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Lyr Add: The Reaper (Alfred Williams)

Newport Boy 02 Oct 07 - 05:31 PM
katlaughing 02 Oct 07 - 11:32 PM
Newport Boy 03 Oct 07 - 05:28 AM
BB 03 Oct 07 - 03:24 PM
katlaughing 03 Oct 07 - 03:36 PM
Mick Pearce (MCP) 03 Oct 07 - 04:04 PM
nutty 03 Oct 07 - 04:25 PM
Malcolm Douglas 03 Oct 07 - 04:34 PM
vectis 03 Oct 07 - 06:34 PM
GUEST,DK 03 Oct 07 - 10:10 PM
Malcolm Douglas 03 Oct 07 - 11:12 PM
RTim 04 Oct 07 - 02:26 PM
Newport Boy 04 Oct 07 - 04:02 PM
GUEST 14 Oct 07 - 04:03 AM
Mick Pearce (MCP) 05 Oct 09 - 05:34 AM
GUEST,John Ellerton 12 Sep 10 - 01:44 PM
Newport Boy 28 Jan 12 - 06:36 AM
Mick Pearce (MCP) 28 Jan 12 - 01:50 PM
GUEST,John Alderslade. 07 Dec 12 - 12:41 PM
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Subject: Lyr Add: THE REAPER (Alfred Williams)
From: Newport Boy
Date: 02 Oct 07 - 05:31 PM

This is only my second post, and I have the cheek to start a new thread! Feel free to rap my knuckles or offer advice.

I've been trying for some time to find the source (or any information) for this song. Lyrics below - I also have the tune, but wil have to work on it before I post it.

REAPING AND BINDING
(songwriter unknown)

The crested lark is over the plain, the summer breezes blow,
The dewdrops wetting the bending grain, cheerily, merrily O.
The panting horses of the day leap into the evening sky.
Now 'tis time to be up and away, my nutbrown lass and I.

Chorus
From daylight to starlight, through the noisy heat of noon,
No rest we'll find, but to reap and bind till the coming of the moon.

'Tis pleasant with my nutbrown lass, when autumn breezes blow,
To tread the dewy meadow grass, cheerily, merrily O.
To stroll amidst the golden rust, my sickle in my hand,
Disturb the scarlet poppy dust that reddens all the land.

Bring out the bonny wholesome ale. Let the river flow.
The tipsy sun hangs over the dale, cheerily, merrily O.
The dew drop and the honey leaf, the poppy and the grain
Are gathered in the scented sheaf, to die upon the plain.

The song was recorded from BBC radio (probably R2) by a friend a bit over 30 years ago, and I learnt it from his tape, which has long gone. The title must have been given in the broadcast, because I added the title to my repertoire list before 1976. I've sung it intermittently since then, and nobody has ever recognised it.

The lyrics are rather neat and tidy, so I think it is probably not too old. The fit with the tune is good, so it's probably a composition, rather than a poem set to music.

That's all I have. I'd be grateful for any help in finding a source.

Phil


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Reaping and Binding - source unknown
From: katlaughing
Date: 02 Oct 07 - 11:32 PM

Welcome to the Mudcat! You're doing fine.

Are you certain of the title?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Reaping and Binding - source unknown
From: Newport Boy
Date: 03 Oct 07 - 05:28 AM

I can't be absolutely sure of the title, but I would usually write down whatever was announced. I have searched extensively for most of the key phrases in the lyrics.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Reaping and Binding - source unknown
From: BB
Date: 03 Oct 07 - 03:24 PM

The song is called 'The Reaper'. I believe the words were actually written by Alfred Williams, the author of 'Folk Songs of the Upper Thames', although I may be wrong and he may have collected them. The tune was written by John Alderslade.

Barbara


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Reaping and Binding - source unknown
From: katlaughing
Date: 03 Oct 07 - 03:36 PM

HERE's more about the poet.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Reaping and Binding - source unknown
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 03 Oct 07 - 04:04 PM

The song has been recorded by Dave Webber and Anni Fentiman on their Unity album (you can get a sample from their website: Albums.

Their notes (Notes to selected tracks from Unity at Folkradio) say, that it came from Williams' Folk Songs of The Upper Thames, but a quick look through my copy didn't find it and neither is it in my copy of the Roud Index. So it's possible, as Barbara says above, that Alfred Williams wrote it.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Reaping and Binding - source unknown
From: nutty
Date: 03 Oct 07 - 04:25 PM

Just search for Alfred Williams poetry books at www.abebooks.com    They are VERY RARE and EXPENSIVE.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Reaping and Binding - source unknown
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 03 Oct 07 - 04:34 PM

Likely in one of his books of poetry, none of which I've seen; though I did have to look up some items in the microfilm copy of Williams' papers not long ago, and there was quite a lot of MS verse and prose before I got to the song texts. The verses above do seem familiar, and I rather think that I saw them there.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Reaping and Binding - source unknown
From: vectis
Date: 03 Oct 07 - 06:34 PM

BB is usually extremely well informed so she's probably right. Smashing tune, a few people down here (Sussex)sing it.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Reaping and Binding - source unknown
From: GUEST,DK
Date: 03 Oct 07 - 10:10 PM

I wonder if the author of 'Reaping and Binding' had ever done any of that form of work. You'll note
that the viewpoint character had a SICKLE in his hand, I've done some reaping with a SCYTHE in my
youth and it was bloody hard work but at least one can stand more or less upright. I don't believe
that stooping over to use a sickle all day would ever have been described as 'pleasant' except by
someone who only was an onlooker at farmwork.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Reaping and Binding - source unknown
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 03 Oct 07 - 11:12 PM

Williams was well used to hard physical work, but in the factory rather than the field. You'll notice, though, that what he describes as 'pleasant' is the strolling (presumably afterwards), not the working. One can stroll with a sickle, but it would be a bit awkward with a scythe.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Reaping and Binding - source unknown
From: RTim
Date: 04 Oct 07 - 02:26 PM

When Williams gave up working as a Hammerman in the Swindon Railway Works, he first built his own house and then became a Strawberry farmer!

Tim Radford


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Reaping and Binding - source unknown
From: Newport Boy
Date: 04 Oct 07 - 04:02 PM

Thanks everyone. Shame I had the title wrong, but at least I now know where the song came from. I'll now try & find a copy of the poem. The tune on Dave Webber and Anni Fentiman's album is the same as I have (allowing for a few variations over 30 years). John Alderslade presumably set the poem to music around the time I heard it (1975?)

Phil


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Reaper (Alfred Williams)
From: GUEST
Date: 14 Oct 07 - 04:03 AM

THIS message is from Alfred Williams Gt,Nephew,Still working the same soil that he did,Uncle Alf was an exceptional man,sacrificing his health to give following generations the information on life in England as HE found it,My father David Edgar Williams Travelled with his Uncle in the Folk Songs quest,David played Banjo,Harmonica ,and sang many of the "old" songs,by EAR not music.
I myself can still use a HOOK and Fagging stick,also the Scythe.
Thank you all for appreciating what Uncle Alf wrote for us all,if you ever come to SOUTH MARSTON POP in and see me
ALLEN WILLIAMS.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Reaper (Alfred Williams)
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 05 Oct 09 - 05:34 AM

I'm just refreshing this because someone asked for the song in another thread: S.

I've found this post on another forum: Hilpers Forum: Looking for lyrics - The Reaper sung by Alex Atterson, and repeat the information here.

Mick



Jake Wade asked:

Would some kind person check the following words for me??

Also looking for the music!!?

The Reaper as heard sung by Alex Atterson.
On Radio Humberside Folk programme about 1985!! ( Yes we had one then!!! )

The tufted lark is over the plain the southern breezes blow
The dewbalms wet on the bending grain, cheerily, merrily Oh
The panting horses of the day **** into the western sky
Now t'is time to be up and away, my nut brown lass and I

From daylight to starlight, to the noisy heat of noon
No rest we'll find but to reap and bind till the coming of the moon

T'is pleasant with my nut brown lass when southern breezes blow
To tread the dewy meadow grass, cheerily, merrily Oh
To stoop amidst the golden rust my sickle in my hand
And scatter the scarlet poppy dust that reddens all the land

From daylight to starlight, to the noisy heat of noon
No rest we'll find but to reap and bind till the coming of the moon

Bring out the bonny horse a meal and let the river flow
For the tipsy sun hangs over the dale cheerily, merrily Oh
The debalm and the honeyleaf, the poppy and the grain
All gathered in the scented sheaf to die upon the plain

From daylight to starlight, to the noisy heat of noon
No rest we'll find but to reap and bind till the coming of the moon


and received the following reply on the origin from Pete MacGregor:


The tufted lark is over the plain the southern breezes blow
The dewbalms wet on the bending grain, cheerily, merrily Oh
The prancing horses of the day leap into the western sky
Now t'is time to be up and away, my nut brown lass and I

From daylight to starlight, thro' the noisy heat of noon
No rest we'll find but to reap and bind till the coming of the moon

T'is pleasant with my nut brown lass when stormy winds do blow
To tread the dewy meadow grass, cheerily, merrily Oh
To stoop amidst the golden rust my sickle in my hand
And scatter the scarlet poppy dust that reddens all the land

From daylight to starlight, thro' the noisy heat of noon
No rest we'll find but to reap and bind till the coming of the moon

Bring out the bonny horse a meal and let the river flow
For the tipsy sun hangs over the dale cheerily, merrily Oh
The dewbalm and the honeyleaf, the poppy and the grain
Are gathered in the scented sheaf to die upon the plain

From daylight to starlight, thro' the noisy heat of noon
No rest we'll find but to reap and bind till the coming of the moon

Alex got this from John Alderslade - Trowbridge Village Pump Festival, etc. - who set the poem by Will Meade to a tune he wrote. John thinks Will Meade probably reworked an earlier poem but can't remember where he saw it.

The song was recorded by John on a cassette tape - remember them? - and has been reissued on a CD put out on the Village Pump label but may be difficult to find.

I've changed the words above to show John's version but it's likely that Alex may have used 'Folk Process' on them.


He also posted an abc on that page, but he was new to abc, and said it needed tweaking to fit the words:


X:1
T: The Reaper
M: 4/4
L: 1/4
Q: 160
C: John Alderslade
K: C
G,|C C G G|F E/2 D/2 C C|G, C D C/2 B/2|C3
G,|C C G G|F E/2 D/2 2C|B2 A D|B/2 A/2 B C
C|E E F F|G E/2 D/2 C C|E E F G|3D
G,|C C G G|F E C C|G, C D B|3C


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Reaper (Alfred Williams)
From: GUEST,John Ellerton
Date: 12 Sep 10 - 01:44 PM

The version I heard makes more sense.

The tufted lark is over the plain, the southern breezes blow.
The dew lies wet in the bending grain, cheerily, merrily Oh.
The panting horses of the day leap into the eastern sky
And now its time to be up and away, my nut brown lass and I


Its pleasant with my nut brown lass, when autumn breezes blow
To tread the dewy meadow grass, cheerily, merrily oh
To steal from it the golden brush, my sickle in my hand
And studs of scarlet poppy dust that reddens all the land

Bring out the bonny wholesome ale, let the river flow
For the tipsy sun hangs over the dale, cheerily, merrily oh
The dew bell and the honey leaf, the poppy and the grain
are gathered into scented sheaves, to lie upon the plain


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Reaper (Alfred Williams)
From: Newport Boy
Date: 28 Jan 12 - 06:36 AM

I think I'm now able to put this topic to rest - although rather inconclusively. Two things occurred this month - I came across the scrap of paper on which I originally transcribed the words 35 years ago, and I went to the Village Pump to see Vin Garbutt (superb performance).

I had a discussion with John Alderslade, who kindly gave me a copy of his CD transfer of 2 early cassette recordings - 'John Alderslade' and 'Song of the West' (with Tony Batten). He wouldn't accept any payment. 'The Reaper' appears on both cassettes with identical words and tune.

The CD credits the words to Will Meade and the music to Alan Briars or John Alderslade. The notes say: As for who wrote the tune to The Reaper, I always thought that I did, Alan thinks he did. Who knows, the state we were in most of the time way back when we were in STONEGALLOWS with Tony Batten, it's amazing any of us can remember anything. Listening to a number of tunes by both, I'm inclined to favour John.

As for the words, John told me that the words came to him on a typed sheet, credited to Will Meade. He now thinks that the style of the words makes that doubtful, and the style is much more that of Alfred Williams. Listening to other tracks written by both, I agree. John has failed to find the poem in any of Alfred Williams books in the Wiltshire library, and it may well be that Will Meade reworked an earlier poem.

Here's the words as sung by John Alderslade, with the variation to my old transcription noted:

The tufted (1) lark is over the plain, the southern breezes blow,
The dew balm's (2) wet on the bending grain, cheerily, merrily O.
The prancing (3) horses of the day leap into the eastern (4) sky.
Now 'tis time to be up and away, my nutbrown lass and I.

Chorus
From daylight to starlight, through the noisy heat of noon,
No rest we'll find, but to reap and bind till the coming of the moon.

'Tis pleasant with my nutbrown lass, when stormy winds do (5) blow,
To tread the dewy meadow grass, cheerily, merrily O.
To stoop (6) amidst the golden rust, my sickle in my hand,
And scatter (7) the scarlet poppy dust that reddens all the land.

Bring out the bonny wholesome ale. Let the river flow.
The tipsy sun hangs over the dale, cheerily, merrily O.
The dew balm and the honey leaf, the poppy and the grain
Are gathered in the scented sheaf, to die upon the plain.


(1) I had 'crested lark' with some uncertainty.
(2) I had 'dew drops wetting'.
(3) 'panting'
(4) 'eastern' - refers to sunrise?
(5) 'autumn breezes' - fits the mood better.
(6) 'stroll' - again fits the mood.
(7) 'Disturb the scarlet' - I was uncertain, but definitely one word.

So there - I'm not going to worry over this any more. I'll sing my version!

Phil


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Reaper (Alfred Williams)
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 28 Jan 12 - 01:50 PM

Phil

The Alfred Williams site (poems t) indicates a poem called The Reaper's Song published in two versions of 60 lines in Songs In Wiltshire, then 32 lines in Selected Poetry.

I can't find the poem online, but if you search google books for the tufted lark, it returns only The Selected Poems of Alfred Williams, but no preview is available, so I can't even confirm the title as above. It does at least suggest that an Alfred Williams poem may have been the original.

If anyone has either of the two books, they may be able to confirm it.


Mick


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Reaper (Alfred Williams)
From: GUEST,John Alderslade.
Date: 07 Dec 12 - 12:41 PM

Thats my song. I was told that the poem was written by Wiltshire poet Will Meade, but I'm not to sure.I put it to music and added the chorus. I know that Alfred Williams wrote a very similar poem, The Swains Song and both are on a CD I did a few years ago. By all means give me a ring on 01225-707346 to discuss.


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