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Well-dressing songs?

GUEST,Bryony 20 Jun 07 - 10:30 AM
McGrath of Harlow 20 Jun 07 - 12:14 PM
GUEST,Bryony 20 Jun 07 - 12:28 PM
The Borchester Echo 20 Jun 07 - 12:33 PM
GUEST,Georgina Boyes 20 Jun 07 - 12:49 PM
John MacKenzie 20 Jun 07 - 12:51 PM
The Borchester Echo 20 Jun 07 - 12:51 PM
MMario 20 Jun 07 - 12:59 PM
Grab 20 Jun 07 - 01:04 PM
John J 20 Jun 07 - 01:08 PM
Snuffy 20 Jun 07 - 01:12 PM
John MacKenzie 20 Jun 07 - 01:20 PM
countrylife 20 Jun 07 - 01:40 PM
concertina ceol 20 Jun 07 - 02:10 PM
GUEST,Wayne 20 Jun 07 - 02:13 PM
gnomad 20 Jun 07 - 02:46 PM
MMario 20 Jun 07 - 02:52 PM
GUEST,Bryony 20 Jun 07 - 07:00 PM
GUEST,Bryony 20 Jun 07 - 07:16 PM
Bert 20 Jun 07 - 09:36 PM
SharonA 21 Jun 07 - 05:08 AM
McGrath of Harlow 21 Jun 07 - 04:02 PM
SharonA 22 Jun 07 - 04:54 PM
Lin in Kansas 22 Jun 07 - 11:51 PM
SharonA 23 Jun 07 - 01:11 AM
John MacKenzie 23 Jun 07 - 04:58 AM
concertina ceol 23 Jun 07 - 05:05 AM
katlaughing 23 Jun 07 - 11:27 AM
McGrath of Harlow 23 Jun 07 - 12:38 PM
Geoff the Duck 23 Jun 07 - 01:10 PM
McGrath of Harlow 23 Jun 07 - 01:47 PM
Andy Jackson 23 Jun 07 - 02:21 PM
GUEST,mg 23 Jun 07 - 05:24 PM
Little Robyn 23 Jun 07 - 07:25 PM
Sue the Borderer 24 Jun 07 - 08:29 PM
Saro 25 Jun 07 - 04:21 AM
GUEST,Paul Burke 25 Jun 07 - 07:52 AM
GUEST,Bryony 26 Jun 07 - 11:01 AM
MMario 26 Jun 07 - 11:14 AM
Anglo 26 Jun 12 - 07:57 PM
Mo the caller 27 Jun 12 - 05:18 AM
MartinRyan 27 Jun 12 - 05:42 AM
Bert 27 Jun 12 - 06:16 AM
GUEST,Blandiver 27 Jun 12 - 06:58 AM
Mo the caller 27 Jun 12 - 07:53 AM
GUEST,Blandiver 27 Jun 12 - 08:25 AM
GUEST,999 27 Jun 12 - 08:34 AM
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Subject: Well-dressing songs?
From: GUEST,Bryony
Date: 20 Jun 07 - 10:30 AM

Hello, I'm doing some teaching in Derbyshire over the next couple of weeks and one of the schools wants to perform at their village well-dressing after the worklshops.

I've searched the usual 'watery' songs, but none seem fitting. Does anyone know of any well-dressing songs or any that celebrate water/springs?

Cheers,
Bryony


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Subject: RE: Well-dressing songs?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 20 Jun 07 - 12:14 PM

Dedicated Follower of Fashion...


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Subject: RE: Well-dressing songs?
From: GUEST,Bryony
Date: 20 Jun 07 - 12:28 PM

Very good....!


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Subject: RE: Well-dressing songs?
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 20 Jun 07 - 12:33 PM

Other than this site telling us helpfully that the custom of well dressing often included music and dance (but going no further unless I've failed to crack it's nightmarish navigation) I can't find anything.

I'd say ask Doc Rowe.

Other than that, there's the Anne Briggs song Go Your Way which begins:

Drawing water from the well

which I could easily imagine you singing. But all those about dropping bodies down them . . . mmm not sure.


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Subject: RE: Well-dressing songs?
From: GUEST,Georgina Boyes
Date: 20 Jun 07 - 12:49 PM

The music which has been associated with Well-dressing since the 19th century is played by local bands - brass or silver.
I'm not aware of any traditional songs that are involved in the ceremonies or refer to Well-dressings, though it would be welcome to hear about them.

We sing a Derbyshire version of 'The Holy Well', but it's got nothing to do with Well-dressing.

Georgina


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Subject: RE: Well-dressing songs?
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 20 Jun 07 - 12:51 PM

I have heard a song about well dressing, and it refers to Tissington Well, can't remember where, I will have a search.
Giok


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Subject: RE: Well-dressing songs?
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 20 Jun 07 - 12:51 PM

I'm getting desperate:

The Well Below The Valley
Spencer The Rover
Jack & Jill?

(dressing self in coat . . . )


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Subject: RE: Well-dressing songs?
From: MMario
Date: 20 Jun 07 - 12:59 PM

I'd go with summer carols if you can find any.


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Subject: RE: Well-dressing songs?
From: Grab
Date: 20 Jun 07 - 01:04 PM

I'd suggest "Sharp dressed man", but in that vein I see McGrath has got there first...


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Subject: RE: Well-dressing songs?
From: John J
Date: 20 Jun 07 - 01:08 PM

...ah, 'tis all witchcraft you know.

Check out South Yorkshire Folk, I'm pretty sure they have a web-presence. Perhaps they could help.

JJ


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Subject: RE: Well-dressing songs?
From: Snuffy
Date: 20 Jun 07 - 01:12 PM

THE WATER SONG (Robin Williamson)

Water water see the water flow
Glancing dancing see the water flow
O wizard of changes water water water
Dark or silvery mother of life
Water water holy mystery heavens daughter

God made a song when the world was new
Water's laughter sings it is true
O, wizard of changes, teach me the lesson of flowing


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Subject: RE: Well-dressing songs?
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 20 Jun 07 - 01:20 PM

I still can't remember who sang the song which I think was called 'A Flowering of the Tissington Well' and this was the refrain at the end of the verses. It was sung to a lovely morris type tune, and I seem to remember a couple, one of whom was playing concertina. Mind you at my age I can't rely on my memory too well.
Giok


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Subject: RE: Well-dressing songs?
From: countrylife
Date: 20 Jun 07 - 01:40 PM

Well Dressing Calendar for 2007


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Subject: RE: Well-dressing songs?
From: concertina ceol
Date: 20 Jun 07 - 02:10 PM

I'm sure it must happen but I've not heard singing associated with well dressing, similarly there is no singing at castleton garland. [At castleton, Abide with me and God save our gracious queen are played at the very end round the war memorial - but I can't remember anyone singing - at least not so others would join in or listen to them]
There is traditional music and dance, as Georgina says above, music is usually provided by local brass/silver bands.

Sorry not to be any help with original query.


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Subject: RE: Well-dressing songs?
From: GUEST,Wayne
Date: 20 Jun 07 - 02:13 PM

Why not get the schoolchildren to write their own, using a traditional tune?

Diolch

Wayne


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Subject: RE: Well-dressing songs?
From: gnomad
Date: 20 Jun 07 - 02:46 PM

I know of only one song about well-dressing; "Five Wells" by Andrew Train, recorded by Ripley Wayfarers on their LP Five Wells. Traditional Sound Records, TSR013, (C)1972. As Giok puts it well, a bouncy morris-y tune, and specifically about Tissington, the chorus names the wells involved.

The group included Mick Peat, so he might prove helpful if you can reach him.


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Subject: RE: Well-dressing songs?
From: MMario
Date: 20 Jun 07 - 02:52 PM

PDF here


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Subject: RE: Well-dressing songs?
From: GUEST,Bryony
Date: 20 Jun 07 - 07:00 PM

Thank you for your help everyone, I'll check all the links and stuff tomorrow when I haven't just got back from the pub quiz....!

Writing a song would be a great plan Wayne, but I don't think we'll have enough time unfortunately..goos plan for next year though.

Bry


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Subject: RE: Well-dressing songs?
From: GUEST,Bryony
Date: 20 Jun 07 - 07:16 PM

'good' plan...not a 'goose' plan!...


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Subject: RE: Well-dressing songs?
From: Bert
Date: 20 Jun 07 - 09:36 PM

I Mayim Mayim any good to you?


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Subject: RE: Well-dressing songs?
From: SharonA
Date: 21 Jun 07 - 05:08 AM

PUTTIN' ON THE BITS

Have you seen the well's To-Do?
Up in town, they have in view
In that famous Derbyshire
Stuff that clothes each aquifer:

Hydrangeas, moss and callas
In wood frames, with lots of galas
Tending, ev'ry time,
To a pump they will prime.

If you're true
To Heage, go down where they go to
Where the renowned well-dresser sits,
Puttin' on the bits.
Stuff red tips
Of flow'rs in clay, put plants in strips
On the display wood. You'll be hits,
Puttin' on the bits.

Dress it like a million-flower forest,
Tryin' hard to look just like a Morris-dancin' chorus.

Come, let's bring
Our decorations to the spring
Where our relations are fair Brits,
Puttin' on the bits.


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Subject: RE: Well-dressing songs?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 21 Jun 07 - 04:02 PM

"Well-dressing since the 19th century is played by local bands - brass or silver."

Jacobs Well would be a great tune for a band to play on such occasions, and it's a great song for joining in with. Given that Well Dressing and Village Carols are both traditions in the same part of the world, I'd be surprised if it isn't used by those local bands already.

And Ian Russell - contact details in that last link - would be a good person to ask if there are any traditional songs which have been particularly associated with Well Dressing


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Subject: RE: Well-dressing songs?
From: SharonA
Date: 22 Jun 07 - 04:54 PM

FYI, I should have mentioned in my previous post, for those who are unfamiliar with the song I parodied, that that song is "Puttin' On the Ritz" by Irving Berlin (originally published in 1929, later revised by Berlin). My parody is based on Berlin's revised version.

By the way, I was unfamiliar with the song "Dedicated Follower of Fashion" that McGrath suggested with tongue in cheek. I looked it up and found that it is by the Kinks, released in 1966.

But back to the topic. Don't know if these songs would be appropriate for a well-dressing ceremony, but just in case...

Here's an American song made popular by the cowboy-style group The Sons of the Pioneers, called "Cool Water". Go to this site and click on link for "Cool Water" Lyrics/Chords

Then there's Emmylou Harris's "Deeper Well". Easy one-chord song!   Tab for "Deeper Well"

"You Always Miss the Water" sung by Ray Charles

There's also the Negro spiritual "Wade in the Water". Too many versions to link to -- do a search on the title and pick your favorite!

There are a couple of different versions of the spiritual that starts "Jesus Met the Woman at the Well" or "Jesus Met a Woman at the Well".


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Subject: RE: Well-dressing songs?
From: Lin in Kansas
Date: 22 Jun 07 - 11:51 PM

Just to reveal my ignorance: What the heck is a "silver" band? I've never heard that particular description. ??

Lin


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Subject: RE: Well-dressing songs?
From: SharonA
Date: 23 Jun 07 - 01:11 AM

"What the heck is a 'silver' band?" I'm wondering too. Does it consist of flutes? Fifes? Drums with chrome trim? (Or resonator guitars and banjos?)


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Subject: RE: Well-dressing songs?
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 23 Jun 07 - 04:58 AM

It's a brass band with silver instruments ¦¬]
[sort of]


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Subject: RE: Well-dressing songs?
From: concertina ceol
Date: 23 Jun 07 - 05:05 AM

Silver bands are a class above brass bands ;-)

I know I used to play in one :-)

But basically it is just a brass band with silver finished instruments.


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Subject: RE: Well-dressing songs?
From: katlaughing
Date: 23 Jun 07 - 11:27 AM

So...in the UK you put clothing on your wells? **bg** For a few days, I have skirted this thread, no pun intended, thinking why would I want to sing anything about someone who is dressed well? Then curiosity got the better of me and now I learn the truth..all the wells in the USA must be nekkid!

Ah, well, it IS interesting and now I have completely different images in my head. Thanks for the education!

kat


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Subject: RE: Well-dressing songs?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 23 Jun 07 - 12:38 PM

I was at a church fete today with the Harlow Brass Band playing - and I noticed that about half their instruments were in fact silver. A mixed Brass and Silver band, in fact - there's no name for that I've ever heard.

It doesn't make any difference to the sound. (Which was pretty good.)


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Subject: RE: Well-dressing songs?
From: Geoff the Duck
Date: 23 Jun 07 - 01:10 PM

If we are on to Kinks songs - Lola is a Cross Dressing song.
Quack!
GtD.


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Subject: RE: Well-dressing songs?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 23 Jun 07 - 01:47 PM

Sort of Mixed Morris.


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Subject: RE: Well-dressing songs?
From: Andy Jackson
Date: 23 Jun 07 - 02:21 PM

Mike O'Connor has written and probably collected some well dressing songs. There sems to be no mention of them on his site though.

Andy


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Subject: RE: Well-dressing songs?
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 23 Jun 07 - 05:24 PM

The bonnie wells of weerie?? is a beautiful song...for a generic well song. And there is a well in that great truly great song about the woman from Liberia...and aren't there well songs about St. Bridget? mg


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Subject: RE: Well-dressing songs?
From: Little Robyn
Date: 23 Jun 07 - 07:25 PM

The Helston Floral dance tune is used in several morris dances - Winster Processional, the Bodmin riding and other dances. That's played by both morris instruments and brass instruments and might be a good tune to add words to for next year.
Another tune/song about flowers etc. is the English Country Garden tune - used for a dance we refer to as Knuckles!
Robyn


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Subject: RE: Well-dressing songs?
From: Sue the Borderer
Date: 24 Jun 07 - 08:29 PM

A recording of the Ripley Wayfarers singing 'The Five Wells' - (about the Tissington Wells) is currently available on a Fellside CD - 'Seasons, Ceremonies & Rituals; The Calendar in Traditional Song - Various Artists' www.fellside.com

Bryony, if you want the words send me a PM (personal message) with your e-mail address and I'll send them to you. You'll have to become a member of Mudcat first, though. (It's fairly painless and free!)

Do let us know what you do with the children.

Sue


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Subject: RE: Well-dressing songs?
From: Saro
Date: 25 Jun 07 - 04:21 AM

Mike O'Connor was mentioned earlier in this thread - he has written a lovely well dressing song that I would have thought children could learn - you can sing it as a round as well!   The song is called Never Widdershins, and I'm sure if you contact Mike he'll help you out.
Saro


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Subject: RE: Well-dressing songs?
From: GUEST,Paul Burke
Date: 25 Jun 07 - 07:52 AM

That maimed list of well dressings didn't include Bonsall, July 21st this year. I'm not at all surprised that there's no traditional music or dance associated with well dressing, though. It's really one of those Victorian "revivals" that were intended to replace the real traditions like football, bull baiting, cock fighting and wakes weeks with something more respectable and under the control of the village squirearchy. There's not much real evidence of anything earlier except perhaps in a couple of villages like Tissington and Stoney Middleton. As practiced today, the wells are blessed by the vicar and the local church choir, who sing a hymn at each well, usually one selected by the team that dressed the well.


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Subject: RE: Well-dressing songs?
From: GUEST,Bryony
Date: 26 Jun 07 - 11:01 AM

Hello and thanks again. I've managed to find a copy of The 5 Wells..turns out I had it all along but was unaware, so thanks for pointing me in the right direction!

I'll probably use a bit of that, haven't actually got long with the children so t'will all be a bit of a rush and may have to be concentrated.

Ta,
Bry


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Subject: RE: Well-dressing songs?
From: MMario
Date: 26 Jun 07 - 11:14 AM

and if anyone could get permission to post the words to any of these songs and then post them; it would probably be greatly appreciated in the future.


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Subject: RE: Well-dressing songs?
From: Anglo
Date: 26 Jun 12 - 07:57 PM

Sarah Matthews wrote a well-dressing song - like this as best I can tell (please correct as appropriate):

Well Dressing Song - Sarah Matthews

Give thanks and give praise now that the water it doth flow
It brings us good health and life and helps us all to grow
Ch:
So dress the well with colors gay, beat the drum and sing hooray
Praise be, we can see the water flow today (2x)

On palettes of clay, season's colors dress the well
We've crafted our scenes of village life our tales to tell

It was long, long ago, oh, when it started who can say
But every year you will find us here, it's our well-dressing day


If anyone has words to the Five Wells I would appreciate them - too many local references for me to work it out, I fear.


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Subject: RE: Well-dressing songs?
From: Mo the caller
Date: 27 Jun 12 - 05:18 AM

For Kat and anyone else still wondering

Geograph has pictures of decorated wells, springs and water in the Malverns

And a Yahoo search finds at least one American who decorates her birdbath


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Subject: RE: Well-dressing songs?
From: MartinRyan
Date: 27 Jun 12 - 05:42 AM

A few years ago, on holidays in Kenya, I was fascinated to come across a dressed well in a coastal woodland area near Mombasa - a Muslim area. Clearly regularly visited and used.

Regards


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Subject: RE: Well-dressing songs?
From: Bert
Date: 27 Jun 12 - 06:16 AM

Mo, When I first started folk dancing over half a century ago we were told that circle dances were derived from well worshiping dances.


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Subject: RE: Well-dressing songs?
From: GUEST,Blandiver
Date: 27 Jun 12 - 06:58 AM

Classic Steamfolk, you chaps - keep it up! And they dare maintain Folk isn't a religion...

Still, I guess only Folkies would bother dressing wells these days, or bother with wells at all (even Fleetwood's rustic wishing-well feature has recently been taken away). The urge for a more genuine veneration of springs (&c.) persists in ubiquitous coin tossing & the making of wishes, but as ever in areas of so-called 'folklore', description is better than prescription, much less any claims of occult and/or pagan provenance. But could there be a Revival without such decidedly weird notions?

Did the ancients revere wells? Of course they did, and with some considerable evidence. They also made bread and made love, but such essential human continuities aren't evidences of survivals per se. Remember: 1) In 'folklore' the medium is invariably the message; 2) A custom dies as one thing but it is revived as something else entirely; 3) The very notion of Folklore is a bourgeois fantasy concocted by Sir James Frazer et al who singularly failed to appreciate 1) thus contributing to the movement of (mostly) middle-class baby-boomers that indulged in 2). Even in my young day my middle-class baby-boomer teachers were very keen to tell us about the pagan origins of Christmas (even that that the tinsel / baubles & Xmas trees were vestiges of sacrificial viscera hung by Druids in sacred mid-winter groves) and other then-fashionable nonsense (Ring-a-Roses &c.). Such imagery haunts my dreams to this day...

If there are no well-dressing songs maybe it's for best, eh? We've always got out water from taps anyway - does anyone dress the kitchen sink I wonder? Now that would be interesting...

Jack Blandiver
(i.e. The Mudcatter Still Known as Suibhne O'Piobaireachd / GUEST Suibhne Astray until such time my request for an official name-change is honoured...)


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Subject: RE: Well-dressing songs?
From: Mo the caller
Date: 27 Jun 12 - 07:53 AM

Ah, but it's good for the tourist trade.


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Subject: RE: Well-dressing songs?
From: GUEST,Blandiver
Date: 27 Jun 12 - 08:25 AM

Indeed. Every little helps in these cash-strapped times...


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Subject: RE: Well-dressing songs?
From: GUEST,999
Date: 27 Jun 12 - 08:34 AM

http://www.myspace.com/millsandchimneys/music/songs/well-dressing-song-77238456


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