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Lyr Req: Doffin Mistress/Doffing Mistress

DigiTrad:
DOFFIN' MISTRESS


Neil Comer 01 Jan 00 - 03:47 PM
Jeri 01 Jan 00 - 04:16 PM
Malcolm Douglas 01 Jan 00 - 05:24 PM
The Sandman 21 Jan 21 - 12:18 PM
Reinhard 21 Jan 21 - 03:26 PM
GUEST,Wm 21 Jan 21 - 10:07 PM
r.padgett 22 Jan 21 - 02:30 AM
Reinhard 22 Jan 21 - 05:04 AM
The Sandman 22 Jan 21 - 06:20 AM
The Sandman 22 Jan 21 - 06:22 AM
GUEST,John Bowden (not a typo!) 22 Jan 21 - 06:55 AM
GUEST,John Bowden (not a typo!) 22 Jan 21 - 06:57 AM
GUEST,John Bowden (not a typo!) 22 Jan 21 - 06:59 AM
Reinhard 22 Jan 21 - 07:04 AM
The Sandman 22 Jan 21 - 09:16 AM
The Sandman 22 Jan 21 - 09:24 AM
r.padgett 22 Jan 21 - 09:31 AM
Reinhard 22 Jan 21 - 09:36 AM
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Subject: Doffin Mistress
From: Neil Comer
Date: 01 Jan 00 - 03:47 PM

Does anyone know the words of the Doffin Mistress?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Doffin Mistress
From: Jeri
Date: 01 Jan 00 - 04:16 PM

Click here: DOFFIN' MISTRESS for one version.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Doffin Mistress
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 01 Jan 00 - 05:24 PM

Karl Dallas (One Hundred Songs of Toil, 1974) describes it as "A song from the flax-spinning mills of Northern Ireland."  The version he gives is substantially the same as the one in Digitrad which Jeri mentions, though the name is Elsie Thomson rather than Bertha Wallace, and he doesn't have the fourth verse.   Maddy Prior and June Tabor's 1976 recording (Silly Sisters) gives, in place of the final verse above:

Yes, tie our ends up we surely do
For Elsie Thomson but not for you.
We'll tie our ends and we'll leave our frames
And wait for Elsie to return again.

Peter Kennedy (Folksongs of Britain and Ireland, 1975) gives the name as "Anne-Jane Brady"; he collected three versions in Belfast in 1952 and 1954, and says:  "Hugh Quinn remembered that the last time he heard this sung in the streets of Belfast was in 1894 when he was only ten years old.  A doffing mistress was the woman in charge of a room of mill-workers.  When she left the mill to get married, or to take up a more lucrative job at another mill, the mill-workers escorted her home on her last day, singing and gesticulating.  While she was having her tea, they sang outside her door and their late doffing mistress made a speech from a top window.  Then they dispersed, singing lively airs, in the way that a military band plays brisk and bright music returning from the funeral of a dead comrade.  Charles Boyle remembered a verse about a spinning master called Billy Gillaspie:

O Billy Gillaspie goes down the pass
He spreads his feet like an old jackass
He turns around for to view the frames
Singing: Damn you doffers, lay up your ends
Laddie, whack-fol-day
Laddie, whack-fol-day"

Gavin Greig apparantly found a version in Aberdeenshire.

Malcolm


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Doffin Mistress/Doffing Mistress
From: The Sandman
Date: 21 Jan 21 - 12:18 PM

There is aversion that GEMMA KHAWAJA sings which has extra verses not mentioned here


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Doffin Mistress/Doffing Mistress
From: Reinhard
Date: 21 Jan 21 - 03:26 PM

Sandman, did Gemma Khawaya record this? On which album? I can't find this in her Bandcamp discography nor anywhere else. And can you give us these extra verses, please?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Doffin Mistress/Doffing Mistress
From: GUEST,Wm
Date: 21 Jan 21 - 10:07 PM

A fragment from the Irish Traditional Music Archive, collected by Hugh Shields in 1970 from John Shields and Philip Shields.

‘Oh Molly dear, are you going away?
Is it tomorrow or it today?
To leave us here with a broken heart
Raddy right-falla, raddy right-falla
Raddy right-falla, raddy right-falla.’

Link at ITMA.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Doffin Mistress/Doffing Mistress
From: r.padgett
Date: 22 Jan 21 - 02:30 AM

Bertha Wallace in Frankie Armstrong's lyrics I believe was from the late Tom and Bertha's [her] maiden name

Tom and Bertha lived in Worksop and sang quite a bit ~ Tom from Caister originally and sang the Norfolk/East Anglian songs ~ Bertha from Northern Ireland and changed some of the words to the Doffing Mistress

Ray


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Doffin Mistress/Doffing Mistress
From: Reinhard
Date: 22 Jan 21 - 05:04 AM

Thank you Ray. But do Tom and Bertha have a last name? Who are they?

And the liner notes of Frankie Armstrong's album say that "The name used in this version, Bertha Wallis, is the name of one of the very last doffing mistresses" but the printed lyrics just a few lines below call her Bertha Wallace. Which of both is her correct surname?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Doffin Mistress/Doffing Mistress
From: The Sandman
Date: 22 Jan 21 - 06:20 AM

reinhard here is a link to a clip
https://youtu.be/C_MYFiVgGYA


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Doffin Mistress/Doffing Mistress
From: The Sandman
Date: 22 Jan 21 - 06:22 AM

that was the dublin group varo singing it


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Doffin Mistress/Doffing Mistress
From: GUEST,John Bowden (not a typo!)
Date: 22 Jan 21 - 06:55 AM

Hi Reinhard, Ray is talking about Tom Brown and his wife Bertha (I don't know which is the correct spelling of her maiden name I'm afraid!) . Here's some information about him: Tom Brown and details of The Smacksman here: The Smacksman. Ray is right about Frankie Armstrong adding Bertha's name to "The Doffing Mistress" . Tom was a very unassuming singer with an interesting repertoire of East Anglian songs -he did a lot of fundraising for the Caister lifeboat which apparently wasn't affiliated to the RNLI. I didn't know them very well, but I'm sure some other mudcatters will be able to contribute more details - I believe Tom and Barbara Brown knew them, and were sometimes confused with them! John


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Doffin Mistress/Doffing Mistress
From: GUEST,John Bowden (not a typo!)
Date: 22 Jan 21 - 06:57 AM

Sorry, for some reasons the link to The Smacksman sleeve notes above didn't work: try again: https://folktrax-archive.org/menus/cassprogs/133brown1.htm


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Doffin Mistress/Doffing Mistress
From: GUEST,John Bowden (not a typo!)
Date: 22 Jan 21 - 06:59 AM

Sorry, I've just seen that one of the footnotes to the Tom Brown link above gives Bertha's maiden name as "Wallace".


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Doffin Mistress/Doffing Mistress
From: Reinhard
Date: 22 Jan 21 - 07:04 AM

Thank you, Sandman. Varo's verses are indeed different from the usual Doffing Mistress version. But I don't think that Gemma Khawaya is one of them?

Varo write in their liner notea:

This track is a traditional song from the linen-mills of Northern Ireland, we got it from Rosy Brondi who in turn learned it from Belfast singer Mary Mulrine.

The ‘doffing mistress’ was the supervisor of the young ladies working in the spinning sheds. The line, “She hangs her coat on the highest pin” refers to the fact that she could stand up straight, as opposed to the workers, who were bent double at the spinning machines all day.

The Doffing Mistress sung by Varo

Oh do you know her or, do you not,
This doffing mistress that we have got.
Oh Agnes Savage it is her name
And she hangs her coat on the highest pin.

Chorus (after each verse):
Riddley rightful oh,
Riddley rightful ray

On Monday morning when she comes in
She hangs her coat on the highest pin.
She turns around for to view her girls,
Sayin, “Damn you daughters, lay up your ends.” [shouldn't that be doffers?]

“Lay up our ends we will surely do,
Our hands are steady our eyes are true.
Lay up our ends we will surely do,
But for Lizzie Murphy and not for you.”

When Agnes Savage comes up the path
She spreads her feet like a big jackass,
She makes a noise like an elephant’s trunk,
Aye, and all the doffers they swear she's drunk.

Oh Lizzie Murphy you went away,
It’s every night for you we pray.
You left us here with a broken heart,
Now there's no-one left for to take our part.

“Lay up our ends we will surely do,
Our hands are steady our eyes are true.
Lay up our ends we will surely do,
But for Lizzie Murphy and not for you.”


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Doffin Mistress/Doffing Mistress
From: The Sandman
Date: 22 Jan 21 - 09:16 AM

gemma is sending me her lyrics, will be in touch again


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Doffin Mistress/Doffing Mistress
From: The Sandman
Date: 22 Jan 21 - 09:24 AM

Oh do you know her or do you not
This new doffing mistress we have got?
Elsie Thompson it is her name
And she helps her doffers at every frame.

Fol de ri fol ra
Fol de ri fol ray

Oh every morning when she comes in
She do hang her coat on the highest pin.
Turns around just to greet her friends,
Saying, “Eh up, doffers, tie up your ends!”

Fol de ri fol ra
Fol de ri fol ray

Oh Elsie Thompson you're going away
Will it be tomorrow or today?
When you're gone you will break our hearts,
For there's no one here now to take your part

Fol de ri fol ra
Fol de ri fol ray

For when our boss comes in at the door,
“Tie your ends up, doffers,” he does roar.
"Tie our ends up we surely do,
But for Elsie Thompson and not for you".

Fol de ri fol ra
Fol de ri fol ray

“Yes tie our ends up we will surely do,
Our hands are steady our hearts are true.
Tie our ends up and then we'll leave our frames
Until Elsie Thompson comes back again"

Fol de ri fol ra
Fol de ri fol ray
Gemma Khawaja


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Doffin Mistress/Doffing Mistress
From: r.padgett
Date: 22 Jan 21 - 09:31 AM

Yes, sorry and thanks John Bowden ~ I thought I had posted Tom and Bertha Brown ~ were popular duo when John Leonard from BBC Radio Sheffield found them at Worksop folk club and did guest at Barnsley and Sidmouth folk festival to my knowledge

Elsie Thompson is the name use and popularised by Roy Bailey (and recorded as such)

Ray


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Doffin Mistress/Doffing Mistress
From: Reinhard
Date: 22 Jan 21 - 09:36 AM

Thanks to you all for the details!


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