1 A Beggar Man sung by Lizzie Higgins, rec. Sutton Bonington, Leicestershire, 1988. Roud 118, Child 279.
AKA The Jolly Beggar. For notes to this ballad, please see Vol 7(14).
2 Lord Baker sung by John Reilly, rec. Dublin, 1967. Roud 40, Child 53.
AKA Young Beichan. Professor Child prints 15 versions of this ballad, all but one from Scotland. He also mentions a number of European examples from Spain to Scandinavia. After collecting a very full set of Lord Bateman from a Sussex Gypsy some years ago, I was intrigued to hear the singer’s three daughters arguing among themselves as to whether it really was possible for a man to marry two women on the same day. Child mentions the story of Gilbert Becket, father of St Thomas, whose biography is similar to part of the ballad.
Roud has 517 instances, more than half of which are from North America. In these islands it appears to have been most popular in England, and there are only four named singers from Ireland.
Other Recordings: Wiggy & Denny Smith (Gloucestershire) - Musical Traditions MTCD 307. Joseph Taylor (Lincolnshire) - Topic TSCD 600. Eunice Yeatts MacAlexander (Virginia) - Musical Traditions MTCD 321-2. Roby Monroe Hicks (North Carolina) - Appleseed CD 1035. Campbell MacLean & Bella Higgins (Scotland) - Greentrax CD 9005. Jeannie Robertson (Aberdeen) & Thomas Moran (Leitrim) have butchered versions on Rounder CD1775.
3 Jack Hall sung by Walter Pardon, Knapton, Norfolk, 1976. Roud 369, Laws L5.
Of Jack Hall, Frank Kidson, the pioneer of folksong study, had this to say: ‘Jack Hall was a chimney sweep, executed for burglary in 1701. He had been sold when a child to a chimney sweeper for a guinea and was quite a young man when Tyburn claimed him’. Roy Palmer - a latter-day Kidson - was able to expand the story in his book The Sound of History which was printed in 1988.
‘Jack or John Hall...was born of poor parents who lived in a court off Grays Inn Road, London, and who sold him for a guinea at the age of 7 to be a climbing boy. Readers of Charles Kingsley’s Water Babies (1863) will know how such boys (and girls) swept chimneys by scrambling up inside them. The young Hall soon ran away from this disagreeable occupation, and made a living as a pickpocket. Later he turned to housebreaking, for which he was whipped in 1692 and sentenced to death in 1700. He was reprieved, then released, but returned to crime and was re-arrested in 1702 for stealing luggage from a stagecoach. This time, he was branded on the cheek and imprisoned for two years. Finally, having been taken in the act of burgling a house in Stepney, he was hanged at Tyburn on 17 December 1707.’In the 1840s a Music Hall singer W G Ross revised the song, changing the name to Sam Hall in the process. On 10 March 1848 Percival Leigh noted the following account of an evenings entertainment in an early Music Hall:
‘After that, to supper at the Cider Cellars in Maiden Lane, wherein was much Company, great and small, and did call for Kidneys and Stout, then a small glass of Aqua-vitae and water, and thereto a Cigar. While we supped, the Singers did entertain us with Glees and comical Ditties; but oh, to hear with how little wit the young sparks about town were tickled! But the thing that did most take me was to see and hear one Ross sing the song of Sam Hall the chimney-sweep, going to be hanged: for he had begrimed his muzzle to look unshaven, and in rusty black clothes, with a battered old Hat on his crown and a short Pipe in his mouth, did sit upon the platform, leaning over the back of a chair: so making believe that he was on his way to Tyburn. And then he did sing to a dismal Psalm-tune, how that his name was Sam Hall and that he had been a great Thief, and was now about to pay for all with his life; and thereupon he swore an Oath, which did make me somewhat shiver, though divers laughed at it. Then, in so many verses, how his Master had badly taught him and now he must hang for it: how he should ride up Holborn Hill in a Cart, and the Sheriffs would come and preach to him, and after them would come the Hangman; and at the end of each verse he did repeat his Oath. Last of all, how that he should go up to the Gallows; and desired the Prayers of his Audience, and ended by cursing them all round. Methinks it had been a Sermon to a Rogue to hear him, and I wish it may have done good to some of the Company. Yet was his cursing very horrible, albeit to not a few it seemed a high Joke; but I do doubt that they understood the song.’Ross’s ‘dismal Psalm-tune’ - also used by Walter in this recording - has been on the go for at least three hundred years and has done service for such songs as William Kidd, The Praties They Grow Small, Aikendrum and the hymn Wonderous Love.
Despite the song's age and familiarity it has only been collected from about 18 singers in the oral tradition. It's appeal seems to have been limited to England and the USA, and there have been only six sound recordings made.
Other Recordings: Gordon Hall (Sussex) - Veteran VT 115.
4 The Bonnie Hoose o’ Airlie sung by John MacDonald, Elgin, Morayshire, 1974. Roud 794, Child 199, Greig/Duncan 233 (9 versions).
Airlie Castle lies some nine miles to the northeast of Blairgowrie, in Perthshire and was destroyed by the Earl of Argyle’s covenanting forces on 7, July, 1640. Greig notes, ‘The Convention of Estates granted to Archibald the Grim, Earl of Argyle, a "commission of fire and sword" against his hereditary enemy, the newly-created Earl of Airlie, and other adherents of the King. Airlie had fled to England, and when Argyle approached Airlie Castle in force, Airlie’s eldest son, Lord Ogilvie, retired for assistance, leaving his wife and child in the charge of a small garrison. Before the Castle was carried, Lady Ogilvie and her family made their escape.’ For further details, see The Greig-Duncan Folk Song Collection vol.2, 1983, p.541.
Other Recordings: Belle Stewart (Perthshire) - Rounder CD 1776.
5 Buried in Kilkenny sung by Mary Delaney, rec. London, 1977. Roud 10, Child 12.
AKA Lord Randal. Nowadays, English versions of Lord Randal are usually met with in the form of Henry, My Son (see George Spicer’s version on Musical Traditions MTCD 311-2), although there is one gloriously eccentric version available (Ray Driscoll’s The Wild, Wild Berry on EFDSS CD02). The ballad is ancient (certainly dating back to c.1600, if not before) and shows similarities to the ballad Edward (Child 13), a version of which was also sung by Mary Delaney on track 11 of this CD. Child gives extensive notes and details version from all over Europe. This is one of the few Child Ballads to have entered the Irish language. Anne Warner prints two fine American versions, Lord Randall and Jimmy Ransome, from the singer Frank Proffitt in Traditional American Folk Songs (1984) pp. 271 - 73. According to a note by Daibhi Ó Croinin in his book The Songs of Elizabeth Cronin, 2000, p.146), ‘Hugh Sheilds suggests that the song (Marrowbones - see 6(7) -) is a burlesque of the international ballad of tragic poisoning (Lord Randal, Donna Lombarda, Schlangenkochin, etc) "in which the faithless wife or mistress uses dishes ranging in the different accounts from ‘roasted eele’ to ‘fish caught in the stable with a dung-fork’".
Well over half of Roud's 503 examples are from North America. England and Scotland share the remainder about equally, with only ten named singers coming from Ireland. Astonishingly, Roud shows no broadside publications at all!
Other Recordings: George Dunn (Staffordshire) - Musical Traditions MT CD 317-8. John MacDonald (Morayshire) - Topic TSCD 653. Joe Heaney (Galway) - Topic TSCD518D. Gordon Hall (Sussex) - Country Branch CBCD 095. There are also a number of badly edited versions (sung by Jeannie Robertson, Elizabeth Cronin, Thomas Moran, Colm McDonagh and Eirlys & Eddis Thomas) on Rounder CD 1775.
6 The Dowie Dens o’ Yarrow sung by Willie Scott, rec. London, 1967. Roud 13, Child 214.
Willie’s father, who shepherded in Yarrow, picked up this version of the ballad sometime around 1882 and subsequently passed it on to Willie. The air is different from that usually associated with these words, although there are still singers today in Liddersdale who continue to use the same tune. See also Vol 3(16).
7 Young Alvin sung by Packie Manus Byrne, London, 1974. Roud 2988.
According to both R S Thomson and Frank Purslow (personal correspondence) versions of Young Alvin appeared in late 18th-century chapbooks, although I have not, so far, come across one. Packie learnt the ballad in the early 1930s at Ballysadare horse fair from Kathleen Collins, a tinker whose family travelled around Fermanagh and Tyrone. He could not recall having heard it sung elsewhere - and nor has Roud. Presumably the line ‘But ere he came to earl’s court’ (verse 4) refers to that part of west London that is now called ‘Earls Court’.
8 The Mountain Streams Where the Moorcock Crows sung by Sheila Stewart, rec. Sutton Bonington, Leicestershire, 1988. Roud 2124.
Sam Henry (H32) collected a version of this song in 1924 and noted that it ,’was composed about 70 years ago by a roving sportsman in honour of a young lady of Letterloan’. Almost all collected versions are from the north of Ireland and it may well have been taken to Scotland by Travellers who had spent time in Ulster.
Other Recordings: Paddy Tunney (Fermanagh) - Topic TSCD 656.
9 There Was a Lady Lived in the West sung by Robert Cinnamond, Co Antrim, 1961. Roud 64, Child 100.
AKA Willie o' Winsbury. Sharp 25 (4 versions). Greig/Duncan 999 (10 versions). Sam Henry (H.221) noted a version of this, which he called The Rich Ship Owner’s Daughter, although the singer, Harry Pollock, a blacksmith from Cumber-Claudy, called it John Barbour, a title still used today along the Maritime coast of eastern America. The story tells of a King whose daughter becomes pregnant whilst he is away overseas. On his return, the King threatens to hang the child’s father, only to relent when he sees how beautiful the lad is. He agrees to allow the boy to wed his daughter and offers a large dowry, which the lad refuses, saying that he has enough land and gold at home in Scotland. In some versions he boy adds that, one day, he will become King of Scotland. Some scholars, having latched onto this Royal connection, have suggested that the ballad might refer to James V of Scotland, who married a daughter of Francis I, having first been in disguise when he first saw her. Others disagree. Gavin Greg believed that the ballad’s popularity in Scotland was due to its frequent printings in chapbooks.
Other Recordings: Mary McGrath (Wexford) - European Ethnic Oral Traditions Songs of the Irish Travellers (Dublin, no issue number). Joe McCafferty (Knockfola) - European Ethnic Oral Traditions McCafferty (Dublin, no issue number).
10 In Worcester City sung by Harry Cox, Catfield, Norfolk, 1958. Roud 15, Laws P36A & B.
Originally a blackletter broadside, The Gosport Tragedy, that can be found in the Roxburghe collection. Later printers called it The Cruel Ship’s Carpenter. Sharp found 12 versions in England, and no less than 21 additional versions in the Appalachians. The American song Pretty Polly is based on the same blackletter broadside - indeed, two thirds of Roud's 283 instances are from North America.
Other Recordings: Wiggy & Denny Smith (Gloucestershire) - Musical Traditions MTCD 307. George Dunn (Staffordshire) - Musical Traditions MTCD 317-8. Harry Cox (Norfolk) - Topic TSCD 667. Sam Larner (Norfolk) - Topic TSCD511. Estil Ball (Virginia) - Rounder CD 1701. Frank Proffitt Jr (North Carolina) - Appleseed CD 1036.
11 What Put the Blood? sung by Mary Delaney, London, 1977. Roud 200, Child 13.
AKA Edward. For notes, please see Vol 3(3).
12 Lady Mary Ann sung by Lizzie Higgins, Aberdeen, 1975. Roud 31, Laws O35, Greig/Duncan 6:1222.
An unusual version of The Bonny Boy is Young, But a-Growing - for notes to which, please see Vol 3(2).
James Duncan collected two verses of this particular version from a Mrs Lyall in 1905, while Tony Engle recorded Lizzie Higgins singing it in 1975. The other five entries in Roud for Lady Mary Ann are all early versions (i.e. before 1850); they are all quite similar to Lizzie's text. So one may say that there were two textual 'branches' of this song, relatively distinct but not completely so, both of which go back at least to about 1800, or before. Apparently Lizzie got the words from her great-aunt on her father's side, Jean Stewart, but didn't like the tune Jean used. Peter Hall said that she had taken her father's suggestion that it would go well with the pipe tune Mrs Macdonald of Dunacht.
13 Once There Lived a Captain sung by John Reilly, rec. Dublin, 1967. Roud 3376.
There are a number of songs on the theme of the returned lover killing him/herself when they discover that their truelove has already died. However, Once There Lived a Captain is something of a rarity, and has seldom been encountered by song collectors. Jim Carroll and Pat Mackenzie recorded it in London from Mikeen McCarthy of Cahersiveen, Co Kerry, in 1975, and Kevin Conniff, of the Chieftains, sings a version that he learnt from Seán Ó Conaire of Rosmue, Co Galway.
14 The Gypsy Laddie sung by Jeannie Robertson, Aberdeen, 1953. Roud 1, Child 200.
For notes to this song, please see Vol 6(1).
15 Young Edmund sung by Harry Cox, Catfield, Norfolk, late 1950s - early 1960s. Roud 182, Laws M34.
For notes to this song, please see Vol 3(7).
16 Barbara Allen sung by Sarah Makem, Keady, Co Antrim, 1967. Roud 54, Child 84.
First known from an entry in Pepys’ diary for 2 January, 1666: ‘In perfect pleasure I was to hear her (Mrs Knipps, an actress) sing, and especially her little Scotch song of Barbary Allen’ and mention could also be made of this 1765 comment by Goldsmith, ‘The music of the finest singer is dissonance to what I felt when an old dairy-maid sung me into tears with "Johnny Armstrong’s Last Good-night," or "The Cruelty of Barbara Allen".’
This must surely be the best-known of all the ballads assembled together by Professor Child. There are 8 versions in Greg/Duncan (1193) and Sharp noted 29 versions of the tune in England (as well as a further 16 sets in the Appalachians). Indeed, it is the song with the most entries in Roud's Index - an astonishing 907!
An Ulster version collected by Sam Henry (H.236) should be compared with Mrs Makem’s beautifully sung version. When I once asked Dan Tate, a Virginian singer, why he liked the song, he replied that the ending - with its rose and briar motif - "Just couldn’t be beat." Some scholars have suggested that Pepys’ comment indicates that the ballad was originally sung on the stage. Others, including the American scholar Phillips Barry, have suggested that the piece was originally a libel on Charles II and his mistress Barbara Villiers.
Other Recordings: Garrett & Norah Arwood (North Carolina) - Musical Traditions MTCD 324. Texas Gladden (Virginia) - Rounder CD 1800. Joe Heaney (Connemara) - Topic TSCD518D. Jim Wilson (Sussex) - Musical Traditions MTCD 309-10. Phoebe Smith (Suffolk) - Veteran VT136CD. Bob Hart (Suffolk) - Neil Lanham CD NLCD3. Frank Hinchliffe (Yorkshire) - Veteran VT 109. Annadeene Fraley (Kentucky) - Rounder CD 8041. Rebecca King Jones (N Carolina) - Appleseed APR CD 1035. The usual mess of five edited versions on Rounder CD 1775. The Library of Congress previously issued a full LP - Versions and Variants of Barbara Allen (AAFS 154) - devoted to this single ballad.
Volume 18: To Catch a Fine Buck Was My Delight - Songs of Hunting & Poaching (Topic TSCD 668) Review
1 While Gamekeepers Were Sleeping sung by Bob Roberts, Ryde, Isle of Wight, 1977. Roud 363.
For notes to this song, please see track 14 below.
2 On Yonder Hill There Sits a Hare sung by Geordie Hanna, Derrytresk, Co Tyrone, 1977. Roud 5173.
One of the finest of all Ulster’s male singers with one of its finest hunting songs (or, maybe, even an anti-hunting song) and known only from Geordie who heard it from no-one but his father and Uncle George. The first four notes of the air seem to echo a hunting-horn call.
3 The Irthing Water Hounds sung by Willie Scott, Blairgowrie, Perthshire, 1967. Roud 5692.
The River Irthing lies to the north of Brampton, in Cumbria, to the south of Liddesdale, and like Willie’s other hunting song, The Keilder Hunt (track 13), is an English composition. Again, this appears to be the only collected version.
Contrary to what the Countryside Alliance would have us belive, hunting (as opposed to poaching) does not appear to be such a terribly popular pass-time - or, at least, not with the ordinary folk who keep these old songs alive. Virtually all the hunting songs on this CD are extremely rare in the oral tradition.
4 The White Hare sung by Joseph Taylor, London, 1908. Roud 1110.
Frank Kidson prints a version of this in his Traditional Tunes (1899), with the following note. ‘A tune obtained for me by Mr Lolly, from the singing of a man near Howden, now lately dead. Musicians will, I think, congratulate Mr Lolly upon obtaining such a fine and sterling old air. I wish I could say as much for the words.’ Kidson’s song is set in the area around Howden, rather than Oldham as in Joseph Taylor’s version, and Kidson mentions that it was once popular in Howden. Kidson had also seen the words on broadside, usually titled Near Maxwell Town or Near Mansfield Town. Peter Kennedy also recorded it for the BBC from a Mrs Cooke, of Cardington, Shropshire, in 1952 - the only other known source.
5 Out With My Gun in the Morning sung by Jimmy Knights, Little Glemham, Suffolk, 1975. Roud 1847.
Another rare song; aside from a Mrs Phillips, who Alfred Williams heard singing it in Burton, Wiltshire, this has been collected only from Jimmy Knights and, by the BBC, from Jim Baldry in Melton, Suffolk, in 1956.
6 The Huntsman’s Horn sung by Big John Maguire, Newtonbutler, Co Fermanagh, 1980. Roud 12920.
Again, this is Roud's only known collection of this song.
7 The Hungry Fox sung by Harry Burgess, Glynde, Sussex, 1956. Roud 131.
Most people know this one from the Burl Ives recording. A verse of the song can be found in Gammer Gurton’s Garland (1810) and it is one of the songs that Sir Walter Scott listed as being a favourite of his childhood. Many Victorian broadside printers listed it in their catalogues, and collectors have found it being sung all over the place. One should note, however, that it is not really a hunting song in the true sense.
Other Recordings: Freda Palmer (Oxon) - Musical Traditions MTCD 311-2. Cyril Biddick (Cornwall) - Rounder CD 1741. E C Ball (Virginia) - Rounder CD 0028.
8 The Oakham Poachers sung by Wiggy Smith, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, 1974. Roud 1686.
It is surprising that The Oakham Poachers is seldom encountered today, as at least 20 Victorian broadside printers had the song in their respective catalogues. The Manchester printer, Pearson, printed it in the 1870s as did Henry Parker Such of London. George Gardiner noted the song twice in Hampshire in 1908 and E J Moeran found a single Norfolk set in 1922, but Wiggy’s powerful version seems to be the only recorded version. It also appears to be unique in placing the captured poachers in Stafford gaol.
Other Recordings: A different recording of Wiggy Smith singing The Oakham Poachers has recently been issued on a CD devoted to Wiggy and his family (Musical Traditions MTCD 307).
9 The Fox Hunt played on the uilleann pipes by Felix Doran, rec. Keele, Staffordshire, 1965.
A descriptive title that needs little explanation - Felix played it very frequently in numerous London pubs when he lived here in the late-sixties. Mickey Doherty (Donegal) plays a splendid fiddle version on Rounder CD 1742. There is a similar English song tune known as The Little Red Fox. The final 12/8 tune, when the hunt return home, is known as The Fox Hunter’s Jig in Ireland.
Other Recordings: Michael Coleman (Sligo) - Gael-linn CEFCD 161. Padraig O’Keeffe (Munster) - as part of The Old Man Rocking the Cradle on RTE CD 174.
10 Thornymoor Park sung by Jasper Smith, rec. Epsom, Surrey, 1975. Roud 222.
Thorney Wood Chase, once a part of Sherwood Forest, was enclosed sometime around 1790. Twenty years later John Pitts issued our present song on a broadside which was reprinted by several later printers. Indeed, it's surprising that Roud has only 59 entries for the song, since so many singers we've encountered seem to have known it.
Although the song appears quite frequently in Roud, it has only been recorded five times in the oral tradition - unsurprisingly, two of these are from Gypsies. It's also unusual that the song is never found in Ireland, Scotland or Wales - and the same is true of The Oakham Poachers, Hares on the Old Plantation, etc. Somewhat surprised by this, I tried a data search on all those songs with the word 'Poacher' in the title and found 130 instances in Roud's database - only three of which could be identified as not being English! Are we the only thieves in these islands - or just the only ones who enjoy singing about it? It could, of course, be because Ireland and Scotland weren't hammered by Parliamentary enclosure of common lands to anything like the extent that England was, and may also be do with the way in which the English, alone in Europe if not the world, have accorded to landowners rights of ownership over the wild animals which happen to be on their domains at any particular time.
Now a hare it may feed on a field for a day
And tomorrow quite likely be four fields away;
Yet the landowner tells you, 'She's my property',
And sings fal-the-ral, deedle-dal, fal-the-ral-dee.
Who Owns the Game? from the singing of Fred Whiting (Suffolk) - Veteran VT130CD.
Other Recordings: Walter Pardon (Norfolk) - Musical Traditions MTCD 305-6. George Dunn (Staffordshire) - Musical Traditions MT CD 317-8. Sophie Legg (Cornwall) - Veteran cassette VT119.
11 The Fair of Rosslea sung by Philip McDermott, Brookeborough, Co Fermanagh, 1980. Roud 12935.
Again, the sole example of this song in Roud.
12 William Taylor sung by Pop Maynard, Copthorne, Sussex, c.1960. Roud 851.
Not the well-known Brisk Young Sailor who went to sea, followed by his sweetheart, but another William who was a poacher: There's none like Young Taylor, you keepers all know, who fought through these covers, some winters ago! The song is well-known among southern English Gypsies; Mike recorded it from Jasper Smith in Surrey, as did Rod from Jack Smith, also in Surrey. Structurally, it is based on another, and older, song The King and the Keeper that Pop also used to sing. Fred Hamer collected a set in the 1960s and there is at least one version in FSJ viii, p.7.
13 The Kielder Hunt sung by Willie Scott, rec. London, 1967. Roud 5126.
A Northumbrian song, written by James Armstrong of Redesdale, Northumberland, and published in 1879 in a book titled Wannie Blossoms. Much of the area mentioned in the song is now covered by Keilder Water, a large man-made reservoir set in the heart of the beautiful Northumbrian National Park. Many people in the Borders today remember parts of the song from Willie’s singing, although his is the only example of it in Roud.
14 Hares in the Old Plantation sung by Wiggy Smith, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, 1974. Roud 363.
See notes to track 10, above. A popular song with Gypsies. The Willett Family knew it, as did Jasper Smith and his family. It probably dates from the time of the Game Laws and the Enclosure Acts (early 1800s) when ordinary folk began to lose their rights to feed themselves from the woods and meadows, and when fish and game became somebody else’s ‘property’. Bob Roberts sings a slightly different version on track 1 of this CD.
Other Recordings: Pop Maynard (Sussex) - Musical Traditions MTCD 400. Tom Willett (Kent) - Topic TSCD 600. Bob Copper (Sussex) - Coppersongs CD 2.. Arthur Baalam (Suffolk) - Helions Bumpstead NLCD 5.
15 Champion He Was A Dandy sung by Jack Elliott, Birtley, Co Durham, 1960s. Roud 12934.
I don’t know how long it is since dog-fighting was banned by law. Sadly, this illegal ‘sport’ continues today, in out-of-the-way places, including the north-east of England. The song sounds to be Irish in origin, but I know of no other versions. (Not that I particularly want to).
16 The Reaping of the Rushes Green sung by Philip McDermott, Brookeborough, Co Fermanagh, 1980. Roud 3380.
Paddy Tunney also used to sing this song which - except for the incidental mention of beagles in verse 1, line 2 - has nothing whatever to do with hunting or poaching! It almost goes without saying that any song which includes the phrase ‘reaping of the rushes green’ has nothing whatsoever to do with rushes either! ‘Green rushes’ almost always refers to virginity/purity, and this is certainly the meaning in this song.
17 Bold Keeper sung by Harry Brazil, Gloucester, Gloucestershire, 1978. Roud 321, Laws M27.
Bold Keeper is something of an unusual find, being a portion of the long 17th century ballad The Master Piece of Love Songs. The blackletter ballad is sub-titled ‘A Dialogue betwixt a bold keeper and a Lady gay, He woo’d his Lord’s daughter, and carried the day, But soon after marriage was forc’d for to fight, With his Lord and Six Gentlemen, for his own Right; He cut them and he hew’d them, and paid them with blows, And made them his Friends, that before were his Foes’ - which just about sums it up!
Clearly, the ballad is related to Earl Brand (Child 7) and to the later broadside The Bold Dragoon. For a discussion on this relationship, see The Lady and the Dragoon - a broadside ballad in Oral Tradition by David Mason Green, in Journal of American Folklore, vol.70, no.227 (July - September, 1957). Again, it appears ill-placed in a collection of hunting and poaching songs.
Other Recordings: Cas Wallin (North Carolina) - Musical Traditions MTCD 323-4 (The Little Soldier).
18 The House that Jack Built sung by Charlie Wills, Pothills, Dorset, 1971. Roud 12921.
A nursery rhyme that goes back a long way - but in which the mention of hounds, fox and master are purely incidental to the meaning of the piece. Charlie’s version certainly predates the ‘novelty’ version recorded by Tommy Handley in 1928 (Piccadilly 171).
19 The Poacher’s Fate sung by Walter Pardon, Knapton, Norfolk, 1974. Roud 793, Laws L1.
Usually titled The Gallant Poachers this was a popular song with the broadside printers. Roy Palmer (Everyman’s Book of English Country Songs - 1979) feels that the song dates from at least 1811 or 1812 as its textual influence can be seen on a Luddite song of that period. Given its generally fine tunes and wealth of resonant phrases, it's something of a surprise to find that it has only been collected from 11 singers in the oral tradition.
Other Recordings: Harry Cox (Norfolk) - Topic TSCD 512D. George Dunn (Staffordshire) - Musical Traditions MT CD 317-8.
20 Killafole Boasters sung by Jimmy Halpin, Newtownbutler, Co Fermanagh, 1980. Roud 12922.
As if to confirm the proposition set out in the note to track 3, above, Jimmy's is the only known example of this song. Both he and his father were keen on hunting, breeding their own hounds, following the hunt at weekends and enjoyed the social life in the pubs associated with it - so it's natural that he, and others like him, should have songs like this one. Almost no-one else does.
21 The Huntsman’s Chorus played on the melodeon by George Tremain, rec. London, 1935.
Better known as Owd Towler - which begins ‘Bright Chantecleer proclaims the dawn, And spangles deck the thorn’ - coupled with the chorus from the children’s song A Hunting We Will Go. This is not the tune The Huntsman’s Chorus from Der Freischutz (The Freeshooter) by Weber (1821), which was played until recently in the Yorkshire Dales (see, for example, Harry Cockerill’s performance on Musical Traditions MTCD 311-2).
Other Recordings: Billy Cooper (Norfolk) - Veteran cassette VTVS07/08.