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Lyr Req: John Wesley's Coat

29 Apr 13 - 11:48 PM (#3510350)
Subject: Lyr Req: JOHN WESLEY'S COAT
From: GUEST

I heard a song sung a few months ago, the first line of which was, I think, 'John Wesley had a long black coat'. Does this ring a bell with anyone and, if so, do you have the lyrics please?


30 Apr 13 - 02:20 PM (#3510481)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: John Wesley's Coat
From: Jim Dixon

Google searches so far are coming up with nothing.

Can you quote any more lines from the song?


30 Apr 13 - 08:09 PM (#3510572)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: John Wesley's Coat
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)

I think this has some verses related to the Bohunkus and Josephus/Old Grimes/Two sons were brothers song. Some verses were quoted by Barbara Brown in this thread: Origins: Two sons were brothers.

Here's a version. If you let me know if it's the right song I'll post the tune too.

Mick



JOHN WESLEY

John Wesley was a minister who lived in days of yore.
He often wore an old brown coat as buttoned up before.
  As buttoned up before, as buttoned up before,
  He often wore and old brown coat as buttoned up before.


John Wesley had another coat of quite a different kind.
Instead of buttoning up before, it buttoned up behind.
  It buttoned up behind, it buttoned up behind,
  Instead of buttoning up before, it buttoned up behind.


  (other verses similarly)

John Wesley had an old grey mare as rough as you could find
And each time he got on her back she kicked 'un off behind.

John Wesley had a little ghost appeared all ghastly white.
It used to climb up his bed post and frighten him at night.

John Wesley had another ghost of quite a different hue.
Instead of clambering up the post it clambered down the flue.

John Wesley had three daughters fair and they was tall and thin.
He took them to the river's bank and pushed the buggers in.

There came along three farmers' sons and they was strong and stout.
They saw them struggling in the stream and pulled the buggers out.

John Wesley had an old straw hat without nor crown nor brim.
It wouldn't have been much use to thee, and 'twas no use to him.


Source: Richards & Stubbs The English Folksinger, Collected by Bob Patten, Lynton, Devon, 1970s

The notes say: Bob Patten's singer, who wished to remain anonymous, comments: 'It depended for its humour on a sort of sly anti-climax in each verse and no doubt reflected the traditional farmer's animus to the growth of Methodism in these parts'. We can't pretend to understand all the satire of the song, although its cumulative effect in performance is to make Wesley look highly ridiculous. The tune is oftenused in Cornwall for 'The Old Grey Duck' and 'The Seven Joys of Mary'.


30 Apr 13 - 09:30 PM (#3510580)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: John Wesley's Coat
From: Jim Dixon

I found a book called The History of John Wesley's Coat: Showing by Whom It Has Been Worn, and How It Has Been Trimmed [anonymous] (Derby: Richard Keene, 1851)

It seems to be a satirical, anti-Methodist pamphlet of 56 pages. The preface says it is patterned on Swift's Tale of a Tub. I don't know if there is any connection to the song.


01 May 13 - 03:48 AM (#3510610)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: John Wesley's Coat
From: GUEST

The very thing! Many thanks Mick Pearce for your help although I don't need the dots as I can remember the tune- Malcolm (Woods)


01 May 13 - 07:29 AM (#3510642)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: John Wesley's Coat
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)

Glad it was the right song Malcolm.

In the interest of completeness, here's the tune as well.

Mick



X:1
T:John Wesley
B:Richards and Stubbs: The English Folksinger
S:Collected by Bob Patten, Lynton, Devon, 1970s, anonymous singer
L:1/4
M:4/4
K:G
D|G> G G A|B> B G G|A> A F F|G3
w:John Wes-ley was a min-i-ster who lived in days of yore.
D|G> G G A|B> B G G|A> A F F|G3
w:He of-ten wore an old brown coat as but-toned up be-fore.
G|A> A A A|(A B c) A|B> B B B|(B c d)
w:As but-toned up be-fore,__ as but-toned up be-fore,__
B|e> e c c|d d B B|c c A F|G3|]
w:He of-ten wore and old brown coat as but-toned up be-fore.