Lyrics & Knowledge Personal Pages Record Shop Auction Links Radio & Media Kids Membership Help
The Mudcat Cafesj

Post to this Thread - Sort Descending - Printer Friendly - Home


Lyr Req: We plough and sow...

Liz the Squeak 08 Aug 00 - 02:36 PM
Malcolm Douglas 08 Aug 00 - 03:42 PM
MMario 08 Aug 00 - 04:39 PM
MMario 08 Aug 00 - 05:30 PM
Liz the Squeak 08 Aug 00 - 05:30 PM
GUEST,Turtle 09 Aug 00 - 04:43 PM
Malcolm Douglas 09 Aug 00 - 04:59 PM
Malcolm Douglas 09 Aug 00 - 05:23 PM
GUEST,Turtle 10 Aug 00 - 12:35 PM
Malcolm Douglas 10 Aug 00 - 12:53 PM
Turtle 10 Aug 00 - 02:11 PM
Liz the Squeak 10 Aug 00 - 06:22 PM
DougR 10 Aug 00 - 07:24 PM
Malcolm Douglas 10 Aug 00 - 08:49 PM
Turtle 11 Aug 00 - 12:23 PM
Anglo 11 Aug 00 - 01:22 PM
Turtle 11 Aug 00 - 01:47 PM
Liz the Squeak 11 Aug 00 - 09:28 PM
Anglo 12 Aug 00 - 12:29 AM
Malcolm Douglas 12 Aug 00 - 08:55 AM
Anglo 12 Aug 00 - 11:33 AM
Wolfgang 14 Aug 00 - 06:36 AM
Malcolm Douglas 14 Aug 00 - 09:38 AM
GUEST 14 Aug 00 - 11:36 PM
Wolfgang 15 Aug 00 - 03:25 AM
Garry Gillard 16 Oct 00 - 02:01 AM
GUEST,JJ 23 Feb 02 - 08:20 AM
greg stephens 23 Feb 02 - 09:08 AM
nutty 23 Feb 02 - 09:10 AM
GUEST 23 Feb 02 - 09:15 AM
MMario 23 Feb 02 - 10:32 AM
nutty 23 Feb 02 - 10:58 AM
Liz the Squeak 23 Feb 02 - 06:00 PM
Share Thread
more
Lyrics & Knowledge Search [Advanced]
DT  Forum
Sort (Forum) by:relevance date
DT Lyrics:







Subject: We plough and sow...
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 08 Aug 00 - 02:36 PM

Looking for a song which starts:

We plough and sow,
We're so very very low,
That we delve in the dirty clay...

Basically it was about the rights of the workers being taken from then, and had sentiments like the the mine workers having their wages stopped if they didn't bring up enough coal. The tune was 'The star of the County Down', and yes, I've checked the Digitrad...

Thanks,

LTS


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: We plough and sow...
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 08 Aug 00 - 03:42 PM

It's The Song of the Lower Classes; a 19th. century Chartist poem by Ernest Jones.  I haven't heard it sung to that tune, though; Martin Carthy set it to the hymn tune Otford and recorded it on "Out of the Cut" (1982), which is where I know it from.

Malcolm


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: Lyr Add: THE SONG OF THE LOWER CLASSES^^^
From: MMario
Date: 08 Aug 00 - 04:39 PM

We plough and sow we are so low
That we delve in the dirty clay
Till we bless the plain with golden grain
And the vale with the fragrant hay
Our place we know we are so low
Down at the landlord's feet
We're not too low the bread to grow
Too low the bread to eat

Down down we go we are so low
To the hell of the deep sunk mine
But we gather the proudest gems that glow
When the crown of the despot shines
Whenever he lacks upon our backs
Fresh loads he deigns to lay
We're far too low to vote the tax
Not too low to pay

We're low we're low we're rabble we know
Yet at our plastic po ????
The mould at the lordling's feet will grow
Into palace and church and town
Then prostrate fall in the rich man's hall
Cringe at the rich man's door
We're not too low to build the wall
To low to tread to tread the floor

We're low we're low yet from our fingers glide
The silken flow and the robes that glow
Round the limbs of the sons of pride
And what we get and what we give
We know and we know our share
We're not too low the cloth to weave
Too low the cloth to wear

We're low we're low we are so low
Yet when the trumpets ring
The thrust of a poor man's arm will go
Through the heart of the proudest king
We're low we're low our place we know
Only the rank and file
We're not too low to kill the foe
Too low to touch the spoil

^^^


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: We plough and sow...
From: MMario
Date: 08 Aug 00 - 05:30 PM

The site I got the words from said the tune was "My old friend John" - which I can't find....

Have found a midi of OTFORD - but it doesn't remotly scan at this point.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: We plough and sow...
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 08 Aug 00 - 05:30 PM

That's very similar to the one I learned, but the last verse was different, something about getting to heaven when the rich man wouldn't. But thanks, now I have a starter, I can get the old grey matter working on the bits that I think are different.

LTS


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: We plough and sow...
From: GUEST,Turtle
Date: 09 Aug 00 - 04:43 PM

I have a mix tape made by a friend that has a version of this on it, sung by several (three or four) men's voices in harmony, with a fugue on the second half of each verse. It's gorgeous, but I have no idea who the group was or when or where it was recorded. I'd be happy to copy the tape for you if that would be useful, and I'd be even more interested in knowing who the singers are if anyone has heard a version like mine!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: We plough and sow...
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 09 Aug 00 - 04:59 PM

That would be the recording by Martin Carthy I mentioned above, I think.  The voices are all his.

In verse 3, line 2 is, I think, "...plastic power", rhyming with "tower" rather than "town", in line 4.

Malcolm


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: We plough and sow...
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 09 Aug 00 - 05:23 PM

There's a detailed piece about Jones here:  ERNEST JONES: Chartist and Socialist  by Edmund and Ruth Frow.  The "My Friend John" reference at Gary Gillard's website is a bit puzzling...perhaps he'll be along to comment.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: We plough and sow...
From: GUEST,Turtle
Date: 10 Aug 00 - 12:35 PM

Thanks Malcolm! I hear that second line in the third stanza as "Yet out of our/the plastic power" too, but does that really make any sense? I want it to be "plastic clay" or something, but I have to admit that's not what I hear. What sense do you make of the "plastic power" thing?

And why am I suddenly coming up as a guest??


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: We plough and sow...
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 10 Aug 00 - 12:53 PM

I managed to find a few verses of the poem online which confirmed "plastic power".  I take it to mean something on the lines of "creative skill" -that's plastic in the sculpting, modelling, building sense.  Sounds odd to modern ears, of course.  Oh, and re-setting your cookie should solve the "guest" thing.

Malcolm


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: We plough and sow...
From: Turtle
Date: 10 Aug 00 - 02:11 PM

Yeah, that makes sense. I was thinking of clay/sculpting/modelling, but I hadn't quite got to the "creative skill" translation. It does sound a little odd to modern ears. I'm glad to have the right words; now if I can only convince my singing ensemble members that we ought to do that Martin Carthy version!

And thanks for the cookie advice--here I am, myself again!

Turtle


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: We plough and sow...
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 10 Aug 00 - 06:22 PM

No, the version I learned had no plastic in it at all and the last verse was about there being equallity in heaven. It was a bit pushy about religion (i.e., the poor had it and the rich didn't) so I missed most of it out and cobbled two other verses together.

LTS


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: We plough and sow...
From: DougR
Date: 10 Aug 00 - 07:24 PM

Does that song sound as depressing as it reads?

DougR


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: We plough and sow...
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 10 Aug 00 - 08:49 PM

Hmm...sounds like somebody may have done a re-write for their own purposes.  Mind you, if anybody can come up with a full version of Jones' original poem, we'll have a good starting point.

Malcolm


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: We plough and sow...
From: Turtle
Date: 11 Aug 00 - 12:23 PM

So Liz, are you gonna post those lyrics of yours for us? (nudge, nudge) I'd be interested to see both the ones you used and the ones you didn't . . .


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: We plough and sow...
From: Anglo
Date: 11 Aug 00 - 01:22 PM

Is it as depressing as it sounds? Well, I've taught and sung this (from the Carthy version) with groups and if you get a bit of bitterness and sarcasm into it it's a hell of a lot more uplifting than droning out yet another version of While Shepherds Watched which is what Otford, along with 30,000 other tunes, is a setting of. (Not that Shepherds can't be done right, mind you.)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: We plough and sow...
From: Turtle
Date: 11 Aug 00 - 01:47 PM

The Martin Carthy version has always felt more stirring & even martial to me than depressing.

Anglo, you don't have music for this, with the parts written out, do you? or a tape with the parts separated out? I'm serious about trying to talk Spices (women's a cappella singing ensemble I sing with) into doing this, and it would be a challenge for me to sort out all the parts from the tape I have of Martin Carthy. I'd be happy to send you a tape, pay postage, cook you a fine dinner in return (I'm a great cook, she said modestly)--name your price!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: We plough and sow...
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 11 Aug 00 - 09:28 PM

My version ended quite hopefully, in that the overlords got their comeuppance at the gates of heaven.... and definately this version posted here is a rewrite.

And if I had the old words, would I have posted a request for the words????

LTS


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: We plough and sow...
From: Anglo
Date: 12 Aug 00 - 12:29 AM

I think it's the other way round, Liz. The Ernest Jones poem is very close to the text posted above, so I would think yours is the rewrite. The original is printed in Pinto & Rodway: The Common Muse. The poem (c.1848) has the note: Music by John Lowry. This song can also be sung to the air of "The Monks of Old" but I don't know anything about either tune.

The main textual difference is that Martin Carthy changed the phrase "we're so very, very low" or its variants to "we are so low," presumably to fit his music better.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: We plough and sow...
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 12 Aug 00 - 08:55 AM

I should have thought to look in The Common Muse!  Thanks, Anglo.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: We plough and sow...
From: Anglo
Date: 12 Aug 00 - 11:33 AM

Turtle, did you get my message? Send me a mailing address and I'll send you the music.

anglo@albany.net


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: We plough and sow...
From: Wolfgang
Date: 14 Aug 00 - 06:36 AM

Malcolm,
I'm quite sure Garry has that 'My friend John' tune information from me, from this old Song of the lower classes thread. I'll have another look at the source I gave in that thread.

Wolfgang


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: We plough and sow...
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 14 Aug 00 - 09:38 AM

Thanks, Wolfgang.  I didn't search the Forum because I thought Liz already had.  Presumably "My Friend John" is the tune specified by McDonnell?  As Anglo said above, The Common Muse mentions "music by John Lowry"; perhaps there is a connection?

Malcolm


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: We plough and sow...
From: GUEST
Date: 14 Aug 00 - 11:36 PM

Thanks to all, especially Malcolm, for this discussion. I've made the changes suggested above (it is "Otford" is it?) in the file on my site, with a link back here.

Garry Gillard


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: We plough and sow...
From: Wolfgang
Date: 15 Aug 00 - 03:25 AM

McDonnell, 'Songs of Struggle and Protest', prints 'Tune: "My old friend John"' which I had read as the title of an older song unknown to me. But it could be read as an indication that then old tune has been written by a person Ernest Jones describes as "My old friend John" which at the first glance looks consistent with John Lowry mentioned above.
The tune given in 'Songs of Struggle and Protest' is of course completely different from the tune Martin Carthy sings.

Wolfgang


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: We plough and sow...
From: Garry Gillard
Date: 16 Oct 00 - 02:01 AM

'Plastic' here - if it is right - doesn't refer to that stuff in your kitchen. The word goes back to 1632, and has a couple of senses - perhaps the one in use here is 'causing the growth or production of natural forms, esp. of living organisms; formerly as an attribute of an alleged principle, virtue, or force in nature ... etc. 1646 (OED)

Garry


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: We plough and sow...
From: GUEST,JJ
Date: 23 Feb 02 - 08:20 AM

This morning, I've been trying to teach myself Noteworthy Composer.

As a result, I have a midi of the three part harmony version of 'Otford' transcribed from Martin Carthy's book: 'A Guitar in Folk Music'

I can't send it as a MIDItxt as that only copes with the melody; here the harmony is intrinsic to the effect.

How might I submit it to the DT?

Thanks

JJ


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: We plough and sow...
From: greg stephens
Date: 23 Feb 02 - 09:08 AM

Going back to the beginning of this interesting thread i noticed the reference to this song being sung to tune "The star of the county down" and not followed up. The history of that connection lies in a play Miles Malleson(more famous as a comic actor) wrote about the Tolpuddle martyrs. Called, possibly "Six men of Dorset"( I'm speaking from 40 year old memory, that may be wrong). Anyway in the play Malleson used the song, and in the TV production i remember watching as a lad it was sung to the hymn tune Kingsfold (I heard the voice of Jesus say): which is a traditional tune and as near as damn it the same tune as "The star of the county down". so there is one connection of those words and that tune. Doubtless someone will quickly post the date of the play and the correct title if ie misremembered it. To add my own bit, I did the music for a show about the Chartists called "1842" in Stoke a while back, and used that tune for the song. I've never heard the Carthy version, I must lookfor it.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: We plough and sow...
From: nutty
Date: 23 Feb 02 - 09:10 AM

I know this is an old thread and everything about the song that can be said has been ...... but here is a copy of an original broadside which may be of interestSONG OF THE LOWER CLASSES


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: We plough and sow...
From: GUEST
Date: 23 Feb 02 - 09:15 AM

Regarding submitting the tune:

I know that Malcolm Douglas, the doyen of intelligent mudcat posters, sends his midis to Alan of Oz

MMario is also keen on getting tunes.

Hope that helps


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: We plough and sow...
From: MMario
Date: 23 Feb 02 - 10:32 AM

JJ - the way I have coped with multiple lines is to do each seperately in miditxt and send the multiple part midi to Alan of Oz


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: We plough and sow...
From: nutty
Date: 23 Feb 02 - 10:58 AM

IF you want multiple lines to play harmony you use Staff/New Staff or Cont+A. The staffs (staves) are placed underneath each other and can be written onto seperately but play simultaneously.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: We plough and sow...
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 23 Feb 02 - 06:00 PM

Thanks very much for all of this, it is the one I remember bits of.

LTS


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate
  Share Thread:
More...

Reply to Thread
Subject:  Help
From:
Preview   Automatic Linebreaks   Make a link ("blue clicky")


Mudcat time: 12 May 5:38 PM EDT

[ Home ]

All original material is copyright © 1998 by the Mudcat Café Music Foundation, Inc. All photos, music, images, etc. are copyright © by their rightful owners. Every effort is taken to attribute appropriate copyright to images, content, music, etc. We are not a copyright resource.