Article MT206

The Brazil Family

Down by the Old Riverside



Musical Traditions Records' fourth CD release of 2007: The Brazil Family: Down by the Old Riverside (MTCD345-7), a 3-CD set, is now available.  See our Records page for details.  As a service to those who may not wish to buy the record, or who might find the small print hard to read, I have reproduced the relevant contents of the CD booklet here.

[Track Lists] [Introduction] [The Family] [Peter Shepheard writes] [Paul Burgess writes] [Gwilym Davies writes] [The Music] [The Songs] [CD One] [CD Two] [CD Three] [Credits]

Track Lists:

CD1:
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6 -
7 -
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32 -
 
The Old Riverside
The Old Riverside
The Old Riverside
The Old Riverside
God Killed the Devil O
Limpy Jack
Game of All Fours
Sally Monroe
Sally Monroe
Young Man Cut Down
Betsy the Milkmaid
Hornpipe 1
Bold Fishing Man
Son Come Tell it Unto Me
Son Come Tell it Unto Me
Son Come Tell it Unto Me
The Crabfish
Green Grow the Laurels
The Bonnie Black Hare
Barbary Allen
Barbary Allen
Rambling Irishman
Stepdance No 2
Jack and the Robber
If I Were a Blackbird
The Golden Glove
The Watercrease Girl
Dear Old Erin's Shore
The Croppy Tailor
The Bitter Willow
The Bitter Willow
My Schoolmaster's Son
 
Harry Brazil
Doris Davies
Danny Brazil
Lemmie Brazil
Lemmie Brazil
Danny Brazil
Hyram Brazil
Angela Brazil
Lemmie Brazil
Harry Brazil
Danny Brazil
Danny & Denny Smith
Alice Webb
Weenie Brazil
Angela Brazil
Son Webb
Danny Brazil
Harry Brazil
Lemmie Brazil
Danny Brazil
Debbie & Pennie Davies
Danny Brazil
Lemmie Brazil
Danny Brazil
Harry Brazil
Danny Brazil
Alice Webb
Harry Brazil
Danny Brazil
Lemmie Brazil
Alice Webb
Danny Brazil
 
2:11
5:11
3:42
1:44
0:42
3:01
3:17
2:18
1:56
2:20
2:51
0:32
0:35
3:15
2:10
1:04
2:08
0:48
1:06
1:37
2:09
1:57
0:48
3:36
1:36
3:37
1:03
1:22
2:26
4:55
1:35
2:14
Cover picture
   Total: 72:52
CD2:
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31 -
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The Cruel Ship Carpenter
The Cruel Ship Carpenter
Once I Courted a Damsel
Irish Jig
A Group of Young Squaddies
McCaffery
'Tis My Delight
Shake Hands and be Brothers Again
The Pretty Ploughing Boy
The Pretty Ploughing Boy
Hornpipe 2
My Love Willie
Nobody's Child
Bold Keeper
Bold Keeper
Down in the Coalmines
Three Charming Black Boys
Three Brothers from Fair Warwickshire
The Folkestone Murder
Dance Tunes
The Banks of the Lea
The Banks of the Lea
Rock All Our Babies to Sleep
Underneath Her Apron
Long A-Growing
The Gown So Green
The Gown So Green
The Gown So Green
Smile A While / Little Luck Jig
Green Bushes
Green Bushes
Brandon on the Moor
 
Weenie Brazil
Danny Brazil
Harry Brazil
Lemmie Brazil
Joan Taylor
Danny Brazil
Harry Brazil
Danny Brazil
Lemmie Brazil
Harry Brazil
Denny Smith & Danny Brazil
Danny Brazil
Angela Brazil
Danny Brazil
Harry Brazil
Danny Brazil
Harry Brazil
Danny Brazil
Danny Brazil
Lemmie Brazil
Harry Brazil
Danny Brazil
Doris Davies
Danny Brazil
Harry Brazil
Danny Brazil
Harry Brazil
Alice Webb
Lemmie Brazil
Harry Brazil
Lemmie Brazil
Danny Brazil
 
7:00
2:53
1:04
0:47
3:33
2:28
0:38
1:41
0:56
1:09
1:05
1:57
1:37
1:54
1:32
1:45
1:07
4:32
2:43
2:17
2:57
3:02
2:26
2:11
1:27
2:23
1:48
2:14
1:28
1:20
1:49
3:29
Booklet cover picture
   Total:72:17
CD3:
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A Blacksmith Courted Me
A Blacksmith Courted Me
A Blacksmith Courted Me
Died For Love
A Bold Fisherman Courted Me
The Poor Smugglers Boy
The Flower Show
The Banks of Sweet Dundee
Stepdances Nos 1&2
I Wonder if the Old Folks Think of Me?
An Old Man Come Courting Me
I'm a Man You Don't Meet Every Day
The Salisbury Ram
Three Tunes
Rolling in the Dew
Little Sir Hugh
I Met A Maid
The False Bride
Three Tunes
Poison in a Glass of Wine
Shot Like a Bird on a Tree
The Little Ball of Yarn
Henry Martin
The Irish Girl
Lord Bakeman
 
Danny Brazil
Harry Brazil
Tom Brazil
Lemmie Brazil
Danny Brazil
Angela Brazil
Harry Brazil
Danny Brazil
Lemmie Brazil
Harry Brazil
Danny Brazil
Lemmie Brazil
Danny Brazil
Danny Brazil
Danny Brazil
Lemmie Brazil
Danny Brazil
Danny Brazil
Lemmie Brazil
Danny Brazil
Lemmie Brazil
Danny Brazil
Danny Brazil
Lemmie Brazil
Danny Brazil
 
1:51
2:35
0:54
1:07
3:02
2:19
1:40
4:08
1:14
1:51
1:44
1:51
1:26
1:44
0:29
0:57
1:12
1:25
2:43
1:56
1:13
1:23
0:40
1:57
7:40
   Total:50:53

Introduction:

Ever since Danny, my wife, spent some time helping Gwilym Davies catalogue his tape collection, I have wanted to publish a CD of the recordings he and Paul Burgess made of the Brazil Family.  Danny, Harry and Lemmie were cult heroes among the singers and players in this area but, sadly, we never got to hear them personally - although we did visit Lemmie on one occasion.

Then, having made the acquaintance of Peter Shepheard, and having worked with him on the Musical Traditions Daisy Chapman and Wiggy Smith CDs, we became aware of his important recording work amongst the Gloucestershire Gypsies in the 1960s, his extensive collection of recordings of the Brazil Family, and the booklet, Folk Songs and Ballads of the Brazil Family of Gloucester, which he made and presented to the family at the time - and which they still treasure to this day.

Another friend of ours, the photographer Fred Chance, pursuing his interest in images of travelling people, came in contact with the current generations of the family and, when he mounted an exhibition of this work in Stroud last year, invited them to attend.  Thus we met Doris Davies (Harry's daughter) and her daughter Debbie (who sang Barbara Allen so effectively with her sister Pennie on our 2005 CD, The Birds Upon the Tree).  Later we met Alice Smith (Danny's daughter), again through Fred's introduction.

The last piece of the jigsaw fell into place when the Greenwich Traditional Musicians Co-operative generously offered us a donation towards the pre-production costs of the project, enabling us to commission Tom Spiers to remaster and denoise some 60 tracks selected by Peter Shepheard from his DAT copies of his original reel-to-reel tapes od the Brazil Family (nearly 300 tracks) and other Gloucestershire Gypsy recordings made in the 1960s and '70s.

So, with the work, help and co-operation of all the above, this triple CD of a Gypsy family with a distinct song and music tradition of their own, has finally come to fruition.  Although a number of the songs and tunes may be familiar to some listeners, the vast majority of these performances have never before been available.  I know you will enjoy them.

Rod Stradling - Summer 2007

The Family:

There were 15 brothers and sisters in that generation of the Brazil family of which the younger members were recorded.  Their parents were William Brazil, born in Devonshire, and Pricscilla Webb, born in Cornwall.  The family had lived in London for some time, then travelled in southern England and Lemmie was born "outside Southampton in Devonshire", following which they spent some 27 years travelling in Ireland, where most of the younger children were born, before returning to England and settling in Gloucester in 1919.

Pricscilla and William Brazil, c.1900 The Children: (compiled by Peter Shepheard in 1968) Those in bold can be heard on these CDs.

Bill (William) d: 1940.

Omie (Naomi) age 78 (Mrs Evans, Wales).

Lemmie (Lementina) b: near Southampton age 77.

Tom (Thomas) d: 1967 (Newent).

Beccy (Rebecca) d: ?? (Mrs Thomas - wife of a Welsh collier).

Priscilla (Mrs Thomas - wife of a Welsh collier, brother of the above).

Hyram (Harold) age 76?, Gloucester.
      Daughter Joan Taylor.

Alice (Mrs Webb, Tewkesbury Common).
      Son - name presently unknown to us.

Janey (Jane) d: ?? (Mrs T Swan, Gloucester).

Florence (Mrs Bill Sparrow, Frampton).

Harry and wife Dolly b: 1 March 1901 in Ireland, Gloucester.
      Son Charlie, daughter Doris, married to Gilbert Davies, daughters Debbie and Pennie.

Danny and wife Betty b: in Ireland, Gloucester.
      Daughters Doris married to Riley Stephens, Alice married to Connor Smith.  Son Billy in Ireland.

Pat b: in Ireland.

Weenie (Selphinus) and wife Ethel. b: in Ireland, travelled in Scotland, d: 1966 (Scotland).
      Son Albert.  Daughters Maudie, Angela, married to Jimmy Winston.

Peter b: 1907? in Ireland, age 61 living near Newent.

The last surviving member of this generation (as far as we know) was Danny, who died in September 2003.

Gilbert Davies' parents, c.1900The Brazil family were intermarried with many other traveller families in the area.  Harry's daughter Doris was married into the Davies family and it was she who Peter Shepheard first met at Eastington where they were on a site alongside varous members of the Davies, Penfold and Bridges families.  Doris's daughters Pennie and Debbie were recorded for Topic 12TS395, issued in 1985.

Danny's daughter Alice is married to Connor Smith, son of Biggun Smith and nephew of Denny Smith - both fine singers (see MTCD307 Band of Gold) - and another daughter, Doris, is married to Riley Stephens.  Riley was not himself a singer but was keen for Peter to meet his grandfather, and travelled with him to Bristol in May 1966 to meet both his grandfather Tom (Chappie) Stephens and uncle Mark Stephens (d.1973), from both of whom he recorded songs.

Joan Taylor is the daughter of Hyram Brazil.  She was born in Swindon in 1933, lived in Gloucester in a caravan, and travelled in the summer.  In about 1969 she and her husband, another traveller, settled into a house in Gloucester.  She remembers well her father singing the old traditional repertoire, but she did not learn any of those songs from him.  When younger, she did a variety of different jobs around the Evesham area; fruit picking, hop picking, selling pegs from door to door, and so on.  She even worked on a threshing machine at one time.  She has fond memories of the family and their singing and step dancing.  She sometimes used to provide the mouth music, or 'tuning' as she calls it, for her uncles Danny and Harry to dance to.

Weenie's family were camped on the berryfields of Blairgowrie during the July/ August berrypcking season of 1955, when both he and his daughter Angela were recorded by Hamish Henderson for the School of Scottish Studies.

Peter Shepheard writes:

It was Christmas 1966 when I first decided to look for old songs among the Gypsies around the area where I had been born and brought up - in the Stroud valley in Gloucestershire.  In 1960 I had gone as a student to university at St Andrews in Scotland and soon became aquainted with the riches of song tradition among the Scottish traveller community - Jeannie Robertson, Jimmy McBeath, old Davie Stewart and the Stewarts of Blair had all been guests at our folk club in St Andrews which I and others started in 1962.  In 1963 I acquired a small Phillips 2" spool tape recorder, and, within a couple of years, I had recorded numerous traveller singers in Scotland and Ireland.

I was born in Brimscombe in the Stroud valley of Gloucestershire and my teenage years were spent in Frocester at the foot of the Cotswold scarp facing north west to the valley of the River Severn.  My parents had both been musical to some degree, my mother a singer of classical song and my father a classical music enthusiast.  But neither were particularly enthusiastic when I played them the recordings I had made of Travellers in the streets of Scarriff during the County Clare fleadhs of 1964 and '65.

At that point my father wondered aloud why the English Gypsies were not musical when their continental cousins were renowned for their music.  Well, of course, I knew that folk songs had been collected from English Gypsies.  So on a cold bright day in early January 1966 I borrowed my mother's Mini and set off on a search.

My first enquiry at a caravan at the roadside on Chalford Hill did not produce any songs - but a suggestion that I enquire at a caravan site in Eastington just a mile down the road from my home in Frocester.  There in Eastington on a small caravan site beside the river Frome I recorded my first handful of songs - from Bob and Freda Penfold (Tramping Along, The Flashy Girl) and from Doris Davies (The Old Riverside) together with an inevitable rendition of Nobody's Child - a recent hit (in the 1950s) from Lonnie Donnegan.  Doris suggested that I go to visit her father Harry Brazil at Sandhurst Lane in Gloucester, so next morning I travelled to Gloucester and, during a couple of hours, firstly in Harry Brazil's trailer and then at his brother Danny's trailer at a site at Over Bridge I recorded around a dozen magnificent old folk songs.  Harry's first song was a rare gem The Gown So Green followed by The Green Bushes, both to beautiful modal tunes.  Danny started with what turned out to be one of his favourites, a murder ballad Maria and Sweet Caroline (or what I referred to as Thistlin John but I later found is usually called The Folkestone Murder) following on with a version of The Cruel Ship Carpenter and one I had never heard before Bold Keeper and the Lady.

That might have been the end of it, for I had become firmly established in Scotland and was by 1966 midway through a doctoral research project at the university's Gatty Marine lab.  But in the spring of 1966 I picked up infective hepatitis, most likely from the lobsters and shore crabs I was working with and, after a few weeks in hospital, I was sent home to Frocester to recuperate.  April was my birthday and, as a present, a new Uher tape recorder was awaiting me, and the next day I was into Gloucester to take up where I had left off in January.  Danny was not in at the Over Bridge site but an older brother Hyram welcomed me in and recorded for me a fine version of All Fours, a song of sexual symbolism that I knew of but had never heard.

During the following month I spent most days recording songs, often with Danny coming along with me to introduce me to friends and relatives that he knew had songs.  His sister Lemmie turned out to have a great many songs and also played the melodeon.  Visiting her caravan, first at Newent and then at sites around Gloucester was always a novel experience for she had no cooking stove in her caravan but would always offer tea, a kettle boiled up on a primus stove on the floor by the door - so that it could be thrown out of the door if it flared up - which on one occasion it did - and with the addition of condensed milk poured from a pierced tin into the cup with the tea.  But it was always a pleasure.  Many songs and ballads from the classic English folk song tradition would flow from her memory such as Rolling in the Dew, Barbary Allen and The Cruel Mother and often some incredibly unusual songs too, such as Shot Like a Bird on a Tree, an English song of which only two or three ragmentary versions are known, one from Newfoundland and a fuller one from Ireland, and the rare and bawdy Bonny Black Hare.

It was particularly interesting to be able to record songs from so many members of a single family as this allowed interesting comparisons to be made between the repertoires, tunes, singing styles and texts of the various brothers and sisters.  In the case of several songs it made it possible to put together a much fuller text of a song that was known only imperfectly by any one individual as with A Blacksmith Courted Me (5 singers) and The Old Riverside (4 singers) and even such rare songs as The Bitter Willow and Son Come tell it Unto Me.  Of the 50 different songs that I included in the Brazil Family Song Book, over half were obtained from two or more family members.  I remember meeting one young traveller who said the song The Old Riverside made no sense - and of course it made little sense when only a few of the verses were sung.  In every case where a song was recorded from several family members it is evident that each singer was singing essentially the same version, the textual differences are small even though different verses or couplets may have been omitted and, even though each singer may have varied the melodic line of the tune from verse to verse, the variations from singer to singer were not usually much greater than the variations seen within one singer's rendition.  All this suggests that the Brazil family songs represent an active, living and coherent family repertoire and it may also support the likelihood that a large part of the repertoire was inherited from the grandparent generation.  Certainly Danny said that he learned many of his songs from his father William Brazil, one of whose favourite 'pub' songs was An Old Man Come Courtin Me.

Nevertheless, some of the songs were undoubtedly picked up when the family were in Ireland - Harry said that he had learned The Bonny Boy is Young (Long a-Growing) in Ireland and Lemmie had a few songs of Irish origin including The Red Plaid Shawl and John Mitchell.  Some of Danny's songs such as Side by Side and Underneath Her Apron probably come from their time in London or at any least owe their origins or influence to the Music Hall.

In November 1967 I married and, before I went down with my wife Lena to stay for Christmas with my parents in Frocester, I compiled the book Songs and Ballads of the Brazil Family of Gloucester.  About forty copies were made and well over half given to various Brazil family members.  Whether the book helped to keep the songs in the living tradition of the Brazil family I have yet to discover - but it seemed an interesting idea to give them back their own songs - and, in the case of some songs, in a more complete form than was known to any individual alone.  Of course, Danny and most of his generation were not literate - but the younger members of the family took great delight in reading out the songs.

When I first met Danny I soon found that he not only had old songs but also played mouthorgan and could step dance, as could many of the Gloucester Travellers.  He promised one day to fix up his shoes so that he could step properly and, when I returned a few days later, he had fixed metal strips to the soles and heels of his shoes - he could play the mouthorgan and step at the same time and also took great delight in stepping to Denny Smith playing the melodeon.  Lemmie also played melodeon and it was interesting to find that she could play the tunes of many of her songs - at least those that fitted the scale of her single row melodeon.  She had also played fiddle in her younger days and other travellers she mentioned had at one time played fiddle - but unfortunately I never pursued that angle.

From a musicological perspective the Brazil family repertoire is interesting too, with some fine modal tunes and some interesting rhythmic structures.  An analysis of the 70 or so songs in the Brazil repertoire gives less than half as straight major (ionian), five in the mixolydian mode e.g. Rolling in the Dew (with flattened 7th), three in the dorian mode e.g. The Pretty Ploughing Boy (with flat 3rd and 7th), two in the aeolian mode e.g. Wassail Song (with flat 3rd, 6th, and 7th).  A few are hexatonic where one of the semitone gap notes is absent - three Ionian/mixolydian with missing 7th e.g Barbary Allen, one mixolydian /dorian with missing 6th e.g. Bold Keeper and the Lady and two Ionian/lydian with missing 4th e.g. Three Brothers in Fair Warwickshire.  A few have a variable 7th e.g. The Gown So Green giving an affinity both major and mixolydian.

Because none of the Brazil singers were literate it was often quite difficult to discover the meaning of certain obscure words and phrases in a song text and, no doubt in some cases the obscure words result from mistakes in oral transmission.  For example in Hyram Brazil's version of Soldier Cut Down, verse 3, line 3, is sung as the rather picturesque 'I might have been one of those fields of white marguerites' instead of 'I might have had one of those pills of white mercury' - white mercury being the 'cure' for syphillis - the cause of the young soldier's demise.  In the song The Green Bushes, several old words are used - ryal (for loyal) and luded (for led).  In The Gown So Green there is a word rementing (for lamenting) and a line 'A-saving a bold commander's life, it proved the prince of me' as sung by both Harry and Danny.  When Harry was asked what 'the prince of me' meant he said it meant 'proved his downfall' - that is, 'proved the better of me.'

When I first met Danny and the other members of the Brazil family in 1966, they had mentioned that their brother Weenie and his family were in Scotland.  When I mentioned this to Hamish Henderson (of the School of Scottish Studies at Edinburgh University) who had recorded extensively from the travelling folk in Scotland, he told me of recordings he had made ten years earlier.  Hamish had recorded Weenie's family when they had been camped on the Berryfields of Blairgowrie in 1956.  One of the rare classic ballads that Hamish had taken a great interest in - the ballad Edward in Francis James Child's collection The English and Scottish Popular Ballads - had been recorded by Hamish under the title Son David from the Aberdeen ballad singer Jeannie Robertson.  And it was a version of this same ballad under the title Son Come Tell it unto Me that Hamish had recorded from Angela Brazil.  I had been given a 5" tape copy of these recordings some years ago and, when I was putting together the Brazil family recordings from my own Springthyme archive for this Musical Traditions release, I came across the Hamish Henderson recordings of Weenie and his daughter.  When I listened to what was on the 5" tape I found not only this song from Angela but also superb recordings of her father Weenie singing the same ballad and also an excellent version, beautifully sung of a rare old ballad The Cruel Ship Carpenter that I had also recorded from Danny - but here sung by Danny's younger brother Weenie, who would have been in his early fifties at the time, and clearly a singer in his prime.

The Brazil family were in no way the only travellers in Gloucestershire to have preserved a living tradition of old folk songs, traditional music and step dancing.  But what makes the Brazil family and their song repertoire so interesting is the rich nature of that repertoire and the carrying of that repertoire by so many different members of the same family.  I hope that this Musical Traditions production of a large part of the Brazil family repertoire will help give a boost to the survival of this very enjoyable repertoire of old folk songs and ballads amonst the younger members of the Brazil family and other traveller families of Gloucestershire - as well as give these songs to the present generation of enthusiasts for these gems of the English folk tradition.

The full texts of the Brazil family songs will be available from the Springthyme Archive pages at: www.springthyme.co.uk/brazil

Peter Shepheard

Peter Shepheard wrote in his booklet Folk Songs and Ballads of the Brazil Family of Gloucester:

The songs in this book are written out as they were recorded from the Brazil family of Gloucester.

The book is dedicated to the whole family and in particular to those whose songs are in this book: Tom, Hyram, Harry, Danny and Lemmie and also Harry's daughter Doris, who was the first member of the family I met and heard sing.

Some of the songs in this book I have heard from only one member of the family and in this case they are written just as sung by them.  Other songs I have heard from several members of the family and one song, The Old Riverside, I have put together from hearing parts of it from everyone.  A number of songs are incomplete, but maybe the parts given will bring the rest to mind.

I hope that this book will bring you as much pleasure as hearing the songs and meeting you all has brought me over the last couple of years.

Paul Burgess writes:

There were 15 brothers and sisters in the Brazil family, of whom the younger members were recorded: Tom, Hyram, Lemmie, Harry, Alice (Webb) and Danny, as well as Doris Davies (Harry's daughter), her twin daughters Debbie and Pennie, and Alice Webb's son.

Their parents were "very old-fashioned people - very old fashioned", who carried on the traditional Romany lifestyle, making a living dealing in horses and relying on themselves, friends and family for entertainment.  This included step-dancing, singing around the campsite stick fire and in those Public Houses which were amenable to serving Gypsies, fighting and racing horses.  They travelled in Southern England and Lemmie was born "outside Southampton in Devonshire", following which the family moved over to Ireland where they travelled for 27 years.  Ireland is where Danny was born, although he was always at pains to emphasise that he was English.  Lemmie said "I've been to every town in Ireland.  We used to stop for a week, sometimes two, then move on." The family lived in two horse-drawn wagons, with the parents in one and the children in the other.  Lemmie and her seven sisters used to ride the horses to the fairs, and then hold them while they were being sold.  "Over there we used to go down the pub, have a sing, get drunk and sing down the road on the way home.  They don't do that round here (Gloucester).  They don't know how to enjoy themselves."

When the family returned to England, they came to Gloucester.  Their father sold all his horses at Gloucester market, after which they dealt in rags and scrap iron, whilst the children made a living with cars and trucks.  Lemmie had a second-hand shop in Gloucester's Westgate Street, and Danny served throughout the Second World War as an ambulance driver, seeing service in Poland, Holland, France "and all over".

Their parents were the main source of their material, especially their father - "He knew hundreds of songs." These they learned from hearing them sung in the pubs where they would be trying to make themselves inconspicuous so as not to be turfed out, and at singing sessions on-site.  Music and dance were a major influence in their lives and all the children appear to have been able to play an instrument, (even if it was only a couple of stepdance tunes on mouth organ), to 'tap dance' to, and all of them sang.  Lemmie played for stepdancing in Ireland, when that form was almost identical to the stepping seen in England with the dancers competing by dancing on a square board.  They would put a big coat on her, and as she played they would throw money into her lap.

Lemmie was a bit 'scatty', her attention rapidly being distracted and her ability to remember a whole song or tune all the way through rather diminished - however, this was after all when she was in her nineties, and Pete Shepheard's recordings when she was a bit younger, show her playing in a much more coherent light.  She would play a tune, then, with her rapid and jerky movements, put the instrument down in frustration, saying "Now you play one!" Her instrument was a Hohner one-row and in quite good condition, other than that one or two of the reeds were a bit 'out' and, the cause of most of her frustration, the thumb-strap was broken.  Considering this, I think her playing was little short of remarkable, and was obviously the playing of someone who, all her life, had played for dancing.  She said she had also played fiddle and mouth organ and, to my great surprise, suggested we visit her older sister in Wales, who was a fine fiddle player.

She also made tea the 'old-fashioned' way.  She had no electricity in her trailer ("makes me giddy") but would boil up the water for a long time with the tea leaves.  This was then poured into one of several cracked mugs she had, which, in the gloom, could sometimes include the one she kept her dripping in (although some of the others leeched dripping from the cracks).  This half-a-mug of tea would then be augmented, almost to the top, with condensed milk followed by several teaspoons of sugar.  As she moved around, she would talk in her quickfire way, interspersing her conversation with religious observances and verse, telling stories such as how the 'Egyptians' all came to the docks to help the family on their return to England.

Lemmie had some unusual songs - songs which the others in the family didn't sing - The Cruel Mother was one of hers, as well as Bonny Black Hare and Little Sir Hugh, whilst both she and Danny sang Shot Like a Bird on a Tree.  (This has only ever been noted on two other occasions, once in Ireland and once in Newfoundland, although a couple of its main verses appear to have embedded themselves in the song Bonny Kellswater, changing it from a song of praise about the area and its heroine, Martha, to a song of separation, when the girl's sweetheart, Jimmy, is sent away by her father).

Harry had a fine tenor voice and his songs were often carried by some luxurious modal tunes, although over the years he had sometimes telescoped the words to produce more compact versions than those sung by his brothers and sisters.  He suffered from angina and this prompted him to give up singing several years before his death.  His singing was obviously popular with his grandchildren, as on one of the recording The Blacksmith, they can be heard at the end reminding and urging him to sing one of the verses which he had omitted.  I think of him as 'the cricketing singer', due to his habit of firing the question "'Owzat?" at the end of a performance!  Like Danny, Harry was pleased that people should take an interest in his songs and his singing, and suggested that we could "set the tape recorder up on a Friday night at the Pelican - you'll get all the songs you want!" - although I'm not sure that a roomful of travellers whom we had never previously met would have been quite so immediately forthcoming!

Some years previously, Harry and Danny had fallen out during strawberry picking, and during the ensuing scrap, a blow to Danny's throat ruptured his voice box, and left him with a harsh, croaking voice which continued throughout his life - although a tune could be made out at the core of his singing.  Danny, however, appeared to be regarded as one of the most talented - both as a stepdancer, whose reputation was still strong, although he had not danced for many years, and a singer, despite his ruined voice.  He described himself as a "light tenor" and the loss of his "instrument" obviously affected him strongly.  He regretted the disappearance of performance opportunities and welcomed visits when he could talk about and sing "the old folk songs".  To this end, realising that the 'old' songs he knew were an anomaly in the modern world, he was anxious that they were recorded by Gwilym so that there would be a tangible record, not just of his repertoire, but of the fact that they would be available for other people to sing in the future.  Even the last time we saw him, a few weeks before his death, he was telling us that there were many more songs that he wanted to sing to us, and to be sure to bring the tape recorder on our next visit.  He had also taken Peter Shepheard to other singers in the area for the same reason.  If he had a song in common with Harry, he would often say "don't forget, you got that song from me" after a recording.

He had a huge repertoire, not just of the old songs, but of many popular and country and western songs, all of which he had considered and had decided on their type and function - in order that he could easily produce the right song to match the occasion.  He loved music, and was disappointed that none of his children or grandchildren appeared to be interested in "the old Irish songs" as they called them - an inaccurate generalisation.  Danny never really got over the death of his wife, after which he never left the site, even when Wiggy Smith tried to get him to go to the pub on VE Day, although he remained bright and sharp to the end.  He had lately suffered bad health, but had successfully come through an operation to amputate his leg.  Luckily, he lived next to his daughter, who ensured that he enjoyed his life.  His funeral was well attended, with two lorry loads of floral tributes (the first time I've seen a floral tribute in the shape of a bottle of Bell's whisky!).

Peter Shepheard spent some time during the late 1960s making copious tape recordings, not only of Danny, but also of his brothers Tom, Harry and Hyram (who was, however, a more reluctant performer) and his sisters Lemmie and Alice (Webb).  These are a remarkable document of traveller culture in Gloucestershire at the time.  Some of the tunes were transcribed and offered to Bertrand Harris Bronson for use in his massive Traditional Tunes of the Child Ballads, although none of the recordings have ever been made available to the public.  Shepheard did, however, type the words of the songs he collected, and presented these to the members of the family in booklet format - a gesture which Danny certainly appreciated all his life, despite his inability to read.  Once when we visited Danny he complained that a member of his family had borrowed the book and he had never got it back; he was genuinely thrilled when Gwilym Davies and I were able to produce a new copy for him.  Later the family were also recorded by Gwilym and Mike Yates, and several of these recordings have been issued on compilation records published by Topic, and have appeared in the recent Voice of the People series.

Gwilym Davies writes:

My first acquaintance with the Brazil family came in 1977.  I surmised that if I wanted to hear authentic old folksongs, then it would be the travelling community that knew them.  I knew of a particular pub between Cheltenham and Gloucester that was frequented by travellers and so spent one evening there playing my melodeon and encouraging the locals to sing.  This was only partly successful, but at the end of the evening, one of the company came to me saying that he had all his family songs in a book in his trailer and that I could borrow it.  Imagine my joy to find myself holding a photocopy of Folk Songs and Ballads of the Brazil family of Gloucester.  This anonymous book contained gem after gem of old English folksong.  The author of that anonymous book was a mystery to me for several years until I eventually discovered that it was Peter Shepheard, who by then was living in Scotland.

The owner of that book was Danny Brazil and over the next couple of years and then again in the 1990s, I spent much time in his trailer while he sang the songs over to me.

Despite his husky voice, Danny was a delight to record; he was always willing to sing and indeed was very insistent that I record as much of his large repertoire as possible.  I thought that he might just give the tune of one verse of each song but Danny insisted on singing complete songs.  In retrospect, I am very glad that he did, so that all the musical variations and the flow of the performance were captured and not just the tune.  Danny sang to me many of the songs in Peter Shepheard's book and also quite a number that were not there.  It is often a rewarding experience to re-record someone who has been recorded before, as almost always new items of repertoire turn up.  Danny's recall of the words of his songs was remarkable and he would be reluctant to start a song unless he could sing it right through.  He said that although many of his fellow Gypsies were singing Country and Western songs, this was not a genre that interested him much and that he preferred to sing what he termed 'folk songs'.  As well as having a good memory for the words, Danny was also very aware of the narrative and drama presented in the songs, commenting for example on the bravery of the hero of Bold Keeper and drawing out the drama of Cruel Ship Carpenter (which he referred to as the Seamen Song, as his version starts 'Our Captain wanted seamen'.) He tended to be critical of other travellers who knew bits of songs but not the whole narrative.

Danny sent me to see his brother Harry and sister Lemmie, living at the Sandhurst caravan site near Gloucester.  Both were willing to sing and play into my tape recorder and to sit and chat with someone interested in their music.  I only recorded Harry once in his trailer, but on several other occasions in the Pelican pub in Gloucester.  At this time Cheltenham musicians Rod and Rhona Smith were also recording Harry's songs in the Pelican, and we met up and exchanged notes.  It was at the invitation of Rod and Rhona that Mike Yates came to Gloucester to record Harry and subsequently Danny and Lemmie.

I lost sight of the Brazils for several years until the 1990s, by which time Harry and Lemmie had passed away and Danny had moved to the traveller site at Elmstone Hardwicke, between Cheltenham and Tewkesbury.  Danny's trailer was just a few away from Wiggy Smith's and the latter's respect for Danny, 20 years his senior, was evident.  On occasions, after recording Wiggy, I would call in on Danny, who nearly always had more songs for me to record.

I was honoured to pay my last respects to Danny at his funeral and to be made welcome by his family.

Ewan MacColl and Peggy Seeger, when compiling Travellers' Songs from England and Scotland, came to the conclusion that much of the traveller repertoire was fragmentary or jumbled.  Mike Yates' recordings of Gypsies in South-East England further this hypothesis.  However, in the case of the Brazil family, most of their songs are complete from start to finish, many spectacularly so, such as Danny's unique version of Three Brothers in Fair Warwickshire.  In other circumstances, Danny and his brothers could have been the folk music discovery of the latter half of the 20th century.

Whilst it is possible to talk in general terms of a Gypsy singing style, as opposed to a non-Gypsy or Gorgio style, then it is also possible to talk of styles within the travelling community.  If we think of Gypsies as singing in general louder, higher, slower and more didactically than Gorgios, we can then say that the Brazil family style was more lyrical, less declamatory.  'Typical' Gypsy singers such as Phoebe Smith, Amy Birch and Wiggy Smith would take delight in the big sound of their voices, whereas the Brazil style is gentler, more floating.  This is exemplified in the delivery of Harry in particular, but also in Lemmie's singing.  One can speculate that this is because of the long time which the family spent in Ireland, which may also be the source of some of their repertoire.  An exception to the above generalisation is the singing of Joan Taylor (Hyram Brazil's daughter), whose style is more typical of what is considered to be traveller style.

Another feature preserved more in the repertoire of traveller singers is that of modal tunes, i.e. tunes using scales other than the major.  The great majority of the songs collected recently from non-travellers are in the straight major key whereas a significant number of the Brazil repertoire are set in other modes.  For example, there are delightful mixolydian tunes, such as Her Gown so Green or Long a-Growing, some musical gems in the dorian mode, i.e. Bold Keeper or The Croppy Taylor.

It is tempting to speculate that if the Brazil family had been 'discovered' when in their singing prime, they could possibly have made a great impact - but theirs was a tradition that was being carried on quite separately from folk clubs or festivals.  Although a few aficionados have known about Brazil family songs for some years now, and some tracks have appeared on Topic records, their existence has been largely unknown to the 'folk world'.

The Music:

Most of the tunes on this CD are standard items in the repertoire of English traditional musicians which has been recorded since the 2nd World War, and the mixture here also sits happily in that company, though the selection is admittedly small.  The prominence of hornpipes is certainly typical of that repertoire and reflects the general popularity of step-dancing in England until modern times. 

The Manchester or Yarmouth Hornpipe [tracks 2-11 and 3-19a, Lemmie; 3-14a, Danny] was perhaps the most popular hornpipe in this context, but the Bristol Hornpipe [tracks 3-9b and 1-23, Lemmie] seems to have been equally widespread, though seldom under that or indeed any other name.  Denny Smith's version of the Manchester Hornpipe seems a little closer to the 'usual' version than Lemmie's, and his Cliff Hornpipe [track 1-12] is also closer to published versions than that of many traditional musicians.  In the right hands the mouthorgan is an extraordinarily effective vehicle for traditional dance music, and Danny Brazil's playing is exciting by any standards.

Lemmie sometimes played the first part of the Bristol Hornpipe with parts of other tunes (as on track 2-20b, where she plays it with the first part of what is generally known as the Four-Hand Reel, a combination which Scan Tester also played).  This practice was widespread among country musicians who did not regard the link between the different parts of a tune as sacred, and would often mix and match them in medleys, especially, though not solely, for step-dancing.  The Soldier's Joy [track 2-20d , Lemmie] on the other hand, rarely departs far from the standard version.  The other hornpipe which Lemmie plays here [track 3-9a] (which on another occasion she referred to as a "tapdance") is reminiscent of tunes played both by the Gloucestershire fiddler Stephen Baldwin and by Percy Brown and other Norfolk musicians, and its superficial similarity to the Silver Spear may be no more than that.  However, Lemmie's approach to other well-known tunes means that a relationship cannot be ruled out.  The same goes for the stepping tune which Lemmie calls the Little Luck Jig [track 2-29b], but actually has the character of a reel and bears some resemblance to the Wind that shakes the barley.  This was also recorded by Jasper and Levi Smith, travellers from Surrey/Kent, under the name Step it away - the first words of a jingle which they also "tuned" (diddled) to it (Topic TSCD 661). 

In her version of the Bristol Hornpipe [tracks 3-9b and 1-23] Lemmie plays a couple of bars of the rather monotonous standard second strain, but uses them to launch a completely new medodic phrase.  The use of the first few bars of a familiar tune as the launching pad for something quite different is typical of Lemmie's approach to her material, but unlike many other fine traditional English musicians she doesn't make do with repetitive rhythmic phrases when she doesn't have part of a tune, but extrapolates new melodic phrases.  Thanks to her natural musicality, her innate understanding of her repertoire and genre, and her preference for certain intervals these are often more interesting than the 'missing' phrases.  Although a free treatment of melody is common among traditional musicians in England, it is usually the product of rhythmic invention or dittography, and genuine melodic invention like Lemmie's is rare.

This is what she does with the tune she calls The Irish Jig [tracks 2-4 and 2-20c], which seems to be a version of the Scottish Hills of Glenorchy, (O'Neill includes a version under the title of The Jolly Corkonian).  On a subsequent occasion Lemmie seems to tell Gwylim Davies that she learnt her tunes in England, where the term Irish jig is often used as a generic term for a jig, the most popular of which frequently had an Irish association, if only in the name.  She likewise referred to the Bristol Hornpipe as The Irish Hornpipe, as distinct from The English Hornpipe (Manchester Hornpipe), although that tune is not otherwise generally associated with Ireland.  Her other jigs - Cock of the North (track 3-19b, which she also knew as Chase me Charlie from the once risqué ditty associated with it), and The Campbells are Coming [track 3-19d] have always been familiar far beyond the confines of traditional music. 

The tune which Lemmie calls the Irish Crazy Reel [track 2-20a] is a version of the Scottish Miss McLeod, which was not only the most familiar reel in England and Scotland, but also the reel which most Irish musicians were once likely to know.  This she plays as a (Highland) Fling/Schottische, as she does her God Killed the Devil O! [track 1-5], a version of the Scottish strathspey, Moneymusk, which is how that tune was usually played in both England and Ireland.

Like most traditional musicians in England she draws on song melodies for her waltzes, but her use of Died for Love [track 3-5], which seems once to have been universal, is unusual.

The details of Lemmie's playing place it fairly and squarely in the English tradition as we know it from other players recorded since the war, and is particularly reminiscent of Norfolk melodeon players like Percy Brown, George Craske and Bob Davies.  Like theirs, her playing is melodic, pacey, stressed on the offbeat and slightly dotted, and honed to the needs of the step-dancer.  And, like them, she often dispenses with pick-up notes and stresses and dwells on the first note of a tune - whether in common time or 6/8 - before switching the stress to the offbeat until the end of the phrase.  This trait is not limited to post-war melodeon-players, but can also be seen in the playing of fiddlers like Harry Cox, William 'Jinky' Wells and James Higgins, the Somerset fiddler whose tunes Cecil Sharp transcribed at the turn of the 20th century (and in the 1970s, the same device distinguished 'funk').  Perhaps most interestingly, in her various recordings of the Bristol Hornpipe and the Hills of Glenorchy ("Irish Jig") in particular it is possible to see the standard version of a tune being transmuted into something new as she progressively adapts a melody to her own rules.

Notes on instrumental music recordings of Lemmie and Denny Smith by Philip Heath-Coleman

The Songs:

As this project features songs from several generations of an entire family, there are many instances where we have several recordings of particular songs by different singers.  In these cases, to save needless use of space, we - like Peter Shepheard before us - have printed a 'full' version of the combined texts rather than several shorter versions by different singers.  Some of these are Peter Shepheard's own combined texts, some are ours when the Gwilym Davies recordings are present in the mix.  So some of the following texts will not be exactly what you will hear from the selections on these CDs.

There has been a selection because, between them, the various collectors have amassed hundreds of recordings - far more than would fit onto even a triple CD publication.  For the most part, the selection of recordings was made by the principal collectors themselves; Peter Shepheard and Gwilym Davies having presented me with what they thought represented the best examples of both performance and recording amongst their collections.

The numbers in square brackets after Peter Shepheard's name, eg. [66.4.1], indicate the recording accession number in the Springthyme Archive.

In a few cases, singers use unusual words or unusual pronunciations: these are either ignored when they are obvious; explained by numbered footnotes when we know the meanings; or left as sung but italicised when we don't.

Roud numbers quoted are from the databases, The Folk Song Index and The Broadside Index, continually updated, compiled by Steve Roud.  Currently containing almost 288,500 records between them, they are described by him as "extensive, but not yet exhaustive".  Copies are held at: The Vaughan Williams Memorial Library, London; Taisce Ceol Duchais Eireann, Dublin; and the School of Scottish Studies, Edinburgh.  The Folk Song Index is also accessible on-line at: http://library.efdss.org They can also be purchased direct from Steve at Southwood, Maresfield Court, High Street, Maresfield, East Sussex, TN22 2EH, UK.  E-mail: sroud@btinternet.com

Child numbers, where quoted, refer to entries in The English and Scottish Popular Ballads by Francis James Child, Boston, 1882-98.  Laws numbers, where quoted, refer to entries in American Balladry from British Broadsides by G Malcolm Laws Jr, Philadelphia, 1957.

CD 1:

1-1 The Old Riverside (Roud 564, Laws P18)
Sung by Harry Brazil.  Rec: Peter Shepheard [66.1.17], at the Over Bridge site, beside the canal, 6.1.66

1-2 The Old Riverside
Sung by Doris Davies.  Rec: Peter Shepheard [66.1.6], at the Eastington caravan site, beside the canal, 6.1.66

1-3 The Old Riverside
Sung by Danny Brazil.  Rec: Gwilym Davies, Staverton, Glos, 13.4.95

1-4 The Old Riverside
Sung by Lemmie Brazil.  Rec: Peter Shepheard [66.9.1], in Lemmie's caravan at Walham Tump, Glos, 28.12.66

As I strolled out one May morning, it was down by the old riverside;
'Twas there I met a fair young maid, and on her I placed my eye.

I asked her if she would take a walk down by the old riverside,
That there we might sit and talk a while, making her my lawful bride.

"No then, kind sir, to get married to you, my age it is too young."
"The younger you are more better you is, more fitting you are for me.
That I should say in my old days, I married my wife a maid."

He took her home to his father's house, his lawful wife to be;
They laid there all that long night, 'til daylight did repair.

All the first part of the night, the couple sport and played,
And the rest part of the night, close in his arms she laid.

When that long night was past and gone, and daylight did repair;
The young man rose and put on his clothes, saying, "Fare thee well my dear."

"This is not the promise you made unto me, down by the old riverside;
You promised that you would marry me, and make me your lawful bride."

"For to promise to marry a girl like you, is not such a thing I would do;
You go home to your own dear mother's house, and there you cry your fill;
And tell them all what I've done to you, it was done by your own good will."

"Do you think I'd go home to my own mother's house, to bring her trouble and disgrace?
I'd rather go and drown myself, and sleep in some lonesome place."

Now he catched hold of her lily-white hand, and he kissed both cheek and chin;
He took her down by the old riverside, and he gently pushed her in.

See how she swims, see how she goes, she goes floating with the tide,
'Tis the room of a maid to have a watery grave, she had no right to have been my bride.

Now I'll sail away to some other foreign part, where another girl will take my eye,
Where no-one will know the deed I've done, to the girl I left behind.

I've got a root in my father's garden, some do call it rue;
For fishes swims and swallows dive young men they don't prove true.

The Doris Davies track is amongst the first recordings Peter Shepheard made of any of the Brazil family - and it was Doris who pointed him to her father Harry.  Her version of The Old Riverside was fairly complete, and it then became a challenge to try and get the complete Brazil Family version of the song by recording it from as many of the family as possible.

A well-known song, with 80 entries in the Roud Index, 21 of which are sound recordings.  Almost all are from England, plus a few from the north of Ireland and North America.  Gypsy names crop up frequently amongst the listed singers.

Other versions available on CD: Fred Jordan (Veteran VTD 148CD); Harry Cox (Topic TSCD 512D); George Spicer (MTCD311-2).

1-5 God Killed the Devil O! (Moneymusk)
Played by Lemmie Brazil, melodeon.  Rec: Peter Shepheard [73.1.3], at her caravan, Gloucester, 26.12.72

For more information see 'The Music' in main text above.

1-6 Limpy Jack (Roud 222)
Sung by Danny Brazil.  Rec: Peter Shepheard [66.6.5], Over Bridge, Gloucester, 12.5.66

Three keepers' houses stood in a square,
Right fol laural fol diddle addidy,
Three keepers' houses stood in a square,
Fal diddle laural lay,
Three keepers' houses stood in a square;
They were put there to look after the deer,
And each one of them was a mile compared,
Right fol diddle, laural lal lay.

Danny Brazil Now me and my dogs went out one night,
Right fol laural fol diddle addidy,
Me and my dogs went out one night,
Fol diddle laural lay;
Me and my dogs went out one night,
To catch a fat buck away we went,
To catch a fat buck was our intent,
Right fol diddle laural lal Iay.

Now we hunted the woods all round and round
Right fol laural fol diddle addidy,
We hunted the woods all round and round,
Fol diddle laural lay;
The best good dog all out of ten,
He came to me both bloody and lame,
And sorry was I to see the same,
Right fol diddle laural lal lay.

I'll take my spikestaff in my hand,
Right fol laural fol diddle addidy,
I'll take my spikestaff in my hand,
Fol diddle laural lay.
I'll take my spikestaff in my hand,
I'll range the wood 'til I find that man,
I'll wallop his bones all if I can,
Right fol diddle laural lal lay.

Now we hunted the woods all round and round,
Right fol loural fol diddle addidy,
We hunted the wood all round and round,
Fol diddle laural lay;
We hunted the woods all round and round,
We found a fat buck laid dead on the ground,
That was my little dog fetched him down,
Right fol diddle laural lal lay.

Now Limpy Jack had a buck up his back,
He was like a pedlar with a pack up his back,
He was like a pedlar with a pack up his back,
Right fol diddle laural lal lay.

Now we ordered a butcher to skin the game,
Right fol laural fol diddle addidy,
Likewise another to do the same,
Fol diddle laural lay;
The first good joint we offered for sale,
Was to an old woman that drew bad ale,
She had us all took and put in jail,
Right fol diddle laural lal lay.

Now we were put in prison strong,
Until the assizes did come on,
Bad cess1 to the hour of liberty,
My brave and British boys.

1 luck

The song is more commonly known as Thornymoor Woods in various collections.  Thorney Wood Chase, once a part of Sherwood Forest, was enclosed sometime around 1790.  Twenty years later John Pitts issued our present song on a broadside titled The Lads of Thorney Moor Wood, which was reprinted by several later printers.  There are 69 instances in Roud, including 15 sound recordings - and as might be expected for a poaching song, all are from England.

Other versions available on CD: Jasper Smith (Topic TSCD 668 and MTCD320); George Dunn (MTCD317-8); Walter Pardon (MTCD305-6).

1-7 The Game of All Fours (Roud 232)
Sung by Hyram Brazil.  Rec: Peter Shepheard [66.4.30], The Pelican, Gloucester, 20.4.66

As I were a-walking one fine summer's morning, oh, it happened to be on a sunshiny day;
And there I behold most a beautiful damsel, as she was a-walking all on the highway.

For I says, "My pretty fair maid, oh where are you going?
And may I fall bear with your sweet company?"
For she turned herself round a and she gazèd down on me,
Saying, "Yes, then kind sir, you may walk if you please."

For we had not a-walked but a few miles together, before she begun with her wanton ways;
She come set herself down and I sat by the side of her,
Saying, "The game I shall play you shall be at All Fours;
For the game I will play you will be at All Fours,
And then love I'll beat you down two hands to one."

For I shuffled the cards it was her time to deal them,
For I did not hold but one trump but the Jack;
For she had the Ace and the Deuce for to play with,
You commonly call the best cards in the pack.

For she led off the Ace and she stole the Jack from me,
And that made her High Low Jack and the Game;
She says, "Then kind sir, so fairly I beat you,
As you cannot play the game over again."

For I picked up my hat, wished that fair maid good morning,
As since she got High Low Jack and the Game;
I says, "My pretty fair maid, I'll be this way tomorrow,
And then love we'll play the game over again."

This was also sung by Danny and Lemmie.  Among Roud's 49 noted instances, all from the southern half of England, are 18 sound recordings - indicating that the song was still popular in recent times.  Vic Legg informs us that All Fours is still played in a number of pubs in the china-clay areas near St Austell in Cornwall; indeed, they have a League - for the card game, that is.

This transparently erotic piece had to wait until 1960 to appear in respectable print, in James Reeves's anthology of English traditional verse, The Everlasting Circle.  That it was well known a century earlier is attested by the broadside issued by Henry Disley of London, a political adaptation or parody dealing with Garibaldi's struggle for Italian unity under the title of The Game of All Fours.  At much the same time, the catalogue of the Manchester ballad printer, T Pearson, included the original Game of All Fours, twinned with The Steam Loom Weaver.

Other versions available on CD: Phoebe Smith (Veteran VT136CD); George Dunn (MTCD317-8); Sarah Porter (MTCD309-10).

1-8 Sally Monroe (Roud 526, Laws K11)
Sung by Angela Brazil. Rec: Peter Kennedy, Blairgowrie, 1955.

1-9 Sally Monroe
Sung by Lemmie Brazil.  Rec: Peter Shepheard [66.5.4], Over Bridge, Gloucester, 6.5.66

My name it is Tom Dixie I'm a blacksmith by my trade,
All in the town of Newry I were bred and born;
From the town of old Belfast as you might plainly know,
And there I fell in love with young Sally Munro.

I wrote my love a letter and I signed it with my hand,
And I sent it by a comrade I thought to be a friend
But instead of being a friend to me, he proved to me a foe,
For he never gave my letter to young Sally Munro.

She told her ageing mother dear to be aware of me
For I'd a wife and children in my own country;
"If this is the way, the way," says she, "with him I'll never go,
And he never will enjoy himself with Sally Munro."

Six long months being after, I thought it very queer
I'd never seen that pretty girl that I loved so dear;
'Til last Monday morning as I walked down Sally's lane,
And who do you think I met was young Sally Munro.

He paid her passage to Belfast as you might plainly know,
And with five hundred to her breast the ship went down below;
There was one number on this ship as you might plainly know,
She's my bonny Irish lassie they call Sally Munro.

This was also sung by Tom and by Harry, whose Topic TSCD661 recording is the only other available on CD.  There are 43 Roud entries, most of which are from Scotland - and none from Ireland.  The Brazil Family and George Blake, of Southampton, are the only English entries.

1-10 Young Man Cut Down in His Prime (Roud 2, Laws Q26 / B1)
Sung by Harry Brazil. Rec: Mike Yates, Gloucester, 1978

As I was a-walking all through the dark arches,
Dark were the night and dull were the day;
Who should I meet only one of my comrades,
Who was wrapped up in blankets much colder than clay.

Give me a candle to light him to bed with,
Black was the flannel to bind up his head;
His poor head is aching, his kind heart is breaking,
There's nobody knows how that poor man lays ill.

If I had of known that my friends they disliked me
If I had of known that I took it in time;
I might have had one of those pills of white mercury,
But now I'm a young man cut down in my prime.

My poor ageing father, my old ageing mother,
Often times told me they'd bring me to ruin;
To never go courting flash girls of the city,
Pray stay at home and keep sweet company.

At the top of the street there was two girls a-standing,
One to the other they whispered and said;
"There goes a young man whose money we've squandered,
Now we have brought him to his silent grave."

So beat the drums over him and play the fife mallorys1
Play the dead march as you carry him along;
Take him to a churchyard and fire three volleys over him,
There goes a young soldier that never done wrong.

1 merrily

This was also sung by Danny.  An extremely popular and widespread song throughout these islands and North America - in fact, almost two thirds of Roud's 315 entries are from the USA.  Very few of the 72 English ones appear to have been collected from Gypsies.  It's an old song, but doesn't appear in many broadsides (only 10), but it has been included in a few books - 148 to be exact!

Other versions available on CD: Harry Holman (MTCD309-10); Bob Hart (MTCD301-2); Bill Ellson (MTCD320); Hobert Stallard (MTCD344); Texas Gladden (Rounder CD 1500); Fred Jordan (VTD148CD); Johnny Doughty (TSCD 662); Harry Upton (TSCD 652); Viv Legg (VT153CD); Moses 'Clear Rock' Platt and James 'Ironhead' Baker (Rounder CD 1821).

1-11 Betsy the Milkmaid (Blackberry Fold) (Roud 559, Laws O10)
Sung by Danny Brazil.  Rec: Gwilym Davies, Staverton, Glos, 20.10.77

Pretty Betsy was a milkmaid and a milkmaid was she
With her milking cans round her, she was low I agree
"Do you want any milk?" pretty Betsy did say.
And it's "Yes" said the squire, "Come you in, pretty maid."

"Step you in pretty milkmaid, set you down by me
Let's you and I get married, love, if we can agree."
"To get married to you sir, my age is too young,
To get married to you sir, my time is not come."

Through fields and through meadows this young couple walked,
For to hear how the squire to the milkmaid did talk;
"If you don't ale out in yonders green trees,
For it's first I will force you, and then you I will kill."

With kicking and struggling pretty Betsy got free,
And with his own weapon she's pierced his body;
She pierced his body 'til the blood it did flow,
And she left him laid bleeding near the blackberry fold.

Pretty Betsy went home with a tear in her eye,
"I have vownded the squire," to the master she cried
"I have vownded the squire in his body quite deep
And I've let him laid bleeding near the blackberry fold."

The carriage was sent for to fetch him home,
And likewise a doctor to heal up his vownds;
They healed up his vownd and they put him in bed
And the milkmaid was sent for to bind up his head

Blue ribbons, blue ribbons, orange and green,
She's dressed in blue ribbons, she's now to be seen
He made her his lady in the room of the hall,
For it's best to live honest if you're ever so poor.

This was also sung by Lemmie.  Many folksongs deal with the relationship between a squire and a village maiden.  In The Banks of Sweet Dundee - a highly popular piece - the squire dies.  Here, however, he survives and is united with pretty Betsy.  Today the song is no longer widespread, and of the 46 versions which we know about, some from as far away as Illinois and Labrador, most seem to be based on the broadsides issued by John Pitts c.1825 and in the 1850s by Henry Parker Such.  In England the area of popularity seems centred on the Southeast, and Danny is one of only two named singers from elsewhere.

Other versions available on CD: George Spicer (MTCD311-2); Phoebe Smith (VT136CD); Harry Cox (TSCD 512D).

1-12 Hornpipe 1 (Cliff Hornpipe)
Played by Denny Smith, melodeon, with Danny Brazil stepping.  Rec: Peter Shepheard [66.5.25b], Tabard Bar, Gloucester, 9.5.66

For more information see 'The Music' in main text above.

1-13 The Bold Fishing Man (Roud 291, Laws O24)
Sung by Alice Webb.  Rec: Peter Shepheard [69.1.40], in her caravan at Apperley Lock, near Tewkesbury, Christmas 1968.

As I strolled out one morning clear
'Twas by a river side
And there I behold a bold fishing man,
He come floating with the tide.

"Good evening you bold fishing man,
What brought you fishing here?"
"I've come a-fishing for your sweet sake,
Down by the river clear."

This was also sung by Lemmie.  A surprisingly popular song with 103 Roud entries, almost all of which come from England.  Although there are 16 sound recordings, only that by Harry Cox (TSCD 512D and 651) is available on CD.

1-14 Son Come Tell it Unto Me (Roud 200, Child 13)
Sung by Weenie Brazil.  Rec: Hamish Henderson on the Blairgowrie berryfields, July/August 1955. SA 1955/147/B27

1-15 Son Come Tell it Unto Me
Sung by Angela Brazil.  Rec: Peter Kennedy, Blairgowrie, 1954.

1-16 Son Come Tell it Unto Me
Sung by Alice Webb's son.  Rec: Peter Shepheard [69.1.29], in Alice's trailer at Apperley Lock, near Tewkesbury, Christmas 1968.

"Where have you been the whole night long,
Son come tell it unto me?"
"I've been in the search of an old game cock,
That flew from tree to tree."

"How come the blood on your arm sleeve,
Son come tell it unto me?"
"That is the blood of my own brother dear,
That lays over under yonder tree."

"What did you kill your own dear brother for,
Son come tell it unto me?"
"Because that he killed the two turtle doves
That flew from tree to tree."

"What will you do when your father comes to know
Son come tell it unto me?"
"I'll sail away to another foreign shore
Where my face he'll never, never see."

"What will you do with your own dear wedded wife
Son come tell it unto me?"
"I'll dress her up in a jolly sailor's suit,
And take her on board the ship with me."

"What will you do with your two tender babes,
Son come tell it unto me?"
"I'll leave them home with their own granpa,
For to bear them company."

"What will you do with your houses and your land
Son come tell it unto me?"
"I will leave them all to my own father,
For to maintain my little family."

"Now tarry sailor when will you turn this way again
Son come tell it unto me?"
"When the moon and the sun both shine as one,
And that you will never, never see."

This was also sung by Lemmie, Alice, Danny and Tom, so it could be considered the family's favourite song.  One of the most striking things about these recordings of a significant number of singers from one family, is that - given the slight variations of text and melody from one singer to another - it seems fairly clear that all family members got their songs from one source; most likely their parents, or even grandparents.

Son Come Tell it Unto Me is unusual in that here we have three completely different tunes to the same song from three singers; Weenie's is essentially the Family one, whilst Angela's and young Mr Webb's are not.

It should also be noted that one of the most important aspects of these CDs is that they contain the only known recordings of Weenie (Selphinus) Brazil.  To say that he was a fabulous singer must surely be a gross understatement.  It's a tragedy that he was not recorded again ... and quite inexplicable that these wonderful recordings have been lying, unheard, in the School of Scottish Studies Archive for 52 years!

This is a very popular song with 236 Roud entries, of which 59 are sound recordings.  The great majority are from the USA (148 entries) and Scotland (46 entries).  Only 4 other singers from England are named.

Other versions available on CD: Paddy Tunney (TSCD653); George Dunn (MTCD317-8); Mary Delaney (TSCD667); and one of those horrible Peter Kennedy multiple efforts on Rounder CD 1775.

1-17 The Crabfish (Roud 149)
Sung by Danny Brazil.  Rec: Gwilym Davies, Staverton, Glos, 5.5.78

There was a little man and he had a little wife
He loved the little wife as he loved his life
Chorus:
Musharum tiddlum musharum-aday
Rallamusharum adiddlum adido.

He went down the town one fine summer's day
He saw some little crabfishes going on his way
Chorus:

Well he said "Kind sir, I've got just a very few
But I've got one, sir, I will give to you.
Chorus:

For he didn't have a pan or a pot to put it in;
He put it in the pan that his wife piddled in.
Chorus:

In the middle of the night his wife took short;
She run downstairs for to piddle in the pot.
Up jumped the little crabfish and caught her by the cock
Chorus:

"Oh husband, oh husband, oh will you come hither?
The devil's in the chamber and got me by the leather."
Chorus:

For one got the pokers, the other got the tongs
And the more they beat the crabfish, the tighter he hung on.
Chorus:

For it's one got the poker, the other got the skimmer
And the more they beat the crabfish, the tighter he stuck in her.
Chorus:

Then she had a little baby born very funny
And it had a little crabfish stuck up on its cunny.
Chorus:

Roud shows only 67 entries for a song which is far more popular than this would imply.  As The Sea Crabb, this is to be found in Bishop Percy's famous folio manuscript of c.1660, but remained unprinted until 1868 when John Furnival included it in his Loose and Humorous Songs (reprinted 1963).

According to Gershom Legman it was first known as a joking tale of Levantine origin that appeared in Italy c.1400, and Roger deV Renwick lists many other examples in chapter 5 of his book Recentering Anglo/American Folksong (2001).

Other versions available on CD: Percy Ling (MTCD339-0); Nora Cleary (TSCD657); George Bregenzer (VTC6CD); Dan Tate (MTCD321).

1-18 Green Grow the Laurels (Roud 279)
Sung by Harry Brazil.  Rec: Gwilym Davies, Gloucester, Feb '78

... sorry was I when I parted with you
The next time we meet love we'll joy unto me
And we'll change the green laurels for the red white and blue.

Now I oftentime wonder how women loves men
I oftentime wonder how men do love them
They'll kiss you and court you and say the'll be true
For women is false wherever you go.

Now I pass my love's window both early and late
I pass my love's window as I go by the gate
Don't you think that have caused my heart to break
For to think that she's tied to another.

As this song seems to have been sung by almost every traditional singer I've come across, and is still particularly popular among the Traveller communities, it's not surprising to find 129 examples in Roud, includind 48 sound recordings - from Canada, England, Ireland, Scotland and lots from the USA.  It has had many titles, including Orange & Blue, Pretty Polly and Moonshiner.  Most versions include several 'floating' verses which often make this song difficult to distinguish from the numerous incarnations of Died for Love / A Brisk Young Sailor / The Willow Tree (Roud 60).

Other versions available on CD: Daisy Chapman (MTCD308); Mary Delaney (MTCD325-6); Louie Fuller (Topic TSCD665); Jeff Wesley (VTC6CD).

1-19 The Bonny Black Hare (Roud 1656)
Sung by Lemmie Brazil.  Rec: Peter Shepheard [66.9.42], in Lemmie's caravan at Walham Tump, Glos, 5.1.67

Early one morning by the dawn of the day,
With his great gun in order he straight took his way;
To hunt for some game through the woods I did steer,
To seek and to find out my bonny black hare.

I met a pretty damsel with her eyes black as sloe,
Her teeth was like ivory, her cheeks like a rose;
Her hair hung in ringlets on her shoulders bare,
"Pretty maiden," says I, "have you seen my black hare?"

"The whole of the morning I've been hunting all round,
My bonny black hare is nowhere to be found;
But since you've been kindly, my darling so fair,
You shall go along with me to hunt my black hare."

His gun ready loaded intermid1 he was,
He threw the fair maiden down on the green grass;
His trigger he drew, put his ball in her hair,
And he fired a shot at her bonny black hare.

He said, " Pretty maiden, my powder's all gone,
My gun's out of order I cannot ram on;
But since you've been kindly, my darling so fair,
I'll fire one more shot at your bonny black hare."

1determined

A rare song indeed - only 5 other singers have been recorded singing it; two in England, one in Scotland and two in the USA.  Its seeming popularity to us is probably due to its appearance in Frank Purslow's 1972 book The Constant Lovers, or to the Carthy/Swarbrick recording

1-20 Barbary Allen
Sung by Danny Brazil.  Rec: Peter Shepheard [66.2.3], at his trailer at Over Bridge caravan site, Goucester, 6.1.66.

1-21 Barbary Allen (Roud 54, Child 84)
Sung by Debbie & Pennie Davies.  Rec: Mike Yates, near the Northfields housing estate, Tewkesbury, Glos.

Debbie and Pennie Davies In Scarlet Town where I was born
There was a fair maid dwelling
And all the lads cried 'well-a-day'
For love of Barbary Allen.

Look over, look over in yonders field,
You'll see some cows a-feeding;
For they are mine they are left for thine,
They are left for Barbary Allen.

Look down, look down at the foot of my bed,
You'll see a waistcoat hanging,
And in the pocket a watch and chain,
It's left for Barbary Allen.

Look down look down at the foot of my bed,
You'll see a basin standing;
A basin of blood from my heart I've shed,
For you my Barbary Allen.

Oh mother dear make me a bed,
Make it soft and narrow,
For Johnny died for me today,
I'll die for him tomorrow.

Oh parson dear dig me a grave,
Dig it neat and narrow,
And on my bosom place a red rose,
And on Johnny's a sweet briar.

They growed and growed to the top of the church,
'Til they couldn't grow any higher,
And they turned back in a true love knot,
The rose around the briar.

This was also sung by Lemmie.  It's the most widely-known ballad I've yet encountered in Steve Roud's Song Index, with an astonishing 1035 instances (including 272 sound recordings) listed there.  Needless to say, it's found everywhere English is spoken - though Australia boasts only one version in the Index - and, very unusually, there's even one from Wales ... although it comes from Phil Tanner in that 'little England', the Gower Peninsula.  The USA has 656 entries!

Other versions available on CD: Bob Hart (MTCD301-2); Patsy Flynn (MTCD330); Wiggy Smith (MTCD307); Jim Wilson (MTCD309-0); Andy Cash (MTCD326-7); Stanley Hicks (MTCD322); Garrett & Norah Arwood (MTCD323); Joe Heaney (TSCD518D); Sarah Makem (Topic TSCD668); Jane Turriff (Springthyme SPRCD1038); Phoebe Smith (Veteran VT136CD).

1-22 The Rambling Irishman (Roud 360)
Sung by Danny Brazil.  Rec: Gwilym Davies, in his caravan at Staverton, Gloucester, 5.5.78

Sure I am a bit of an Irishman,
And I've travelled the country round;
To seek for work in foreign parts,
I've took it to be a plan.
With me bundle on me shoulder,
Me shillelagh blackthorn in me hand,
Sure I bless the day as I sailed away
As a rambling Irishman.

When I landed in Castlecomerol
The girls did jump for joy;
There was one unto the other,
"Here comes an Irish boy."
One treated me with a bottle
And the other one with a can,
And the toast went round the table
"Here's good luck to an Irishman."

Sure I hadn't been in Philadelphie,
It was scarce likely days, no more;
All for the landlady's daughter,
She fell in love with me.
She asked me if I'd dine with her;
She kissed and squoze my hand
And she whispered to her mummy,
"Sure, I'm in love with the Irishman."

"Oh, it's daughter, dearest daughter,
You must be mad I'm sure,
To fall in love with an Irishman
You never known before."
"It's hold your tongue, dear mother", she said,
"I will do the best I can,
And I mean to ramble the world around
With me rambling Irishman."

This was also sung by Lemmie.  It's a surprise to find only 76 Roud entries, and that only 9 are from Ireland!  Also that very few recognisably Gypsy or Traveller surnames are listed amongst the singers.

1-23 Lemmie Brazil's Stepdance No 2 (Bristol Hornpipe)
Played by Lemmie Brazil, melodeon.  Rec: Peter Shepheard [73.1.9], Sandhurst Lane caravan site, Gloucester, 26.12.72

For more information see 'The Music' in main text above.

1-24 Jack and the Robber (Roud 2637, Laws L1 / Roud 2640, Child 283)
Sung by Danny Brazil.  Rec: Peter Shepheard [66.6.11], Over Bridge, Gloucester, 12.5.66

There was an old farmer I'm going to tell you plain,
He had a servant boy and Jack was his name;
For he said to him, "Jack, take the cows to the fair,
For she's in good order for all I can spare."
Chorus:
With me fol the diddle I do, fol the diddle ay.

Jack drove the cow straight out of the barn,
And in to the fair the cow simply run;
He wasn't there long before he met three men,
And there he sold the cow for thirteen pound ten.
Chorus:

Jack went in the public for to get a drink,
And then to the landlady in ready money jinked;
"Where shall I put this money," to the servant he did say,
"For I'm feared on the road it is robbed I shall be."
Chorus:

"In the lining of your coat, you may sew it so," says she,
"I am feared on the road it is robbed you will be."
Chorus:

For the robber in the room he sat drinking up his wine,
And he swore to hisself "All this money shall be mine."
Chorus:

Now Jack left the public and started for home,
The robber followed after him straight out of the room;
"I'd be glad of your company, young man" he did say,
And he jumped to the saddle and he rode straight away.
Chorus:

For they both jogged along together 'til they came to the bine1 of a lane,
"And now," said the robber, "I'm going to tell you plain;
You come 'liver up your money without any more delay,
For this very same moment your life I'll take away."
Chorus:

Jack throwed the money out, out the lining of his coat,
And all about the green grass he sowed it all about.
While the robber was picking up the money that was sown amongst the grass,
Jack jumped to the saddle and he rode away his horse.
Chorus:

For it's one of the servants saw Jack coming home,
And in to the master he simply did run;
"Oh master, oh master, oh here comes Jack and I think he's had a swap,
And how did the old cow turn into a horse?"
Chorus:

"Oh master, oh master, I mean to tell you plain,
I met a bold robber on the highway that I came.
While he were picking up the money that was sown amongst the grass,
For to bring you home commission, sir, I brought you home his horse."
Chorus:

When the saddlebags was opened it's there I'll behold,
Five hundred bright guineas and some silver and some gold;
A good pair of pistols, the old farmer dewelled,
He said, "Well done, Jack, for you well sold the cow."
Chorus:

1 entrance

A song also known as The Crafty Farmer and The Yorkshire Bite; a version of Child 283.  There are a total of 172 Roud entries between his two numbers - which tell of roughly the same scam in two rather different ways.  This one, often called Well Sold the Cow, is the more interesting of the two, in my opinion.

Sadly, of the 31 sound recordings listed, no other versions appear to be available on CD.

1-25 If I Were a Blackbird (Roud 387)
Sung by Harry Brazil.  Rec: Gwilym Davies, Gloucester, Feb '78

I were a young girl my age were sixteen
I fell in love with some rakish young man
My friends slight me because he were poor
He's me ain bonny lad that I'll never see no more

If I were a blackbird I'd whistle and sing
I'd follow the ship that my true love sails in
There on the top rigging I'd there build my nest
I would lay my brown hair on his lily white breast

If I was a scholar I'd handle my pen
Some love letters to my love I'd send
And in case I would meet him I'd crown him with joy
And kiss the fair cheeks of my bold Irish boy

I've searched in the highlands, I've searched everywhere
I've searched in the lowlands, but I couldn't find him there.
He may cast his eye on ... some foreign shore
He's me ain bonny lad that I'll never see no more.

Mary Ann Haynes had a rather similar song, which she called either The Sailor Boy or The Bold Sailor Boy.  She believed that If I were a Blackbird, with its verse about 'Donnybrook Fair', was a later, and different, piece.  And she may well have been right, because most singers these days seem to have been influenced by the 1930s recording of the song by the singer Delia Murphy, which was often played on the radio (as was Ronnie Ronalde's '50s recording).  Some commentators have described If I were a Blackbird as a song composed of 'floating' verses, although most collected sets seem to be quite similar, a fact that suggests broadside origins - although Roud doesn't list any.  The song does not appear to have been popular in America (only 3 examples), though several of the verses associated with it do turn up in any number of Appalachian songs, such as Pretty Saro, The Turtle Dove, The Wagoner's Lad and Little Sparrow.

Other versions available on CD: Walter Pardon (MTCD305-6); Mary Ann Haynes (MTCD320); Albert 'Diddy' Cook (VT140CD and TSCD665); Blanche Wood (Rounder CD 1786).

1-26 The Golden Glove (Roud 141, Laws N20)
Sung by Danny Brazil.  Rec: Gwilym Davies, Staverton, Glos, 5.5.78

There was an old squire in London dewelled,
He had but one daughter a farmer loved well;
All for to get married it was her intent,
And her friends and her relations
soon gave her consent.

For the day that the wedding was 'pointed to be,
The farmer wasn't there for to give her away;
Soon as the young lady the farmer couldn't spy,
She began to lament and then for to cry.

This lady went home with a tear in her eye,
A waistcoat and trousers this lady put on;
All for to cross with him it was her intent,
With a dog and a gun away Molly went.

For she hunted all round where the farmer dewelled
She often times fired but nothing could kill;
She often times fired but nothing could kill,
'Til the jolly young farmer came out in the field.

"Good morning kind sir," this lady did say,
"What have happed that you ain't at the wedding today?
What have happed that you ain't at the wedding today,
For to wait on the lady and give her away?"

Oh no, then, kind sir that never could be true,
I loved her too well for to give her away;
My honour, my mistress I will take sword in hand,
If my honour don't gain her I'll never search command."

It pleased the lady to find him so bold,
She gave him a glove that was lineded with gold;
Told him as she'd found it as she'd come along,
That she had been a-hunting with a dog and a gun.

This lady went home with her heart filled with joy,
Giving out a great notice that she had lost her glove;
"And the man that will find it and bring it to me,
Twenty guineas I'll give or his bride I'll be".

Soon as the young farmer he heard of the news,
Straight away to the lady the farmer did go;
"It's my honour, my mistress I have found your glove,
And I hope that you'll ownd it and grant me your love."

"The love's ready granted," the lady implies,
"I love the sweet birth of a farmer quite well;
I'll be mistress of me dairymaid milking my cows
While me jolly young farmer goes a-whistling to plough."

For after they got married she told of the fun,
That she'd been a hunting with a dog and a gun
"But since I have gained him so fast in a snare,
I will keep him for ever he's my joy and my dear!"

This was also sung by Alice.  A well-known song with 232 Roud entries, the majority being from the USA.  Often called Dog and Gun as well, the Squire of Tamworth title popular in the revival is actually quite rare.

Other versions available on CD: Frank Hinchliffe (MTCD311-2); Martin Howley (MTCD331); Will Noble (VTC4CD); George Fradley (VTC7CD).

1-27 The Watercrease Girl (Roud 1541)
Sung by Alice Webb.  Rec: Peter Shepheard [69.1.35], in her caravan at Apperley Lock, near Tewkesbury, Christmas 1968.

As I strolled out one evening
Down by the stream as it run through the dell,
She was gathering watercreases,
That dear little watercrease girl.

I asked her if she was lonely;
She answered me with a smile,
"Kind sir, I'm not lonely
For this is my dearly time.

"I gets up every morning
My creases for to sell.
My right good name is Martha,
But I'm only the watercrease girl."

Her hair hung down in kisses1
Down by the stream as it run through the dell,
She was gathering watercreases,
That dear little watercrease girl.

1 kiss-curls; more usually 'tresses'

This was also sung by Danny.  More Victorian sentimentality, with the working class girl snapped up by (we gather) an affluent man, in most fuller versions.  Water Cresses or The Watercress Girl, published in 1863, was sung (and probably written by) Harry Clifton (1832-72).  Clifton also wrote The Calico Printer's Clerk, My Rattling Mare and I and Jemima Brown, all of which entered oral tradition.  The Water-Cress Girl also appeared on a broadside without imprint.

Other versions available on CD: George Dunn (MTCD317-8); Tommy Morrissey (VTC9CD).

1-28 Dear Old Erin's Shore (Granuaile) (Roud 3068)
Sung by Harry Brazil. Rec: Mike Yates, Gloucester, 1978

Now the dreams of some come true to me,
As it did in thousands more
As it did for me my country,
'Twas dear old Erin's shore
I dreamt I were upon the hill
By the walls of a lonely gaol
And then I thought of the dreams I had
Of poor old Granyavail1

Now her golden hair hung down her back,
As she was dressed in green
I thought she was the fairest lass
That my eyes had ever seen
But as I drew near I then could see
All the pleasant morning's gale
As she walked along she sung a song
"I'm poor old Granyavail."

Now on her arm she had a splendid harp,
By her side she let it fall
She played a tune called Brian Aroon,
Garryowen and ??
"God Save Ireland" says the next
When our ?? died in gaol
"Sure you need not fret, we'll get Home Rules yet"
Cried poor old Granyavail

1Granuaile

This song appears in Roud as Poor Old Granuaile, which was recorded from Michael Flanagan in Balyduffbeg, Co Clare, and appeared on Outlet OAS 3013.

1-29 The Croppy Tailor (Roud 311)
Sung by Danny Brazil.  Rec: Gwilym Davies, Staverton, Glos, 5.3.78

There was an old tailor he lived in Fairmye,
And on this old doughnut he did fix his eye;
He swore he would have her or else he would die,
While the keeper was out upon duty.

He said, "Dearest woman your husband's on the deep,
Ten guineas I'll give this night with you to sleep;
For into the room I will silently creep,
While your husband is out upon duty."

They stripped off their clothes and jumped into bed,
The thoughts of the trooper never ran in his head;
They tossed and they tumbled 'til about one o'clock
Up came the bold bosun the doors for to knock
It woke the little tailor right out of his sleep
Saying "Where shall I run to or where shall I creep
For I've heard the bold knock from the trooper
"Oh hide me, oh hide me," the poor tailor said,
"For I hear the bold knock of the trooper."

"There is an old cupboard stands behind the hall door,
For it's in it you'll get, you'll be safe and secure;
And I will go down and I'll open the door,
With kisses and comforts like man and wife should
And welcome my husband the trooper."

Then she went down and he opened the door,
With kisses and comforts like man and wife sure;
"Your kisses and comforts they make me full sore,
Will you light me fire to my supper?"

She said, "Dearest husband there is no fire stuff,
If you jump in bed with me you'll be quite warm enough."
He says "There is an old cupboard stands behind the hall door,
And I'll burn it tonight," said the trooper.

"Oh husband, oh husband, oh grant my desire,
The old corner cupboard's too good for the fire;
And in it I keep my gamecock I admire"
"Show me your gamecock!" said the trooper.

He hauled the old cupboard from behind the hall door,
And he hauled the little tailor right out on the floor,
Saying, "Is this your gamecock?" said the trooper.

He asked for the sethers and then for the shears,
And he clipped off the tips of the poor tailor's ears;
He give him a kick and a bash and a blow,
And away run the poor croppy tailor.

Said the old tailor, "You've done it all right,
But I've had your old wife for the most of the night."
And away run the poor croppy tailor.

There are only 37 Roud entries for what I would have thought was a much more popular song.  It appears all over these islands, and in the USA and Canada - but in very limited numbers.  Only 19 singers are named, and it appears not to have been published as a broadside - which is pretty unusual.

Other versions available on CD: Nora Cleary (TSCD 656); Harry Cox (TSCD 512D); Jumbo Brightwell (Neil Lanham NLCD3).

1-30 The Bitter Willow (Roud 452)
Sung by Lemmie Brazil.  Rec: Peter Shepheard [73.1.15], Sandhurst Lane caravan site, Gloucester, 26.12.72

1-31 The Bitter Willow
Sung by Alice Webb.  Rec: Peter Shepheard [69.1.50], in her caravan at Apperley Lock, near Tewkesbury, Christmas 1968.

It happened to be on a Lord's Hallow Day
When a voice from heaven called
It was our sweet Christ to his dear mother
"It is might I play a ball?"

"A ball, a ball, dear son" she said
"It is time that you were gone.
And don't let me hear none of your ill-doings
Tonight when you comes home."

Away, away run our sweet Christ
And away and away run he,
Until he come to a three-dwelling house
And he met three jolyon1 sons

"Good evening you three Jordean sons
Your souls to be saved I pray.
And which of you three jolyon sons
Will play at ball with me?"

"We are lords' and ladies' sons
Borned in the bowers of hall
But you are nothing but a poor mother's child
Born in the oxen stile."

"If you are lords' and ladies' sons
Borned in your bowers of hall,
I'll make you attend, the very next hour.
I'm an angel above you all."

Christ built a bridge with the beams of the sun
And across the sea went he.
And these three Jews, they followed after him
And they all got drownded three.

"Oh Mary mild call in your child,
For he just now drownded three."
Mary took hold of our sweet Christ
She laid him across her knee
And with that handful of willow twigs
She gave him a lashing three.

He said "Oh the willow, the bitter willow
It caused my back to smart
For the willow it shall be on the very next tree
It shall die and perish to its heart."

1 jolyon - med. Latin for young, although it's clear from Lemmie's preceding talk that she takes it to mean a Jew.

A song known only in England and almost exclusively in the west Midlands - which accounts for 25 of Roud's 36 sightings.  Only one other sound recording is known to Roud - that accredited to a collection by Karpeles and Kennedy from William Payne in Gloucester in 1952 (BBC recording 18618).  However, the version on Songs of Ceremony (Caedmon /Topic) is a conflation of Payne's and one by Charlotte Smith of Tarrington, Herefordshire - a Gypsy, of course - apparently recorded by Kennedy, also in 1952.  But both that album and the Folktracks issue credit the collection from Payne as by Karpeles and Pat Shuldham-Shaw.

Other versions available on CD: Sarah Porter (MTCD309-10); while another Gloucester- shire Gypsy, Wiggy Smith, sings a very similar song, The High-Low Well, on Band of Gold (MTCD308).

1-32 My Schoolmaster's Son (Roud 13267)
Sung by Danny Brazil.  Rec: Gwilym Davies, Staverton, Glos, 5.5.78

When I was a young girl, a young girl at home
My parents they sent me to school;
'Til I became overcourted all by a false young man,
That was all by my schoolmaster's son.

Then my parents they turned me out of doors, out of doors,
Was because that my character was gone.
It never would have been, if it wasn't for him
That was all by my schoolmaster's son.

As I was a-walking up Great London Street
You have heard of the same and before,
Who should I chance to spy but my own true love
Where my thoughts would never would have been.

For he tiled1 me an apple along of the floor
He was thinking to 'tice me once more
I tiled it back again, straight back to him again
"Your apple, it's rotten to the core."

"Come hold up your head, pretty maid, pretty maid.
Come hold up your head, don't cry, Dear.
We'll have wedding bells to ring, we'll have college girls to sing,
We'll have tied hands all on our wedding day."

1 rolled

Now this song really is rare; the only other instance in Roud is of Cecil Sharp finding it sung in 1921 by Kathleen Williams at Wigpool Common, in the Forest of Dean - which is well within the Brazils' area of activities - and Williams is a common Gypsy surname.

Members of the Brazil family hop-picking, c.1920

CD 2:

2-1 The Cruel Ship Carpenter (Roud 15, Laws P36A&B)
Sung by Weenie Brazil.  Rec: Hamish Henderson on the Blairgowrie berryfields, July/August 1955.  SA 1955/146 A9.

2-2 The Cruel Ship Carpenter
Sung by Danny Brazil.  Rec: Peter Shepheard [66.2.4], Over Bridge, Gloucester, 6.1.66

'In fair Worcester City, in fair Worcestershire,
I courted a young man to make him my dear.
I courted a young man for to make him my dear
And him by his trade was a ship's carpenter.

Early one morning by the dawn of the day
Straight away to his Polly's bedroom he had strayed.
Saying "Polly, dear Polly, you must go with me,
And before we get married, our friends for to see."

He led her through woods and through valleys so deep.
It caused pretty Polly to syphe and to weep.
"Dear Willie, dear Willie, you have led me astray,
For purpose my innocent life take away."

"It's true, dearest Polly, it's true all what you say.
I've been all this long night a-digging your grave."
The grave being open and the spade standing by,
It caused pretty Polly to syphe and to cry.

"Pardon, oh Willie, my baby and me.
I will travel old England to set you quite free,
I'll travel old England for set you quite free
If you will but now pardon my baby and me."

"Pardon" says Willie, "I have no time to spare."
And out from his pocket a long knife he drew.
He pierced her body 'til the blood it did flow
And into the grave her fair body he throw.

He covered her up, it was safe and so sound
He were thinking the murderer had never been found.
'Til he stepped on board of ship for to sail the world round
He were thinking the murderer had never been found.

Early one morning by the dawn of the day
Our captain he cried "All hands come this way.
There's a murderer on board of ship, and it's lately been done
For our ship she's a-mourning and she cannot sail on."

Up stepped a young lad saying, " 'deed it's not I."
And up steps another, "The same here" says he.
Up stepped young Willie for to stomp and to swear,
"Indeed it's not I, sir, I avow and aclare1."

But as he was turning by the captain in speed
He met pretty Polly, caused his heart to bleed.
For she ripped him, she stripped him, and she tore him in three
Because that he murdered was the baby and she.

1declare

One of the big ballads, with 343 Roud examples, including 76 sound recordings, the vast majority being from North America.  England has 54 citings, with the Brazils and the Smiths being the only ones from this area.  It seems to be little-known in Scotland or Ireland.

Other versions available on CD: Wiggy, Denny and Biggun Smith (MTCD307); George Dunn (MTCD317-8); Francis Gillum and Alva Greene (MTCD342); Harry Cox (TSCD667); Dock Boggs (County COCD3523); Estil C Ball (Rounder CD1701); Bill Cornett and Lee Sexton (Smithsonian-Folkways SFCD40077); Jack Wallin (SF CD 40013).

2-3 Once I Courted a Damsel (Charming Beauty Bright) (Roud 405)
Sung by Harry Brazil.  Rec: Mike Yates, Gloucester, 1978

Ten long years for a soldier I'll remain
I thought it was my time to turn home again
Oh, as I was a-turning home with my sweet glittering army bright
I never could forget that girl, she was always in my sight.

Now her father overheard me and unto me replied
"Oh my daughter's broken-hearted and for your sweet sake she died."

Don't tell me nor trouble me, it's more than I can bear.
If my love's in a silent grave and so soon I will be there.

With the rattling chains all round my legs and a straw bed where I lie
I'll lay mourning for my own true-love until my dying day.

Almost all of Roud's 127 examples are from the USA, and only 10 English singers are listed.  A soldier returns home from the wars, expecting to find his sweetheart awaiting him.  They are reunited, marry, and live happily ever after.  Well, that is what is supposed to happen, and in many songs it is exactly what does happen.  But here the girl has died before the soldier's return, which sends the soldier off to the eighteenth-century New Bedlam Hospital for the insane.

As with many songs lacking a stand-out line to provide a title, this one has a vast array of alternatives: Charming Beauty Bright is popular in the USA, while the 10 English citings have 7 different ones; Once I Courted a Damsel being the most frequently found.  We have used this, since Harry seemed to have had no title for the piece.

Other versions available on CD: Elisha Shelton (Smithsonian-Folkways SFCD40159); Ollie Gilbert (Rounder CD 1707).

2-4 Irish Jig (Hills of Glenorchy)
Played by Lemmie Brazil, melodeon.  Rec: Peter Shepheard [73.1.14], Sandhurst Lane Caravan site, Gloucester, 26.12.72

For more information see 'The Music' in main text above.

2-5 A Group of Young Squaddies (Roud 1783)
Sung by Joan Taylor.  Rec: Gwilym Davies, Gloucester, 11.3.97

A group of young soldiers were one night at camp
A-talking of sweethearts they had.
They all looked so happy excepting one lad,
And he looked downhearted and sad.
"Come cheer up my laddie and comrade a few
There sure to be someone love you."
He held up his head and so proudly he said,
"Dear boys, I'm in love with two."
Chorus:
The one has hair of silvery grey,
The other has hair of gold
The one she's young and beautiful,
The other's bent and old
But dearer than life are they to me,
Neither would I part.
The one is my mother, God bless her, I love her,
And the other is my sweetheart.

For I know that my lass, she's a factory lass,
She's the one I'm determined to wed.
If my father says "no" then it cannot be so
I must marry a lady instead.
Now my mother she's old,
And she knows how things are;
She was poor when my father met her.
She said "Hold your tongue, Jack.
You will marry that lass
With your father's consent I am sure."
Chorus:

It's strange to find a song which was known to so many singers, having only 11 entries in Roud's Index.  It could be that it's not the sort of song many collectors would bother with, or it may be a very recent one ... all the collections date from the late-1960s onwards.  Roy Harvey first recorded it with the North Carolina Ramblers in 1927.

Other versions available on CD: Geoff Ling (VT154CD); Viv Legg (VT153CD).

2-6 McCaffery (Roud 1148)
Sung by Danny Brazil.  Rec: Gwilym Davies, in his caravan at Staverton, Glos, March 1987

When I was scarcely eighteen years of age
Away to the army I did engage
To join the force was my intent
To serve seven years in my regiment.

'Til I was put upon guard one night
Three mothers' children they come playing by
My officer he told me to take their names
And I took one's name instead of three.
My officer took a dislike to me;
From trials and troubles I was never free.

With a loaded rifle I then repaired
To meet my captain on the barrack square
With a loaded rifle I made a deadly aim
I shot my colonel, was against my will.

I done the deed and I shed his blood;
At Liverpool 'sizes there my trial I stood.
My own first cousin he led me by trade1
And for one bare guinea he swore my life away.

I had no father to take my part,
Not a mother for to break her heart.
I had a friend and a girl was she;
She'd lay her life down for young Cafmarie2

1 did me betray; 2 McCaffery

This was also sung by Alice.  There was a strongly held (but quite erroneous) belief that it was illegal to sing McCaffery in public.  This may account for the fact that Roud has only 34 instances of a song which almost all singers used to know, in my experience.

Other versions available on CD: May Bradley (TSCD658); Jimmy McBeath (Rounder CD 1834).

On the 1st October 1967, Harry Brazil sang Peter Shepheard an odd version of this song, which started as McCaffery and ended as The Croppy Boy; elements of this can be seen at the end of Danny's fourth verse.  Here is Harry's text [67.6.51,52] :

When I was scarcelye eighteen years of age,
In the army I did engage;
To join the army were my intent,
To join the Royal Forty regiment.

As I was out on guard one day,
Three little children ran out to play;
From the quartermaster's my order came,
To take the name of those children three.

I took one name in the stead of three,
I took one name it was enough for me;
From judge and trials I were never free,
My life was born for the gallusee.1

As I was marched on the barrack square,
With my rifle loaded I was perpared;
It was my captain I meant to kill,
I shot my colonel against my will.

I done the deed and I shed his blood,
At Liverpool assizes my trial stood;
My sentence passed and my courage were low,
Unto the gallus I were 'bliged to go.

For I had no mother to break her heart,
I had no father to take my part;
I had one friend and a girl was she,
She'd lay her life down for young Cath Maree.

My sister Mary she heard the full extent,
She run down stair in her mornings dress;
"Five hundred guineas then I'd lay down,
To see my brother march through Wexford town."

As I were mounting the platforms high,
My ageing mother was standing by;
My ageing father did me deny,
And the name he give me was the Croppy Boy.

So I choose the dark and I choose the blue,
I choose the pink and the orange too;
I'll forsake them all those colours I'll deny,
I'll wear the green unto the day I die.

As I was marched 'cross those boggy moor,
With a guard behind me and a guard before;
With a guard behind me and a guard before,
My old ageing mother I won' see no more.

It's in Dungannon there I'll die,
And in Dungannon his body lies;
You yeomen cavalry as you all pass by,
You would say a prayer for the Croppy Boy.

1 Gallows tree

2-7 'Tis My Delight (Roud 299)
Sung by Harry Brazil.  Rec: Gwilym Davies, Staverton, Glos, 27.11.77

I never set the snare, me boys, unless I caught the hare.
It is my delight of a moonlight night, in the season of the year.

Now it's I can fight, or I can jump, run over anywhere.
It's my delight on a moonlight night, in the season of the year.

I never set the snare, me boys, unless I caught the hare.
For it's my delight on a moonlight night, in the season of the year.

Just a fragment - 38 seconds - of what is probably the well-known Lincolnshire Poacher, but here sung to the Rambling Irishman tune.

2-8 Shake Hands and be Brothers Again (Roud 21545)
Sung by Danny Brazil.  Rec: Gwilym Davies, Staverton, Glos, 30.9.77

When I was a lad, some quarrels I had;
My brother and me once at play.
My temper he drew, I struck him a blow
My mother she said unto me:
"Forget and forgive the quarrel you've had,
There's no doubt it will cause you both pain."

I left home that day, for years straight away
And with sorrow I met him again.
He was on his sickbed with his head bending low
His head bending fast I could see.
Both feeble and weak, he managed to speak
And this was the words he did say:
"Forget and forgive the quarrels we've had
There's no doubt it has caused us both pain.
I will not die happy until you will stay,
Shake hands and be brothers again."

I went for a stroll the other day,
I saw two brothers fight each other 'til they fairly bled
Once asked me to stay, show witness fair play,
And this was the words that I said:
"I will it stand by, show witness fair play,
Shake hands and be brothers again."

As Forgive and Forget, there are 4 versions of this song in Roud.  Gwilym Davies recorded a version from Arthur Baker, of Greywell in Hampshire, in 1971, and Helen Hartness Flanders collected another in Vermont in 1945.  There's also a broadside printed in Dundee, and it's in a songster printed by Wehman (New York) dated 1910.  The usual first line is 'When a youngster at home, I vowed I'd ne'er roam'.

2-9 The Pretty Ploughing Boy (Roud 186, Laws M24)
Sung by Lemmie Brazil.  Rec: Peter Shepheard [66.5.3], Over Bridge, Gloucester, 6.5.66

2-10 The Pretty Ploughing Boy
Sung by Harry Brazil.  Rec: Peter Shepheard [67.6.46], in Harry's caravan, Gloucester, 1.10.67

All for a pretty ploughing boy was ploughing on the plain,
His two horses stood resting in the shade;
And as he went whistling down in yonder's grove,
There he chanced for to meet a pretty maid.

For this was his song as he walkèd along,
Pretty maid I devy an degree1;
If I should fall in love with you my pretty maid,
Your parents they will have me sent to sea.

Now her father overheard it and straight away he goes,
To Johnny the ploughboy on the plain;
He sent for a press gang and pressèd him away,
He was once sent to the wars to be slain.

When she had dressed all in her very best,
And her glove it was lined with gold;
She walked the streets with the tears in her eyes,
In search of her ploughing boy so bold.

Five hundred bright guineas the fair maid she pulled out,
And so merrily she told them all around;
Saying, "All this I will give for my pretty ploughing boy,
That was once sent to the wars to be slain."

1 I see you are of high degree

This was also sung by Alice.  Indeed, it's quite a popular song, with 157 Roud entries - mostly from England.  No doubt its popularity stems from the large number of broadside printings it enjoyed.

Other versions available on CD: Daisy Chapman (MTCD308); Walter Pardon (TSCD514); Harry Cox (TSCD512D); Bob Lewis (VTC6CD).

2-11 Hornpipe 2 (Manchester/Yarmouth Hornpipe)
Played by Denny Smith, meodeon, with Danny Brazil stepping.  Rec: Peter Shepheard [66.5.25a], Tabard Bar, Gloucester, 9.5.66

For more information see 'The Music' in main text above.

2-12 My Love Willie (Sweet William) (Roud 273, Laws K12)
Sung by Danny Brazil.  Rec: Gwilym Davies, in his caravan, Staverton, Gloucester, 6 Oct 1977

My father he built me a little boat,
Out on the ocean as I could float,
And every Queen's ship I chanced to meet
Oh I will enquire for my William sweet.

I hadn't sailed far out on the deep
For three Queen's ships I enchanced to meet.
"Come all you sailors, come tell me do,
And do my love Willie sail amongst your crew?"

"Oh no, fair lady, your love's not here;
Your love is drownded, you needn't fear.
For the last green island, as we passed by,
That's where we lost the sight
Of your William boy."

She wrung her hands and she tored her hair
Just like a woman all in despair.
The little boat in the black rock run,
"What shall ever I do now my sailor's gone?

"Bring me a sofa to kneel upon;
A pen and ink, I will write a song.
On every line I will drop a tear,
For it's at the bottom I lost my dear.

Come all you ladies that's dressed in white
Never let young sailors be your heart's delight;
Your heart will ache when you can get none,
And it's so do mine for my sailor boy.

Another song with a seemingly wide popularity but, upon inspection, most of the 273 Roud entries are from the USA.  Although England's broadly-spread distribution of the song shows the majority of sightings in these islands, Scotland and Ireland also have plenty of examples.

Other versions available on CD: Mikeen McCarthy (MTCD325); Harry Cox (Rounder CD1839); Joe Heaney (TSCD518D); Fred Jordan (VTD148CD); Liz Jefferies (TSCD653); Phoebe Smith (TSCD661); Viv Legg (VT153CD); Elizabeth Stewart (Elphinstone Institute EICD002); Dock Boggs (Smithsonian Folkways SF40108).

2-13 Nobody's Child (Roud 10718)
Sung by Angela Brazil.  Rec: Hamish Henderson on the Blairgowrie berryfields, July/August 1955.

As I was slowly passing an orphans' home one day,
And stopped there for a moment just to watch the children play;
Alone a boy was standing, and when I asked him why,
He turned with eyes that could not see, and he began to cry,
"I'm nobody's child, I'm nobody's child,
Nobody wants me, I'm nobody's child.

"People come for children and take them for their own;
They all seem to pass me by, and I am left alone.
I'll walk the streets of Heaven, where all the blind can see,
And just like all the other childs, there'd be a home for me.

"No mother's arms to hold me, or soothe me when I cry;
Sometimes it gets so lonely here, I wish that I could die.
I'd walk the streets of Heaven, where all the blind can see
And just like all the other boys, there'd be a home for me.

Writen by Cy Coben and Mel Foree, and memorably recorded by Lonnie Donegan in the late-Fifties.

2-14 Bold Keeper (Roud 321, Laws M27)
Sung by Danny Brazil.  Rec: Gwilym Davies, Staverton, Glos, Mar '78

2-15 Bold Keeper (Roud 321, Laws M27)
Sung by Harry Brazil.  Rec: Gwilym Davies, Gloucester, Feb '78

It's of a bold keeper in the chase of his deer,
For the likes a bold keeper you seldom shall hear
He courted a nobleman's daughter so fair
And you seldom shall hear of such doings.

As they were riding through meadows so wide
With their large swords and buckles hung down by their side
There she met her father with twenty bright men
And their large glittering swords drawn ready in hand.

"Now then bold keeper, don't you stand to tattle.
I can see by the way that they means for a battle."
They cut him they slain to the ground they stood on
And the lady held the horse while bold keeper fought on.

"Now then bold keeper, I pray hold your hand.
You shall have my daughter, ten thousand in hand."
"Oh no, dearest father, that is too small a sum."
"It's hold your tongue, daughter, this will shall be done.

If you are as willing to those church you'll ride
And there you'll get married, brave lady of mine."

Lemmie also used to sing this song, which is usually known as The Dragoon and the Lady, or a similar title with the word 'dragoon' in it.  None of Roud's 166 entries have the word 'keeper' in the title, except those from the Brazil Family.  This is another song which is found far more frequently in the USA, and there are only 41 English instances.  Most versions I've heard have a far fuller text, but this one still gets the essence of the story.

Other versions available on CD: Cas Wallin (MTCD324); Harry Brazil (TSCD668).

2-16 Down in the Coalmines (Roud 21550)
Sung by Danny Brazil.  Rec: Gwilym Davies, Staverton, Glos, 5.5.78

Down in the coalmines working every day
Slaving like a nigger but at vey little pay.
I hardly goes to bed, the missus gives a knock
She shouted "Jack, get up at once, it's nearly four o'clock."
And with me bits then, all me bits of mining togs
Off I have to go if it's raining cats and dogs.

Chorus:
So early in the morning, down, down, down into the pit;
We work like niggers, we look a tidy figure
All amongst the obbly pits, God love us,
Work all day, very little pay, that's what puts us in a rage
We go down white, and up we come at night
Like a lot of little blackbirds in a cage.

I've nearly bathed meself away,
I've never had a bath except the kids a Friday night
When the wife said "He's a nigger" and the wife said "He's a white"
Some fellow asked me could I sing about the moon
He asked me where me banjo was, and he took me for a coon.
And the missus turned round and shouted to him back
"The only part about him, his face is always black."

Chorus:

2-17 We Are Three Charming Black Boys (Roud 21547)
Sung by Harry Brazil.  Rec: Mike Yates, Gloucester, 1978

We are three charming black boys,
We're as black, as black can be;
We're just come from the black part
All you white folks for to see.
Now there's one goes in for courting,
And another for a fancy ball,
But I goes in for tap dancing
It's the finest of them all.

I met my love at the well a-getting water
Down by a country stream;
She had a pair of clogs upon her feet
And you all knows what I mean.
They knows the way to use them
And that you need not fear;
We're the happies boys in all the land
And we comes from Gloucestershire.

2-18 Three Brothers in Fair Warwickshire (Roud 3207)
Sung by Danny Brazil.  Rec: Gwilym Davies, Staverton, Glos, 13.4.95

All for three brothers in fair Warwickshire,
Three daring young fellows you all shall hear;
To rob and plunder was their intent,
To go robbing along the highway they went.

The first they met it was Lord Granuaile,
With his coach and four there they did rebay1;
The heavy blow struck him on the head,
And they left him on the highway for dead.

They took his watch and his money too,
So soon they proved his sad overthrow;
They run away it's with all their speed,
And they left him on the highway to bleed.

Now as they were taken all for the same,
They was put in prison to the trial come;
They was put in prison bound in iron strong,
Unto the assizes it did come on.

Now at the bar these three young men 'peared,
They was pleading guilty you all shall hear;
The judge and jurymen all did say,
"For those are cast and condemned to die."

"The age, the age of you young men three,
Your age, your age you come tell to me.
One eighteen, nineteen and the other twenty,
Isn't it a shock and a sight to see,
Three clever young men on the gallows tree?

"The names, the names of you young men three,
Your names, your names you come tell to me."
"My name is Will Atkins from once I came."
"Yes, and many a time I have heard your name."

Now at the bar their poor mother 'peared,
She was wringing her tender hands, tearing out her hair;
Saying, "Judge and jurymen, spare their lives,
For they are my sons and my heart's delight."

"Oh no, dear woman, you have come too late,
We have just told them of their shocking fate;
For tomorrow morning at the dawn of day,
From all their friends they must die away."

"It's go you home, dearest mother dear,
You have come too late for our time is near;
Tomorrow morning at the hour of three,
You may claim our bodies from the gallows tree.

"Come all you people that is standing by,
That have come here for to see us die;
You shun bad company take to good ways,
That's the way to live and see happy days."

1 beat back.  Fr: rebaille

This was also sung by Lemmie.  It is derived from a broadside published by Bloomer of Birmingham and Shipway of Cirencester, giving an account of the robbery of George Greenaway in Nuneaton.  The three men (Warner, Ward and Williams - not actually brothers) were hanged outside Warwick Gaol on 14th July, 1818.  It would appear to be a song unique to the family - at least, no other collections of it are known.

2-19 The Folkestone Murder (Roud 897)
Sung by Danny Brazil.  Rec: Gwilym Davies, Staverton, Glos, 30.9.77

Come all you feeling people and listen to my song,
I'll tell you of a murder and it won't contain you long;
It was near a place called Folescombe, his murder it was done,
Maria and sweet Caroline was murdered by Thistlin John.

The murderer came to her house at eight o'clock at night,
But little did poor innocent think that he owed her any spite;
"Will you take a walk dearest Caroline," this murderer he did say,
Then fell aquaint with him to Shoreham cliff next day.

The mother to the daughter, "You had better stay at home,
I do not think it is safe for you to go with that man alone;
You had better have your sister to walk along with you,
Then I'll have no rejections, dear daughter you may go."

Early the next morning, just at the break of day,
Maria and sweet Caroline from Dover they did stray;
Before they reached near Folescombe, this villain he drew his knife,
Maria and sweet Caroline, he took away their lives.

Down on the ground her bleeding found, all in the bloom of the year,
"Mercy!" cried the poor innocent child with her eyes all filled with tears;
He drew the dagger into her breast, her lovely breast so deep,
He robbed them of their sweet lives and left them there to sleep.

When the news it did reach home they cried, "What shall I do,
Poor Maria's murdered and lovely Caroline too."
And if you go unto the spot, there's letters you will find
Cut deeply into the turf, Maria and Caroline.

The murderer he was taken, his own life for to try,
And he was sent to Maidstone jail and there condemned to die;
Come all you young men take a warning, be aware of the fate of mine,
And think of Maria and lovely Caroline.

This was also sung by Lemmie, and it has seemed to be well known, certainly among Travellers.  Something of a surprise, then, to find only 15 instances noted in Roud ... and 6 of these refer to George Spicer!  Other known singers have been Mrs Coomber of Sussex, Charlie Bridger and Phoebe Smith's brother Charlie Scamp (both of Kent).  But George Spicer's son Ron also recorded it, in 1994, on the cassette Steel Carpet (MATS 0010), and I remember Jack Smith, the Milford, Surrey, based Gypsy, singing it in the mid-sixties.

'Switzerland John' was Dedea Redaines, born in the 1830s in Belgrade.  He came to England in 1855 and was enlisted into the British Swiss Legion stationed at Dover Castle.  He became acquainted with a laundry worker, Mrs Back, whose husband was a dredger in Dover harbour.

During the summer of 1856, Redaines was courting the elder Back daughter, Caroline.  On August 2nd he accused her of receiving attentions from a sergeant in his unit.  She denied this and he appeared satisfied.  He proposed a walk over the downs to Shorncliffe Camp the following day.  Mrs Back insisted that they be chaperoned by Caroline's younger sister Maria.  At Steddy's Hole, some five miles out, he killed them both.

Redaines was captured the following day at Milton Chapel Farm, Chartham, near Canterbury, after having tried to commit suicide.  He was tried, found guilty and hanged at Maidstone on New Year's Day 1857.

Other versions available on CD: Georger Spicer (MTCD309-0); Charlie Bridger (VTC6CD).

2-20 Dance Tunes
Played by Lemmie Brazil, melodeon.  Rec: Peter Shepheard [69.1.54-57], at her caravan, Gloucester, Christmas 1968

These are: "Irish Crazy Reel/Cloud Reel" (Miss McCleod); "Irish Hornpipe" (Bristol Hornpipe/"Four Hand Reel"); "Irish Jig" (Hills of Glenorchy); "Sailor's Hornpipe" (Soldier's Joy).  For more information see 'The Music' in main text above.

2-21 The Mossy Green Banks of the Lea (Roud 987, Laws O15)
Sung by Harry Brazil.  Rec: Peter Shepheard [67.6.10], in Harry's caravan, Gloucester, 1.10.67

2-22 The Mossy Green Banks of the Lea
Sung by Danny Brazil.  Rec: Gwilym Davies, Staverton, Glos, 30.9.77

For I am an American stranger
And Kilrossan1 it caused me to roam,
Through Europe I'm bound for to ramble
Now I've left Philadelphie my home;
And so quick I sailed over into England
Where the great forms of beauty do shine,
And there I behold of a fair damsel
And I wished in my heart she were mine.

I stepped up and wished her good morning,
Her pale cheeks did blush like a rose,
"With your fields and your meadows looks charming
My regards you may have if you choose."
"Young man, I don't want none o your guardery2
For I'm sure you're a stranger to me,
Now yonder's my father a-coming
On the mossy green banks of the Lea."

As I waited 'til up come her father
And I plucked up my spirits once more,
Saying, " Old man, is this your only daughter?
Such a lovely girl I adore;
As she rose by the lake of the water
And I wished in my heart she was mine.
Ten thousand a year is my fortune
And a lady your daughter may be;
She may ride in her carriage and her horses
On the mossy green banks of the Lea."

For they welcomed him home to the cottage
And soon after the wedlock did join,
And it's there he may build a fine castle
Not a splendider one could you find;
For to see the sun rise every morning
In the place where the castle did stand,
It would dismal the eyes of a stranger
On the mossy green banks of the Lea.

Come all you young girls that is handsome,
Never mind it's how poor you may be
Let your flutter, let no man to receive3 you
To never know what your fortune may be
To see how gently he dazzled Marytilda
On the mossy green banks of the Lea.

1 usually 'curiosity', 2 protection or company, 3 deceive.

Except for two Irish and a handful of North American sightings, this is an English song with 105 Roud entries.  There seems to be a difference of opinion among scholars as to whether the song is Irish or English in origin, and to whether the river is the Lea or Lee.  It has certainly been sung in both countries; Lucy Broadwood described it as 'astonishingly popular among country singers'.  One Canadian version titles it The American Stranger, from its first line - but that's a different song (Roud 1081).

Other versions available on CD: Frank Hinchliffe (MTCD311-2); Harry Cox (TSCD 512D).

2-23 Rock All Our Babies to Sleep (Roud 4378)
Sung by Doris Davies.  Rec: Peter Shepheard [66.9.5], in Doris's house, Staverton, Glos, 31.12.66

... young lady that never would roam
Oh, away from her fireside at night,
And never goes roaming out after the boys
That would sit by her fireside so bright.
Oh my wife she is one of a different kind,
She often calls me out, I'll agree.
But she's off from our home and she leaves me alone
To rock all our babies to sleep.

Why, just the other night when I came back home
I came in as quiet as a lamb,
But she must have had comp'ny, for when I walked in
I heard the back door as it slammed.
Oh, I walked right in and looked all around,
I never thought that she would cheat;
But without a doubt she must have gone out
And left all our babies to sleep.

Why just the other night when out for a stroll
I happened to walk down the street;
But to my surprise I saw with my eyes
My wife with a man of six feet.
She says "It's no harm, don't raise no alarm,
Don't make any fuss on the street."
She tickled my chin, told me to go in
And rock all our babies to sleep.

This is an American song, and Doris's version probably derives ultimately from Jimmie Rodgers' 1932 recording for Victor, released here in England a short time later on the budget Regal Zonophone label.

2-24 Underneath Her Apron (Roud 899)
Sung by Danny Brazil.  Rec: Peter Shepheard [66.5.25], The Tabard Bar, Gloucester, 9.5.66

There was a little maiden, sweeping of the room
She undone her apron strings to give her belly room;
The old man gazed upon her said, "What have you been at?
Or what have you got underneath your apron?"

"Nothing dearest Daddy, nothing at all," said she,
"It's only a little gown, it is too long for me;
To keep it from dangling from around my pretty feet,
I've been and fold it underneath my apron."

When her little babe was born, it was born without a Dad,
The old man in the corner, he sadly smiled not glad;
And then he gazed upon her and this is what he said,
"For I knowed you had it underneath your apron."

"Was it by a tinker or was it by a clown?
Or was it by a man who fought for England's crown?"
"It wasn't by a tinker, it wasn't by a clown,
It was by the little sailor boy that ploughs the ocean round."

"Was it in the kitchen or was it in the hall?
Or was it in the garden where the flowers grows?"
"It wasn't in the kitchen, it wasn't in the hall,
It was down the bottom of our backyard smick-smack against the wall."

Come all you little maidens, a warning take by me,
Don't never trust a sailor an inch above your knee;
For if you do you'll surely rue, he'll pull your colours down,
And he'll plant his Union Jack beneath your apron.

This has always seemed to be a well-known song, but there are only 50 Roud entries - mostly from England - and nor does it appear to have been in the repertoires of any of our most influential traditional singers.

Robert Burns collected a set of a fine ballad in Dumfriesshire under the title The Rowin't in Her Apron, which he sent to Johnson for his Scots Musical Museum (1787-1803).  This may be the forerunner of the English song; certainly the earliest known English broadside of Underneath Her Apron (issued by Ryle & Co c.1830) postdates The Rowin 't in her Apron, and does seem to omit much of the story that we find in Scots versions.

Other versions available on CD: Bob Hart (MTCD301-2); Percy Ling (MTCD349-0); Joe Rae (MTCD313); Edgar Button (VT140CD).

2-25 Long a-Growing (Roud 31, Laws O35)
Sung by Harry Brazil.  Rec: Gwilym Davies, Staverton, Glos, 27.11.77

...To marry me to my true love,
You know he was too young

"Dear daughter, dear daughter, I'll tell you what I'll do
I'll send your love to a college school for another year or two
All round his Scotch cap we'll pin the ribbons blue
To let all the ladies know that he's married."

Now as I was a-walking all by the college wall
I saw four and twenty college boys a-playing of a ball
And there I spied my own true love, he's the fairest of them all
And I said he was a long time a-growing.

Now the age of sixteen he was a married man
The age of seventeen he was the father of a son
The age of eighteen all on his grave the grass growed green
And it soon put an end to his growing.

Now I'll buy my love a coffin, the best of Erin brown
And while they are making it, those tears they shall flow down
I'll weep for him, I'll mourn for him, until the day I'll die
And I'll rear his loving son while he's growing.

Roud shows this song to be widely known, with 181 entries from right across the Anglophone world, but with the majority from England.  It is most usually titled The Trees they do Grow High, but examples along the lines of Long a-Growing are also very frequent.  Clearly its popularity endured until recently, since about one third of his entries are sound recordings.

Although the sad tale of such failed arranged marriages was universal, Aberdeenshire claims it firmly for the marriage and death three years later of the young Laird of Craigston in 1634, as attested by James Maidment in A North Country Garland (1824).

Other versions available on CD: George Dunn (MTCD317-8); Mary Ann Haynes (MTCD320); Lizzie Higgins (MTCD337); Ellen Mitchell (MTCD315-6); Fred Jordan (VTD148CD); Joe Heaney (TSCD518D); Harry Cox (Rounder CD1839); Walter Pardon (TSCD514); Duncan Williamson (Kyloe 101).

2-26 The Gown So Green (Roud 1085)
Sung by Danny Brazil.  Rec: Gwilym Davies, Staverton, Glos, 6.10.77

2-27 The Gown So Green
Sung by Harry Brazil.  Rec: Gwilym Davies, Sandhurst, Glos, 27.11.77

2-28 The Gown So Green
Sung by Alice Webb.  Rec: Peter Shepheard [69.1..43], in her caravan at Apperley Lock, near Tewkesbury, Christmas 1968.

Now abroad as I was walking, all on the King's highway,
I been weary of my travelling of many of long day;
I met a lovely woman with a babe all in her arms,
She kissed the babe and said she wished its father would return.

"Now good evening lovely woman, for I longed to meet you here,
With that pretty babe all in your arms you seem to love so dear;
I think I knows its father and you before I've seen,
Don't you remember the day my love, when you wore your gown so green?"

Now her arms she placeted round him and fainted away.
"Is it you my lovely Henery 'turned home to me again;
Long time I've been lamenting, but now I'll make revoe
Not a peace nor comfort have I had since from me you've been gone?"

"Now I've lost one limb in battle, love, and that you plain can see,
A-saving a bold commander's life, it proved the prince of me1;
I'm left a noble pension, both silver an gold in store,
An I means to make you my lawful bride and go abroad no more."

Now let's you and I take a licence love out on this very day,
Let's you an I get married love 'thout any more delay;
With your sweet prattling baby more pleasure you will see,
You'll never no more repent the day when you wore your gown so green.

1made the better of me

Not a well-known song, if Roud's total of only 35 examples is realistic.  These come mostly from England; four from Scotland make up the remainder - surprising, since it has a definite Irish look to it.

2-29 Smile a While / Little Luck Jig
Played by Lemmie Brazil, melodeon.  Rec: Peter Shepheard [73.1.4-5], Sandhurst Lane caravan site, Gloucester, 26.12.72

For more information see 'The Music' in main text above.

2-30 Green Bushes (Roud 1040, Laws P2)
Sung by Harry Brazil.  Rec: Peter Shepheard [67.6.48], in Harry's caravan, Gloucester, 1.10.67

2-31 Green Bushes
Sung by Lemmie Brazil.  Rec: Peter Shepheard [66.5.2], Over Bridge, Gloucester, 6.5.66

As I was a-walking one morning in Spring,
To hear the birds whistle and the nightingirl sing;
There I behold a fair maid an' oh sweetlye sung she,
Down by the green bushes where she thinks to meet me.

"I'll buy you fine beaver and fine silken gowns,
I'll buy you fine petticoats with the flounce to the ground;
If you will prove royal, be constant and true,
I'll forsake my own true love and get married to you."

"I don't want none of your beavers nor your fine silken gowns,
I don't want none of your petticoats with the flounce to the ground;
But I will prove royal, be constant and true,
I'll forsake me own true love and get married to you."

"Let us be a-going from under these trees,
Oh let us be a-going, young man, if you please;
For yonder's my true love a-coming I can see,
Down by the green bushes where he thinks to meet me."

Oh when he got there and found she was gone,
He 'peared like some wee lamb that had been led astray;
"She's gone with another and forsaken of me,
She's left the green bushes where she vowed she'd meet me."

I'll go home like some little schoolboy and spend my time in play,
I'll never be so foolish to be 'luded away;
No falst hearted young girl will serve me so no more,
Here's adieu to the green bushes and its time to give o'er.

This was also sung by Alice, and it was very popular amongst Gypsy singers.  Although The Green Bushes was printed widely on broadsides it does not appear to have survived well in tradition, a surprising fact when one considers its one-time popularity.  In 1845 J B Buckstone used the song as a basis for a stage play, and in 1850 the popular music-hall singer Sam Cowell included a set in his 120 Comic Songs, and a similar tale appeared in Carey's Musical Century of 1740.

It was fairly popular in Ireland due, possibly, to a 78 recording.  It has been seen published in a 'Sing a Song of Ireland' type book and has been sung at fleadh competitions, where it seems acceptable as an authentic Irish ballad.  Roud lists 108 oral sources, of which only five are Irish.  He also identifies an Australian version from the superb Sally Sloane of New South Wales.

Other versions available on CD: Walter Pardon (MTCD305-6); Cyril Poacher (MTCD303); Geoff Ling (MTCD339-0); Phoebe Smith (VT136CD).

2-32 Brandon on the Moor (Roud 476, Laws L17)
Sung by Danny Brazil.  Rec: Gwilym Davies, Staverton, Glos, 20.10.77

All for a true born Irish man
A true story I will tell
His name was Willie Brandon
And from Ireland did rewell.
His brace of loaded pistols
He carried both night and day
He never robbed a poor man
Upon the king's highway
But what he took was from the rich
Like Turpin and Black Bess
He always did rebide
With the widows in distress
Chorus:
Brandon on the moor,
Brandon on the moor
Boldly undaunted
Was young Brandon on the moor.

Young Willie met a packman,
His name was Billo Brown
They both jogged along together me boys
'Til daylight did redawn
When the pedlar found his money gone,
Likewise his watch and chain
He at once recounted Brandon
And robbed him back again
Chorus:

When Willie found the packman
As good a man as he
He took him along the highway
His comrade for to be
The pedlar threw his pack away
Without any more delay
Proving Willie's faithful comrade
Until his dying day
Chorus:

Young Willie he set down one day
Upon the king's highway
He met the mayor of Cashel
About a mile and half from town
The mayor he knowed his features,
He said "Young man" to him
"If your name is Willie Brandon
You must go along with me."
Chorus:

With his brace of loaded pistols,
The truth I shall repose,
He made the mayor tremble
And he robbed him of his gold
Five hundred pounds was sentence
For his apprehension there
But Willie and his horse
To the mountains did repair
Chorus:

They hid amongst the furze one day
Was thick upon the hill
And Willie received nine vounds
Before that he would yield
He lost his foremost finger,
It was shot off by a ball,
And Willie and his comrade
Was taken after all
Chorus:

According to James Healey, Willie Brennan was a farm labourer who, having robbed a British army officer for a dare, had to flee to the Kilworth Mountains and the roads of North Cork and Southern Tipperary.  Following his capture, he was tried at Clonmel, and hanged in the year 1804.  Broadsheets were printed in Cork c.1850 and the song soon spread to England, Scotland and North America, where it became the basis for the song Charlie Quantrell (see Alan Lomax The Folk Songs of North America. New York, 1960. p.347).

It is another song both popular and widespread among the English-speaking peoples of the world, with 125 Roud entries - mostly from books, broadsides and manuscripts.  It would appear to have been far more popular elsewhere than in its native Ireland.

Other versions available on CD: Jim 'Brick' Harber (MTCD309-0); Neil Morris (Rounder CD1705).

Centre: Leonard & Fiance Smith, at sides: Polly & Bob Frankham, on the Mendips. Weastern Daily Press 1936. Photo courtesy Maggie Smith-Bendall

CD 3:

3-1 A Blacksmith Courted Me (Roud 816)
Sung by Danny Brazil.  Rec: Peter Shepheard [66.5.20], Over Bridge, Gloucester, 9.5.66

3-2 A Blacksmith Courted Me
Sung by Harry Brazil.  Rec: Peter Shepheard [66.7.1], Over Bridge, Gloucester, 12.5.66

3-3 A Blacksmith Courted Me
Sung by Tom Brazil.  Rec: Peter Shepheard [66.5.27], Newent, Glos, 14.5.66

A blacksmith courted me nine long months and better,
At first he won my heart wroted me a letter;
With his hammer in his hand, he strike both neat and clever,
If I was with my love I would live for ever.

"Don't talk of going abroad, fighting for strangers,
You stay at home young man, free from all danger;
You stay at home young man, with your lovely jewel,
And fold me in your arms, love and don't be cruel."

"You promised to marry me when you first laid by me,
You promised you'd marry me love, you'd not deny me."
"If I promised to marry you it was only to try you,
Go and fetch your witness here, love, I won' deny you."

" Oh witness have I none, save the sky above me,
And you' be rewarded well for the slighting of me."
Her lips grew pale and white, it made her poor heart tremble,
To think she loved that one that proved deceitful.

" Now when I had gold in store, you seemed to like me,
But now I'm low and poor, all you're going to dislike me;
You courted me for a while, just to receive me,
But now my heart you have won, Love, you're going to leave me."

My true love's across the sea, with a bunch of posies.
My true love's across the sea, with his cheeks like roses.
I'm afraid the rising sun will spoil his beauty,
If I was with my love, I would do his duty.

Sad news have come to tell, sad news is carried,
Sad news have come to tell that my true love's married;
I wish him well to-do, although he ain't here to hear me,
I would never die for love, young girls, believe me.

Down on the ground she fell, syphing and crying
Throwing her arms abroad like one a-dying;
There is no belief in a man, if it's your own brother,
So young girls when you love one, you love one each other.

This was also sung by Hyram and Lemmie - so it's another Family favourite.  It's a song much loved by English Gypsies; all of Roud's 51 entries are from England and the majority of the named singers have Gypsy surnames.  It appears only to be found in the South - although that may just be the result of where collectors were active - and to have been rarely printed as a broadside; otherwise, I'm sure it would have been more widely known.

Other versions available on CD: Phoebe Smith (VT136CD); Harry Brazil (TSCD661).

3-4 A Bold Fisherman Courted Me (Died for Love)
Played by Lemmie Brazil, melodeon.  Rec: Peter Shepheard [69.1.24], at her caravan, Gloucester, Christmas 1968

For more information see 'The Music' in main text above.

3-5 A Bold Fisherman Courted Me (Died for Love) (Roud 60, Laws P25)
Sung by Danny Brazil.  Rec: Gwilym Davies, Staverton, Glos, Apr '78

Once a bold fisherman courted me,
And stole away my liberty;
He won my heart with a free good will,
Although he is false I love him still.

Once I wore my apron low,
My love followed me through frost and snow;
But now my apron's touching my chin,
My love he pass by but never calls in.

There is one alehouse in this town,
My love walks in and sets himself down;
He takes another strange girl on his knee,
He smiles at her and frowns on me.

Oh grief, oh grief I'll tell you for why,
It's because that she's got more gold than I;
Her gold will waste and her beauty will fly,
And in a short time she'll come like I.

I wish to God my baby was born,
Sat smiling on its daddy's knee;
And me poor girl buried in cold clay,
And the green grass growing all over me.

Down in the meadow the poor girl run,
She was gathering flowers as they sprung;
She gathered them white and she gathered them blue
Until at last she gathered her apron full.

Come blow you, blow you stormy winds blow,
Come blow the green leaves from the tree;
She sat herself down and no more she spoke,
And alas poor girl her heart it was broke.

Come dig me a grave both long wide and deep,
Put a marble stone at my head and my feet;
And in the middle a turtle dove,
For to let the world know I died for love.

I died for love you plainly can see,
I died for one that never loved me;
He won my heart with a free good will,
Although he is false I love him still.

This was also sung by Lemmie.  Actually, it's that acme of 'floating verse' songs, Died for Love.  Indeed, I don't know how scholars figure out what is and what isn't with this, as almost every floater I've ever heard can be found in one version or another of Died for Love.  It's also a very popular song with 190 Roud entries, the great majority of which come from England.  The Brazil Family's version appears to be unique in mentioning a 'bold fisherman' as the male principal.

Other versions available on CD: Sarah Porter (MTCD309-10); 'Pops' Johnny Connors (MTCD325-6); Amy Birch (TSCD661); Viv Legg (VT153CD); Jean Orchard (VT151CD); Geoff Ling (TSCD660); Emma Vickers (EFDSS CD002).

3-6 The Poor Smuggler's Boy (Roud 618)
Sung by Angela Brazil.  Rec: Peter Kennedy, Blairgowrie, 1955

"My father and mother once happy did dwell
In a neat little cottage not far from the shore
My father had to venture his life on the sea.
For a keg of good brandy, he was bound for folly.
The night had been dark and the wind it blew high,
And lightning flashed round us; we was far from the shore."

"Our main mast riggings it blew into the waves,
And causes my father a watery grave.
I jumped overboard in the midst of the sea;
I clapped his cold hands and more lively was he.
I was forced for to leave him sinking in the salt sea."

"I swum to a plank and I gained my shore;
Sad news to my mother, my father's no more.
My mother brokenhearted, with sorrow she died.
For I'm now left to wander." cried the smuggler's poor boy.
"I will build up a boat, and I'll keep up his trade,
Until it does cause me a watery grave."

Songs about orphans wandering the world in search of succour are pretty common, but this is quite a rare example, with only 42 Roud instances, all from the south of England.  It appeared in several broadsides, and probably dates from the first third of the 19th century.  It may well have been published without a suggested tune, since all the versions I've heard use different ones; Angela employs the Long Lamkin tune here - maybe because her family had been travelling in Scotland for most of her early life.  Her final stanza may well be unique.

Other versions available on CD: Biggun Smith (MTCD307); Walter Pardon (MTCD305-6); Harry Cox (TSCD512D); Bob Roberts (Saydisc CD-SDL405).

3-7 The Flower Show (Roud 5213)
Sung by Harry Brazil.  Rec: Mike Yates, Gloucester, 1978

I was going out the other night, not knowing where to go
I saw a bill upon a wall about a flower show
I thought I'd like to go in the show, to pass away the night
For when I got inside the show I saw a pretty sight.

The first little flower that I come to was a little red red rose
It is a tiny simple flower no matter where it grows
It rules old England very well and a noble part it plays
For let us hope the red red rose of old England will not fade.

The next little flower that I come to was a thistle, understand
It is a tiny simple flower, it's a critic of its land
It rules old England very well and a noble part it plays
For let us hope the red red rose of old Scotland will not fade.

Now the next little flower that I come to was a little primerose
It is a tiny simple flower no matter where it grows
It rules old England very well and a noble part it plays
But Lord Beaconsfield is dead and gone, and the primrose still remains.

The next little flower that I come to is sent to hang its head
It was that little shamrock, it looked almost dead
The reason why I'm going to say this glorious name tonight,
If a man like Dan O'Connell'd live, the shamrock would not fade.

In a version of this very unusual song collected from the Norfolk singer Ben Baxter in 1952, it is clear that each flower is symbolic not only of a country but of a person as well.  The red rose represents William Gladstone (1809-1898), while the thistle is Sir Colin Campbell (1792-1862), the son of a Glasgow carpenter who rose to the command of the Highland Division at the Battle of Alma (1854).  Harry's shamrock verse agrees with Ben's, celebrating Daniel O'Connell (1775-1847), and the primrose - 'the best I'll name tonight' - is Benjamin Disraeli (1804-1881) who became Lord Beaconsfield.

3-8 The Banks of the Sweet Dundee (Roud 148, Laws M25)
Sung by Danny Brazil.  Rec: Gwilym Davies, Staverton, Glos, Dec '77

All for a fair damsel I've lately been told,
Her parents died, left her a hundred pounds in gold;
She lived all with her uncle; was the cause of all her woe,
So soon you'll hear the maid so fair when she proved her overthrow.

Her uncle had a ploughing boy that Mary loved fair well,
It was in her uncle's garden, some tales of love they told;
All for a wealthy squire so often come to see,
Still Mary she loved her ploughboy on the Banks of Sweet Dundee.

It was early one morning, Mary's uncle he rose,
Straight away to Mary's bedroom so speedily did go;
"It's rise you up young Mary, a lady you may be,
The squire's waiting for you on the Banks of Sweet Dundee."

"I don't want none of your squires, nor your lords, dukes likewise,
Young Willie he appeared to me like diamonds in my eyes."
"We'll have young Willie headed, we'll chain him to a tree,
And we'll send the press gang to him on the Banks of Sweet Dundee."

The press gang came to William as he sat all alone,
There he boldly fought for liberty where there was ten to one;
The blood flew in torrents.  "Now kill me now," says he,
"I would rather die for Mary on the Banks of Sweet Dundee."

As Mary was walking all through her uncle's grove,
There she met the wealthy squire dressed in his mornings clothes;
He put his arms around her, "Stand off, stand off," says she,
"You've sent the only lad I love from the Banks of Sweet Dundee."

He throwed his arms around her, trying to throw her down
Two pistols and a sword she spied beneath his mornings gown;
She took the weapons from him and the sword she used it free,
She boldly fired and shot the squire on the Banks of Sweet Dundee.

Soon as her uncle heard of it he made haste to the ground
He said, "Since you've killed the squire I will give you your death wound."
"It's stand you off," young Mary cried, "undaunted I will be."
The trigger drew and her uncle slew on the Banks of Sweet Dundee.

The doctor was sent for a man of noted skill,
And likewise a lawyer to sign up his will;
He willed his gold to Mary 'cos she fought so manfully,
He closed his eyes no more could rise on the Banks of Sweet Dundee.

Young William was sent for and quickly did return,
As soon as he came back again young Mary ceased to mourn;
The day it was appointed, they joined their hands so free,
And now they live in splendour on the Banks of Sweet Dundee.

A very popular song, with 218 Roud entries from most of the Anglophone world, this was described by Cecil Sharp as being 'known to every singer of the present day'.  It was even found as a capstan shanty with the words 'Heave away my Johnny, heave away' sung after every line.

While most versions have the two lovers being parted, never to re-unite, there are a number that end with William returning, as here; and one broadside, An Answer to Undaunted Mary, describes his adventures at sea and his coming back in disguise in order to test Mary's faithfulness.

Other versions available on CD: Straighty Flanagan (MTCD331-2); Maggie Murphy (VT134CD); Bob Brader (TSCD665); Fred Jordan (VTD148CD); Walter Pardon (TSCD514); Reg Bacon (VT150CD);

3-9 Lemmie Brazil's Stepdance Nos 1 & 2 ('Irish Hornpipe'/'Tapdance' and Bristol Hornpipe)
Played by Lemmie Brazil, melodeon.  Rec: Peter Shepheard [73.1.8-9], Sandhurst Lane Caravan site, Gloucester, 26.12.72

For more information see 'The Music' in main text above.

3-10 I Wonder if the Old Folks Think of Me? (Roud 21546)
Sung by Harry Brazil.  Rec: Gwilym Davies, Gloucester, Feb '78

... one night upon the road
A beautiful young Indian lass, she strayed upon my way.

Her beauty was fair, blue eyes and golden hair
As she placed her hand in mind and gently said
But when I asked her why those tears fell from her eye
I wonder if the old folks thinks of me.

I'd like to be at home among the old folks
I'm tired of this weary life I've led
If I'd a-listened to my parents' teaching
A different girl at home I might have been.

I wonder what they'd say if we was to part ...
I wonder what they'd say if I were dead
But now the times have altered
And that is what's broke my heart
And I wonder if the old folks thinks of me.

3-11 An Old Man Come Courting Me (Roud 210)
Sung by Danny Brazil.  Rec: Peter Shepheard [66.6.6], Over Bridge, Gloucester, 12.5.66

For an old man come courting me,
        Hi down dearly day,
For an old man come courting me,
        Hi dearly day;
For an old man come courting me,
Promised he'd marry me,
Girls for your sake never wed an old man.

For it's when we got home to tea,
        Hi down dearly day,
For when we got home to tea,
        Hi dearly day;
For when we got home to tea,
Nothing there could I see,
Girls for your sake never wed an old man.

For it's when it struck eight o'clock,
        Hi down dearly day,
For it's when it struck eight o'clock,
        Hi dearly day;
For it's when it struck eight o'clock,
All the doors he did lock,
Girls for your sake never wed an old man.

For it's when we got into bed,
        Hi down dearly day,
For it's when we got into bed,
        Hi dearly day;
For it's when we got into bed,
He fell like a lump of lead,
Girls for your sake never wed an old man.

For it's when he went fast asleep,
        Hi down dearly day,
For it's when he went fast asleep,
        Hi dearly day;
For it's when he went fast asleep,
Out of bed I did creep,
Into the arms of a jolly young man.

For a young man is my delight,
Kiss and court all the night,
Girls for your sake never wed an old man.

This was also sung by Harry.  With only 62 Roud entries, this song obviously wasn't as popular in the tradition as it is in the revial - thanks, no doubt, to recordings by Jeannie Robertson and Belle Stewart.  It also appears to be far more popular in England (with 21 named singers) than in Scotland (with only four).

Other versions available on CD: Jeannie Robertson (TSCD651); Walter 'Toady' Rudd (NLCD6); Ria Johnson (NLCD5).

3-12 The Man You Don't Meet Every Day (Roud 975)
Played and sung by Lemmie Brazil.  Rec: Peter Shepheard [73.1.6/7], Sandhurst Lane caravan site, Gloucester, 26.12.72

Fill up your glasses and drink them all round
Whatever the damage I'll pay
Be easy and free while you're boozing with me
I'm the man you don't meet every day.

The kettles and pans they all tumbled down
And they all rolled about the floor
And we upset the lot that me father brought home
In a whopping great muddle and all.

Do you think I've come over to seek for a job
For it's only my visit to pay
Be easy and free while you're boozing with me
I'm the man you don't meet every day.

Not a terribly well-known song, if Roud's 28 entries are indicative - and nor are many Gypsies or Travellers listed.  Most of the versions appear to come from England, with only two each from the USA, Canada and Scotland, and just one instance in an Irish book ... odd, since many versions have the philanthropist coming from there.

Other versions available on CD: Alec Bloomfield (MTCD339); Lena Jones (MTCD320); Sheila Stewart (Offspring Records OFFCD00101).

3-13 The Salisbury Ram (Roud 126)
Sung by Danny Brazil.  Rec: Peter Shepheard [66.4.27], The Tabard Bar, Gloucester, 27.4.66

As I was going to Salisbury
'Twas on a market day,
I met the finest ram, sir,
That ever was fed upon hay.
Oh you lie, oh you lie,
Right fol the dal doural lal day.

The man that killed the ram, sir,
Was covered in with blood
Five and twenty butcher boys
Got washed away in the flood.
Oh you lie, oh you lie,
Right fol the dal doural lal day.

The ram was fed behind, sir,
The ram was fed before,
The ram was fed behind sir
It'll never be fed no more.
Oh you lie, oh you lie,
Right fol the dal doural lal day.

The horns the old ram had, sir,
They fairly touched the moon,
A man went up in January
And he never come down to June.
Oh you lie, oh you lie,
Right fol the dal doural lal day.

The ears the old ram had, sir,
They fairly touched the sky,
The swallows built a nest there
For I heard the young ones cry.
Oh you lie, oh you lie,
Right fol the dal doural lal day.

All the old women in Derby
Was craving for his bones,
To grind them up in powders
To grease their old rum bones.
Oh you lie, oh you lie,
Right fol the dal doural lal day.

All the little boys in Derby
Was craving for his eyes,
To kick 'em about for footballs
'Cos they were just the size.
Oh you lie, oh you lie,
Right fol the dal doural lal day.

This, on the other hand, is extremely well-known, with 264 Roud entries including 83 sound recordings; though more than half are from the USA.  The 67 English entries come from right across the country, but Sharp's 1909 collection of Henry Corbett, of Snowshill, is the only other Gloucestershire sighting.

Other versions available on CD: both Cas and Doug Wallin (MTCD321-4); Pete Harris (Rounder CD1821); Sid Steer (TSCD657); Tickles Alliston (NLCD 5); George Fradley (VTC7CD).

3-14 Three Tunes
Played by Danny Brazil, mouthorgan.  Rec: Gwilym Davies, at his caravan at Staverton, Glos.  March 1978

These are: Manchester/Yarmouth Hornpipe; Cock of the North; Drumdelgie.  For more information see 'The Music' in main text above.

3-15 Rolling in the Dew (Roud 298)
Sung by Danny Brazil.  Rec: Peter Shepheard [66.9.29], The Pelican, Gloucester, 5.1.67

"What would you do if I was to run away,
With your red rosy cheeks
And your curly black hair?"
"For the Devil he'd come after you
And he would fetch you back again,
He'd roll you in the dew, the milkmaid fair.

"Suppose I was to run away my pretty fair maid,
With your red rosy cheeks ...?"
"The Devil he'd come after you
And he would fetch you back again"
Rolling in the dew said the milkmaid fair.

"Suppose you was to have a son, my pretty fair maid
With your red rosy cheeks ...?"
"Kind sir," she answered him,
"You would have to father him."
Rolling in the dew, the milkmaid fair.

"What will you do for the clothes to clothe it with,
With your red rosy cheeks ...?"
"My mother's a linen draper shop,
My father he would give me some."
Rolling in the dew, the miIkmaid fair.

"What will you do for the pins to pin it with,
With your red rosy cheeks ...?"
"The thorns on the hedges love'd
Do to I do get some."
Rolling in the dew, the milkmaid fair.

This was also sung by Lemmie.  It's quite a well-known song with 135 Roud entries, 81 of which are from England.  There's a good regional spread, but few of the singers appear to be Gypsies.

Other versions available on CD: George 'Pop' Maynard (MTCD309-0); George Dunn (MTCD317-8); George Withers (VTC6CD).

3-16 Little Sir Hugh (Roud 73, Child 155)
Sung by Lemmie Brazil.  Rec: Peter Shepheard [67.9.36], in Lemmie's caravan at Walham Tump, Glos, 29.9.67

As she was a-walking through the park, the snow was very deep
And up come two pretty little boys for to play at ball.

They tossed it up so very high, they tossed it down so low
They tossed it over in the Jew's garden, where the Jews do lay by law.

Out come one of the Jew's daughters, all dressed up in green
She said "Come in, my pretty little boy, you'll have your ball again."

She sat him in the golden chair, she give him sugar sweet;
She laid him on the chest of drawers and stabbed him like a sheep.

"Put a bible at my head and a testament at my feet
And if my mother should come this way, don't tell her I'm dead; I'm asleep."

A surprisingly well-known song, with 245 Roud entries - two thirds from the USA.  It was widely printed in broadsides, which may account for it's popularity.  Most of the 49 English entries include named singers, but the 24 Scots ones reveal only 5 names, and there's only one from Ireland.

Other versions available on CD: Minty Smith (MTCD320); Viola Cole (MTCD321-4); Ollie Gilbert (Rounder CD1707); Margaret Stewart (Greentrax CDTRAX 9005); Cecilia Costello (CD1776).

3-17 I Met A Maid (Roud 21549)
Sung by Danny Brazil.  Rec: Peter Shepheard [66.9.24], The Pelican, Gloucester, 5.1.67

I met a maid all in white, I kep her out all night,
Down by the castle where she followed me.

I met a maid all in blue, all in blue, all in blue,
I met a maid all in blue, all in blue was she;
I met a maid all in blue, I swep her Foggy Blew,
Down by the castle where she followed me.

I met a maid all in black, all in black, all in black,
I met a maid all in black,all in black was she;
I met a maid all in black, I laid her on her back,
Down by the castle where she followed me.

I met a maid all in pink, all in pink, all in pink,
I met a maid all in pink, all in pink was she;
I met a maid all in pink, I played her tiddly wink,
Down by the castle where she followed me.

I met a maid all in red, all in red, all in red,
I met a maid all in red, all in red was she;
I met a maid all in red, I laid her on the bed,
Down by the castle where she followed me.

Danny indicated that other verses could be made up:
I met a maid all in green, prettiest girl you've ever seen.

I met a maid all in yellow, she was with another fellow - etc.

3-18 The False Bride (Roud 154)
Sung by Danny Brazil.  Rec: Peter Shepheard [66.6.1], Over Bridge, Gloucester, 12.5.66

I courted a young girl for several years,
I courted a young girl to make her my dear;
But now she's gone from me and showed me false play,
She's gone to get tied to another.

The first time I saw my love in the church stand,
With a ring on her finger and a glove on her hand;
And the man who stood by her had houses and land,
But I never once mentioned to have her.

The next time I saw my love dressed up in white,
She'd bridesgrooms and bridesmaids to give her away;
I thought her sweet company was better than mine,
Although she was tied to another.

The parson that married her with a loud cry,
"Is there any false bedders? I'll have them brought nigh"
I thought in my heart I'd a once right to die,
I thought in my heart to false bed her.

When I got home I sat myself down,
When I sat down nothing could I eat,
I thought her sweet company was better than mine,
Although she was tied to another.

Another song with a selection of titles; by far the most common is The False Bride, which always seems grossly unfair since in many versions, as here, he's 'never once mentioned to have her'.  Others include the Forsaken Bridegroom, I Aince Lo'ed a Lass, Lambs on the Green Hill and Maggie Murphy's The Clock Striking Nine.

There are 117 Roud entries from all over the English speaking world (except the USA, strangely), with England and Scotland each accounting for about a third of the total.  The Week Before Easter seems to be the preferred English title and False / Forsaken Bride / Lover the Scots.  In fact, I had always thought that these two songs were actually considered by musicologists to be separate entities despite sharing a number of verses and images.

Other versions available on CD: Lizzie Higgins (MTCD337); Pop Maynard (MTCD309-0); Maggie Murphy (VT134CD); Harry Burgess (TSCD665); Sarah Makem (TSCD651); Duncan Williamson (Kyloe101); Elizabeth Stewart (Elphinstone EICD002); Gordon Hall (Country Branch CBCD095); Geordie Hanna (The Fisher's Cot CD).

3-19 Three Tunes
Played by Lemmie Brazil, melodeon.  Rec: Peter Shepheard [73.1.10-14], Sandhurst Lane Caravan site, Gloucester, 26.12.72

These are: "English tune, Hornpipe" (Manchester/Yarmouth Hornpipe); "Cock of the North/Chase me Charlie"; "Song" - "The singer was Irish, and the song was Irish, the notes seemed to come from the sky, ……., You Brought the Tears to my Eyes"; "Irish Jig" (The Campbells are Coming).

For more information see 'The Music' in main text above.

3-20 Poison in a Glass of Wine (Oxford City) (Roud 218, Laws P30)
Sung by Danny Brazil.  Rec: Gwilym Davies, Staverton, Glos, 13.4.95

A ball a-dancing young Maria,
A ball a-dancing away she did go;
The jealous young man he followed after,
So soon that he proved her sad overthrow.

He saw his love dancing with a stranger,
Jealous thoughts run in his mind;
And to destroy his own true lover,
He gave her rank poison, a glass of wine.

No sooner she drunk it, sooner she altered,
"Carry me home my dear," said she,
"For that glass of wine that you gave to me,
It's made me as sick as I could be."

"That glass of wine that I gave to you,
That was a rank poison, a glass of wine;
For if you won't be my own true lover,
You'll never belong to no other man."

"So you drink one love and I'll drink another,
So that I'll be as bad as thee;
In each other's arms we'll die together,
That will put an end to all jealousy."

This song is well-known - there are 147 entries in Roud and, more to the point, it's a song which has remained in the country repertoire right up to the present time, particularly amongst Gypsies and Travellers.  It has numerous titles in addition to those shown above, including Jealousy, Down the Green Groves and Young Maria, but whatever it may be called by the singer, the song would appear to stem from a broadside issued by John Pitts of London in the early 1800s.

The great majority of the entries are from England, but there are also 4 from Ireland, 8 from Scotland, 15 from the USA, one from Canada, and one from Tristan da Cunha noted.  Sharp's collection, in 1909, of William Hedges in Chipping Camden, gives the only other named Gloucestershire singer.

Other versions available on CD: Pop Maynard (MTCD309-0); Garrett and Norah Arwood (MTCD321-4); Freda Palmer (MTCD311-2); Ria Johnson (NLCD 5); Fred Jordan (VTD148CD); Louie Fuller (MTCD309-0 & TSCD663); Joseph Taylor (TSCD653); Roscoe Holcomb (SFCD40077); Sheila Stewart (TSCD515).

3-21 Shot Like a Bird on a Tree (Roud 916)
Sung by Lemmie Brazil.  Rec: Peter Shepheard [66.5.5], Over Bridge, Gloucester, 6.5.66

Her father he came for to hear it,
Straight away to his daughter did go,
"Dear daughter I've heard you've been courting,
To a man that is 'low your degree."

"Who's been telling these false tales, dear father,
Whose been telling these false tales on me?
My retention's1 to never get married,
To a man that is 'low my degree."

"We'll send for young Jimmie to revide it."
To revide it, young Jimmie he came.
He creeped upstairs in his stockings,
For to hear what they was saying.

"Dear daughter, I'll give you two chooses,
Two chooses I'll give unto thee;
You can either send Jimmie a-sailing,
Or to see him shot like a bird on the tree."

"Oh father you'll give me two chooses,
Two chooses you'll give unto me;
I'd rather send Jimmie a-sailing,
Or to see him shot like a bird on the tree."

1 intention

This was recorded just once from Lemmie Brazil (66.5.5).  Danny Brazil later recorded (in 1978) essentially the same verses - whether with the assistance of the Brazil Song Book or not I do not know, and these are in Mike Yates' Traveller's Joy (2006).

It's a rare song, with only 17 Roud entries - 11 of which are from Canada.  Although 9 sound recordings are shown, this is the only one available on CD.

3-22 The Little Ball of Yarn (Roud 1404)
Sung by Danny Brazil.  Rec: Gwilym Davies, Staverton, Glos, 5.5.78

It was in the very month of May, when the men was making hay,
I was strolling round my grandfather's farm.
I met a pretty maid and it's unto her I said,
"May I wind up your little ball of yarn?"

"Oh no, kind sir," said she, "You're a stranger unto me,
And perhaps you love some other little maid."
"Oh no, my turtle dove, you're the only girl I love;
Let me wind up your little ball of yarn."

Like the blackbird and the thrush,as they tittled through the bush
When I wound up her little ball of yarn.

It was nine months from the day, it was my surprise,
I met her with a baby in her arms.
I said, "My little miss, sure we never thought of this
When I wound up your little ball of yarn."

Still quite a popular song, and versions are found all over the Anglophone world.  The Little Ball of Yarn has caused all sorts of speculation as to the origin, and meaning, of its title.  Vance Randolph has suggested that the ball of yarn was possibly an early form of contraceptive (clearly inefficient in this case!), although most English singers would appear to disagree.  Interestingly, in America the song was copyrighted in 1884 to one Polly Holmes.  According to Roud there are no known English broadsides of the song, a fact which suggests a late date of composition.  Cecil Sharp collected a version in 1904 (the earliest known collected version - still unpublished) and it could well be that this version, along with all the subsequent collected versions, is based on what may have once been quite an innocent song in the eyes of Ms Holmes (if, indeed, she was the composer of the song).

Other versions available on CD: Walter Pardon (MTCD305-6); Nora Cleary (MTCD331-2); Mary Ann Haynes (MTCD320); Elizabeth Stewart (EICD 002); Ray Hartland (VTC7CD); Charlotte Renals (VTC1CD); Gordon Woods (VTC2CD).

3-23 Henry Martin (Roud 104, Child 250)
Sung by Danny Brazil.  Rec: Peter Shepheard [66.6.8], Over Bridge, Gloucester, 12.5.66

"Come lower your reef, and come lay your ship to,
Come you quickly under my glin;
For your rich merchant stores I will take away, take away,
And your bodies I'll sink in the sea, the salt sea, the salt sea,
And your bodies I'll sink in the sea."

From broadside to broadside the two vessels went,
And at it they went merrily;
Until Henry Martin gave to her a death vownd, a death vownd,
And down to the bottom went she, went she, went she,
And down to the bottom went she.

And as sung by Lemmie:

"Hoist your rigging," says Henry Martin,
"You quick you come under my glea;
Else your rich merchant ship I will take away,
And your bodies I'll sing in the sea."

Roud has 199 entries for this ballad - mostly from England (87) and the USA (72).  Since almost all versions place the three brothers in Scotland, it's astonishing to find only one Roud entry from that country.  It has turned up in widely separated locations in the USA, and was most popular on the Maritime Coast of North America.

Other versions available on CD: Phil Tanner (TSCD652 & VT145CD); Sam Larner (TSCD662); Bob Green (NLCD6).

3-24 The Irish Girl (Roud 308)
Sung by Lemmie Brazil.  Rec: Peter Shepheard [67.6.40], in Lemmie's caravan at Walham Tump, Glos, 29.9.67

As I walked out one morning clear, it was in the summer time,
I gazed all right round me, and an Irish girl I spied;
Red and rosy was her cheek and coal black was her hair,
And scorsely1 was the old robes of gold that the Irish girl did wear.

Oh I wish I was in old Dublin town a-sittin on the grass,
With a bottle o whisky in my hand and on my knee a lass;
I'd call for liquors merrily, I'd pay before I go,
Sure I'd roll my lass upon the grass; let the wind blow high or low.

I wish my love was a red, red rose that in the garden grows,
And if I was a gardener along with my love renewn; [or, I'd go]
And every month all through the year 'long with my love renewn,
I'd sit and sing for you Polly, for once I loved you true.

I wish I was a butterfly, I'd set on my love's breast,
And if I was a linnet I would sing my love to rest;
And if I was a nightingale, I'd sing the mornings clear,
I'd sit and sing for you Polly, for once I loved you dear.

Oh her shoes was made of the best spanish leather and neatly being tied,
The tears rolled down her rosy cheek, until she began to cry;
"Where are you going Johnny," cried she, "Give to me your grá mo chroí.2
How can you go a roamin to slight your dear Polly?"

1 costly, 2 love of my heart

Although Roud's 138 entries span the world, the great majority are from England, despite the word 'Irish' in so many of the titles.  Indeed, given that the song is little more than a collection of floating verses, it's surprising that The Irish Girl is so universal as a title; the more obvious Let the Wind Blow High or Low being used in only three cases.  Lemmie's text here is strikingly similar to that sung by James McDemott to Keith Summers in Co Fermanagh, and known to him as The Blue Cuckoo.

Other versions available on CD: James McDemott (MTCD329-0); Walter Pardon (TSCD660); Bob Copper (Coppersongs CD2).

3-25 Lord Bakeman (Roud 40, Child 53)
Sung by Danny Brazil.  Rec: Peter Shepheard [66.4.29], Over Bridge, Gloucester, 6.5.66

Lord Bakeman was a noble lord,
A noble lord of high agree1;
He paid his passage to a foreign nation,
Saying strange countries he'd go and see.

He sailed East and he sailed West,
Until he came to proud Turkey;
There he was taken and put in prison,
'Til his poor life it was almost done in.

Now in this prison there grew a tree,
It grew so stout and it grew so strong;
There as he was chained all round his middle,
'Til his poor life it was almost gone.

The turnkey had but one only daughter,
The finest lady you ever saw;
She stole the keys of her father's prison,
Saying Lord Bakeman she'd go and see.

"Are you, are you, are you Lord Bakeman?
Or are you any high agree?
Or what would you give to a fair young lady,
If it's out of prison she'd set you free?"

"Oh yes, oh yes I am Lord Bakeman,
And I am in a high agree.
I have houses and I have lands,
Part of Northumberland belongs to me;
I would give it all to a fair young lady,
If it's out of prison she'd set me free."

She took him to her father's parlours,
She give him a glass all of the best of wine,
And every health that she drunk unto him,
Saying, "I wish Lord Bakeman that you were mine."

"Now seven long years we will make a vow,
And seven long days to remember strong,
If you don't wed to no other woman,
For it's I won't wed to no other man."

The seven long years it being gone and past,
The seven long days to remember strong.
This fair maid she packed up her clothing,
Saying Lord Bakeman she'd go and find.

Now she sailed East and she sailed West,
Until she came to Northumberland,
There she saw one of the finest castles,
That ever her two eyes did see.

Now when she came to Lord Bakeman's castle,
She boldly ringed all at the bell;
There was none so ready but that young proud porter,
To answer that gay lady at the door.

"Is this Lord Bakeman's castle?
Or is it any high agree?"
"Oh yes this is Lord Bakeman's castle,
And he's just now after taking his bride in."

"Tell him send me a slice of his best of cake,
And a glass all of his best of wine,
And he's not to forget that fair young lady,
That oncet released him from close confine."

Away, away run the young proud porter,
Away, away, away run he,
Until he come to Lord Bakeman's chamber,
Down on his bended knees he fell.

"What news, what news, my young proud porter,
What news, what news come tell to me."
"For here is one of the finest ladies,
That ever my two eyes did see.

"She's got rings on every finger,
If she's got one, for she have got ten;
She's got enough gay gold hingin round her middle,
That would buy Northumberland all out free.

"You're to send her a slice of your best of cake,
And a glass all of your best of wine;
And you're not to forget that fair young lady,
That once released you from close confine."

Lord Bakeman he flew in a passion,
His sword he splintered up in three
"I'd rather have her than ten hundred guineas,
My proud young Susan she's across the sea."

For up spoke the young bride's mother,
Never known to speak so loud before;
"What will you do with my only daughter,
Since Sophia has crossed the sea?"

"I'll own I've made a bride of your daughter,
She's none the better and the worse for me;
For she came to me on her horse and saddle,
And she may go back in a coach and three."

1 degree

This was also sung by Lemmie.  Interestingly, the Brazils are the only English singers cited in Roud's Index to call the ballad Lord Bakeman - a title which is very popular in North America - virtually every other English entry is titled Lord Bateman.

It's a very popular ballad indeed, a.k.a Young Beichan; Roud has 591 entries for it, including 87 sound recordings.  Child prints 15 versions, all but one from Scotland.  He also cites a number of European examples from Spain to Scandinavia, and mentions the story of Gilbert Becket, father of St Thomas, whose biography is similar to part of the ballad.  After collecting a very full set of Lord Bateman from the Sussex Gypsy, Alice Penfold, some years ago, Mike Yates was intrigued to hear the singer's three daughters arguing among themselves as to whether it really was possible for a man to marry two women on the same day.

Almost half of Roud's entries are from North America; in these islands it appears to have been about equally popular in England and Scotland - there are only four named singers from Ireland.

Other versions available on CD: both Denny Smith and Wiggy Smith (MTCD307); Alice Penfold (MTCD320); Eunice Yeatts Mac-Alexander (MTCD321-4); Joseph Taylor (TSCD600); John Reilly (TSCD667); Ollie Gilbert (Rounder CD1707); Roby Monroe Hicks (Appleseed APRCD1035).

Lemmie Brazil

Credits:

The main text of the booklet was written, as indicated, by Peter Shepheard, Paul Burgess, Gwilym Davies and Philip Heath-Coleman.  Peter also supplied most of the original text transcriptions, and some of the song notes.  The introduction and most of the song notes were written by Rod Stradling.

The recordings come principally from tapes made by Peter Shepheard and Gwilym Davies, with some additional recordings from Mike Yates, Hamish Henderson and Peter Kennedy.

The family photographs have kindly been supplied by Doris Davies and Maggie Smith-Bendall, and scanned by Fred Chance, who also took the modern one of Debbie and Pennie.  Mike Yates took the now famous photo of Lemmie Brazil, and Paul Burgess took the one of Danny.

My sincere thanks to all of them - and to everyone else who has contributed so willingly of their time and expertise:

Rod Stradling - 1.6.07

Booklet: editing, DTP, printing
CD: formatting and production
by Rod Stradling

A Musical Traditions Records production
© 2007

[Track Lists] [Introduction] [The Family] [Peter Shepheard writes] [Paul Burgess writes] [Gwilym Davies writes] [The Music] [The Songs] [CD One] [CD Two] [CD Three] [Credits]

Article MT206

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