The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #171235   Message #4141062
Posted By: GUEST,henryp
03-May-22 - 06:42 PM
Thread Name: Songs about Harwich
Subject: RE: Songs about Harwich
The Codbanging Song

One verse collected in Harwich, Essex by Ralph Vaughan Williams, as sung by Charles Benham, April 1904. One verse - the same one, I assume - was also collected from his nephew Hervey Benham, who said, "This song was popular in East Anglia and was sung on arrival with a full ship at Harwich." Additional verses from Bob Hart of Suffolk. A.L.Lloyd noted; In Bob Hart's version, a stanza - the one about the 'big barque ship' - has wandered in from 'The Dolphin'.

1. Come, come my lads and listen here
A fisherman’s song you soon shall hear
What I did and undergo
When first I went a cod-banging O
Chorus
To my lal fol the day
Riddle all day
This is the smacksman’s life at sea

2. How well I remember the fourteenth of May
A big barque ship she came our way
She came our way and she did let fly
And the topsail halyards they flew sky high
Chorus

3. And now we draw near Harwich pier
The young and the old folks they both draw near
To see us get our fish on deck
And crack their skulls with a little short stick
Chorus

4. And now my song it is nearly done
And I hope that I’ve offended none
But I don’t think I’ve got it complete
‘Cos I’ve only been in the trade about a week
Chorus

From ESDSS Essex Folk Song Discovery: Coastal Songs
Essex Coastal Songs

The second verse clearly doesn't belong! Here's my verse to bring it up to date;

Times have changed since I was young.
Now cod-banging days are done
Others catch cod far away
Off the cold coast of Norway

To my lal fol the day Riddle all day
An end to smacksmen's life at sea