done (Topic 12T254), 1975.

Jim 'Brick' Harber: was not truly a Sussex man, having been born in Worcesteshire and moved to Tilgate Forest with his gamekeeper father when he was about six years old.  He spent most of his working life as a charcoal-burner and in other timber-related trades in the Forest, but also worked for the Electricity Board in later years.  Bob Lewis remembers that the Harber family [like the Testers] had a brickyard and also a sawmill in the area between Crawley Down, Three Bridges and Worth.  Old Perce Harber ran it and it eventually became a sort of industrial estate.  Bob had a workshop in that yard, and through the connection also came to know Pop's son Andy Maynard - "They were all in the building trade or they did itinerant sort of jobs."

Brick's speaking voice had no trace of a Midlands accent in later life, but his singing style was quite unlike the typical Wealden stereotype, particularly when singing his father's songs.  Jim Ward remembers that he used to sing in the Three Bridges pubs, but lived in Pease Pottage - and thinks that he had a little van that he used to travel around in.  He had a deep voice and always tried out the notes before he started a song.

He had a 'large repertoire' according to Mervyn Plunkett, and four of his songs: The Bold Privateer, The Haymakers, 'Twas in the Year of 1835 and Tom Block were published in Ethnic vol.1 no.2, Spring 1959.  He also had an unusual quirk (shared with Bob Scarce) of singing certain notes 'off-pitch' - at least in terms of what the modern ear, attuned to the tempered scale, expects.  He had a natural ability to sustain quarter tones and even smaller intervals extremely accurately throughout a long song, so that there was seldom any difference in pitch between the first and last verses.  This is a very rare thing in unaccompanied singing.

Brick died in May 1960 after many years of ill-health.  These songs are possibly the last he recorded.

Harry Holman: was born in 1888 and lived in Copthorne, Sussex, where his family had been farming for generations.  A part-time gardener, and potman at The Cherry Tree, he had formerly worked on the railway.  He was a great friend of both Pop Maynard and George Spicer and often sang in their company..  Harry died in 1972.

Jim Ward remembers his song about Switzerland, and that he could yodel himself.  He also used to stand up and give out the old toasts Jim Wilson - sketch by Audrey Matthews, Jan 1961

Jim Wilson: was born in 1875, and died of cancer in June 1961, a year after these recordings were made.  He was a miller's roundsman, a railway worker and later a gardener.  He lived with his son's family in Pearson’s Road, Three Bridges - it was a real railway town and a lot of them worked there.  Jim had 'a fair repertoire of country song and knows perhaps another hundred fragments' according to Mervyn Plunkett.

Brian Matthews remembers that he always stood up to sing, usually with a mischievous twinkle in his one good eye.  He also sang Barbara Allen on the EP Four Sussex Singers (Collector LEB 7), 1961.

Cyril Phillips: was born on 5 November 1911 in Dorset.  While he was still a small boy his father moved their entire farm by train to Firle in Sussex.  Cyril left school at the age of 14 to work on his father's farm.  They had their first car in 1927.  He learned his songs in the villages and farms of Sussex and between the wars was a regular performer in village smoking concerts, harvest suppers and local pubs.Cyril Phillips - photo courtesy Vic Smith

Not a great singer or musician, he nevertheless gave much pleasure to his audience with the unbridled zeal which typified his performance.  Cyril played guitar and melodeon and did a bucolic, sub-Albert Richardson act, including a smock and folding five-bar gate!  He delighted in the folk revival and visited many clubs and festivals, often as chauffeur to other singers.  Scan Tester, George Spicer and George Belton all told hair-raising stories of his particular style of driving.  Scarcely a single contributor to these notes who knew him has failed to mention it as well - some spoke of little else!

After his wife's death he retired from his farm at Firle and roamed the world, principally Australia, the US and Canada, sending home hilarious letters of his latest escapades.  At home he was always much in demand at village gatherings, not just for his songs but also for his traditional stories and reminiscences which he had gathered at home and abroad during his life.  He died in 1990, remembered not just for his songs but also for his friendship and generosity - and his driving.

Cyril made an LP for Transatlantic XTRA, The Brave Ploughboy (XTRS1150), issued 1975.

Lewis 'Scan' Tester: was born on 7 September 1886 at Chelwood Common, Sussex.  He grew up in a public house when his father took The Green Man at Horsted Keynes and it was there that he learned many of the tunes that were to form part of his superb repertoire.  The main family business was brick making with brickfields at Horsted Keynes and Newick and as a young man, at a time when life was far from easy, Scan recalls walking six miles to work in the brick-fields to earn a wage of four pence an hour, but the walking didn't last too long as he asked for and got an extra half-penny an hour and hired a bicycle. To further supplement their income the family also hawked fish round the local farms and cottages.

Scan was an acknowledged master of the anglo-concertina and was also an accomplished fiddler and step-dancer in his younger years and a wonderful raconteur.  He was also a good, though infrequent, singer.  Scan had two brothers who both played concertina and so it was perhaps almost inevitable that he should also adopt the instrument.  In the late summer he and his elder brother used to go hop picking at Iden Green in Kent and here they would spend the evenings playing their instruments to entertain the 'hoppers'.  Scan recalls that they earned their keep by playing and only drew their picking money at the end of the season.  Step dancing was a popular pastime and both the brothers became expert at the stepping and the playing.

After Scan married, his music became a popular part of Sussex life with the formation of his own band comprising himself on concertina and fiddle, his wife on the drums, their daughter on the piano and his two brothers also on concertinas with the eldest doubling up on clarinet.  Scan Tester - photo by Brian ShuelThey played for dances at all the local villages performing polkas, waltzes, quadrilles, the Valeta and the Lancers.  The same line up also played under the name of Tester's Imperial Jazz band.

Scan spent all his working and musical life around Horsted Keynes although in his latter days he did make occasional trips in the company of Reg Hall to The Fox at Islington and The Bedford at Camden Town.  He also guested at the Keele Folk Festival - forerunner of The National Festival, and was an occasional visitor to numerous folk clubs and festivals.  As the folk revival developed during the early 1960s and Scan's fame grew, numerous musicians came to visit and listen to a master musician.

Scan died, aged 85, on 7 May 1972 at Horsted Keynes where he had spent virtually his entire life. For more detailed account of Scan's life see Reg Hall's wonderful book I Never Played to Many Posh Dances published by Musical Traditions, 1992, and still available from Keith Summers, 49 Crossfield Road, Southend, SS2 4LS, UK - price £5.00 inc p&p.

Louie Saunders: was born in Woolwich, London on 6 June 1914 where her father worked at Woolwich Arsenal.  The family was living in West London, around Ladbrooke Grove in the Thirties, but she moved to Newchapel in Surrey with her Traveller husband at the outbreak of war to avoid the bombing.  She wanted her mother to join them, but she remained in London where she worked at Cadby Hall in Hammersmith, the HQ of Lyons Tea Houses.  There was a direct hit on the factory where her mother worked and she was badly traumatised and never got over it.

Steve Pennells remembers: I went to see her at home - a DIY bungalow of wood, felt and corrugated iron on a small scrap yard deep in a copse reached via a long narrow track near Newchapel.  The whole set-up was rather like a smaller scale version of Joe and Phoebe Smith's place at Melton before they built their brick bungalow.

Her husband died in the early seventies and she remarried - to his best friend - so that it was as Louie Fuller that she appeared on Topic's LP Green Grows the Laurels, in 1976.  Louie Saunders - photo courtesy Vic SmithMr Fuller died in the 1980s and she moved from Newchapel to a Council house in Lingfield where she still lives.

She went to a number of Ken Stubbs' singing sessions in the Seventies, and has been heard more widely in the Nineties since Jim Ward started taking her out to events, including the National in 1998.

Louie learned songs from both her parents who, like many Londoners, took her hop picking in Kent during the late summer and there she spent her leisure hours singing and story telling at hop-picker gatherings and family parties.  She also learned most of her songs there, although many of them are short or fragmented versions.  She was a singer of great spirit and style and her enthusiastic, smiling delivery of her songs won her admirers wherever she chose to perform them.  Her version of Hopping Down in Kent enjoyed enormous popularity.

Jack Arnoll: was born about 1892 and lived 'over Balcombe way'.  This may be the only song he knew - or would sing in company.

Bill Agate: lived near Rusper and then moved to Balcombe.  He used to play with Scan Tester and often attended the Songswappers Club in Horsham in later years - as did a number of these singers.

The Songs:

Roud Numbers quoted are from the databases, The Folk Song Index and The Broadside Index, continually updated, compiled by Steve Roud.  Currently containing over 215,000 records between them, they are described by him as "extensive, but not yet exhaustive".  Copies are held at: The Vaughan Williams Memorial Library, London; Taisce Ceoil Dúchais Éireann, Dublin; and the School of Scottish Studies, Edinburgh.  They can also be purchased direct from Steve at Southwood, Maresfield Court, High Street, Maresfield, East Sussex, TN22 2EH, UK.

Child Numbers, where quoted, refer to entries in The English and Scottish Popular Ballads by Francis James Child, 1882-98.  Laws Numbers, where quoted, refer to entries in American Balladry from British Broadsides by G Malcolm Laws Jr, 1957.

Some of the singers heard on these CDs, in common with many (though by no means all) older Sussex singers, sometimes aspirate the start of a word beginning with a vowel, or pronounce some words unusually.  Whilst attempting to transcribe the texts accurately, I have decided to omit all the former and most of the latter of these traits, for fear of rendering the printed texts risible. Words shown in [square brackets] are either translations of dialect/cant words, or guesses/suggestions from another recording or standard text where the singer's word is unclear or obviously wrong.  Words shown in (brackets) - mainly in choruses or refrains - are alternatives at this point.

Pop Maynard, and several other singers in this area, would usually (but not always) repeat the last two lines of each verse.  I have repeated them in the text of the first verses, but not subsequently.

Pub recordings, like these, are notoriously difficult to make - the fact that a singer is quite likely to be half-way through the first verse before the company in general is aware of it and has become quieted has already been mentioned.  But it is also by no means usual for a traditional singer to actually sing the whole of a song s/he knows in its entirety, in situations like these.  Bear in mind that these pubs evenings were not folk clubs - they were social events of which the singing was only a part; beer had been taken, and there was no special reason to give a 'performance'.  Everyone present would have heard them all before, anyway!  So - quite a number of these songs have verses missing from what might be considered the 'full' or 'standard' versions.

Lines and verses shown in italics are not included on these CDs.  They are sections omitted, as described above, and inserted from fuller versions (where we have them) of songs which appear here with very cut-down texts - to aid the listener's understanding.  In this way we hope to put the listener more into the position of a member of a traditional audience, who would already be completely familiar with the stories of these songs, and probably with this singer's version of it, too.

CD 1

1   Barbara Allen (sung by Jim Wilson)   (Roud 54, Child 84)
(Recorded by Brian Matthews, 10.2.60 at The Plough, Three Bridges)

In Reading town where I was born
There was a fair maid dwelling
I picked her up for to be my bride
And her name was Barbara Allen
I picked her up for to be my bride
And her name was Barbara Allen

It was all in the month of May
Where the green leaves they were a-springing
A young man on his sick-bed lay
For the love of Barbara Allen

Oh he sent his servant man
To the place where she was a-dwelling
Saying "Fair maid, go to your master's house
If your name is Barbara Allen."

So slowly, slowly she walked by
So slowly she got to him
And when she got to his bedside
She said "Young man, you're dying."

"Oh nothing but death was in your face
All joy has fled-ed from thee
I cannot save you from the grave
So farewell dearest Johnny."

As she was a-walking through the fields
She heard the bells a-ringing
And as they rung they seemed to say
"Hard-hearted Barbara Allen."

As she was a-walking through the street
She saw a corpse a-coming
"You little hearts, come set him down
And let me gaze all on him."

The more she looked the more she laughed
And rather she got to him
'Til her friends cried out "For shame,
Hard-hearted Barbara Allen."

"Hard-hearted creature sure I wasplay Sound Clip
To the one that loved me dearly
I wish I had more kinder been
When the time of life was near me."

It was he that died one good day
And she died on the morrow
It was he that died for love
As she have died for sorrow.

It's always nice to hear a good version of Barbara Allen - and this is a really good one, with a fairly full text, and the unusual 'little hearts' line.  The tune skips about from 4/4 to 6/8 in a delightful way and Jim's occasional short lines are just glorious.  A superb performance.

It is most widely-known ballad I've yet encountered in Steve Roud's Song Index, with an astonishing 802 instances (including 172 sound recordings) listed there.  Needless to say, it's found everywhere English is spoken - though Australia boasts only one version in the Index - and, very unusually, there's even one from Wales ... although it comes from Phil Tanner in that 'little England', the Gower Peninsula.

Several great versions can be found on CD these days, including Sarah Makem (Topic TSCD668), Jane Turriff (Springthyme SPRCD1038), Bob Hart (Musical Traditions MTCD301-2), Wiggy Smith (Musical Traditions MTCD307), Phoebe Smith (Veteran VT136CD) and a compilation of a verse or two each from Fred Jordan, Jessie Murray, Charlie Wills, May Bennell, Thomas Moran and Phil Tanner on Classic Ballads II (Rounder CD1775).  Joe Heaney also sings it brilliantly on the new MT/Topic/CIC double CD The Road from Connemara (TSCD518D).

Many, though by no means all, versions end with the motif which usually ends the ballad Lord Lovel as well:

Now she was buried by the old church wall
And he a little higher
And from her grave grew a red, red rose
And from his grew sweet briar.
They grew and the grew to the church steeple top
'Til they could grow no higher
And there they formed a true-lovers' knot
And the rose embraced the briar.
2   The Cunning Cobbler (sung by George Spicer)   (Roud 174)
(Recorded 12.11.59 at The Oak Tree, Ardingley)

This is just a little story a story but the truth I'm going to tell
It does concern a butcher who in Dover Town did dwell
Now this butcher was possessed of a beautiful wife
But the cobbler he loved her dearly as his life.

Singing fol the riddle-i-do, fol the riddle-ay.

Now the butcher went to market for to buy an ox,
And then the little cobbler as sly as any fox
He put on his Sunday coat, and courting he did go
To the jolly butcher's wife because he loved her so.

Now when the little cobbler stepped into the butcher's shop
The butcher's wife knew what he meant and bade him for to stop
"Oh" says he "My darling, have you got a job for me?"
The butcher's wife, so cunning says "I'll go up and see."

Now she went to the bedroom door and gave the snob a call
"I have got a easy job if you have brought your awl
And if you do it workman-like some cash to you I'll pay"
"Oh thank you" said the cobbler and began to stitch away.

But as the cobbler was at work a knock came at the door
The cobbler scrambled out of bed and laid upon the floor
"Oh" said she "My darling, what will my husband say?"
But then she let the policeman in along with her to play.

Now the cobbler laid a-shivering and a-frightened to move.
The policeman said "Me dear, oh me darling, oh me love"
The cobbler thought within himself "Oh how he treats his wife"
He really thought the bed would fall - he did, upon his life.

But the butcher came from market in the middle of the night
The policeman scrambled out of bed and soon got out of sight
The butcher's wife so nimbly locked the bedroom door
But in her fright she quite forgot the cobbler on the floor.

But the butcher soon found out when he lay down in bed
"Something here is very hard" the butcher smiled and said
She says "It is my rolling pin." The butcher he did laugh
"How came you for to roll your dough with a policeman's staff?"

Now the butcher threw the truncheon underneath the bed
There it cracked the piddle-pot and hit the cobbler's head
The cobbler cried out, "Murder!" Said the butcher "Who are you?"
"I am the little cobbler who goes mending ladies' shoes."

"If you are the little cobbler, come along with me
I'll pay you for your mending, before I've done with thee."
He shoved him in the bull-pen, the bull began to roar
The butcher laughed to see the bull a-roll him o'er and o'er.

Now early in the morning just as people got about
The butcher mopped his face with blood and then he turned him out
He pinned a ticket to his back and on it was the news
'This cobbler to the bedroom goes, mending ladies' shoes.'

But the people all got frightened when they saw the cobbler run
His coat and breeches were so tore he nearly showed his bum
He rushed up to his wife and he kicked her on the floor
Says he "You brute, I'll never go out mending any more."

This looks like a fairly common song, having 53 Roud entries, but closer examination reveals that only 15 named singers provided these - the remainder being broadside examples.  George learned it from Ike Harvey, landlord of The Rose, West Langdon, who "had the words on a broadsheet".  It appears to be known fairly widely in southern England, from Devon to Essex, with only Walter Pardon (Knapton, Norfolk) and William Short (Lincolnshire) being outside that area.

Only four of these 15 singers have left sound recordings; of these, Walter Pardon can be heard singing The Cunning Cobbler on A World Without Horses (Topic TSCD514), and George Spicer on Songs of Seduction (Rounder 1778).  The present recording, made only three years after this well-known one by Peter Kennedy, includes an extra verse (v. 7) and makes me wonder whether George hadn't met Gordon Hall at some point in the intervening years!

With its gratuitous violence, it isn't surprising that the version which was once so popular amongst revivalists omitted the final verse - though it does make the butcher's rough handling of the little cuckolder seem slightly more justified.

3   Young Maria (Jealousy / Oxford City) (sung by Louie Saunders)   (Roud 218, Laws P30)
(Recorded on 27.5.60 at the Abergavenny Arms, Copthorne)

On yonder hill stood young Maria
Her jealous young lover stood by her side
When he asked her for to marry
"Oh no, my true love, too young," she cried.

Maria was invited to a fancy dress ball
That jealous young lover followed behind
He saw her a-dancing with some other
Then jealousy must have entered his mind.

Now, how to destroy his own true-love one
When jealousy it did enter his mind
How he destroyed his own true-love one
He gave her a glass of cold poison wine.

Now quickly she drunk and quickly she altered
"Pick me up my true-love," cried she
"That glass of wine that you've just gave me
Has made me as ill, as ill can be."

"Now I will drink one of the same, love
And make myself as ill as thee.
In each others arms we will die together
And put an end to all jealousy."

Now this song really is well-known - there are 105 entries in Roud and, more to the point, it's a song which has remained in the country repertoire right up to the present time, particularly amongst Gypsies and Travellers.  It has numerous titles in addition to the three shown above, including Down the Green Groves and Poison in a Glass of Wine, but whatever it may be called by the singer, the song would appear to stem from a broadside issued by John Pitts of London in the early 1800s.

Most versions are from England, but there are also four from Ireland, eight from Scotland, six from the USA, one from Canada, and one from Tristan da Cunha noted.  Twenty sound recordings are known, but Sheila Stewart's Oxford Tragedy and Joseph Taylor's Worcester City are the only other ones available on CD, discounting the fact that Louie also sings it on Voice of the People volume 16.

4   Lansdown Fair (sung by George 'Pop' Maynard)   (Roud 137)
(Recorded on 16.12.59 at The Cherry Tree, Copthorne)

Tom Pearce, Tom Pearce, lend me your old mare
Hey along, ding along, ding
Tom Pearce, Tom Pearce, lend me your old mare
Hey along, ding along, ding
So that I may ride over to Lansdowne Fair

With Bill Brewer, Jack Stewer, Harry Hawkins, Bill Jo-sie,
Harry Hollops, Tom Brown, Joe Chapman, Ben Backwell
And our Uncle Tom Cockerel and all
And our Uncle Tom Cockerel and all.

Oh when will my mare return home again?
Oh, at Friday noon, or Saturday soon.

Now Friday's gone and Saturday's come
And my old mare she's not returned home.

So I took a ride over to Lansdowne Fair
There I saw my old mare a-making her will.

So I threw the halter right over her head
And my old mare she dropped down dead.

And my old mare she dropped down dead.

As a version of Widdicombe Fair, it surprised me to find only 32 entries for this song in Roud - I had expected it to be much more well-known.  There are eight entries from Canada and one from West Virginia, but the remainder are strictly southern English - and only three of these are from north of the Thames.

Besides Pop, only Bill Westaway (Devon), Bob Arnold (Oxford) and LaRena Clark (Ontario) have recorded it, and this is the only traditional version available on CD.

5   What is the Life of a Man (sung by Harry Holman)   (Roud 848)
(Recorded on 16.12.59 at The Cherry Tree, Copthorne)

Harry Holman and Pop Maynard recording for the BBC. Photo courtesy Brian Matthews As I was a-walking one morning at ease,
A-viewing the leaves as they hung on the trees,
They were all in full motion, or appearing to be,
And those that were withered, they fell from the tree.

And what is the life of a man, any more than the leaves
A man has his season - so why should he grieve?
Although in this wide world, he appears bright and gay,
Like a leaf, he will wither and soon fade away.

Did you not see the leaves, but a short time ago,
They were all in full motion, appearing to grow,
The frost came upon them, and withered them all,
Then the rain came upon them - and down they did fall.

If you go to yonder churchyard, many names there you'll see,
Who have fallen from this world, like the leaves from the trees,
What with age and affliction all on us will call,
Like the leaves, we will wither and down we shall fall.

Quite a common song in southern England, with only two examples known from out of the area (both being from Ontario, Canada).  Roud has 26 versions of which 14 are sound recordings, and four of these are from Sussex.  George Townshend sings a very similar version to this on his recent Musical Traditions CD Come, Hand to Me the Glass (MTCD304), and Harry also sang it on When Shepshearing's Done (Topic 12TS254), 1975.

Unusually, there are no broadside versions listed, despite the fact that it's undoubtedly the sort of song which would have been lapped up by the printers ... which might mean that it's a fairly recent song.  However, Vic Gammon mentions the textual overlap between this song and The Moon Shines Bright as well as various May songs, and suggests that the song may not be all that modern.  His feeling is at least 18th century, although he's not sure he can give any hard evidence as to why he thinks so.

6   A Bricklayer Bold (sung by Jim 'Brick' Harber)   (Roud 971)
(Recorded on 10.2.60 at The Plough, Three Bridges)

A young brick layer bold coming home from his work
A young damsel appeared in his sight
Oh he says "My pretty maid, stop one moment or two
I will tell you what I dreamed of last night
I will tell you what I dreamed of last night."

Oh she made a full stop and thus she replied
"Those dreams are all feeble, I know
I'm a-going for my cow and I cannot stop now
So I pray thee, young man, let me go ..."

So they both did set down underneath the green oak
Where the leaves they looks pleasant and green
And what we did there, Oh I never will declay-re
But I had the contents of my dreams ..."

play Sound Clip So they both started on the cow for to fetch
And so nimble-ly tripped over the plains
"Oh" she said, "my Jimmy, sweet, the next time that we does meet
We'll repeat those dreams over again ..."

It has often been said that songs need to be relevant to both the listener and the singer for communication to take place effectively - usually as an argument against bothering to sing these old songs at all in today's modern world.  I think this is usually nonsense ... it suggests I can get nothing from performances of songs from countries where English is not spoken, for a start!

It also presupposes that the text of a song is the primary source of its meaning.  But any singer will tell you that a particular song will demand that you sing it, just for the sake of a single phrase, or a turn in the melody.  You will sing it countless times, over decades, because of the way it makes you feel when you do.  And if it does, and if you do, you can be damned sure that it communicates to anyone who's paying proper attention.  Your job as its singer is to ensure that people do pay it proper attention - that's where the singers' craft comes in.

A Bricklayer Bold doesn't have much in the way of a story, nor is it of particular literary merit, but it certainly means something to Brick Harber - and he sings it as if it were the most awesome of Child ballads.  He demands your attention in a way I've seldom heard from a relatively little-known English singer.  An absolutely brilliant performance.  He was dead within three months of this recording.

It is essentially the same song that was famously recorded by Anne Briggs (now available again on Topic TSCD504) as The Stone-Cutter's Boy, though the title is more usually associated with bricks in some way.  Roud has only seven examples, all from printed sources - Cecil Sharp collected it twice in Gloucestershire and Somerset.

7   Do You Want Us to Lose the War (sung by Bill Porter)   (Roud 16707)
(Recorded in 1965 in The Three Cups, Punnetts Town)

Said the woman to the boy
"Oh buy me some chocolates, dear".
So he went into the sweetstuff shop
With cunning in his eye.
The shopkeeper just glanced at him,
Then murmured with surprise
"Do you want us to lose the war?
Do you want us to lose the war?"
Now he said as he picked up a seven pound weight
"Get out of me shop else I'll murder you, straight .
You just come asking for chocolates 'til twenty past eight
Do you want us to lose the war?"

Now a lady went in a butcher's shop
For half a pound of meat.
The butcher carved her off a lump
But it wasn't very sweet.
"Oh dear, oh dear" she cried
"Is this the best you've got?
It smells too high for me to buy".
But the butcher he shouted out "What?
Do you want us to lose the war?
Do you want us to lose the war?
Now it's not very tasty I'll freely admit,
But you've got to have it and put up with it.
You can't stop the old cow from doing her bit.
Do you want us to lose the war?"

Now a lady went in the park one night
Oh, with a soldier fair.
He squeezed and squeezed and squeezed and squeezed
And then he squeezed tight.
When she got back to her husband, of course
He had her up for divorce,
And the old judge said "It's true?"
She answered "Of course.
Do you want us to lose the war?"

I'm afraid that neither I nor anyone I've asked about these song notes can tell you anything at all about this song.

8   The Oak and the Ash (Rosemary Lane) (sung by Jack Arnoll - with Scan Tester playing in background)   (Roud 269, Laws K43)
(Recorded on 10.2.60 at The Plough, Three Bridges)

(A drowsy young sailor boy who hung down his head
Called for a candle to light him to bed
The fair maid brought the candle, as fair maids often do
And she said, "My own true sailor boy, I'll rumble in with you"

Singing home, dearest home, and it's there let me be
Far, far away from my own counterie
The oak and the ash and the bonny willow tree
For they're all a-growing green out in the North Amerikee.

So it's into bed she tumbled, not thinking any harm)

Not thinking this young sailor lad would do her any harm
He huddled her, he cuddled her, and with his arms so strong
And he only wish'd that short night had been ten thousand times as long.

So early next morning this sailor boy arose
Brung from his pocket both silver and gold
"Take this, oh take this, for what I have done
For tonight I leave to you a little daughter or a son."

"Then if it be a girl, she'll be dressed as a nurse
Gold in her pocket and silver in her purse
And if it be a boy, he shall be dressed all in blue
And shall march the courting borders as his daddy used to do."

So all you pretty fair maids, a warning take from me
Never trust a sailor boy one inch above your knee
I trusted one and he was false, and nearly ruined me
For he left to me a baby boy to dandle on my knee.

Quite a popular song with 130 Roud entries - but rather unusually distributed.  The majority are, as might be expected, from the south of England (with just one recent collection from Yorkshire), yet there are 26 from Scotland (one of which is from Shetland), but none at all from Ireland.  Canada has only two entries, but the USA has 25.

There are 26 sound recordings noted - names like Charlie Wills, Jumbo Brightwell, George Dunn ... stand out - but Jack is the only singer from Sussex included in the entire 130, although Henry Burstow (of Horsham), almost inevitably, had it in his list of 400 songs, published in his book Reminiscences of Horsham (1911).

9   The Lakes of Coldflynn (sung by Scan Tester)   (Roud 189, Laws Q33)
(Recorded on 27.5.60 at The Royal Oak, Milton Street - now renamed The Sussex Ox)

(It was early one morning young William arose
Straight away to his comrades' bedchamber did go
Saying, Comrades dear comrades, don't let anyone know
For it is a fine morning and a-bathing we'll go.)

As they went along it was down a long lane
But who should they meet but a keeper of game
Saying, "I would advise you to return home again
For there's death in false waters in the lakes of Coldflynn".

Young William stepped in and he swam the lakes round,
He swam round the island but not the right ground
Saying, "Comrade dear Comrade, do not adventure in
Or your doom is to die in a watery stream". (the lakes of Coldflynn)

(It was early that morning his sister she arose
Straight away to her mother's bedchambers did go
Saying, "Mother dear mother, I've had a strange dream
Young William lies floating in a watery stream".)

It was early that morning his mother she was there
She rowed around the island like one in despair
Crying, "Where was he drownded or did he fall in?
For there's death in false waters in the lakes of Coldflynn".

God help his poor mother, she has reasons to mourn,
Likewise his dear sweetheart, she has reasons to mourn,
For every each other morning he did her salute
With the pink and red roses and the fine garden fruit.

At the day of his funeral it will be a good sight,
There'll be four-and-twenty Irish girls and they'll all dress in white.
They'll carry him along and lay him in cold clay
Saying, "Adieu to young William" and they'll all march away.

Otherwise known as the Lakes of Cold Finn, Coolfinn, Col Fin, Shallin, Colephin - or Willie Lennard - this ballad is extremely widely distributed throughout the English-speaking world (except Australia), given that it has only 72 Roud entries.  Some scholars, including Phillips Barry, MacEdward Leach and G Malcolm Laws have tried to suggest that Willie was lured to his death by a water-woman who lived in the lake, thus linking the song with ballads such as Clerk Colville or Lady Alice (Child 42 and 85).  Today, there is little support for such supposition and, as Tom Munnelly so poetically put it, 'we must now let our Irish Clerk Colville sink, like Willie, beneath the waves'. (Tom Munnelly, The Mount Callan Garland, Dublin, 1994. p.105).

Although there are several areas in Ireland with similar names, it is probable that our story was originally set either at Loughinsholin, near Garvagh, in Co Derry, or Lough Sillin, Co Cavan.  At one time the clan living around the latter were the O'Flynns.  The name of the song means 'the lake(s) of the island of the O'Flynns'.  P W Joyce collected it from Peggy Cudmore in Limerick in 1854 and printed it in 1873 - it also appered in a number of other Irish and English broadsides shortly afterwards, which is possibly the reason it is so widespread.

Given that it appeared in print during the lifetimes of many of the singers who knew it, the variety of titles the song has attracted - particularly since the published Lakes of Cool Finn would be so obvious a choice - is quite astonishing.  Some of the more interesting ones are Royal Comrade (Amy Birch following widespread Traveller tradition there), Johnny Bathin' (from Donegal), Billy Henry (Scotland), The Cruel Lake of Woolfrinn (New York) ... and the almost inevitable 'Twas early One Morning.  For some reason, the song has remained popular to this day with Gypsies and other travellers.

There are 24 sound recordings in Roud, of which, those by Shelia Stewart, Amy Birch, Robert Cinnamond, Scan Tester and Pop Maynard (see CD 2, track 24) are still available.

10   My Lot Took the Cake (sung by George 'Pop' Maynard)   (Roud 16631)
(Recorded on 18.5.60 at The Cherry Tree, Copthorne)

The up I came with my little lot
And the air went blue for miles
The trees all shook and bobbies took a look
And then came all the dials
She was 16 stone and every bit her own
And the colour on her face was fake
She's 40 round the calf and [Brown] began to laugh
And my lot took the cake

A song called My Lot was in the repertoire of music-hall singer Joe Elvin (1862-1935).  Judging by the titles of his other songs - thus making a guess at the sort of songs he sang - this is possibly the same one that Pop sings a verse of here.  As Up I Came With My Little Lot, it also appears in the repertoires of Herbert Campbell (1844-1944) - and recorded by him on 30 April 1903, issued on G&T GC2-2859 [Gramophone & Typewriter - an early Victor label] - and Walter Laburnum (b.1847), and on occasional late broadsides.

11   The Wind Across the Wild Moor (sung by Sarah Porter)   (Roud 155, Laws P21)
(Recorded in 1965 in The Three Cups, Punnetts Town)

"Oh why did I leave my home
To go out in this wide world to roam
If I had have stayed at home
Sure my baby would never been born"

play Sound Clip Oh the old man come down in the morn
Found poor Mary dead at his door
With the child still alive at her breast
That was clasped in his dead mother's arms

"Oh father come down let me in
Come down and you open my door
My child at my bosom will die
For the winds do blow 'cross the wild moor"

Sure the old man with silvery hair
Not a voice nor a sound touched his ear
And the old clock did chime in the night
And winds do blow 'cross the wild moor

For the old man come down in the morn
Found poor Mary dead at his door
With the child still alive at her breast
It was clapped in his dead mother's arms

Despite there being 155 entries for this song in Roud, it appears to have been recorded from only six singers - although the Delia Murphy and Louvin Brothers' versions are missing from the list.  In Sussex, only the Copper family have been noted as knowing the song, but as Sarah had travelled "all over the country" she could have learned it almost anywhere.

From the evidence, it appears to be a 19th century English broadside hit which then travelled to America and became far more popular there than in its native land - Edden Hammons played the tune as Mary the Wild Mere in West Virginia in the '30s, (now available on WVU Press SA-2).  Besides Sarah and the Coppers, only Frank Hinchliffe (Yorkshire) and Charlie Hancey (Suffolk) are indicated in Roud as having knows it in England since 1910.

Since Sarah's version is a bit different and all the others are very similar to the American one, I'll give a full text of that:

Mary on the Wild Moor - The Louvin Brothers

It was on one cold wintry night
When the wind blew across the wild moor
When Mary came wandering home with her child
'Til she came to her own father's door.

"Father dear father" she cried
"Come down and open the door
Or the child in my arms will perish and die
From the wind that blows 'cross the wild moor."

"Why did I leave this fair spot
Where once I was happy and free
I am now doomed to roam without friends or a home
And no-one to take pity on me."

But her father was deaf to her cries
Not a sound of her voice did he hear
So the watchdog did howl and the village bells tolled
And the wind blew across the wild moor.

Oh how the old man must have felt
When he came to the door the next morn
And he found Mary dead but the child still alive
Closely grasped in his dead mother's arms.

In anguish he tore his grey hair
And the tears down his cheeks they did pour
When he saw how that night she had perished and died
From the wind that blew across the wild moor.

In grief the old man pined away
And the child to its mother went soon
And no-one they say have lived there 'til this day
And the cottage to ruin has gone.

But the villagers point out the spot
Where the willows droop over the door
Saying "There Mary died, once a gay village bride
From the wind that blew across the wild moor."

12   Rigs of London Town (sung by Jim Wilson)   (Roud 868)
(Recorded on 18.5.60 at The Cherry Tree, Copthorne)

In London Town I chanced to stray
In Cheap Street I lost my way
Yes in London Town I chanced to stray
In Cheap Street I lost my way
I met with a pretty girl, kind and free
In kisses she saluted me.

For I was up to the rigs, down to the rigs
Up to the rigs of London Town.

Now she ask'd me to some house of fame
Sign of the Ship in the Watery Lane
For a herring supper she did call
Thinking that I should pay for all.

Now 'twixt the hour of one and two
She ask'd me if to bed I'd go
I said yes, with a free consent
And to the chamber's door I went.

Now when my truelove was fast asleep
Out of the bed so soft I crept
I stole her watch, her silken gown
Her silver snuff-box and five pound.

Now all young men, a warning take with me
If you meet with a girl that's kind and free
For her'll do a wriggle and you'll do the same
And you're up to the rigs of Watery Lane.

In contrast to the previous song, this one has always seemed to be well-known, yet there are only 33 entries in Roud.  Almost all are from southern England, with only two from Ireland and six from Scotland in the total.  Peter Gander and Bill Hawks sang it to Mervyn Plunkett in Cuckfield, Sussex, at around this period - the only other entry for the southeast corner of the country at all.

It's also a relief to find that the extremely unpleasant line in the last verse If you meet with a girl, you use her free is not present in Jim's version.

13   The Folkestone Murder (sung by George Spicer)   (Roud 897)
(Recorded 12.11.59 at The Oak Tree, Ardingley)

Kind friends come pay attention and listen to my song
It is about a murder, it won't detain you long
'Twas near the town of Folkestone this shocking deed was done
Maria and sweet Caroline were murdered by Switzerland John.

He came unto their parents' house at nine o'clock one night
But little did poor Caroline think he owed her any spite.
"Will you walk with me, dear Caroline?" the murderer did say,
And she agreed to accompany him to Shorncliffe Camp next day.

Said the mother to the daughter "You'd better stay at home.
It is not fit for you to go with that young man alone.
You'd better take your sister to go along with you,
Then I have no objection, dear daughter, you may go."

Early next morning, before the break of day
Maria and sweet Caroline from Dover town did stray.
But before they reached to Folkestone the villain drew a knife,
Maria and sweet Caroline he took away their lives.

Down on the ground the sisters fell, all in their blooming years
For mercy cried, "We're innocent", their eyes were filled with tears.
He plunged the knife into their breasts, their lovely breasts so deep,
He robb'd them of their own sweet lives and left them there to sleep.

Three times he kissed their pale cold cheeks as they lay on the ground,
He took the capes from off their backs, for on him they were found.
He said "Farewell dear Caroline, your blood my hands have stained.
No more on earth shall I see you ,but in heaven we'll meet again."

Early next morning their bodies they were found
At a lonely spot called Steady Hall, a-bleeding on the ground.
And if ever you go unto that spot, these letters you will find
Cut deeply in the grass so green: Maria and Caroline.

When the news it reached their parents' ears, they cried, "What shall we do?
Maria has been murdered, and lovely Caroline too"
They pulled and tore their old grey hair, in sorrow and in shame
And tears they rolled in torrents from their poor aged cheeks.

This murderer has been taken, his companions to him deny
And he is sent to Maidstone and is condemned to die
He said, "Farewell" to all his friends "In this world I am alone
And have to die for murder, far from my native home."

"The dismal bell is tolling, the scaffold I must prepare
I trust in heaven my soul shall rest and meet dear Caroline there.
Now all young man take warning from this sad fate of mine
To the memory of Maria Back and lovely Caroline."

A horrible song, it seems to me, with few redeeming graces - yet it has seemed to be well known, certainly among Travellers.  Something of a shock, then, to find only ten instances noted in Roud ... and five of these refer to George Spicer!  Other known singers have been Mrs Coomber of Blackham, Sussex (noted by Anne Gilchrist in 1906), Charlie Bridger and Phoebe Smith's brother Charlie Scamp (both of Kent).  The other two entries are from Canada.  But George Spicer's son Ron also recorded it, in 1994, on the cassette Steel Carpet (MATS 0010), and I remember Jack Smith, the Milford, Surrey, based Traveller, singing it in the mid-sixties.  Jack sang not only this but at least eight other songs, including four of Pop Maynard's, to be found on this pair of CDs.

According to Brian Matthews, 'Switzerland John' was Dedea Redanies, born in the 1830s in Belgrade.  He came to England in 1855 and was enlisted into the British Swiss Legion stationed at Dover Castle.  He became acquainted with a laundry worker, Mrs Back, whose husband was a dredger in Dover harbour.

During the summer of 1856, Redanies was courting the elder Back daughter, Caroline.  On August 2nd he accused her of receiving attentions from a sergeant in his unit.  She denied this and he appeared satisfied.  He proposed a walk over the downs to Shorncliffe Camp the following day.  Mrs Back insisted that they be chaperoned by Caroline's younger sister Maria.  At Steddy's Hole, some five miles out, he killed them both.

Redanies was captured the following day at Milton Chapel Farm, Chartham, near Canterbury, after having tried to commit suicide.  He was tried, found guilty and hanged at Maidstone on New Year's Day 1857.

George claimed that his grandfather saw Redanies captured, and was most concerned about singing the song in public for fear of offending any relatives of the Backs who might be present.

14   The Pride of Kildare (sung by George 'Pop' Maynard)   (Roud 962, Laws P6)
(Recorded on 16.12.59 at The Cherry Tree, Copthorne)

When first from sea I landed I had a roving mind
Undaunted I rambled, my true love to find.
I met pretty Susan, with her cheeks like a rose
And her bosom all fairer than the lily that blows.

Her keen eye did glitter like the bright stars by night
The robe she was wearing was costly and white
Her bare neck were shaded with her long raven hair
And they called her pretty Susan, the Pride of Kildare.

Long time her I courted 'til I wasted my stores.
My love turned to hatred because I were poor.
She says "I love some other one whose fortune I'll share."
And I'll be gone from pretty Susan, the Pride of Kildare.

And as I roamed out one morning, being in the month of May
I met pretty Susan with her young lord so gay.
And as I passed by them, with my mind full of care
I sighed for pretty Susan, the Pride of Kildare.

Then down to the seaside I resolvèd to go
Bound down to East Indies, with me heart full of woe.
There I spied fair ladies, with their jewels so rare,
But there's none like pretty Susan, the Pride of Kildare

Now sometimes I'm jovial, and sometimes I'm sad,
Since me love she's been courted by some other lad.
Now since we're at a distance, no more I'll despair.
Here's a blessing on me Susan, she's the Pride of Kildare.

Not a song I'd ever encountered before, yet there are 85 Roud entries - although 81 of these are in books, broadsides and other printed sources, so perhaps it's not so surprising.  There are only two other entries for Sussex; Mr Gasson and, of course, Henry Burstow ... and only three other recordings; Angello Dornan (New Brunswick), Bert Edwards (Shropshire) and Walter Pardon (Norfolk).

Ken Stubbs, in The Life of a Man says 'Pop knew several Irish songs, which he may have learnt from Irish navvies working on the London to Brighton railway line, or from cattle or horse drovers.'  True enough, although there's no clear evidence that this is actually Irish (despite the title), and there's only one Irish entry (from Colm Ó Lochlainn, where its provenance is cited only as 'a ballad sheet').

15   The Nobleman and the Thresher (sung by Harry Holman)   (Roud 19)
(Recorded on 18.5.60 at The Cherry Tree, Copthorne)

A nobleman there lived in the village of late
There was a poor thresherman, his family was great
He had got seven children, the most of them were small
He'd nothing but hard labour to maintain them all.

(The nobleman he met with this poor man one day
And to this poor old thresherman these very words did say
"You are a poor thresherman, I know it to be true
How do you get your living as well as you do?")

"Sometimes I do reap and sometimes I mow
The other times to hedging and to ditching I do go.
There's nothing goes amiss with me - the harrow or the plough
That's how I get my living by the sweat of my brow."

"And when my day's work's over I go home late at night,
All in my wife and family I take great delight.
My children they come round me with their pretty flattering toys
And that's all the pleasure that a poor man enjoys."

"My wife she is willing to join me in this yoke
We're just like two young turtle doves who ne'er a one provoke
And though the times are very bad and we are very poor
But we still kept the wolves and the ravens from our door.

("You are an honest fellow, you speak well of your wife
And you shall both live happy all the last part of your life
Here's forty-five acres of good land I'll freely give to thee
To maintain your wife and your sweet family.")

God bless all you farmers that take to us poor men
I wish of them with all my heart, their souls in heaven may spend
And those that's left behind us had better ??? take,
That they may follow after as quick as they can.

Mawkish sentimentality and forelock-tugging always seem to be popular, so it's unsurprising that there are 101 Roud entries for this song, or that 13 of these are sound recordings - and thus quite recent.  It has been found all over these islands, and seems very popular in the USA as well.  Although there are 13 entries for Sussex, there are actually only three traditional sources - the others being Henry Hills (Lodsworth), and the Copper family.  CD recordings from the latter, Harry, Eleazar Tillett (N Carolina) and Frank Hinchliffe (MTCD311-2) are still available.

16   The Rest of the Day is Your Own (sung by Cyril Philips)   (Roud 1485)
(Recorded on 18.2.60 at The Cherry Tree, Copthorne)

Cyril Phillips - photo courtesy Vic Smith One day when I was out of work
A job I went to seek
To be a farmer's boy.
At last I found an easy job
At half a crown a week,
To be a farmer's boy
The farmer said "I think I got
The very job for you
Your duties will be light and this
Is all you'll have to do ...

Rise at three, every morn
Milk the cow with the crumpled horn
Feed the pig, clean the sty
Teach the pigeons the way to fly
Plough the field, mow the hay
Help the cocks and hens to lay
Sow the seeds, tend the crops
Chase the flies from the turnip tops
Clean the knives, black the shoes
Dust the kitchen and sweep the flue
Help the Wife, wash the pots
Grow the cabages and car-rots
Make the beds, dust the coal,
Mend the gramophone ...
Then, if there's no more work to do ...
The rest of the day is your own."

I scratched me head and thought it would
Be absolutely prime
To be a farmer's boy.
The farmer said "Of course, you'll have
To do some overtime
When you're a farmer's boy."
Said he "The duties that I've given you,
You'll be quickly through
So I've been thinking up a few more
Jobs that you can do ...

Skim the milk, make the cheese
Chop the meat for the sausage-ees
Bath the kids, mend their clothes
Use your dial to scare the crows
In the milk, put the chalk
Shave the hairs on the pickled pork
Shoe the horse, rake the coal
Take the cat for his midnight stroll
Cook the[food], scrub the stairs
Teach the parrot to say his prayers
When the Wife's got the gout
Rub her funny-bone ...
Then, if there's no more work to do ...
The rest of the day is your own."

I thought it was a shame to take
The money, you can bet
To be a farmer's boy
And so I wrote me duties down
In case I should forget
I was a farmer's boy
It took all night to write them down
I didn't go to bed
And somehow I've got all mixed up
And this is how they read ...

Rise at three, every morn
Milk the hen with the crumpled horn
Scrub the Wife every day
Teach the Nanny-goat how to lay
Shave the cat, mend the cheese
[Fix the sights?] on the sausage-ees
Bath the pigs, break the pots
Boil the kids with a few car-rots
Roast the horse, dust bread
Put the cocks and hens to bed
Boots and shoes, black with chalk
Shave the knobs on the pickled pork ...
All the rest I have forgot
For somehow it has flown
But I got the sack this morning so ...
The rest of my life is my own.

Cyril considered this "the oldest song in my repertoire ... a song about a boy working on a farm.  A man named Kemp Scott used to sing it at the village smoking concerts in the twenties.  He was a good entertainer and I remember him from Eastbourne."

Of course, it's not old at all - as usually seems to be the case when a singer says something of this sort.  It was written in 1915 by David & Long, and sung on the halls, and recorded, by Jack Lane - which is probably where Kemp Scott heard it.  Jack Lane recorded this song on Regal-G7032 in 1915, but only two verses.  Cyril's version is almost exactly the same as the sheet-music.  The other side of Jack's record is Oh, Dear, What Can the Matter Be?

17   The Girl I Love So True (sung by an unknown singer)   (Roud 9553)
(Recorded on 27.5.60 at The Royal Oak, Milton Street)

??? of the girl I love so true
She was chief engineer in the white shirt laundry
Out in the backyard view

??? ???
She'd an Indian rubber lip like a rudder off a ship
And ?? she was mad.

She was not very thin, but she looked when she was dressed
Like a straw in a barrel of gin.

I took her to a ball at the fat man's social club
And it took me half a quid for to stuff her up with grub
For she was a funny old guy?, with a ?? squint in her eye
Her no.10 feet would have covered a street,
She'd a mouth like a crack in a pie.

??? She'd a head like a mixing gaff
????? rig
And a boil on her main top gaff

??? to you
Of the girl I love so true
She was chief engineer in the white shirt laundry
Out in the backyard view.

This is a part of a song called Duck-Foot Sue, written by Harry Bennet in 1884, and sung by G W Hunter.  It was also sung, later, by George Foster (1864-1946), who may have recorded it.  The only other published recording of this song from these islands was made by the BBC at Eastbridge Eel's Foot in 1938 or '39, when Harry 'Crutter' Cook sang it.  This recording has just resurfaced on the Veteran CD Good Order! (VT140CD), and it appears that the song had some East Anglian popularity, as both Keith Summers and Neil Lanham recorded it there and Ginette Dunn cites it as being in Ruby Ling's repertoire.  'Crutter' Cook's version may be more complete than this present one, but it's not a great deal more intelligible!

18   The Poor Old Weaver's Daughter (sung by George 'Pop' Maynard)   (Roud 1277)
(Recorded on 18.5.60 at The Cherry Tree, Copthorne)

As I walked out one May morning
One May morning quite early
A lovely lass came tripping by
As light as any fairy.
A lovely lass came tripping by
As light as any fairy.

I said "Fair maid, if you'll be mine"
And by the hand I caught her
"I will make you a rich lady gay."
"Kind Sir" said she "I thank you."

"My poor old mother that's dead and gone
This lesson she has taught me
To marry for love but not for gold"
Cried the poor old weaver's daughter.

"My poor old father that's nearly blind
And quite grown past his labour
It would break his heart for me to part"
Cried the poor old weaver's daughter.

"And to part from he, 'twill never, never be
He's a kind and tender father
'Til in his peaceful grave he lies"
Cried the poor old weaver's daughter.

A little-known song it would seem; Roud's 21 entries include examples from Gloucestershire, Yorkshire, Aberdeen, Kent... and only Pop from Sussex.  Unusually, apart from Sharp's 1908 collection from James Beale in Kent, all the other named singers were heard in the last 45 years.

19   Untitled Polka (played by Bill Agate)
(Recorded on 27.5.60 at the Abergavenny Arms, Copthorne)

William Agate was probably the first English player of simultaneous mouthorgan and tambourine that we second-generation revivalists ever heard - and he made quite an impression in terms of gusto and singularity.  Here is an excerpt from quite a short recording - he's playing a version of the song tune I Wish They'd do it Now, which George Townshend used to sing (MTDC304), though Bill's tune never quite gets to the end before starting over again.

The tune was earlier known as The Captain with his Whiskers and, in that form, widely known during the 19th century, including usage as a morris tune at Brackley, Northanptonshire.

20   Died For Love (sung by Sarah Porter)   (Roud 60, Laws P25)
(Recorded in 1965 in The Three Cups, Punnetts Town)

There is an alehouse down in the town
Where my love oftimes sets hisself down
Some other flash girl he may take on his knee
And don't you think that's a grief to me.

A grief to me, I'll tell you for why
Because she's got more gold than I
Her gold will waste and her beauty will fly
And in a short time she'll be poorer than I.

I wish the Lord my baby was born,
Sat smiling on his daddy's knee
Some other flash girl he may take on his knee
And don't you think that's a grief to me.

A grief to me, I'll tell you for why
Because she's got more gold than I
Her gold will waste and her beauty will fly
And in a short time she'll be poorer than I.

Oh dig my grave large, wide and deep
Place a marble stone at my head and feet
And in the middle a free turtle dove
To show the wide world I died for love.

I died for love and love you can't see
Who took away my liberty
My liberty's got a free good will
But there's [gone in vain 'cos] I love him still.

A song everyone knows, even today in the right company, so it's no surprise that there are 225 Roud entries, or that 45 of these are sound recordings, encompassing almost every singer you care to think of - though only Jasper Smith, May Bradley, Geoff Ling, Amy Birch and Emma Vickers have made it onto CD.

Closer to the truth is that everyone knows a version of it, because it's one of those songs which attracts 'floating verses' like a magnet, while being alarmingly close to countless other songs which musicologists tell us are actually different.  Who cares - it's a great wallow in almost any circumstances!

21   The Scarlet and the Blue (sung by George Spicer)   (Roud 163)
(Recorded 12.11.59 at The Oak Tree, Ardingley)

I was once a gay young ploughboy
And I ploughed the fields all day
'Til one strange thought came in my mind
I'd like to run away
For I'm getting tired of country life
And the place where I was born
So I've been and joined the Army and
I'm off tomorrow morn

Well there's a rap for the scarlet and the blue
And the helmets they glitter in the sun
And the bayonets flash like lightning to
The beating of the old militia drum - tiddley-um
And the flag of dear old England
Is waving proudly in the sky
It's the watchword of our soldier-boys
To conquer, do, or die.

Now I've put away my old white smock
And I've put away my plough
And I've put away my six-foot whip
No more the fields to roam
No more to reap in harvest time
No more to sow the corn
For I've been and joined the Army and
I'm off tomorrow morn

Now there is one girl I leave behind
And it is my Nellie fair
But I know that she'll be true to me
When I am far away
And if ever I do return again
There's one promise due to me
Three stripes and medals on my breast
And a sergeant's wife she'll be.

Written by John J Blockley in the late 1870s, this song has not proved particularly popular - if the total of only 17 Roud entries is to be believed.  George is the only source from this part of the country noted - yet we collected it from Alfie Ainger, landlord of the Royal Oak, Hooks Way, Sussex, in the late-sixties, and Bert Lloyd said it was 'still popular with country singers in the South'.

This is probably an indication of the amount of information still missing from the Roud Index - Steve can only include data he knows about!  Any reader who knows of further recordings, books or other sources to those mentioned here (or in any other MT booklet) is encouraged to contact him with the details at the address given at the beginning of the Songs section.

There are only four other known sound recordings - from Freda Palmer (Leafield, Oxon), Fred Whiting (Kenton, Suffolk) on Veteran VT102, Gordon Syrett (Mendlesham, Suffolk) on Vintage 001 and Bob Hart (Snape, Suffolk) on A Broadside (MTCD301-2).

22   Never Go a-Rushing (sung by Jim Wilson)   (Roud 330)
Recorded on 18.5.60 at The Cherry Tree, Copthorne)

Jim Wilson - photo courtesy VWML Never go a-rushing, maids, I say
Never go a-rushing in the month of May
For if you go a-rushing, you're sure to come a-brushing
So gather up your rushes and haste away.

She promised me a cherry without no stone
She promised me a chick without no bone
She promised me a ring without any rim
She promised me a kid without crying

So never go a-rushing, maids, I say
Never go a-rushing in the month of May
For if you go a-rushing, you're sure to come a-brushing
So gather up your rushes and haste away.

How can there be a cherry without any stone?
How can there be a chick without any bone?
How can there be a ring without any rim?
How can there be a kid without crying?

When the cherry tree's a-blooming there is no stone
An' when the chick's in the shell there is no bone
When the ring's a-melting there is no rim
When the kid's a-making there's no squalling.

In The Life of a Man, Ken Stubbs says 'The stanzas are of a riddle song, to which the chorus from another song has been added.  The warning is for maids desirous of preserving their maidenhood to keep away from the annual rush-cutting and bearing ceremony.' I'm in no position to confirm or deny these assertions, but there are nine other versions of this song which make mention of rushing in Roud's total of 61 entries.  These include collections by Baring-Gould, Barrett and Sharp, going back to 1890, as well as Bronson and several broadside catalogues.  If it is indeed a mixing of two different songs it would seem to be a widespread and long-lived one.

The song appears more popular in the USA (30 entries) than in England (only 19), and there are five sound recordings - the only English one being Joe Smith (Phoebe's husband) recorded by Peter Kennedy in 1956.  Only two entries are from Sussex, both in books; Jim and Mrs Minnie Wales (Tony's mother?).

23   The Week Before Easter (sung by George 'Pop' Maynard)   (Roud 154)
(Recorded on 18.5.60 at The Cherry Tree, Copthorne)

(The week before Easter, the morn bright and clear)
The sun it shone brightly but keen blew the air.
I went on the forest for to gather wild flowers,
But the forest did yield none but roses.

The roses were red, the leaves they were green,
The brambles and briars quite plain to be seen.
The small birds were singing and changing their notes
All among the wild beasts in the forest.

play Sound Clip The first time I saw my love, was to the church go,
The bride and the bridegroom, they cut a fine show.
And I followed after, with my heart full of woe,
To see how me false love was guarded.

And the parson who married them, how loud he did cry
All you who'd forbid it, I would have you draw nigh.
And I thought to myself - I've the best reason why!
But I had not the heart to forbid it.

The second time I saw my love, was in the church stand,
She's a ring on her finger and a glove in her hand
Thinks I to myself I might have been that man,
Though I never once mentioned to have her.

And the next time I saw my love, sat down to dine,
I sat down beside her and I poured out the wine.
And I drank to the lassie that should have been mine,
But now she is wed to another.

The third time I saw my love, she was dressed all in white,
My eyes full of water, quite dazzled my sight.
And I picked up my hat and I wished her goodnight.
Here's adieu to false lovers forever.

So dig me my grave both long, narrow and deep,
And strew it all over with roses so sweet.
So that I might lie down there and take a long sleep
And that's the right way to forget her.

... I forgot all about her.

Another song with a selection of titles; by far the most common is The False Bride, which always seems grossly unfair, as in most versions the male character admits to failing to ask the girl if she would marry him.  Others include the Forsaken Bridegroom, I Aince Lo'ed a Lass, Lambs on the Green Hill and Maggie Murphy's The Clock Striking Nine.

There are 98 Roud entries from all over the English speaking world (except the USA, strangely), with England and Scotland each accounting for about a third of the total.  The Week Before Easter seems to be the preferred English title and False / Forsaken Bride / Lover the Scots.  In fact, I had always though that these two songs were actually considered by musicologists to be separate entities despite sharing a number of verses and images.

The total includes 18 sound recordings - though only Maggie Murphy (Veteran VT134CD), Sarah Makem and Harry Burgess (Topic Voice of the People) appear to be available on CD.

24   The Croppy Boy (sung by Ted and Bet Porter)   (Roud 1030, Laws J14)
(Recorded in 1965 in The Three Cups, Punnetts Town)

('Twas) early, early in the Spring
The birds did whistle and sweet-lie sing
They changed their notes from tree to tree
And the song they sang was 'Old Ireland Free'.

It was very early in the night
The yeoman calvery did me 'fright
The yeoman calv'ry was my downfall
Takèd I was by Lord Cornwall.

My sister Mary heared distress
She ran upstairs in her morning dress
Five hundred guineas (pounds) I will lay down
To see my brother through Wexford town.

As I was mounted on that scaffold high
My agèd father he stood close by
My agèd father did me deny
And the name he gave me was 'The Croppy Boy'.

Obviously an Irish song, and of Roud's 78 entries only four are from England - George Gardiner heard it from a Mrs Munday in Axford, Hants in 1907, Shepherd Haden and Charlie Tanner sang it in Bampton, Oxon, to Cecil Sharp and Alfred Williams respectively, and Henry Burstow knew it in Sussex.  A surprisingly small number, given that it was in the catalogues of numerous English broadside printers.

The Croppies were the insurgents of the Irish 1798 rebellion.  Most authorities agree that the name derives from the cropped haircuts which they wore, modelled on those of French revolutionaries.  Although not an authoritative source, Galvin's Irish Songs of Resistance offers a number of alternative explanations, saying that it refers to the pitch cap torture which was applied to rebels (the British army used to fasten a cap filled with pitch and gunpowder to the rebel's head and set fire to it.  It's where the word kybosh, meaning 'cap of death' derives from.  Also to an ancient Gaelic style of haircut (unlikely), and to the fact that felons in Ireland were frequently punished by having their ears cropped.

There are two songs called The Croppy Boy, both of which derive from '98.  The more literary of the two was written by one Carroll Malone, and concerns a Croppy who seeks confession from a priest, only to find that the 'priest' is an yeoman officer in disguise.  The one we are concerned with, however, is a street ballad which predates it and is much less literary in style.  It seems to connect with the Child ballad The Maid Freed from the Gallows, and with the Ulster song The Streets of Derry.  All three are progressive execution songs with rejection by the family as a significant motif.  However, in the case of The Croppy Boy, no sweetheart appears to save him ... though the Porters' third verse might hint at his sister taking this role.  This motif is also present in the British Army song McCaffery - the tune of which is one of the two usually associated, as here, with The Croppy Boy.

Despite having been extensively anthologised, we can't find much evidence for it being widely sung in Ireland while collectors were actve.  P W Joyce in Old Irish Folk Music and Songs (1909) says "This song was a great favourite in the southern and south-eastern counties: and I have known both air and words since childhood." On the strength of this, it looks as though the song may have declined in popularity during the twentieth century.  Of the nine previously-known sound recordings, three are from Canada, one is from the USA, and only Nellie Walsh of Wexford, Elizabeth Cronin and Brigid Tunney have been recorded singing it in Ireland.  This is surprising, since the song bears all the hallmarks of a 'folk' creation, unlike many '98 songs - and one might expect the young man's plight to hold a strong appeal among ordinary people.

The present recording is the only known one from England.  Why The Croppy Boy should end up being sung by English gypsies is another question entirely.  However, Irish rebel songs seem fairly popular among English travellers - perhaps they are songs which they just happen to 'know' from contact with Irish travellers, and perhaps they see in them something which equates with their own position.  If you're in the market for a song of alienation, The Croppy Boy would be an obvious contender.

Here's the full Irish text from Patrick Galvin: Irish Songs of Resistance :

The Croppy Boy

It was early, early in the Spring
The birds did whistle and sweetly sing
Changing their notes from tree to tree
And the song they sang was Old Ireland free.

It was early, early in the night
The yeoman cavalry gave me a fright
The yeoman cavalry was my downfall
And I was taken by Lord Cornwall.

'Twas in the guard-house where I was laid
And in a parlour where I was tried
My sentence passed and my courage low
When to Dungannon I was forced to go.

As I was passing my father's door
My brother William stood at the door
My aged father stood at the door
And my tender mother her hair she tore.

As I was going up Wexford Street
My own first cousin I chanced to meet
My own first cousin did me betray
And for one bare guinea swore my life away.

As I was walking up Wexford Hill
Who could blame me to cry my fill?
I looked behind and I looked before
But my aged mother I shall ne'er see more.

As I was mounted on the platform high
My aged father was standing by
My aged father did me deny
And the name he gave me was 'The Croppy Boy'.

It was in Dungannon this young man died
And in Dungannon his body lies
And you good people that do pass by
Oh shed a tear for the Croppy Boy.

In Elizabeth Cronin's version we find, instead of verse 5 above, almost exactly the same verse as the Ted and Bet sing:

When my sister Mary heard the express
She ran downstairs in her morning dress
Saying "Five hundred pounds I would lay down
To see you walking through Wexford town."

Fred McCormick suggests that the use of the word walking - ie, being paraded through the streets - suggests that she's ready to pay £500 to see him hanged, and that this meaning has been softened in the Porters' version, who wouldn't have understood the significance of the sister's words.  Frank Harte has a comment in his own 1798 CD notes, that the British Army used to burn the houses of insurgents, and that the family were keeping silent to avoid the army discovering who his relatives were.  The evidence in Mrs Cronin's version suggests rather that the family may even have been willing to denounce him for putting their house at risk by turning rebel.

25   She's Proud and She's Beautiful (sung by Cyril Phillips)   (Roud 16652)
(Recorded on 18.2.60 at The Cherry Tree, Copthorne)

Now I love my Sarie-I, she works on our farm
And so long as she's true to I, I'll do her no harm
When she told I she'd marry I, I felt twice as big
For I'd rather have Sarie-I than the maister's prize pig

She's proud and she's beautiful, she's fat and she's fair
As the buttercups and the daisy-eyes what grows in the air.

Now when us two goes out courtying, I likes it 'cos I,
All the time she says nothing much and neither don't I
But she gives I a little squeeze and I squeezes she
And the more she squeezes I, the more I loves she.

When me mother she heard how I my Sarie-I I'd won
She said "That girl b'ain't good enough for my handsome son."
Then me faither, he looked at me, so gentle and kind
And he wanted to know if my Sarie-I was blind.

Now when us two gets marry-eyed there's sure to be fun
'Cos they tells I the minister makes two into one
But I think we shall puzzle he, 'cos 'twixt you and me
There's enough meat on Sarie-I to make two or three.

This morning my Sarie-I was milking the cow
When the stool oh-over- bally-enced and she fell somehow
"Have you hurt yourself very much?" I started to yell
She says "I've hurt me arm", but that b'ain't where she fell.

Now the first loving couple, or so I believe
Was a young chap named Adam and a damsel named Eve
People say it was wrong of him that apple to chew
But if he was like Sarie-I what else could he do?

Poor Sarie-I she fell in the river one day
And she might have been drownded if I'd not passed that way
When I saved her she looked as if I'd done some big crime
And she says "Just you mind where you grabs I next time.

Written by Fred W Leigh and George Bastow, sung by George Bastow.  Its alternative title was The Plough Boy and known in Sussex as Our Sarie.  Cyril sings all seven verses from the sheet music but he omits the third and fourth line of the chorus:

Fi-dol-the-rol-day! Fi-dol-the-rol-day! Fi-dol-the-rol! Fi-dol-the-rol! Fi-dol-the-rol-dol-day!
This song was also a great favourite of George Spicer who sang the full chorus.  George Bastow was the best known 'yokel' act on the music halls but we don't think he recorded Our Sarie.  His famous Varmer Giles was sung by both George Spicer and Cyril as well as Gordon Hall and many others.  Sarie has been recorded by Neil Lanham from Jack Drury, of Sudbury, Suffolk, in the 1960s, and also quoted by Ginette Dunn as being in the repertoires of Percy Webb and Ruby Ling of Blaxhall, Suffolk.

26   Down by the Seaside (sung by George 'Pop' Maynard)   (Roud 1712)
(Recorded on 18.5.60 at The Cherry Tree, Copthorne)

As I were a-walking down by the sea side
I gazed on a damsel, put her in surprise
I steppèd up to her, these words I did say
"Well my pretty fair maid ...
Well my pretty fair maid, are you going this way?"
I steppèd up to her, these words I did say
"Well my pretty fair maid ...
Well my pretty fair maid, are you going this way?"

"Oh no, oh no" this young damsel replied
"I'm a-seeking for me true-love who has gone far and wide
And if I don't find him, it's here I'll remain
And I hope that my true-love ...
I hope that my true-love will return safe again ..."

As she was lamenting and could not prevail
She looked through her opera-glass and saw the ship sail
May the heavens protect our love on the Main
I hope that my true-love ...
I hope that my true-love will return safe again.
And if I don't find him, it's here I'll remain ..."

As she was a-standing all on the same spot
The news it came to her, her true-love was shot
"Now since it's been so, I will go to some grove
And if he died for honour ...
If he died for honour, then I'll die for love ..."

It would appear that this lovely song has appeared in not a single broadside or book in the past.  The only Roud entries for this song are the two 1955 and '56 Peter Kennedy recordings of Pop Maynard singing it, the latter of which appeared on the Topic LP Ye Subjects of England.  This is surprising in the light of the notes to that album, where Mike Yates puts it in a list of several of Pop's songs decribed as being 'stock Victorian broadside ballads, albeit ones with ancient histories even then'.  Mike now tells me that Down by the Seaside is included in a chapbook printed c.1820 by J Fraser of Stirling as The Sailor's Loss, and says that the internal repeat suggests a late 18th century Stage or Pleasure Garden origin.

CD 2

1   The Hobnail Boots that Father Wore (sung by Harry Holman)   (Roud 16704)
(Recorded on 18.5.60 at The Cherry Tree, Copthorne)

Poor Father's feet took up half the street So his boots were in proportion, And the kid's he'd squash in a day, by gosh!
Harry Holman - photo by Brian Matthews That really was a caution
Now me and me brother from the age of four
Were up to eleven, could sleep and snore
Nice and cosy in a box of straw
In the hobnailed boots that me father wore

Now we went for a trip on a girt big ship
And poor father so misguided
Wouldn't walk about with his legs stretched out
So the ship her went lopsided
Down went the vessel through the hole in the floor
And said the captain's mother-in-law
Were saved that night for they rowed ashore
In the hobnailed boots that me father wore

Now me and me brother from the age of four
Up to eleven, could sleep and snore
So nice and cosy in a box of straw
In the hobnailed boots that me father wore

On a Lord Mayor's Day, just to shout hooray
play Sound Clip Father went and how he sauced 'em
For he blocked up the street with his girt big feet
And the Lord Mayor drove right across them
While they were a-going through the Guildhall door
Father fell down wallop on his back, O Lor
Well, they stops their 'ollering then, for all they saw
Was the hobnailed boots that me father wore

When young Kate and Flo went down Southend.
So that money they'd be saving
Father's boots they used as a bathing machine
And in it they undressed for bathing
While they were undressing they forgot I'm sure
The 'ole Father cut for his corn, oh Lor
Now all the boys are a-giggling at what they saw
In the hobnailed boots that me father wore.

Written by R P Weston and F J Barnes in 1907, and sung on the halls by Billy Williams.  Williams first recorded it for Edison in October 1907, which was released in cylinder form only.  For 78rpm issue he rerecorded it for Homophon in January 1908, and for Zonophone in November 1908.  There were a number of late, cheap, pressings during the 1920s, and it appeared as late as February 1936, on Aco G 15761.

Jim Ward thinks that this must be the only recording made of Harry singing this song.  The original had six verses but extra ones were added later, probably by Billy Williams.  Harry's second verse is one of these 'extras'.

Another traditional version, by Bob Green, of Winterton, Norfolk, can be heard on Neil Lanham's CD Songs & Stories from East Coast Fishermen (NLCD6).

2   The Cabin Boy and the Lady Gay (sung by Jim 'Brick' Harber)   (Roud 1168)
(Recorded on 10.2.60 at The Plough, Three Bridges)

Oh it's of a rich lady so gay
And she was a beautiful bride
'Til she fell in love with a little cabin boy
And denièd both Lord, Duke and Knight.
'Til she fell in love with a little cabin boy
And denièd both Lord, Duke and Knight.

"Oh it's William, dear William", says she
"Will you stay along with me on the shore?"
"You must go to the captain of our gallant ship
And ask him for my liberties.
You must go to the captain of our gallant ship
And ask him for my liberties."

Then it's straight to the captain she went
Down on her bended knees, oh she fell.
"Oh captain", said she, "will you let your cabin boy
Stay home on the shore along with me?"

"Oh no, you fair lady" said he
"Such things can never be.
For you looks more fitting for some Lord, Duke or I
To embrace your sweet company."
"Oh no, you young lady" said he
"Such things can never be
For you looks more fitting for some Lord, Duke or I
To embrace your sweet company."

Then it's back to young William she went
With a wet and a watery eye
Oh saying "Dearest William, the best of friends must part
And so must you, love, and I."
Then it's back to young William she went
With a wet and a watery eye
Oh saying "Dearest William, the best of friends must part
And so must you, love, and I."

Then it's straight on board young William went
Left his Polly a-weeping there on the shore.
Young William got lost, and the rest of his ship's crew,
And never was hear'd of any more.
Young William got lost, and the rest of his ship's crew,
And never was hear'd of any more.

Then it's home to her father's house she went
And she threw her fair body on the floor
And when her father woke and he rose up in the morn
He lamented at the death that he had found.
And when her father woke and he rose up in the morn
He lamented at the death that he had found.

Then it's soon was the funeral put out
And everything so neat-lye prepared
There was six jolly sailors, all dressèd well in blue
To carry this fair body down.
Then soon was a funeral put out
And everything so neat-lye prepared
There was six jolly sailors, all dressed well in blue
To carry this fair body down.

Thomas MacQueen heard this song from a Mrs MacConechie in Kilmarnock, Ayrshire, in 1827, and Sharp collected it from Edmund Jupp of Southwater, Sussex, in 1908.  Beyond that, only George Edwards of the Catskill Mountains, New York state, is known to have sung it.  There are no further mentions of this song in the Roud Index - except for Brick Harber, who gives another powerful and compelling performance here.  This is a man who I dearly wish I had met.

3   Joe the Carrier Lad (sung by Cyril Philips)   (Roud 1080)
(Recorded 27.5.60 at The Royal Oak, Milton Street)

My name is Joe the carrier lad, a merry chap am I.
I always am contented, be the weather wet or dry.
I snap my fingers at the frost, I whistle at the rain.
I've braved the storms for many a day - will do so again.

Oh crack, crack, goes the whip, I whistle and I sing.
I sit upon my wagon, I'm as happy as a king.
My horse is always willing and I am never sad,
For who should lead a life more gay than Joe the carrier lad?

Me father was a carrier twenty year ago
To market of a Thursday almost regular he would go
Sometimes he'd take me with him, particular in the spring.
And up I'd sit upon the box and hear my father sing.

The girls they all do smile at me as I go driving past.
My horse he is a beauty as he trots along so fast.
There's many a mile we've left behind and happy days we've had.
But none can treat a horse more kind than Joe the carrier lad.

I never thinks of politics, or anything so great,
I care not for their high-bred talk about the Church and State,
I [act a-right] as man to man and that's what makes I glad
You'll find there beats an honest heart in Joe the carrier lad.

This is another popular song among English country singers up to the present day, and has been found up in Yorkshire and Northumberland as well as all over the South.  We know of 35 instances, including two from Scotland and three having crossed the water to America.  It is very well-known around Sussex, having been recorded from George Belton, George Spicer, Jim Swain and by George Townshend, who sings a very similar version to this on his recent Musical Traditions CD Come, Hand to Me the Glass (MTCD304).

4   Down By the Deep River Side (sung by Sarah Porter)   (Roud 263, Laws P35)
(Recorded in 1965 in The Three Cups, Punnetts Town)

(As) I strolled out one bright summer's morn
Down by the deep river side
Who should I meet but a fair gentleman
And he asked me to be his bride

"Oh no sir, I am far far too young
I'm only sweet sixteen."
"For the younger you are, sure the better that'll be
For to spend that night with me."

Oh the night rolling by and the morning soon came
The sun shone through the door
For this young man he rose, put on his clothes
And he bid "Farewell my dear."

"Oh this is not the promise that you made to me
Down by that deep river side
Oh you promised me that you'd marry me
For to make you my awful wife."

"How can I marry a silly young girl
That's only sweet sixteen.
You'd better go home to your mother's house
For to drive those tears away."

"How can I go back to my mother's house
To show great shame and disgrace?
Oh before I'd go I'd drown myself
For to die in some lonesome place."

Sure he catched hold of her by her lily white hand
He kissed both cheeks and chin;
He led her to the deep river side
Where he gently pushed her in.

See how she goes, see how she floats
A-floating away with the tide
'Stead of her having a watery grave
She had ought to been my bride

Now there is off to some foreign land
Another flash girl for me.
There's nobody knows the deed that I've done
To the girl I left behind.

Although this song looks like a version of The Oxford Girl (Roud 263, Laws P35), I'm told that it's actually a version of Floating Down the Tide (Roud 1414) which is derived from a quite different ballad.  I'm sure the distinction would be lost on most of its singers.

Both songs are very widespread with a total of 240 entries in Roud - the earliest of which is dated 1796 - though considerably more than half of them are from the USA and Canada.  In England, at least, they are now very much the preserve of Travellers.

They go by a bewildering array of different names; The Berkshire/Worcester Tragedy, The Bloody/Cruel Miller, The Butcher/ 'Prentice/Miller/Collier Boy, Poor Nell, Johnny McDowell, The Lexington Murder ...  And then there's the staggering range of place names: Boston; Camden; Coleraine; Ekefield; Expert; Export; Knoxville; Lexington; London; Noel; Oxford; Shreveport; Waco; Waterford; Waxford; Waxweed; Waxwell; Wexford; Wexport ... all relating to the Girl, Town or City of the action.

What this tells us, I think, is that these are songs which - perhaps more than any others - have the ability of sounding like a story you already know.  It's the stuff of Urban Legend - songs of which the older singers would so often claim "My father knew the people involved!" It's pretty dispiriting to realise that the murder of a pregnant girl by the man who made her so, was a commonplace.

5   Patsy Flanagan (sung by George 'Pop' Maynard)   (Roud 16632)
(Recorded on 18.5.60 at The Cherry Tree, Copthorne)

Now as I'm Patsy Flanagan, I rose one morning
I dressed meself in me Sunday clothes,
And without giving any warning,
Straightaway to the barracks I goes.
I asked the sergeant if he wanted heroes
For I was a brave as brave could be,
And I told him if he would send me to Belgium,
I'd smash the army of Germany.

Into the room the sergeant took me,
There sat the colonel and his staff
All my manners and behaviour forsook me
When at me they begun to laugh.
"Tell me, sergeant," said the colonel,
"Wherever did you dig him up?"
I wished into the land eternal,
I called him a low mike-taking pup.

I'll own my face is very very funny,
But I've got a voice that's very fine;
Some folks say it's as sweet as honey,
And the others like a truck on a railway line.
But my colleen says I'm handsome
And I know she's fond of me.
She said she'd willingly pay a ransom
If I were a prisoner in Germany.

When I told her I had enlisted
You should have seen the tears she shed,
Floating about with the chairs and the tables
Some of them drowned and some of them dead.
I used the cradle for a lifeboat
And I tried to save a chair
My girl she called and with a loud explosion,
Blowed me two miles in the air.

Perhaps you think it was enough for to kill me,
But I'll tell you the candid truth
All that I broke was a button from me coat
And a lump of skin from me wisdom tooth.
Now what's the use of hymns and sermons
As long as your luck is in?
So now I'm off for to fight the Germans,
And afterwards surround Berlin.

But before I fight they will have to give me sanction
That every time I want to dine
To send me back to a great big mansion
Fifteen miles from the fighting line.
And when I fill me Darby Kell
My turn to watch I'll take
And in the trench with General French
And I'll watch that I don't keep awake.

One day by meself I captured two divisions,
Not a single hair on their head I hurt.
I packed up all their vast provisions
And tied them up in me undershirt.
I handed them over to a scout boy
Who marched them to belong,
You can hear that scout to his prisoner shout
"Cheer up Germans, now we shan't be long."

When I got back to the town of Carrow
There were Germans surrounded on every side,
What did I do but I made a barrel,
And when it was finished I jumped inside.
The Germans thought 'twas a barrel of powder,
So they took it to the magazine,
In the night I set the magazine alight
And the devil of a German has ever been seen.

That exploded, the army of French's
Stood to their arms without dismay,
All that were left was the empty trenches
And the German army blown away.
Now General French and General Joffre
And the Grand Duke Nicholas too
They shook me hand and they kissed me face
And the skin on me boko all turned blue.

Now since I've smashed the German nation,
And got them properly in my hand
Perhaps you'd like some explanation
Of how I possessed my military plan.
Some I got from a dead relation
And the other from Limerick jail
So ??? compensation
And never more play with a lion's tail.

Although my song may sound very funny,
There is a moral we all may learn,
Through such a waste of blood and money
Let us all ?? return.
Let all mankind in friendship join,
And try each other to love
Until that great and almighty Ruler
Calls us to the realm above.

... That's Patsy Flanagan.

This song of the Baron Münchhausen genre about the first World War was written by Fred Holman, of Tatsfield in Surrey, a friend and poaching companion of Pop's (no-one seems to know if he was a relative of Harry's), who also wrote Shooting Goshen's Cocks Up (or Cock-ups).  Apparently, Fred would write out the words of either in exchange for a pint.  Brian Matthews has a fine recording of Pop singing this song too - but he stops four verses from the end so, unfortunately, it's not included here.

This appears to be the only time Patsy Flanagan has been collected - it was certainly not noted in Roud, despite Brian having twice recorded Pop singing it.

6   The Bonny Bunch of Roses (sung by Bill Porter)   (Roud 664 / Laws J5)
(Recorded in 1965 in The Three Cups, Punnetts Town)

(By the dangers of the ocean,
One fine morning in the month of June
The feathered warbling songsters
Their charming notes so sweet did tune
There I espied a female,
Seeming to be in grief and woe
Conversing with Young Bonaparte,
Concerning the bonny bunch of roses-O

Then up steps young Napoleon
And takes his mother by the hand
"Oh Mother, pray have patience
Until I'm able to take command.
I'll raise a terrible army
And through tremendous dangers go
Then I will conquer Moscow
And return for the bonny ...")

"Oh son, never speak so venturesome,
For England is the hearts of oak
England, Ireland and Scotland -
Oh their unity can (never be) broke
Oh Son, look at your father
While the weeping willows over him grow
(On Saint Helena his body lies low)
And you may follow after,
So beware of the bonny ..."

("The first time you saw great Bonaparte
You went down on your bended knee
And asked your father's life of him -
Which he did grant most manfully
He said 'I'll take an army
And over the frozen Alps we'll go
Then I will conquer Moscow
And return for the bonny ...'")

Oh I'd raise a terrible army
Throughout tremendious dangers go
And I will conquer Moscow
And I'll go for the bonny ..."

(He took five hundred thousand men
Likewise kings to join his throng
He was so well provided
Enough to sweep this world along)
But when he reachèd Moscow
He was overpowered by driven snow
And Moscow was a-blazing
So he lost the bonny ...

"Oh Mother, adieu for ever
As I lie on my dying bed
If I had lived I'd been clever
But now I drop my youthfulness
And as my bones do moulder
The weeping willow o'er me grow
The deeds of bold Napoleon
Shall sting the bonny ...

Another big ballad, though obviously of fairly recent origin - i.e. after 1832, since it concerns Napoleon II, and mentions his death - though its central character is clearly his father Bonaparte.

Napoleon Bonaparte was unquestionably a hero - or potential liberator - to sections of the English working classes (we may presume that this attitude extended to oppressed classes throughout Europe).  This may be attributed to the social and economic conditions of the time; Combination Acts, Transportation, inhuman floggings, the Peterloo massacre … everything in fact that Shelley had in his sights when he wrote The Mask of Anarchy.

The times were extremely oppressive: ideals of freedom and democracy for the lower orders were anathema to the ruling class; and aspirations of liberty and equality had filtered down to the lower orders from a then undemocratised emergent bourgeoisie.  Revolutions never happen in vacuums, and the conditions which gave rise to the French and American Revolutions, and indeed the abortive Irish one, were at work all over Europe.  Also, the success of the first two was fed into the consciousness of oppressed peoples everywhere.  The French Revolution had acted as a beacon to the contemporary English working class in just the same way that the Russian Revolution mobilised left wing labour a century or so later.  Thus, Napoleon was viewed as the emblem of liberty and the saviour of the working classes in the same way as Lenin and Stalin eventually were.

It is likely that many Napoleonic songs are Irish in origin, yet it would seem that they had a common currency throughout these islands. For instance, Robert Cinnamond's Napoleon Bonaparte was learnt by him from someone who'd picked it up in England.  Henry Burstow's repertoire included seven Napoleonic songs and Holloway & Black in Later English Broadside Ballads list about a dozen, all from English printers.  In this context it's worth remembering that the working poor of both Ireland and England suffered very similar oppressions, for much the same reasons, from much the same people … and sometimes from exactly the same people!  Whatever the case, it's interesting to note that of the literally dozens of Napoleon ballads printed in England at the time (mostly jingoistically opposed to 'The Little Corsican'), almost all those remaining in the country singers' repertoires a century later were either ambivalent or actually pro-Bonaparte.

If Napoleon provided the basis for many broadside ballads, none has survived so well as this supposed conversation between Marie Louise of Austria, Bonaparte's second wife and her son Napoleon II (1811-1832).  Following Bonaparte's abdication in 1814, the Allies refused to recognise Napoleon II, who was left alone in Vienna.  Like his father before him, the young Napoleon's dreams of power were dashed - in his case, by an early death from tuberculosis.

The 'Bonny Bunch of Roses' refers to the Act of Union, passed in 1800 and enacted in 1801, which was seen by the Irish as a reaction to Napoleon's intervention in Ireland on behalf of the United Irishmen.  Hence, Irish singers tend to sing 'The deeds of bold Napoleon will enshrine the bonny bunch …' The point being that Napoleon's attempts at liberation ended up having the opposite effect of that which was intended.  That point was naturally lost on English singers (like Harry Cox, Cyril Poacher, Walter Pardon or Phil Tanner) who took the Bonny Bunch to simply mean the three nations, and tended to sing 'sting' instead.

The melody, basically the same as the one Cox, Tanner and Poacher used to sing, derives from the Irish slow air, An Beinsín Luachra (The Little Bunch of Rushes).  Curiously enough, the text seems to be derived from an English language translation of this song, a version of which was published by Donal O'Sullivan in Songs of the Irish.  A text of The Bonny Bunch of Roses, printed by Haly of Cork and republished in Zimmermann Songs of Irish Rebellion has 'the bonny bunch of loughero' (corruption of luachra - rushes).  The text is undated, but Zimmermann estimates it to be circa 1830 - perhaps unaware of of the date of Napoleon II's death.

Cyril Poacher sings a splendidly terse version on Plenty of Thyme (MTCD303).  Walter Pardon uses an almost identical text, but has included elements of the Black-eyed Susan melody into the first and third lines of his tune, as heard on Put a Bit of Powder on it, Father (MTCD305-6).

7   The Valleys of Switzerland (sung by Harry Holman)   (Roud 16708)
(Recorded on 18.5.60 at The Cherry Tree, Copthorne)

...A sweet and verdant valley
Wit mountains high above
Looked down in snowy splendour
On the little girl I love.
Just a simple Switzer-maiden
Yet so pure and so divine
And my heart is fondly longing
For the day when she'll be mine.

In the valleys of Switzerland
Switzerland, Switzerland
With my sweetheart, hand in hand
How I long to be ...
For I know she'll be waiting there,
Waiting there, waiting there
A little home with (for) me to share
In the valleys of Switzerland.

In her eyes the tears were shining
On the day I said goodbye
Leaving home and love, my fortunes,
In a far-off land to try.
I can see her standing lonely
As the parting she recalls,
Of her absent lover dreaming
As the twighlight softly falls.

But a golden day is dawning
Home again once more I'll go,
Where the snow lies on the mountain
And hearts beat warm below.
I can feel those tender kisses
That I've yearned for oft in vain,
With my loving arms about her
Never more to part again.

Written by Charles Wilmott, composed by Hermann E Darewski, Jnr and sung by Miss Annie Purcell - date unknown, but before 1908.  Harry sings this almost the same as the printed song-sheet.  Although The Life of a Man was always Harry's most requested song and the one he called 'The old favourite', Jim Ward thinks 'The Valleys' was the one he liked singing best.  He often made an attempt at a yodel in this song (not very successfully!)

8   Rolling in the Dew (sung by George 'Pop' Maynard)   (Roud 298)
(Recorded on 18.5.60 at The Cherry Tree, Copthorne)

"Oh where are you going to, my pretty fair maid
With your red, rosy cheeks and your coal-black hair?"
"I'm a-going a-milking, kind sir" she answered me,
"For rolling in the dew makes the milkmaid fair."
"I'm a-going a-milking, kind sir" she answered me
"For rolling in the dew makes the milkmaid fair."

"Oh may I go with you? ..."
"Why surely you can please yourself ..."

"Then supposing I should lie you down ..."
"Why surely I'd get up again ..."

"Then supposing I should dirt your gown ..."
"Why surely it would wash again ..."

"Then supposing you should have a child ..."
"Why surely you would father it ..."

"Then what should we do for a cradle my darling
Oh what should we do for a cradle, my dear?"
"My father is a basket maker, kind sir ..."

"Then what should we do for linen my darling
Oh what should we do for linen, my dear?"
"My brother is a linen-draper, kind sir ..."

"Then supposing I should run away ..."
"May the devil fetch you back again ..."

There are 109 Roud entries for this song, 16 of which are sound recordings, though only five singers contributed to this total.  The vast majority of entries are from England (63) with those from Shropshire, Staffordshire and Lincolnshire being the most northerly.  Sussex and Somerset account for most of the others, but all the latter were collected by Sharp, so this could be somewhat misleading.  However, Scotland can boast 11 versions and the USA, 17.

Unusually, most of the entries refer to a named singer, but of the 80 or so of these only a very few will be known to most readers - Pop, Jeannie Robertson, Joseph Taylor, George Dunn ... that's about it.  I've heard of very few of the others.  Maybe this is an easy song to learn and remember, so that someone who didn't know anything else could trot it out for the roving collector ... or maybe it was one of the titles Mr Sharp listed when he asked the singer "D'you know any of those old folk songs?  You know, songs like Rolling in the Dew?" I offer this suggestion purely on the evidence that he collected 31 of these examples!

9   Bitter Withy (sung by Sara Porter)   (Roud 452)
(Recorded in 1965 in The Three Cups, Punnetts Town) ball one day holiday
When small drop rain downfall
As wee saviour he asked to his mother
Whether he could go to that ball

"That ball, that ball, dear child", said she,
That was time you were been gone."
So they built him a bridge of the beam of the sun
And off of the sea run he.

Said "Mary mild call back your child
For [all ours] drownded three."
For up she got and away she run
'Til she came to that willow tree.

"Oh bless, oh bless that bitter willow tree
That cross [caused] my poor back smart
But I'll let you know that very lattery
That will pierce you through the heart

But if you are lords' and ladies' sons
Is borned in the power of all
I'm only a poor woman so
Was borned in an oxen stall

If you are lords' and ladies' sons
Is borned in the power of all
I will let you know that very lattery
I'm the angel above you all."

A song known only in England and almost exclusively in the west Midlands - particularly Herefordshire, which accounts for 18 of Roud's 33 sightings.  Just two are from Sussex; a Mr Hunt, collected by Vaughan Williams in 1905, and Rev H Peckham heard it from the unusually-named Mrs Grease-Horn, of Nutley, Sussex, in 1908.

Only one other sound recording is known to Roud - that accredited to a collection by Karpeles and Kennedy from William Payne - then aged 59 and having learned the song from his father - in Gloucester in 1952 (BBC recording 18618).  However, the version on Songs of Ceremony (Caedmon/Topic) is a conflation of Payne's and one by Charlotte Smith of Tarrington, Herefordshire.  A traveller, of course. Smith was apparently recorded by Kennedy, also in 1952, but both that album and the Folktracks issue credit the collection from Payne as by Karpeles and Pat Shuldham-Shaw.  It's something of a paradox that, wherever there's some confusion about who really did what in the mid-20th century, the name of Peter Kennedy seems to be frequently involved, yet there is rarely any lack of clarity when it comes to demanding royalty payments on 'his' songs.

Another Traveller, Wiggy Smith, sings a very similar song, The High-Low Well, on Band of Gold (MTCD308).  Indeed, I am at a loss to see how this isn't merely a version of the same song - it was certainly collected mainly in the same geographical locations, except for a small group of sightings down in Cornwall.

10   Brennan on the Moor (sung by Jim 'Brick' Harber)   (Roud 476, Laws L7)
(Recorded on 10.2.60 at The Plough, Three Bridges)

It's of a fearless highwayman, a story I will tell,
His name is Willie Brennan, in Ireland he does dwell.
And on the Laverock Mountains, where he commenced his wild career,
And many a wealthy gentleman did 'fore him shake with fear.

Brennan on the Moor, Brennan on the Moor
Bold and undaunted stood young Brennan on the Moor.

A brace of loaded pistols he carried night and day
He never robbed a poor man upon the King's Highway
But what he took off from the rich, like Turpin and Black Bess
He always did divide it with the widows in distress.

He fell in with a packman, his name was Elder Bawn
They both jogged on together till the day began to dawn
The pedlar finding his money gone, likewise his watch and chain
He at once encountered Brennan and he robbed him back again.

Now Brennan finding the pedlar as good a man as he
He took him on the highway, his companion for to be
The pedlar threw away his pack, without any more delay
And he proved a faithful comerade until his dying day.

One day upon the mountain high as Willie he sat down
He saw the Mayor of Castle (Cashel), a mile outside the town
The Mayor he knew his features, "I think, young man" said he
"Your name is Willie Brennan, you must come along with me."

Now Brennan's wife was gone to town, provisions for to buy
And when she saw Willie she began to weep and cry.
He says "Hand to me that tenpence" - no sooner had he spoke,
She handed him the blunderbuss from underneath her cloak.

Now with his loaded blunderbuss, the truth I will unfold
He made the Mayor to tremble and he robbed him of his gold
One hundred pounds was offered for his apprehension there,
So with his horse and saddle to the mountains did prepare.

Now Brennan being an outlaw upon the mountains high
Where infantry and cavalry, to take him, they did try,
But he laughed at them with scorn until ?? reach
Then nine wounds he did receive before that he would yield.

Now he was taken prisoner, in irons he were bound
Conveyed to Clonwood (Clonmel)Jail, strong walls did him surround
He were tried and found guilty, the Judge made this reply,
"For robbing on the King's Highway you're both condemned to die."

Farewell unto my wife and to my children three
Likewise my agèd father, he may shed tears for,
And to my loving mother who tore her grey locks and cried
Saying "I wish that Willie Brennan, in your cradle you had died!"

According to James Healey, Willie Brennan was a farm labourer who, having robbed a British army officer for a dare, had to flee to the Kilworth Mountains and the roads of North Cork and Southern Tipperary.  Following his capture, he was tried at Clonmel, and hanged in the year 1804.  Broadsheets were printed in Cork c.1850 and the song soon spread to England, Scotland and North America, where it became the basis for the song Charlie Quantrell (see Alan Lomax The Folk Songs of North America. New York, 1960. p.347).  The ten-pence, mentioned in verse 6, was a small musket popular with Irish patriots and which, as the name suggests, could once be purchased for ten-pence each.

It is another song both popular and widespread among the English-speaking peoples of the world, with 92 Roud entries - mostly from books, broadsides and manuscripts.  It would appear to have been far more popular in the USA than its native Ireland.  Unusually, there's only one entry for Sussex - Ken Stubbs' collection from Fanny Pronger in East Grinstead, though in his book The Life of a Man, Ken mentions that Brick sang 'a short version'.  Additional verses in italics, above, are from Mrs Pronger's text.

Unusually again, there's only one English sound recording - from Charlie Wills of Bridport, Dorset - and only Robert Cinnamond and Jeannie Robertson have also recorded it in these islands.

11   The Volunteer Organist (sung by George Spicer)   (Roud 5378)
(Recorded 12.11.59 at The Oak Tree, Ardingley)

The preacher in the village church one Sunday morning said
"Our organist is ill today; will someone play instead?"
An anxious look crept o'er the face of every person there
As eagerly they watched to see who'd fill the vacant chair.
An old man staggered down the aisle, his clothes were old and torn
A stranger drunken seemed to be in church on Sunday morn
But as he touched those organ keys, without a single word
The melody that followed was the sweetest ever heard.

The scene was one I'll ne'er forget as long as I may live
And just to see it o'er again, all earthly wealth I'll give
Our congregation all amazed, the preacher old and grey,
The organ and the oganist who volunteered to play.

Each eye shed tears within the church, the strongest men grew pale.
The organist, in melody, had told his life's own tale.
The sermon of the preacher was, no lesson to compare
With that of life's example who sat in the organ chair.
And when the service reached its close not a soul had left his seat
Except the poor old organist, who started for the street.
Down the aisle and to the door he slowly made his way
The preacher rose and softly said "Kind brethren, let us pray."

Written by W B Gray (words) and Henry Lamb (music) in 1863, and sung on the halls by its lyricist, who worked under the name of William Glenroy.  It would appear from Roud that this song was little taken-up by the tradition, since there are only 15 entries and a number of these are duplicates (from books, collections and recordings).  All the earlier entries, in the 1920s, are from Canada and the USA.  In England it's been found mainly in Suffolk; John Howson heard it from Charlie Hancy in Bungay and Ginette Dunn found four singers in Snape and Blaxhall who knew it - and I have a feeling that Bob Hart did as well.  Only Fred Jordan (Aston Munslow, Shropshire) and Charlie Pitman (Padstow, Cornwall) are noted from outside this area - and George's version is the only one collected in the entire South East.  However, I'm pretty sure I've heard it from a number of other singers over the years ... Alf Wildman and Albert Shaw come to mind ... and Keith Chandler tells me that he has recordings - made at festivals - of George Belton (Sussex), Stanley Marsden (Yorkshire) and Freda Palmer (Oxon) singing it.

12   Brianey O'Lynn (sung by Jim Porter)   (Roud 294)
(Recorded in 1965 in The Three Cups, Punnetts Town)

Brianey O'Lynn was a gentleman born
And he lived down the lane where no clothes was worn
His fashion walked out, so [Brianey's walked in]
"So into the fashion" says Brianey O'Lynn

Refrain: "It'll do, it'll do", says Brianey O'Lynn, "It'll do."

Now Brianey O'Lynn had no britches to wear
So he got a sheep skin and he faked 'im out fair
The skinny side in, the woolly side out
"Pleasant and cool" says Brianey O'Lynn ...

Now Brianey O'Lynn had no jacket to wear
So he got a calf's skin and he faked 'im out fair
And he poked the two horns right under his chin
"They'll do for a pistol." said Brianey O'Lynn ...

Now Brianey O'Lynn had no hat for to wear
So he got an old kettle, he knocked 'im out fair
And he killed the old cock for the sake of the hen
"It'll do for a feather." said Brianey O'Lynn ...

Now Brianey O'Lynn had no watch for to wear
So he picked up a turnip, he scooped 'im out fair
And he catched a live cricket and placed 'im within
"I can hear 'im a-ticking." said Brianey O'Lynn ...

Now Brianey O'Lynn went to fetch his wife home
And he had but an horse, 'twas all skin and bone
And he placed 'em on as neat as a pin.
"It's off to old Ireland." said Brianey O'Lynn ...

Now Brianey O'Lynn and his wife and wife's mother
They was always crossing the bridge together
And the bridge it gave way and they all went in
"Oh, we shall find ground at the bottom." said Brianey O'Lynn ...

I skipped a lot of verses - all right?  There's miles of 'em ...

Although this piece of nonsense is quite popular, with 79 Roud entries, almost half of them are from N America.  It was recorded in August 1928 by the Flanagan Brothers - as Brian O'Lynn - in New York City.  There were various US issues but, more relevantly, it was issued in the UK - on Regal MR 688 - in 1932.

Of the 20 from England, the majority are from the northern half of the country ... and this is extremely unusual, since collecting was far more widely done in the South than in the North.  Again, it's slightly surprising to find only six from Scotland, as very many texts start with the line Brian O'Linn was a Scotchman born.  All the Scots entries have the protagonist as Tam o' the Linn.

The only other versions with Brian's name in the diminutive are two from the US and one from another Sussex Traveller, Wally Fuller, who has it as Briny-o-then-it'll-do, and the only other named Sussex singer is Minnie Wales.

13   Oxford City (sung by George 'Pop' Maynard)   (Roud 218, Laws P30)
(Recorded on 10.2.60 at The Plough, Three Bridges)

It was of a fair maid in Oxford City
The truth to you I now will tell
'Twas of a servant, a young man courted
He ofttimes told her he loved her well.
'Twas of a servant, a young man courted
He ofttimes told her he loved her well.
'Twas of a servant, a young man courted
He ofttimes told her he loved her well.

She loved him too much, but at a distance
She did not seem to be very fond
He said, "My dear, you seem to slight me
I think you love some other man."

"Or else my dear, why can't we marry?
And then together we'll end all strife
I will work for you both late and early
If you will be my sweet wedded wife."

"O no, my dear, we are too young to marry,
Too young to incline those marriage banns
For when we are married we're bound for ever,
My dear, then all our joys are fled."

It was very soon after, this young damsel
Was invited out to a dance, you know.
This jealous young man he followed after,
And he soon preparèd for an overthrow.

As she was a-dancing with another
This jealous young man he filled his mind
For to destroy his own true lover
Some poison he mixed in a glass of wine.

And very soon after she had drunk it
"Oh take me home, my dear" she cried,
"This glass of wine you so lately gave me
Has made me as ill as ill can be."

As they were a-going home together
These words to her he then did say
"I gave you poison all in your liquor
To take your tender life away."

"And I have drank the same, my jewel,
And I shall die as well as thee."
So in each other's arms they dièd
Young men be aware of all jealousy.

Yet another version of Young Maria (CD 1, track 3).  See that entry for notes on this song.

14   Buttercup Joe (sung by Jim Wilson)   (Roud 1635)
Recorded on 18.5.60 at The Cherry Tree, Copthorne)

I be a true-bred country chap
Me father come from Fareham
My mother she's got some more like I
And he well knows how to rare 'em.
Some pople call I "Bacon-fat"
And others "Turniphead"
But to prove to you I beyn't no flat
Although I'm coutry-bred.

For I can drive a cow or milk a plough
(For I can drive a plough or milk a cow)
I can reap or mow
I'm as fresh as a daisy that grows in a field
And they call I "Buttercup Joe."
Repeat whole chorus.

Now have you seen my young 'oman
They call her "Our Mary"
She works as busy as bumble-bee
Down in St Johns's dairy
And don't she make those dumplin's nice
By Joves, I mean to try 'em
And axed her how she'd like to wed
A country bloke like ... I am.

Some people they like hay-makin'
And others they like mowin',
But all the jobs that I like best
Is a job called tunip hoein'
And don't I, when I gets wed
To my old Mary Ann
I'll work for her and do my best
To please her all he can.

A music-hall song once sung by Harry Garratt, and later and far more famously, by the Sussex singer Albert Richardson - on the reverse of The Old Sow (Zonophone 5178 recorded on 14th May 1928, and later as Regal Zonophone T 5178).  It was Zonophone's best-selling disc of the time.  Richardson himself was, of course, a traditional singer - the sexton at Burwash, Sussex.

There are only 17 Roud entries, all from the southern counties of England, with only Jim, P Laker and Harry Upton being from Sussex.  That is hasn't been more widely collected is astounding, given its popularity.  In my youth, in Hampshire, we all knew it ... or maybe that was only the local version, which started:

Now I be a pure-bred country chap
Me father come from Fareham
Girls down 'ere wears calico drawers
But I knows how to tear 'em.

... and went downhill from there!

15   Once I Had a Dark Eyed Lover (sung by Sara Porter)   (Roud 16637)
(Recorded in 1965 in The Three Cups, Punnetts Town)

Now once I had a dark-eyed lover
He loved me more and more
Until one day there came another
He did not love me any more.

So give that ring from off your finger
And pull that necklace off my neck
And give it to the one you tru-lye lover
Give it to the one you love so best.

Oh, when I'm on my bed of illness
When I'm on my bed of pain
And when you see my baby smilin'
You will want me back again.

So goodbye Dad and goodbye Mother
And goodbye all my dearest friends
And goodbye you, you hateful lover
You have put my life to end.

Also sung, to pretty-well the same tune, by Caroline Hughes and published in MacColl and Seeger's superb Travellers' Songs from England and Scotland (Routledge & Keegan Paul, 1977) as Blue Eyed Lover.  There it's described as 'another of those unstable 'love has brought me to despair' texts.  The first two stanzas are from Fond Affection ...' This Fond Affection (related to Dear Companion, Roud 411) is an American song which is the same song as Go and Leave Me (Roud 459) in these islands.  Confused?

Steve Roud says "Dear Companion / Fond Affection / Go and Leave Me are clearly related songs, and MacColl's term 'unstable' is apposite, and they may well end up being conflated into one number (like the Died for Love complex), with a sub-division for the 'usual British' and 'usual American' types.

However, I don't agree with MacColl that the Blue/Dark-Eyed Lover is necessarily part of the same song complex. Although the sentiment and whole feel is patently similar, the actual words do not turn up in the several dozen versions I have looked at.  I'm inclined on present evidence to give it a new number - 16637 - but the missing link may well turn up in the future to tie them together."

Although there are 77 entries, 54 of these are from North America, and only five English singers are named.  Another tip-of-the-iceberg situation for Steve, I think, because in my experience, the Go and Leave Me version is still very well-known in southern English pubs.

16   Spencer the Rover (sung by Jim Porter)   (Roud 1115)
(Recorded in 1965 in The Three Cups, Punnetts Town)

(This tale was composèd by young Spencer the Rover
Who wandered most parts of Great Britain and Wales
He had been so reducèd, which caused great confusion
And that was the reason he set off on the rails.

At Yorkshire, near Rotherham, he had been on his rambles
Being tired and hungry, he sat down to rest
At the foot of a mountain, where runs a clear fountain
With bread and with water, himself he refreshed.

And it tasted more sweeter than the honey he had wasted
It tasted more sweeter than the gold he had spent
It was the thought of his children lamenting their father
That caused him to weep and caused him to repent.)

The night fast-lye 'proaching, to the woods he resorted
With woodbind and ivy for the makin' a bed
Oh, he dreamt about sighing, lye-ment-anly crying
"Go home to your parents, go ramblin' no more."

Now on the fifth of November I have reasons to remember,
When first I arrived to my family and wife.
My wife stood surprising just to see me arriving
For to see such a stranger once more in her eye.

Now the children come round me with their prit-prattling stories,
With their prit-prattling stories to drive care away.
We're united together like the birds of a feather,
Like a bee in a hive and contented we'll be.

Now I am placed in my cottage contented,
With the woodbind and the ivy all hang round my door,
I'm as happy as those who got plenty of riches
I'll stay at home, I'll go rambling no more.

A popular song in southern England (56 Roud entries), which has been made famous by the version collected from and sung by the Copper family of Rottingdean.  However, instances have been found as far north as Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire and one, only one, from Yorkshire.  This, collected in 1907 by R A A Gatty, was sung by George Hall in the village of Hooton Roberts which, I'm extraordinarily pleased to be able to tell you, really is 'at Yorkshire, near Rotherham' - about three miles from the town, in fact!

The missing first part of Jim Porter's song is supplied from the version sung by Ursula Ridley, of West Hoathly, rather than the Coppers - just by way of a change.

17   Rumpsy Bumpsy (sung by George 'Pop' Maynard)   (Roud 1212)
(Recorded on 18.5.60 at The Cherry Tree, Copthorne)

(I courted a girl, a charming girl
I courted her so well
Her name was Kitty Maria
And mine was Timothy Bell
I courted her at her father's house
She was such a ticklish one
He said if he caught me there again
He'd kick my bott-um)

Now Kitty and I, we made it right
A ladder for to bring
To climb the bedroom window
How we though it just the thing.
Says Timothy "I will go up first,
Just to see how the trick is done."
But his leg slipped through the window
He fell backwards and cut his bott-um.

With a rumpsy bumpsy tiddle-eye umpsy
Rumpsy bumpsy day
With a rumpsy bumpsy tiddle-eye umpsy
Rumpsy bumpsy day.

Now, they wheeled me home in a wheelbarrow
They wheeled my home with care
Gently to my surprise
Me father and mother were there
Saying me mother to me father
"What has Timothy bin an' done?
He's bin out courting those girls again
And he's lost all his bott-um.

Now Kitty and I, we made it right
Forto go and get get wed
Well, of course we made a sling for me arm
In which I put me head (leg)
When I was going down the street
The girls did holler and run,
Here comes a man with his trouser down
And he's lost all his bott-um.

This is the same song as the Copper family's Wop She 'ad it I-O, which is known in Yorkshire, Gloucestershire, Dorset and Essex, as well as Sussex, and recordings by Bill House, Tom Steward, the Coppers and Harry Green should still be available, though not on CD.  There are only 10 Roud entries, all from England.

18   The Dying Stockman (sung by Cyril Philips)   (Roud 7994)
(Recorded 27.5.60 at The Royal Oak, Milton Street)

A strapping young stockman lay dying
His saddle supporting his head
His school mates beside him were crying
As he leaned on his elbow and said

Wrap me up with my stockwhip and blanket
And bury me deep down below
Where the dingoes and crows won't molest me
In the shade where the coolibar grows.

Had I the flight of the bronze wing
All over the place I would fly
Straight to the land of my childhood
And there I would lay down and die.

Then cut down a couple of saplings
Place one at my head and my toe
Carve on them crossed stockwhips and saddles
To show there's a stockman below.

Oh, there's tea in the old battered billy
Place the panikins out in a row
And we'll drink to our next merry meeting
In the place where all good fellows go.

Hark there is the wail of the dingo
Watchful and weird I must go
For it tolls the death knell of the stockman
From the broom and the scrub down below.

This song is extremely well-known in Australia, and is a parody of an earlier British song called Wrap Me Up in My Tarpaulin Jacket, written in 1884 by one G J White-Melville, so one may assume that this is one of the songs which Cyril picked up during his Australian travels.  A slight mystery surrounds its composition; Michael Kilgariff, in Sing Us One of the Old Songs, gives Whyte-Melville's dates as 1821-78, but also says he wrote Tarpaulin Jacket in 1884 - a good trick if you can do it!

There are seven Australian entries in Roud, and one British one - from Ben Bright, collected by MacColl and Seeger in 1972.

19   The Game of All Fours (sung by Sara Porter)   (Roud 232)
(Recorded in 1965 in The Three Cups, Punnetts Town)

(As) I was a-walking one bright summer's morning,
Dark was the night, sure, and [dark] was the morn,
Who should I meet but a fair pretty creature
As I was a-walking all on the highway.

Sure we walked and we talked just a few miles together
'Til we did came to some green shady tree
My love he sat down and I sat beside of him,
And the game that we played, love, was one, two and three.

"Oh, I dealed 'em last time, it's your time to shuffle,
I'll deal you the three worst cards into the pack".
He chucked down the ace and deuce of all sorrow,
That'll leave me to play High Low Jack in the game

For I picked up my hat and I bid him good morning,
He picked up his coat and he bid me farewell.
Said "Kind sir, if you're this way tomorrow,
Well play the game over and over again."

A fairly widely collected song, found only in the southern half of England, with 40 Roud entries, the most northerly being from Staffordshire and Norfolk.  It seems to be very popular amongst Travellers and George Dunn, Charlie Wills and Sam Larner are about the only Gorgios amongst the singers named.  Wally Fuller is the only other Sussex source in the Index.

There are 14 other sound recordings, but only those by Phoebe Smith (VT136CD), Levi Smith (TSCD 661) and Sam Larner (TSCD511) are available on CD.  I've included Sam's rather more complete text here:

All Fours As I walked out on one midsummer's morning
It happened to be on a sunshiny day
'Twas them I espied a pretty fair damsel
As she was got walking all on the highway.

I stepped up to her and I bid her good morning
Saying, 'Where are you going so early this morn?"
She said, 'Kind Sir, I'm going to Lisbon
In that little town wherein I was born.

Said I, "Pretty fair maid, and may I go with you?
And may I accept of your sweet company?"
She said, "Kind Sir, you're heartily welcome
You're heartily welcome to walk with me."

Now, we had not been walking scarcely half an hour,
Before acquainted, acquainted came we
She said, "Kind Sir, come sit down beside me
And there I will play you a sweet civil game.

Said I, "Pretty fair maid, I'm not given to gaming,
But still for all that, I am willing to learn"
"Now the game that we play shall be as all fours
And that I can beat you three to your one."

Now, she cut the cards, it was my turn to deal them
I dealt her all trumps, I alone had poor Jack
And she had the ace and the deuce for to follow.
Which are the very best cards in the pack

Now, she led of her ace and she stole poor Jack from me
Which made her both high, low, Jack and game
She said "Kind sir, I freely beat you
Unless you can play the game over again."

Now, I put on my hat and I bid her good morning
Although she was high, low, Jack and the game
She said "Kind Sir, call this way tomorrow
And we'll play me game over and over again."
20   Cremona (Lamorna) (sung by Harry Holman and Pop Maynard)   (Roud 16636)
(Recorded on 18.5.60 at The Cherry Tree, Copthorne)

... well, I never shall forget
Her eyes shone like the stars, oh the evening it was wet,
Her hair hung down in curls, a lovely little doner,
With a voice so sweet she asked of me,
The way down to Cremona

For her hair hung down in curls, I never shall forget
Her eyes shone like the stars, though the evening it was wet,
[She had] lovely jet black eyes, I thought I'd like to own her
With a voice so sweet she asked of me,
The way down to Cremona.

.... when she asked of me my name,
I quickly said to her, then she asked of me the same,
Then she lifted up her veil which had covered her face all over
And upon my life, it was wife I'd been courting in Cremona.

One of the many songs which get set up as the Cornish national anthem from time to time.  I've never heard it traditionally sung east of the Tamar before, and Roud has only the 1975 Kennedy recording of the customers of the Napoleon Inn, Boscastle, singing it.  However, there is another version on Folktracks 60-247, Away Down to Lamorna by the Matthews brothers, of Logan Rock, near Land's End, Cornwall, collected by Kennedy in 1956.

21   Young Sailor Cut Down (sung by Harry Holman)   (Roud 2, Laws Q26 / B1)
(Recorded 16.12.59 at The Cherry Tree, Copthorne)

Way down in the street there, two women were watching
One turned to the other and to her did say
"There goes the young sailor whose money I've sqandered
For he's a young sailor cut down in his prime."

So play the drums o'er him, play the pipes merrily
Play the dead march as you carry him along
Take him to the churchyard, fire three volleys o'er him
For he's a young sailor cut down in his prime.

Way down in the street there, two women were watching
One turned to the other and to her did say
"There goes the young sailor whose money I sqandered,
There goes a young sailor cut down in his prime.

That's all I 'member 'that ...

An extremely popular and widespread song throughout these islands and North America - in fact, over half of Roud's 240 entries are from the USA, where - one must assume - they remember it rather better than Harry does here.  Only six of the 50 English ones are from Sussex with Harry Upton, Corn Botting, Johnny Doughty and George Belton being named.

It's an old song, but doesn't appear in many broadsides (only 6), but it has been included in a few books - 135 to be exact!

22   What D'you Think of That? (sung by an unknown singer)   (Roud 16706)
(Recorded on 27.5.60 at The Royal Oak, Milton Street)

Now I'm a jolly good sort of a country chap
Known to many of you.
While walking out the other night
It caused me now to rue
I met a girl dressed up so smart
In a tammie-o-shanter hat
She had two legs like to two clothes props
She was hopping about in the street.

Oh, she touched me on the shoulder
She tickled me under the chin,
She tickled me under my left arm
And didn't she make me grin?
She poked me under my fifth rib
She patted me on the back,
She wanted to know where me funny bone was
So what do you think of that?

And now to tell the truth, me boys
So sudden was the blow,
And what to do with myself just then
I really did not know.
I went and stood behind a tree
I looked the other way,
I felt like a fellow who'd swallowed a [punt]
For I wished she'd go away


And now to tell the truth, me boys
I took her home with me,
I took her to me mother's
And I told her about the spree.
I took her to the church, me boys,
And that morning we got wed
And never shall I forget that night
When we jumped into bed.

For I touched her on the shoulder
I tickled her under the chin,
I tickled her under her left arm
And didn't I make her grin,
I poked her under her fifth rib
I patted her on the back,
And I jolly soon found where her funny bone was
So what do you think of that?

The Music Hall singer Ernie Mayne made a record (Winner 3670) in March or April 1922 with the same title, but Jim Ward says it's not the same song as this.  What D'yer Think of That (alternative title-My Old Man's a Dustman) was written by John P Long and is the song that Lonnie Donegan messed about with ('New words and music by Donegan' as the label says) to get composer credits.  The song Brian recorded here is quite different, but we can't find any information about it.

23   Outlandish Knight (sung by Sara Porter)   (Roud 21, Child 4)
(Recorded in 1965 in The Three Cups, Punnetts Town)

Oh go and get me some of you mother's money
And some of your father's gold,
And two of the best nags from the stable
What they do stand thirty and three.

He mounted on the chestnut bay
And she on the lily white grey
They rid til they came to the deep river side
Three hours before it was day.

"Oh, my pretty Polly,
Don't tell no tales upon me
I have drowned six pretty maids drowned here
And the seventh one you shall be.

"Oh, my pretty Polly,
Don't tell no tales upon me
Your house shall be made of the best ivory,
And the gates of the glitters of gold."

An incredibly popular ballad all over the world, with 570 Roud entries - almost 300 of which are from the USA.  England boasts about 170, only nine of which are from Sussex.  It's quite unusual to find it in the Traveller repertoire - I only recognise the names of Charlotte Renals, Mary Ann Haynes, May Bradley and Nelson Ridley in the list.

It goes by a wide variety of titles, the present one being the most popular in Britain.  On the face of it this is rather odd, since it derives from the classic Lady Isabel and the Elf Knight, by which title it is widely known in North America, yet I can find no instance of a singer from these islands using that name.  The story is extremely old - beyond Lady Isabel it is traceable, in eastern Europe at least, back a millennium or more!

In the USA it is also frequently called Pretty Polly (about 60 instances), which is also a little odd since the heroine of the story is rarely so named in the British ballads from which the American ones have developed - clearly they like the parrot over there ... and so do I - feeling that a ballad is not really a ballad without at least one exotic bird and a bottomless boat to put your foot in!

Although there are 35 sound recordings noted, few appear to have made it onto the digital medium, and only Jumbo Brightwell (NLCD3 and Rounder 1741), Mary Ann Haynes (TSCD 661) and Fred Jordan (TSCD 600) are available on CD.

24   William Lennard (sung by George 'Pop' Maynard)   (Roud 189, Laws Q33)
(Recorded on 18.5.60 at The Cherry Tree, Copthorne)

('Twas early) one morning young Willie arose
Straight way to his comrade he immediately goes
Saying, comrade, royal comrade, let nobody know
For this is a fine morning and a-bathing we'll go.

As they were a-walking all down the long lane
The first that they met was a keeper of game
Said he to young Willie "I pray you turn back wi' me
For there's deep and false water on the lakes of Colefinn.

Young Willie he [strippèd] and he swam the lake round
'Til he came to an island but not on right ground.
Then he said to his comrade "I am now going weak."
And these were the last words young Willie did speak.

Oh the very next morning his Polly came there,
Saying "Mother, oh Mother, I've had a sad dream
That young Willie's a-floating on the lakes of Colefinn.

Now the very next morning his mother came ,
Saying "Murder, oh murder - is there anyone close by
That would venture their life for my own darling boy?"

Now the very next morning his uncle came there
Saying "Where was he drownded, or did he fall in?
For there's deep and false waters on the lakes of Colefinn."

And as for his sweetheart, she's cause to complain
For it was every Sunday morning she did him salute
With pinks and red roses and fine garden fruit.

Now the day of his funeral there was a grand sight,
There was four-and-twenty Irish girls all dressed in milk-white
They carried him on their shoulders, laid his body in cold clay
Saying "Adieu to young Willie" and they all walked away.
They carried him on their shoulders, laid his body in cold clay
Saying "Adieu to young Lennard" and they all walked away.

... That's William Lennard.

See CD 1, track 9 for notes to this song.  Like Harry Cox, Pop Maynard is a singer who rarely uses obvious melodic or rhythmic ploys to keep the listener's attention throughout a long song, yet succeeds in doing so magnificently.  His subtle approach to telling a story works extremely well with this ballad and, together with its fine melody, makes it one of my favourite tracks.  So caught up was I that it must have been the third or forth hearing before I became conscious of all the three-line verses!

Oddly, Peter Kennedy recorded this twice from Pop in 1955 and '56, yet did not use the title the singer obviously knew it by - listen to the spoken line at end of the song.

25   Dark Eyed Sailor (played by Scan Tester, sung by the remains of the company)   (Roud 265, Laws N35)
(Recorded 27.5.60 at The Royal Oak, Milton Street)

... and so: as the last few late drinkers begin to totter away from the pub; as the barman wipes down the tables; and one or two people ruefully review the wisdom of having accepted that lift from Cyril, Scan gently plays a lovely old song that everyone ought to know the words of - and probably did a couple of pints ago - we say farewell to The Royal Oak, to the company and - as Harold Macmillan speaks of "a wind of change" - to Sussex at the start of the Sixties.  Things would never be quite the same again ......

The Credits:

Much of the above information is culled from: All the recordings were made by Brian Matthews at song sessions in The Cherry Tree, Copthorne; Plough, Three Bridges; Oak Tree, Ardingley; Royal Oak, Milton Street; Three Cups, Punnetts Town and the Abergavenny Arms, Copthorne, as indicated below the song titles.  He also provided some of the information in this booklet, and some of the photos.

My sincere thanks to Brian, and to everyone who has helped to make this project a reality …

Booklet: some text, all editing, DTP, printing; CD: formatting, digital editing, sound restoration, production - by Rod Stradling, Winter 2000

A Musical Traditions Records production ©2001

[Track List] [Introductions] [The Pubs] [The Times] [The Singers] [The Songs] [CD 1] [CD 2] [Credits]

Article MT069

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