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Lyr Add: Workhouse Boy

DigiTrad:
CHRISTMAS EVE IN THE WORKHOUSE
WORKHOUSE BOY


Related threads:
Lyr Req: Christmas in the Workhouse (39)
Lyr Req: It's Christmas in the Workhouse (not (15)
(origins) Origins: Christmas Day in the Cookhouse (26)
Lyr Req: Christmas Day in the Workhouse (36)
Lyr Req: Christmas Day in the Workhouse (14)
Lyr Req: Christmas in the Workhouse Canadian (3)


Stewie 14 Jan 00 - 03:38 AM
Stewie 14 Jan 00 - 03:45 AM
MMario 14 Jan 00 - 11:12 AM
Marymac90 14 Jan 00 - 11:58 AM
Stewie 14 Jan 00 - 05:22 PM
McGrath of Harlow 14 Jan 00 - 06:29 PM
McGrath of Harlow 14 Jan 00 - 06:37 PM
Jeff Dennison 14 Jan 00 - 06:39 PM
DebC 13 May 00 - 01:35 AM
Snuffy 13 May 00 - 11:51 AM
Mick Pearce (MCP) 12 Oct 09 - 07:43 AM
GUEST, Sminky 12 Oct 09 - 08:43 AM
Mick Pearce (MCP) 12 Oct 09 - 09:47 AM
Mr Happy 12 Oct 09 - 10:03 AM
GUEST, Sminky 12 Oct 09 - 10:38 AM
Mr Happy 12 Oct 09 - 10:43 AM
GUEST, Sminky 12 Oct 09 - 10:50 AM
Mr Happy 12 Oct 09 - 10:52 AM
GUEST, Sminky 12 Oct 09 - 11:01 AM
GUEST, Sminky 12 Oct 09 - 11:53 AM
Mick Pearce (MCP) 12 Oct 09 - 12:12 PM
MGM·Lion 12 Oct 09 - 12:54 PM
Mick Pearce (MCP) 12 Oct 09 - 01:45 PM
MGM·Lion 12 Oct 09 - 01:57 PM
GUEST, Sminky 13 Oct 09 - 07:14 AM
Mick Pearce (MCP) 13 Oct 09 - 08:06 AM
GUEST, Sminky 13 Oct 09 - 08:56 AM
GUEST, Sminky 14 Oct 09 - 10:02 AM
GUEST, Sminky 14 Oct 09 - 10:12 AM
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Subject: Lyr Add: WORKHOUSE BOY^^ (Broadside ballad)
From: Stewie
Date: 14 Jan 00 - 03:38 AM

Here's a macabre little ditty:

WORKHOUSE BOY
(Broadside ballad)

The cloth was laid in the workhouse halls
Greatcoats hung on the whitewashed walls
The paupers all were blythe and gay
Keeping their christmas holiday

Chorus:
And we all of us say it
And we say it with fear
Jamie's been murdered by the overseer
[Repeated after each verse]

When the master he said with a murderous leer
You'll all get fat on your christmas cheer
And each by his looks he seemed to say
I'll have some more soup on this christmas day

At length all of us to bed were sent
A boy was missing and in search we went
We sought him high and we sought him low
We sought him with faces of grief and woe

We sought him that hour and we sought him that night
We sought him in fear and we sought him in fright
When I heard a young pauper who then did cry
We'll all have to starve till we find that boy

At length the soup copper repairs did need
The coppersmith came and there he see'd
A pile of bones lay a-sizzling there
And the leg of the breeches the boy did wear ^^ Source: Recorded by The Halliard (Nic Jones, Tony Rose and Jon Raven) 'Broadsides'.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Workhouse boy
From: Stewie
Date: 14 Jan 00 - 03:45 AM

My apologies, the second line of the chorus should read: 'And we say it with sneers'.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Workhouse boy
From: MMario
Date: 14 Jan 00 - 11:12 AM

stewie - you got a tune to go with that?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Workhouse boy
From: Marymac90
Date: 14 Jan 00 - 11:58 AM

I presume this goes with the "throw my love and her baby overboard" song listed in another thread today?

Are we in a contest for the most macabre song we can think of?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Workhouse boy
From: Stewie
Date: 14 Jan 00 - 05:22 PM

MMario, I only have it on an almost worn-out cassette tape. Doctor John posted a while ago that the Halliard LP has been reissued on CD and is available from Mike Raven: Yew Tree Cottage, Jug Bank, Ashley, Market Drayton, Shropshire, TF9 4NJ. IMO it is one of the best albums of the folk revival years in the UK. I've been meaning to obtain a copy of the CD myself.

Regards, Stewie.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Workhouse boy
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 14 Jan 00 - 06:29 PM

It's in the repertoire of the very fine English singer Tim Laycock

Whether he's recorded it I don't know.

I suppose this is a Victorian Urban Legend - it crops up in Oliver Twist I think (though it might be Sketches from Boz) - here is a quote lifted from a current thread about the Beatles (I want to hold your hand - this Mudcat is a fuinnt place. I think the thread drift is the best bit about it sometimes.) See the sentence in bold.

By and by the beadle comes out, once more intensifying the sensation, which has rather languished in the interval.

He is understood to be in want of witnesses for the inquest to-morrow who can tell the coroner and jury anything whatever respecting the deceased. Is immediately referred to innumerable people who can tell nothing whatever. Is made more imbecile by being constantly informed that Mrs. Green's son "was a law-writer his-self and knowed him better than anybody," which son of Mrs. Green's appears, on inquiry, to be at the present time aboard a vessel bound for China, three months out, but considered accessible by telegraph on application to the Lords of the Admiralty.

Beadle goes into various shops and parlours, examining the inhabitants, always shutting the door first, and by exclusion, delay, and general idiotcy exasperating the public. Policeman seen to smile to potboy.

Public loses interest and undergoes reaction. Taunts the beadle in shrill youthful voices with having boiled a boy, choruses fragments of a popular song to that effect and importing that the boy was made into soup for the workhouse.

Policeman at last finds it necessary to support the law and seize a vocalist, who is released upon the flight of the rest on condition of his getting out of this then, come, and cutting it--a condition he immediately observes.

So the sensation dies off for the time; and the unmoved policeman (to whom a little opium, more or less, is nothing), with his shining hat, stiff stock, inflexible great-coat, stout belt and bracelet, and all things fitting, pursues his lounging way with a heavy tread, beating the palms of his white gloves one against the other and stopping now and then at a street-corner to look casually about for anything between a lost child and a murder.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Workhouse boy
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 14 Jan 00 - 06:37 PM

And another Victorian Urban Legend which I really think might be the most macabre of all is in the DT, but here it is to save clicking away:

DAHN THE PLUG'OLE

A mother was bathing her baby one night The youngest of ten, a poor little mite The mother was fat and the baby was thin Only a skellington wrapped up in skin.

The mother turned round for the soap from the rack She weren't gone a minute, but when she got back The baby was gone, and in anguish she cried 'Oh, where is my baby', the angels replied

Your baby has gone down the plug'ole Your baby has gone down the plug The poor little thing was so skinny and thin He should have been bathed in a jug

Your baby is perfectly happy He won't need no bathing no more He's working his way through the sewers Not lost, just gone before.

Like all the best Urban Legends, this is claimed to be based on fact. And it's not impossible either - the kind of public washing facilities concerned would have had quite sizeable drain holes. That's probably spolied whatever meal you might have been planning to have in the 24 hour a day global Mudcat.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Workhouse boy
From: Jeff Dennison
Date: 14 Jan 00 - 06:39 PM

Theres' a copy of the Broadside in the library at Nottingham University but no tune is suggested.

Regards Jeff


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Workhouse boy
From: DebC
Date: 13 May 00 - 01:35 AM

Does anyone have the lyrics to Last Farewell from the same album as Workhouse Boy?

Debra


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Workhouse boy
From: Snuffy
Date: 13 May 00 - 11:51 AM

It seems to be a parody of the macabre "Mistletoe Bough", which is in the DT. Written by Thomas Haynes Bailey in the 1830s, it deals with the legend of the bride trapped in the chest. The tune for the Mistletoe Bough used in eastern England is almost identical to the Mountains of Mourne.

Wassail! V


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Subject: Lyr/Tune Add: THE WORKHOUSE BOY (from Bodleian)
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 12 Oct 09 - 07:43 AM

This song has just been referenced in another thread (The Testimony Of Patience Kershaw-child miner), so I'll add a bit more information here.

There are four copies at Bodleian under the title The Workhouse Boy and one under the title
The Vorkhouse Boy. This latter is intersting because it specifies an air, which Snuffy, who made the previous post on this thread in 2000, will be pleased to hear was in
fact The Misletoe Bough.

The texts of all are almost identical, and I give here the text from one of them: The Workhouse Boy - printed by Pratt, Birmingham. (I don't know if this was the source for the Halliard version, but at least it's Birmingham, and as I said the texts seem to vary very little).

THE WORKHOUSE BOY

The clothes vas laid in the Vorkhouse hall,
The greatcoats hung 'gainst the vhite vashed vall,
The paupers all were blythe and gay,
Keeping their Christmas holiday.
Vhen the master he cried vith a roguish leer,
You'll all get fat on your Christmas cheer,
And each one looks as he seemed to say,
I'll have some more soup on this Christmas day,
  Oh! the poor Vorkhouse boy, &c.

At length all of us to bed vos sent,
The boy was missing in search ve vent,
Ve sought him above we sought him below,
Ve sought him vith faces of grief and voe,
Ve sought him that hour, ve sought him that night,
Ve sought him in fear and ve sought him in fright,
Vhen a young pauper cried, I knows ve shall,
Get jolly vell vopt for losing our pal.
  Oh! the poor Vorkhouse boy, &c.

Ve sought in each corner, each crevice ve knew,
Ve sought down the yard, ve sought up the flue,
Ve sought in each saucepan, each kettle and pot,
In vater butt look'd, but found him not,
Veeks roll'd on ve vos all of us told,
That somebody said he'd been burk'd and sold,
And when master goes out the parishioners vild,
Cried there goes the cove that burk'd the poor child.
  Oh! the poor Vorkhouse boy, &c.

At length the soup copper repairs did need,
The coppersmith came and there he see'd,
A dollop of bones lay grizzling there
In the legs of the breeches the boy did wear;
To gain his fill, the boy did stoop,
And dreadful to tell he vas boiled in the soup,
And ve all of us say it, and say it vith sneers,
That he vos push'd in by the Overseers.
  Oh! the poor Vorkhouse boy, &c.


Source: Bodleian broadside, Firth b.26(173), printed by W.PRATT, Printer, 82, Digbeth, Birmingham.

All the texts use initial V for standard W (with, I think, two exceptions in this copy).


There is also a ballad entitled:
The Workhouse Girl, which tells an equally sad tale of a girl who twin sister vos to the ill-fated child. I'll put the text for this up later.


Finally here's a transcription, from my memory - I haven't got the recording any more - of the tune The Halliard used (suggested tempo is from memory also). If anyone has any corrections to it feel free
to make them. (I also thought the chorus was repeated, but that might have just been me!).

X: 1
T:The Workhouse Boy
S:The HalliardM:C
L:1/8
Q:1/4=84
Z:Mick Pearce from memory
K:DDor
D|A A2 A-A2 G F|G A2 G-G4|
w:The cloth was laid_ in the work-house halls_
F F2 (E2 D) CE|D D2 D-D2 z
w:Great-coats hung_ on the white-washed walls_
D|A A2 A-A2 (GF)|G A2 G-G4|
w:The pau-pers all_ were_ blythe and gay_
F F2 F (ED) C2|D D2 D-D2
w:Keep-ing their Christ_mas hol-i-day_
"^Chorus:"DD|A/A/ A2 A2 A GF|GG A G-G4|
w:And we all of us say it, and we say it with sneers_
FF F E2 D CE|D D2 D-D3||
w:Jam-ie's been mur-dered by the ov-er-seer_



Mick


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Workhouse boy
From: GUEST, Sminky
Date: 12 Oct 09 - 08:43 AM

There's also a very similar version in Ashton's Modern Street Ballads.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Workhouse boy
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 12 Oct 09 - 09:47 AM

Ashton gives no source for his, but it's very,very similar to one of the Bodleian copies (not exactly the same), and again very similar to all of them.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Workhouse boy
From: Mr Happy
Date: 12 Oct 09 - 10:03 AM

Anyone know why the words are couched in such a curious dialect - V for W - surely not a Brum accent?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Workhouse boy
From: GUEST, Sminky
Date: 12 Oct 09 - 10:38 AM

The booklet which accompanies the Halliard CD also gives the source and tune. Unfortunately I don't have it to hand right now.

I have a sneaking suspicion that they may have got it from Henderson's 'Victorian Street Ballads'.

Mr Happy - there's a lovely passage in Folk Songs of the Upper Thames (Alfred Williams) which went along the lines of "country folk spoke in dialect but sang normally, townies spoke normally but sang in dialect". I suspect the above verses were intended for urban consumption.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Workhouse boy
From: Mr Happy
Date: 12 Oct 09 - 10:43 AM

I was thinking German, Yiddish??


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Workhouse boy
From: GUEST, Sminky
Date: 12 Oct 09 - 10:50 AM

More like Zummerzet


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Workhouse boy
From: Mr Happy
Date: 12 Oct 09 - 10:52 AM

Sminky,

Wasn't aware they spoke that way, thanks for link


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Workhouse boy
From: GUEST, Sminky
Date: 12 Oct 09 - 11:01 AM

On second thoughts, they use 'V' for 'F' - not 'W' so maybe there's another explanation.

There's another example here.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Workhouse boy
From: GUEST, Sminky
Date: 12 Oct 09 - 11:53 AM

"The interchange of v and w ..... was censured as a Cockney feature by both Sheridan (1762) and Walker (1791). However, it is in no way restricted to Cockney only. It appears to have been common in East Anglian English (Forby 1830: 102) and can be found in various other parts of the south-east (Wakelin 1977: 95). The interchange of v and w became very popular in literary Cockney, where it lived long after it had become obsolete in real Cockney.
.....

"The interchange of v and w seems to have disappeared towards the end of the nineteenth century (Ellis 1889: 230, Wells 1982, II: 333) althought the SED still reports stray instances from the south-east of England."

The Cambridge history of the English language, Volume 5, p.227


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Workhouse boy
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 12 Oct 09 - 12:12 PM

I should have said earlier - the reason I posted a Birmingham printer's text was because I thought I remembered The Halliard notes saying their source was a Birmingham broadside.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Workhouse boy
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 12 Oct 09 - 12:54 PM

The OP had one thing wrong, and nobody has corrected it: The Halliard were actually Dave Moran, Nick Jones [as he called himself then, early in his career], and Nigel Patterson. They specialised in writing original tunes to previously unrecorded broadsides, at which both Moran & Jones were particularly gifted. Jon Raven did once record with them, on one of his own-label records, but on alternate tracks, not as part of their lineup. Tony Rose was never associated with them: this confusion possibly arose because Nic Jones's & Tony Rose's first solo albums were the first two issues on Bill Leader's Trailer label not masny years later then the days of The Halliard [whose members had all shortly before been schoolfriends].


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Workhouse boy
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 12 Oct 09 - 01:45 PM

Sminky - Henderson is a possibility as a source. (I'd been trying to find an online copy earlier today as Roud lists it in there; sadly it was published a bit too late to be available online yet). In Lyr Req: Ladies Go A-Thieving/Curious Times Julia Jones said that Henderson was the source for Ladies Go A-Thieving, so it's certainly an option.

The tune I gave above will have been written by either Nic Jones or Dave Moran.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Workhouse boy
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 12 Oct 09 - 01:57 PM

I am pretty sure that that one was Dave's — he sang the lead on it, I recall. Nic's most successful one, to my recollection, was "Going for a Soldier, Jenny".


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Workhouse boy
From: GUEST, Sminky
Date: 13 Oct 09 - 07:14 AM

Mick - no, you were right first time - according to the booklet they got it from a Birmingham Broadside (though they do mention the version in Ashton).

Indeed, the Workhouse Boy does not appear in Henderson, though this was the source for several songs on the CD, as was Ashton.


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Subject: Lyr Add: WORKHOUSE GIRL
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 13 Oct 09 - 08:06 AM

Sminky - that's strange. According to my copy of Roud it should be on p42 of Victorian Street Ballads!

And below is The Workhouse Girl that I mentioned earlier.


Mick



WORKHOUSE GIRL

You ax me to sing, so of course I shall,
I'll sing yu the fate of the poor vorkus gal,
Who tein-sister vos to teh ill-fated child,
Who in the soup-kettle you knew vos biled.
From teh time she heard of her brother's decease,
The poor cretur know'd not one moment of peace,
But vent out of her mind, and then rav'd & swore,
Not vonce in her life vould she gollop soup more.
  Oh, the poor vorkus gal, &c.

Th werry next day, at the time they all feed,
Ven I thinks on the brutes, my heart's fit to bleed
The poor cretur come vith the rest to be fed
Ven a dollop of soup vith taters and bread,
Vos shoved in her fist, all svimming vith fat,
And missus she told her to grub upon that.
As soon as she saw it, says I she I discover
This soup has been made from the bones of my brother.
  Oh, the poor, &c.

The old voman flew in a rage so hot,
And svore she vould murder teh gal on the spot,
So the poor cretur then in a terrible plight,
Bolted away vith all her might.
Avay she vent vithout bonnet or shawl,
She cut down the yard and got over the vall,
And not von pauper there, child, voman, or man,
For the starving poor cretur cared one tinker's d---
  Oh, the poor, &c

Now a month pass'd on, no gal vos found,
Says an old cook pauper, 'no doubt she's drowned,
Unless some kind cove out of charity,
Has given her arsenic.' says he.
But oh, he vas wrong, for the wery same night
A knock at the door put them all in a fright,
And ven it vas opened, there stood, oh lud,
The poor starving cretur all vallowed in mud.
  Oh, the poor, &c

Her cheeks vas hollow and sunk her eyes,
Her belly stuck out such a monstrous size,
Most awful her look, dishevelled her hair,
And all her poor body vas bleeding and bare,
And as the poor gal along the hall valked,
She seemed as if from the grave she had stalked,
Ven I think on the scene, quite sick my heart turns
You must know the poor cretur vos troubled vith vorms.
  Oh, the poor, &c

They sent for a doctor, they sent for a nuss,
But ven they both comed the poor cretur vas vuss
They guved her some gruel, they tallowed her nose
But werry soon after she turned up her toes.
Now all the parishioners flewed in a pet,
And svore that a Coroner's inquest should set;
Ven the Coroner comed, but the wery next day,
The vorms vith the body had crawled away.
  Oh, the poor, &c


Source: Bodleian broadside Firth c.16(313) printed by: E.
Hodges, from Pitts Wholesale Toy and Marble Warehouse


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Workhouse boy
From: GUEST, Sminky
Date: 13 Oct 09 - 08:56 AM

Hmmmmm....I only had a quick glance at Henderson last night. It's not indexed very well, so I must have missed it. I'll double check tonight.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Workhouse boy
From: GUEST, Sminky
Date: 14 Oct 09 - 10:02 AM

So, who do you believe - Roud or me?

OK it IS on page 42 of Henderson and omits verse 3 from Mick's version, above.

For completeness, here's the complete listing of songs in the Halliard booklet along with the source of the text, where given. Other sources mentioned are enclosed in brackets.

THE DIGGINS O - Ashton
CLEVER TOM CLINCH - Jonathan Swift poem
BILL DON'T YOU CRY FOR ME - not stated
THE DESERTER - Henderson
ROBIN HOOD - Grimsby Library?
NIGHTINGALE IN THE EAST - Shepard
BOLD CAPTAIN GRANT - Harkness
WITH WELLINGTON WE'LL GO - Ashton
TURPIN'S BONNIE BLACK BESS - Ashton
DEATH OF NESLON - Birmingham Lib (Ashton)
THE SUFFERING OF CHARLES ADOLPHUS KING - Manchester Ref Lib
RAKISH YOUNG FELLOW - either Harkness or Manchester Ref Lib
STOW BROW - unknown
MILES WEATHERHILL - Hindley (Henderson)
SAD LAMENTATION OF JOHN KINGTON - either Coventry or Birmingham Lib
CALICO PRINTER'S CLERK - Harkness
LADIES GO A-THIEVING - Henderson
GOING FOR A SOLDIER JENNY - Henderson
THE WORKHOUSE BOY - Birmingham Lib (Ashton)
A THOUSAND MILES AWAY - Birmingham Lib
THE LAST FAREWELL OF FROST, JONES AND WILLIAMS - unknown

KEY:


Ashton

Ashton, John, Modern Street Ballads (1888)


D'Urfey

D'Urfey, Thomas, Wit and Mirth: Or Pills to Purge Melancholy (1698-1720)


Harkness

The Harkness Broadside Ballad Collection, Harris Library, Preston


Henderson

Henderson, W., Victorian Street Ballads (1937)


Hindley

Hindley, Charles, Curiosities of Street Literature (1871)


Shepard

Shepard, Leslie, The Broadside Ballad, A Study In Origins And Meaning (1962)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Workhouse boy
From: GUEST, Sminky
Date: 14 Oct 09 - 10:12 AM

For absolute completeness, here's the listing of songs in the Halliard booklet along with some I managed to omit the first time ;-]

LANCASHIRE LADS - Manchester Ref Lib
THE VICTORY - Ashton
BRITISH MAN OF WAR - unknown
BOLD NEVISON - not stated
COLLIER LASS - Harkness
JULIEN'S ORIGINAL POLKA - Ashton
BOYS OF BEDLAM - D'Urfey
DURHAM MILITIA - Henderson
THE DIGGINS O - Ashton
CLEVER TOM CLINCH - Jonathan Swift poem
BILL DON'T YOU CRY FOR ME - not stated
THE DESERTER - Henderson
ROBIN HOOD - Grimsby Library?
NIGHTINGALE IN THE EAST - Shepard
BOLD CAPTAIN GRANT - Harkness
WITH WELLINGTON WE'LL GO - Ashton
TURPIN'S BONNIE BLACK BESS - Ashton
DEATH OF NESLON - Birmingham Lib (Ashton)
THE SUFFERING OF CHARLES ADOLPHUS KING - Manchester Ref Lib
RAKISH YOUNG FELLOW - either Harkness or Manchester Ref Lib
STOW BROW - unknown
MILES WEATHERHILL - Hindley (Henderson)
SAD LAMENTATION OF JOHN KINGTON - either Coventry or Birmingham Lib
CALICO PRINTER'S CLERK - Harkness
LADIES GO A-THIEVING - Henderson
GOING FOR A SOLDIER JENNY - Henderson
THE WORKHOUSE BOY - Birmingham Lib (Ashton)
A THOUSAND MILES AWAY - Birmingham Lib
THE LAST FAREWELL OF FROST, JONES AND WILLIAMS - unknown

KEY:


Ashton

Ashton, John, Modern Street Ballads (1888)


D'Urfey

D'Urfey, Thomas, Wit and Mirth: Or Pills to Purge Melancholy (1698-1720)


Harkness

The Harkness Broadside Ballad Collection, Harris Library, Preston


Henderson

Henderson, W., Victorian Street Ballads (1937)


Hindley

Hindley, Charles, Curiosities of Street Literature (1871)


Shepard

Shepard, Leslie, The Broadside Ballad, A Study In Origins And Meaning (1962)


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