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Lyr Add: Sitting on a Five-Barred Gate (G Fields)

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PUT YOUR SHOES ON LUCY


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Jim Dixon 23 Mar 11 - 02:22 PM
Jim Dixon 23 Mar 11 - 02:50 PM
RunrigFan 23 Mar 11 - 02:57 PM
Jim Dixon 23 Mar 11 - 03:38 PM
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Subject: Lyr Add: SITTING ON A FIVE-BARRED GATE (G Fields)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 23 Mar 11 - 02:22 PM

You can play or download this song at The Internet Archive. It's song #4 on that page. Here's my transcription:


SITTING ON A FIVE-BARRED GATE
Words and music by Robert Hargreaves & Stanley J Damerell, ©1930
As sung by Gracie Fields, 1931.

Folks declare a courtin' pair
Can do their courtin' anywhere:
On a bench, a doorstep, or a clothesline in the yard;
But you wait an' 'esitate
Before you try a five-barred gate.
It's so 'ard to spoon on, that's the reason why it's barred.

Billing an' cooin'
Wants a lot of doin',
Sittin' on a five-barred gate.
Can't make him giggle,
Fatal if you wriggle,
Sitting on a five-barred gate.
You can't cuddle him. He can't cuddle you.
You can't keep your balance and your promise too.
Can't do your wooin',
Simply nothing doin',
Sittin' on a five-barred gate.

There you are on that top bar.
You're both so near an' yet so far.
If you move, you wobble like a jelly on a plate.
You and 'e can't get in touch.
At that darned gate you've got to clutch.
Love's young dream's a nightmare when you're on a five-barred gate.

Billing an' cooin'
Wants a lot of doin',
Sitting on a five-barred gate.
Can't make 'im giggle,
Fatal if you wriggle,
Sitting on a five-barred gate.
You can't cuddle him. He can't cuddle you.
You can't keep your balance an' your promise too.
Can't do your duty
For England, home, and beauty
Sitting on a five-barred gate.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Sitting on a Five-Barred Gate (G Fields)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 23 Mar 11 - 02:50 PM

Can anyone explain the origin or significance of the term "five-barred gate"? I get the impression it's a British term. I've never heard it in the US.

Of course we have gates over here, plenty of them. And our gates sometimes have bars. But as to whether they're more likely to have four, five, or six bars, I really couldn't say. As far as I know, nobody considers the number particularly important.

Maybe "five" is just an arbitrary number that somehow got embedded in a cliché, like "the whole nine yards" or the "ten-foot pole" that you wouldn't touch something with. (That's the American expression; I understand Brits say "barge pole.")

Interestingly, Google Books gives about 11,300 hits on "five-barred gate" and only 163 on "four-barred gate" and 505 on "six-barred gate."

Too bad Google can't break it down between books published in the UK and books published in America.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Sitting on a Five-Barred Gate (G Fields)
From: RunrigFan
Date: 23 Mar 11 - 02:57 PM

http://www.fivebargates.co.uk/pics/fivebargates.jpg

Thats basically it :)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Sitting on a Five-Barred Gate (G Fields)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 23 Mar 11 - 03:38 PM

Yes, but why 5 bars? Why not 4?

And while we're at it, why a duck? Why-a no chicken?


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