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Lyr Req: Old Man Livin' at the Mill

Susan A-R 24 Feb 00 - 09:54 PM
GUEST,rich r 24 Feb 00 - 10:34 PM
Troll 24 Feb 00 - 10:40 PM
Dale Rose 24 Feb 00 - 11:03 PM
GUEST,DaveStrorm 24 Feb 00 - 11:15 PM
Dale Rose 24 Feb 00 - 11:41 PM
Troll 24 Feb 00 - 11:45 PM
raredance 24 Feb 00 - 11:58 PM
raredance 25 Feb 00 - 12:16 AM
Clinton Hammond2 25 Feb 00 - 04:00 AM
raredance 25 Feb 00 - 11:11 PM
raredance 25 Feb 00 - 11:13 PM
Stewie 26 Feb 00 - 04:27 AM
Susanne (skw) 26 Feb 00 - 11:09 AM
Susan A-R 26 Feb 00 - 10:22 PM
raredance 29 Feb 00 - 12:08 AM
Goose Gander 20 Dec 06 - 11:58 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 21 Dec 06 - 08:43 AM
Goose Gander 21 Dec 06 - 11:13 AM
Goose Gander 21 Dec 06 - 12:50 PM
Goose Gander 21 Dec 06 - 02:59 PM
Goose Gander 21 Dec 06 - 04:29 PM
EBarnacle 22 Dec 06 - 09:10 AM
GUEST,narawls 21 Feb 09 - 03:29 PM
GUEST,Karen 07 Oct 09 - 11:24 PM
cptsnapper 08 Oct 09 - 03:31 AM
Jim Dixon 09 Oct 09 - 05:47 PM
GUEST,gaden 10 Jan 11 - 10:01 PM
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Subject: Old Man Livin' at the Mill
From: Susan A-R
Date: 24 Feb 00 - 09:54 PM

I can remember hearing Alan Block (sp?) do this one with quite a few verses. All I can remember is the chorus

Old man, livin' at the mill The mill turns around of it's own free will One hand in the hopper and the other in the sack The ladies go forward and the gents fall back.

My old man's from Kalamazoo He don't wear no Yes I Do! . . .

Any more would be helpful. I promised the fellas I play music with that I'd find this one.

Susan


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Old Man Livin' at the Mill
From: GUEST,rich r
Date: 24 Feb 00 - 10:34 PM

That looks like a version of "Jolly Is The Miller" which is an old play party song an tune. It is in the DT but with only one verse. I have heard a Pete Seeger recording of it that goes on at some length but I cannot remember if he just keeps singing the same verse over and over.

rich r


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Old Man Livin' at the Mill
From: Troll
Date: 24 Feb 00 - 10:40 PM

I think the Holy Modal Rounders did it but I can't remember which album.CRS anymore.

troll


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Old Man Livin' at the Mill
From: Dale Rose
Date: 24 Feb 00 - 11:03 PM

Everyone has their own opinion. Mine ~~ The Dillards. You'll find Old Man At The Mill on their first album, Back Porch Bluegrass, Elektra Records EKL-232, 1963. Unfortunately, the album has never been re-released, but the song is on the fine compilation, There Is a Time, 1963-70, Vanguard VCDS 131/32, 1991. You also get 29 cuts, a bargain!


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Subject: Lyr Add: OLD MAN LIVIN' AT THE MILL (from Dillards
From: GUEST,DaveStrorm
Date: 24 Feb 00 - 11:15 PM

I know The Dillards did a version of this song. It's on their There Is A Time album. Here's the words as best as I can understand them (I'm not too sure about the "raven" verse)!

^^ CHORUS: Same old man livin' at the mill
The mill turns around of its own free will
Hand in the hopper and the other in the sack
Ladies step forward and the gents fall back

Down sat an owl with his head all white
Lonesome day and a lonesome night
Thought I heard a purty girl say
Court all night and you sleep next day. CHO.

Well then said the raven as she flew
If I was a young one I'd get two
One for to get and the other to sew
I'd have a string for my bow bow bow. CHO.

Well my old man's in Kalamazoo
He don't wear no yes I do
First to the left and then to the right
This old mill grinds day and night. CHO. TWICE.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Old Man Livin' at the Mill
From: Dale Rose
Date: 24 Feb 00 - 11:41 PM

Saved me some work there, Dave! I was just commencing to do the same. I am like you, the raven part is a bit hard to understand. I hear "I'd BID two". Either way, it doesn't make a heck of a lot of sense.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Old Man Livin' at the Mill
From: Troll
Date: 24 Feb 00 - 11:45 PM

Got me a job settin' on a fence,

I ain't done a damn thing since.

Dance all night with a bottle in my hand,

'Long 'bout dawn,give the fiddler a dram.

It's the same old lady, hangin' out the wash,

Now she's wearin' a mackintosh.

She a-hangin' out the wash in the pourin' rain.

Thats all I can remember of the Holy Modal Rounders version.They used some of the Dillards version verses too.

troll

Poor old lady done gone insane.


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Subject: Lyr Add: MILLER BOY and LITTLE JOHNNY MILLER
From: raredance
Date: 24 Feb 00 - 11:58 PM

AThe Frank C Brown Collection of North Carolina Folkore describes this as "Perhaps the oldest and most widely known of the play=party songs" It contains three versions of the opening stanza.

THE MILLER BOY

Oh, the miller boy that tends to the mill
He takes the toll with his own free will.
One hand in the hopper and the other in the sack-
The ladies step forward and the gents step back.

MILLER BOY

Happy is the miller that lives by the mill,
The mill turns around and gains what it will.
Hands in the hopper and hands in the sack-
Ladies step forward and the gents step back.

LITTLE JOHNNY MILLER

Little Johhnie Miller he worked at the mill,
He worked all day, no matter what you will,
With a hand in the hopper and the other in the sack.
The ladies keep a-going while the gents turn back.


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Subject: Lyr Add: JOLLY MILLER
From: raredance
Date: 25 Feb 00 - 12:16 AM

This set of lyrics ( along with some fairly detailed instructions for the dance) comes from "Handy II, The Red Book of Social Recreation" by Lynn Rohrbough (1931, Church Recreation Service).

JOLLY MILLER

Jolly is the miller that lives by the mill,
The wheel turns around of its own free will,
With one hand in the hopper and the other in the sack,
The wheel turns around and we all turn back.

Jolly is the miller that lives by the mill,
The wheel turns around of its own free will,
With one hand in the hopper and the other in the sack,
Ladies Go forward, and the men turn back.

Raining, hailing, cold and stormy weather,
In comes the farmer, drinking up his cider;
In comes the reaper, out goes the binder;
I have a true love. Where shall I find her?

Jolly is the miller who lives by himself,
As the wheel goes around he is gaining on his wealth
One hand in the hopper, the other in the bag,
As the wheel goes around he calls out 'grab'.

rich r


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Old Man Livin' at the Mill
From: Clinton Hammond2
Date: 25 Feb 00 - 04:00 AM

Old man living at the mill??

That used to be me... until the Sandwich Mill here in Windsor closed it's doors... it was the best pub this town had seen...

Now I'm stuck with a local on the other side of town!

LOL!!

{~`


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE MILLER BOY (from Vance Randolph)
From: raredance
Date: 25 Feb 00 - 11:11 PM

These versions are found under the heading "The Miller Boy" in Ozark Folk songs by Vance Randolph, Vol 3 (1980 University of Missouri Press). This description of the game was given to Randolph in 1927 by Carl Durbin of Pineville, MO.

Each boy takes his partner by her left hand, and the all form a double ring, with the girls on the outside. The odd man - the "Miller Boy" - stands alone in the center of the circle. The players march around singing. When the ladies step forward the boys must get new partners - each man taking the girl directly behind him - and the Miller Boy attempts to snatch a girl for himself while the change is being made. If he succeeds, the man who loses his partner becomes the Miller Boy. Variations may be introduced to make it more difficult. Sometimes they sing "men steps forrerd an' the gals falls back" or "all turn around an' march right back."

A.
Happy is the miller boy that lives by the mill,
The mill turns round with a right good will,
Hand on the hopper an' the other in the sack,
Gals step forrerd an' the men falls back.

B.
Happy is the miller boy that lives by the mill,
The mill turns round with a free good will,
Hand on the hopper an' t'other on the pole,
Ever' time the mill turns, hold boys hold!

Happy is the miller boy that lives by the mill,
the mill turns round with a free good will,
Hand on the hopper an' t'other on the stab
All wants a purty gal, grab, boys, grab!

C.
Happy is the miller boy that lives by the mill,
Grinds his corn with a free good will,
One in the hopper and the other in the sack,
Hold, boys hold and turn right back.

D.
Once there was a miller boy that lived by the mill,
The mill turned around with a free good will,
Hand on the hopper and the other on the sack,
Hold your holts and turn right back.

Sailing eastward, sailing westward,
Sailing over the ocean,
All you kids that want a good wife
Better be quick in the motion.

E.
Happy is the miller boy who lives by the mill,
The mill turns around with its own free will,
Hand on the hopper and the other on the sack,
Lady keeps a-going, gents turn back

Snow and it blows and it's cold stormy weather
Along came a farmer a-selling apple cider,
You be the reaper and I'll be the binder,
Lost my true lover and here's where I find her.

Sailing east, we're sailing west,
We are sailing far over the ocean,
Any young man who wants a wife
Had better be taking a notion.

HTML line breaks added. --JoeClone, 2-Jun-02.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Old Man Livin' at the Mill
From: raredance
Date: 25 Feb 00 - 11:13 PM

Well that was a useless attempt at cutting and pasting an HTML preformatted file from a word processor.

rich r


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Old Man Livin' at the Mill
From: Stewie
Date: 26 Feb 00 - 04:27 AM

Clint Howard sings 'The Old Man at the Mill' on 'The Original Folkways Recordings of Doc Watson and Clarence Ashley' Smithsonian/Folkways CD SF 40029/30 with lyrics almost identical to Dillard's version posted above. The raven verse is the same as that given by Dave except the raven says 'if I was a young man'. I thought that stanza had shades of 'Leather-winged Bat' - of which I am most familiar with John Koerner's version - and that was confirmed by the notes to the Smithsonian CD. Rinzler writes that the 'Old Man at the Mill':

... is a happy combination of two separate songs: a wellknown party piece 'The Jolly Miller', and 'The Bird Song' or 'The Leather-winged Bat'. An 1883 version of the former is reported by Newell (pp102-3) and both Botkin and Randolph include it in their collections. 'The Leather-winged Bat' can be found in Lomax's 'Folksong USA, and Sharp provides two modal tunes and humorous verses for 'The Bird Song' in the second volume of his 'English Folksongs in the Southern Appalacians'.

Stewie.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Old Man Livin' at the Mill
From: Susanne (skw)
Date: 26 Feb 00 - 11:09 AM

Rita Connolly does it on her CD of the same title, as a medley with another song whose title escapes me just now. - Susanne


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Old Man Livin' at the Mill
From: Susan A-R
Date: 26 Feb 00 - 10:22 PM

Wow! The Leather Winged Bat link gives me some things to play with at our session, and the other stuff is great as well. I should be able to come up with something worth playing with. The tune is a fun one too. Thanks all.

Susan


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Subject: Lyr Add: BIRDS COURTING
From: raredance
Date: 29 Feb 00 - 12:08 AM

"The Bird Song" that's a great lead Stewie. I figured there had to be another source for some of those verses, but I had no idea what to look for. The Miller Boy versions weren't coming up with them. Back to the Frank C Brown Collection of North CArolina Folklore under the heading "Birds Courting"

In came the owl with his head right white:
'Lonesome day and a lonesome night.
I thought I heard some pretty girl say,
"Court all night and sleep next day"'

In come the lonely turtle dove:
'That is not the way to keep her love.
If you want to gain her heart's delight
Keep her up both day and night.'

Up stepped the sparrow as he flew:
"If I was a young man I'd have two;
If one forsake me and from me go
I'd still have a string to my bow, bow, bow.'

IN another version the second verse is:

'Oh' said the raven as he flew,
If I'd been a young man I'd have two;
One might forsake me and the other might go,
Still I'd have a string to my bow, bow bow.

The connection of these verses to "Leather winged Bat" is pretty obvious. The Brown collection includes a couple other lyrics that appear to be only tenuously connected to the above.

Said the sparrow in the grass,
'I wish I had my bottle and glass
And my true love to drink with me;
then oh, how happy I would be.

Said the lonesome lonesome dove,
'I'll tell you a better way for to gain her love;
Keep her up all night and all the next day
And never give her time to say "Go'way!"

Long came a jay bird, hoppin in the grass,
With his bottle and his glass.
'Say fine lady, won't you drink with me?
Oh how happy we will be!'

Whoop-dy doopty went the old owl, sittin on a limb
Learning how to tailor so as to cut him out a coat;
Every fine lady he saw pass by
Nod his head and wink one eye.

Says the redbird to himself,
'Meat and bread upon the shelf;
Wouldn't be afraid, bet my life,
Fetch her home to be my wife.

That whoopdy doopty owl verse doesn't rhyme and doesn't make sense either

rich r


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Subject: ADD: The Dusty Miller
From: Goose Gander
Date: 20 Dec 06 - 11:58 PM

THE DUSTY MILLER

There was an old man who lived by the mill
The wheel goes around with a good free will
One hand on the hopper, the other on a sack
The ladies go forward, but the gents turn back.

Source:
Florence Warnick, 'Play-Party Songs in Western Maryland,' The Journal of American Folklore, Vol 54, No. 213/214 (July-Dec., 1941), p.163

Notes:
"Botkin, pp. 47, 250 calls this 'The Miller Boy,' an accretionary dance song, and traces it back to the seventeenth century. See also Randolph, p. 145; Wolford, pp. 67-68. 'Dusty Miller,' an old song improved by Robert Burns, has no relation to this dance song."
(p.163)

"The play-party songs given below were used in Garrett Co., Maryland. Members of the Protestant churches were not allowed to dance, but there was no bar to their playing swinging games, some of which were not very different from square dances. In the small, backwoods community where the writer was reared, we often had no musical instruments, and almost everyone made an effort to sing the songs which we danced or played . . . ." (p.162)

From the Ballad Index . . . .

Miller Boy, The (Jolly is the Miller I)

DESCRIPTION: Playparty: "Happy is the miller boy who lives by the mill, The mill turns around with its own free will, Hand on the hopper and the other on the sack, Lady keeps a-going, gents turn back." Other verses about courting, milling, weather
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1719? (Pills to Purge Melancholy) (American version 1916/Wolford)
KEYWORDS: playparty nonballad miller
FOUND IN: US(Ap,MA,MW,SE,So)
REFERENCES (4 citations):
Randolph 518, "The Miller Boy" (5 texts, 2 tunes)
BrownIII 75, "The Miller Boy" (3 one-stanza fragments)
Hudson 153, pp. 300-301, "The Jolly Miller" (1 text)
DT, OVRHILL5*

Roud #733
RECORDINGS:
Pete Seeger, "Jolly is the Miller" (on PeteSeeger22) (on PeteSeeger33, PeteSeegerCD03)
Notes: Wolford traces this piece back to Pills to Purge Melancholy, and Randolph reports that Gomme has English versions. But they don't look like the same item to me. - RBW
File: R518


Old Man at the Mill, The

DESCRIPTION: "Same old man, sitting at the mill/Mill turns around of its own free will...ladies go forward and the gents fall back." This is followed by floating verses, many taken from "The Birds' Courting Song (Leatherwing Bat)"
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1962 (recording, Clint Howard et al)
KEYWORDS: courting floatingverses nonballad playparty
FOUND IN: US(SE)
Roud #733
RECORDINGS:
Clint Howard et al, "The Old Man at the Mill" (on Ashley02, WatsonAshley01)
CROSS-REFERENCES:
cf. "The Bird's Courting Song (The Hawk and the Crow; Leatherwing Bat)" (floating lyrics)
Notes: This certainly shares a good deal with "The Birds' Courting Song (Leatherwing Bat)," but there are enough differences that I have split them. - PJS
Roud, interestingly, lumps it not with that song but with "The Miller Boy (Jolly is the Miller I)," presumably on the basis of the first verse. The result may well be a complex composite of the two. - RBW
File: RctOMatM

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

The Ballad Index Copyright 2006 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Old Man Livin' at the Mill
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 21 Dec 06 - 08:43 AM

I recorded this song on my Handful of Songs album. I learned it from Old Time Music at Clarence Ashley's (one of my all-time favorite folk albums.) I added one additional verse I haven't seen mentioned in this thread... I think that I got it from Leather Wing Bat:

   Then said the blackbird, sitting in a chair
   Once I courted a lady fair
   But she turned fickle and she turned her back
   And ever since then, my head's been black

Jerry


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Old Man Livin' at the Mill
From: Goose Gander
Date: 21 Dec 06 - 11:13 AM

Here are some soundfiles, lyrics, and background . . . .

THE MILLER BOY as sung by M.L. Mercer, Josephine Campbell, Hazel Barnhart, and Grace Acree.

Happy was the miller boy
That lived by the mill
The mill went around
With a free good will
Hand in the hopper
An' the other in the sack
Ladies step forward
An' the gents all back
Four in the ring
An' I can't jump Josie
Four in the ring
An' I can't jump Joe
Four in a ring
An' I can't jump Josie
Hello, Suzy Brown
Look down the road
An' I seen Sal a-com'n
Look down the road
An' I seen Sal a-com'n
Look down the road
An' I seen Sal a-com'n
Hello, Suzy Brown

Source: Max Hunter Collection


Two from Visalia FSA Camp 1941/09/01 . . . .

MILLER BOY

MILLER BOY

Source: Voices From the Dust Bowl / American Memory


MILLER BOY sung by: Mr. and Mrs. F.E. Ash
Recorded in Ash Flat, AR 8/15/58

The miller boy, the miller boy,
Lives by the mill.
The mill turns around with its own free will.
One hand in the hopper and the other in the sack,
Salute your partner and take a back track.
We're sailing east, we're sailing west,
We're sailing over the ocean.
Says I, "Young man, if you don't watch out,
You'll be too slow in the motion."

Happy is the miller boy who lives by the mill;
The wheel turns around with its own free will.
One hand in the hopper and the other in the sack.
Salute your partner and take a back track.
We're sailing east, we're sailing west.
We're sailing over the ocean.
Says I," Young man, if you don't look out,
You'll take too slow in the motion."

(Mrs. Ash: "There's a boy and a girl in pairs in a circle and one extra boy to lead. And the boy in the middle, he starts out by singing "Miller Boy," and then when they say salute your partner and take a back track, he steps in and steals a partner, and then they go again. And then after everyone gets halfway through, then they sing they're sailing east and sailing west and then everyone turns and goes in the opposite direction until they get new partners. The boys go one way and the girl goes the other.")

Also found in Randolph, Vol. III, #518; Brown, Vol. III, #74.

MILLER BOY sung by: Jack Escue
Recorded in Sidney, AR 8/30/57

There was a miller boy, lived by the mill.
The mill turned around by its own free will.
Hand on the hopper and the other'n on the sack,
Ladies walk forward, gents turn back.
Sailing east, we're sailing west,
Sailing over the ocean.
Come, all you men who want a good wife,
Better be quick in the motion.

(Mr. Escue: "In this little ring game, why, each man has his partner, and they're circling around and they promenade, and there's one extra boy in the center, and he cheats a partner every time, and when he hollers be quick in the motion . . . In this ring game, when they start out, why, you have your partner, and you're promenading around the ring, and there's an extra boy in the center who cheats on a partner every time, and that throws one without a partner, and it goes on around until the ring, 'til it's finished.")

Also found in Randolph, Vol. III, #518; Brown, Vol. III, #75.

Source: Wolf Folklore Collection


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Old Man Livin' at the Mill
From: Goose Gander
Date: 21 Dec 06 - 12:50 PM

Out of 77 references in the Roud Index, most are North American, but there are a sizeable number from Britain. The earliest collected ones seem to date only to the late nineteenth century, but given the wide distribution - from the Isle of Wight and Cornwall all the way up to north-east Scotland (where I assume the Grieg-Duncan text was collected) - it's likely the rhyme is considerably older.

Just as 'Miller Boy' seems to be the most common North American title, 'Jolly Miller' is far and away the most common British title.

'JOLLY MILLER' (England, 1985)
Opie, The Singing Game (1985) pp.314-316

'JOLLY MILLER' (nine versions from around England)
Gomme, Traditional Games of England, Ireland & Scotland 1 (1894) pp.289-293

'JOLLY MILLER' (England)
Gomme & Sharp, Children's Singing Games 2 (1909) pp.6-8

'JOLLY MILLER' (England : Yorkshire : Bradfield, 1907)
R.A.A. Gatty MS collection (Birmingham Ref Lib 661164 11R 20) n/bk 3 p.31 / n/bk 2 p.17

'JOLLY MILLER'
Cecil Sharp MSS, Folk Tunes p. 1705 (England : Derbyshire : Winster, 1908)

'JOLLY MILLER'
Kerr's Guild of Play (1912) p.3 (versions a & b) (Scotland?)

'JOLLY MILLER' (England : Hampshire)
Gillington, Old Isle of Wight Singing Games (1909) p.7

'JOLLY MILLER' (England : Northumberland : Cambo, 1920s)
Bosanquet, In the Troublesome Times (2nd edn. 1989) p.130

'THERE WAS A JOLLY MILLER' (Scotland)
Greig-Duncan MSS (Gm 2.126c)

'JOLLY MILLER' (England : Yorkshire : Sheffield)
Northall, English Folk-Rhymes (1892) p.366

'JOLLY MILLER" (England)
Yeatman & Hall, On the Green (1894) p.17

'JOLLY MILLER" (England)
Hinkson, Victorian Singing Games (1991) p.12, 25

'JOLLY MILLER' (England, I believe)
Kidson, 100 Singing Games (1916) p.115

'THERE WAS A JOLLY MILLER' (England, I believe)
Hornby, The Joyous Book of Singing Games (c1913) p.60

'JOLLY MILLER' (England)
Walter, Old English Singing Games (1926) p.30

'JOLLY MILLER' (England)
Holbrook, Children's Games (1957) pp.100-101
Previous source: Sharp, Children's Singing Games

'THERE WAS A JOLLY MILLER' (England : London)
Douglas, London Street Games (2nd edn., 1931) p.41

'JOLLY MILLER' (England : Cornwall)
Courtney: Folk-Lore Journal 5 (1887) pp.57-58


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Old Man Livin' at the Mill
From: Goose Gander
Date: 21 Dec 06 - 02:59 PM

Related to 'Turkey in the Straw,' 'Old Zip Coon,' and 'Natchez Under the Hill' according to notes to Turkey in the straw in Fiddle Tunes of the Old Frontier

"All these American cousins, together with others such as the play-party song "Jolly Is the Miller," seem to be derived from an eighteenth-century British air often called "The Rose Tree." This lineage is discussed, and many variants are listed, in the notes to American Fiddle Tunes." (Library of Congress, AFS L62).


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Old Man Livin' at the Mill
From: Goose Gander
Date: 21 Dec 06 - 04:29 PM

From Derbyshire . . . .

There was a jolly miller and he lived by himself
As the wheel went round, he made his wealth
One hand was in the hopper, the other in the bag
As the wheel went round he made his grab.

Source:
Robert Charles Hope, 'Derbyshire and Cumberland Counting-Out and Children's Game-Rhymes,' The Folk-Lore Journal, Vol 1, No. 12 (December, 1883), p.385


A nearly identical verse was collected in Sussex around the same time . . . .

THE JOLLY MILLER

There was a jolly miller who lived by himself
As the wheel went round he made his wealth
One hand on the hopper and the other on the bag
As the wheel went round he made his grab.

Source:
Miss Allen, 'Children's Game Rhymes,' The Folk-Lore Record, Vol 5 (1882), p.86


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Old Man Livin' at the Mill
From: EBarnacle
Date: 22 Dec 06 - 09:10 AM

Brian Bowers used to do a version of this during his sets. I would be surprised if he did not also include it in at least one of his CD's.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Old Man Livin' at the Mill
From: GUEST,narawls
Date: 21 Feb 09 - 03:29 PM

In my youth, the song was played at parties. Mostly held in barns. The one we sang went like this:

Oh,It rained and it hailed it was cold stormy weather.
Along came a man drinking all the cider.
You'll be the reaper and I'll be the binder.
Lost my true love and now I'm going to find her.

Pappy was a miller and he lived on the hill
He lived there forty and he lives there still. Four in the hopper and two in the sack. Everyone go round and grab 4 back.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Old Man Livin' at the Mill
From: GUEST,Karen
Date: 07 Oct 09 - 11:24 PM

It was so fascinating to read through these responses, which I found while searching for the history of this song. My daughter learned it at school last year, from a great teacher in Seattle who does a lot of traditional folk songs. Whether or not this is an "accurate" rendition, this is how the kids seem to sing it:

Jolly is the miller boy who lives by the mill
Mill goes around of its own free will
Corn in the hopper and meal in the sack
Ladies step forward and the gents turn back

Raining, hailing, cold stormy weather
In comes the farmer, drinkin' up the cider
You'll be the reaper and I'll be the binder
Lost my true love, where can I find her?

Love that these songs are being handed down to the kiddos! Thanks for everyone's assiduous research and careful shepherding of them through the generations.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Old Man Livin' at the Mill
From: cptsnapper
Date: 08 Oct 09 - 03:31 AM

I seem to remember that either Iain Matthews, Matthews Southern Comfort or Plainsong recorded a version of this.


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Subject: Lyr Add: HAPPY MILLER (trad. Michigan)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 09 Oct 09 - 05:47 PM

From "Some Play-Party Games in Michigan" by Emelyn E. Gardner, in Journal of American Folklore, Vol. 33, No. 128 (Lancaster, Pa.: American Folk-Lore Society, April-June, 1920), page 101, where it appears with musical notation for one voice:                


15. HAPPY MILLER.*

(Version a.)
(Ruth Barnes. Waldron.)

Happy is the Miller boy that lives by the mill;
The mill turns around with its own free will.
One hand in the hopper, and the other in the sack,
The wheel turns round, and the boys turn back.

(Version b.)
(Hazel Stocking, Lowell.)

The miller, the miller that lives by the mill;
The mill goes round by its own free will;
One hand in the hopper, the other in the bag;
The mill goes round, and it cries out, "Grab!"

The girls form a ring inside a ring of boys, the members of the inner ring facing those of the outer ring. One boy stands in the centre of the ring. Each ring begins to circle and sing, the two revolving in opposite directions. When they all sing "Grab!" each boy tries to grab a girl; and the boy who is left without any girl has to stand in the centre while they sing the verse over again.

(Version c.)
(Delia Gardner. Bath.)

This version is the same as b, except that the following stanza is added: ?

I've been to London, and I've been to Dover,
I've travelled this wide world all over,
Over and over and ten times over,
Drink up your liquor, boys, and turn your glasses over!

(Version d.)
(Estelle Wilcox, Millington.)

1. Jolly was the miller who lived by the mill,
The wheel turned round of its own free will;
One hand in the hopper, and the other in the bag;
The wheel turns round, and he cries out, "Grab!"

2. The oar's in the boat, and it won't go round,
The oar's in the boat, and it won't go round,
The oar's in the boat, and it won't go round
Till you've kissed the pretty girl that you've just found.

*All the informants save the one who contributed version a sing the tune given by Mrs. Ames, "The Missouri Play-Party" (JAFL 24:306). For other versions, see Gomme, Traditional Games, 1:289, 2:436; Gutch and Peacock, County Folk-Lore, 5:251 (Lincolnshire); Hamilton, "The Play-Party in Northeast Missouri" (JAFL 27:293); Newell, Games and Songs of American Children, p. 102 (No. 40); Shearin, Syllabus of Kentucky Folk-Songs, p. 37.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Old Man Livin' at the Mill
From: GUEST,gaden
Date: 10 Jan 11 - 10:01 PM

From an old Folkways recording:

Same old man livin at the mill
The wheel turns round and its all free will
First to the left and then to the right
This old mill rides day and night

Dance in and out, his head all white
The lonesome day and the lonely night
Thought I heard some pretty girl say
Gonna dance all night and I'll sleep next day

(Chorus)

My old man's from Kalamazoo
He don't mind - oh yes I do!
(I forget the rest...but it's the last verse here)


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