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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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Lord Bateman 07:47
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!’
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.
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.
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
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
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. Hurray-hurray-hurray! 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. Hurray-hurray-hurray! 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. Hurray-hurray-hurray! 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!
My boy Jack 01:46
"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.
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.
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
Lemany 03:50
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.
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!
Hegemony 02:19
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 [AN HONEST DAY'S PAY FOR AN HONEST DAY'S WORK YOU CAN'T CHANGE HUMAN NATURE DON'T BITE THE HAND THAT FEEDS YOU] 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 [SOME ARE BORN TO LEAD AND SOME ARE BORN TO FOLLOW A PLACE FOR EVERYTHING, EVERYTHING IN ITS PLACE] 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 [ROCK AND ROLL IS HERE TO STAY BUT CAN YOU DANCE TO IT? WALK IT LIKE YOU TALK IT BE THERE OR BE SQUARE]
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.
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.


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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