The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #36075   Message #925934
Posted By: GUEST,Philippa
04-Apr-03 - 06:57 AM
Thread Name: Lyr Req: Hiring fair songs
Subject: Lyr Add: Magherafelt Hiring Fair
A widow goes to Magherafelt to hire a farm worker and ends up marrying one who drives a hard bargain!

1. "Would you hire with me, Tam Bo, Tam Bo?
Would you hire with me, my heart and my Jo?
Would you hire with me? say you and say I.
And what an's rantin' young widow am I.

(He says: "What wages, mistress?")

2. "Two pounds five," etc.

(He says: "Too little wages, mistress")

3. "Then two pounds ten," etc

(He says: "What diet, mistress?")

4. "Sowans and eels," etc. -
or
"Sowans, oats and water porridge"

(He says: "Too slippy diet, mistres?")

5. "Then potatoes and beef ...

(He says: "Where will I lie, mistress?")

6. "You'll lie in the loft,"

(He says: "The rats might eat me, mistress")

7. "You'll lie wi' the weans," ...

(He says: "The weans might kick me, mistress")

8. "Well then we'll get married," ...

When I saw this thread the first song that came into my mind was the Magherafelt May Fair (which has been recorded by Kevin Mitchell). The song above also bears Magherafelt in the title, but could belong almost anywhere. I see it has been mentioned in previous threads, and also as "Tam Boy". I copied these lyrics from a booklet by George Sweeny, "Hiring Fairs in Derry, Tyrone and Donegal". Derry: Guildhall Press,n.d. (circa 1985-86). I assume the "etc." menas that the ends of each line are repeated from verse to verse.

Tune to follow (eventually!)

The bibliography suggests a couple of other songs (which I might post later on if nobody else has done so):
"Hiring Fair (I Once Was a Daysman)" recording of Eddie Butcher on Free Reed Records
"The Hiring Fair at Hamiltons Bawn" published in Robin Morton Folk Songs Sung in Ulster. Cork: Mercier Press (is in DT)

and includes
Hugh Shields, Shamrock, Rose and Thistle: Folk Singing in North Derry. Belfast: Blackstaff, 1981

Jonathan Bell,"The Hiring Fairs" in Ulster Folkllife

Patrick Campbell, "Growing Up in Donegal" in Béalóideas, 1977