52 Folk Songs: Violet

by Phil Edwards

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    Over 45 minutes of songs, mostly (but not exclusively) traditional. Comes complete with a 22-page PDF, with full lyrics to all the songs plus pictures, comments, musings and afterthoughts.
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Each week for a year, I am uploading a folk song to the 52 Folk Songs Web site; most weeks I also upload another song or two related to the song of the week. This album contains all 14 songs from weeks 1-6, featuring contemporary songs by artists including Peter Bellamy and Green Gartside, as well as eight traditional songs and three whistle tunes.


released October 7, 2011

Phil Edwards: all vocals, D whistle (tracks 13 and 14), recording (Zoom H2) and production (Audacity)




Phil Edwards Manchester, UK

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Track Name: Lord Bateman
Lord Bateman was a noble lord,
A noble lord of some high degree,
He's set his foot all on board a ship,
Some foreign lands he would go see.

Now he's sailed East, and he's sailed West,
Until he came to proud Turkey.
Where he was taken and put in prison
Until his life was quite weary.

This Turk he had one only daughter
The daughter's name it was Susie Pye
And every morning as she did go walking
Lord Bateman’s prison she passed by.

One day she heard Lord Bateman sing,
He sang both loudly and bitterly:
‘My hounds they all do go without a master
My hawks do fly from tree to tree
My younger brother he will have my lands
Fair Northumberland I’ll never see!’

All that long night she could get no rest
Still thinking of Lord Bateman’s song
She’s stolen the keys to her father's prison
And to the prison she has gone.

“Have you got houses, have you got lands?
And does Northumberland belong to thee?
And what would you give to that fair young lady
Who out of prison would set you free?”

“Oh I’ve got houses and I’ve got lands,
And half Northumberland belongs to me;
And I would give it all to that fair young lady,
Who out of prison would set me free.”

‘Give me the truth of your right hand
The truth of it now give to me
That these seven years you’ll wed with no lady
Unless it be along of me.’

‘I’ll give you the truth of my right hand
The truth of it I’ll give to thee
That these seven years I’ll wed with no other
For the kindness you have done to me.’

She’s sent for him a piece of bread
Likewise a bottle of the very best wine.
“Now don’t you forget that fair young lady
That did release you when close confined.”

'Now set your foot on board a ship
And haste you back to your own country
But ere seven years they are past and gone
Come back, my love, and marry me.’

She’s taken him to her father’s harbour,
She's found for him a ship of fame:
“Farewell, farewell to you, Lord Bateman,
I fear I never shall see you again.”

Lord Bateman's turned him round about
He's bowed low down all to his knee:
‘Ere these seven years they are past and gone
I'll come back, my love, and marry thee.’

But when he came to Northumberland
I vow a happy man was he;
All the ladies they did about him flock
All to see him come from slavery.

His hall was hung with silk so fine
His table rung with mirth and glee
And soon he did forget that fair young lady
Who out of prison had set him free.

Lord Bateman's courted a lady fair,
A lady fair of some high degree
And little did he think of that fair lady
Who waited for him in proud Turkey.

But Susie Pye she could get no rest
Nor day nor night could she happy be
Still thinking of her own true love Lord Bateman
Until her life was quite weary.

Ere seven years they were past and gone
She longed so sorely her love to see
That she has set her foot on board a ship
And so she’s left her own country.

But when she came to Northumberland
The bells they rang so merrily
For that very day it was Lord Bateman’s wedding
To a lady fair of high degree.

And when she came to Bateman’s hall,
So loudly she did ring the bell.
“Who’s there?” cried the proud porter,
“O who is there, now to me tell.”

“Tell me, is this Lord Bateman’s hall?
And is Lord Bateman here within?”
“Why yes, why yes!” cried that proud porter,
“He’s just now taken his new bride in.”

“Tell him to send me a piece of bread,
Likewise a bottle of the very best wine;
And not to forget that fair young lady
Who did release him when close confined.”

The porter came to Lord Bateman’s chamber
He bowed low down all to his knee:
‘O say, what ails thee now, my proud porter,
You are so full of courtesy?’

‘I’ve been a porter at these your gates
Full thirty years, thirty years and three,
And there is standing now the fairest lady
That ever these two eyes did see.

‘On every finger she wears a ring
On her mid-finger she wears three
And there’s enough red gold about her brow
As would buy an earldom clear for me.’

“She says to send her a piece of bread,
Likewise a bottle of the very best wine;
And not to forget that fair young lady,
Who did release you when close confined.”

Lord Bateman arose all in a passion,
He’s broken his sword in splinters three;
“O I’d give up all my lands and riches
If my Susie Pye has crossed the sea.”

So quickly he's hied him down the stair;
Of fifteen steps he has made but three;
He’s taken his true love all in his arms
And he has kissed her tenderly.

‘O have you taken another bride?
And have you quite forgotten me?
And have you quite forgot that fair young lady
Who out of prison did set you free?’

‘O never, never, Susie Pye
O surely this can never be
And never will I wed another lady
Than her who’s done so much for me.’

Then up and spoke the young bride’s mother
Who never was heard to speak so free:
“What will you give to my only daughter
If your Susie Pye has crossed the sea?”

“I own I wed your only daughter;
She’s neither the better nor the worse for me.
She came here on a horse and saddle
Well, she’ll go home in a carriage and three.”

Lord Bateman’s arranged another wedding,
With both their hearts so full of glee.
“O ne'er again shall I range the ocean
Now my Susie Pye has crossed the sea.”

He’s taken her by the milk-white hand
He’s led her through the garden green;
He changed her name away from Susie Pye
And he’s made her lovely Lady Jean.

‘O tell our cooks all to make ready
O tell our pipers to loudly play
Tell the trumpeters to run through all the town
Lord Bateman’s wed twice in one day!’
Track Name: The death of Bill Brown
You gentlemen both great and small,
Gamekeepers, poachers, sportsmen all,
Come listen to this simple clown,
I'll sing you the death of poor Bill Brown,
I'll sing you the death of poor Bill Brown.

One starry night, as you shall hear,
It being the season of the year.
We went to the woods to get a fat buck,
But in that night we had bad luck,
For Bill was shot and down was struck.

We went to the woods, our sport began,
And I saw the gamekeeper present his gun,
I called to Bill to climb the gate,
To get away, but it was too late,
For there he met his untimely fate.

I saw the man that shot Bill Brown -
I saw that man, I could name the clown -
For to describe him in my song,
Black jacket he had and red waistcoat on,
I know that man, his name is Tom.

I dressed myself next night in time,
I got to the wood as the clock struck nine,
The reason was, and I'll tell you why,
To find the gamekeeper I did try,
Who shot my friend, and he shall die.

I ranged the woods all over, and then,
I looked at my watch, and it was just ten;
I heard a footstep on the green,
And hid myself for fear I'd be seen,
For well I knew that it was Tom Green.

I took my gun all in my hand,
Resolved to shoot him if he should stand;
He heard a noise and turned him round,
I shot and I brought him to the ground,
My hand gave him his deep death wound.

So with revenge my hope is crowned,
I shot the man that shot Bill Brown.
Poor Bill, no more his eyes will see,
Farewell, kind friend, farewell to thee,
I've crowned your hopes and your memory.
Track Name: The unfortunate lass
As I was a-walking down by the Royal Albion,
Bright was the sunshine and warm was the day,
I spied a young woman, wrapped up in white linen,
Wrapped up in white linen and colder than clay.

I asked her what ailed her, I asked her what failed her,
I asked her the cause of all her complaint.
It's all on account of some handsome young sailor,
Now it's he that has caused me to weep and lament.

And had he but told me before he disordered me,
Had he but warned me before it was time,
I could have got salts and the pills of white mercury,
But now I'm a young girl cut down in my prime.

When I was a young girl I used to seek pleasure,
When I was a young girl, with a sailor so brave.
It's out of the ale-house and into the gaol-house,
Out of the bar-room and into my grave.

So send for my mother to wash and to dress me,
Send for my sister to curl my black hair,
Send for my brother to play the pipe over me,
And sound the dead march as they carry me there.

And send for the preacher to come and pray for me,
Send for the doctor although it's too late
My heart it is breaking, my poor head is aching,
My body's salivating and death is my fate.
Track Name: The cruel mother
There was a lady came from York
She went with child by her father's clerk
...Down by the greenwood side-i-o

She set her back against a tree
And how the salt tears filled her eye

She set her back against a thorn
And there her two babes they were born

She took a ribbon from out her hair
And she choked them though they cried for air

She dug a hole beneath a tree
Thinking to bury them where none would see

She laid them under a marble stone
Thinking to turn a maiden home

But as she walked in the pale moonlight
She saw two babes dressed all in white

"Oh bonny babes, if you were mine
I would feed you on white bread and wine"

"Oh mother, mother, when we were thine
You gave us none of your white bread and wine

"You took the ribbon from out your hair
And you choked us though we cried for air

"And now we two in heaven do dwell
While you must drag out the burning fires of Hell."
...Down by the greenwood side-i-o
Track Name: Over the hills and far away
Hark now the drums they beat again
For all true soldiers gentlemen
To list and enter into pay
Over the hills and far away

O'er the hills and o'er the main
Through Flanders, Portugal and Spain
Queen Anne commands and we obey
Over the hills and far away

You gentlemen who have a mind
To serve a Queen that is good and kind
Come join with us and march away
Over the hills and far away

He who is forced to go to fight
Will never win true honour by it
But volunteers will win the day
Over the hills and far away

Although our friends our absence mourn
We with all honour shall return
And we shall sing both night and day
Over the hills and far away

Hark now the drums they beat again
For all true soldiers gentlemen
To list and enter into pay
Over the hills and far away
Track Name: There are bad times just around the corner
They're out of sorts in Sunderland
And terribly cross in Kent,
They're dull in Hull
And the Isle of Mull
Is seething with discontent,
They're nervous in Northumberland
And Devon is down the drain,
They're filled with wrath
On the firth of Forth
And sullen on Salisbury Plain,
In Dublin they're depressed, lads,
Maybe because they're Celts
For Drake is going West, lads,
And so is everyone else.
Misery's here to stay.

There are bad times just around the corner,
There are dark clouds hurtling through the sky
And it's no good whining
About a silver lining
For we know from experience that they won't roll by,
With a scowl and a frown
We'll keep our peckers down
And prepare for depression and doom and dread,
We're going to unpack our troubles from our old kit bag
And wait until we drop down dead.

From Portland Bill to Scarborough
They're querulous and subdued
And Shropshire lads
Have behaved like cads
From Berwick-on-Tweed to Bude,
They're mad in Market Harborough
And livid in Leigh-on-Sea,
From Tunbridge Wells
You can hear the yells
Of woebegone bourgeoisie.
We all get bitched about, lads,
Whoever our vote elects,
For England's up the spout, lads.
And here's what England expects.
Trouble is on the way.

There are bad times just around the corner,
The horizon's gloomy as can be,
There are blackbirds over
The greyish cliffs of Dover
And the rats are preparing to leave the BBC
We're an unhappy breed
And very bored indeed
When reminded of something that Nelson said.
While the press and the politicians nag nag nag
We'll wait until we drop down dead.

From Colwyn Bay to Kettering
They're sobbing themselves to sleep,
The shrieks and wails
In the Yorkshire dales
Have even depressed the sheep.
In rather vulgar lettering
A very disgruntled group
Have posted bills
On the Cotswold Hills
To prove that we're in the soup.
While begging Kipling's pardon
There's one thing we know for sure
If England is a garden
We won't go short of manure.
Suffering and dismay.

There are bad times just around the corner
The outlook is absolutely vile,
There are home fires smoking
From Windermere to Woking
And we're not going to tighten our belts and smile, smile, smile,
At the sound of a shot
We would just as soon as not
Take a hot water bottle and go to bed,
We're going to untense our muscles till we sag sag sag
And wait until we drop down dead.

There are bad times just around the corner,
We can all look forward to despair,
It's as clear as crystal
From Bridlington to Bristol
That we won't save democracy and we don't much care!
If the Reds and the Pinks
Say England's on the brink
And that the world revolution is bound to spread,
We'd better all learn the lyrics of the old 'Red Flag'
And wait until we drop down -
Land of Hope and Glory -
Wait until we drop down dead -
A likely story -
Wait until we drop down dead!
Track Name: My boy Jack
"Have you news of my boy Jack?"
Not this tide.
"When d'you think that he'll come back?"
Not with this wind blowing, and this tide.
"Has any one else had word of him?"
Not this tide.
For what is sunk will hardly swim,
Not with this wind blowing, and this tide.

"Oh, dear, what comfort can I find?"
None this tide or any tide,
Except he did not shame his kind -
Not even with that wind blowing, and that tide.
Then hold your head up all the more,
This tide and every tide;
Because he was the son you bore,
And gave to that wind blowing and that tide.
Track Name: Us poor fellows
O the times they are hard and the wages are poor
None of us poor fellows has money in store
So how can a good man keep the wolf from the door?
Poor fellows, we all will go down:
When the work is scarce, tell me, how can we eat?
How can we afford to buy shoes for our feet,
How can we get clothing to keep off the sleet?
Poor fellows, we might as well drown.

If we could find labour we'd never complain:
We'd work well for a master his favour to gain,
We'd be honest and faithful with never a stain
But, poor fellows, how will we survive?
We could plough the good land, we could fish the salt sea
We could work in the woodland a-felling of trees
But when only the breath of our bodies is free,
Poor fellows, can we stay alive?

A man that is single is free of all care:
He can soon leave a district if no work be there
There's no manner of hardship that he cannot bear
Poor fellows, if he is alone;
But a man with a family, his hands they are tied
He must look to their comfort or lose all his pride
He can't wander away but must stay by their side,
Poor fellow, and maintain his home.

A man that is willing can't understand why
He can find no employment how hard he may try
And it break his poor heart for to see his wife cry
So poor fellow, he'll do what he can;
And a man that is desperate and can't find a job
He will not be contented to sit home and sob:
Be he never so honest, he'll turn out and rob,
Poor fellow, to prove he's a man.

When a good man turns robber, you know it's a shame
He brings scorn and dishonour on his family name
But in pitiful straits, tell me, who is to blame?
Poor fellow, you know he must try;
So let's hope that these hard times will soon pass away
And to our sweet saviour we earnestly pray
That this dark cloudy morn will turn glorious day
Poor fellows, some time ere we die.
Track Name: Down where the drunkards roll
See the boys out walking
The boys, they look so fine
Dressed up in green velvet
Their silver buckles shine
Soon they’ll be bleary eyed
Under a keg of wine
Down where the drunkards roll

See that lover standing
Staring at the ground
He’s looking for the real thing
Lies were all he found
You can get the real thing
It will only cost a pound
Down where the drunkards roll

There goes a troubled woman
She dreams a troubled dream
She lives out on the highway
She keeps her money clean
Soon she’ll be returning
To the place where she’s the queen
Down where the drunkards roll

You can be a gambler
Who never drew a hand
You can be a sailor
Who never left dry land
You can be Lord Jesus
All the world will understand
Down where the drunkards roll

Down where the drunkards roll
Track Name: Lemany
As I was a-walking one fine summer's morning,
The fields and the meadows they looked so clean and gay;
Small birds were singing so pleasantly adorning,
Early in the morning at the break of the day.

Hark, oh hark, how the nightingale is singing,
And the lark she is a-taking her flight all in the air.
On yonder green bower the turtle doves are building,
The sun is just a-glimmering. Arise my dear.

Arise, arise and pick your charming posies,
They are the fairest flowers that grow in yonder grove.
I will pluck off them all sweet lilies, pinks and rosies,
All for my sweet Lemany, the girl that I love.

Oh Lemany, oh, Lemany you are the fairest creature,
You are the fairest creature that ever my eyes did see.
And she played it all over all upon her pipes of ivory,
Right early in the morning at the break of the day.

How could my true love, how could she vanish from me
How could she go where I never shall see her more.
It was her cruel parents who looked so slightly on me,
And it's all for the white robe that once I wore.
Track Name: Child among the weeds
Child among the weeds,
He needs no beads.
Just sing him a lullaby, lullaby
All the long night through.

An old man in a rocking chair
Will need you there.
So sing him a lullaby, lullaby
All the warm day through.

But a young man in and among your sheets
Will leave a seed and weep.
You'll have to sing him a lullaby, lullaby
Warm day, cold night too.

Fly, bird, fly
On your raven wing.
Take to the sky
And sing for the love of wheeling and turning.

The day has only just begun,
The silver sun is shining.
Wake up, wake up everyone!
The day is only dazzling!

Fly, bird, fly
On your raven wing.
Take to the sky
And sing for the love of wheeling and turning.

Child among the weeds
He needs no beads.
Just sing him a lullaby, lullaby,

Sing for the love of weeping and burning!

And sing for the love of wheeling and turning!
Track Name: Hegemony
Hegemony, hegemony
You are the fairest creature
You are the fairest creature that ever I did see
And it's all for monopoly
On all those pretty sex symbols
That rot and raze the nation
The capacity for change


Hegemony, hegemony
You are the foulest...
You are the foulest creature that ever bore a race,
You can generate and dissipate
But only very stupidly
For such it is the splendour
Of popular control


How do you do it?
How can you do this to me?
When all you are is ordinary, it's pretty common sense -
You are natural, immutable,
And everyone excuses you
As common sense - and common sense
Is things just as they are

Track Name: The London Waterman / Constant Billy
Did you ever hear tell of the young London waterman
Who from Blackfriars did regular ply?
He feathered his oars with such skill and dexterity
Pleasing each maid and delighting each eye.

And he sang so sweet, he sang so merry,
The couples all jostled to hire his wherry,
And be became known as the true lovers' ferry,
But he could not find a true love of his own.

Till there come a young goose girl from Stratford St Mary
And she wanted taking to Farringdon Fair,
But she had not the ha'penny to pay for a wherry
And she sat on the steps in her pretty despair.

But she sang so sweet, she sang so merry,
He put her and all of her geese in his wherry,
And her pretty face was the fare for the ferry
As he rowed her over to Farringdon Fair.

They was married next May time in Stratford St Mary;
And now they have waterman one, two, three, four.
They feather their oars with such skill and dexterity,
Taking the people from shore to shore.

And they sing so sweet, they sing so merry
The people all jostle to hire their wherry,
And everyone goes by the Blackfriars ferry
While he stays at home with a love of his own.
Track Name: Spencer the Rover / Two hornpipes
These words were composed by Spencer the Rover,
Who'd travelled most parts of Great Britain and Wales,
He was much reduced which caused great confusion,
And that was the reason that he went on the rails.

In Yorkshire near Rotherham when I first took my rambles
Being tired and weary, I sat myself down to rest,
At the foot of yon mountain there runs a bright fountain
With bread and clean water myself did refresh.

Far sweeter it tasted than the gold I had wasted,
It tasted far sweeter and gave more content,
But the thought of my babies lamenting for their father
Brought tears to my eyes and caused me to repent.

The night then approaching, to the woods I departed,
With woodbine and ivy my bed for to make,
I heard a voice sighing, lamenting and crying,
Come home to your family and rambling forsake.

It was the fifth of November, I have reason to remember,
When first I returned to my children and wife,
She stood so surprised when first I arrived,
To see such a stranger once more in her sight.

Then my children came around me with their prittle-prattling stories,
With their prittle-prattling stories to drive care away,
And like birds of a feather we flocked together,
Like bees in one hive together we'll stay.

So now I am seated in my cottage contented
Where woodbine and ivy hang over my door,
I am happy as them that's got thousands in riches,
Contented I'll stay and go rambling no more.

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