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Lyr Req: I wish there were no prisons?

John MacKenzie 21 Mar 10 - 01:30 PM
Long Firm Freddie 21 Mar 10 - 01:54 PM
Anglogeezer 21 Mar 10 - 02:02 PM
Valmai Goodyear 21 Mar 10 - 02:04 PM
John MacKenzie 21 Mar 10 - 04:14 PM
Jim Carroll 21 Mar 10 - 04:15 PM
Howard Jones 22 Mar 10 - 04:39 AM
Jim Dixon 22 Mar 10 - 10:25 AM
Martin Graebe 23 Mar 10 - 09:16 AM
Steve Gardham 23 Mar 10 - 04:33 PM
Steve Gardham 23 Mar 10 - 05:12 PM
Jim Dixon 24 Mar 10 - 10:31 PM
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Subject: Lyr Req: I wish there were no prisons?
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 21 Mar 10 - 01:30 PM

I have searched in vain for the words to a song I heard years ago. I don't know the actual title, which doesn't help, but even when I put fragments if the lyrics I know in a search engine, I get a nil result.
The chorus goes thus.

I wish there were no prisons, I do, I do,
For the old treadmill makes me feel ill,
I only steal my belly to fill.
With my hands, with my mitts, with my maulers.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: I wish there were no prisons?
From: Long Firm Freddie
Date: 21 Mar 10 - 01:54 PM

Youtube video of the song being perforned by the incomaprable Jim Eldon here:
Prisons

Enjoy!

LFF


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: I wish there were no prisons?
From: Anglogeezer
Date: 21 Mar 10 - 02:02 PM

It has been recorded by JIM ELDON on his CD "Home from the Sea".
Available from the
Veteran Label

Jim can also be seen performing it on U-tube here I Wish There were No Prisons

Google here, Google there, a bit of Google everywhere!!
Very soon gives you an answer.

regards
JAke


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: I wish there were no prisons?
From: Valmai Goodyear
Date: 21 Mar 10 - 02:04 PM

I think it was collected from the Sussex singer George Spicer.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: I wish there were no prisons?
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 21 Mar 10 - 04:14 PM

Thanks folks, I love that song. I shall now set about learning to sing it myself.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: I wish there were no prisons?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 21 Mar 10 - 04:15 PM

I Wish There Was No Prisons.
George Spicer

I wish there was no prisons. Ido. Don't you?
For the old treadmill makes me feel ill.
I only steal my belly to fill
With my hands, with my mits [hand&],
with my maulers [hands].

Oakum picking gives me a licking. [Oakum (flax) picking was the work given to prisoners serving hard labour.]
Still I'm very fond of a little bit of nicking [stealing].
I only steal my belly to fill
With my hands, with my fists, with my maulers.

I saw a girl with a perambulator
She got twins, and each had a tater [potato]
In its hands, in its fists, in its mauler.

I kissed one kid and collared t'other's tater
With my hands, with my mits, with my mauler.

I wish there was no prisons.
I do. Don't you?
For the old treadmill makes me feel ill.
I only steal my belly to fill
With my hands, with my dukes [fists] with my maulers.

Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: I wish there were no prisons?
From: Howard Jones
Date: 22 Mar 10 - 04:39 AM

Just to elaborate on Jim's reply, picking oakum involved unpicking old ropes to produce hemp fibres which were then sold for caulking the hulls of wooden ships. The rope would usually be hemp rather than flax. As the ropes were often coated with tar and had seen hard use, and the picking was done with the bare hands, this was hard work and in prisons counted as hard labour alongside the treadmill and stonebreaking. Residents of poor houses were also expected to work, and this too might involve picking oakum.

More information here:

Portsmouth Asylum


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: I wish there were no prisons?
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 22 Mar 10 - 10:25 AM

These lines are quoted in The Turn of the Balance by Brand Whitlock (Indianapolis: Bobbs Merrill Co., 1907), page 306:

I wish there were no prisons,
I do, I does — 'cause why? —
This old treadmill makes me feel ill, :
I only pinch my belly for to fill,
Wi' me 'ands, WI' me dukes,
Wi' me clawrs, Me mud hooks. ...

[There might be more but I was unable to see more. It's classified as "snippet view" only at Google Books.

[Also, it mentions that the tune is "Dixie."]


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: I wish there were no prisons?
From: Martin Graebe
Date: 23 Mar 10 - 09:16 AM

Broadside version from the Baring-Gould collection of popular literature.


I'm one of those fellows what gets my livin'
By taking things what isn't given
With my hand – with my hand
With my hand – With my dook
Now I started a bis'ness in Petticoat Lane
I mean I started the fingerin' game
With my hand – with my hand
With my hand – With my dook

I wish there was no prisons
I do, - I does
For the old treadmill It makes me ill
And I only steal my belly for to fill
With my hand – with my hand
I wish there was no prisons

Today I met a big fat boy
He'd a lot of peas- pudding and a penny saveloy
In his hand – in his hand
In his hand – in his dook
The pudding looked nice, it was smoking hot
I sneaked behind the kid and collared all the lot
With my hand – with my hand
With my hand – With my dook

I wish there was no prisons
I do, - I does
For oakum pickin gives me a lickin'
When I'm run in for a little bit of nickin
With my hand – with my hand
I wish there was no prisons

As I was getn' past a great music hall
I saw a kid sneak a trotter off a stall
With his hand – with his hand
With his hand – with his dook
The owner had gone for change and not seein' copper
I chucked him under the chin
And he dropped that trotter
In my hand – in my hand
In my hand – in my dook

I once met a girl she'd a perambulator
With two kids in it, one of 'em had a hot potato
In his hand – in his hand
In his hand – in his dook
As she was courting a nice young baker
I kissed one of the kids and sneaked the other's tater
With my hand – with my hand
In my hand – in my dook

Broadside from the Baring-Gould collection 'made and printed by R. Maynard, Hackney Road, E.' in a collection 'The Irish Jubilee published by H.P. Such, Printer, 183, Union Street, Borough, S.E. In 'Broadsides', p. 136

Martin


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: I wish there were no prisons?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 23 Mar 10 - 04:33 PM

Hi Martin,
What was the title? And any guess on a date? Such was printing very late. The 183 numbering was c1883 right into the early 20thc. By 1922 it was W. C. Such at 183 and 186 Union St. Might be able to pinpoint it more accurately if Maynard was only on the go for a short period. Will try Googling.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: I wish there were no prisons?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 23 Mar 10 - 05:12 PM

Googled Maynard and came up with a c1890 reference. He was at 346 Hackney Road if it's any help.


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE HAPPY CROOK
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 24 Mar 10 - 10:31 PM

From Frontier Ballads by Charles Joseph Finger (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, Page & Co., 1927), page 90:


THE HAPPY CROOK

1. I'm one of those fellows that gets his living
By taking things as isn't given
With my hand, with my hand, with my hand, with my mitt.
I started the business in Petticoat Lane
I mean I started the fingering game
With my hand, &c.

CHORUS: And I wish there was no prisons, I do. Don't you.
For the old treadmill it makes me ill
And I only steals my belly for to fill.
With my hand, &c.

2. One day I saw, which it ain't no lie,
A little kid with a piece of pie
In his hand, &c.
Now I was hungry and the pie was hot,
So I sneaked behind the kid and I swiped the lot
With my hand, &c.

CHORUS


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