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songs about British and American farmers

brezhnev 22 Jul 09 - 05:48 PM
Steve Gardham 23 Jul 09 - 03:35 PM
Paul Burke 23 Jul 09 - 04:24 PM
brezhnev 23 Jul 09 - 04:29 PM
brezhnev 23 Jul 09 - 04:34 PM
nutty 23 Jul 09 - 05:02 PM
meself 23 Jul 09 - 05:11 PM
The Vulgar Boatman 23 Jul 09 - 06:17 PM
Leadfingers 23 Jul 09 - 07:27 PM
Leadfingers 23 Jul 09 - 07:49 PM
brezhnev 23 Jul 09 - 08:15 PM
Steve Gardham 24 Jul 09 - 05:52 AM
Steve Gardham 24 Jul 09 - 05:54 AM
kendall 24 Jul 09 - 06:02 AM
brezhnev 27 Jul 09 - 03:50 AM
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Subject: British and American farmers
From: brezhnev
Date: 22 Jul 09 - 05:48 PM

Does anyone know of any British song that's equivalent to The Farmer is the Man?

In my experience (of songs, that is):

The British farmer rises with the lark, fetches the hay, sheers some sheep, has his daughter held up by highwaymen, takes on a young lad to reap and sow, likes a drink and gets harrassed by elves.

The American farmer is a folk hero, forever scrabbling in the dirt to feed everyone, only to get ripped off all the way up the food chain.


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Subject: RE: British and American farmers
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 23 Jul 09 - 03:35 PM

In British songs he is more often painted as a villain ripping his workers off.


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Subject: RE: British and American farmers
From: Paul Burke
Date: 23 Jul 09 - 04:24 PM

Not the farmer, who in England historically was generally relatively well off as the result of cheap and plentiful labour, but the labouring man and woman:

There's some that say the baker's best
But we must needs say no.
If it wasn't for the poor labouring man
What could the baker do?
With no one for to buy his bread
He'd have no flour coming in,
For there's never a trade in all this land
Like we poor labouring men.

And some that say the miller's best
But we must needs say no.
If it wasn't for the poor labouring man
What could the miller do?
With no one for to buy his flour
And no new grain coming in,
For there's never a trade in all this land
Like we poor labouring men.

And there's some that say the farmer's best
But we must needs say no.
If it wasn't for the poor labouring man
What could the farmer do?
With no one for to plough the land
Nor to fetch the harvest in,
For there's never a trade in all this land
Like we poor labouring men.

And there's some that say the landlord's best,
But we must needs say no.
If it wasn't for the poor labouring man
What could the landlord do?
With no one there to work the land
He'd have no rents coming in,
For there's never a trade in all this land
Like we poor labouring men.

So come all you noble working folk
And fill a flowing glass,
And drink a toast to each labouring man,
Likewise each working lass;
And when these times are past and gone,
Our time will come again,
There'll be peace and plenty in the land
For we poor labouring men.


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Subject: RE: British and American farmers
From: brezhnev
Date: 23 Jul 09 - 04:29 PM

Steve, have you got any examples of songs in which those merry ploughboys get ripped off?

The sort of thing that Ewan MacColl and Peggy Seeger might have included in their gallup through the history of protest songs in 1968, The Angry Muse?

It was listening to that that got me wondering what your left-wing British folkie would have thought about the farmer in 1968. I think it's probably a complicated business.


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Subject: RE: British and American farmers
From: brezhnev
Date: 23 Jul 09 - 04:34 PM

Paul, that's the sort of thing. Any idea where that comes from and when?


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Subject: RE: British and American farmers
From: nutty
Date: 23 Jul 09 - 05:02 PM

There are numerous broadsides in the Bodleian Museum for either side.

Here are just a few examples ..................

the industrious farmer

Free Trade or The Downfall of Farmers

The Farmer

Farmers,Don't You Cry

The Distressed Farmer

The Painful Plough


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Subject: RE: British and American farmers
From: meself
Date: 23 Jul 09 - 05:11 PM

Here's an Irish song about one of them poor labouring men: Darby O'Leary.


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Subject: RE: British and American farmers
From: The Vulgar Boatman
Date: 23 Jul 09 - 06:17 PM

All's dear but poor men's labour.


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Subject: RE: British and American farmers
From: Leadfingers
Date: 23 Jul 09 - 07:27 PM

There was a Contemporary Humourous song a few years back that I only heard ABOUT , and never even knew who Did It !! It was called (I Think) "You Never See a Farmer on a Bike"


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Subject: RE: British and American farmers
From: Leadfingers
Date: 23 Jul 09 - 07:49 PM

Its "I've never seen a Farmer On A Bike ! See Here :-

http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=89699


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Subject: RE: British and American farmers
From: brezhnev
Date: 23 Jul 09 - 08:15 PM

nutty:
They're good, those, especially that Free Trade or Downfall of the Farmers. But do you ever hear those broadsides sung or recorded by anyone? Have you ever?

meself:
Great song, though not sure it counts as everywhere else in Ireland he'd worked for farmers who were 'decent and cheery'.

leadfingers:
the singing postman! He was a national star! I always wanted to write one that goes 'I have a Range Rover and that's well known'.


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Subject: RE: British and American farmers
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 24 Jul 09 - 05:52 AM

Brez,
Practically every Bothy Ballad ever written has a go at mean farmers. These are songs mainly of the 19th century from the North East of Scotland. There are thousands of them. they have their equivalents in England too, the bvest known in East Yorkshire is called 'Mutton Pie'. If it's not in the DT I can post one of the many versions for you.


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Subject: RE: British and American farmers
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 24 Jul 09 - 05:54 AM

Better still, go to our website   www.yorkshirefolksong.net and you'll find at least one version there 'The Yorkshire Farmer'


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Subject: RE: British and American farmers
From: kendall
Date: 24 Jul 09 - 06:02 AM

Good old Darby O'Leary. I recorded that one for Folk Legacy. Was it on a cylinder? Memory fails.


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Subject: RE: British and American farmers
From: brezhnev
Date: 27 Jul 09 - 03:50 AM

Steve
Cheers for the link to the Yorkshire Garland site. I've signed up. I've got a vague memory of hearing that song about mutton pie in the late 60s early 70s, but it was a different tune from The Yorkshire Farmer you've got up there.

Point taken about the Bothy Ballads, but those were composed by workers on Scottish estates big enough to need a bothy or two to put the workers in, I guess.

I don't know enough about the history of farming here or in the States, but I'm still interested why the 'working family farmer' has been championed in the States in political songs (from The Farmer is The Man through to Farm Aid) and not here.


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