Merry Mountain Child


Come strike the harp I long to hear those merry tales of old.
Ere youth has lost its flowery wreath and loving hearts grown cold,
And loving, loving hearts grown cold.
It brings me back those happy days when roving free and wild,
I played about my native home,
I played about my native home,
I played about my native home,
A merry mountain child.

Oh tell me not of other lands across the deep blue sea,
This little isle of freedom's sons is dearer far to me,
Is dearer, dearer far to me,
But tell me of that rural cot where happy faces smile,
And pleasant voices called me there,
And pleasant voices called me there,
And pleasant voices called me there,
A merry mountain child.

I've wandered far through many climes where dark eyed daughters dwell,
And beauty charms the yielding soul with her resistless spell,
with her, with her resistless spell,
Yet oft I've turned my face away where youth and beauty smile,
To think of all the joys that bless,
To think of all the joys that bless,
To think of all the joys that bless,
A merry mountain child.

Then strike the harp I long to hear those merry tales again,
Oh let me linger o'er those tones that native mountain strain,
That native, native mountain strain,
It brings me back those happy times that bleak and stormy wild,
Where nature makes me glad to be,
Where nature makes me glad to be,
Where nature makes me glad to be,
A merry mountain child.

        This was one of Arthur Howard’s favourite songs and it was from him that Will and John learned it. It was written in 1857 by local composer and choir master, Joe Perkin of Holmfirth and is rarely heard outside the area.

Song transcribed by John Howson

Song notes: John Howson, Will Noble & John Cocking

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Drink Old England Dry  

Now, come my brave boys, as I've told you before.
Come drink, my brave boys, and we'll boldly call for more,
For the French have invited us and they say that they will try, will try,
They say that they will come and drink old England dry.

(Chorus:) Aye dry, aye dry me boys, aye dry,
They say that they will come and drink old England dry.
(last line of chorus repeats last line of each verse)
 

Supposin' we should meet with the Germans by the way,
Ten thousand to one, we will show them British play.
With our swords and our cutlasses, we'll fight until we die, we die,
Before that they shall come and drink old England dry.
 

Then up spake bold Churchill, of fame and renown,
He swears he'll be true to his country and his crown.
For the cannon they will rattle and the bullets they will fly, will fly,
Before that they shall come and drink old England dry.

 

Then it's come my brave boys as I've told you before,

Come drink my brave boys 'til you can not drink no more.

For those Germans they may boast and shout but their brags are all my eye, my eye.

They say that they will come and drink old England dry.

 

        Also known as He Swore He’d Drink Old England Dry it dates from the early 1800s when Napoleon was threatening to invade England. The song was later adapted for the Crimean War (1853-1856). In 1936 a version of the song mentioned Lord Roberts and in the Second World War, Winston Churchill took his place. In most versions the French are the enemy, but in some later ones the enemies were the Russians

        The song was adopted by the men of Haxey in Lincolnshire, where each spring they play a game across muddy fields with a leather ball called a ‘Hood’. The game lasts all day and then at nightfall songs are sung by the ‘boggins’ in the local pub. It was from the Haxey Hood singers that Will and John learned the song.

Song transcribed by John Howson

Song notes: John Howson, Will Noble & John Cocking

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Old Snowball

 

Ye gentlemen of high renown, come listen unto me,
That takes delight in foxhunting, tis of a high degree.
A story true I'll tell to you, concerning of a fox.

We hunted him o'er mountains high, through valleys fields and rocks.

Bold Reynard lying in his den and hearing of these hounds,
They wakened him out of his sleep, he on his legs did stand.

Me thinks I hear yon jovial hounds pursuing of me still,
Before that me they shall come nigh, I'll cross yon mighty hill.

 

Old Snowball he threw up his nose he knew it was a fox.

"We'd better leave these woods and groves and try yon mighty rocks."

Bold Reynard lying not far off and hearing him say so,

"If you will follow me my boys fresh ground to you I'll show."

 

Old Snowball he threw up his nose he caught the gallant scent.
Old Snowball he threw up his heels and through yon woods he went.

Then away, away through Piketon Park, through parishes eighteen,

We hunted him nine hours or more till we came to Masefield Green.


Bold Reynard lying himself down thinking to take some rest,

Old Snowball he came up to him and he sounded him his last.

"If you will spare my life this time, I'll promise and fulfil,

I'll touch no ducks, no feathered fowl, no lambs on yon high hill."

 

The other hounds yow, yow, came up so bold and hearing him say so,

"We've caught bold Reynard by his back and we will not let him go.

So bid adieu to yon cocks and ducks, likewise yon lambs also,

We've caught bold Reynard by his back and we will not let him go."

 

"So bid adieu to yon cocks and ducks, likewise yon lambs also.,

We've caught bold Reynard by his back and we will not let him go."

 

        Also called Bold Reynard, it is a hunting song which was a particular favourite of the Holme Valley Beagles and it appears in the 3rd edition of their song book where it is marked as a duet. The best remembered rendition was by Fred Woodstock and Arthur Howard’s brother James. The song was then passed onto Barry Bridgewater and Jim Brookes who recorded it for the now deleted LP LEE4056 ‘A Fine Hunting Day’.

        It is not a widely spread song in the tradition although it was collected in Sussex, including a version in 5/4 time sung by the Copper family entitled You Gentlemen of High Renown. Ralph Vaughan Williams also noted a version in 1905 called The Foxhunt from Stephen Poll of Tilney St Lawrence, Norfolk.

Song transcribed by John Howson

Song notes: John Howson, Will Noble & John Cocking

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lish Young Buy-A-Broom

As I was a wandering the North Country,
Near to Kirby Stephen it happened for to be.
As I was a-wandering all up and down the street,
A pretty little buy-a-broom I chanced for to meet.
 

(Chorus) And she was right, I was tight, everybody has their way,
It was the lish young buy-a-broom that led me astray.


I kindly asked her to go along with me,
'Yes', was the answer she gave to me.
And I with the music went playing down the street,
And she with the tambourine she did both hands and feet.

 

As we steered for Kendal the weather it being dry.

Over yon bright mountain went her and I.

We each had a bottle filled up to the top,

And when we were thirsty we took a little drop.

 

We arrived in Kendal dressed out so fine,

Velvet caps and jackets and buckles they did shine.

We each had a ribbon hanging from our cap,

Nineteen bright sovereigns she threw down with a slap.


I tret her with brandy, I tret her with beer.
I kissed her, I cuddled her, I called her me dear.
She tret me with whiskey, ale, gin and rum,
And said, "My bold young fellow you shall play my little drum."

 

With night coming on, good lodgings we did find,
All sorts of eatables and plenty of good wine.
As good a bed and bedding as was needed to be seen,
And I rolled her in my arms that night behind the screen.


So early the next morning before the break of day,
She called to the landlord to see what was to pay.
Fourteen and sixpence, I think it was for two,
Down on the table a fiver then she threw.


And the reason why we parted, I mean to let you hear.
She said, "Let's go to Germany, will you remain my dear?"
But I not being willing to cross the raging sea,

Here's luck to the buy-a- broom wherever she may be.
 

        A song with it’s origins in the Lake District. There is a recording made in 1953 of 64 year old Len Irving of Wreay in Cumberland on VT142CD ‘Pass the Jug Round’. He maintained that it was written by a poacher called William Graham who achieved fame for killing a local gamekeeper and was transported, but whether he did actually write the song has not been proved. It was also collected by Geoff Woods of Leeds from some singers in the Keswick area and that version was made popular by folk singers Tim Hart and Maddy Prior and more recently by the Irish group Clannad.

        Will first heard it sung years ago, by an old singer in the Lake District called Esme Smith, and then later heard the ‘Pass the Jug’ recordings which rekindled his interest in the song.

Song transcribed by John Howson

Song notes: John Howson, Will Noble & John Cocking

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Friezland Ale

 

Whene're I drink of Friezland ale drawn from an old brown bottle,

It feels as though a Summer's morn was running down my throttle.

A pint of sunshine at a swipe, all sparkle, grip and metal.

There's nothing like good home brewed ale for keeping folk in fettle,

There's nothing like good home brewed ale for keeping folk in fettle.

 

There is no ale with barley brewed with half so rich a flavour,

For English folks and English soil in every drop I savour.

It does not tie the legs or feet nor set the head a-tupping.

It makes a ploughman feel a king because it's royal supping.,

It makes a ploughman feel a king because it's royal supping.

 

It floweth from the bottle's mouth in foam, like cream but richer,

And bubbles up in bunches rare like roses in a picture.

But never roses have so fair, so dewy cool and sappy.

A mellow pot of Friezland's ale would make a gate post happy,

A mellow pot of Friezland's ale would make a gate post happy.

 

Whene'er I drink this mellow brew with malt and hops in plenty,

I'm ten year younger with a pint and if I've two I'm twenty.

The laughing stream runs down my neck and drowns tee-total teaching.

I'd go to chapel twice a day if Friezland ale was preaching,

I'd go to chapel twice a day if Friezland ale was preaching.

.

There is a lassie on yon hill, lives at an old farm steading,

So fair to see I often thought I'd take her to a wedding.

But woman folk are hard to please and fond of fine apparel.

If I should wed I'd take for wife, a good old Friezland barrel.

If I should wed I'd take for wife, a good old Friezland barrel.

 

The man who drinks good Friezland ale grows ruddier than the cherry.

He walks on daisies all his life, in sunshine bright and merry.

For old king time goes hand in hand with Friezland folks are laughing.

He knows their heart will ne'er grow old, as long as they keep quaffing,

He knows their heart will ne'er grow old, as long as they keep quaffing.

 

        This was written by Ammon Wrigley of Saddleworth (1861-1946) and is copyrighted to John A Seville and Ruth E. Greenwood. Wrigley was self-made man, a writer of great talent and a local historian. The song was published by him in ‘Songs of a Moorland Parish’ (1912) and set to music by Hugh Beech who used to perform it at the Royal Tiger, Austerlands, east of Oldham in the 1920s.   

           Will got the song from Frank Hinchliffe (Holme) who learned it from Arthur Howard’s family and the two of them sang it together as boys. Friezland is near Greenfield on the Lancashire /Yorkshire border where Chew Brook meets the River Tame.

Song transcribed by John Howson

Song notes: John Howson, Will Noble & John Cocking

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Renshaw's Mule

 

Between Dob Cross and Denshaw, at foot of a steep hill,

A chap by name of Renshaw once ran a fulling mill.   ,

With cottages surrounded where t'hand loom weavers dwelt.

The pieces they were pounded, while they were thick as felt.

 

Now Renshaw's hands were never sullied with any heavy work,

But five labourers he bullied, and he kept them up to mark.

There was Soft Joe and Alan Wicket and Long Ned and Fred at Green,

And t'apprentice Jimmy Snicket, a youngster of fifteen.

 

One more there were that pegged on, at the double as a rule,

And this was a four legged one, the famous Renshaw mule.

With very little feeding, yon hills it had to climb,

And lug, with Jimmy leading, four pieces at a time.

 

Now Renshaw had a fashion of flaring up like ought,

And getting in a passion over something or for nought.

And red with indignation he'd rant and rave and shout,

And in exasperation he'd fetch Soft Joe a clout.

 

Now in fulling room tradition disregarding right from wrong,

in order of position such clouts were handed on,

Right down to Jimmy Snicket, who brought up in hard school

Considered it were ticket to wallop Renshaw's mule.

 

Each time he came a cropper, he'd take loose leg from stool,

And land it good and proper on poor old Renshaw's mule.

And mule he trotted fast, as Jimmy pales his rump.

Saying, "That's from thee master." with every single thump.

 

Now Renshaw never reckoned that an animal so dull,

Would be waiting until time beckoned to pay him back in full.

One night that patient creature was grazing out in field,

When to it some feature was temptingly revealed.

 

For Renshaw passing that way, with his pockets full of brass.

Slipped on muddy pathway and lost some coins in grass.

And as with shocking verbiage he coarsely carried on,

Rooting in herbage he sought them every one.

 

And as at some yards distance he sort last threppenny bit,

Eager and persistent he looked all round for it.

But his pose invited trouble, for Renshaw like a fool,

Was bending almost double and with his back t'mule.

 

When mule its target spotted, right carefully he came,

With tender tread he trotted, and turning, took good aim.

Both hind heels struck together and Renshaw, brass and all,

Went flying hell for leather, clean over meadow wall.

 

"And that makes level pegging" thought Renshaw's mule no doubt,

As Renshaw's boots and leggings thrashed the air all round about.

With his head and  shoulders hidden in a mound on t'other side,

Right in his neighbour's midden he swallowed more than pride.

 

And if by chance unchastened, he intends to pale his mule,

We'll leave him there unfasten, for good, his heels to cool.

And in some way adorning, conclusion if you like,

And serving as a warning to all hot tempered tykes.

 

        John has become well-known in recent years as one of the best performers of North Country monologues and this is one of his favourites. He first heard it performed by Slaithwaite farmer Ernest Dyson.

        It was written by William Beaumont, a well known local character, of Golcar, a village further down the Colne Valley from John’s home in Marsden. It was published, as were many of his monologues, in the ‘Huddersfield Examiner’ in the 1950s.

Monologue transcribed by John Howson

Song notes: John Howson, Will Noble & John Cocking

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Echoing Horn

 

The echoing horn sounds well in the morn,
And calls the brave sportsmen away.
The cry of the hounds with pleasure rebounds,
And bravely enlightens the day, the day,
And bravely enlightens the day.
 

The people all go to that wonderful show,

Our hounds they do open their throats.

They cry Hark for'ard, Hark for'ard away,

And follow those musical notes, those notes,

And follow those musical notes.

 

Lets go to yon cover that lies to the south,

Bold Reynard is there, Towler doubles his mouth,

And if he breaks cover, Hark for'ard high over,

We'll gallop him over yon plain, yon plain,

We'll gallop him over yon plain.

 

Over hedge, gate and stile and also beguile,

Our hounds they do open their throats,

Our huntsman does holler, and bravely we'll follow,

We'll follow those musical notes, those notes,

We'll follow those musical notes.

 

Over mountains he flies and afterwards dies,
He has led us an excellent chase.
We will take off his brush, and homeward we'll rush,
In order our spirits to raise, to raise,
In order our spirits to raise.


With a bottle and friend this evening we'll spend,

And crown the brave sport of the day.
Our sweethearts at night give us such delight
And smother all sorrows away, away,
And smother all sorrows away.

 

        This is not a well known song in the tradition and in Steve Roud’s Folk Song Index there are only three versions. It does appear in Sussex and there are recordings of The Copper Family (CD3 ‘Coppersongs 3’) and by George Townshend (MTCD304 ‘Come Hand to Me the Glass’).   

        It seems to have been popular in Yorkshire, however. It is included in the Holme Valley Beagles song book and it was at one of their meetings that Will first heard it, while John remembers Andrew Rogers, the joint master of the Pennine Foxhounds as being his first introduction to the song.

Song transcribed by John Howson

Song notes: Roy Palmer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Little Jack, a Poor Chimney Sweep

 

Little Jack a poor sweep boy was crossing the street,

With a bag on his back and no shoes on his feet.

Full bent on his work in each shop he did peep,

And cry out to the owner, "Sweep, Sweep, who wants Sweep!"

 

While turning a corner he heard a great shout,

That came from some school boys, from school just turned out.

They were playing at marbles, a very fine game,

So he popped down his bag just to look at the same.

 

He had not been long when just under a wall,

He spied out some school books, both large ones and small.

He just took up one when the owner cried out,

"I say Master Sooty, what are you about?"

 

"No harm!" then cried out Jack, and he gave him a top,

For to look at his books while at play he did stop.

The game being ended, Jack said to the boy,

"See here master look, here's a nice bag of marbles,

and gladly I'll pay a marble each letter you teach me to say."

 

"Agreed" cried the boy, Jack set to with glee,

and he soon learned the whole of the ABC.

 

ABCDEFG HIJKLMN OPQRSTU VWXYZ

 

ZYXWVUT SRQPONM LKJIHGF EDCBA

 

        This entertaining little song doesn’t seem to turn up anywhere else. Will learned it from a tape Ian Russell had made of Arthur Howard on one of his last visits to him.

Song transcribed by John Howson

Song notes: John Howson, Will Noble & John Cocking

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Mrs Oldroyd

 

Well I'm a right bad judge of weather and if er'e I go away,

If I leave my top coat at Wom (home) I bet it rains all day.

Wife she said, "Sam do think this weather's bound to last?"

I said "Nay lass, tha' mor'n't ask me thy knows me of the past."

She said " If I thought it would, we'd all go off for day.

Go round to widow Oldroyd's and I'll tell you what to say."

 

(Chorus) Now then Mrs Oldroyd can you feel ought,

If you can I'd like to know.

For they say that there's a big breeze on at Blackpool,

And I thought you'd like to know.

They say that you can tell when weather's changing

By the twitching of your rheumatic pain,

So I've just come round to ask you, Mrs Oldroyd,

Can you feel ought like rain?

 

Mrs Oldroyd said, "Now you get off there'll be no rain today."

And very soon at Blackpool we enjoyed both breeze and spray.

We hadn't been there very long when I heard my wife yell out,

"See there Sam there's Mrs Oldroyd." There were without a doubt.

She sat on her chaps knee looking bright and gay.

I felt that flabbergasted I couldn't help but say.

 

We landed back in Honley just about eleven at neet (night).

And as there was a war on we couldn't have a leet (light)

We roamed down Spider's Alley, we could neither stand or sit,

When I heard somebody shouting, "Mrs Oldroyd, up a bit!"

Mrs Oldroyd gave a yell as though she were in pain,

She'd planted on a wasps nest and we asked her once again.

 

        Tell Me, Mrs Oldroyd sounds like it has come from the Music Hall but it is set in Honley village in the Holme Valley and Will and John first heard it sung by Bill Ford of Honley. It became a popular song at Holme Valley Beagles sessions and it was in their repertoire from their formation (when they changed from Harriers to Beagles) in 1928.

Song transcribed by John Howson

Song notes: John Howson, Will Noble & John Cocking

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Jolly Waggoner

 

When first I went a-waggoning, a-waggoning did go,
It filled my poor old parents, hearts with sorrow, grief and woe,
Many are the hardships that I did undergo,
Sing whoa! my lads, sing whoa!
Drive on, my lads, drive on,
Who wouldn't be for all the world a jolly waggoner.


When it's belting down with rain my lads, I get wet unto the skin.

But I bears it with contented heart until I reach the inn.

Then I sits a drinking with the landlord and his kin.

Sing whoa! etc.

 

Things has greatly altered now and waggons few we see,

The worlds turned topsy turvey and things is run by steam.

The whole world passes before me, like some morning dream.

Sing whoa! etc

 

Things have greatly altered now, but then what can us do?

The folks in power don't take no heed of the likes of me and you.

It's hardship for us waggoning lads and a fortune for a few.

Sing whoa! etc


Now Martinmas is coming, what pleasures we shall see.
Like chaff before the wind my lads, we'll make our money flee.
Every lad shall have a lass and sit her on his knee
And sing whoa! etc.

 

        This country song could date back to the time when waggons replaced packhorses. It was widely collected in most rural areas of the country and Sabine Baring Gould and Cecil Sharp (in the West Country) and Frank Kidson (in Yorkshire) all noted down versions in the early part of the twentieth century.
        Ian Russell recorded John Taylor at Lodge Moor, Sheffield singing it and many well known traditional singers had the song, including Walter Pardon from Norfolk (TSCD514 ‘A World Without Horses’) and Fred Jordan (VTD148CD ‘A Shropshire Lad’) who learned it from his mother.

Song transcribed by John Howson

Song notes: John Howson, Will Noble & John Cocking

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Nutting Girl

 

Come all you fair young maidens that love to hear a song,
I'll sing to you a ditty and it won't detain you long.
It's of a fair young maiden residing down in Kent,
Rose up one summer's morning and she a-nutting went.

(Chorus) And a-nutting we will go, will go and a-nutting we will go,
With a white cockade all in our hats we'll make a gallant show.

Now Johnny was a ploughboy a-ploughing of the land.
Said whoa unto his horses and he bade them both to stand.
Then he sat him down upon his plough a hunting song to sing,
His voice was so melodious it made the woodland ring.

Now this pretty fair maid a-nutting in the wood,
His voice was so melodious it charmed her as she stood;
She had no longer power in that lonely wood to stay,
And the few nuts that she gathered why she threw them all away.

She went straight up to Johnny as he sat upon his plough,
She said, "Young man, I do feel queer, I'm sure I don't know how."
He said, "My pretty fair maid, I'm pleased to see you here.
Come sit you down beside me and I'll keep you in good cheer."

Then Johnny left his horses likewise he left his plough,
He took her to a shady grove his courage for to show.
He took her by the waist so small and gently laid her down,
"Young man," she said, "I think I feel the world go round and round."

 

Now Johnny went back to his plough to finish off his song,

He said, "My dear you'd best away, you mother will think you long."

She said, "Kind sir before you go to trip o'er yonder plain,

I think I'd like to feel the world go round and round again."
 

So all you fair young maidens this warning take by me,

And if you should a nutting go, be home in time for tea.

For if you should stray through yon woods to hear the ploughboy sing,

Perhaps a farmer's child you will be nursing in the spring.

 

        John learned this in the early days from the late Charlie Stopford from Slaithwaite at gatherings with the Colne Valley Beagles, while Will got his from Arthur Howard and the Holme Valley gatherings. Their versions are slightly different, so they sing it verse and verse about.

        The song has been popular in many areas of the country, particularly Suffolk, and recordings by Tony Harvey on VTC2CD ‘Songs Sung in Suffolk’ and Cyril Poacher on TSCD600 ‘Hidden English’ are currently available.

Song transcribed by John Howson

Song notes: John Howson, Will Noble & John Cocking

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


The Muffin Man

 

Now I've had a lot of trouble in my life all through a muffin man.

He thought he'd charm my wife with his muffins, wasn't it an awful plan.

I never knew when I ate for me tea into what trouble I'd fall.

For hours and hours the neighbours say outside our house he'd bawl.

 

Ding dong, ding dong, ding dong, ding dong.

He sold his muffins as he went along.

I never knew there was anything wrong, to cause me grief or sorrow.

But now I have to regret to say,

She eloped with that muffin man yesterday.

He stole my old wife's heart away,

with his ring a-ding a-ding, ding dong.

 

Now my brother Jim every Sunday's engaged in ringing the old church bell. (Ding dong!)

One Sunday morning it did sound funny, the bell it didn't ring so well. (Ping pong!)

I thought I'd find out what was wrong and what had made it stop,

I climbed up the belfry steps and when I reached the top -

Ding dong, ping pong, ding dong, ping pong.

I soon discovered there was something wrong.

I found out the trouble er'e I'd been there long.

And I fell back astounded (Astounded!).

For there was brother Jim with a girl on his knee (Them were the days!)

And that's why the bell didn't ring so free.

For he was tickling her you see, between the ring a-ding and ding, ding dong.

 

Now a parson to his curate, one Sunday morn said "Just for a little bit of fun.

I'll bet I've kissed more ladies in this church than you." The Curate he said, "Done!"

"We'll stand each side the old church door and this shall be our sign.

I'll say ping pong for the girls I've kissed and tha says ding dong for thine."

Ding dong, ping pong, ding dong, ping pong.

There was more ding dongs than there were ping pongs.

Presently a nice young lady came along and the curate he said "Ding dong."

The parson said "No ding dong there, for that's my wife I do declare!"

Says "I don't give a bugger, I've still been there, she's a ring a-ding, a-ding, ding dong."

 

        This is a popular theme for country ditties yet it has rarely been recorded, maybe the early collectors felt it’s adulterous tone was not what they were looking for.

        A  song with a similar story was recorded by Gwilymn Davies from Bill Cooper in Cheltenham as the Ding Dong Song (Roud 17694) and John ‘Dusso’ Winter of Southwold, Suffolk sings one with the first verse:

                In our village church one Sunday morn, said the vicar, "Just for fun,

                I bet I’ve kissed more girls than you," and the curate he said, "Done!"

Will and John learned The Muffin Man from Arthur Howard who had got it from Wright Crossland of Meltham. It was always a well requested song in his local pubs.

Song transcribed by John Howson

Song notes: John Howson, Will Noble & John Cocking

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Over the Mountain

 

It was night and the moon illuminated the sky,

When I first took a notion to marry.

I put on my shoes and away I did hie,

You'd have though I'd have been in a hurry.

'Til I reach-ed the spot where I'd oft times had been.

How my heart did rejoice when my charmer I'd seen.

So I lifted the latch and I bad her good e'en.

Saying "Will you come with me over the mountains?"

 

"What notion is this that you have in your head,?

But still I am glad to be near you.

It's past twelve o'clock and I should be in bed,

Speak low or my mother will hear you."

"Well if I be jesting, my jesting be true.

We have courted a year and I think that should do.

And before I do sleep I'll be married to you..

If you'll venture with me o'er the mountains."

 

"If I were to make an elopement with you,

It might be attended by danger.

The neighbours would tattle and censure me too,

My parents would frown and no wonder."

"Oh pray let them tattle and censure away.

But consult with yourself for 'tis now coming day.

And I care not a fig what they all of them say.

If I once get you over the mountains."

 

"If you are in earnest," she said with a sigh,

"kind providence be my director."

"I've  love in my bosom, I cannot deny."

This sentence it seemed to affect her.

"I'm using no magic, no scheme and no spell.

I've a good honest heart and I love you right well,

And if you refuse me sweet maiden farewell,

My steps I'll retrace o'er the mountains."

 

"Well then I'm determined at home for to stay,

For I think it much safer and better."

"Then farewell again sweet maid I'll away,

And that puts an end to the matter."

"Stop!, Stop! wait a moment 'til I put on my shoes."

How my heart did rejoice when I heard the glad news,

As she stepped to the door saying "I hope you'll excuse,

My simplicity over the mountains."

 

By this time the moon it had sunk in the west,

And the morning stars shone with the dawning.

As we then together our journey progressed,

To be joined at the altar next morning.

So now in contentment our days we will spend,

For the dangers to marriage are now at an end.

And we oft times will talk when we meet with a friend,

Of that trip we took over the mountain.

 

        Another Howard family song also known as It Was Night and the Moon Illuminated the Sky. It is in the form of a night-visiting song and Arthur considered it to be amongst the most beautiful in his repertoire. It is also now a favourite of Will’s.

Song transcribed by John Howson

Song notes: John Howson, Will Noble & John Cocking

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Man Like Thee

 

There's an old man lives down our street,

In a cosy cottage with a greenhouse,
And on a Sunday morning when it's fine,
I often goes an' sits with him and have a smoke and chat,
Because he is a dear old friend of mine.


(Chorus) He says "I'm always glad to see a man like thee.
Th'ar as welcome lad, as welcome as can be.
Draw the chair right up to table,
Stop as long as thou art able,
For I'm always glad to see a man like thee."

 

There's a pub just down our village street that's where I like to roam

I go and meet my pals there every night.

The landlord's he's a pal of mine, each other we know well,

And when we meet he greets me with delight.

 

One day I went and fell in love with a bonny village lass.

I thought of nought but her both night and day.

And every time I took a stroll her cottage I would pass,

She'd come to door and these words she would say.

 

Then one night I dreamt that I was dead and went straight down to hell,

Old Nick himself received me on the spot.

He said "Come reet inside lad all thee pals are here as well."
You should have seen the welcome that I got.

 

        This is a song that has crept over the border from Lancashire to Will and John, although they got it from Frank Hinchliffe (Lodge Moor). It was written by Edmund Hill who was actually a Kentish miner who moved to St. Helens a century ago. He apparently fell in love with the heavy northern dialect that prevailed in that area then. The song was popular in the First World War trenches and became a theme song for many of the folk revival’s ‘Lancashire’ acts in the 1960s and 70s, although the last verse seems to be unique to Hinchcliffe.

Song transcribed by John Howson

Song notes: John Howson, Will Noble & John Cocking

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Young Banker


As I walked out one morning fair,
To view the green fields and take fresh air,
I saw Young Banker standing there,
And his true love was a lady fair.

 

(Chorus) Young Banker he had such a handsome face,
And all around his hat he wore a band of lace,
Beside such a handsome head of hair,
For my Young Banker I will go there.


He said my pretty fair maid will you go on deck,
With a chain of gold around your neck,
Whatever you do I will prove true."
But the answer that she gave, "I'll have none of you."


Young Banker turned around for to go away,
But she called after him to bid him stay,
"Oh stay, oh stay and I will prove true,"
But the answer that he gave, "I'll have none of you."

Now she thought that she heard a foreign man say,
"Come pack up your clothes and come away,"
It pierced her through the very heart,
To think that Young Banker and her should part.

So come all you pretty fair maids your senses you've lost,
Since the day in love you have been crossed,
For you may lament and you may say,
You'll ever rue the day that you said nay.

 

        Although the song has a northern feel, Cecil Sharp found it in Somerset in 1906 sung by Loiusa Barrett and in Gloucestershire in 1909 sung by Mrs P Wiggett (or Wicket).

        Further, north Percy Grainger collected it in Brigg, Lincolnshire from George R Orton in 1906. In Frank Kidsons manuscripts there are versions from Hereford and York as well as one submitted by Alfred Atkinson from Brigg who got it from a maidservant at the Isle of Axholme. Kidson also has a tune noted down from Kate Thompson who worked for his own family. In the Madden collection there is also a broadside published by Robertson of Wigton under the title The Banking Boy. In recent years it has been popularised by the Watersons who used the Alfred Atkinson words and the Kate Thompson tune. It was from them that Will and John got the song.

        In stonemasonry a banker is the workstone used to cut other stones on and a banker mason is the one who exclusively uses this. The song particularly appealed to Will and John as they are both proficient drystone wallers.

Song transcribed by John Howson

Song notes: John Howson, Will Noble & John Cocking

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gossip John

 

Good morning, Gossip John, where 'ast thee been so early?

Good morning, Gossip John, where 'ast thee been so early?

So early in the morning, morning, morning, morning, morning,

So early in the morning, Gossip John.

 

So early in the morning, morning, morning, morning, morning,

So early in the morning, Gossip John.

 

My petticoat I've lost, I've lost, I've left it at my granny's.

My petticoat I've lost, I've lost, I've left it at my granny's.

But I'll fetch it back in morning, morning, morning, morning, morning.

etc.

 

Your brindle cow has calved, she's calved, right under parlour window.

Your brindle cow has calved, she's calved, right under parlour window.

And its calf it will not suck, suck, suck, suck, suck.

Thou'll have to give it finger, Gossip John

And its calf it will not suck, suck, suck, suck, suck.

etc.

 

Your duck has swallowed a snail, quack quack, now isn't that a wonder.

Your duck has swallowed a snail, quack quack, now isn't that a wonder.

And it all came out of its tail, tail, tail, tail, tail.

And split its arse asunder, gossip John

And it all came out of its tail, tail, tail, tail, tail.

etc.

 

Oh Kate I've seen thee (whistle), thou hasn't you lying old rascal.

Oh Kate I've seen thee (whistle), thou hasn't you lying old rascal.

Thou's nobbut seen my a, a, a, a, arm 'ole.

Thou's nobbut seen my arm 'ole, gossip John.

And thou's nobutt seen a, a, a, a, arm 'ole .

etc.

 

There's a lot more verses to this song, but we aren't bahn to sing them.

(spoken: They aren't fit to hear)

There's a lot more verses to this song, but we aren't bahn to sing them,

So we'll bid you all good night, goodnight, goodnight, goodnight, goodnight.

So we'll bid you all goodnight, goodnight, goodnight.

etc.

 

        Will and John learned this at the Holme Valley Beagles gatherings and they say that "Any hunt social was not complete without finishing the evening with this, and it was not uncommon for eight or ten chaps to sing this together to close proceedings". In fact it became such an integral part of their meetings that an extra last verse was introduced to the hunt’s version by Fred Woodcock, Frank Hinchliffe and Arthur Howard.

        It has been collected in many rural counties including Devon, Somerset, Dorset and Gloucestershire yet it’s origins are in fact more sophisticated and urban.

        In David Bland’s notes to this song in the booklet for LEE4056 ‘A Fine Hunting Day’ he tells us: this song goes back, in print at least, to the middle of the 17th century, when D’Urfey published a version in ‘Pills to purge melancholy’ under the title Good Morrow Gossip John. D’Urfey’s tunes bears no relationship to this one., but the 10 verses catalogue a string of mishaps rather similar to those listed here and one verse is almost identical to the fourth verse sung by the Holme Valley Beagles. The Hunt’s tune first appeared some time later, incorporated into John Gay’s ‘Beggars Opera’ of 1728 again with the title Gossip John.

Song transcribed by John Howson

Song notes: John Howson, Will Noble & John Cocking

 


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