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DTStudy: Bedmaking

DigiTrad:
BEDMAKING


Joe Offer 03 Jul 08 - 08:42 PM
Malcolm Douglas 04 Jul 08 - 03:07 AM
GUEST,Gerry 04 Jul 08 - 08:54 AM
GUEST 04 Jul 08 - 09:12 AM
Bat Goddess 04 Jul 08 - 10:24 AM
Bill D 04 Jul 08 - 10:41 AM
Joe Offer 04 Jul 08 - 10:42 AM
Bill D 04 Jul 08 - 12:02 PM
Joe Offer 04 Jul 08 - 12:42 PM
McGrath of Harlow 04 Jul 08 - 02:48 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 04 Jul 08 - 05:16 PM
GUEST,Morag 05 Mar 12 - 07:23 PM
Steve Gardham 06 Mar 12 - 10:07 AM
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Subject: DTStudy: Bedmaking
From: Joe Offer
Date: 03 Jul 08 - 08:42 PM

This is an edited DTStudy thread, and all messages posted here are subject to editing and deletion.
This thread is intended to serve as a forum for corrections and annotations for the Digital Tradition song named in the title of this thread.

Search for other DTStudy threads


I came across this song in the DT today, and it piqued my curiosity. Can we dig up anyghing more on it? Other versions??

Here are the lyrics we have in the Digital Tradition:

BEDMAKING

Me father he was a good old man
He sent me to service when I was young
But my missus and I, we never could agree
Because that my master he would love me

Me missus she sent me all up aloft
To make up a bed both neat and soft
But me master followed after with a gay gold ring
Saying, Betsy, take this for your bedmaking

Me missus she came upstairs in a haste
And caught masters arms all around me waist
From the top to the bottom she did him fling
Saying, Master, take that for your bedmaking

First in the kitchen and then in the hall
And then in the parlor among the ladies all
And they all asked me where I had been
And I told them, up aloft at the bedmaking

Me missus she turned me all out of doors
She called me a nasty impudent whore
With the weather being wet and my shoes being thin
I wished meself back at the bedmaking

When six months were over and seven months were past
This pretty little maid she grew stout round the waist
She could scarcely lace her stays nor tie her apron string
And twas then that she remembered the bedmaking

When eight months were over and nine months were gone
This pretty little maid bore a lovely young son
She took him to the church and had him christened John
Then she sent him home again to that gay old man

recorded by Frankie Armstrong on Out of Love
and Martin Carthy on Crown of Horn
@baby @servant
filename[ BEDMAKIN
TUNE FILE: BEDMAKIN
CLICK TO PLAY
SOF

Here's the entry from the Traditional Ballad Index:

Bed-Making, The

DESCRIPTION: The girl is sent into service "when I was young." Her master becomes enamored of her. The mistress catches him with her, and throws the girl out. At last she bears a son, and brings him back to the father, blaming it all on "the bed-making."
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1930 (Ord)
KEYWORDS: servant sex pregnancy bastard begging hardtimes
FOUND IN: Britain(England(South),Scotland)
REFERENCES (3 citations):
Ord, p. 199, "My Mither She Feed Me" (1 short text)
Wiltshire-WSRO Mi 530, "Bedmaking" (1 text)
DT, BEDMAKIN

Roud #1631
ALTERNATE TITLES:
My Old Father Was a Good Old Man
My Mother Sent Me to Service
The Bedmaking
NOTES: Roud splits off Ord's text, "My Mither She Feed Me," as a separate item, #3796. But Ord's text, while only a fragment, contains all the characteristics, and many of the words, of this piece (or at least its first portion). I can't see splitting them unless a fuller version of Ord's song is forthcoming. - RBW
Last updated in version 2.6
File: Ord199

Go to the Ballad Search form
Go to the Ballad Index Song List

Go to the Ballad Index Instructions
Go to the Ballad Index Bibliography or Discography

The Ballad Index Copyright 2016 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.


Roud lists several entries, most notably a version in Purslow's Wanton Seed.
Can anybody identify the source of the DT lyrics?


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Bedmaking
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 04 Jul 08 - 03:07 AM

Probably a transcription by ear from a Frankie Armstrong record, with the typical (and annoying) substitution of 'me' for 'my' throughout that some people seem to think is compulsory when writing down the words of folk songs. It can (sometimes) serve a useful function for the serious collector working with traditional singers, but is a pointless affectation when just copying out what a professional performer is singing; particularly as there is rarely any attempt to reproduce other idiosyncracies of pronounciation.

Right. Got that off my chest.

Martin Carthy also recorded an arrangement of the song. Both his and Frankie's derive from the set in Frank Purslow's The Wanton Seed (EFDS[S], 1968) which was a collation: tune from Marina Russell (Upwey, Dorset, December 1907), words mainly from George Udall (Halstock, Dorset, June 1908), those two noted by Henry and Robert Hammond; with some additional material from Benjamin Arnold (Easton, Winchester, Hampshire, November 1906) noted by Dr George Gardiner.

Of course, there were broadside editions; three can be seen at Bodleian Library Broadside Ballads:

The Gay Old Man

More detail will be available when The Wanton Seed is republished in a few months' time. I'd just add that I can't agree with the Ballad Index's comments on the text in Ord; although the opening four lines are presumably related to the first verse of Roud 1631, the rest of it is a completely different story, so best listed separately.


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Bedmaking
From: GUEST,Gerry
Date: 04 Jul 08 - 08:54 AM

The Frankie Armstrong record, Out Of Love, Hope And Suffering, comes with notes by the artist. The lyrics as posted above are exactly as they appear in Frankie Armstrong's notes, except for the substitution of "my" for "me" in verse 1, lines 3 and 4. So, Malcolm, it appears that the culprit is Frankie Armstrong, herself.

The liner notes say nothing of the origin or history of the song.


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Bedmaking
From: GUEST
Date: 04 Jul 08 - 09:12 AM

The Martin Carthy version is on the folkinfo.org site


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Bedmaking
From: Bat Goddess
Date: 04 Jul 08 - 10:24 AM

Martin Carthy included a final verse --

She cursed him first through the kitchen and then in the hall
And then in the parlor among the ladies all,
Saying "If you won't pay me, here's your little son John,
Who never cost you naught but the bedmaking."


Actually, in this verse, I sing "women" instead of "ladies".

Linn


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Bedmaking
From: Bill D
Date: 04 Jul 08 - 10:41 AM

Similar theme to The Christmas Goose,which has several versions of its own.
The idea of the wronged young woman getting some sort of revenge is highly appealing, and it may well be that some songs were created after hearing earlier versions..."Only the details were changed to protect the innocent because of my memory."


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Subject: ADD Version: Bedmaking
From: Joe Offer
Date: 04 Jul 08 - 10:42 AM

Hi, Bill -
When I first saw the song, it made me think of The Brisk Butcher. Same theme, different song.
For the record, here is the entire Martin Carthy text, from the Crown of Horn CD:

The Bedmaking


My father he was a good old man
He put me to service when I was very young
My missus and me we never could agree
Because that my master he would love me.

Well she sent me upstairs to the loft
To make up a bed so neat and soft
Master followed after with a gay gold ring
Saying "Betty have this for your bed making."

All through the kitchen and down through the hall
All through the parlour among the women all
Master followed after with a gay gold ring
Saying "Betty have this for your bed making."

Missus come upstairs in a great haste
Caught the master there with his arm round my waist
From the top to the bottom stair she did him fling
Saying "Mister have that for your bedmaking."

All through the kitchen and down through the hall
All through the parlour among the women all
Everybody asked me wherever I had been
And they laughed when I said "At the bed making."

Missus she flung me out of the door
She called me a nasty cheeky little whore
The weather being wet and my clothes being thin
How I wished I was back at the bed making.

Six month over and seven month past
Pretty fair maid grew thick about the waist
Her stays wouldn't meet or her pinafore pin
She cried when she thought of the bedmaking.

Eight month over and nine month gone
Pretty fair maid had a beautiful son
She's took him to the church she him christened John
And she took him back again to the dear old man.

She cursed him through the kitchen and down through the hall
Cursed him through the parlour among the women all
Saying "If you won't pay me, take your little son John
Cos he never cost you nothing but a bed making."

Source: folkinfo.org, verified with recording


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Bedmaking
From: Bill D
Date: 04 Jul 08 - 12:02 PM

Indeed...'almost' the same song. I note the midi file IS 'XMASGOOS'


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Subject: ADD: My Mither She Feed Me
From: Joe Offer
Date: 04 Jul 08 - 12:42 PM

Here's the song from Ord's Bothy Songs and Ballads (p. 198). I think I'd agree with Roud that it's a different song - almost seems like it could be a sequel to "Bedmaking," from the standpoint of the girl's relationship with her boyfriend after the "bedmaking" incident....

MY MITHER SHE FEED ME:
Or THE CRUEL MISTRESS.


Mv mither she feed me when I was o'er young,
'Twas to a kind master that had a cruel dame;
My mistress and me could never agree,
And a' frae the kindness my master shew'd me.
She thocht frae his kindness he was fain o' me,
And, oh, meikle sorrow she made me to dree;
Gin it werna for thinking on the lad I lo'e best,
I am sure, in my mind, I could never ha'e a rest.

Oh! wae is my heart, for my lad didna ken,
How dearly I lo'ed him, when she did me blame,
But I'll live in hope thinkin' time will shew me true,
And expect aye to get him wha dearly I lo'e.
But sair it is to byde for a young honest heart
To be suspected fause, though the thocht mak's it smart I
I'll lippen aye to Providence to clear up it a'.
And maybe I'll get him that's now far awa.


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Bedmaking
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 04 Jul 08 - 02:48 PM

In daily speech, I suspect that "me" is a pretty normal way, in many parts of Britain, of pronouncing the word generally written as "my". And of course pronouncing a "y" in that way, when it is used as a vowel is standard in many words. (Slowly, quickly...)


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Subject: ADD: The Gay Old Man
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 04 Jul 08 - 05:16 PM

Here is one of the broadside versions.

THE GAY OLD MAN

My Father was a gay Old Man
He sent me to service when I was young,
My mistress and me we never could agree
Because my master he did like me.

My mistress sent me up aloft
To make her bed so nice and soft
My master followed after and gave to me a ring,
Saying take this Betsy for your bed-making.

My mistress coming up in great haste,
She caught my master round the waist
From the top to the bottom she did me fling,
Saying take this for your bed making.

First in the kitchen then in the hall,
Then in the parlour amongst them all
They ask'd me where I had been
I told them up aloft at the bed making.

My mistress turned me out of doors
She called me several dirty sluts,
She bade me walk til my shoes grew thin
And then I should remember the bed making.

When six long weeks were gone and past
Then this young maid grew sick at last,
She long'd for mutton veal and pig
Her stomach was little her body was big.

When nine months were gone and past
She brought forth a son at last,
And then she had it christened John,
And sent it home to the good old man.

Come all you maids where'er you be
Make your beds while you can see
For I made mine by candle light,
Which caused me to rue all the days of my life.

J. Pitts, London, bet. 1819-1844; Harding B25 (714), Bodleian Collection.
A printing by John Whiting, Birmingham, c. 1835, is essentially the same.


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Bedmaking
From: GUEST,Morag
Date: 05 Mar 12 - 07:23 PM

Can't offer any thing to this song, but it's a song I remember from my child hood (I'm now 32) and my mum was summoned to my primary school (in the late 80's) were she was asked not to let us sing our folk songs in the play ground, we had been sing bedmaking and cuckoo's nest.


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Bedmaking
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 06 Mar 12 - 10:07 AM

The earliest broadsides seem to be the Pitts and Catnach ones then also in London, Birt then Fortey following Catnach, and Disley following Pitts. Russell of Birmingham and Houghton of Worcester both printed it, but all with very little variation with the standard 8 stanzas and same title 'The Gay Old Man'. I have seen nothing earlier that would suggest it had inspired this so my guess is it is by one of Catnach or Pitts' hacks. The Pitts address is No 6 so it postdates 1818.


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