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Lyr Add: The Old Dun Cow Caught Fire (H Champion)

DigiTrad:
OLD DUN COW


Related threads:
Why shout 'MacIntire'? (107)
Lyr/Chords Req: The Old Dun Cow (11)
Lyr Req: MacIntyre? / The Old Dun Cow Caught Fire (3)
(origins) Origins: The Old Dun Cow (McIntyre!) (45)
Old Dun Cow- Looking for a recording of this (26)
Lyr Req: Old Dun Cow (34)
(origins) Origin: Old Dun Cow (32)
Lyr/Chords Req: The Old Dun Cow (7)
Chords Req: Old Dun Cow (5)
(origins) Lyr Add: When The Old Dun Cow Caught Fire (10)
Lyr Req: The Old Dung Cow? / Old Dun Cow (7)
Tune Req: Old Dun Cow (15)
Chords Req: Old Dun Cow (9)
Lyr/Chords Req: Burning of the Old Dun Cow (19)
Lyr Req: Old Dun Cow, other verses (7)
Recordings of 'Black & Tans' and 'Old Dun Cow' (21)


Owlkat 02 Nov 99 - 04:29 PM
Owlkat 02 Nov 99 - 04:32 PM
Jim Dixon 12 Feb 11 - 09:17 AM
kendall 12 Feb 11 - 09:56 AM
Jim Dixon 12 Feb 11 - 12:49 PM
GUEST,Peterr 17 Feb 11 - 10:33 AM
Uncle Tone 06 Sep 16 - 02:17 PM
BrooklynJay 06 Sep 16 - 02:41 PM
Charley Noble 06 Sep 16 - 06:01 PM
The Sandman 08 Apr 18 - 09:14 AM
Charley Noble 08 Apr 18 - 04:31 PM
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Subject: Lyr Add: THE OLD DUN COW CAUGHT FIRE (H Champion)
From: Owlkat
Date: 02 Nov 99 - 04:29 PM

THE OLD DUN COW CAUGHT FIRE

Words and music by Harry Wincott, c 1893, as performed by Harry Champion 1911(born William Henry Crump, 1865) old tyme music hall classic. “To be sung with the rapidity of a machine gun burst.” Entered the folk repertoire through the singing Copper Family of Rottingdean, Sussex, England.
From Chris Simmons

Some pals and I in a public house were playing dominoes last night,
When all of a sudden in the potman runs with a face just like a kite.
“What’s up?” said Jones, “Why you silly old fool! Have you seen old Aunt Maria?”
“Aunt be blowed,” then the potman cried. “The blooming pub’s on fire!”

“On fire!” said Brown. “What a bit of luck! Come along with me,” shouts he.
“Down in the cellar, if the fire ain’t there, we’ll have a fair old spree.”
So we all goes down ‘long with good old Brown. Booze we couldn’t miss.
We hadn’t been ten minutes there, when I was just like this.

And there was Brown upside down licking up the whisky off the floor.
“Booze, booze, booze!” then the firemen cried as they got knocking down the door.
“Don’t let ‘em in ‘till it’s all mopped up!” someone said to Macintyre,
So we all got blue blind paralytic drunk when the Old Dun Cow caught fire.

Old Johnson flew to a port-wine tub and he gave it just a few hard knocks.
He then starts taking off his pantaloons, ditto his boots and socks.
“Hold hard,” said Snooks. “If you want to wash your feet, there’s a barrel full of four ale here.
Don’t put your trotters in the port wine, Jack, when there’s some old stale beer.”

Just then there was such a dreadful crash, half the blooming roof gave way.
We got drowned with a fireman’s hose, but still we were all gay.
For we found some sacks and some old tin tacks and shoved ourselves inside.
We all got drinking good old scotch till we got bleary-eyed.

We got so drunk that we did not know the blooming cellar had caught fire.
Poor old Jones had the D.T.’s bad and wanted to retire.
“There’s Old Nick,” said another poor chap, “and he’s poking the blooming fire.
“That’s no bogy. It’s a fireman, Tom, at least,” said Macintyre.

“Let’s get out of here,” said a blind-eyed boy. “It’s getting rather hot down here.”
“Don’t be a fool,” said a boozy bloke. “We haven’t drank all the beer!”
So we filled our hats and we drank like cats ‘midst the flames and smoke.
I had to take my trousers off. I thought that should “croak.”

SPOKEN:
At last the firemen got inside and found us all dead drunk,
But like all true heroes, there they stood. They did not do a bunk.
They saw the booze upon the floor and gave a sudden yell.
They took their helmets off and then upon their knees they fell.
“At last! At last!” the firemen cried. “At last we know the news!”
“Come on! Come on!” us lads all cried. “Come on and have a booze!”

Changed from all caps. --JoeClone, 20-Mar-02.


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Subject: RE: Tune add:
From: Owlkat
Date: 02 Nov 99 - 04:32 PM

Oh geeze! What a maroon! The song is The Old Dun Cow. Sorry about the formatting. Just follow the rhyming words and it'll all make sense. ;-(


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE OLD DUN COW CAUGHT FIRE (H Champion)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 12 Feb 11 - 09:17 AM

There are many copies/versions of this song already posted at Mudcat, but none of them corresponds exactly to what Harry Champion sang. The one above is probably closest. Accordingly, I have created the following copy by taking the above copy and changing it wherever the words are distinctly different from the ones in the recording. Those words are boldfaced. I also deleted a few words, plus the whole "spoken" verse at the end. A few words are uncertain; for example, it's sometimes hard to tell whether he's singing "says" or "said." (Tenses are inconsistent, as in many folk narratives.) When in doubt, I stuck with the lyrics posted by Owlkat.

You can hear Harry Champion singing this at YouTube. It's the second of two songs in that "video."

Note the word "when" doesn't appear in the title of the recording.


THE OLD DUN COW CAUGHT FIRE
As sung by Harry Champion

1. Some pals and I in a public house were playing dominoes last night,
When all of a sudden in the potman runs with a face just like a kite.
"What's up?" said Brown. "Why you silly old fool! Have you seen old Aunt Maria?"
"Aunt be blowed," then the potman cried. "The blooming pub's on fire!"
"On fire!" said Brown. "What a bit of luck! Come along with me," shouts he.
"Down in the cellar, if the fire ain't there, we'll have a fair old spree."
So we all goes down 'long with good old Brown. Booze we couldn't miss.
We hadn't been ten minutes there, when I was just like this.

CHORUS: And there was Brown upside down mopping up the whisky off the floor.
"Booze, booze, booze!" then the firemen cried as they got banging in the door.
"Don't let 'em in till it's all mopped up!" someone said to Macintyre,
And we all got blue blind paralytic drunk when the Old Dun Cow caught fire.

2. Old Johnson flew at the port-wine tub and he gave it just a few hard knocks.
He then starts taking off his pantaloons, likewise his boots and socks.
"Hold hard," said Snooks. "If you want to wash your feet, there's a barrel full of four ale here.
Don't put your trotters in the port wine, Jack, when there's some old stale beer."
Just then there was such a dreadful crash, half the blooming roof gave way.
We got drowned with a fireman's hose, but still we were all gay.
We found some sacks and some old tin tacks, shoved ourselves inside.
We all got drinking good old scotch till we were bleary-eyed. CHORUS

3. We got so drunk we did not know the blooming cellar had caught fire.
Poor old Jones had the D.T.'s bad and wanted to retire.
"There's Old Nick," said another poor chap, "and he's poking up the blooming fire.
"That's no bogey. It's a fireman, Tom, at least," said Macintyre.
"Let's get out," said a brown-eyed chap. "It's getting very dark down here."
"Don't be a fool," said a tipsy chap. "We haven't drank the beer!"
So we filled our hats and we drank like cats 'midst the flames and smoke.
I had to take my collar off. I thought that I should choke. CHORUS


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Old Dun Cow Caught Fire (H Champion)
From: kendall
Date: 12 Feb 11 - 09:56 AM

his face like a kite makes no sense. His face a deathly white does.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Old Dun Cow Caught Fire (H Champion)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 12 Feb 11 - 12:49 PM

I find that songs sung by Harry Champion often contain a lot of slang expressions that are no longer current. Some, but not all of it, is Cockney rhyming slang. That's one of the things that make his recordings so hard to understand today, especially for an American. (That, plus the quality of the recordings and the fact that he sang so fast.)

Maybe "kite" meant something different to him than it does now.

Changing old songs so that they make more sense to today's audiences is one of the common ways songs evolve during the "folk process."

Personally, I'm more interested in documenting what Champion actually sang, than in deciding what a singer ought to sing today. In this case, I'm pretty sure he sang "just like a kite."


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Old Dun Cow Caught Fire (H Champion)
From: GUEST,Peterr
Date: 17 Feb 11 - 10:33 AM

It's an old term but don't know the origins in spite of some fanciful explanations turned up on Google. Thanks Jim for pointing me to that YouTube recording. I was looking for an explanation of why it's often sung as 'Somebody shouted 'Macintyre'' (followed by everyone shouting it.) So the words are the explanation, plus another verse or two depending on how you split it.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Old Dun Cow Caught Fire (H Champion)
From: Uncle Tone
Date: 06 Sep 16 - 02:17 PM

I currently sing:

THE OLD DUN COW   A music hall song written by Harry Wincott in 1893.
A version is in the Copper Family Song Book

This version owes much to the singing of Barney Wood, one of the founder members of both the Herga Folk Club, Harrow, and the Pumphouse Folk Club, Watford.

Some friends and I in a public house
Were playing dominoes one night
When into the room a fireman came,
His face all chalky white.
"What's up?" says Brown, "Have you seen a ghost?
Have you seen your Aunt Maria?"
"Oh my Aunt Maria be buggered," says he,
"The bleeding pub's on fire!"

"Well," says Brown, "What a bit of luck,
Everybody follow me.
It's down to the cellar if the fire's not there
We'll have a right old spree."
So we all went down with good old Brown
And the booze we had not missed
And we hadn't been there ten minutes nor more
Till we was all half drunk.

Chorus
Oh, there was Brown, up side down,
Mopping up the whisky on the floor.
"Booze, booze!" the firemen cried
As they come a-knockin' at the door. (Knock knock)
Well don't let em in till it's all mopped up;
Somebody shouted, "McIntyre!" (Shouts of McIntire!)
And we all got blue blind paralytic drunk
When the Old Dun Cow caught fire.

Then Smith he found the port wine tub
And gave it a few hard knocks. (Knock knock)
He started taking off his pantaloons,
Likewise his shoes and socks.
"Oh no," says Brown, "You can't do that!
You can't do that there!
Don't be washing your trotters in the port wine tub
When we've got some John Smiths beer." (Goes down well in Yorkshire with Sam Smiths drinkers!).

(Course version - Don't squat yer arse in....)

Then there was a crash,
An almighty smash
Half the bloody roof gave way.
We was all drownded by the fireman's hose
Though we was all quite gay.
So we got some tacks and some old wet sacks
And we nailed ourselves inside,
And we drank all the beer and the whisky and the wine
Till we was bleary eyed

Additional Verses ( added by that Philistine Tony Haynes)

Then the vicar slid dahn the drayman's shute
He'd come in through the 'atch
He landed on his arse in the broken glass
Though he never got one scratch (?)
Then he stood and he stared and he pointed and he glared
And he cried you're all in sin
You've drunk all the beer and the whisky and the wine....
And you ain't left me no gin

When the fire died down we all climbed up
Into the old pub yard
Twas a sorry sight, The Cow was Dun
Her beams all blackened and charred
Then Brown he spied the old bar till
Inside he found a pound
"Come on says Brown, To The Rose and Crown
I'll stand us all a round!"

The folk process?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Old Dun Cow Caught Fire (H Champion)
From: BrooklynJay
Date: 06 Sep 16 - 02:41 PM

The earlier link to the Harry Champion recording is now dead.

That version of the song can now be heard here. As before, it is the second song in the "video".

The version I do is a sort of hybrid taken from recordings by Clam Chowder and Frank Woerner (with the X-Seamen's Institute). Unfortunately, neither version has been posted to the Internet at present.


Jay


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Old Dun Cow Caught Fire (H Champion)
From: Charley Noble
Date: 06 Sep 16 - 06:01 PM

Always of interest!

The line I knew was "face all chalky white" which did make sense.

Charlie Ipcar


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Old Dun Cow Caught Fire (H Champion)
From: The Sandman
Date: 08 Apr 18 - 09:14 AM

face just like a kite is slang for.. A grumpy person would have a 'face like a farthing kite,meaning a cheap kite.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Old Dun Cow Caught Fire (H Champion)
From: Charley Noble
Date: 08 Apr 18 - 04:31 PM

Thanks, Sandman.

Charlie Ipcar


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