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Lyr Req: The White Hare (Watersons)

Related threads:
Lyr Req: The White Hare of Howden (13)
Versions of The White Hare (of Howden) (11)


Bernard 18 Feb 01 - 04:12 PM
Jeri 18 Feb 01 - 04:39 PM
Jeri 18 Feb 01 - 04:45 PM
Bernard 18 Feb 01 - 04:47 PM
Bernard 18 Feb 01 - 04:49 PM
GUEST 18 Feb 01 - 06:11 PM
Jeri 18 Feb 01 - 06:22 PM
GUEST,Bobby Bob, Ellan Vannin 18 Feb 01 - 06:30 PM
GUEST,Bobby Bob, Ellan Vannin 18 Feb 01 - 07:28 PM
Snuffy 18 Feb 01 - 08:01 PM
Malcolm Douglas 18 Feb 01 - 08:06 PM
Malcolm Douglas 19 Feb 01 - 09:34 AM
GUEST 19 Feb 01 - 02:15 PM
Jeri 19 Feb 01 - 02:31 PM
Les from Hull 20 Feb 01 - 08:03 AM
Malcolm Douglas 20 Feb 01 - 09:01 AM
Garry Gillard 22 Feb 01 - 07:56 AM
A Wandering Minstrel 22 Feb 01 - 09:21 AM
Malcolm Douglas 22 Feb 01 - 09:56 AM
GUEST,Barbara 09 Oct 21 - 12:17 PM
GeoffLawes 11 Oct 21 - 06:17 AM
Steve Gardham 11 Oct 21 - 09:44 AM
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Subject: On behalf of JJ's mum, Helen:
From: Bernard
Date: 18 Feb 01 - 04:12 PM

John J's mum (Helen) emailed me this afternoon, looking for help with the words of a song: It's a song I very nearly know and love to death and would love to be able to sing. All but THAT line.

The song is, "The White Hare". I had the Waterson's doing it on tape - have learnt it - easy because it's a story - but have been given many different 'ideas' on what the words are - none make any sense.

Sorry looking at it again, it's not next to last line, but the one before.

It goes "There were twenty good beagles that caused her for to die,
There wasn't a one amongst them - - - - - - - - - ?????
The number of the beagles there never could be found,
And never was there such hunting upon our English ground.

I'm stumped, I love that song. I shall go and find somewhere suitable to spit!

So, can anyone help Helen? I've tried the DT and Supersearch, but nuffink...


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE WHITE HARE (from the Watersons)
From: Jeri
Date: 18 Feb 01 - 04:39 PM

Bernard don't spit! Those beagles are very short dogs, being nearly invisible down at ankle level, and you may hit one.

WHITE HARE
Transcribed by Garry Gillard, and swi...er, "collected" from his Wonderful Watersons Website.

Near Howden Town near Howden Town as I have heard them say tell
There once was a white hare that used there for to dwell
She's been hunted be beagles and greyhounds so fair
But there wasn't a one amongst them could come near this old white hare
With me right foll the diddle-o me right foll the day

They went to the place where the white hare used to lie
They uncoupled the beagles and beginned her to try
They uncoupled the beagles and they beat the bushes round
But there never was a white hare not there to be found

With me right foll the diddle-o me right foll the day

There was Jim Smith the huntsman and Tom the whipper-in
Were down to yonder fernside to see if she be in
With that she took a jump me boys and away she did run
And yonder she is going don't you see her gentlemen

With me right foll the diddle-o me right foll the day

Oh the footmen they did run and the huntsmen they did ride
Such hollering and shouting there was on every side
Such hollering and shouting I never before have known
And all the men were crying, Tallyho, tallyho!

With me right foll the diddle-o me right foll the day

There was twenty good beagles that caused her to die
There wasn't a one among them above a foot high
The number of the beagles there never could be found
And never was there such hunting upon our English ground

With me right foll the diddle-o me right foll the day


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The White Hare (Watersons)
From: Jeri
Date: 18 Feb 01 - 04:45 PM

So how come it says there were twenty good beagles, and later it says the number "never could be found?" Maybe they don't know how many bad or ambiguous beagles there were?


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Subject: Thanks, Jeri!!
From: Bernard
Date: 18 Feb 01 - 04:47 PM

Thanks, Jeri - I've emailed them to Helen - she was the one threatening to spit, BTW!


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Subject: Aaah...
From: Bernard
Date: 18 Feb 01 - 04:49 PM

Something to do with Jeremy Beagle, methinks!!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The White Hare (Watersons)
From: GUEST
Date: 18 Feb 01 - 06:11 PM

Bernard I've got The Watersons "Early Days", and just listened to it. The words are quite a lot different from those Jeri's given.Haven't time to transcribe them tonight, but will do it tomorrow if you want them. (Thanks, Jeri for pointing me towards the Watersons site; looks great.)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The White Hare (Watersons)
From: Jeri
Date: 18 Feb 01 - 06:22 PM

Guest, there's a second White Hare here. (Sort of like grey hairs - popping up all over.) The one I posted sounded like the one Bernard was after.

I'm a bit confused, because I don't think the Watersons recorded this one. According to Garry, it was recorded on Martin Carthy and Dave Swarbrick's But Two Came By, and also on the 1967 Martin Carthy LP The Bonny Black Hare.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The White Hare (Watersons)
From: GUEST,Bobby Bob, Ellan Vannin
Date: 18 Feb 01 - 06:30 PM

The earliest version I've heard is by Joseph Taylor of Saxby-all-Saints in Lincolnshire, recorded on cylinder by Percy Grainger in about 1908.

That, I suspect, is the source for subsequent versions, though the chorus used by The Watersons is of their own invention, I think.

And here am I, sat at the keyboard, but did I have the wit to go and get the recording out before starting? Of course not.

I'll check out the lyric and post it here in due course.

Lhieuish,

Bobby Bob


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE WHITE HARE (from Joseph Taylor)
From: GUEST,Bobby Bob, Ellan Vannin
Date: 18 Feb 01 - 07:28 PM

THE WHITE HARE

I'm sorry (to be honest, not) that this is going to be fairly lengthy.

From the singing of Joseph Taylor of Saxby-all-Saints, Lincolnshire, in 1908 (Leader LEA 4050 mono). Has this been re-released as a CD? This is vital stuff, and absolutely, without any shadow of a doubt whatsoever, damn well ought to be, if it hasn't been already. These are the sleeve notes about Joseph Taylor -

Mr. Joseph Taylor of Saxby-All-Saints has pride of place on this record and with justification. He was undoubtedly the finest of the many gifted performers that Grainger recorded. Here is the collector's engaging portrait of the man:

"[Mr Taylor] was bailiff on a big estate, having formerly been woodman and carpenter. Though his age was seventy-five (in 1908) his looks were those of middle-age, while his flowing, ringing tenor voice was well nigh as fresh as that of his son, who repeatedly won the first prize for tenor solo at the North Lincolnshire musical competitions. He sang in the choir of Saxby-All-Saints Church from the age of thirty. He was a courteous, genial, typical English countryman, and a perfect artist in the purest possible style of folk-song singing. Though his memory for words was not uncommonly good, his mind was a seemingly unlimited storehouse of melodies, which he swiftly recalled at the merest mention of their titles; and his versions are generally distinguished by the beauty of their melodic curves and the symmetry of their construction. He relied more on purely vocal effects than almost any folk-singer I have come across. His dialect and his treatment of narrative points were not so exceptional; but his effortless high notes, sturdy rhythms, clean unmistakable intervals, and his twiddles and "bleating" ornaments (invariably executed with unfailing grace and neatness) are irresistible. He most intelligently realized just what sort of song collectors were after, distinguished surprisingly between genuine traditional tunes and other ditties, and was, in every way, a marvel of helpfulness and kindliness. Nothing could be more refreshing than his hale countrified looks and the happy lilt of his cheery voice."

Small wonder Grainger was so impressed when one hears singers from other parts of England recorded at the same period, for there is no doubt that the standard of performing ability of the Lincolnshire singers was infinitely better than Grainger's later recordings of London and Gloucestershire singers. Joseph Taylor had a known repertoire of thirty-two songs and ballads and all but four of these were either noted or phonographed by Grainger. Regrettably it is only possible to include on this record thirteen of these songs and then only because of the exceptional good luck that Grainger found the Gramophone Company willing to record on a commercial basis, "a genuine peasant folk singer" It is unfortunately true that in order to study the cylinders he had made Grainger was forced to impair their quality - they are made from very soft wax and the tendency seems to be for the groove to pen at each playing thus giving rise to a background clatter - aptly described on one occasion as the six-ten leaving Paddington! . . . .

It has been remarked by Grainger that Mr. Taylor was not good at remembering texts. In fact in many of the songs . . . he could only supply one or two verses - in some instances only a fragment of a single verse. However his singing was made exceptional by the beauty of tone and dexterity of ornamentation that he applied to each striking melody. It is not possible to state Positively, [sic] yet one feels that the tunes had been though a process of complete re-characterisation at the hands of this performer for one is very much aware that though some of his tunes are commonly encountered in other collections, it is Mr. Taylor's variants that are the outstandingly beautiful and artistic creations. For this reason one forgives him (if it is felt necessary) his lapses of memory in respect of texts. It has been suggested that the English folk song tradition is primarily a narrative tradition where the tune acts as a mere vehicle for the story that is being unfolded - what a notable exception is this man - would that there had been more like him.

And the lyrics as sung by Joseph Taylor, a man born in the 1830s, and singing wonderfully for us still -

Near Oldham town, near Oldham town as I have heard them tell;
There once was a white hare that used there for to dwell;
She'd been hunted by beagles and greyhounds so fair,
But ne'er a one amongst them could come near this old white hare,
With me ri-tol-the-didel-dol, the-ri-tol-the-day.

They went to the place where the white hare used to lie;
They uncoupl-ed the beagles and beginning for to try,
They uncoupl-ed their beagles and they beat the bushes round,
But there was never a white hare not there to be found,
With me etc.

There was Jim Smith the huntsman and Tom the whipper-in;
Go down to yonder fern (or furze?) -side to she if she be in;
With that she took a jump me-boys, and away she did run,
And yonder she is going, don't you see her gentlemen,
With me etc.

The footmen they did run and the horsemen they did ride;
Such holloa-ing and shouting there was on every side,
Such holloa-ing and shouting I never before had known
And all the men kept crying, "Tally O, tally O," With me etc.

There was twenty good beagles that caused this hare to die,
There was not one amongst them above a foot high;
The number of the dogs there, never could be found
And never better hunting upon old English ground, With me ri-tol-the-didel-ol, the-ri-tol-the-day.

There's a further note: "Tom and Jim Smith are names that occur with great frequency through successive generations of huntsmen in the employ of the Earl of Yarborough especially in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

Shoh slaynt,

Bobby Bob


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The White Hare (Watersons)
From: Snuffy
Date: 18 Feb 01 - 08:01 PM

The Earl of Yarborough was, (and still is), the owner of large estates near Brigg, where Grainger recorded Joseph Taylor, but I don't think he had any land near Oldham town (in Lancashire, not Lincolnshire).


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The White Hare (Watersons)
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 18 Feb 01 - 08:06 PM

That's Howden, rather than Oldham.  Joseph Taylor's version has been posted here already:

The White Hare   You can hear him singing it on No. 18 of Topic's Voice of the People series:  To Catch a Fine Buck Was My Delight  (TSCD668, 1998)  Unfortunately, the Leader catalogue is now in the hands of Celtic Music of Harrogate, and is unlikely to be re-released in any form while the current owner is alive...

Frank Kidson published an earlier version from Howden (which is in Yorkshire) in Traditional Tunes (1891); it doesn't have the chorus used by the Watersons, which, as Bobby Bob says, they made up themselves.

Malcolm


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The White Hare (Watersons)
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 19 Feb 01 - 09:34 AM

I meant, of course, that Joseph Taylor's "Oldham" was probably a mis-hearing on his part of "Howden".  Kidson also referred to ballad sheets which gave the location as "Mansfield Town" or "Maxwell Town"; examples at The  Bodleian Library Broadside Collection:

White hare  Printed by W. Ford, York-street, Sheffield; date unknown.  (Maxwell Town, Squire Stanfield.)

White hare  Printer and date unknown.  (Maxwell Town, Squire Stanfield.)

White hare  Printer and date unknown.  (Maxfield Town, Squire Strutford.)

Malcolm


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The White Hare (Watersons)
From: GUEST
Date: 19 Feb 01 - 02:15 PM

Jeri, My version is on The Watersons- Early Days (TopicTSCD472).The track comes from 12T125 The Watersons. The first three verses vary a little from the ones already posted, the fourth verse (no verse 5) is different. According to the notes, the chorus is the Watersons' own: Oh she's faster than the black, and she's bonnier than the brown, and there's not a dog in England that'll ever bring her down


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The White Hare (Watersons)
From: Jeri
Date: 19 Feb 01 - 02:31 PM

Guest, are these the words? (I reread the message where I posted the link earlier, and wonder how I could expect anyone to understand me. Sorry.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The White Hare (Watersons)
From: Les from Hull
Date: 20 Feb 01 - 08:03 AM

You can hear the Watersons singing the Joseph Taylor version of the chorus on Shirley Collins excellent 'No Roses' album.

Les


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The White Hare (Watersons)
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 20 Feb 01 - 09:01 AM

Well, Lal and Mike anyway, along with Royston Wood and Shirley herself.  Not to mention accompaniment from Richard Thompson and Nic Jones, amongst others.

Jeri: those are certainly the words the Watersons recorded on their eponymous 1966 album; the source they named was the version in Kidson's book, but they evidently shortened it and changed the text quite a bit.

Malcolm


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The White Hare (Watersons)
From: Garry Gillard
Date: 22 Feb 01 - 07:56 AM

I have added the Andy Irvine/Dick Gaughan words to the Watersons and Joseph Taylor sets which were already on my White Hare page, together with all four of the Mudcat thread URLs that I'm aware of.

Garry


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The White Hare (Watersons)
From: A Wandering Minstrel
Date: 22 Feb 01 - 09:21 AM

I have a version from Garry Aspey in which the hare escapes....Presumably for the anti-bloodsports lobby...the last verse goes:

The hare she was so nimble as she ran across the plain
By doubling and turning she led them back again
with her jinking and her tricks she did that pack confound
and never was that white hare caught upon old English ground


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE WHITE HARE (from Frank Kidson)
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 22 Feb 01 - 09:56 AM

Yes, I think that would be a modern addition.  It's a pity, in some ways, that people feel the need to bowdlerise old songs, which should be considered in context and not as if they had been written this week.  If they don't like what a song says, perhaps they just shouldn't sing it.  The following is the text as given by Frank Kidson in his Traditional Tunes (1891).  It was sent to him by his regular correspondent, Mr. Lolley, who got it "from the singing of an old man near Howden, now lately dead".


THE WHITE HARE

Near Howden Town, near Howden Town, as I have heard them tell,
There once was a white hare who used there to dwell;
She's been hunted by greyhounds and beagles so fair,
But ne'er a one amongst them could come near this white hare;
With my fol de dol de rol de dol de lol de dol de lay!

When they came to the place where this white hare used to lie,
They uncoupled the beagles and began for to try;
They uncoupled the beagles and beat the brush around,
But never a white hare in that field was to be found...

It's Jemmy the bold huntsman and Tom the whipper-in,
Go look in yonder fernside and see if she be in;
With that she took a jump, boys, and fast away she ran,
"It's yonder she is going, don't you see her, gentlemen?"...

The footmen they did run and the huntsmen they did ride,
Such halloing and shouting there was on every side;
Such halloing and shouting I ne'er before did know,
As though she had been running all the time through...

The horsemen and the footmen they all drew nigh,
Thinking that the white hare was going for to die;
She slipt out of the bush and thought to run away,
But cruel were the beagles that caused her to stay...

'Twas twenty good beagles that caused her to die,
There was not one amongst them above a foot high;
The number of dogs there's not to be found,
Nor ever better hunting upon the English ground...


I don't think, incidentally, that The Creggan White Hare, which Garry mentioned, is any relation.

Malcolm


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The White Hare (Watersons)
From: GUEST,Barbara
Date: 09 Oct 21 - 12:17 PM

The beagles they uncoupled, and they began to try.
Then all the crafty greyhounds, they beat the bush around
But there never was a white hair in that field to be found.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The White Hare (Watersons)
From: GeoffLawes
Date: 11 Oct 21 - 06:17 AM

The Watersons- The White Hare of Howden ,Youtube     https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=911Ao-JfeM4


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The White Hare (Watersons)
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 11 Oct 21 - 09:44 AM

No the Creggan WH is not related. However there are at least 3 songs in the Holme Valley Beagles booklet of songs which obviously are set to the WH tune and inspired by the song. I would guess this means that the song was well-known and very popular in West Yorkshire in the late 19th century. The earliest version if I remember correctly was set in Maxwelton in the Scottish borders, but hunt meets/suppers often had guests from other hunts so songs would move about in hunting fraternities freely.


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