The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #9755   Message #2591602
Posted By: Mick Tems
18-Mar-09 - 06:10 AM
Thread Name: Welsh Drinking Songs
Subject: RE: Welsh Drinking Songs
"Yr Wyf I Little Collier" definitely didn't fit in to the tune of Cwm Rhondda - it was a bright, foot-tapping kind of a melody:

Yr wyf i little collier
Un gweithio underground
the rope will never torri
When I go up and down
Bara menyn when I'm hungry
Cwrw when I'm dry
Gwely when I'm tired
and Nefoedd when I die

Nefoedd when I die
Nefoedd when I die
Gwely when I'm tired
and Nefoedd when I die.

yr wyf i = I am
yn gweithio = working
torri = break
bara menyn = bread and butter
cwrw = beer
gwely = bed
nefoedd = heaven

Learned from our friend Wyn Thomas, originally from Morriston, Swansea. Wyn is married to Beth Thomas, manager of St Fagans Welsh museum at St Fagans, Cardiff. The Elliots of Birtley sang us a similar song, learned phonetically from a Welsh miner who worked in the Durham coalfields. Calennig recorded it in 1985 for Greenwich Village.

I will dig out a copy of a booklet called Caneuon Yfed, which gives the words to 100 Welsh drinking songs (all in the Welsh language.) The wonderful Swansea poet Harri Webb, who died years ago, was a noted toper, and wrote many marvellous drinking verses in the anglo-Welsh tradition:

We started drinking at seven
And finished at half past ten
And all the stars in heaven
said: "Go back and drink again!"


Tooralee, tooralye,
In Rhosllanerchrugog we drank the pub dry!

Harri even credits Undeb Yr Tancwyr (the Welsh Drinkers' Union), who are mentioned in the preface of Caneuon Yfed.

I have a booklet called Broadsides, collected (I think) by Pete Meazey (owner of the Welsh bookshop Siop Y Triban) Denis O'Neill and Meic Stevens, which is rollicking, irreverent, subversive and just the ticket for the disaffected Welsh when they've had a few:

I'm the man, the very fat man, in charge of the Labour Club
I'm the man, the very fat man, in charge of the Labour Club
I'm a champion of the working class, as long as they pays their sub
I've a nice big Rolls and a private plane made out of the Labour Club!

Or, the Meic Stevens classic, which he says generated many versions across Wales and the world, of Llantrisant's notorious druid:

There once was a man named Doctor Price
Who lived on lettuce, nuts and rice
His idols were the moon and sun
And he roamed the hills with nothing on

CHORUS: Singing: I don't give a bugger, I don't give a bugger
I don't give a bugger what anybody thinks of me!

Llantrisant Folk Club used to bring the proceedings to a roaring close with what we regarded as out theme song - and my Mudcat name is Dr Price, which explains a lot!

Mick Tems