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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
Joe Offer ADD: The Girl from the Hiring Fair (Ralph McTell) (23) ADD: The Girl from the Hiring Fair (Ralph McTell) 10 Aug 21


I'm hearing words just a bit different from others in this thread. Here's my transcription. A few word escape me - is it "lips" or "legs"? What's a "byre" - or is it "barn" or "briars"?

THE GIRL FROM THE HIRING FAIR
(Ralph McTell)

I went down to the hiring fair for to sell my labour
I noticed the maid in the very next row and I hoped she'd be my neighbour
Imagine then, oh, my delight when the farmer picked us both
I spoke (stole?) not a word on the cart to the farm, but my heart beat in my throat.

My lodging was dry and my master fair and I gave him full measure
But my envy grew like the (a?) corn in the field for in his house was my treasure
And I'd watch her carry water or drive cows from the byre (briars?)
And the heat from the sun made the corn grow strong and with it my desire.

For I would seek (see?) her in my dreaming and in my dreams caress
Her eyes, her lips and her dark brown hair, and the curves beneath her dress.
When the harvest time it came at last and so heavy was the task
That the women and the men worked side by side, and I had her near at last.

I swung harder with my scythe, few words between us passed
And I cursed my tongue-tied youthfulness and I hoped she'd hear my heart
And when all was safely gathered in and we sat down to rest
My trembling fingers touched her arm and she placed them on her breast.

Then she turned to me as the sun went down and all my senses reeled,
And we lay there on the scented ground and the moon rose over the field.
Mmmmm....

She was safely gathered in my arms when from the barn
Drifted the sound of a violin and we hurried back to the farm,
And all were dancing in the lantern light and the music filled the air,
And I thank my stars for the harvest moon and the girl from the hiring fair.

Oh, all were dancing in the lantern light and the music filled the air,
And I thank my stars for the harvest moon and the girl from the hiring fair.



I transcribed from a more recent McTell performance with better sound quality:

Also in the Ralph McTell album, Affairs of the Heart

McTell says he wrote this song for Fairport Convention, but then they didn't record it right away. It was unclear whether Fairport Convention ever got around to recording the song. Note that on the Ralph McTell recordings, the title of the song is "The Girl from the Hiring Fair."


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