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Lyr Add: The Sheepstealer

wildlone 03 Jan 00 - 03:24 PM
dick greenhaus 03 Jan 00 - 05:56 PM
Artful Codger 20 Sep 05 - 04:03 PM
Le Scaramouche 20 Sep 05 - 04:27 PM
katlaughing 20 Sep 05 - 04:53 PM
Bunnahabhain 20 Sep 05 - 07:22 PM
Joe Offer 21 Sep 05 - 01:25 AM
HipflaskAndy 21 Sep 05 - 05:20 AM
Wolfgang 21 Sep 05 - 08:13 AM
Garry Gillard 13 Oct 10 - 03:48 AM
GUEST,The Vulgar Boatman 20 Aug 16 - 12:28 PM
Reinhard 20 Aug 16 - 03:23 PM
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Subject: Lyr Add: THE SHEEPSTEALER
From: wildlone
Date: 03 Jan 00 - 03:24 PM

This is another song that isn't in the DigiTrad


THE SHEEPSTEALER

I am a brisk lad but my fortune is bad
And I am most wonderful poor,
But now I intend my fortune to mend
And to build a house down on the moor, me brave boys,
And to build a house down on the moor.

In my meadow I'll keep fat oxen and sheep
And a neat little nag on the downs.
In the middle of the night when the moon to shine bright,
There's a wonder of work to be done, me brave boys,
There's a wonder of work to be done.

I'll ride all around in some other man's ground
And I'll take a fat sheep for my own,
And I'll end of his life with the aid of me knife,
And then I will carry him home, me brave boys,
And then I will carry him home.

My children will pull the skin from the ewe
And I'll be in a place where there's none.
If the Constable do come I’ll stand with my gun
And swear all I have is my own, me brave boys,
And swear all I have is my own.

Henry Hammond collected a version of the Sheepstealer from Edith Sartin of Corcombe Dorset.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Sheepstealer
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 03 Jan 00 - 05:56 PM

It's there.Sheepstealer is one word; sheep stealer is two. Moral: Don't bank on titles. *stealer covers both spellings.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Sheepstealer
From: Artful Codger
Date: 20 Sep 05 - 04:03 PM

Regarding the other song of the same name:

Can someone supply an accurate transcription of Martin Carthy's "Sheepstealer", from Skin and Bone? The only one I've found (at Reinhard Zierke's site, prepared by Wolfgang Hell and Garry Gillard) does not match the recording at a number of points. But what I think Carthy is singing at some of them is also questionable, and I'd prefer to avoid mondegreens.

For instance, the start of the second verse was transcribed as "We killed the sheep and skinned it all upon an open bough". Instead, I hear "with the skin and all" (distinctly syncopated) and "open vow". But no matter how I try to massage this, I come up with nonsense. What does "open bough" mean? Why would you kill or skin a sheep on a bough? "Open vow" is also suspect, though it might mean a gentlemen's agreement, and thus set up for the disagreement over who gets what. As for "killed the sheep with the skin and all", is there any other way, without getting macabre?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Sheepstealer
From: Le Scaramouche
Date: 20 Sep 05 - 04:27 PM

I'm guessing that you hang it from something in order to make skinning easier.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Sheepstealer
From: katlaughing
Date: 20 Sep 05 - 04:53 PM

Wolfgang is a member here, so you might send him a PM and ask.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Sheepstealer
From: Bunnahabhain
Date: 20 Sep 05 - 07:22 PM

"We killed the sheep and skinned it all upon an open bough".

A bough is a stout branch, and to me an open bough suggests one projecting clear of the tree.

The easy way to bleed and skin a sheep, before butchering and cooking it is by suspending it by it's hind legs. A stout tree branch is an ideal location for this.


Bunnahabhain.


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Subject: ADD Version: The Sheepstealer
From: Joe Offer
Date: 21 Sep 05 - 01:25 AM

Here's the transcription from the Zierke Website, so we'll have something to build on.

The Sheepstealer

[Trad. arr. Martin Carthy]

Sung by Martin Carthy on his and Dave Swarbrick's 1992 album Skin and Bone; it was re-released in 1993 on Rigs of the Time: The Best of Martin Carthy and in 2003 on The Definitive Collection.

Martin Carthy said in the Skin and Bone sleeve notes:

Sing a song of sixpence was never like this, and in another sense, neither, as a rule, are songs on this subject. There are two songs called The Sheep Stealer, a great angry show of defiance with a nasty streak a mile wide, and this one, which is a fragment from a woman calied Mrs Woodberry in Somerset, to which I have added a verse to give it an ending, and its atmosphere of rumbustious idiocy marks it out among songs on the subject, which generally share the bleaker more sombre tones of The Poacher, written down by Vaughan Williams from a Mrs Joiner just outside St Albans. Apparently the majority of people transported for poaching were first offenders, caught whiie hunting in order to feed hungry possibly starving families. Certainly that is the impression left by this song - indeed the stink of entrapment hangs heavy in the air as do the presently celebrated (in some quarters) Victorian values, which insist that the victim's "very large family" survive, in modern terms, on roughly half a dozen bread loaves, after which, nothing.

Lyrics

There was a sheep stole from the marsh and Marcus was the sinner
He stole the sheep on a Saturday night for Sunday for his dinner
So good a cook he had - she was so good and clever
For a very good pie he should have had if she's only got the liver

Chorus:
And sing toora loora lido
Toora loora lay
Toora loora lido

A famous scratch we had with the stuff he stole just now
We killed the sheep and skinned it all on an open bough
One said he'd have the breast, another one said he'd have the chine
Says Wrestling Ned to Stumpy Jack, You'll tear off all his spine

Chorus

Said Stumpy Jack, I'll have none of that from any old fool like you
If you boiled his head for a year and a day he'd have more brains than you
They fought the whole of the afternoon, they stopped to get some scran
While the kids had eat up all of the meat and the bones was in the pan

Chorus

Acknowledgements

Transcription by Garry Gillard, with a head start from Wolfgang Hell.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Sheepstealer
From: HipflaskAndy
Date: 21 Sep 05 - 05:20 AM

This song features in our set currently and after a hasty meeting in Pedant's Corner, we decided to sing 'end HER life' and 'carry HER home', as later on the children 'pull the skin from the ewe'.
Dunno why, we just do. Cheers - HFA


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Sheepstealer
From: Wolfgang
Date: 21 Sep 05 - 08:13 AM

I can't recollect having helped to transcribe the second song posted here (though I did help in transcribing the Mike Waterson version titled Brisk Lad of the first song posted here).

I'll listen to the other Sheepstealer song but chances I can correct transcriptions on Reinhard's site are slim.

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Sheepstealer
From: Garry Gillard
Date: 13 Oct 10 - 03:48 AM

With regard to my transcription - as this has just arisen again in relation to Jon Boden's singing the *other* song on *A Folk Song a Day* - the only changes I would now make to the first two lines of the second verse are these: 'we' instead of 'he'; and 'skin and all' instead of 'skinned it all', thus:

A famous scratch we had with the stuff we stole just now
We killed the sheep and skin and all on an open bough

I know this doesn't make much sense, but ... it's a folk song, and it does at least rhyme :)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Sheepstealer
From: GUEST,The Vulgar Boatman
Date: 20 Aug 16 - 12:28 PM

The problem lies wth the use of language of the late 18th century.:

We killed the sheep and skinned it, all on an open bough... Makes perfect sense.

"All on" being nothing more than another way of saying "upon" or simply "on". Likewise, "All in the Downs" or "All in the month of May..."


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Sheepstealer
From: Reinhard
Date: 20 Aug 16 - 03:23 PM

James Reeves' book "The Idiom of the People" prints the verses of "The Sheepstealer" that Cecil Sharp collected from Mrs Woodberry:

There was a sheep stole from the marsh
Will Marpass was the sinner
He stole the sheep last Saturday night
For Sunday for his dinner
So good a cook he had
She was so good and clever
For a very good pie we should have had
If she had got the liver

A famous scratch we had
With the stuff we stole just now
We killed the sheep and skin 'un
Upon an open bough
One said he'll have the breast
Another one said he'd have the chain
Says Wrestling Ned to Stumpy Jack
You'll tear off all the spine


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