Lyrics & Knowledge Personal Pages Record Shop Auction Links Radio & Media Kids Membership Help
The Mudcat Cafemuddy

Post to this Thread - Sort Descending - Printer Friendly - Home


Folklore: What are Sour Grogs?

Splott Man 03 Oct 07 - 08:01 AM
John MacKenzie 03 Oct 07 - 08:08 AM
Crane Driver 03 Oct 07 - 08:09 AM
John MacKenzie 03 Oct 07 - 08:11 AM
Crane Driver 03 Oct 07 - 08:16 AM
Dead Horse 03 Oct 07 - 08:43 AM
Peace 03 Oct 07 - 10:31 AM
Malcolm Douglas 03 Oct 07 - 03:41 PM
patriot1314 03 Oct 07 - 05:22 PM
Peace 03 Oct 07 - 05:39 PM
Peace 03 Oct 07 - 05:40 PM
Mick Tems 04 Oct 07 - 02:11 PM
Mick Tems 04 Oct 07 - 02:19 PM
GUEST,The black belt caterpillar wrestler 04 Oct 07 - 04:31 PM
Mick Tems 05 Oct 07 - 03:48 AM
Brian Hoskin 05 Oct 07 - 05:44 AM
Mick Tems 05 Oct 07 - 09:45 AM
Mick Tems 05 Oct 07 - 09:50 AM
GUEST,Stormtalon 20 Oct 10 - 03:37 PM
Share Thread
more
Lyrics & Knowledge Search [Advanced]
DT  Forum
Sort (Forum) by:relevance date
DT Lyrics:





Subject: Folklore: What are Sour Grogs?
From: Splott Man
Date: 03 Oct 07 - 08:01 AM

In the Gower Mari Lwyd song Poor Old Horse, there's the line...

"I'm forced to eat the sour grogs that grow beneath the wall"

It's the horse's voice in this verse.


Any ideas?

Splott Man


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folklore: What are Sour Grogs?
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 03 Oct 07 - 08:08 AM

Goosegogs? aka gooseberries.
G


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folklore: What are Sour Grogs?
From: Crane Driver
Date: 03 Oct 07 - 08:09 AM

Hi Ned . . .

In several of the English 'Old Horse' songs it's 'sour grass' that grows beneath the wall - the younger, fitter horses take the sweet grass from the middle of the field. Perhaps minerals from the wall make the grass sour? You'll have to ask a horse about that.

Andrew


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folklore: What are Sour Grogs?
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 03 Oct 07 - 08:11 AM

This which I just found might tie in with Andrew's thoughts on the matter.
G


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folklore: What are Sour Grogs?
From: Crane Driver
Date: 03 Oct 07 - 08:16 AM

From Horatio Tucker's version of the old horse, collected in Mumbles (Gower Society Journal, 1957):

Once I was a young horse
And in my stable gay,
I had the best of everything,
Of barley, oats and hay;
But now I'm getting an old horse,
My courage is getting small
I'm forced to eat the sour grass
That grows beneath the wall.

Chorus: Poor old horse, let him die.
Poor old horse, let him die.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folklore: What are Sour Grogs?
From: Dead Horse
Date: 03 Oct 07 - 08:43 AM

So the other old shanty All For Me Grog is about pottery making, huh?
;-)
There is a lot of cross over in content of that Mari Lwyd version (and the Mummers play) and the Dead Horse shanty. Mebbe the Mari Lwyd got press ganged, or mebbe seamen put into the port(s) of the Gower and started going round singing this shanty with old flour sacks on their heads to avoid recognition. AND after drinking too much Grog, inadvertantly invented the Morris Dance :-)
I shall put that idea to Cecil Sharp when I next see him.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folklore: What are Sour Grogs?
From: Peace
Date: 03 Oct 07 - 10:31 AM

THE HORSE'S HEAD

My clothing it was once
And my limbs they were so fine
My mane and tail so long
And my coat it used to shine
But now I'm getting older and my courage is getting small
I'm forced to eat the sour grogs that grow beneath the wall
Poor old horse let him die. Poor old horse let him die.

He eateth all my hay and corn
Devoureth all my straw.
Likewise he is not fit to put into my carriage to draw
Likewise those actful limbs of mine that have travelled so
many a mile
Over hedges ditches bramble bushes gates and narrow styles
Poor old horse let him die. Poor old horse let him die.

My skin unto the huntsman so freely I would give
My flesh unto the hounds I really do believe
So it's whip him spur him cut him to the huntsman let him go
So it's whip him spur him cut him to the huntsman let him go
Poor old horse let him die. Poor old horse let him die.

So now they've eaten all my flesh
And my bones are white and dry
They put my head upon a Stick
To go out at Christmas time
So now my tale is ended but I still am very gay
To wish you all the happiness on this coming Christmas Day,
On this coming Christmas Day, on this coming Christmas Day.


From this site.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folklore: What are Sour Grogs?
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 03 Oct 07 - 03:41 PM

Forms of 'Poor Old Horse' (Roud 513) were found all over England and in the English-speaking areas of Wales, and was exported to the USA and Canada. In a band stretching from Yorkshire through Derbyshire and Cheshire into Northern Wales, the song was associated with a mummers' play featuring a 'mast' type horse (basically a pony's skull on a pole, set up so that the jaws could be opened and closed by an operator hidden under a blanket); the custom survived in the Sheffield area until the late 1970s or early '80s, and persists in parts of Cheshire. The song was also sung in many other parts of the country where there was no tradition of that sort, probably because it was widely printed on broadsides from the late 18th century well into the 19th.

'The Dead Horse' (Roud 3724) is less frequently recorded in tradition, known examples being mostly from the South of England and the Eastern USA. Parts of it seem to have been borrowed from the mummers' song (rather than the other way round). For some reason, the shanty seems to be better known in the Revival than the traditionally much more common land song; perhaps due to well-known recorded arrangements.

See other threads for more detail. 'Short grass' seems to be the most usual phrase.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folklore: What are Sour Grogs?
From: patriot1314
Date: 03 Oct 07 - 05:22 PM

Could be the plant "sorrell", when I was growing up we called them "soorocks" (soor meaning sour in the Scots dialect)
They were chewed for their sour flavour then discarded


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folklore: What are Sour Grogs?
From: Peace
Date: 03 Oct 07 - 05:39 PM

AHEM: I heard that male teenagers get sour grogs when they have been necking for hours but the 'mission' doesn't get accomplished.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folklore: What are Sour Grogs?
From: Peace
Date: 03 Oct 07 - 05:40 PM

. . . and that too can enter the folklore!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folklore: What are Sour Grogs?
From: Mick Tems
Date: 04 Oct 07 - 02:11 PM

It is "sour grobs", not "sour grogs." A grob is Gower dialect for a tussocky lump of coarse grass. And, despite what some people in Mumbles call it, it isn't the Mari Lwyd – it is the Horse's Head, like all the other horse's head customs along Gower which differ in their traditions.

In 1976 I interviewed Mrs Marjory Bowden, of Chapel Street, Mumbles, whose family kept the Horse's Head for years. Mrs Bowden maintained that it was "sour grobs", and the printed sheet I obtained from the Horse's Head confirms this. Mrs Bowden said that it was her father who composed the song, and the vicar of All Saints had helped him do it – but the strange fact remains that Mrs Bowden and the Bowden family were oblivious to the story that the same two songs, Poor Old Horse and The Derby Ram, exist in Derbyshire, let alone at the other end of Gower! (There is a tale that the vicar came from Derby, but we won't go into that!)

The mystery deepens. I have four differing versions of the Horse's Head tradition – (1) from Llangennith (Eric Gibbs), (2) from Horton (George Tucker) (3) Mumbles (Horatio Tucker) and (4) Brandy's Song from Rhosili, which is very different and worthy of recording:

Come open wide to us your door
We've come o'er hills and ditch and moor
To wish you joy this Christmastide;
And eat your pudding by your leave
As we have done in days gone by
And hope to do until we die.
Come, Mrs Tucker, open your door
And let us have some food;
For the weather is cold and we must have more.

George Tucker pronounced the word as "grass". (i.e. "I'm 'bliged to eat the green grass that grows beneath the wall." I had a bit of trouble with my Blue Clicky - google Folkwales Archive and prepare for some interesting reading...

Mick Tems


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folklore: What are Sour Grogs?
From: Mick Tems
Date: 04 Oct 07 - 02:19 PM

What am I playing at? I'm misquoting George Tucker - SOUR, not green:

"I 'bliged to eat the sour grass that grows beneath the wall..."


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folklore: What are Sour Grogs?
From: GUEST,The black belt caterpillar wrestler
Date: 04 Oct 07 - 04:31 PM

Martin Carthy sings "short grass by the wall" which never made sense to me, the grass is usually longer there.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folklore: What are Sour Grogs?
From: Mick Tems
Date: 05 Oct 07 - 03:48 AM

refesh


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folklore: What are Sour Grogs?
From: Brian Hoskin
Date: 05 Oct 07 - 05:44 AM

So horses do sing folk music?!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folklore: What are Sour Grogs?
From: Mick Tems
Date: 05 Oct 07 - 09:45 AM

Gower animal head customs


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folklore: What are Sour Grogs?
From: Mick Tems
Date: 05 Oct 07 - 09:50 AM

Sorry - try this one:

Gower animal head customs


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folklore: What are Sour Grogs?
From: GUEST,Stormtalon
Date: 20 Oct 10 - 03:37 PM

Here in Ireland they're known locally as 'sour bellies'; as a child I was told to chew on the stalks to release the bitter flavour of the plant. The variant of the flower that was known here was Oxalis magnifica. I hope this information helps! I have to say that your terms and nicknames for the plant proved helpful in my research project. :)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate
  Share Thread:
More...

Reply to Thread
Subject:  Help
From:
Preview   Automatic Linebreaks   Make a link ("blue clicky")


Mudcat time: 22 June 6:10 AM EDT

[ Home ]

All original material is copyright © 1998 by the Mudcat Café Music Foundation, Inc. All photos, music, images, etc. are copyright © by their rightful owners. Every effort is taken to attribute appropriate copyright to images, content, music, etc. We are not a copyright resource.