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Poor Old Horse - play?

Tradsinger 12 Jun 08 - 05:18 AM
Wyrd Sister 12 Jun 08 - 07:04 AM
GUEST,Suffolk Miracle 12 Jun 08 - 09:49 AM
GUEST,Georgina Boyes 12 Jun 08 - 11:58 AM
peregrina 12 Jun 08 - 12:12 PM
Def Shepard 12 Jun 08 - 12:54 PM
Malcolm Douglas 12 Jun 08 - 02:47 PM
GUEST,Georgina Boyes 12 Jun 08 - 03:29 PM
Tradsinger 12 Jun 08 - 04:27 PM
peregrina 12 Jun 08 - 04:29 PM
Dead Horse 12 Jun 08 - 04:38 PM
Def Shepard 12 Jun 08 - 04:44 PM
mouldy 13 Jun 08 - 10:43 AM
mouldy 13 Jun 08 - 10:45 AM
r.padgett 13 Jun 08 - 11:11 AM
BillE 13 Jun 08 - 11:38 AM
Greg B 13 Jun 08 - 08:01 PM
Leadfingers 13 Jun 08 - 08:52 PM
r.padgett 14 Jun 08 - 09:57 AM
BillE 15 Jun 08 - 02:48 AM
r.padgett 15 Jun 08 - 03:01 AM
Rozza 07 Oct 10 - 02:13 PM
GUEST,Ebbie, housesitting 08 Oct 10 - 12:40 PM
GUEST,GUEST dulcimer player 08 Oct 10 - 05:59 PM
Tradsinger 09 Oct 10 - 04:52 AM
JHW 09 Oct 10 - 06:20 AM
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Subject: Poor Old Horse - play?
From: Tradsinger
Date: 12 Jun 08 - 05:18 AM

I have recently collected a version of Poor Old Horse from a Derbyshire singer. He learnt it in Whittington, Derbyshire about 70 years ago. He told me that there used to be a play with it, like the Old Tup play, but it was before his time. Does anyone know of a Poor Old Horse play, and is there anyone doing it these days?

Tradsinger


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Subject: RE: Poor Old Horse - play?
From: Wyrd Sister
Date: 12 Jun 08 - 07:04 AM

I believe it was around Sheffield area, and related to the T'owd Tup. Handsworth Traditional Sword Dancers did do a version a few years ago, but I think it's not a fixed part of their repertoire.
More information might be found here


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Subject: RE: Poor Old Horse - play?
From: GUEST,Suffolk Miracle
Date: 12 Jun 08 - 09:49 AM

I believe the Darlington Mummers still perform one.


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Subject: RE: Poor Old Horse - play?
From: GUEST,Georgina Boyes
Date: 12 Jun 08 - 11:58 AM

My favourite version, performed by Billy Palmer and Chris Ralphs and recorded by Ruairidh Greig at Dore in Sheffield on the 1st January 1971 is now available - complete with text and notes - on the entirely wonderful Yorkshire Garland website www.yorkshirefolksong.net

What none of us knew at the time Ruaridh made the recording was that it would be the last time these two elderly men took the Horse out.

Georgina


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Subject: RE: Poor Old Horse - play?
From: peregrina
Date: 12 Jun 08 - 12:12 PM

Here:
Poor Old Horse

or maybe here:
Poor Old Horse link
Poor Old Horse

(You can also find an old sow, an old mule, and another old horse at the same site)


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Subject: RE: Poor Old Horse - play?
From: Def Shepard
Date: 12 Jun 08 - 12:54 PM

These might be of use

The Old Horse, Sheffield District, Yorkshire, 1888

The Old Horse, North Derbyshire [1907]


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Subject: RE: Poor Old Horse - play?
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 12 Jun 08 - 02:47 PM

The standard work on the subject is E C Cawte, Ritual Animal Disguise (Cambridge: D S Brewer for the Folklore Society, 1978). There is also Violet Alford, The Hobby Horse and Other Animal Masks (London: Merlin Press, 1978); which, though interesting, belongs more to the romantic 'pagan origins' school and should be treated with caution. The Old Horse was mainly a midwinter custom, though in Cheshire it became attached to the Souling tradition. The Antrobus example is particularly well-known, and Peter Kennedy made a short film of it in 1956.

The Folk Play site also provides links to other material available on the internet, and Steve Gardham's background notes at the Yorkshire Garland site are a pretty good introduction. The custom occurred in a band from North Yorkshire down through Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Cheshire into North Wales; there are some examples from Gower at Mick Tems' website: Gower Animal Head Customs. Note that the Welsh Mari Llwyd (also a mast-horse made with a skull), has a quite different set of customs associated with it.

The Richmond (Yorkshire) version was printed in Dixon-Bell, Ancient Poems, Ballads and Songs of the Peasantry of England (1857; available at various websites) and forms of the song appeared quite widely on broadsides. Examples at Bodleian Library Broadside Ballads:

Poor Old Horse

This led to the song turning up in oral currency in parts of the country where the associated custom was unknown. For a list of examples, see number 513 in the Roud Folk Song Index.


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Subject: RE: Poor Old Horse - play?
From: GUEST,Georgina Boyes
Date: 12 Jun 08 - 03:29 PM

However, the problem with both books is that their explanations of customs rely heavily on ritual origin theories that are - she said politely - not consistent with reliable historical research methods.

Or as someone said of another of Violet Alford's works, reflect the tendency of Folklorists to leap to phallic conclusions when presented with anything remotely conical.

Georgina


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Subject: RE: Poor Old Horse - play?
From: Tradsinger
Date: 12 Jun 08 - 04:27 PM

Wow. Have we drifted into the 'Sex and Morris Dancing' thread?! Seriously, thank you all for your information and suggestions and I will follow them up.

Tradsinger


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Subject: RE: Poor Old Horse - play?
From: peregrina
Date: 12 Jun 08 - 04:29 PM

You also almost drifted into the musicain's names for their musical instruments thread--but Doc Watson's guitar Ol'Hoss wasn't poor.


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Subject: RE: Poor Old Horse - play?
From: Dead Horse
Date: 12 Jun 08 - 04:38 PM

Ye must think very carefully afore ye should go out guised in animal garb, lest ye should be strick deed
and therefore procede directly te ye hell, without the option of passing ye GO,
and thus not entitling ye te collect £200!!!
Verily, tis a dark road, and them that follows it, is doomed.
Doomed I say !!


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Subject: RE: Poor Old Horse - play?
From: Def Shepard
Date: 12 Jun 08 - 04:44 PM

'cause 'e knows so and 'e says so....
and, of course, we all 'ave a touch of the doom about us


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Subject: RE: Poor Old Horse - play?
From: mouldy
Date: 13 Jun 08 - 10:43 AM

Until they folded, Mansfield Morris Men performed their "Owd 'Oss" play up until Boxing day, when they did its last performance, and the first of their Plough Play.

The play revolved around the shoeing of the oss, with subsequent humorous episodes. The oss was a wooden horse's head with snapping jaw on a pole. This was held by a crouching man, who was covered by a black cloth. It was a bit like a single-ended pantomime horse! The song was sung, all bar the last verse, at the start. The last verse: "now for to shoe this horse, sir, it is no use at all, sir...etc" was sung at the end. The song used is the one in Roy Palmer's book, "Everyman's Book of English Country Songs" p229, with the addition of their last verse. In the book it also gives a broad description of the event.

Andrea


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Subject: RE: Poor Old Horse - play?
From: mouldy
Date: 13 Jun 08 - 10:45 AM

I also have the script of an Owd 'Oss play from somewhere else, but it doesn't say!It still largely revolves around the shoeing of the horse.

Andrea


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Subject: RE: Poor Old Horse - play?
From: r.padgett
Date: 13 Jun 08 - 11:11 AM

Many thanks to all who posted here from a Yorkshire Garland point of view

Such are the plays that we would like to see performed and "taught" in schools and other places such as youth clubs, certainly in Yorkshire and no doubt neighbouring counties and I am delighted that this recording has been made available to us as an historical reference point

The Yorkshire Garland has just finished its first phase using HLF monies and we wish to add to the Website etc

Meeting in Harrogate on Sunday June 15th pm details from me if anyone interested please!

Ray


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Subject: RE: Poor Old Horse - play?
From: BillE
Date: 13 Jun 08 - 11:38 AM

Ray. Go to our Richmond - where the lass on the hill came from - on Christmas Eve morning and you will see, hear and get molested by the poor old horse with musicians and singers dressed in hunting gear.
Bill


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Subject: RE: Poor Old Horse - play?
From: Greg B
Date: 13 Jun 08 - 08:01 PM

I think most here know of it, but the 'Dead Horse' ritual was
played out at sea by British sailors on the 30th day...the day
they'd worked off their advance and now were earning pay that
went to them.

They'd hoist the effigy of a horse to the end of the main yard,
after parading it around on deck, and drop him in the drink.

A poor old man came riding by
AND WE SAY SO AND WE HOPE SO
A poor old man came riding by
OH POOR OLD HORSE

Says I, "Old man, your horse will die,"
Says I, "Old man, your horse will die."

And if he dies we'll tan his skin,
And if he don't we'll ride him again.

For one long month I rode him hard,
For one long month we all rode him hard.

But now your month is up, old Turk,
Get up, you swine, and look for work.

Get up you swine and look for graft,
While we lays on and drags ye aft.

He's as dead as a nail in the lamp-room door,
And he won't come worrying us no more.

We'll use the hair of his tail to sew our sails,
And the iron of his shoe to make deck nails.

We'll hoist him up to the fore yard-arm,
Where he won't do sailors any harm.

We'll drop him down with a long, long roll,
Where the sharks will have his body and the devil take his soul.

(At that moment, a sailor would cut the rope used to hoist
the effigy to the leeward end of the yard-arm, and the 'dead
horse' would meet its Lord in the briny)

But that wasn't the only 'old horse' reference to be found
at sea:

As a protest song at the quality of the meat served
onboard:

"Old Horse! Old Horse! What brought you here?
From Sacarap to Portland Pier,
I've carted stone this many a year;
'Til, kilt by blows and sore abuse -
they salted me down for sailor's use.

The sailors they do me despise,
they turn me over and damn my eyes;
cut my meat and pick my bones,
and pitch the rest to Davy Jones."


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Subject: RE: Poor Old Horse - play?
From: Leadfingers
Date: 13 Jun 08 - 08:52 PM

If you have a mild bout of Laryngitis , remember you are a Pony -















































A Little Hoarse !






OK = I've Got My Coat !!


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Subject: RE: Poor Old Horse - play?
From: r.padgett
Date: 14 Jun 08 - 09:57 AM

Hello Bill

Keep me posted re Christmas morning details

Cheers

Ray


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Subject: RE: Poor Old Horse - play?
From: BillE
Date: 15 Jun 08 - 02:48 AM

Ray,

Send me your email address in a PM and I'll send you a photo - and MP3 of the song if I can
separate it from video.

I have only been an observer, but they come out at about 10.30 on the morning of
Christmas Eve for a couple of hours in and around Richmond market place. And as far as I know they also come out at other times and visit farms and private parties.

Bill


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Subject: RE: Poor Old Horse - play?
From: r.padgett
Date: 15 Jun 08 - 03:01 AM

My email is on the YG website www.yorkshirefolksong.net Bill many thanks

Ray


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Subject: RE: Poor Old Horse - play?
From: Rozza
Date: 07 Oct 10 - 02:13 PM

The team who performed at Dore were from Dronfield, and their performance did not include any dialogue, but simply the song with simple mimed actions. I later recovered a near-complete text which was performed in the Wentworth-Elsecar area. Details are available in my M. Phil thesis which is online at:
Seasonal House Visiting in South Yorkshire

Ruairidh Greig


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Subject: RE: Poor Old Horse - play?
From: GUEST,Ebbie, housesitting
Date: 08 Oct 10 - 12:40 PM

Leadfingers, my brothers and I used to say: I think I have a little colt. I am a little horse.


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Subject: RE: Poor Old Horse - play?
From: GUEST,GUEST dulcimer player
Date: 08 Oct 10 - 05:59 PM

Poor old horse was performed at the Brown Cow, Mansfield last Christmas / New Year. I think there are plans to do it again this year.


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Subject: RE: Poor Old Horse - play?
From: Tradsinger
Date: 09 Oct 10 - 04:52 AM

There's a nice version of the play on YouTube here,

Tradsinger


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Subject: RE: Poor Old Horse - play?
From: JHW
Date: 09 Oct 10 - 06:20 AM

Darlington Mummers do have a horse though it's some time since we had the poor old horse song/custom out, Banbury several years ago.
A couple of pics there currently on Darlington Mummers Photo Gallery (top right) though alas no utube.
John


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