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Lyr Req: The Sheffield Grinder

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THE SHEFFIELD GRINDER


Related threads:
Lyr Req: Sheffield Grinder / Grinder's Hardships (20)
Lyr Add: Tally-I-O the Grinder (2)
Lyr Req: The Sheffield Grinder (4)


Magpie 29 Nov 00 - 03:57 AM
Malcolm Douglas 29 Nov 00 - 06:06 AM
Malcolm Douglas 29 Nov 00 - 06:14 AM
Magpie 29 Nov 00 - 09:20 AM
Stewie 29 Nov 00 - 10:26 AM
Stewie 29 Nov 00 - 10:31 AM
Stewie 29 Nov 00 - 10:33 AM
Alan of Australia 15 Dec 00 - 11:06 PM
Susanne (skw) 17 Dec 00 - 05:17 PM
Daniel Kelly 09 Sep 20 - 05:49 AM
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Subject: The Sheffield Grinder
From: Magpie
Date: 29 Nov 00 - 03:57 AM

I once bought a tape in London by a band called Afterhours. On the tape was a song that I've never been able to get out of my head. I've lost the tape, and I don't remember all the lyrics. Could someone please help me out?

The first verse goes something like this:

THE SHEFFIELD GRINDER'S A TERRIBLE BLADE TALLY-HO THE GRINDER HE SENDS HIS LITTLE ONES DOWN TO TRADE TALLY-HO THE GRINDER

Does this sound familiar to any of you?

Magpie


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE SHEFFIELD GRINDER
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 29 Nov 00 - 06:06 AM

THE SHEFFIELD GRINDER

(Originally, The Grinders, or, The Saddle on the Right Horse)

The Sheffield grinder's a terrible blade.
Tally hi-o, the grinder!
He sets his little'uns down to trade.
Tally hi-o, the grinder!
He turns his baby to grind in the hull,
Till his body is stunted and his eyes are dull,
And the brains are dizzy and dazed in his skull.
Tally hi-o, the grinder!

He shortens his life and he hastens his death.
Tally hi-o, the grinder!
Will drink steel dust in every breath.
Tally hi-o, the grinder!
Won't use a fan as he turns his wheel.
Won't wash his hands ere he eats his meal.
But dies as he lives, as hard as steel.
Tally hi-o, the grinder!

These Sheffield grinders of whom we speak.
Tally hi-o, the grinder!
Are men who earn a pound a week.
Tally hi-o, the grinder!
But of Sheffield grinders another sort
Methinks ought to be called in court,
And that is the grinding Government Board.
Tally hi-o, the grinder!

At whose door lies the blacker blame?
Tally hi-o, the grinder!
Where rests the heavier weight of shame?
Tally hi-o, the grinder!
On the famine-price contractor's head,
Or the workman's, under-taught and -fed,
Who grinds his own bones and his child's for his bread?
Tally hi-o, the grinder!

A.L. Lloyd gave the text in Folk Song in England (1967) and commented:

"Throughout the [19th] century conditions had been very hard in the cutlery trade, and they worsened in the 1860s, when the Government was accepting tenders for Sheffield goods, intended for army use, at prices that could only be met by employing children in large numbers in the works.  The Victorian Liberal conscience suffered some twinges at the plight of the grinders' families, and inquiry commissions were set up which reported, as such commissions will, that the misery was in good part the fault of the workers themselves.  The Sheffield men, who had cherished a fierce Radical tradition since the days when they were secretly making pikes for the Jacobins and Luddites, expressed their sharp criticism of grasping manufacturers and grinding Government, and their scorn of mealy-mouthed Social Science in a number of songs of which The grinders, or The saddle on the right horse, is a fair specimen."

The song also appears, with its tune, in  The South Riding Song Book  (South Riding Folk Network, 1998); I'll make a midi of the tune for the  Mudcat Midi Pages.

Malcolm


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Sheffield Grinder
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 29 Nov 00 - 06:14 AM

The correct link is  The South Riding Song Book  I may as well add that I once worked for a few weeks as a linisher (fine steel-grinding) in a Sheffield tool factory, and can speak from personal experience of the short-term effects of inhaling steel-dust, which are not pleasant.  Heaven knows what it does to you long-term.

Malcolm


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Sheffield Grinder
From: Magpie
Date: 29 Nov 00 - 09:20 AM

Thank you kindly, Malcolm! I've been looking for this song for years, and now I've got it! And info as well. Even better.

Thanks again!

Magpie


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Sheffield Grinder
From: Stewie
Date: 29 Nov 00 - 10:26 AM

The text, under the title 'Tally i o the grinder', also appears with a tune in Roy Palmer (Ed) 'Poverty Knock' Cambridge University Press 1974, accompanied by an essay 'The Sheffield Outrages' from M. Walton 'Sheffield, Its Story and Its Achievements'. In his source notes, he indicates that his text is from A.L. Lloyd 'Folk Song in England' under the titles given by Malcolm - 'The Grinders' or 'The Saddle on the Right Horse'. In respect of the tune, he wrote:

'Tally i o the grinder' is a comic song about marital incompatibility, and its tune was obviously intended for our song. I have been unable to trace it, however, and I have used a version of the poaching song, 'Thorney Moor Woods', which has a similar metre (collected by E.J. Moeran 'Journal of the Folk Song Society, 7, p 14, adapted). [R.Palmer 'Poverty Knock' p63].

I recall the song from a Nick Jones, Tony Rose and Jon Raven record called 'Songs of a Changing World' - of which I still have a tape somewhere. Great stuff, but I don't think the album has made it to CD. As someone has pointed out - I don't recall where; it wasn't Palmer -the last stanza of this song is perhaps unique among English industrial folk song in that there is a suggestion that the worker may be partly responsible for his plight.

--Stewie.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Sheffield Grinder
From: Stewie
Date: 29 Nov 00 - 10:31 AM

At the beginning of the last paragraph, that should read 'Nic Jones' of course. I'm not doing too well today!

--Stewie.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Sheffield Grinder
From: Stewie
Date: 29 Nov 00 - 10:33 AM

The beginning of the last paragraph should read 'Nic Jones' of course. I'm not doing too well today!

--Stewie.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Sheffield Grinder
From: Alan of Australia
Date: 15 Dec 00 - 11:06 PM

G'day,
Thanks to Malcolm the tune for "The Sheffield Grinder" can be found here at the Mudcat MIDI site.

Cheers,
Alan


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Sheffield Grinder
From: Susanne (skw)
Date: 17 Dec 00 - 05:17 PM

Stewie, I don't believe the last verse carries "a suggestion that the worker may be partly responsible for his plight." If you read through Malcolm's quotation from A. L. Lloyd above it seems far more likely that the author of this verse is in fact being ironical.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Sheffield Grinder
From: Daniel Kelly
Date: 09 Sep 20 - 05:49 AM

Colin Dryden did a brilliant version of this song, and it is a great tragedy that the only way you can hear it is to go in person to the National Library in Australia and sign out the recording of Mike Eves.


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