Liner notes for the Pratie Heads double cd, "Early Fare"

For more information, to hear sound samples and to order this double cd: Skylark Productions
For booking information etc on the performers see: Pratie Heads

Green Shores of America

(traditional)
Tune: first half traditional, second half by Jane Peppler

So pack up your sea stores, consider no longer
Ten dollars a week isn't very bad pay
With no taxes or tithes to devour up your wages
When you're on the green fields of America
What matter to me where my bones may be buried
If in peace and contentment I can spend my life
On the green fields of Canada that daily are blooming
Where I find an end to my misery and strife

The lint dams are dry and the looms all lie broken
The cooper is gone, and the winders of creels
Away o'er the ocean, good journeymen and tailors
And fiddlers who flail out the old mountain reels
The landlord and bailiff in vile combination
Have forced us from hearthstone and homestead away
May the Crowbar Brigade all be doomed to damnation
When you're on the green fields of America

The timber grows thick on the shores of Columbia
And Douglas fir splendid, two hundred feet tall
The sturgeon and salmon block streamlet and river
The high Rocky Mountains look down over all
O'er prairies and plains now the wheat waves all golden
The maple gives sugar to sweeten your tea
Oh you won't want for corncob way out in Saskatchewan
You're on the green fields of America

But if you grow tired of pleasure and plenty
Of fruit from the orchard and fish from the foam
There's health and good hunting way out in wild forests
Where caribou ramble and buffalo roam
So it's now to conclude and to finish my ditty
If ever friendless Irishman chances my way
With the best in the house I will drink him in plenty
At home on the green fields of America

The Knickerbocker Line

(Traditional)

Oh my love she was a stitcher, a tailoress by trade
And many a fancy waistcoat for me my love has made
She gets up in the morning and stitches away 'til nine
Then her high-heeled boots go clattering down the Knickerbocker Line.

Watch her, trail her, pipe her as she goes
In her high-heeled boots and her patent leather toes
That she was one of those flash girls I soon found out in time
When her high heeled boots go clattering down
The Kinckerbocker Line.

When first I met this pretty girl in High Street she did dwell
She really took my breath away, she was such a swell
She'd a dandy hat with feathers on, and didn't she cut a shine
She neat as she clattered her feet on the Kinckerbocker Line.

I took her into town one day, to the theatre we did go
To see them all a'staring at her, you'd think she was the show
When coming out she stopped me and particular asked the time
Then skedaddled with me ticker down the Knickerbocker Line.

When I saw my ticker gone, I raised a hue and cry
I called out to the bobby as she went passing by
The bobby said, "Now, come with me," and marched her off so fine
Saying, "For three months you must skiffle off the Knickerbocker Line."

Greenwood Laddy

(traditional, from Belfast)

Oh have you seen my dearest and his eyes shine the clearest
His lips like the red blood that's new dropped in snow
He is neat tall and handsome, his voice soft and tender
He'll be my greenwood laddie til time is no more

My parents, my darling, they treat you with scorn
Because you have no riches wrapped up in a store
But the more that they slight you, sure the more I'll invite you
To be my greenwood laddie til time is no more

If I had the gold of the East or West Indies
Or if I had the wealth of the African shore
Or if I could gain thousands I would lie in your bosom
You'd be my greenwood laddie til time is no more

It was down in yonder bower I spent many's the long hour
A-counting the flowers on yon clear winding shore
It was his stolen kisses caused my fondest wishes
He'll be my greenwood laddie whom I'd always adore

The Bundling Song


Words: from a very long diatribe published in Philadelphia in 1803
Tune: adapted by Jane Peppler from "The Iron Door" (also known as "Love Laughs at Locksmiths"!)

Since bundling very much abounds in many parts and country towns
I've no doubt some will spurn my song and say I'd better hold my tongue
But none, I'm sure, would take offence and deem my song impertinence
But only those who guilty be and plainly here their picture see

These lovers say if through the nation bundling should quite go out of fashion
Courtship would lose its sweets and they could have no fun till wedding day
They fly and buzz like angry bees and vow they'll bundle as they please
But how can modesty exist with shameful practice such as this?

Indeed, if this your practice be I'll teach you now yourself to see
You think you live a blameless life since you don't undress like man and wife
This is your plea, I'll freely own, but who's your bondsmen when alone,
That further rules you do not break - and marriage liberties partake?

Some really do, as I suppose, upon design keep on some clothes
But others say when they lie down they can't be encumbered with a gown
How can we call a maiden chaste who's only bare from neck to waist?
I leave for others to relate how long she'll keep her virgin state.

One bundling couple went to bed with all their clothes from foot to head
That their defense might seem complete each one was wrapped in a sheet
How charge them with immodesty when they so very cautious be?
But bundlers' clothes are no defense - unruly horses push the fence!

Your mothers say it is no shame, for in their day they did the same
But tis a method of proceeding much abhorred by those of breeding
You're welcome to these lines I've penned, for they were written by a friend
Who'll think himself quite well rewarded if this vile practice is discarded!

My Father Gave Me an Acre of Ground

(traditional)
Collected by John Jacob Niles - from Tennessee
A version of Child Ballad #2, 'The Elfin Knight.'

My father gave me an acre of ground (ivy, sing ivory)
My father gave me an acre of ground (parsley, rosemary and thyme)
My father gave me an acre of ground betwixt the seaside all around
And you shall be a lover of mine (parsley, rosemary and thyme)

He made a plowingshare out of leather
and hoarrowed it down with a white turkey feather
he planted it down with Hickory King [a cultivar of cob corn]
and laid it by with a red robin's wing

If you would make me a cambric chirt
All woven round with no needle work
If you would wash and dry it well
Where ne'er a drop of water fell

If you would dry it on a thorn
That blossomed when King John was born
And when the corn is cut and bound
I'll wear my shirt in yonder town
And when 'tis done all speedily
Plaid or no plaid, married we'll be

Rolling Ages/Poor Mourning Souls/The Lovely Vine


From Jeremiah Ingalls' Christian Harmony, published in 1805.

Hark ye mortals, hear the trumpet sounding loud the mighty roar
Hark the archangel's voice proclaiming - then old times shall be no more.
Rolling ages, now your solemn close appears!

This great rolling frame of nature, that huge mast of blazing day,
Yonder arched expanse of heave - ye must all dissolve away.
Hark the archangels - swell the solemn summons loud!

See the gloomy prisoners rising, hell's dark caverns gaping wide
Tortured with despair and anguish! Horror fills the spacious void!
Come ye mountains, hide us from this dire revenge!

See the soulds that earth despised in celestrial glories move
Angels, seraphs, harps and trumpets swell the sweet angelic sound
Hail Almighty, great eternal Lord, amen.

Behold the lovely vine here in this desert ground
the blossoms shoot and promise fruit and tender grapes are found

The insects' feeble race, and fish that glide the stream,
the birds that fyly secure on high repeat the joyful theme

The beasts that feed at home or roam the valleys round
With lofty voice proclaim their joys join the pleasant sound

Shall feeble nature sing and man not join the lays?
Oh may their throats be swelled with notes and filled with songs of praise

Foggy Dew

(traditional Irish and Canadian)

When I was young, just twenty-one, I followed a roving trade,
And all the harm that ever I done was court a fair young maid;
I courted her one summer season, part of the winter, too,
And I ofttimes wished her in my arms out of the foggy dew.

One night as I lay on my bed she came to my bedside,
The tears run down her rosy cheeks, most bitterly she cried,
A-wringing her hands and a-tearing her hair, crying, "Oh, what shall I do?"
"Pull off your clothes, jump in the bed out of the foggy dew."

Oh, all the first part of the night how we did sport and play,
And all the latter part of the night she in my arms did lay,
Until the daylight did appear, crying, "What shall I do?"
"Arise, fair maid, don't be afraid, for gone is the foggy dew."

"If I should have a child, my dear, 'twould cause us both to smile,
If I should have another, we'd wait a little while;
If I should have another, my dear, another, another one or two,
We'd both resolve to sow no more but think on the foggy dew."

I asked this girl to marry me, I knew she'd take my part;
She proved to be a virtuous wife and I love her with my heart.
I never told her of any of her faults and I never intend to,
But every time she laughs or smiles makes me think of the foggy dew.

How Stands the Glass Around?


Printed on broadsides in the late 1700s and in The Convivial Songster (1782). Supposedly General Wolfe sang this song the night before his victory and his death at the Battle of Quebec in 1759.

How stands the glass around? For shame you take no care, me boys
How stands the glass around? Let mirth and wine abound
The trumpets sound, the colors they are flying boys,
to fight, kill, or wound. May we still be found
content with our hard fate, me boys, on the cold ground.

Why, soldiers, why should we be melancholy, boys,
Why, soldiers, why, whose business is to die
What, sighing? Fie! Damn fear, drink on, be jolly, boys,
Tis he, you, or I - cold, hot, wet, or dry.
We're always bound to follow, boys, and scorn to fly.

Tis but in vain - I mean not to upbraid you, boys,
Tis but in vain for soldiers to complain.
Should next campaign send us to Him who made us, boys,
We're free from pain. But if we remain - A bottle and kind landlady cure all again.

KING HENRY (Child Ballad #32)
Adapted from several variants including Steeleye Span's

Let never a man a-wooing wend that lacketh things three:
A store of gold, an open heart, and full of charity
And this was said of King Henry, as he lay quite alone
For he's taken him to a haunted hall, seven miles from the town

He's chased the deer now him before, and the doe down by the glen
When the fattest buck in all the flock, King Henry he has slain
His huntsmen followed him to the hall, to make them burly cheer
When loud the wind was heard to howl, and an earthquake rocked the floor

Darkness covered all the Hall where they sat at their meat
The grey dogs, yowling, left their food and crept to Henry's feet
And louder howled the rising wind, and burst the fastened door
When in there came a grisly ghost, stamping on the floor!

Her head hit the rooftree of the house, her middle you could not span
Each frightened Huntsman fled the hall, and left the King alone
Her teeth were like the tether-stakes, her nose like club or mall
And nothing less she seemed to be than a Fiend that comes from Hell!

Some meat, some meat, you King Henry, some meat you bring to me
Go kill your horse, you King Henry, and bring some meat to me!
And he has slain his berry-brown steed, it made his heart full sore
For she's eaten it up, both skin and bone, left nothing but hide and hair!

More meat, more meat, you King Henry, more meat you give to me!
Oh you must kill your good greyhounds, and bring some meat to me!
And he has slain his good greyhounds, it made his heart full sore
For she's eaten them up, both skin and bone, left nothing but hide and hair!

Some drink, some drink, you King Henry, some drink you give to me
Oh you sew up your horse's hide, and bring some drink to me!
And he's sewn up the bloody hide, and a pipe of wine put in
And she's drank it up all in one drop, left never a drop therein!

A bed, a bed, now King Henry, a bed you'll make for me!
Oh you must pull the heather green, and make it soft for me!
And pulled has he the heather green, and made for her a bed
And taken has he his good mantle, and over it he has spread.

Take off your clothes, now King Henry, and lie down by my side!
Now swear, now swear, you King Henry, to take me for your Bride!
"Oh God forbid," said King Henry, "that ever the like betide;
That ever a Fiend that comes from Hell should lie down by my side!

When the night was gone, and the day was come and the sun shone through the Hall
The fairest Lady that ever was seen lay twixt him and the wall!
"I've met with many a Gentle Knight that gave me all a fill,
But never before such a courteous Knight, that gave me all my Will!"

Mary and the Gallant Soldier

(traditional)

Come all you lads of high renown
That would hear of a fair young maiden
And she roved out on a summer's day
To view the soldiers parading
They marched so bold they looked so gay
The colors were flying and the bands did play
And it caused young Mary for to say
"I'll wed you me my gallant soldier"

She viewed the soldiers on parade
And as they stood at their leisure
And Mary to herself did say:
"At last I've found my treasure
But oh how cruel my parents must be
To banish my darling away from me
So I'll leave them all and I'll go with thee
And I'll wed ye my gallant soldier"

"Oh Mary, dear your parents love
I pray don't be so unruly,
For when you're in a foreign land,
Believe me you'll rue it surely.
Perhaps in battle I might fall
By a shot from an angry cannonball
And you so far from your daddy's hall
Be advised by a gallant soldier."

"Oh I have fifty guineas in bright gold,
Likewise a heart that's bolder
And I'll leave them all and I'll go with you
My bold undaunted soldier
So don't say no but let me go
And I will face the daring foe
And we'll march together to and fro
And I'll wed you, my gallant soldier"

And when he saw her loyalty
And Mary so true-hearted
He said: "My darling, married we'll be
And nothing but death will part us
And when we're in a foreign land
I'll guard you, darling, with my right hand
In hopes that God might stand a friend
To Mary and her gallant soldier"

The Turfman From Ardee
Learned from Peter Bellamy

For the sake of health I took a walk one morning in the dawn.
I met a jolly turfman on the road as I went on.
A friendly conversation came between this man and me.
And that's how I got acquainted with the Turfman from Ardee.

We chatted very freely as we walked along the road.
He says, "My ass is tired, and I'd like to sell my load,
For I've had no refreshment since I left my home you see
And I'm tired out from travelling," says the Turfman from Ardee.

"I see, my friend, your cart is worn, your ass is very old,
It must be twenty summers since the day that he was foaled".
"I remember well when he was born - September, '43,
And he cantered from the midwife", says the Turfman from Ardee.

"And it's many the time I've used the beast with this rough hazel rod,
But I must own I never did see poor Jack go unshod.
The harness that is on his back it was made by Sam Magee,
And he's dead this two and twenty years," says the Turfman from Ardee.

"I know, my friend, my cart is worn, but it's tough old Irish wood
It must have been in constant use since the time of Noah's flood.
The axle never wanted grease but one year out of three -
It's a real old Irish axle," says the Turfman from Ardee.

Just then I heard a female voice that I knew very well,
Politely asking this old man his load of turf to sell.
I shook that steady old hand of his and he bowed respectfully,
And I hope I'll meet some future day with the Turfman from Ardee.

Fair Flower of Northumberland (traditional)
we learned it from Dick Gaughan but un-scottishized the words.

The provost's ae dochter wis walkin her lane
O but her luve it wis easy won
Whan she spied a Scots prisoner makin his mane
An she wis the flouer of Northumberlan

"O, gin a lassie wad borrow me
O gin her luve it wis easy won
A wad mak her a ladie o heich degree
Gin she'd lowse me out frae my prison sae strang"

Sae it's she's dune her doun tae her faither's guid stocks
O but her luve it wis easy won
An she's stolen the best keys thair for mony's the brave lock
For tae lowse him out frae his prison sae strang

An it's she's dune her doun tae her faither's guid stables
O but her luve it wis easy won
An she's stolen the best horse that wis baith fleet an able
For tae cairry thaim owre tae bonnie Scotlan

Bit as thae were ridin across thon Scots muirs
He cried, "O but yer luve it wis easy won
Get ye doun frae my horse ye're a brazen-faced hour
Altho ye're the flouer o Northumberlan"

"It's cook in yer kitchen A shairly will be
Altho my luve it wis easy won
For A cannae gae back tae my ain countrie
Altho A'm the flouer o Northumberlan"

"It's cook in my kitchen ye cannae weill be
O but yer luve it wis easy won
For my ladie she winnae hae sairvants like ye
An ye'll need tae gae hame tae Northumberlan"

"For A hae a wife in my ain countrie
O but yer luve it was easy won
An A cannae dae naethin wi a lassie like ye
An ye'll need tae gae back tae Northumberlan"

An, sae laith wis he thon lassie tae tine,
O but her luve it wis easy won
He's hiret an auld horse an he's hiret an auld man
Tae cairry her hame tae Northumberlan

Bit whan she got thair her faither did froun an said
"O but yer luve it was easy won
Tae gang wi a Scotsman whan ye're barely saxteen
An ye were the flouer o Northumberlan"

Bit whan she gaed ben her mither did smile an said
"O but yer luve it was easy won
But ye're no the first that thon Scots has beguilet
An ye're walcome back hame tae Northumberlan"

"For ye winnae want breid an ye winnae want wine
O but yer luve it was easy won
An ye winnae want siller tae buy a man wi
An ye're aye the fair flouer o Northumberlan"

Faithful Johnny

(traditional)
Learned from the singing of Jean Redpath

When will you come again, my faithful Johnny,
When will you come again, my sweet and bonnie.
When the corn is gathered, when the leaves are withered,
I will come again, my sweet and bonnie, I will come again.

Then winter winds will blow, my faithful Johnny,
Then winter winds will blow, my sweet and bonnie,
Though the day be dark with drift, that I cannot see the light,
I will come again, my sweet and bonnie, I will come again.

Then will you meet me here, my faithful Johnny,
Then will you meet me here, my sweet and bonnie?
Though the night be halloween, When the fearful sights are seen
I will come again, my sweet and bonnie, I will come again.

Flowers of the Forest

by Jane Elliot
Jane Elliot was born in 1727, the third daughter of Sir Gilbert Elliot of Minto. No other lyrics of hers survive, and indeed, she almost didn't write the song in the first place. The story goes that she only did it for a bet with her oldest brother Gilbert, himself a songwriter. He challenged her that she couldn't compose a song about Flodden. The song was first published by David Herd in 1776. Apparently, the shy and retiring Jean tried to disown it. She almost succeeded, actually, because many people at the time seriously took it to be a genuinely ancient work. ... The song uses a tune that appears in the Skene Manuscript of 1630 as The Flowres Of The Forrest.* This could make it very venerable indeed, since John Skene of Halyards is known to have recorded some of Scotland's oldest melodies. I can't remember who we learned this from, but it had been substantially folk-processed by then. Here are the original words.

'I've heard them lilting at the yowe-milking,
Lasses a-lilting before the dawn o' day;
But now they are moaning on ilka green loaning;
The Flowers of the Forest are a' wede awae.

At buchts in the morning, nae blythe lads are scorning The lassies are lonely and dowie and wae; Nae daffin', nae gabbin, but sighing and sabbing Ilk ane lifts her leglin and hies her awae.

In hairst, at the shearing, nae youths now are jeering;
The bandsters are lyart and runkled and grey;
At fair or at preaching, nae wooing, nae fleeching:
The Flowers of the Forest are a' wede awae.

At e'en in the gloaming, nae swankies are roaming '
Bout stacks wi' the lasses at bogle to play
But ilk ane sits drearie lamenting her dearie -
The Flowers of the Forest are a' wede awae.

Dule and wae for the order, sent our lads tae the Border!
The English, for aince, by guile wan the day;
The Flowers of the Forest that focht aye the foremost
The pride o' our land, are cauld in the clay.

We'll hear nae mair lilting at the yowe-milking;
Women and bairns are heartless and wae;
Sighing and moaning on ilka green loaning:
The Flowers of the Forest are a' wede away'.

The Laird o' Drum (Traditional - Child Ballad #236)
Learned from Jock Tamson's Bairns

The Laird o' Drum has a-huntin' gane
All in the mornin' early
And he has spied a weel-faur'd maid
A-shearin' her faither's barley

My bonnie maid, my weel-faur'd maid
It's will ye gang wi' me, O
And will ye gang and be Lady o' the Drum
And leave your shearin' a-be, O

I couldnae gang wi' you, kind sir
Nor leave my shearin' a-be, O
For I'm ower low tae be Lady o' the Drum
And your miss I scorn tae be, O

My faither he's a shepherd man
Keeps sheep on yonder hill, O
And ye be gang and speir at him
I'm entirely at his will, O

Drum has tae her faither gane
Keepin' sheep on yonder hill, O
I'm come tae marry your ae dochter
Gin ye'll gie your guid will, O

My dochter can neither read nor write
Nor once she bred at the school, O
But she can work baith oot and in
For I've learned the girlie mysel', O

She'll wark in your barn, aye and at your mill
And brew your malt and your ale, O
And saddle your steed in time o' need
And draw aff your boots hersel', O

Noo I'll learn the lassie tae read and write
And pit her tae the school, O
And she'll never need tae saddle my steed
Nor draw aff my boots hersel', O

It's up and spake his brither John
Says, Ye've done us meikle wrang, O
Ye've marriet a wife o' low degree
She's a mock tae all oor kin, O

It's Peggy Coutts is a bonnie bride
And Drum is big and gossie
But ye mecht hae chosen a higher mat'
Than just a shepherd's lassie

It's up and spake the Laird o' Drum
Says, I've done ye nae wrang, O
I've marriet a wife tae wark and win
And ye've marriet ane tae spend, O

Noo, the first time that I took me a wife
She was far abune my degree, O
And I dursnae gang intae the room whaur she was
But my hand below my knee, O

And all had eaten and drunken weel
And they were bound for bed, O
The Laird o' Drum and his lady fair
In ae bed they were laid, O

Gin ye had been o' high renown
As ye're o' low degree, O
We mecht hae gae'd doon tae the yett o' Drum
Amang guid companie, O

I told ye weel ere we were wed
Ye was far abune my degree, O
But noo we're marriet, in ae bed laid
I'm just as guid as ye, O

And when you are dead and I am dead
And baith in ae grave laid, O
Ere seven years are at an end
Weel no' ken ye your dust frae mine, O

I Live Not Where I Love



Come all you maids who live at a distance
Many a mile from off your love
Come and assist me this very moment
For to pass away some time
Singing sweetly and completely
Songs of pleasure and of love
For my heart is with him all together
Though I live not where I love

When I sleep I dream about you
When I wake I take no rest
Every moment thinking of you
My heart is fixed within your breast
Though great distance may prove assistance
From my mind your love to remove
My heart is with you all together
Though I live not where I love

All the world should be of one religion
All living things shall cease to die
If ever I prove false to my jewel
Or any way my love deny
The world would change and be most strange
If ever I inconstant prove
My heart is with you all together
Though I live not where I love

So farewell lads and farewell lasses
Now I think I've made my choice
I'll away to yonder island
Where I think I hear his voice
If he calls then I will follow
Though the ocean be so wide
My heart is with you all together
Though I live not where I love

The Black Fox (Hunting the Devil)


Graham Pratt 1980

As we were out a-hunting One morning in the Spring,
Both the hounds and the horses running well made the hills and valleys ring.
But to our great misfortune No fox there could be found
The huntsmen cursed and swore, but still No fox moved over the ground.

Then up spoke our master huntsman, At the head of hounds rode he,
"Well lo we have ridden for a full three hours But no fox have we seen"
"And there his scents did lead me And I shall have my chase
And if only the Devil himself come by I'd run him such a race".

Then up there sprang like lightning A fox from out his hole
His fur was the colour of a starless night His eyes like burning coal.
And we chased him over the valley and we chased him over the field.
And we chased him down to the river bank but never would he yield.

And he's jumped into the water And he's swum to the other side.
And he's laughed aloud at the green woodchuck and he's turned to the huntsmen and cried:

"Ride on!, ye gallant huntsmen. When must I come again?
If ever you shall want for a fox to chase all over the plain
And when your need is greatest Just call on my name
And I will come, and you shall have The best of a sporting game."

And the men looked up in wonder and the hounds ran back to hide,
For the fox had changed to the Devil himself as he stood at the other side.
Then the men, the hounds, and the horses Went flying back to town
And hard on their heels was the devil himself, laughing as he ran.

"Ride on!, ye gallant huntsmen. When must I come again?
Whenever you shall want for a fox to chase all over the plain
And when your need is greatest Just call on my name
And I will come, and you shall have The best of a sporting game."

Tuppence on the Rope


From the singing of Gary and Very Aspey of Lancashire. As they told it, the Lancashire hobo could sleep in "spikes," or work-houses, but he had to do a whole day's work to earn it. And he couldn't spend two nights in the same spike, but sometimes after a whole day of breaking stones there wasn't time to get to the next spike. So then he would have to pay to sleep in a dosshouse (a flophouse - extremely cheap hotel for homeless people).

A hobo's life is brave and free I've ofttimes heard folks say
But I know better now I've trudged all through a winter's day
I've slept in barns and garden sheds and in some haystacks too
Tramped the road from coast to coast in ragged clothes and shoes

But when you're down and nearly out and have no place to go
You can shelter from the long hard night
For tuppence on the rope.
Tuppence on the rope, me boys, tuppence on the rope

I've been in spikes the country round,
Met workhouse masters many
Most of them are harsh and stern and kind ones hardly any
In dosshouse I've had many a kip, a sixpence for a bed
But in these days of poverty a tanner's hard to beg.

In Glossop Spike there's bread and scrape,
But oh, their work is hard
It's five hours spent just breaking stones
Out in the workshouse yard
In Rochdale I was given a shirt, in Bakeup got new boots
But Blackburn's beds are hardwood boards and full of hungry coots

Oh evil day when a man cannot get to his spike in time
And in a dosshouse spends his pence to hang upon the line
When workhouse masters disappear, it's not too much to hope
That we will never see again those men hung on the rope

Barleygrain for Me

(traditional Irish and Canadian)

Oh, three men went to Deroughata
To sell three loads of rye.
They shouted up and they shouted down
The barley grain should die.

And it's tiree igery ary ann, Tiree igery ee,
Tiree igery ary ann, The barley grain for me.

Then the winter being over and the summer coming on
Sure the barleygrain shot fort its head with a beard like any man

Then the reaper came with a sharp hook; He made me no reply.
He caught me by the whiskers and he cut me above the thigh.

Then the pitcher came with a steel fork and he pierced it through me heart.
And like a rogue or highwayman they bound me to the cart.

Then they took me to the barn and they spread me out on the floor.
They left me there for a space of time and me beard grew through the door.

Then the thresher came with a big flail; he swore he’d break me bones
But the miller he used me worse, he ground me between two stones.

Then they took me out of that and they threw me into a well.
They left me there for a space of time and me belly began to swell.

Then they sold me to the brewer and he brewed me on the pan
But, when I got into the jug I was the strongest man.

Bonny May (traditional)
from the singing of June Tabor

Bonny May the shepherdess has gone to call her sheep to the fold
And as she sang, her bonny voice it rang, out over the tops of the downs.

There came a troop of gentlemen as they were riding by
One of them has lighted down and he's asked of her the way.

"Ride on, ride on, you rank riders, your steeds are stout and strong,
Oh, it's out of the fold I will not go for fear you do me wrong."

Now he's ta'en her by the lily white hand and by the green gown sleeve,
And there he's had his will of her and he's asked of her no leave.

"Oh, woe be to your shepherd, father, he takes no care of the sheep,
For he's fiddled in the fold in the back of the downs
And a fox has frightened me with his bold and twinkling eye."

When twenty weeks were gone and past, twenty weeks and three,
The lassie began to fret and to frown and to long for the twinkling eye.

It was on a day, on a bonnie summer's day when she went out alone
That self same troop of gentlemen came a-riding over the down.

"Who got the babe with thee, Bonny May, who got the babe in your arms?"
For shame, she blushed, and "Aye," she said, Oh, I have a good man of my own."

"You lie , you lie you Bonnie Bonnie May, so loud I hear you lie..
Remember the misty murky night I lay in the fold with thee.

He's mounted off his berry brown steed, he's put that fair maid on.
"Go call out your sheep, father, yourself, she'll ne'er call them again."

For he's Lord of fifty plows and three, fifty plows and three,
And he's taken away the bonniest lass in all the South country.

The Road to Drumleman

(we learned it as "Drumleven")
by Tony Cuffe

Oh the springtime returns to the Lagan again
And the lark sweetly sings o'er the green fertile plain
And I'll tak' the road that is dearest to me
The road to Drumleman that winds tae the sea

For I've made many friends there on every green mile
And the folk always greet me with a wave and a smile
If I spent all my days here it's happy I'd be
On the road to Drumleman that winds to the sea

For we sat roon the fireside when the winter winds blew
And we laughed and we sang till the night was weel through
Then we had a good dram and a wee cup o' tea
For the road to Drumleman that winds to the sea

And the lang summer days when we tramped the hills o'er
Or spent hours at the Eenans o' Creggans wild shore
And the soft summer twilight made shadows to flee
From the road to Drumleman that winds to tae the sea

Oh these days passing swiftly bring changes I know
And as time marches on from this place I must go
But I'll always remember while the heart beats in me
The road to Drumleman that winds tae the sea

The Beggar Song

(traditional, with additional words by Jane Peppler)

I'd rather be a beggar than a king, I'll tell you the reason why
A king cannot swagger, nor drink like a beggar, nor be half as happy as I.

Let the back and side go bare, me boys, Let the hands and feet go cold
But give to the belly beer enough Whether it be new or old

Sometimes we call at a nobleman's hall to beg for bread and beer.
Sometimes we're lame, sometimes we're blind, sometimes too deaf to hear.

Sometimes we lie like where the hogs go by in clover all around
Sometimes eat a crust that's rolled in the dust and be thankful it was found.

There's a penny in me pocket and another one too; Landlord, here they be!
I can't be sold if I don't need gold, now don't you envy me?

The Bold Robber


Traditional - from the singing of John Kirkpatrick

This song was collected by Ralph Vaughan Williams from a fisherman called Anderson, of King's Lynn in Norfolk, England, and published in his Folk Songs from the Eastern Counties (1908). "The moral is Brechtian;" says Lloyd, "it is folly to rob the poor when one can so much more profitably plunder the rich."

Come you good people that go out a-tippling,
I pray you give attention and listen to my song.
I'll sing you a ditty of a jolly bold robber,
Stood seven foot high, in proportion quite strong.

He robbed lawyer Morgan and old Lady Dawkins;
Five hundred bright guineas from each one of them;
And as he was a-strolling he spied a young sailor,
And bold as a lion he stood up to him.

"Hand over your money, you saucy young sailor.
There's plenty of bulk in your pocket, I see."
"Aye, aye," says the sailor, "I've plenty of money,
But while I have life, well, I've got none for thee.

"I've just left my ship, give the press-gang the slip,
And I'm bound up to London my sweetheart to see.
With forty bright sovereigns for to pay our sweet lodgings,
So I pray you, bold robber, don't you take them from me."

But the robber caught hold of that gallant young sailor;
With a blow like a pole-axe felled him to the ground.
"Aye aye," says the sailor, "You have struck me quite heavy,
And now I'll endeavour to repay you in kind."

It was then both they stripped and like tigers they skipped,
And they fought blow for blow like to soldiers in the field.
At the ninety-seventh meeting it was very completing,
For this gallant young sailor the bold robber he killed.

Then the sailor looked down on the bloodstained bold robber.
"I hope you'll forgive me, poor fellow," says he,
"But if I had just lifted a thousand bright guineas,
I'll be damned if I'd have stopped a poor sailor like me."

Long Pegging Awl


traditional

As I was a walking one morning in May
I met a pretty sailor, his manner was gay
I stepped up to him and back he did fall
He wanted to play with the long pegging awl.

He said, "Pretty fair maid, if you travel with me
Onto foreign countries, strange things for to see,
Then I will protect you, whate'er may befall,
And follow your love with my long pegging awl."

So home to me parents I went straight away
And onto me mother these words I did say:
"I'll follow my true love whate'er may befall,
I'll follow my love and his long pegging awl."

"Oh daughter, oh daughter, now do not say so,
For young men are false as you very well know
They'll tell you fine things and the devil and all
Then leave you big-bellied with the long pegging awl."

"Oh mother, oh mother, how can you say so?
Before you were sixteen, you very well know,
There was father and mother and baby and all -
You followed my dad for his long pegging awl."

Todlin' Home
Burns said it was "perhaps the first bottle-song that ever was composed."

WhenI have a sixpence under my thumb
Then I can get credit in every town
Buth aye, when I'm poor they've nothing for me
Oh poverty parts good company!

Todlin home, todlin home, oh when will my love come todlin home?

Here's a health to the goodwife and send her good sale,
She gives us white bannock to relish her ale
When the fine is too dear, she brings the small,
As much as she'll bring us, we'll drink it all!

My love and I lay down to sleep
With two pint casks at our bed's feet
And aye, when we woke, we drank them dry.
What think ye of my love and I?

Well, leeze me on liquor, my todlin' dow,
You're aye so good humored when wetting your mouth
When sober, so sour you'd fight with a flea,
So 'tis a blithe night to the bairnies and me
When todlin home, todlin home,
When round as a neep (turnip) you come todlin' home.