52 Folk Songs: Red

by Phil Edwards

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1.
A wealthy squire lived in our town He was a man of high renown He had one daughter of beauty bright And the name he gave her was his Heart's Delight Many young man to court her came But none of them could her favour gain Till there came one of a low degree And above them all, why, she fancied he But when her father he came to know That his lovely daughter loved this young man so Over fifty miles he sent her away All to deprive her of a wedding day One night as she lay in her bedroom Her lover appeared from out the gloom He touched her hand and to her did say “Arise my darling and come away” 'Twas with this young man she got on behind And they rode swifter than any wind They rode on for an hour or more Till he cried out, “Oh, my head is sore!” A holland handkerchief she then drew out And with it bound his aching head about She kissed his lips and to him did say “Oh my love, you're colder than the clay.” When they came to her father's gate He said, “Get down, for the hour is late! Get down, my love, and go to bed I'll see this gallant horse is groomed and fed” But when she entered her father's hall “Who's there, who's there?” her own father called “'Tis I dear father, didn't you send for me By such a messenger”, and she's named he “Oh no dear daughter, that can never be Your words are false love, and you lie to me For on yon mountain your young man died And it's in the grave now his body lies” She rose up at the break of day And went to the grave where her true love lay And there he lay, full six weeks dead, With a holland handkerchief tied round his head.
2.
It was Hankey the Squire as I've heard men say Who rode out a-hunting on one Saturday They hunted all day but nothing they found But a poor murdered woman laid on the cold ground About eight o'clock, boys, our dogs they throwed off On Leatherhead Common, and that was the spot They tried all the bushes but nothing they found But a poor murdered woman laid on the cold ground They whipped their dogs off and they kept them away For I do think it proper she should have fair play They tried all the bushes but nothing they found But a poor murdered woman laid on the cold ground They mounted their horses and they rode off the ground They rode to the village and alarmed it all around “It is late in the evening, I'm sorry to say, She cannot be removed until the next day.” The next Sunday morning about eight o'clock Some hundreds of people to the spot they did flock For to see that poor creature, your hearts would have bled Some cold-hearted violence came into their heads She was took off the Common and down to some inn And the man that has kept it, his name is John Sims. The Coroner was sent for and the jury they joined And soon they concluded and settled their mind. Her coffin was brought - in it she was laid And took to the churchyard that is called Leatherhead. No father, no mother, nor no friend I'm told Came to see the poor creature laid under the mould. So now I'll conclude and I'll finish my song And those that have done it shall find themselves wrong. For the last day of Judgement the trumpet shall sound And their souls not in Heaven I'm afraid won't be found.
3.
03:32
As I walked over London Bridge One misty morning early, There I overheard some fair lady Lamenting for her Geordie. “O where can I find me a brisk little boy Who can go an errand quickly? Who can go ten mile in one hour With an errand for a lady?” “Come saddle to me my best black horse, Come saddle me my pony, That I may ride to the king's castle wall With an errand for a lady.” And when she had come to the king's castle wall The prisoners they stood many, And they all stood with their hats in their hands All excepting for her Geordie. And when she entered the king's great hall There were lords and ladies many, And she fell down on her bended knee To plead for the life of her Geordie. “Oh Geordie never stole no cow nor horse, He never murdered any. But he stole sixteen of the king's fat deers To sell them in Bohenny. “And six pretty babies I've had to him, The seventh lies in my body I would freely part with them every one To save the life of my Geordie.” The judge he looked over his left shoulder. He seemed so very hard hearted, Saying, “Lady, fair lady, you've come too late For Geordie's condemned already.” “Geordie will be hanged in chains of gold, Such gold as never hangs many, Because he come of the royal blood And he courted a very rich lady. “Oh, my Geordie will be hanged in the chains of gold, Such gold as there isn't much of any. And on his grave these words will be wrote: Here lies the heart of a lady .”
4.
05:02
Now Gilderoy was a bonny boy and he would not soft ribbons wear. He's taken off his scarlet coat, he gartered below his knee. He was beloved by the young and the old, he was such a rakish boy; He is my sovereign heart's delight, my handsome bold young Gilderoy. Young Gilderoy and I was born all in one town together And at the age of seventeen years we courted one each other. Our dads and our mums they both did agree and crowned with mirth and joy To think that I should marry with my handsome bold young Gilderoy. Now Gilderoy and I walked out all in the fields together; He took me round the waist so small and down we went together. And when he had done all a man could do, he rose and kissed his joy, He is my sovereign heart's delight, my handsome bold young Gilderoy. What a pity 'tis a man should hang for stealing other women's gear Or pilfering a sheep or calf, or stealing cow or mare Had not our laws been made so strict I ne'er had lost my joy, Who was my dearest heart's delight - my handsome bold young Gilderoy. At Leith they took my Gilderoy, and there, oh Lord, they tried him, To Edinburgh they took him then, and there, oh Lord, they hanged him; They hanged him up above the rest, he was such a handsome boy, My only love and heart's delight - my handsome bold young Gilderoy. Now Gilderoy they've hung him high and a funeral for him we shall have; With a sword and a pistol by my side I'll guard my true love to his grave. For he was beloved by the young and the old and he was such a rakish boy, He was my sovereign heart's delight, my handsome bold young Gilderoy.
5.
It's of a brisk young sailor down by the banks of Yarrow He's courted his lovely Annie till she proved with child-O "O what shall we do my love? What will become of me? My mother and father, they both will disown me." "Go fetch me some of your father's gold and some of your mother's money And you shall go aboard ship along with your Johnnie." So she's fetched him some of her father's gold and some of her mother's money And she's gone aboard ship along with her Johnnie. But they had not been sailing scarce six leagues nor so many Before she wanted women's help and could not get any. "O hold your tongue you foolish girl, hold your tongue my honey We cannot get women's help for love nor money." And they had not been sailing scarce seven leagues, no further Before she was delivered of a beautiful baby. Now as they sailed on the ocean, the ship sailed so neatly With her sails spread and a fair wind, but miles she made not any. "The ship is accursed," the captain cried so boldly, "The ship is accursed, she will not sail for me." So they've cast the black bullets, they've cast them six and forty And every time the bullets fell upon young Annie. "Sea captain, sea captain, here's fifty pounds in bright money To carry me home again, me and my baby." "O no," cried the captain, "such things they never can be. 'Tis better to lose two lives than 'tis to lose many." "Then tie the napkin round my head, tie it soft and gently And throw me right overboard, me and my baby." So they've tied the napkin round her head, they've tied it soft and gently And they've thrown her right overboard, her and her baby. "See how my love does tumble, see how her body quivers, See how she tries to swim, it does make my heart shiver. "My love shall have a coffin made with nails that shine gold and yellow And the coffin shall be buried on the banks of Yarrow."
6.
02:57
There was a lady and a lady gay, Children she had three. She sent them away to a northern school, To study gramarie. They had not been but three months gone, Three months and a day. When death came o'er this whole land And stole those babes away. 'If there's a King in Heaven high, That wears a golden crown Let him send home my three little babes. Tonight or in the morning soon. It fell about old Christmas time The nights being long and cool She dreamed she saw her own dear babes Come running to their mother's door. She set a table with a clean white cloth Set with bread and wine, 'Come eat, come drink, my three little babes. Come eat, come drink of mine.' 'We can't eat your bread, mother, 'We can't drink your wine. For yonder stands our saviour dear And Him we must rejoin.' She made them a bed in the backmost room, Spread with a holland sheet. And on it spread a cloth of gold. 'Come by, my babes, and sleep.' 'Green moss grows at our head, mother, Green grass at our feet. And every tear that you shed for us, It wets our winding sheet.' 'Rise up, rise up,' cried the eldest then, 'Rise up and away, For yonder stands our Saviour dear With Him we must away. 'So it's farewell mother and father too, Farewell King and Queen, How can I stay in this dull world? There's a brighter one for me.'
7.
As I roved out one summer's morn, I saw a scarecrow tied to a pole in a field of corn. His coat was black and his head was bare, And as the wind shook him the crows took up into the air. Ah, but you'd lay me down and love me, Ah, but you'd lay me down and love me if you could. For you're only a bag of rags in an overall That the wind sways so the crows fly away and the corn can grow tall. As I roved out one winter's day, I saw an old man hanging from a pole in a field of clay. His coat was gone and his head hung low, Till the wind flung it up to look, wrung its neck and let it go. How could you lay me down and love me? How could you lay me down and love me now? For you're only a bag of bones in an overall That the wind blows and the kids throw stones at the thing on the pole. As I rode out one fine spring day, I saw twelve jolly dons dressed out in the blue and the gold so gay. And to a stake they tied a child newborn, And the songs were sung, the bells were rung, and they sowed their corn. Now you can lay me down and love me, Now you can lay me down and love me if you will. For you're only a bag of rags in an overall But the wind blew and the sun shone too and the corn grew tall. As I roved out one summer's morn, I saw a scarecrow tied to a pole in a field of corn...
8.
Old Molly Metcalfe counting sheep Yan tan tether mether pip she counted Up upon Swaledale steep and bleak Yan tan tether mether pip she said. Grow little sheep come hail come snow Yan tan tether mether pip she counted Fine warm wool for a gentleman's shoulderblades Yan tan tether mether pip she said. Over the heather when the weather is cold Yan tan tether mether pip she counted Stiff Molly Metcalfe goes bow-leggedly Yan tan tether mether pip she said. Grow little sheep, come wind come rain Yan tan tether mether pip she counted Fine warm wool for a lady's counterpane, Yan tan tether mether pip she said. On her back in the bracken with frozen bones Yan tan tether mether pip she counted Daft Molly Metcalfe singing alone Yan tan tether mether pip she said. Grow little sheep, come death come dark Yan tan tether mether pip she counted No such wool for Old Molly Metcalfe, Yan tan tether mether pip she said.
9.
Oh, as I rode out one morning fair Over lofty hill, moorland and mountain, It was there I met with a fine young girl, While I with others was hunting. No shoes nor stockings did she wear; Neither had she hat nor had she feather, But her golden curls, aye, and ringlets rare In the gentle breeze played round her shoulders. I said, “Fair lassie, why do you walk alone? Why walk alone among the heather?” She said, “My father's away from home And I'm herding of his ewes together.” I said, “Fair lassie, if you'll be mine And you lie on a bed o' feathers, In silks and satin it's you will shine, And you'll be my queen among the heather.” She said, “Kind sir, your offer is good, But I'm afraid it's meant for laughter, For I know you are some rich squire's son And I'm a poor lame shepherd's daughter.” “Oh, but had you been some shepherd lad A-herding ewes in yonder valley, Or had you been some ploughman's son, It's with all my heart I would have loved you.” Now, I've been to balls and I have been to halls; I have been to London and Balquidder, But the bonniest lassie that ever I did see She was herding of her ewes together. So we both sat down upon the plain. We sat awhile and we talked together, And we left the ewes for to stray their lane, And I wooed my queen among the heather.
10.
01:43
It was on the fifth of August, the weather fair and mild When to Brigg Fair I did repair, for love I was inclined I rose up with the lark in the morning, my heart was full of glee Expecting there to see my love, long time I'd wished to see I looked over my left shoulder to see what I might see And there I spied my own true love come walking down to me I took hold of her hand and merrily sang my heart And now we are together we never more shall part For the green leaves they will wither, the roots they'll all decay Before that I prove false to her, the girl who loves me well
11.
Now westlin winds and slaught'ring guns Bring Autumn's pleasant weather; The moorcock springs on whirring wings Amang the blooming heather: Now waving grain, wide o'er the plain, Delights the weary farmer; And the moon shines bright, when I rove at night, To muse upon my charmer. The partridge loves the fruitful fells, The plover loves the mountains; The woodcock haunts the lonely dells, The soaring hern the fountains: Thro' lofty groves the cushat roves, The path of man to shun it; The hazel bush o'erhangs the thrush, The spreading thorn the linnet. Thus ev'ry kind their pleasure find, The savage and the tender; Some social join, and leagues combine, Some solitary wander: Avaunt, away! the cruel sway, Tyrannic man's dominion; The sportsman's joy, the murd'ring cry, The flutt'ring, gory pinion! But, Peggy dear, the ev'ning's clear, Thick flies the skimming swallow, The sky is blue, the fields in view, All fading-green and yellow: Come let us stray our gladsome way, And view the charms of Nature; The rustling corn, the fruited thorn, And ev'ry happy creature. We'll gently walk, and sweetly talk, Till the silent moon shine clearly; I'll grasp thy waist, and, fondly prest, Swear how I love thee dearly: Not vernal show'rs to budding flow'rs, Not Autumn to the farmer, So dear can be as thou to me, My fair, my lovely charmer!
12.
When I set off to Turkey I travelled like an ox And in my breeches pocket I carried my little box. My box was four foot high, sir, my box was four foot square, All for to put my money in now guineas are so rare, To my right tol lol le riddle riddle lol, to my right tol lol li day. Then I bought me a little dog, his collar was undone, I learned him to sing and dance, to wrestle and to run. His legs were four feet high and his hears were four feet wide, And round the world in half a day all on my dog I'd ride. Then I bought me a flock of sheep, their wool it was so sleek, And every month at the full of the moon they had six lambs apiece. Then I bought me a little hen, on her I took much care, I sat her on a mussel shell and she hatched me a hare. The hare it proved to be a white steed about fifteen hands high, And him that can tell a bigger jest, oh dear, oh dear, what a lie. To my right tol lol le riddle riddle lol, to my right tol lol li day.
13.
The grey goose and gander went over the hill, The grey goose went barefoot for fear of being seen. For fear of being seen, my boys, by the light of the moon, Rise early tomorrow morning all in the same tune. The shepherd is happy abroad on his down, He would not change his crook for a sceptre and crown. The blacksmith is black but his money is white, And he drinks in the alehouse from morning till night. Our landlord got drunk and his reckoning forgot So we pulled down his signboard and broke all his pots. The gentlemen took the ladies the horses to view, Said the gentlemen to the ladies, now how do you do?
14.
Martin said to his man - Fie, man, fie! Martin said to his man - Who's the fool now? Martin said to his man Fill thou the cup and I the can - Thou hast well drunken, man, who's the fool now? I saw a hare chase a hound Twenty mile above the ground I saw a rat chase a cat Then saw the cheese eat the rat I saw the man in the moon Clouting St Peter's shoon
15.
Oh, where have you been, my blue-eyed son? Oh, where have you been, my darling young one? I’ve stumbled on the side of twelve misty mountains I’ve walked and I’ve crawled on six crooked highways I’ve stepped in the middle of seven sad forests I’ve been out in front of a dozen dead oceans I’ve been ten thousand miles in the mouth of a graveyard And it’s a hard rain’s a-gonna fall Oh, what have you seen, my blue-eyed son? Oh, what have you seen, my darling young one? I saw a newborn baby with wild wolves all around it I saw a highway of diamonds with nobody on it I saw a black branch with blood that kept dripping I saw a room full of men with their hammers a-bleeding I saw a white ladder all covered with water I saw ten thousand talkers whose tongues were all broken I saw guns and sharp swords in the hands of young children And it’s a hard rain’s a-gonna fall And what did you hear, my blue-eyed son? And what did you hear, my darling young one? I heard the sound of a thunder, it roared out a warning Heard the roar of a wave that could drown the whole world Heard one hundred drummers whose hands were a-blazing Heard ten thousand whispering and nobody listening Heard one person starve, I heard many people laughing Heard the song of a poet who died in the gutter Heard the sound of a clown who cried in the alley And it’s a hard rain’s a-gonna fall Oh, who did you meet, my blue-eyed son? Who did you meet, my darling young one? I met a young child beside a dead pony I met a white man who walked a black dog I met a young woman whose body was burning I met a young girl, she gave me a rainbow I met one man who was wounded in love I met another man who was wounded with hatred And it’s a hard rain’s a-gonna fall Oh, what’ll you do now, my blue-eyed son? Oh, what’ll you do now, my darling young one? I’m going back out before the rain starts falling I’ll walk to the depths of the deepest black forest Where the people are many and their hands are all empty Where the pellets of poison are flooding their waters Where the home in the valley meets the damp dirty prison Where the executioner’s face is always well hidden Where hunger is ugly, where souls are forgotten Where black is the colour, where none is the number And I’ll tell it and think it and speak it and breathe it And reflect it from the mountain so all souls can see it Then I’ll stand on the ocean until I start sinking But I’ll know my song well before I start singing And it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard And it’s a hard rain’s a-gonna fall
16.
My love is newly listed, he wears a green cockade He marched away and left me, like any roving blade Oh, my poor heart! My very heart is breaking All through the loss of him, all through the loss of him. His team of oxen ploughing their loss now plainly show The very ground he trod on, the grass refused to grow If only I had told him one half my grief and pain He never would have left me to sail away to Spain The flowers in the woodland so quickly will decay The beauty of a young girl will likewise fade away
17.
On Monday morning as we set sail The wind did blow a pleasant gale, To fight the French, it was our intent Through smoke and fire, through smoke and fire And it was a dark and a gloomy night. The French were landed on mountains high, While we poor souls in the valley lie, “Cheer up, me lads,” General Wolfe did say, “Brave lads of honour, brave lads of honour, Old England, she shall win the day.” The very first broadside we gave to them We wounded a hundred and fifty men, “Well done, me lads,” General Wolfe did say, “Brave lads of honour, brave lads of honour, Old England, she shall win the day.” But the very first broadside they gave to us They've wounded our general in his right breast, And from his breast precious blood did flow, Like any fountain, like any fountain And all his men were filled with woe. “Here's a hundred guineas, all in bright gold, Take it, part it, for my love's quite cold, And use your men as you did before, Your soldiers all, your soldiers all, And they will fight forevermore.” “And when to England you do return, Tell all my friends that I'm dead and gone, And tell my tender old mother dear That I am dead, oh, that I am dead, oh, And never shall see her no more.”
18.
Oh, it's of a sea captain who sailed the salt sea And the moon it shone gentle and clear-o. "I will die. I will die," the captain did cry, "If I can't have that maiden who walks on the shore, If I can't have that maid on the shore." Then it's "I have got silver and I have got gold And a cargo of rich costly ware-o. One half I'll give you, my jolly old crew, If you fetch me that maiden who walks on the shore If you fetch me that maid on the shore." So the sailors they got in a very long boat And it's off for the shore they did steer-o, Saying, "Ma'am, if you please, will you enter on board To view a fine cargo of rich costly ware, To view a fine cargo of ware?" Now it's with much persuasion they got her on board, And the moon it shone gentle and clear-o, And she sat herself down in the stern of the boat, And off for the ship the bold sailors did steer, And it's off for the ship they did steer. And when they got back alongside of the ship, Tthe captain he spat out his chew-o,* Saying, "First, you'll lie in my arms all this night, Oh and then I'll give you to my jolly old crew, And then I'll give you to my crew." "Oh, thank you! Oh, thank you!" this young girl she cried. "That's just what I've been awaiting for, For I've grown so weary of my maidenhead As I walked all alone on the rocky old shore, As I walked all alone on the shore." And she sat herself down in the stern of the ship. How the moon it shone gentle and clear-o! And she sang so sweet, so neat and complete That she sang both the sailors and captain to sleep, She sang all the sailors to sleep. And she's robbed them of silver; she's robbed them of gold, And she's plundered their fine costly ware-o, And the captain's bright sword she's took for an oar, And she's paddled right back to that rocky old shore, And she's paddled right back to the shore. "Oh, were me men drunk or were me men mad, Or were they sunk deep in despair-o, That they let her away with her beauty so gay?" Then the sailors all wished that that maiden was there, Then the sailors all wished she was there. "No, your men were not drunk and your men were not mad, Nor were they sunk deep in despair-o, But I deluded your crew and likewise yourself too, And now I'm a maiden once more on the shore, I'm a maiden once more on the shore."
19.
In the morning we built our city In the afternoon walked through its streets Evening saw us leaving We wandered through our days as if they would never end All of us imagined we had endless time to spend We barely saw the crossroads and small attention gave To the landmarks on the journey from the cradle to the grave Did you learn to dream in the morning? Abandon dreams in the afternoon? Wait without hope in the evening? Did you stand there in the traces and let them feed you lies? Did you follow on behind them wearing blinkers on your eyes? Did you kiss the foot that kicked you, thank them for their scorn? Did you beg for their forgiveness for the act of being born? Did you alter the face of the city? Make any change in the world you found? Or did you observe all the warnings? Did you read the trespass notices, did you keep off the grass? Did you shuffle up the pavements just to let your betters pass? Did you learn to keep your mouth shut, were you seen but never heard? Did you learn to be obedient and to jump to at a word? Did you ever demand any answers? The who and the what and the reason why? Did you ever question the setup? Did you stand aside and let them choose while you took second best? Did you let them skim the cream off and then give to you the rest? Did you settle for the shoddy and did you think it right To let them rob you right and left and never make a fight? What did you learn in the morning? How much did you know in the afternoon? Were you content in the evening? Did they teach you to ask questions when you were at the school? Did the factory help you grow, were you the maker or the tool? Did the place where you were living enrich your life and then Did you reach some understanding of all your fellow men?

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21 tracks, including album-only bonus tracks Hob-y-derri-dando (Welsh original) and The little pot stove (Harry Robertson). Comes with PDF file giving complete lyrics, notes and artwork.

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released July 21, 2012

Phil Edwards: vocals, English concertina and recorder, plus zither, drums, flute, G whistle and ukulele on track 12.

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Phil Edwards Manchester, UK

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