The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #20378   Message #3787782
Posted By: GUEST
29-Apr-16 - 05:24 AM
Thread Name: Tarry wool (what is it?)
Subject: RE: Tarry wool (what is it?)
Peter Kennedy recorded Lizzie Haygarth and Mrs Rowe singing Tarry Wool in Dent, Sedbergh, West Riding of Yorkshire on 23/11/54, and talking about "The Terrible Knitters of Dent".

The song may come from there, but perhaps it just appealed to the singers.

There aren't many songs about tarry shepherds appealing to young ladies. But tarry trousers were the trademark of sailors.

Courting too slow

For in there come a sailor all in his tarry trews
And he went into the chamber where my true love was;
He kissed her, then he clapped her, he flattered her so,
And he fair won the day by my courting too slow.

Banks of Inverness

By gazing on her features I could no longer stand.
Showed the mark on my little finger, which was on my right hand.
Then said Mary to her sailor, "Pull off that tarry dress.
Put on your true blue trousers on the banks of Inverness."

Tarry Trousers

"Daughter, I would have you marry
And live no longer a single life."
But she says, "Mother, I'd rather tarry
For my sailor boy so bright."

"My mother would have me wed a tailor
And rob me of my heart's delight,
But give me the lad whose tarry trousers
Shine to me like diamonds bright."

From Mainly Norfolk; Pilgrims' Way sang Tarry Trousers in 2010 on their eponymous debut EP, Pilgrims' Way and in 2011 on their CD Wayside Courtesies. They commented in their sleeve notes:

"A song from Frankie Armstrong, this feisty mother-daughter dialogue was once well-known, circulating as a broadside publication, and represents our second foray into transvestism. The tune is generally attributed to Mrs Humphreys of Ingrave, near Brentwood in Essex, as sung to Vaughan Williams, however we have speeded it up somewhat and added a bass line!

"Tar-boat enthusiasts Tom and Edwin can testify that real tarry trousers are not remotely as effective in attracting the ladies as this song might suggest."