The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #127507   Message #2688996
Posted By: GUEST,DFP
28-Jul-09 - 03:33 PM
Thread Name: Origins: Sussex Drinking Song (Hilaire Belloc)
Subject: Lyr Add: SUSSEX DRINKING SONG (Hillaire Belloc)
I'm trying to confirm a song's author. I am certain Hilaire Belloc wrote "West Sussex Drinking Song," the first line of which is "They sell good beer at Haslemere". It was published by Belloc in 1910, in his Verses (search for "Haslemere" in this reprint).

What seems to be a very different song, one that never mentions Haslemere and has different lyrics and chorus and rhythm altogether, is called "Sussex Drinking Song." Mudcat attributes this one to Belloc. It was apparently sung by Ian Robb on the Finest Kind's Lost in a Song, as Track #5, though I don't have a copy and don't know if its liner notes clear any of this up (or if maybe Robb sings the "Haslemere" version!).

I think there may have been a mix-up back in 1997 when "Sussex Drinking Song" was added to Mudcat.

Did Belloc really write *both* of these songs? If not, who wrote the non-West, Haslemere-free "Sussex Drinking Song"?

Here's the "West Sussex Drinking Song" lyrics, definitely by Belloc, that I don't find mentioned on Mudcat or listed at DigiTrad.
They sell good beer at Haslemere
And under Guildford Hill.
At Little Cowfold, as I've been told,
A beggar may drink his fill:
There is a good brew in Amberley too,
And by the bridge also;
But the swipes they take in at Washington Inn
Is the very best beer I know, the very best beer I know.

With my here it goes, there it goes,
All the fun's before us;
The tipple's aboard and the night is young,
The door's ajar and the barrel is sprung,
I am singing the best song ever was sung
And it has a rousing chorus.

If I were what I never could be,
The master or the squire:
If you gave me the hundred from here to the sea,
Which is more than I desire:
Then all my crops should be barley and hops,
And should my harvest fail
I'd sell every rood of mine acres, I would,
For a bellyful of good ale, a bellyful of good ale.

With my here etc.

If my blue clicky above works, you can see that Mudcat's "Sussex Drinking Song" is not this song (and if it's a variant, it varies a whole hell of a lot from Belloc's original). So who did write "Sussex Drinking Song"?

I hope some of that makes sense. Any & all help hugely appreciated!

---Delicate Flower Princess