The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #41977   Message #3050157
Posted By: Joe Offer
10-Dec-10 - 01:20 AM
Thread Name: Origins: Back and Sides Go Bare
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Back and sides
This is the song for December 10 in the Properganda Alternative Christmas Calendar. I see 12 entries in the Roud Index, and here's the Traditional Ballad Index entry on this song:
Here's the first Digital Tradition version:

Early English Lyrics
(Chambers & Sedgewick; October House)

cho. Back and side go bare, go bare
Both hand and foot go cold,
But belly, God send thee good ale enough,
Whether it be new or old!

But if that I may have truly
Good Ale my belly full,
I shall look like one, by sweet Saint John,
Were shorn against the wool.
Though I go bare, take ye no care
I am nothing cold;
I stuff my skin so full within
Of jolly good ale and old.

I cannot eat but little meat,
My stomach is not good;
But sure I think that I could drink
With him that weareth an hood.
Drink is my life; Although my wife
Some time do chide and scold.
Yet spare I not to ply the pot
Of jolly etc.

I love no roast but a brown toast,
Or a crab in the fire.
A little bread will do me stead,
Much bread I never desire.
Nor frost, nor snow nor wind, I trow
Can hurt me if it wold,
When I am wrapped within and lapped
With jolly etc.

I care right nought, I take no thought
For clothes to keep me warm;
Have I good drink, I surely think
Nothing can do me harm.
For truly than I fear no man,
Be he never so bold,
When I am armed and thoroughly warmed
With jolly etc.

But now and then I curse and ban
They make their ale so small.
God give them care and evil to fare
They stry the malt and all. (stry=destroy)
Such peevish pew, I tell you true
Not for a crown of gold
There cometh one sip within my lip
Whether it be new or old.

Good ale and strong maketh me among
Full jocund and full light,
That oft I sleep and take no keep
From morning until night.
Then start I up and flee to the cup
The right way on I hold;
My thirst to staunch, I fill my paunch
With jolly etc.

And Kit, my wife, that as her life
Loveth well good ale to seek,
Full oft drinketh she, that ye may see
The tears run down her cheek.
Than doth she troll to me the bowl
As a good malt-worm should
And say:"Sweetheart, I have take my part
Of jolly etc."

They that do drink till they nod and wink
Even as good fellows should do,
They shall not miss to have the bliss
That good ale hath brought them to.
And all poor souls that scour black bowls
And them hath lustily trolled
God save the lives of them and their wives
Whether they be young or old!

filename[ BACK&SID
(see note on ├┐JOHNDORY)

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And the second:


I would sooner be a beggar as a king
I'll tell you the reason why:
A king cannot swagger or walk like a beggar
Or be half so happy as I.

cho: Let your back and sides go bare, me boys
Hands and feet grow cold.
But give to your belly, boys, ale enough
Whether it be new or old.

I've sixpence in me pocket and I worked hard for that
Landlord, here it is.
There isn't any Turk going to make me work
While the beggin' is as good as it is.

Sometimes we call at a nobleman's hall
Beg for bread and beer.
Sometimes we are lame, sometimes we are blind
Sometimes too deaf too hear.

Sometimes we lie like hogs in a sty,
Frost and snow on the ground.
Sometimes eat a crust that's rolled in the dust
And be thankful if that can be found.

Recorded by David Jones- Cruisin' Round Yarmouth
Popularized, as far as I know, by RAF pilots in WWII-RG
See also BACK&SID
@drink @beggar
filename[ BCK&SID2

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See the comments by Malcolm Douglas above for information about the sources of these DT lyrics.