The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #16718   Message #1567414
Posted By: Joe Offer
21-Sep-05 - 01:25 AM
Thread Name: Lyr Add: The Sheepstealer
Subject: ADD Version: The Sheepstealer
Here's the transcription from the Zierke Website, so we'll have something to build on.

The Sheepstealer

[Trad. arr. Martin Carthy]

Sung by Martin Carthy on his and Dave Swarbrick's 1992 album Skin and Bone; it was re-released in 1993 on Rigs of the Time: The Best of Martin Carthy and in 2003 on The Definitive Collection.

Martin Carthy said in the Skin and Bone sleeve notes:

Sing a song of sixpence was never like this, and in another sense, neither, as a rule, are songs on this subject. There are two songs called The Sheep Stealer, a great angry show of defiance with a nasty streak a mile wide, and this one, which is a fragment from a woman calied Mrs Woodberry in Somerset, to which I have added a verse to give it an ending, and its atmosphere of rumbustious idiocy marks it out among songs on the subject, which generally share the bleaker more sombre tones of The Poacher, written down by Vaughan Williams from a Mrs Joiner just outside St Albans. Apparently the majority of people transported for poaching were first offenders, caught whiie hunting in order to feed hungry possibly starving families. Certainly that is the impression left by this song - indeed the stink of entrapment hangs heavy in the air as do the presently celebrated (in some quarters) Victorian values, which insist that the victim's "very large family" survive, in modern terms, on roughly half a dozen bread loaves, after which, nothing.


There was a sheep stole from the marsh and Marcus was the sinner
He stole the sheep on a Saturday night for Sunday for his dinner
So good a cook he had - she was so good and clever
For a very good pie he should have had if she's only got the liver

And sing toora loora lido
Toora loora lay
Toora loora lido

A famous scratch we had with the stuff he stole just now
We killed the sheep and skinned it all on an open bough
One said he'd have the breast, another one said he'd have the chine
Says Wrestling Ned to Stumpy Jack, You'll tear off all his spine


Said Stumpy Jack, I'll have none of that from any old fool like you
If you boiled his head for a year and a day he'd have more brains than you
They fought the whole of the afternoon, they stopped to get some scran
While the kids had eat up all of the meat and the bones was in the pan



Transcription by Garry Gillard, with a head start from Wolfgang Hell.