Song lyrics/translations for "Rag Faire" by the Pratie Heads

to hear/buy the recording see the Skylark Productions website.

Appalachian folk ballad

The first that came was a fair maid acombing on her locks
she said she saw Berayna amongst the geese and ducks

with a whoop whoop whoop and a heighho along the narrow stretch
with a rat tat tat and a tippy tippy top and
down the rolling bow wow wow with a toodle oodle oodle and a bugle sound
Through the woods he ran Billy boy then through the woods he ran.

The next that came was a gentleman a walkin down the street
He said he saw Berayna carrying a piece of meat

The next that come was a merchant counting out his goods
He said he saw Berayna sitting in the woods

The next to come was a preacher thinking on his sins
He said he saw Berayna folding a paper of pins

The last to come was a soldier marching home from war
He said he saw Berayna wallowing like a boar.

For another recording, see Custer LaRue's "The True Lover's Farewell"

by Danny O'Keefe

Like wild leaves we all have flown these ancient lands we once called home
So many mothers' only sons, so many loved ones all have gone
Gone away like all the rest to find their fortunes in the West

Still the fire it always burns, a voice in the heart that cries "return!"
Those em'rald hills so far away will haunt us back again some day
The river's long, the water's wide, the west begins on the other side
Put a skip in your step, now, dry a tear from your eyes
Turn away and wave goodbye
Brave the currants of time and tide, soon you're safe on the other side
It's a wild dream that never ends, calls us all into the west.

What takes us into mystery we leave behind as history
Like every sun that rose at dawn into the west we all have gone

Original poem by Seba Smith rewritten by Jane Peppler

In a village fifteen miles away there's a merry ball tonight
Hermione's dressed, her Eddie is here, her spirits are very light
"Oh daughter dear," her mother says, "These blankets around you fold!
It's a dreadful night to go abroad and you'll catch your deathly cold!"

"Oh no, oh no," the daughter says, and she laughs like a gypsy queen:
"To ride in a sleigh all bundled up I never shall be seen."
"My silken coat it is quite warm, it's lined throughout you know.
Besides, I have a silken scarf which 'round my neck I'll throw"

With muffled faces silently over five long miles they passed
When Eddie with these frozen words the silence breaks at last:
"Such a night as this I never knew, these reins I scarce can hold"
Then Hermione said in a feeble voice: "I'm growing very cold"

Eddie cracked his whip, he urged his steed much faster than before
It was ten long dreadful miles to go, they were chilled to the core.
"How fast," said Ed, "the frosty ice keeps gathering on your brow!"
But Hermione said in a feebler voice "I'm growing warmer now"

The ball they reached, Ed called her name, Hermione said not a word.
"Why sit you there like a monument?" The wind was all he heard.
And then into the lighted hall her lifeless form he bore
Hermione was a frozen corpse and words she would speak no more

Young Eddie knelt down by her side, his bitter tears did flow
"My own, my true intended bride I never more shall know!"
He kissed Hermione on her lips and her cheek so icy blue.
"Why didn't you wear those blankets that your mother gave to you?"


The farmer's heart with joy is filled
When his crops are good and sound;
But who can feel the wild delight
Of the sailor homeward bound?
For three long years have passed away
Since we left freedom's shore,
Our long-felt wish has come at last
And we're homeward bound once more.

To where the sky's as clear as the maiden's eye
Who longs for our return,
To the land where milk and honey flows
And liberty it was born.
So fill our sails with the favoring gales,
And with shipmates all around
We'll give three cheers for our starry flag
And the "Jamestown" homeward bound.

And now we have arrived in port
And stripping's our last job,
And friendly faces look around
In search of Bill or Bob.
They see that we are safe at last
From the perils of the sea;
Saying, "You're welcome, Columbia's mariners
To your homes and liberty."

Words: Binem Heller Music: Chava Alberstein

My sister Khaye, her eyes were green
My sister Khaye, her braids were black
Sister Khaye, it was she who raised me
In the house on Smotshe Street with tumble down steps.

Mother left the house at dawn
When there was hardly light in the sky.
She went off to the shop, to earn
A wretched penny's worth of change.

And Khaye stayed with the boys,
She fed them and watched over them.
And at night, when little kids get tired,
She'd sing them pretty songs.

My sister Khaye, her eyes were green
My sister Khaye, her hair was long
Sister Khaye, it was she who raised me
She wasn't even ten years old.

She cleaned and cooked and served the food,
She washed our little heads
All she forgot was to play with us
Sister Khaye, her braids were black.

My sister Khaye with her eyes of green
Was burnt by a German in Treblinka.
And I am, in the Jewish world,
The very last one who ever knew her.

It's for her that I write my poems in Yiddish
In these terrible days of our times.
To God Himself she's an only daughter,
She sits in heaven at His right hand.

James Joyce

Strings in the earth and air make music sweet strings by the river
where the willows meet there's music longer there for love wanders there
pale flowers on her mantel dark leaves in her hair all softly straying
with head to the music bent and fingers playing upon an instrument

Twilight turns from amethyst to a deep and deeper blue
Lamps light with a pale green glow the trees of the avenue
The piano plays an old air sedate and slow and gay
She bends the yellow keys, her head inclines this way
Shy thoughts and grave wide eyes with hands that wander as they list
Twilight turns a deeper blue with lights of amethyst

Osvaldo Farrés

For a whole life I'd be with you
I don't care in what form, where, or how, but together with you.
For a whole life I'd be embracing (pampering) you, taking care of you as I do my own life
I wouldn't get tired of telling you always that you are in my life
anxiety, anguish, desperation...


I am a rambling fellow and I rambles up and down
Without any expectations I rambled London town
I went into the Golden Bowl, I called for liquors fine,
She appeared like some angel, her glittering eyes did shine

I boldly stepped up to her and I gave her hand a squeeze.
She said very softly to me: "You can do just as you please."
Now when we were together, how we did sport and play,
But while that I was sleeping this young girl stole away.

She took my buckskin britches, my gold watch and guineas three
She ruined me into the bargain - what will become of me?
I curse the very hour, the day that I was born,
The day that I saw London - or any seaport town.

Now the people they was all amazed to see me go so bare
So they gathered up five shillings and they sent me to Rag Fair
But I did not go to Rag Fair, no britches did I buy,
I just ran into a gin shop and bought a bottle of wine.

A traditional Sephardic song
"Although eggplants were brought by the Arabs to Spain and Italy, Jews have been credited for introducing them because they took them to the north of these countries when they fled from the Almohades and Almoravides in southern Spain and when the Inquisition banished them from southern Italy. They remained forever associated with the vegetable and were exceedingly fond of it." - Claudia Roden's The Book of Jewish Food. Claudia also wrote: "Although eggplants were brought by the Arabs to Spain and Italy, Jews have been credited for introducing them because they took them to the north of these countries when they fled from the Almohades and Almoravides in southern Spain and when the Inquisition banished them from southern Italy. They remained forever associated with the vegetable and were exceedingly fond of it."

There are seven different ways to cook eggplant.
The first recipe is Elena's specialty, vava.
She cuts it into bite-sized pieces and serves it for supper
and this meal is called a dish of eggplant.

(My uncle Cerasi likes to drink wine, lots of it, he feels fine.)

The second one who makes it is the preacher's wife.
She hollows it out and fills it with herbs.
This meal is called a dish of dolmá.

The third one who makes it is my cousin Ester di Chiote.
She hollows it out and fills it with rice.
This meal is called a dish of amondrote.

The alburnia is a tasty recipe both for its color and aroma.
Come, let's make a supper to enjoy together
before the worm comes and takes the flavor away.

On the tables at the feasts the jandrajo always shines.
We make little pastries out of it, they shine on the plates
waiting to be served with hard-boiled eggs.

The maljasina salad is rich and tasty.
My neighbor makes it with a lot of olive oil.
It's served with left-over hen.

The seventh way it's made is the best and most exquisite.
Filisti, the neighbor's daughter, makes it.
She puts it in the oven in an open dish with oil and pepper
and they call it a meyina.

(Words by Bob Copper, tune by Peter Bellamy)

O, you may moan with plaintive tone
Your gormless modern tune,
But I will roar along the shore
Beneath a blood-red moon,
And songs that Nelson's sailors sang
Shall ring across the wave
And fifty thousand sailor-men shall join the chorus brave
The chorus brave and tarry that savours of the sea,
For fifty thousand sailor-men shall rise to sing with me.

Or in the dusty, sunlit barn
A farmer's song I'll sing,
A country rhyme to a rhythmic time
Of flails that thump and swing
All up and down the threshing floor
To win the golden grain,
And fifty thousand threshermen shall join the bold refrain,
The bold refrain and fearless that springs from English soil,
For fifty thousand threshermen shall join my song of toil.

Or in the depths of cellar cool
Reclining on a bench,
When I've dispersed an honest thirst
That ale alone can quench,
I'll wake the vaulted echoes wide
In praise of barley-brew,
And fifty thousand drinking men shall join the chorus true,
The chorus true and hearty of hops and barley-malt,
For fifty thousand drinking men shall prove they're worth their salt.

The old songs, yes, the old songs
That gave our fathers joy,
The songs they sang till the welkin rang
When Nelson was a boy,
Will echo onward down the years
And never, never fade,
For fifty thousand singing men will never be afraid
To raise their lusty voices their spirits to revive
And tell to all eternity, "we're glad that we're alive."


The Diamond is a ship, my lads
For the Davis Strait she's bound
And the quay it is all garnished
With bonnie lasses 'round
Captain Thompson gives the order
To sail the ocean wide
Where the sun it never sets, my lads
Nor darkness dims the tide

For it's cheer up my lads
Let your hearts never fail
When the bonnie ship the Diamond
Goes a-hunting for the whale

Here's a health to the Resolution
Likewise the Eliza Swan
Here's a health to the Battler of Montrose
And the Diamond, ship of fame.
We wear the trousers o' the white
And the jackets o' the blue
When we get back to Peterhead
We'll have sweethearts anew

Along the quay at Peterhead
The lasses stand aroon
Wi' their shawls all pulled around them
And the saut tears runnin' doon
Don't you weep, my bonnie wee lass
Though you be left behind
For the rose will grow on Greenland's ice
Before we change our mind

It will be bright both day and night
When the Greenland lads come hame
With a ship that's full of oil, my boys
And money to our name
We'll make the cradles for to rock
And the blankets for to tear
And every lass in Peterhead sing
"Hushabye, my dear"


It was homeward bound one night on the deep,
Swinging in my hammock I fell asleep,
I dreamed a dream and I thought it true,
Concerning Franklin and his gallant crew.

With a hundred seamen he sailed away,
Through frozen oceans in the month of May.
To seek a passage around the pole,
Where we poor sailors do sometimes go.

Through cruel hardships they vainly strove
Their ship on mountains of ice was drove,
Only the Eskimo with his skin canoe,
Was the only one that ever came through.

In Baffin's Bay where the whale fish blow,
The fate of Franklin no man may know,
The fate of Franklin no tongue can tell,
Lord Franklin alone with his sailors dwell.

And now my burden it gives me pain,
For my long lost Lord Franklin I would cross the main,
Ten thousand pounds I would freely give,
To say on earth that my Franklin do live.

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