The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #153606   Message #3598279
Posted By: Tradsinger
04-Feb-14 - 01:13 PM
Thread Name: Lyr Req: Freddy Archer (victorian jockey)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Freddy Archer (victorian jockey)
You mean this one http://sounds.bl.uk/World-and-traditional-music/Steve-Gardham-Collection/025M-C1009X0006XX-1500V0

I have a distant memory that Mike Yates once showed me a printed copy. So we have lots of incomplete versions - frustrating.

Some years ago, I wrote the following and I think the last verse is one that I found somewhere:

You were born to be the champion, you were born to be the top
But deep inside you always felt that one day it would stop
You had friends and you had fortune, you have wealth and you had fame
But just what did it mean to you, was racing just a game?

So goodbye Freddie Archer, your racing days are o'er
And you have passed the post, my friend, where men return no more
And by your own hand, Freddy, your life you took away
And died undefeated, the champion of the day

When you were just a lad, my friend, on Gloucestershire's green hills
You knew that you were special, you had nerve and you had skill
And in the lanes of Prestbury you spent your childhood days
Not knowing what the future held when fortune had her way

The will to win was strong in you, you had to be the first
You drove hard all the beasts you rode, to win you whipped and cursed
Wheel of Fortune, Balcardine, St Simon and Ormonde
You rode them like no other could, to your touch it would respond

How did it feel now, Freddy, when you neared the winning post?
With the shouting ringing in your ears, what was it mattered most?
Was it for the money, the glory or the fame?
Or was it those rich friends you made, they used you just the same.

You were the toast in every home, of earls and dukes so grand
And 'Good old Freddy Archer' was a byeword in the land
It's true you had your critics, but you showed them who was king
When you were thundering down the turf, or in the winners' ring.

But all your fame could not hold back the cards that fortune dealt
It could not bring you happiness, it could not bring you wealth
And as you lay on your sickbed, what thoughts went through your mind?
And as the fever took its grip, what comfort did you find?

Were you a lad of ten once more on Gloucestershire's green fields
Or were you gliding o'er the turf, and did it all seem real
What finally made you do it when you couldn't turn and run
And in the end, what made you squeeze the trigger on the gun?

So goodbye Freddie Archer, your racing days are o'er
And you have passed the post, my friend, where men return no more
And by your own hand, Freddy, your life you took away
And died undefeated, the champion of the day.

Tradsinger