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Lyr Req: Billy Cocked Hat

DigiTrad:
BILLY COCKED HAT


GUEST,Pauline 02 Jun 00 - 02:33 PM
GUEST,bigJ 02 Jun 00 - 05:39 PM
GUEST,Pauline in Dorset 03 Jun 00 - 04:39 AM
GUEST,bigJ 03 Jun 00 - 12:37 PM
GUEST,Bob the Shantyman 25 Jul 12 - 12:06 PM
GUEST,Bob the Shantyman 25 Jul 12 - 12:08 PM
GUEST,Nick Dow 25 Jul 12 - 06:02 PM
GUEST,Nick Dow 25 Jul 12 - 06:08 PM
GUEST,Jo King 28 Jun 13 - 07:08 AM
GUEST,John Foxen 29 Jun 13 - 07:30 AM
GUEST,John Foxen 29 Jun 13 - 08:02 AM
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Subject: With me billy cocked hat, silken waistco
From: GUEST,Pauline
Date: 02 Jun 00 - 02:33 PM

I have a chorus and tune but no more - all help much appreciated. Chorus goes

With me billy cocked hat, silken waistcoat corduroy trousers tied at the knee a shovel and a pick and a one wheeled barrow and a jug full of gin when I take's me ease.


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Subject: Lyr Add: BILLY COCKED HAT^^
From: GUEST,bigJ
Date: 02 Jun 00 - 05:39 PM

BILLY COCKED HAT (as sung by Gary & Vera Aspey on their 1962 LP 'Stories, Songs, Humour' Dingle's DIN 325)
Written by Don Bilston

I am a young man, I'm in my prime,
I work as hard as any man can.
Diggin' and pickin' at the railway line,
As a rough and tumble navvy-ing man.

Chorus.
In my billy cocked hat, silken waistcoat,
Cord'roy trousers tied at the knee.
A shovel, a pick and a one wheel barrow
And a jug full of gin when I takes my ease.

Living in a shanty feeding fleas,
Shoveling muck all through the day.
Maggoty meat and mouldy peas
And the tommy-shop takes nearly all my pay.

Every Sunday I go on the randy -
Find my way to the nearest town.
If I see a peeler with his truncheon hanging,
Well I ups with my fist and I knocks him down.

Blasting tunnels where the line runs deep,
Digging out bodies where the roof has fell.
There's many a navvy took a long, long sleep
Reward for his labours - a funeral bell.

Contract's finished, the navvy's gone
And trains now run on the lines they've laid.
And people will wonder at the jobs they've done
By the men that work at the navvy-ing trade.

Tommy shop is the English equivalent of the American 'company store'.


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Subject: Thanks
From: GUEST,Pauline in Dorset
Date: 03 Jun 00 - 04:39 AM

Thanks Big J - where did you find it - my search of mudcat came up with nothing. Is there somewhere I else I could have looked - I'm a novice at all this....!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: With me billy cocked hat, silken wai
From: GUEST,bigJ
Date: 03 Jun 00 - 12:37 PM

Nope, I have the LP - transfer to minidisc for convenience - then transcribe the words. Enjoy it.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Billy Cocked Hat
From: GUEST,Bob the Shantyman
Date: 25 Jul 12 - 12:06 PM

I got this very singable chorus song from Charley Yarwood when he came to the Seven Whistlers in Stourbridge, when the world was young! her had another verse:


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Billy Cocked Hat
From: GUEST,Bob the Shantyman
Date: 25 Jul 12 - 12:08 PM

I got this very singable chorus song from Charley yarwood when he visited the seven Whistlers in Stourbridge, doing a floor-spot when the world was young!
He had another verse which ran:


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Billy Cocked Hat
From: GUEST,Nick Dow
Date: 25 Jul 12 - 06:02 PM

I've been singing this song for decades. Clive P. from Southport Folk Club gave me the original Don Bilston recording, and there are a lot of other songs of trains and Navvies on the LP. Bilston seemed to be very influenced by McColl in his approach to songwriting, but none the worse for that. Bilston gives a running commentry throughout the recording introducing each song in his strong Black Country accent, and the whole thing is reminicent of an early radio ballad. Well worth a listen.
I seem to remember swapping verses of the Billycocked Hat with Ian Woods at a festival, he also sang the song regularly in the clubs. Don Bilston left us many years ago so I am told.
kind regards and hallo to Pauline
Nick


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Billy Cocked Hat
From: GUEST,Nick Dow
Date: 25 Jul 12 - 06:08 PM

By the way the extra verse goes like this

I jumped the brush with bunk eyed Kate
We both got drunk on two months pay
Me money was gone I couldn't get slate
so I sold her for a shilling to a gangers mate

Bunk eyed means crossed eyed, and the wife for sale reference is a
different thread no doubt.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Billy Cocked Hat
From: GUEST,Jo King
Date: 28 Jun 13 - 07:08 AM

I am a young man and I'm in me prime,
I work as hard as any man can.
Makin a way for the railway line,
As a rough and tumble navvy-ing man.


Chorus.
With me billy cocked hat and a silken westcoat,
Cord'roy trousers tied at the knee.
A shovel, a pick and a one wheel barrow
And a jug full of gin when I takes my ease.


Living in a shanty feeding fleas,
Shovelling muck all through the day.
With Maggoty meat and mouldy peas
And the tommy-shop takes near all me pay.

Chorus
I knock off Sunday and go on the randy -
Find my way to the nearest town.
If I see a peeler with his truncheon handy,
Then I lifts up me fist and I knocks him down.
Chorus

I jumped oer the broom with bunk eyed Kate
And We both got drunk on two months pay
When Me money was gone and I couldn't get slate
I sold her for a shilling to a gangers mate


Chorus
Blasting tunnels where the line runs deep,
Diggin out bodies where the roof has fell.
There's many a brave navvy took a long, long sleep
The Reward for his labours - a funeral bell.

Chorus
When the contract's finished and the navvy's have gone
And trains now run on the tracks we've laid.
And all will wonder at what was done
By us lads who worked for the navvying trade
Chorus


I was there when he wrote it a little girl p****d off with the twang of the guitar he put his body and soul into his music. My father was from Birmingham not the Black Country, he now lives in Shropshire and so very sadly has limited hearing so cannot hear music anymore. You are so right about his love for the music of Ewan Macoll and he was also influenced by AL Lloyd, he was a regular at the Jug Of Punch in Digbeth Birmingham and had strong connections to the Ian Campbell Folk Group, my Dad loved sea shanty's and was also particularly keen on Irish & Scottish Folk Music. Nick it is a living history of a man who worked on the railways and was an authority on his subject. He is an incredibly humorous man and NICK is still very much with us lol It gives me great joy that people still enjoy his music and I'm sure he will be overjoyed, keep up the good work and thank you.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Billy Cocked Hat
From: GUEST,John Foxen
Date: 29 Jun 13 - 07:30 AM

Thanks for that information, Jo. Please thank your father for writing such a cracking song. I heard it only once - from Ian Woods at Dingles folk club back in the late Seventies - yet it's stuck in my mind. That shows its power. I will have to track down a copy of your dad singing it.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Billy Cocked Hat
From: GUEST,John Foxen
Date: 29 Jun 13 - 08:02 AM

Thanks to Mudcat I have just discovered Don wrote Loco Fireman too. Another great song. Respect.


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