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Lyr Req: A Stitch in Time (Mike Waterson)

DigiTrad:
STITCH IN TIME


In Mudcat MIDIs:
Stitch in Time [Mike Waterson/Martin Carthy] (Midi made from the notation in The Sound of History, Roy Palmer tune by Martin Carthy adapted from On Board a Man O'War)


PAUL RYAN 17 Jul 99 - 04:55 PM
Susanne (skw) 17 Jul 99 - 07:09 PM
Ian HP 18 Jul 99 - 11:20 AM
Joe Offer 04 Mar 04 - 05:49 PM
Allan C. 04 Mar 04 - 06:02 PM
GUEST,Georgina Boyes - No Masters 04 Mar 04 - 06:06 PM
Malcolm Douglas 04 Mar 04 - 06:26 PM
adrien 04 Mar 04 - 06:57 PM
Allan C. 04 Mar 04 - 07:11 PM
Joe Offer 04 Mar 04 - 07:45 PM
Malcolm Douglas 04 Mar 04 - 09:39 PM
Joe Offer 04 Mar 04 - 10:13 PM
Jim Dixon 05 Mar 04 - 07:19 AM
Folkiedave 05 Mar 04 - 05:58 PM
Vinckett 19 Oct 08 - 07:49 AM
GUEST,Seaking 19 Oct 08 - 06:47 PM
ossonflags 20 Oct 08 - 09:22 AM
Folkiedave 20 Oct 08 - 11:09 AM
GUEST,Jesse 03 Feb 09 - 09:53 AM
ossonflags 03 Feb 09 - 09:56 AM
Folkiedave 03 Feb 09 - 10:34 AM
Jim Carroll 03 Feb 09 - 02:39 PM
Folkiedave 03 Feb 09 - 04:11 PM
Susanne (skw) 03 Feb 09 - 06:55 PM
Susanne (skw) 03 Feb 09 - 06:56 PM
Jim Dixon 05 Feb 09 - 02:01 AM
Willa 05 Feb 09 - 06:38 AM
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Subject: A STITCH IN TIME
From: PAUL RYAN
Date: 17 Jul 99 - 04:55 PM

CAN ANY ONE HELP WITH THE WORDS OF THIS SONG


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Subject: Lyr Add: A STITCH IN TIME (Mike Waterson)
From: Susanne (skw)
Date: 17 Jul 99 - 07:09 PM

A STITCH IN TIME
(Mike Waterson)

Oh there was a woman and she lived on her own
She slaved on her own and she skivvied on her own
She'd two little girls and two little boys
And she lived all alone with her husband
    For her husband he was a hunk of a man
    A chunk of a man and a drunk of a man
    He was a hunk of a drunk and skunk of a man
    Such a boozing bruising husband
For he would come home drunk each night
He thrashed her black and he thrashed her white
He thrashed her too within an inch of her life
Then he slept like a log did her husband
    One night she gathered her tears all round her shame
    She thought of the bruising and cried with the pain
    Oh you'll not do that ever again
    I won't live with a drunken husband
But as he lay and snored in bed
A strange old thought came into her head
She went for the needle, went for the thread
And went straight in to her sleeping husband
    And she started to stitch with a girlish thrill
    With a woman's heart and a seamstress' skill
    She bibbed and tucked with an iron will
    All around her sleeping husband
Oh the top sheet, the bottom sheet too
The blanket stitched to the mattress through
She stitched and stitchend for the whole night through
And then she waited the dawn and her husband
    And when her husband awoke with a pain in his head
    He found that he could not move in bed
    Sweet Christ, I've lost the use of my legs
    But this wife just smiled at her husband
For in her hand she held the frying pan
With a flutter in her heart she given him a lam
He could not move and he cried, God damn
Don't you swear, she cries to her husband
    Then she thrashed him black, she thrashed him blue
    With the frying pan and the collander too
    With the rolling pin just a stroke or two
    Such a battered and bleeding husband
And she says, If you ever come home drunk any more
I'll stitch you in and I'll thrash you more
Then I'll pack my bag and I'll be out the door
I'll not live with a drunken husband
    Oh isn't it true what small can do
    With a thread and a thought and a stitch or two
    He's wiped his slate and his boozing's through
    It's goodbye to a drunken husband

[1988:] A true story put into song by Mike Waterson about four years ago. It happened about 1962 in the Hessle Road area of Hull and the tune is that of a brutal Royal Navy song called On Board Of A Man-of-war. (Notes Martin Carthy, 'Right of Passage')


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Subject: RE: A STITCH IN TIME
From: Ian HP
Date: 18 Jul 99 - 11:20 AM

This is a truly wonderful song, done much in folk clubs. I'm not aware, though, that Mike Waterson has ever recorded it himself. Anyone put me right?


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Subject: RE: A Stitch in Time (Mike Waterson)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 04 Mar 04 - 05:49 PM

Is it certain that Mike Waterson wrote this, so we should add that attribution to the Digital Tradition?
Are the MIDI and the DT lyrics accurate?
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: A Stitch in Time (Mike Waterson)
From: Allan C.
Date: 04 Mar 04 - 06:02 PM

I have to wonder how "skivvy," a form of which is found in the first verse, ever came to be used (usually in the plural) by American sailors and others to refer to underwear. It seems like quite a leap from the British meaning, i.e., domestic servant.


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Subject: RE: A Stitch in Time (Mike Waterson)
From: GUEST,Georgina Boyes - No Masters
Date: 04 Mar 04 - 06:06 PM

Yes, it's certain that Mike Waterson wrote "Stitch in Time", you should add the attribution.


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Subject: RE: A Stitch in Time (Mike Waterson)
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 04 Mar 04 - 06:26 PM

I'm not aware that Mike's authorship has ever been questioned; nor should it be. He wrote the song alright. He has always said that he didn't make up the basic story, which I've seen on a 19th century broadside, though I don't recall the details just now. The midi is accurate; I supplied it, made from staff notation in the source indicated. The source reference I gave has not been fully quoted at the midi pages.

Martin Carthy based the tune on one that Cecil Sharp got from Thomas Taylor in Ross Workhouse, Herefordshire, on 10 September 1921. (Maud Karpeles, Cecil Sharp's Collection of English Folk Songs, OUP 1974: II, 299, No. 294).

I first pointed out that the DT file lacked the proper writers' credits 3 years ago, and more recently in the "attribution" thread, where it is marked as noted. (thanks - no need for me to note it again -Joe-)


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Subject: RE: A Stitch in Time (Mike Waterson)
From: adrien
Date: 04 Mar 04 - 06:57 PM

Icould do with some help in playing irish music on the concertina

anywhere in yorkshire can anyone help ?

Adrien


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Subject: RE: A Stitch in Time (Mike Waterson)
From: Allan C.
Date: 04 Mar 04 - 07:11 PM

adrien's request needed its own thread. You can find it here.


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Subject: RE: A Stitch in Time (Mike Waterson)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 04 Mar 04 - 07:45 PM

There's a very nice live recording of this song on the Carthy Chronicles box set. The lyrics in the Digital Tradition are a close match to those on the recording. Hull people, take note of Carthy's direct quote:
    This is a true story. It happened in Hull around 1961/62.
No further comment necessary. [grin]
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: A Stitch in Time (Mike Waterson)
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 04 Mar 04 - 09:39 PM

I don't doubt that there is a true story there. Unless I've found entirely the wrong tree up which to bark, the broadside song I was thinking of, although it deals with a similar situation (and seems to have been quite popular), lacks the crucial sewing-up element and is a good deal less close than my fuddled memory was telling me. For what it's worth, here are some examples at  Bodleian Library Broadside Ballads:

The drunken husband


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Subject: ADD: The Drunken Husband
From: Joe Offer
Date: 04 Mar 04 - 10:13 PM

This version came from the Bodleian Ballads collection.

THE DRUNKEN HUSBAND

You married women draw near awhile,
I will tell you a tale that will make you smile,
Concerning a man and his wife d'ye see,
Who after they had married could never agree.

CHORUS:
So women I hope you will follow this plan,
If you he plagued by a drunken man.

This couple got married for better or worse,
But the wife had reasons the man to curse,
For never could he give her a good word,
But came home of a night as drunk as a lord.

One morning a scheme came into her head,
While he was a drinking she pawned the bed,
When he came home he began to rant and roar,
For that night he was forced to lay on the floor.

Next morning early she went in a flirt,
And pawned his waistcoat, breeches, and shirt,
And before she returned again unto him,
She spent three parts of the money in gin.

He put on his rags and went afloat,
She went and sold his hat and coat;
She went where he was and he did her abuse,
Then she went and spouted his stockings and shoes.

He came home at night in a terrible rage,
But she was ready the foe to engage,
She plucked up her spirits - he did begin,
But she knocked him down with the rolling pin.

"I will serve you out," to her he then said,
She up with the poker and cracked his head;
She cried, "You villain, I'll serve you out,"
Then walloped him well with a dirty clout.

He hollowed aloud - she tore his clothes,
She blacked his eyes, and broke his nose;
"You villain," she cried, "No more of your airs."
Then straight (Then slap) she bundled him over the stairs.

"Dear wife, dear wife," he then did say,
"On your husband have compassion, I pray,
And if, my dear, you will me forgive,
I will never get drunk as long as I live.

"Together we will contentment seek,
My wages I'll bring you every week;"
Then on him she looked with great disdain.
And said, "I will try you once again.

"I'll forgive you," she cried, then opened the door,
"If you promise to never get drunk any more."
He swore an oath and she found him right,
And now they live happy, like man and wife.

He never gets drunk - his wife be loves,
And they live happy like turtle doves; (and they live together as loving as doves)
So women you'll find this an excellent plan,
If you wish to reform a drunken man.


I wonder what we could use for a tune for this.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: A Stitch in Time (Mike Waterson)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 05 Mar 04 - 07:19 AM

Click here for lyrics and a discography. They credit Mudcat for the lyrics but say that Gary Gillard made a "couple of small changes."


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: A Stitch in Time (Mike Waterson)
From: Folkiedave
Date: 05 Mar 04 - 05:58 PM

I remember a true story of a woman who cut up all her husband's suits about 1985 I guess. (Tried the web and could not source it)

Then there is the urban legend of the man who left the money from the sale of his car to his mistress - so the wife sold the Porsche for a fiver.

Dave


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: A Stitch in Time (Mike Waterson)
From: Vinckett
Date: 19 Oct 08 - 07:49 AM

Does anyone have the chords for this at all.. I might be able to work them out myself but it would save me a bit of time if someone here knows them?
Thanks
Vince


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: A Stitch in Time (Mike Waterson)
From: GUEST,Seaking
Date: 19 Oct 08 - 06:47 PM

I've only ever heard or sung this unaccompanied. Am and G maj would do it though.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: A Stitch in Time (Mike Waterson)
From: ossonflags
Date: 20 Oct 08 - 09:22 AM

You was right about the date Dave, but the story is HE cut his own suits up as she would not stay in when he asked her to!! I know the couple concerned;give you the full sp when I see you again.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: A Stitch in Time (Mike Waterson)
From: Folkiedave
Date: 20 Oct 08 - 11:09 AM

I interviewed Mike for my radio show the day after his birthday in January this year.

He told me that the story came from a newspaper cutting which he saw in a newspaper column called "This America" which he had read years ago and it stuck in his mind. Mike said the column was in the Daily Telegraph. (I think it is in fact the Daily Mail but since I get neither.....)

He wrote the song thirty years afterwards from his memory of that article and sang it to Martin Carthy as they drove to Manchester Airport. Martin said it was too long, but when he came back from America Martin had written an extra verse!!

In fact Martin had taken two half verses and added new words.

That's from Mike.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: A Stitch in Time (Mike Waterson)
From: GUEST,Jesse
Date: 03 Feb 09 - 09:53 AM

This song is also covered frequently by Chumbawamba live and was on their album Shhh


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: A Stitch in Time (Mike Waterson)
From: ossonflags
Date: 03 Feb 09 - 09:56 AM

Chumbawumba do sing it but they leave a couple of verses out


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: A Stitch in Time (Mike Waterson)
From: Folkiedave
Date: 03 Feb 09 - 10:34 AM

Christy Moore sings it, notably live on his Desert Island Discs programme.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: A Stitch in Time (Mike Waterson)
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 03 Feb 09 - 02:39 PM

I could have sworn that I heard Mike Waterson say he wrote this song when he came across the Thomas Hardy poem 'Her Second Husband Hears Her Story' ('The Complete Poems' poem No. 840)The story is too close to have been a coincidence.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: A Stitch in Time (Mike Waterson)
From: Folkiedave
Date: 03 Feb 09 - 04:11 PM

These things are often fluid. Certainly I have heard Mike tell the "This America" story at least once before I recorded him as above.

I wonder if the "This America" story came from Hardy? All sorts of press stories get recycled when the press are short of material!!

I suspect we will never know. Wherever the original story Mike wrote a fine song that's for certain and I reckon that's what matters.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: A Stitch in Time (Mike Waterson)
From: Susanne (skw)
Date: 03 Feb 09 - 06:55 PM

[1988:] A true story put into song by Mike Waterson about four years ago. It happened about 1962 in the Hessle Road area of Hull and the tune is that of a brutal Royal Navy song called On Board Of A Man-of-war. (Notes Martin Carthy, 'Right of Passage')

I don't suppose the idea was confined to a single woman stricken with a drunkard husband through the ages ...


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: A Stitch in Time (Mike Waterson)
From: Susanne (skw)
Date: 03 Feb 09 - 06:56 PM

Sorry, should have read the thread again before repeating myself!


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Subject: Lyr Add: HER SECOND HUSBAND HEARS HER STORY (Hardy
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 05 Feb 09 - 02:01 AM

HER SECOND HUSBAND HEARS HER STORY
Thomas Hardy

"Still, Dear, it is incredible to me
    That here, alone,
You should have sewed him up until he died,
And in this very bed. I do not see
How you could do it, seeing what might betide."

"Well, he came home one midnight, liquored deep—
    Worse that I'd known—
And lay down heavily, and soundly slept:
Then, desperate driven, I thought of it, to keep
Him from me when he woke. Being an adept

"With needle and thimble, as he snored, click-click
    An hour I'd sewn,
Till, had he roused, he couldn't have moved from bed,
So tightly laced in sheet and quilt and tick
He lay. And in the morning he was dead.

"Ere people came I drew the stitches out,
    And thus 'twas shown
To be a stroke."—"It's a strange tale!" said he.
"And this same bed?"—"Yes, here it came about."
"Well, it sounds strange—told here and now to me.

"Did you intend his death by your tight lacing?"
    "O, that I cannot own.
I could not think of else that would avail
When he should wake up, and attempt embracing."—
    "Well, it's a cool queer tale!"


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: A Stitch in Time (Mike Waterson)
From: Willa
Date: 05 Feb 09 - 06:38 AM

Thanks for that, Jim - fascinating!


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