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ADD: Oh You Weary Cutters/O the Weary Cutters^^^

DigiTrad:
WEARY CUTTERS


GUEST,albert 18 May 11 - 03:41 PM
Herga Kitty 18 May 11 - 03:59 PM
My guru always said 18 May 11 - 04:21 PM
ChanteyLass 18 May 11 - 05:01 PM
Reinhard 18 May 11 - 05:07 PM
Dave Sutherland 18 May 11 - 05:37 PM
GUEST,leeneia 19 May 11 - 02:21 PM
GUEST,leeneia 19 May 11 - 02:25 PM
Artful Codger 19 May 11 - 06:58 PM
Bee-dubya-ell 19 May 11 - 07:41 PM
GUEST,leeneia 19 May 11 - 09:36 PM
Artful Codger 20 May 11 - 06:41 PM
Artful Codger 20 May 11 - 07:28 PM
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Subject: Oh you weary Cutters
From: GUEST,albert
Date: 18 May 11 - 03:41 PM

Does anyone know anything about the song which starts
'Oh you weary cutters....'
Thanks
Albert


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Subject: RE: Oh you weary Cutters
From: Herga Kitty
Date: 18 May 11 - 03:59 PM

It's Northumbrian, in the Roud collection has been recorded by Ray Fisher and Steeleye Span. More here.

Kitty


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Subject: ADD: O the Weary Cutters
From: My guru always said
Date: 18 May 11 - 04:21 PM

Think these are the lyrics, might be wrong as I transcribed them a long time ago from the Steeleye Span version:

O THE WEARY CUTTERS

O the weary cutters, and O the weary sea,
O the weary cutters have taken my laddie from me
They've pressed him far away foreign,
With Nelson beyond the salt sea

O the lousy cutters, and O the weary sea
O the lousy cutters have stolen my laddie from me
They always come in the night, They never come in the day
They come at night and steal the laddies away

O the weary cutters, and O the weary sea
O the weary cutters have taken my laddie from me
I'll give the cutter a guinea, I'll give the cutter no more
I'll give him a guinea to steal my laddie ashore


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Subject: RE: Oh you weary Cutters
From: ChanteyLass
Date: 18 May 11 - 05:01 PM

Three of the four Johnson Girls sing it here. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KBI8Q8SyIZE


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Subject: RE: Oh you weary Cutters
From: Reinhard
Date: 18 May 11 - 05:07 PM

Ray Fisher's version from her album Willie's Lady is in the Digital Tradition.

She commented in the liner notes:

'I first heard this song from Mrs Pat Elliott, of the famous Elliotts of Birtley, Co. Durham. I recall her telling me that she had obtained it with help from Louis Killen. There is a reference made to The Lousy Cutter in Bruce & Stokoe's Northumbrian Minstrelsy (1882) containing two verses similar to those in this song. It is a coincidence that in the notes of a tune called The Wedding o' Blyth, which appears alongside the Lousy Cutter text, Bruce and Stokoe describe the aforementioned tune as a 'weary' one.

    Here we have a strong social comment on the feelings of the ordinary folk towards 'press-ganging' and the lengths to which people would go in order to avoid being recruited.

    I introduce this song with a single verse which was taken down by Mr Thomas Doubleday, of Newcastle; he was unable to recover any more of the ballad. Captain John Bover, who died in 1782, had indulged in 'harsh and tyrannical measures' [quoted from Northumbrian Minstrelsy] in order to furnish the British Navy with 'pressed' men.'


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Subject: RE: ADD: Oh You Weary Cutters/O the Weary Cutters^^^
From: Dave Sutherland
Date: 18 May 11 - 05:37 PM

"I first heard this song from Mrs Pat Elliott, of the famous Elliotts of Birtley"
You can actually hear Pat singing the song on the Topic album "Canny Newcastle"


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Subject: RE: ADD: Oh You Weary Cutters/O the Weary Cutters^^^
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 19 May 11 - 02:21 PM

My unabridged dictionary gives one definition of 'cutter' as a 'ruffian or cutthroat.'

That explains how they can come at night and steal laddies away.


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Subject: RE: ADD: Oh You Weary Cutters/O the Weary Cutters^^^
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 19 May 11 - 02:25 PM

and then it occurred to me to check 'weary.'

Weary: Scot and Dial. Eng. bad, unfortunate, disastrous'

So weary cutters aren't worn-out ships, they are bad ruffians.

Somehow, the word 'lousy' just doesn't sound right. Do you suppose it is some form of 'lawless'?


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Subject: RE: ADD: Oh You Weary Cutters/O the Weary Cutters^^^
From: Artful Codger
Date: 19 May 11 - 06:58 PM

Given the standards of hygiene among the seamen and press-gangs of the time, "lousy" doesn't sound fitting??


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Subject: RE: ADD: Oh You Weary Cutters/O the Weary Cutters^^^
From: Bee-dubya-ell
Date: 19 May 11 - 07:41 PM

A cutter was a member of a press gang - ruffian seamen who basically kidnapped young men and "pressed" them into involuntary service aboard ship.


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Subject: RE: ADD: Oh You Weary Cutters/O the Weary Cutters^^^
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 19 May 11 - 09:36 PM

lousy just sounds too modern. I've never encountered it in old writings, is all.


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Subject: RE: ADD: Oh You Weary Cutters/O the Weary Cutters^^^
From: Artful Codger
Date: 20 May 11 - 06:41 PM

"Lousy" was at least in use in this song by the late 1800's, as collected versions show--they may even show its use earlier. The idiomatic usage goes back at least to the 1730s; the Dictionarium Brittanicum (1736) gives these definitions:

Lousily: in a lousy or despicable manner.
Lousy: infested with lice; also despicable.

In 1867, Archibald Campbell wrote, "Well, gentlemen, you see how he has mauled 'em; you see how he has threshed these lousy, rascally, scabby enemies of yours." A writer to The London Magazine (1784) even indulges in a bit of wordplay involving the literal and idiomatic meanings: "A louse, say the naturalists, is a very lousy animal; and there is not a lousy author in town, especially a dramatic author, that has not fifty lousy critics on his back."

Some commentary on this song suggests that "weary" was a polite substitute for the cruder "lousy", which would indicate that perhaps (like "bloody") it was a word sanitized by collectors and publishers. Where's a lexicographer when you need one?

I'd like to know when the Z sound became prominent--that, to me, is what gives the word a modern tang; but there are some English dialects that frequently voice the S's in words (as evidenced by cant songs), so even that convention may be quite old.


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Subject: RE: ADD: Oh You Weary Cutters/O the Weary Cutters^^^
From: Artful Codger
Date: 20 May 11 - 07:28 PM

Here's an example from the Bard (King Henry V, Act IV, Scene 6, Fluellen speaking):
"Your majesty hear now, saing your majesty's manhood, what an arrant, rascally, beggarly, lousy knave it is."
Fluellen later uses the word twice more in streams of disparagements.

And this, from the play The Return from Parnassus (1606), Judio speaking:
"Would it not grieve any good spirits to sit a whole month knitting out a lousy, beggarly pamphlet..."
And later, Furor speaking:
"Furor is lousy, great Furor lousy is ; I'll make thee run this lousy case I wis."


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