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Lyr/Tune Add: The Cock-Fight / Bonny Grey

Related thread:
Lyr Req: come all of you cockers from far and (3)


In Mudcat MIDIs:
The Bonny Grey (from The Penguin Book Of English Folk Songs)
The Cock-Fight (from The Penguin Book Of English Folk Songs)


Alan of Australia 14 Jan 00 - 08:08 PM
GUEST,Puerto Rico 03 Feb 03 - 10:16 AM
curmudgeon 03 Feb 03 - 08:57 PM
Malcolm Douglas 03 Feb 03 - 09:21 PM
Art Thieme 04 Feb 03 - 10:08 PM
Joe Offer 04 Feb 03 - 11:59 PM
GUEST,MCP 05 Feb 03 - 07:44 AM
Sandy Mc Lean 05 Feb 03 - 04:03 PM
GUEST,MCP 05 Feb 03 - 04:12 PM
Art Thieme 05 Feb 03 - 06:28 PM
Malcolm Douglas 05 Feb 03 - 07:01 PM
curmudgeon 05 Feb 03 - 07:17 PM
GUEST 06 Feb 03 - 07:17 AM
Big Tim 06 Feb 03 - 10:34 AM
GUEST,Tom 06 Feb 03 - 02:50 PM
GUEST,MCP 06 Feb 03 - 05:23 PM
Richard from Liverpool 05 Jun 11 - 08:04 AM
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Subject: Lyr Add: THE COCK-FIGHT / THE BONNY GREY^^
From: Alan of Australia
Date: 14 Jan 00 - 08:08 PM

G'day,
From the Penguin Book Of English Folk Songs, Ed Pellow's rendition of the tune of The Cock-Fight can be found here.

THE COCK-FIGHT (THE BONNY GREY)

Sung by J. Collinson, Casterton, Lancashire (C.J.S 1905)

Come all you cockers, far and near.
I'll tell of a cock-fight, when and where.
At Tumbler's Hill, they all did say,
Between the black and the bonny grey.

Chorus
With a hip and a ha, and a loud hooray,
The charcoal black and the bonny grey!

It's to the house to take a sup;
The cock-fight it was soon made up.
Ten guineas a side these cocks will play,
The charcoal black and the bonny grey.

Lord Derby he came swaggering down.
'I'll lay ten guineas to half a crown,
If the charcoal black he gets fair play,
He'll rip the wings off the bonny grey.'

These cocks hadn't struck past two or three blows,
When the Biggar lads cried: 'Now you'll lose.'
Which made us all both wan and pale.
We wished we'd fought for a gallon of ale.

And the cocks they at it, one, two, three,
And the charcoal black got struck in the eye,
They picked him up to see fair play,
But the black wouldn't fight with the bonny grey.

With the silver breast and the silver wing,
Six brothers of his fought before the king.
With a hip and a ha, and a loud hooray,
And away we went with our bonny grey!

Previous song: The Broomfield Hill.
Next Song: The Cruel Mother.

Penguin Index provided by Joe Offer

Cheers,
Alan ^^


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Subject: RE: Lyr & Tune add: The Cock-Fight / Bonny Grey
From: GUEST,Puerto Rico
Date: 03 Feb 03 - 10:16 AM


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE BONNY GREY
From: curmudgeon
Date: 03 Feb 03 - 08:57 PM

I've been singing a version of this for forty years, had from Bert Lloyd on the Riverside LP, English Street Songs. The text is similar, but with the following alterations:

Come all you colliers, far and near.
I'll tell of a cock-fight, when and where.
Twas on the hill, they all of them did say,
Between the black and the bonny grey.

Chorus
With a hip and a ha, and a loud hooray,
And away we carried our bonny grey!

It's in to the house to take a sup;
And the cock-fight it was soon made up.
Ten guineas a side these birds will play,
The charcoal black and the bonny grey.

Lord Derby he came a-swaggering down.
'I'll lay ten guineas to half a crown,
If the charcoal black he gets fair play,
He'll make mince meat of the bonny grey.'

The cocks they at it and the grey got struck,
And the Oldham lads cried: 'Now you've lost.
Which made us all both wan and pale.
And we wished we'd fought for a barrel of ale.

And the cocks they at it, one, two, three,
And the charcoal black got struck in the eye,
We picked him up but the devil wouldn't play,
And the cockfight went to the bonny grey.

With the silver breast and the silver wing,
He's fit to fight in front of a king.
With a hip and a ha, and a loud hooray,
And away we carried our our bonny grey.

The tune I have is a much livlier dorian piece than that given earlier. It is interesting to note that Lloyd did not use a chorus in his rendition. I was first apprised of the existance of such by John Roberts some quarter century back. Still a great song -- Tom


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Subject: RE: Lyr & Tune add: The Cock-Fight / Bonny Grey
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 03 Feb 03 - 09:21 PM

The set Lloyd recorded was published in his book Come All Ye Bold Miners (1952, revised 1978). According to his notes, it came from James Hamilton of Hunslet, Yorkshire, March 1951.

The "Penguin" set is a collation made from bits of that and of Mr Collinson's version (in which the dialect was stronger than as represented here), another Yorkshire example quoted by Frank Kidson (Traditional Tunes, 1891) and a broadside text issued by Harkness of Preston. Lloyd's notes in the Penguin book mention these, but rather underplay the extent of editorial intervention.

The Harkness broadside can be seen at Bodleian Library Broadside Ballads:

Bonny grey Printed between 1840 and 1866 by John Harkness, Church Street, Preston: Harding B 11(408).


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Subject: RE: Lyr & Tune add: The Cock-Fight / Bonny Grey
From: Art Thieme
Date: 04 Feb 03 - 10:08 PM

Burt Lloyd also did a version on the Riverside LP called CHAMPIONS AND SPORTING BLADES.   He alternated songs with Ewan MacColl. These were all songs of sporting events----soccer ("He's Football Crazy", boxing ("Morrissey And The Russian Sailor")----horse racing ("Creeping Jane"), etc. It's always been one of my favorite albums.

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: Lyr & Tune add: The Cock-Fight / Bonny Grey
From: Joe Offer
Date: 04 Feb 03 - 11:59 PM

Not much of an entry in the Traditional Ballad Index. All they have is the citation from The Penguin Book of English Folk Songs (Ralph Vaughan Williams and A.L. Lloyd).
-Joe Offer-

Cock-Fight, The

DESCRIPTION: Description of a cock-fight, wherein the grey defeats the charcoal-black, to the delight of the singer.
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1905
KEYWORDS: fight bird gambling sports chickens
FOUND IN: Britain(England(North))
REFERENCES (1 citation):
Vaughan Williams/Lloyd, p. 27, "The Cock-Fight (The Bonny Grey)" (1 text, 1 tune)
CROSS-REFERENCES:
cf. "The Wednesbury Cocking" (theme)
File: VWL027

Go to the Ballad Search form
Go to the Ballad Index Instructions

The Ballad Index Copyright 2002 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.


Here are the notes from The Penguin Book of English Folk Songs:
The Cock-Fight (The Bonny Grey) (i Si U 84)
It is generally agreed that the weight and blackness of the Industrial Revolution took the heart out of most of our folk-singers. Yet some fine songs lingered on in industrial towns, and balladeers who made songs for Lancashire spinners and Yorkshire weavers and Cumberland and Durham miners were still at work late in the nineteenth century. They no longer sang of the clash of bright swords. Rather they preferred to take the popular newspaper themes— murder, adultery, prize fighting, sometimes horse-racing. Long after cockfighting was made illegal, the cruel sport and its lively ballad persisted on the northern moors and fells. Various versions place the cockfight at Walney Island in Westmorland, at Holbeck Moor and Hunslet in Yorkshire, and in Liverpool. All agree that after a hard fight the Bonny Grey was the victor.
The text, sung to Cecil Sharp by Mr Collinson at the Kendal folk song competition in 1905, is amended and clarified from a Yorkshire version in KTT, a Lancashire version in A. L. Lloyd’s Come All ye Bold Miners, and from the broadsheet printed by Harkness of Preston.


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Subject: Lyr/Tune Add: THE COCK-FIGHT / THE BONNY GREY etc.
From: GUEST,MCP
Date: 05 Feb 03 - 07:44 AM

Here's a bit more on the song.

Mick



The version in Lloyd's Come All Ye Bold Miners is not the same as curmudgeon's given above. He has (from the singing of James
Hamilton of Hunslet, Yorks, March 1951 as Malcolm said above):

THE COCK-FIGHT
(Source: Lloyd - Come All Ye Bold Miners)

Come, all ye colliers far and near.
I'll tell of a cock-fight, when and where.
Out on the moors I heard them say,
Between a black and a bonny grey.

First come in was the Oldham lads;
They come with all the money they had.
The reason why they all did say:
'The black's too big for the bonny grey.'

It's into the pub to take a sup,
The cock-fight it was soon made up.
For twenty pounds these cocks will play,
The charcoal-black and the bonny grey.

The Oldham lads stood shoutin round:
'I'll lay ye a quid to half a crown,
If our black cock he gets fair play,
He'll make mincemeat of the bonny grey!'

So the cocks they at it, and the grey was tossed,
And the Oldham lads said: 'Bah, you've lost!'
Us collier lads we went right pale,
And wished we'd fought for a barrel of ale.

And the cocks they at it, one, two, three,
And the charcoal-black got struck in the eye.
They picked him up, but he would not play,
And the cock-fight went to the bonny grey.

With the silver breast and the silver wing,
He's fit to fight in front of the king.
Hip hooray, hooray, hooray!
Away we carried our bonny grey.

And the tune (I've given as Phrygian, although it's pentatonic):

X: 1
T:The Cock Fight
M:4/4
L:1/4
S:Lloyd - Come All Ye Bold Miners
K:EPhr
B|B B e e| d B e>
w:Come all ye col-liers far and near
d|B B/ B/ B A| G E E
w:I'll tell of a cock-fight then and where
D|E E G G|A A B>
w:Out on the moors I heard them say
d|e B B A/ A/|G< E E||
w:Be-tween a black and a bon-ny grey



Kidson in Traditional Tunes gives only part of the song (the italicised lines are Kidson's):

THE HOLBECK MOOR COCK-FIGHT
(Source: Kidson - Traditional Tunes)

Come all ye Cockers, far and near!
I'll tell you of a cock-fight, the when and where,
On Holbeck Moor, as I've heard say,
Between a black and a bonny grey.

Twelve men from Hunslet town they came,
Along with them that brought their game;
This game it was, as I've heard say,
Of a black to fight with a bonny grey.

Other verses follow which describe the incidents of the fight. The
last verse is:-


And when the clock struck one, two, three,
The grey struck the black upon the thigh;
They picked him up to see fair play,
But the black would not fight with a bonny grey.

And the tune:

X: 1
T:The Holbeck Moor Cock Fight
M:C
L:1/4
S:Kidson: Traditional Tunes
K:G
(d/c/)|B A G (d/c/)|B A G
w:Come_ all ye cock-ers_ far and near
d|g/ g/ g/ g/ e f/ g/|f e d>
w:I'll tell you of a cock fight, the when and where
d|e> f g e|d g B
w:On Hol-beck Moor as I've heard say
(A/G/)|d d e d/ c/|B A G||
w:Bet-ween a black and a bon-ny grey.


Kidson says: "The brutal sport of cock-fighting is happily now
at an end. The following song is a relic if the pastime, which I admit
merely for the sake of the air. The song used to be sung by ardent cock-fighters in and about Hunslet and Holbeck, two districs of Leeds and I have obtained several copies of the air and words...
The air is rather remarkable for being somewhat similar to the traditional version of "The Bailiff's Daughter of Islington," first published by Chappell, and it is more than likely that the cock-fight verses have been adapted to the tune, "The Bailiff's Daughter," has been sung to in Leeds...
Strictly speaking, this perhaps should be called the Hunslet Moor Cock Fight, as the game was much more prevalent in Hunslet than Holbeck; besides, Hunslet had a church clock, adn Holbeck having only at the time a chapel, had no public clock.
The rhymes of "near" with "where," and of "three" with "thigh," may appear strange to those who do not know the dialect, but they are perfect as pronounced in the district"


(I've omitted details about cock fighting).

The tune he refers to is Chappell's second tune for The Bailiff's Daughter "the traditional tune to which it is commonly sung throughout the country", and the 1st half is not dissimilar (though it reminded me most of The Princess Royal).



And for completeness here's an abc of the Penguin tune (I've written out the fermata explicitly rather than use the abbreviation as people sometimes query the ornaments; this just makes it a little more obvious what it is for those not too familiar with abc).

X: 1
T:The Cock Fight (The Bonny Grey)
M:4/4
L:1/4
S:Vaughan Williams/Lloyd - Penguin Book of English Folk Songs
K:DAeo
C|F F A F|G G d
w:Come all you cock-ers far and near
d|c A/ A/ A G|F E D
w:I'll tell of a cock-fight when and where
C|F G A F|G B A
w:At Tum-bler's Hill they all did say
d|c A A B/ A/|F G D
w:Be-tween the black and the bon-ny grey
C/ C/|F F/ F/ A F/ F/|G B A
w:With a hip and a ha and a loud hoo-ray
d|c B A A/ G/|F< !fermata!G D||
w:The char-coal black and the bon-ny grey!


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Subject: RE: Lyr & Tune add: The Cock-Fight / Bonny Grey
From: Sandy Mc Lean
Date: 05 Feb 03 - 04:03 PM

On The record lady site:
http://recordlady.webgcs.com/main2.htm
Go to page 17
There you'll find a different version sung by Archie campbell.


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Subject: RE: Lyr & Tune add: The Cock-Fight / Bonny Grey
From: GUEST,MCP
Date: 05 Feb 03 - 04:12 PM

Not exactly the same song, but I did like it and (at a quick look) The Record Lady's All-Time Country Favourites too.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Lyr & Tune add: The Cock-Fight / Bonny Grey
From: Art Thieme
Date: 05 Feb 03 - 06:28 PM

The version printed above as being from COME ALL YOU BOLD MINERS is the same one that is on the Riverside LP Champions And Sporting Blades

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: Lyr & Tune add: The Cock-Fight / Bonny Grey
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 05 Feb 03 - 07:01 PM

The Archie Campbell song is good fun, but it isn't even remotely related to the song under discussion here. Curmudgeon's text looks, on further reflection, to be a mix of the Come all ye Bold Miners set and the "Penguin" collation; presumably put together in the 1960s.


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Subject: RE: Lyr & Tune add: The Cock-Fight / Bonny Grey
From: curmudgeon
Date: 05 Feb 03 - 07:17 PM

Please be aware that I have not listened to the album for many years. The text I posted is what I sing and may not be what I originally heard. The Folk Process is alive and well -- Tom


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Subject: RE: Lyr & Tune add: The Cock-Fight / Bonny Grey
From: GUEST
Date: 06 Feb 03 - 07:17 AM

Tom - there was no criticism of your version intended (especially as someone who is quite happy to cold-bloodedly alter words and tunes of collected versions to make a more preferable version for me). I posted the Lloyd version after Malcolm first comment, as yours wasn't what was in Come All Ye Bold Miners.

Mick



Here's another version from the singing of Martin Wyndham-Reed (with some nice guitar and fiddle playing from Nic Jones) on English Sporting Ballads (Broadside BRO128). I'll put the tune up when I've got time.

The notes say "...Tummerel Hill: apparently a local pronounciation for Tumbrel Hill...This is sometimes known as the 'Walney cock-fighting song'. The places named are all on Walney Island, which lies off Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria. Various versions of the song have been found in the belt lying between Shropshire and Cumbria. Source:Text, Barrow-in-Furness Library Z2496, a manuscript copy dating from 1895. Tune, sung under the title of The cocks were heeled, by Franklin Birkett of Elterwater, Langdale, Cumbria; collected by Ann and Stephen Sedley, 1967. Mr. Birkett is a foreman slate quarry worker; he was a shepherd when he was a boy."

THE CHARCOAL BLACK AND THE BONNY GREY
(Source: Martin Wyndham-Reed on English Sporting Ballads, Broadside BRO128)

Come all ye cockers far and near
I'll tell of a cock-fight, when and where:
At Tummerel Hill I've heard them say,
The Northscale lads had a bonny grey.

Two dozen lads from Biggar came
To Tummerel Hill to see the game.
They brought along with them that day
A black to match with the bonny grey.

But when these two cocks they were shown
The Northscale lads said, "We'll fight none.
The reason why", they all did say,
"The black's too big for our bonny grey".

They all went in to take a cup.
The cocks they then were soon set up.
For ten guineas a side these cocks did play,
The charcoal black and the bonny grey.

But when these two cocks came on the sod
The Biggar lads said, "Now, what odds?".
"No odds, no odds", the rest did say.
"We'll hold our guineas and beat your grey".

Old Millie Haslam came swearing down,
"I'll lay a guinea to a crown,
On our charcoal cock, if he gets fair play
He'll rip the wings off your bonny grey."

These cocks had struck but two or three blows
When Biggar lads said they would lose,
Which made them all look wan and pale
And wish they'd fought for a gallon of ale.

Now the black cock he has lost their brass
And the Biggar lads did swear and curse
And wish they'd never come that day
To Tummerel Hill to see the play.

Those cocks were bred at Highfield Hall.
Those lads they were good bidders all.
With a charcoal breast and a silver wing
Six brothers fought before the king.

Then with a hip and a loud hooray
Away they went with the bonny grey.


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Subject: RE: Lyr & Tune add: The Cock-Fight / Bonny Grey
From: Big Tim
Date: 06 Feb 03 - 10:34 AM

It's a great song and since there's an Ian Campbell Group thread at present, its worth mentioning that they recorded it in '64 as "The Cockfight" on their "Across the Hills Album" - (Trad. Arr: Campbell) !


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Subject: RE: Lyr & Tune add: The Cock-Fight / Bonny Grey
From: GUEST,Tom
Date: 06 Feb 03 - 02:50 PM

Yes Tim

Ian Campbell's version seems nearest to Llyod's as MCP posted. A magnificent rendition!


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Subject: Tune Add: THE CHARCOAL BLACK AND THE BONNY GREY
From: GUEST,MCP
Date: 06 Feb 03 - 05:23 PM

The tune for the Martin Wyndham-Reed version.

Mick




X: 1
T:THE CHARCOAL BLACK AND THE BONNY GREY
M:2/4
L:1/4
Q:1/4=160
S:Martin Wyndham-Reed from Franklin Birkett of Elterwater,Langdale,Cumb
K:DMix
D|A B| A (F/ E/)| D D|D2-| D
w:Come all ye cock-ers_ far and near_
E |G G/ G/| G D| F G| A2-| A
w:I'll tell of a cock fight, when and where_
A|A/A/ B| c A| B c |d2-|d
w:At Tum-mer-el Hill I've heard them say_
B|c A| G E/ E/| G E|D2-| D||
w:The North-scale lads had a bonny grey_


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE BONNY GRAY
From: Richard from Liverpool
Date: 05 Jun 11 - 08:04 AM

Hello. Hope nobody minds me reopening an old thread, but I noticed that the versions of the songs where the action in set in Liverpool, from broadside sources, didn't get much of an airing. I thought I'd post a couple of the sources I've used while recording a Liverpool version of the Bonny Grey as part of my Liverpool folk song a week project:
http://aliverpoolfolksongaweek.blogspot.com/2011/06/9-bonny-grey.html

(Note that I haven't found any particular tune associated with these Liverpool versions, so when singing it I've used something based on Kidson's tune for the Holbeck Moor Cock-Fight)

The Bonny Gray from Ballads and Songs of Lancashire ed. John Harland, 2nd Edition, 1875

Come all you cock-merchants far and near,
Did you hear of a cock-fight happening here?
Those Liverpool lads, I've heard them say,
'Tween the Charcoal Black and the Bonny Gray.

We went to Jim Ward's, and call'd for a pot,
Where this grand cock-battle was fought;
For twenty guineas a-side these cocks did play,
The Charcoal Black and the Bonny Gray.

Then Lord Derby came swaggering down:
"I'll bet ten guineas to a crown,
If this Charcoal Black he gets fair play,
He'll clip the wings of your Bonny Gray."

Now when these cocks came to the sod,
Cry the Liverpool lads, "How now? what odds?"
The odds, the Prescot lads did say,
'Tween the Charcoal Black and the Bonny Gray.

This cock-fight was fought hard and fast,
Till Black Charcoal he lay dead at last.
The Liverpool lads gave a loud huzza,
And carried away the Bonny Gray!

(John Harland notes: "This song celebrated a famous cock-fight in the days of 'the old Lord Derby' — Edward, the 12th earl — who was very fond of the sport, and who died in 1834... The song appears to indicate that the cock-pit in which the battle was fought was in Liverpool; and it is clear that the Earl and the Prescot lads backed the cock named 'Charcoal Black,' while the Liverpool folks supported the 'Bonny Gray,' which proved the victor.")



The Bonny Grey from a broadside by Harkness of Preston

Come you cock-merchants far and near,
Did you hear of a cock battle happened near,
Those Liverpool lads I've heard them say,
The Charcoal Black and the Bonny Grey.

We went to Jim Ward's and call'd for a pot,
Where this cock battle was fought;
Twenty guineas a-side these two cocks did play,
The Charcoal Black and the Bonny Grey.

Then Lord Derby came swaggering down,
Bet ten guineas to a crown,
If this Charcoal Black he gets fair play,
He will rip the wings of your Bonny Grey.

O these two cocks came to the sod,
Cries the Liverpool lads, how now? What odds?
The odds the Prescot lads did say.
The Charcoal Black and the Bonny Grey,

This cock battle it was fought,
Whilst the Charcoal Black he lay dead at last;
The Liverpool lads gave a loud huzza,
And carried away the Bonny Grey.


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