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Lyr Req: who wrote the Woad Song?

DigiTrad:
WOAD


Related threads:
Lyr Add: Parody on Woad (11)
Lyr Req: Better Far Is Woad (15)
Lyr Req: Song about Woad (35)
Folklore: woad. Caesar. Celts (44)
(origins) Origin: Woad (23)
woad (3)


Kim Hughes 21 Feb 01 - 05:40 PM
Bert 21 Feb 01 - 05:44 PM
Midchuck 21 Feb 01 - 06:16 PM
Sorcha 21 Feb 01 - 06:29 PM
GUEST,leeneia 21 Feb 01 - 07:03 PM
Amos 21 Feb 01 - 09:58 PM
Amos 21 Feb 01 - 10:01 PM
Liz the Squeak 22 Feb 01 - 02:13 AM
Dave the Gnome 22 Feb 01 - 04:07 AM
GUEST,Roger the skiffler 22 Feb 01 - 04:12 AM
Dave the Gnome 22 Feb 01 - 04:20 AM
GUEST,mandar 22 Feb 01 - 05:18 AM
Hollowfox 22 Feb 01 - 09:14 AM
LR Mole 22 Feb 01 - 12:10 PM
JohnB 22 Feb 01 - 12:32 PM
Keith A of Hertford 22 Feb 01 - 12:58 PM
Kim Hughes 22 Feb 01 - 05:53 PM
Dave Wynn 22 Feb 01 - 06:06 PM
Mr Red 22 Feb 01 - 06:15 PM
Bill D 22 Feb 01 - 06:15 PM
Amos 22 Feb 01 - 09:49 PM
Bill D 22 Feb 01 - 11:18 PM
GUEST,Johnny 22 Feb 01 - 11:26 PM
Lonesome EJ 22 Feb 01 - 11:29 PM
Micca 23 Feb 01 - 07:51 AM
Steve Parkes 23 Feb 01 - 10:45 AM
GUEST,JohnB 23 Feb 01 - 12:18 PM
Art Thieme 23 Feb 01 - 12:23 PM
Bert 23 Feb 01 - 12:27 PM
GUEST 23 Feb 01 - 10:42 PM
GUEST 23 Feb 01 - 10:48 PM
Amos 23 Feb 01 - 11:39 PM
John Moulden 24 Feb 01 - 05:52 PM
Malcolm Douglas 24 Feb 01 - 09:52 PM
Malcolm Douglas 24 Feb 01 - 10:46 PM
Amos 24 Feb 01 - 10:58 PM
John Moulden 25 Feb 01 - 01:07 PM
Steve Parkes 26 Feb 01 - 03:24 AM
LR Mole 26 Feb 01 - 01:01 PM
dick greenhaus 26 Feb 01 - 03:43 PM
cowboypoet 26 Feb 01 - 04:41 PM
Kim Hughes 26 Feb 01 - 06:26 PM
Amos 08 Nov 03 - 09:46 AM
Stilly River Sage 08 Nov 03 - 11:24 AM
Herga Kitty 08 Nov 03 - 03:10 PM
Deda 08 Nov 03 - 09:39 PM
Barbara 08 Nov 03 - 11:09 PM
Amos 08 Nov 03 - 11:22 PM
Hrothgar 09 Nov 03 - 01:09 AM
Leadfingers 09 Nov 03 - 10:24 AM
GUEST,Laban Tall 23 Apr 07 - 05:29 PM
GUEST,David Martin 27 Sep 07 - 12:01 PM
GUEST,Murray on Saltspring 27 Sep 07 - 03:34 PM
GUEST,Philip Axe, Gothenburg, Sweden 03 Nov 07 - 10:05 AM
Reiver 2 13 Jun 10 - 03:12 PM
Gurney 13 Jun 10 - 04:40 PM
Herga Kitty 13 Jun 10 - 05:19 PM
GUEST 13 Jun 10 - 05:34 PM
Micca 13 Jun 10 - 07:08 PM
Rob Naylor 13 Jun 10 - 07:23 PM
Gurney 14 Jun 10 - 02:53 AM
Mr Happy 14 Jun 10 - 06:03 AM
Mr Red 14 Jun 10 - 06:07 AM
Dave MacKenzie 14 Jun 10 - 07:16 AM
Valmai Goodyear 14 Jun 10 - 09:47 AM
Bernard 14 Jun 10 - 09:52 AM
Gurney 14 Jun 10 - 10:49 PM
Bob Bolton 15 Jun 10 - 12:14 AM
Gurney 15 Jun 10 - 12:16 AM
Reiver 2 15 Jun 10 - 01:10 AM
Micca 15 Jun 10 - 04:13 AM
Micca 15 Jun 10 - 07:04 AM
Reiver 2 15 Jun 10 - 03:50 PM
Micca 15 Jun 10 - 05:02 PM
Reiver 2 16 Jun 10 - 12:18 AM
GUEST,Tiggywinkle 16 Jun 10 - 06:12 AM
Jim Dixon 17 Jun 10 - 06:01 PM
MGM·Lion 17 Jan 11 - 04:25 AM
GUEST,T de Stig 28 Nov 11 - 03:00 AM
Jim Carroll 28 Nov 11 - 03:09 AM
Nigel Parsons 28 Nov 11 - 06:49 AM
GUEST,Dave 11 Sep 13 - 05:44 AM
GUEST,Blaze58 17 Oct 14 - 12:29 PM
GUEST,ketchdana 17 Oct 14 - 05:28 PM
LadyJean 18 Oct 14 - 12:52 AM
MGM·Lion 18 Oct 14 - 01:21 AM
Leadfingers 18 Oct 14 - 06:37 AM
Dave Earl 18 Oct 14 - 06:56 AM
bubblyrat 18 Oct 14 - 07:15 AM
MGM·Lion 18 Oct 14 - 08:22 AM
meself 18 Oct 14 - 11:52 AM
GUEST,Tony Smith 24 Aug 18 - 12:51 PM
Lighter 24 Aug 18 - 04:57 PM
GUEST,Mike Field 08 Nov 18 - 11:14 PM
BobL 09 Nov 18 - 04:05 AM
GUEST,ripov 09 Nov 18 - 07:50 PM
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Subject: who wrote the Woad Song?
From: Kim Hughes
Date: 21 Feb 01 - 05:40 PM

Hi --

I've been trying to find out who wrote "The Woad Song." I'm fairly sure it's not Flanders and Swan, as I've seen in a couple of places. The only other reference I found was "The Royal Canadian Army Cadet Song Book." (Really. That's what it said.)

Anyone know?

thanks.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: who wrote the Woad Song?
From: Bert
Date: 21 Feb 01 - 05:44 PM

I don't know but judging by the mention of spats, I would assume it predates Flanders and Swan by a few decades.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: who wrote the Woad Song?
From: Midchuck
Date: 21 Feb 01 - 06:16 PM

The one that uses the tune to "March of the Men of Harlech?" It's in the 1959 IOCA Song Fest. I think that would make it pre-Flanders and Swann. Not certain.

Peter.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: who wrote the Woad Song?
From: Sorcha
Date: 21 Feb 01 - 06:29 PM

It would, but all I can find is F & S. Bob Kanefsy at Songworm (parodies) attributed the lyrics to them, and the tune to Mr. Trad.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: who wrote the Woad Song?
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 21 Feb 01 - 07:03 PM

Who are Flanders and Swan?

I heard this at a concert by an English fellow, Tony Somebody, and he said he learned it it camp as a kid. He looked to be in his mid-forties, if that's any help.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: who wrote the Woad Song?
From: Amos
Date: 21 Feb 01 - 09:58 PM

I learned it ages ago from a fellow Yank -- who thought Flanders and Swan(n) had done it. And it certainly matches the style of "I'm a Gnu" and others of their wacky ilk.

A


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE SONG OF THE ANCIENT BRITONS
From: Amos
Date: 21 Feb 01 - 10:01 PM

Another source says 1926. Then there's this one:

We have been sent the words to a song, sung by Mrs Louise Wilkinson, now of Frinton & District Trefoil Guild, to the tune of Men of Harlech when she was a Girl Guide in Sheffield in 1928:

THE SONG OF THE ANCIENT BRITONS C.1927.

What's the use of shirts of cotton
Studs that always get forgotten,
These affairs are simply rotten,
Better far is Woad.

Woad's the stuff to show men;
Woad to scare your foemen:
Boil it to a brilliant blue
And rub it on your back or your abdomen.

Ancient Britons never hit on
Anything more good than Woad to fit on.
Front or back or where you sit on -
Not a nest for fleas.

Romans came across the channel
All wrapped up in tin and flannel:
Half a pint of Woad per man'll
Dress us more than these.

Romans keep your armour;
Saxons your Pyjama's.
Hairy coats were made for goats,
Gorillas, yaks, Retriever dogs and Llamas.

Tramp up Snowdon with your Woad on:
Never care if you get rained on blowed on.
Never need a button sewed on -
W! O! A! D! Woooad!!!.

Anon.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: who wrote the Woad Song?
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 22 Feb 01 - 02:13 AM

Spats may predate Flanders and Swann, but then, what other clothing rhymes with hats? Apart from Cravats, which predate spats even more. Just because a song contains a word/item popular 20 years older than the singer/alleged composer, doesn't mean to say that it is evidence that they could not have written it. I've written stuff about 18th century life, which well predates me, and what about the Gladiator song?

LTS


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: who wrote the Woad Song?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 22 Feb 01 - 04:07 AM

I first saw it in a boy scout camp fire song book, acquired at a jumble sale. Book was dated in the 20's if I remember rightly so if popular with boy scouts in the 20's is it safe to guess it was in popular use some time before? Or did it start off as a scout song and the scout 'jamborees' made it more famous? Thinking of songs like 'Gin-Gan-Gooly'(sp?) 'Riding along on the crest of a wave' that were popularised by the scouts I guess it could fall in the latter camp ('scuse the pun).

The opening lines (additional to the ones listed above) were

What's the use of wearing braces
Vests and pants and boots with laces
All those things you but in places
Down on Brompton Road

When was Brompton Road a popular shopping area? Where is Brompton Road? Could this help?

For the answers to all these questions and more tune in next week. Same time, same place....

Dave the Gnome


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: who wrote the Woad Song?
From: GUEST,Roger the skiffler
Date: 22 Feb 01 - 04:12 AM

Yes I learned it from a Scout songbook as well, long before Flanders & Swann. Brompton Rd -Kensington, London I think- posh shops!
RtS


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: who wrote the Woad Song?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 22 Feb 01 - 04:20 AM

Should read buy in places of course, not but in places which has a completely different meaning...;-)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: who wrote the Woad Song?
From: GUEST,mandar
Date: 22 Feb 01 - 05:18 AM

just testing


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: who wrote the Woad Song?
From: Hollowfox
Date: 22 Feb 01 - 09:14 AM

Since Joe Hickerson sang it on one of his Folk Legacy albums, perhaps Sandy Paton will check the libretto for his source? I would, but I'm at wotk.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: who wrote the Woad Song?
From: LR Mole
Date: 22 Feb 01 - 12:10 PM

We are the woad...


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: who wrote the Woad Song?
From: JohnB
Date: 22 Feb 01 - 12:32 PM

I think that woad predates spats as apparel too. JohnB


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: who wrote the Woad Song?
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 22 Feb 01 - 12:58 PM

I learned the last line as "Tailors you be blowed"
In those far off days, to be blowed was a mild expletive, with no erotic connotations.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: who wrote the Woad Song?
From: Kim Hughes
Date: 22 Feb 01 - 05:53 PM

Thanks for all the input! At least we've dated it back to 1926, which is more than I knew yesterday.

Kim


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: who wrote the Woad Song?
From: Dave Wynn
Date: 22 Feb 01 - 06:06 PM

I though it was that "a heavy woad a heavy woad" song that this thread meant....I was disappointed....

Spot


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: who wrote the Woad Song?
From: Mr Red
Date: 22 Feb 01 - 06:15 PM

I have it mentally associated with the review - "1066 and all that" which dates from the twenties also.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: who wrote the Woad Song?
From: Bill D
Date: 22 Feb 01 - 06:15 PM

now them ancient Britons REALLY had the 'blues'..wonder if they sang the 'pinks'?

ok, ok...I'll go now


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: who wrote the Woad Song?
From: Amos
Date: 22 Feb 01 - 09:49 PM

Well of course they had the Pinks! Wasn't they all livin' in them thar COMMunes? Pinkos all over; thass why our Anglo FOREbares hadda come in an put 'em right and start them there Middle Ages so's we could have Knights and such!

Redneck Juan de Furbelow


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: who wrote the Woad Song?
From: Bill D
Date: 22 Feb 01 - 11:18 PM

golly, I just finished the middle ages, is that why my (k)nights are in such disarray?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: who wrote the Woad Song?
From: GUEST,Johnny
Date: 22 Feb 01 - 11:26 PM

I sing with a duo that's been performing our own parody "Slap on the Woad Again" (of course to the tune of "On the road again") and we manage to cram the "real" woad song into the middle. Great to have some idea where it comes from.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: who wrote the Woad Song?
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 22 Feb 01 - 11:29 PM

Oh I thought you meant this one

The Bawwad of Pancho and Wefty

Wivvin' on the woad my fwend
Was gonna keep us fwee and cwean...


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: who wrote the Woad Song?
From: Micca
Date: 23 Feb 01 - 07:51 AM

I got the words from a copy of the Youth Hostels Asociation (UK)song book in the format which we currently sing it(which seems to be the most widespread version) dated 1938 that he had picked up at a Jumble Sale..in the 50s, this would be in keeping with the above..It is Definately not F&S...


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: who wrote the Woad Song?
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 23 Feb 01 - 10:45 AM

Just to put the 'Cat among the pigeons: someone claimed to have it in a Boy Scout song book dating from before the First World War!

Steve


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: who wrote the Woad Song?
From: GUEST,JohnB
Date: 23 Feb 01 - 12:18 PM

Please stick to the original subject matter, this is not the Long and Winding Woad thread. JohnB


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: who wrote the Woad Song?
From: Art Thieme
Date: 23 Feb 01 - 12:23 PM

This is yet another song by Woody Guthrie---#1001.
He had heard about those BLUE HIGHWAYS William Least Heat Moon Sun Stars was always writing about. (The ones where the cows got into the ink supply and mood indigo from that day on.)
Right then and there woody wrote his song about "I'm Goin' Down That Hot Dusty Woad".

Just figured you all'd like to know the real story.
On the American scene we all pretty much learned it from Joe Hickerson's LP for Sandy.

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: who wrote the Woad Song?
From: Bert
Date: 23 Feb 01 - 12:27 PM

Yer right Liz, I didn't say it 'proved' anything. I just assumed that it was earlier, I would guess around 1900.
I first learned it in 1952 when our youth club sang it for a local Coronation variety show.

Bert.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: who wrote the Woad Song?
From: GUEST
Date: 23 Feb 01 - 10:42 PM

A popular rhyme when I was young went as follows; Who would woad wood? Edward Woodwood would woad wood. and it makes sense completely.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: who wrote the Woad Song?
From: GUEST
Date: 23 Feb 01 - 10:48 PM

Let me try that again; Who would woad wood? Edward Woodwood would woad woo. By the way I'm no guest but Mudcat does'nt recognise me for some reason. I'm Fergie.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: who wrote the Woad Song?
From: Amos
Date: 23 Feb 01 - 11:39 PM

LEJ:

Hold on tight; you're getting close to the edge.

What did the Last Snake among the Britons wear?

A long and winding woad....

And then there's Bwoo Moon.

Stop me before I pun again!!!

Regards,

A


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: who wrote the Woad Song?
From: John Moulden
Date: 24 Feb 01 - 05:52 PM

Sorry to return to the point after so many flights of fancy but my copy (actually I have three of different ages) of the Hackney Scout Song Book (first edition 1921 - this one is the ninth edition (1959) and their contents may have differed) attributes the song to W Hope Jones of whom I know nothing but for whom I will look. [Note the avoidance of terminal prepositions.] The copyright acknowledgment thanks him but makes no reference to a publisher.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: who wrote the Woad Song?
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 24 Feb 01 - 09:52 PM

It seems that W. Hope Jones was a master at Eton, and wrote the song, c.1921, for the college's Boy Scout troop.  ("Gilwell Camp Fire Song Book" and comments on the web.)

Malcolm


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: who wrote the Woad Song?
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 24 Feb 01 - 10:46 PM

It appears that there was a W. Hope Jones in the 1905 (1st. Lent) Kings College (Cambridge) Boat Club team, which would be the right time-frame.  Just the kind of person to have become a schoolmaster once the War was over, and to have indulged in that sort of good-natured parody, I'd have thought.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: who wrote the Woad Song?
From: Amos
Date: 24 Feb 01 - 10:58 PM

Wow! I'd give your detective work a gold star, and a high degree of probability of being spot on. Thanks!! This is really remarkable. I'm willing to bet that the ratio of those who know "Woad" to those who know W. Hope Jones is about 350:1. What a privelege!

A


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: who wrote the Woad Song?
From: John Moulden
Date: 25 Feb 01 - 01:07 PM

Well done, Malcolm.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: who wrote the Woad Song?
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 26 Feb 01 - 03:24 AM

And did the W stand for ...?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: who wrote the Woad Song?
From: LR Mole
Date: 26 Feb 01 - 01:01 PM

Didn't Jethro Tull do "Songs from the Woad"?Hoo-ray for Holywoad...


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: who wrote the Woad Song?
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 26 Feb 01 - 03:43 PM

The last line of the song is troublesome. "Go it! Ancient B's" appears in some songbooks, but is awkward. "W-O-A-D, woad" is ,I believe, JHoe Hickerson's contribution, but it's a weak one (doesn't rhyme with "nest for fleas" which it should.) I first heard it as "Bollocks to the breeze!" which was a bit rude for the period, but fits and feels appropriate. I was told that it was popular in the British Army in the beriod between the Wars, but I can't find an earlier reference than the early 1920's


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: who wrote the Woad Song?
From: cowboypoet
Date: 26 Feb 01 - 04:41 PM

Elmer Fudd?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: who wrote the Woad Song?
From: Kim Hughes
Date: 26 Feb 01 - 06:26 PM

John, Malcolm, *many* thanks for such excellent detective work!

Kim (thread originator)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: who wrote the Woad Song?
From: Amos
Date: 08 Nov 03 - 09:46 AM

Dear lord, the Cat is on the woad again!

A


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: who wrote the Woad Song?
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 08 Nov 03 - 11:24 AM

Interesting thread, Amos--thanks for reviving it. My father sang this song when I was a child, words a little different than those presented here. I'll have to go dig around in his early books. I suspect Song Fest is the source, he used that one a lot when he started singing.

SRS


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: who wrote the Woad Song?
From: Herga Kitty
Date: 08 Nov 03 - 03:10 PM

Hang on, there's a thread already revived on this...


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: who wrote the Woad Song?
From: Deda
Date: 08 Nov 03 - 09:39 PM

The version in the DT seems more complete than the one above, which leaves out these lines:

Saxons, you can keep your stitches,
For making beds for bugs in britches
We have woad to clothe us which is
Not a nest for fleas.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: who wrote the Woad Song?
From: Barbara
Date: 08 Nov 03 - 11:09 PM

I believe I learned this from the College Song Fest book with a publishing date in the fifties, and the last line then was the "Tailors, you be blowed" mentioned back at the top of the thread.
Any way to check the earlier versions?
Blessings,
Barbara


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: who wrote the Woad Song?
From: Amos
Date: 08 Nov 03 - 11:22 PM

It has been reported as far back as 1928 or so in the British Girl Guides. See above. I think that testimony is reliable (IMHO).

A


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: who wrote the Woad Song?
From: Hrothgar
Date: 09 Nov 03 - 01:09 AM

Now, somewhere I seem to remember it was written for a Boy Scout "Gang Show." My memory says early 1930s, but this seems too late for some of the evidence above.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: who wrote the Woad Song?
From: Leadfingers
Date: 09 Nov 03 - 10:24 AM

Tyhe Brompton Road reference is,I believe ,a definate Boy Scout input
as the British H Q of the Boy Scout movement is just round the corner


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: who wrote the Woad Song?
From: GUEST,Laban Tall
Date: 23 Apr 07 - 05:29 PM

"Known at Eton as "Hojo", William Hope Jones was a maths teacher noted for his eccentricity; he was feared among the Scouts for his loud, stentorian singing."

He appears in fiction in MR James ghost story Wailing Well, in which a group of masters take the Eton Scout Troop on an ill-fated camping expedition.

http://www.users.globalnet.co.uk/~pardos/ArchiveWailing.html

I've just blogged the detective work at
http://ukcommentators.blogspot.com/2007/04/national-anthem-of-ancient-britons.html


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: who wrote the Woad Song?
From: GUEST,David Martin
Date: 27 Sep 07 - 12:01 PM

Hi,
The lyrics above come from my site http://www.fdmartin.clara.co.uk/abtg/song.html as I used to chair a group called Ancient Britons Trefoil Guild (now disbanded). I'm fairly sure I still have the letter from Mrs Louise Wilkinson, somewhere.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: who wrote the Woad Song?
From: GUEST,Murray on Saltspring
Date: 27 Sep 07 - 03:34 PM

Okay, but what about those spats? They aren't mentioned in the above versions. "Go it, Ancient B's" is what I've heard, and it does rhyme, weak though it may be.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: who wrote the Woad Song?
From: GUEST,Philip Axe, Gothenburg, Sweden
Date: 03 Nov 07 - 10:05 AM

The version I learnt in the 7th Royal Tunbridge Wells (Skinners') scouts during the 1980s had the first verse:

What's the use of wearing braces
Shirts with cuffs and boots with laces
Hats and spats you buy in places
Down on Brompton Road

I remember some other differences too, but they may be due to the passage of 20 years:

Boil it to a brilliant hue
and rub it on your back and your abdomen (domen)

Ancient Britain never hit on
Anything as good as woad to fit on
Neck or knees or where you sit on
Tailors, you'll be blowed.

Romans came across the channel
All wrapped up in tin and flannel:
Half a pint of Woad per man'll
Dress us more than these.

Saxons you can waste your stitches
Building beds for bugs in breeches
We have woad to clothe us witches
Not a bed for fleas.

Romans keep your armour;
Saxons your Pyjamas etc...

The text we learnt came from the Hackney Scout songbook, which was a small green pocket book. If anyone knows where I could find a copy nowadays...


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: who wrote the Woad Song?
From: Reiver 2
Date: 13 Jun 10 - 03:12 PM

The above is pretty close to the version I learned in the 1950's. Used to sing it to my kids who loved the inventive rhyming and phrasing. I've hunted for Brompton in my British Isles atlas. There are 5 Bromptons and 4 Bramptons listed but I could find no Brompton Road. I have no record of where I found the song, who I learned it from or of it's source. I had two "original" verses:

WOAD [Tune: Men of Harlech]

1] What's the use of wearing braces,
   Hats or spats or shoes with laces,
   Vests or pants you buy in places
   Down on Brompton Road.
   What's the use of shirts of cotton,
   Studs that always get forgotton?
   Those affairs are simply rotten;
   Better far is woad.

    Woad's the stuff to show men;
    Woad to scare your foemen.
    Boil it to a brilliant blue,
    And rub it on your legs and your abdomen.

Ancient Briton's never hit on
Anything as good as woad to fit on.
Neck or knees or where you sit on --
Tailors you be blowed!

2] Romans came across the channel
   All dressed up in tin and flannel;
   Half a pint of woad per man'll
   Clothe us more than these.
   Saxons, you may save your stiches
   Building beds for bugs in britches;
   We have woad to clothe us which is
   Not a nest for fleas.

    Romans, keep your armors,
    Saxons, your pajamas.
    Hairy coats were made for goats,
    Gorillas, yaks, retriever dogs and llamas.

   March on Snowdon with your woad on,
   Never mind if you get rained or snowed on.
   Never need a button sewed on;
   Good for us today!

Somewhere along the line I came across another verse which was written in later years as it uses terms more characteristic of the 1950s, but utilizes similar inventive rhyming and phrasing:

3] Modern man's become more drastic,
   Keeps his pants up with elastic,
   Buys his socks and coats of plastic
   Down in Unley Road,
   Dacron jumpers have no style on;
   Orlon undies just look vile on,
   Even if it snowed.

    Keep your vile synthetics,
    Chesty Bond athletics,
    Drip-dry shirt collects no dirt
    And smells of hair oil, lotion and cosmetics.

All together, in all weather,
Never wear an ounce of cloth or leather;
Not a fig-leaf or a feather.
We'll just stick to woad!

Is anyone familiar with an Unley Road? Anywhere?

Reiver 2


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: who wrote the Woad Song?
From: Gurney
Date: 13 Jun 10 - 04:40 PM

Her Indoors' YHA Songbook (1962) attributes as follows:
W. Hope-Jones. Written about 1921 for the Eton College Boy Scouts. Printed in the Hackney Scout Song Book. We are indebted to the author for correcting (1962)The inaccurate version published in previous editions.

That has to be the definitive version, I should think. Fairly close to Reiver 2's version above, but not exactly.

Busy day coming up. I'll post the version when I have a moment and let Joe decide what to do with it.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: who wrote the Woad Song?
From: Herga Kitty
Date: 13 Jun 10 - 05:19 PM

Reiver - Brompton Road is in Knightsbridge, London, and there are some very expensive fashion stores there....

Kitty


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: who wrote the Woad Song?
From: GUEST
Date: 13 Jun 10 - 05:34 PM

Very expensive as in Harrods have an entrance from Brompton Road!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: who wrote the Woad Song?
From: Micca
Date: 13 Jun 10 - 07:08 PM

Reiver2 in the "new" verse there is a line missing ( it doesnt scan properly without), it should read

   Dacron jumpers have no style on;
   Orlon undies just look vile on,
Even cubs would not wear Nylon
   Even if it snowed.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: who wrote the Woad Song?
From: Rob Naylor
Date: 13 Jun 10 - 07:23 PM

Reiver 2: That's the version I sang in a Gang Show in 1969. Thanks for the memories.


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Subject: Lyr Add: Woad.
From: Gurney
Date: 14 Jun 10 - 02:53 AM

Woad    (W. Hope-Jones.)    From The Youth Hostellers Song Book (1962 edition)
^^^ NATIONAL ANTHEM OF THE ANCIENT BRITONS.
(Tune: Men of Harlech.)

What's the use of wearing braces,
Vests and pants and boots with laces,
Spats or hats you buy in places,
Down in Brompton Road ?
What's the use of shirts of cotton,
Studs that always get forgotten,
These affairs are simply rotten-
Better far is woad !
Woad's the stuff to show, men-
Woad to scare your foemen-
Boil it to a brilliant hue
And rub it on your back and your abdomen
Ancient Briton never hit on
Anything as good as woad to fit on
Neck or knees or what you sit on-
Tailors, you be blowed !

Romans come across the Channel,
All wrapped up in tin and flannel ;
Half a pint of woad per man'll
Dress us more than these !
Saxons, you may waste your stiches
Building beds for bugs in breeches,
We have woad to clothe us, which is
Not a nest for fleas.
Romans, keep your armours,
Saxons, your pyjamas,
Hairy coats were meant for goats,
Gorillas, yaks, retriever dogs and llamas.
Tramp up Snowdon with our woad on,
Never mind if we get rained or blowed on,
Never want a button sewed on,
Go it, Ancient B's !


[Footnote]
Written about 1921 for the Eton College Boy Scouts. Printed in the Hackney Scout Song Book. We are indebted to the author for correcting (1962) the inaccurate version published in previous editions. [Of the YHA Song Book, presumably.]


Braces=suspenders. Vest=undershirt. Studs=retainers for detachable shirt-collars.
You be blowed=a mild term of personal rejection.
Punctuation and spacing carefully copied.
Often sung in a Welsh accent, the Welsh being descendants of the Ancient Britons, but possibly because the most widely heard professional recording was by a Welsh performer on a LP of Rugby Football songs.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Woad.
From: Mr Happy
Date: 14 Jun 10 - 06:03 AM

Some errors in this version.

See the proper one here:@displaysong.cfm?SongID=7952


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: who wrote the Woad Song?
From: Mr Red
Date: 14 Jun 10 - 06:07 AM

"Go it Ancient B's" (as in Britons) was the line I remember most clearly. But then, I was not a scout in the 20's.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Woad.
From: Dave MacKenzie
Date: 14 Jun 10 - 07:16 AM

"Some errors in this version."

Not really. It's been adapted many times over the years for various reasons - it's called the folk process.

Didn't you once tell me it was far too short so you were going to write a few more verses, John?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: who wrote the Woad Song?
From: Valmai Goodyear
Date: 14 Jun 10 - 09:47 AM

I have been told it came from the stage version of 1066 And All That. Wikipedia says:

In 1938, the musical comedy 1066—and all that: A Musical Comedy based on that Memorable History by Sellar and Yeatman was produced. The book and lyrics were by Reginald Arkell; the music was composed by Alfred Reynolds. It was revived at the Palace Theatre, London in 1945.

Valmai


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: who wrote the Woad Song?
From: Bernard
Date: 14 Jun 10 - 09:52 AM

Let's not forget Roger Miller - 'King of the Woad'...

(I'll get me coat!)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Woad.
From: Gurney
Date: 14 Jun 10 - 10:49 PM

You didn't read the footnote, Mr Happy. 'Corrected by the author.'

Although I personally prefer variants.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: who wrote the Woad Song?
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 15 Jun 10 - 12:14 AM

G'day Valmai,

If you go back about 30 posts (the late Malcom Douglas, February 2001) you will see: "that W. Hope Jones was a master at Eton, and wrote the song, c.1921, for the college's Boy Scout troop. ("Gilwell Camp Fire Song Book" and comments on the web.) ... quite a while before 1066 and All That!

Regards,

Bob


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: who wrote the Woad Song?
From: Gurney
Date: 15 Jun 10 - 12:16 AM

Bernard, there is an old joke about a Briton who turned out for battle with a chalky streak down his chest...
add flannel here...
"It's the white line down the middle of the woad!"


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: who wrote the Woad Song?
From: Reiver 2
Date: 15 Jun 10 - 01:10 AM

Micca, thanks for catching the missing line in my post. I love that one Gurney!!

Reiver 2


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: who wrote the Woad Song?
From: Micca
Date: 15 Jun 10 - 04:13 AM

Valmai, but was it a Good Thing?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: who wrote the Woad Song?
From: Micca
Date: 15 Jun 10 - 07:04 AM

You have to have read the book "1066 and all that"


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: who wrote the Woad Song?
From: Reiver 2
Date: 15 Jun 10 - 03:50 PM

Hi Micca. I have a copy of '1066 and All That' and have read it several times. I can find no reference to woad except on page 2 in the statement, "...but the Ancient Britons... painted themselves true blue, or woad, and fought as heroically under their dashing queen, Woadicea, as they did later in thin red lines..." Did I miss something?

[BTW, I can't help wondering if the 'thin red line' was an outgrowth of the practice of the ancient Briton's, as noted by Gurney, of painting a white stripe down their chests -- the notable "white stripe down the middle of the woad"?]

Reiver 2


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: who wrote the Woad Song?
From: Micca
Date: 15 Jun 10 - 05:02 PM

Reiver2, I think Valmai was suggesting it (the song) may have been inserted into the Theatrical production!!, I, on the other hand, was refering to the often repeated phrase in the book. I enjoy singing the song from time to time, haven't included the "synthetics" verse yet tho'


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: who wrote the Woad Song?
From: Reiver 2
Date: 16 Jun 10 - 12:18 AM

Micca, The book, '1066 and All That" has long been a favorite of mine. I've never seen the theatrical production, but would love to see it. I have mixed feelings about singing that 3rd verse, but it IS clever. It just seems to me a bit out of context with the original verses. Do you have the lyrics to the song, and - if so - could you post them here?

Reiver 2


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: who wrote the Woad Song?
From: GUEST,Tiggywinkle
Date: 16 Jun 10 - 06:12 AM

This song was pretty popular in the SCA mumblety-mumble years ago, when I was a sweet young thing. In that time & place, the last line was usually changed to, "bottoms up for woad!"


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: who wrote the Woad Song?
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 17 Jun 10 - 06:01 PM

Found in (of all places) a sidebar in the chapter called "Dyestuffs and Coloured Compounds" subheading "Indigo" in Classics in Spectroscopy: Isolation and Structure Elucidation of Natural Products by Stefan Berger, Dieter Sicker (Weinheim: Wiley-VCH, 2009), page 246:


THE WOAD ODE
Anonymous, 1921.

[The text, except for punctuation, is the same as that posted by Gurney above.]


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: who wrote the Woad Song?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 17 Jan 11 - 04:25 AM

I played the Narrator in a school production of 1066 & All That, the musical based on Sellar & Yeatman's famous book of 1930 [but previously pubd in parts in Punch] when I was teaching at Peckham Manor School, SE London in 1962. The Woad Ode is definitely NOT part of the original book of that musical, being much older; but it could of course have been interpolated into some productions, this being the sort of episodic show that invites such treatment. For ours, e.g., I wrote a few new songs/scenes about astronauts/cosmonauts & suchlike more contemporary "history", to bring it up to date.

~Michael~


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: who wrote the Woad Song?
From: GUEST,T de Stig
Date: 28 Nov 11 - 03:00 AM

I note the modern versions all seem to conclude "go it ancient B's" but in the early 50s we alsways sang it based on the Scouts Gilwell song book as "go it ancient Brits"

Just my 2c worth


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: who wrote the Woad Song?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 28 Nov 11 - 03:09 AM

Ewan MacColl wrote a Radio Ballad called "Song of a Woad"
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: who wrote the Woad Song?
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 28 Nov 11 - 06:49 AM

I don't know whether it is because of the colour link, But even 'Old Blue Eyes' got in on the act:

Sinatra: "One for My Baby (and One More for the Woad)"


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: who wrote the Woad Song?
From: GUEST,Dave
Date: 11 Sep 13 - 05:44 AM

The third verse is from Australia. Chesty Bond is a popular brand of singlet. Unley Road is a main road in Adelaide, South Australia.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: who wrote the Woad Song?
From: GUEST,Blaze58
Date: 17 Oct 14 - 12:29 PM

I remember this song fondly from my junior school music lessons in the 60's in Blackburn Lanc's.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: who wrote the Woad Song?
From: GUEST,ketchdana
Date: 17 Oct 14 - 05:28 PM

Without any authority at all, [citation needed] just thinkin' 'bout it, and noting W.Hope-Jones' affiliation, might the line in the "third" verse be:
...
Eaton cubs would not wear nylon
Even if it snowed.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: who wrote the Woad Song?
From: LadyJean
Date: 18 Oct 14 - 12:52 AM

I was told by an elderly gentleman from Shrivenham that the woad song was a scout song.

I learned it at Miss Sally Sutherland's School for Scottish Arts in Banner Elk North Carolina, from one of the Armstrong family.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: who wrote the Woad Song?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 18 Oct 14 - 01:21 AM

Re above remark that this is often sung in a Welsh accent: surely this would be by association with the tune, an ancient Welsh war song.   

"Harlech (Welsh pronunciation: [ˈharlɛx]) is a town and seaside resort in Gwynedd, within the historical boundaries of Merionethshire in northwest Wales, lying on Tremadog Bay" ... "'Men of Harlech' or 'The March of the Men of Harlech' (in Welsh: Rhyfelgyrch Gwŷr Harlech) is a song and military march which is traditionally said[1] to describe events during the seven-year siege of Harlech Castle between 1461 and 1468.[2][3] Commanded by Constable Dafydd ap Ieuan, the garrison withstood the longest known siege in the history of the British Isles". Wikipedia

≈M≈


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: who wrote the Woad Song?
From: Leadfingers
Date: 18 Oct 14 - 06:37 AM

Several people asked about Brompton Road in connection with this song - Apart from being an Up Market shopping area in W London , Brompton Road is also the location of Baden Powell House .HQ of the Boy Scouts movement in UK . As Woad was written for Eton Scouts , the reference to Scouts HQ seems a tad obvious . Tont O Neill performs the song fairly regularly at Maidenhead F C


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: who wrote the Woad Song?
From: Dave Earl
Date: 18 Oct 14 - 06:56 AM

Havent time to read the whole thread but my copy of The Hackney Scout Song book has the "National Anthem of the Ancient Britons" (p122 1949 edition)attributed to one W. Hope Jones who I am led to believe was a teacher / headmaster at one of Englands Public Schools - Eton or Harrow I'm not sure which now although somebody once told me which it was.

Does this answer the OP's qustion?

Dave


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: who wrote the Woad Song?
From: bubblyrat
Date: 18 Oct 14 - 07:15 AM

Marie Osmond did a version called "Hit The Woad, Jack" .


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: who wrote the Woad Song?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 18 Oct 14 - 08:22 AM

'...bought in places down in Brompton Road' clearly refers to Harrods, London's most upmarket department store --

"Harrods is an upmarket department store located in Brompton Road in Knightsbridge, in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, London...
The store occupies a 5-acre (20,000 m2) site and has over one million square feet (90,000 m2) of selling space in over 330 departments making it the biggest department store in Europe." Wikipedia

It has been at this site since mid-C19.

≈M≈


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: who wrote the Woad Song?
From: meself
Date: 18 Oct 14 - 11:52 AM

This song is not well-known in Canada. I'm surprised to see above that it was (is?), apparently, a staple in British Girl Guide songbooks - in Canada, it would have been considered inappropriate for respectable girls to be singing about naked men - woad or no woad! (Now watch someone come along and tell me its been in Canadian Girl Guide books since time immemorial ... ).


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: who wrote the Woad Song?
From: GUEST,Tony Smith
Date: 24 Aug 18 - 12:51 PM

These are the same words we sang to as a young scout in the early 1950's . As l recall it was known as 'Go it Ancient B's'.To Men of Harlech. A great favourite around the bonfire (-;


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: who wrote the Woad Song?
From: Lighter
Date: 24 Aug 18 - 04:57 PM

The "Cambridge Review" of Oct. 25, 1906, mentions "W. Hope-Jones" as a member of the General Committee of the Cambridge Church Society, King's College. He appears to have been a notable foot-racer.

The"Eton College Chronicle" of Oct. 17, 1907, mentions "W. Hope-Jones, Esq."

More interestingly, Hope-J`ones appears as a character in M. R. James's story, "Wailing Well," "first read at a camp of Eton Boy Scouts" in July, 1927.

Wikipedia has an entire article on "The National Anthem of the Ancient Britons." It asserts that William Hope-Jones,, a housemaster at Eton, "sang it at a College dinner" in 1914, but it first appeared in print in the "Hackney Scout Song Book," as noted by Dave Earle above, in 1921.

According to his obituary in the "Mathematical Gazette" (1965), Hope-Jones was the "greatest personality" in the Mathematics Association "of the past 40 years":

"Probability, he said, was a bee which buzzed in his bonnet, and he paid full heed to the implications of the theory. When it showed him that if 36 runners enter for a race, for which there are 6 prizes, 4 heats of 9 runners with two from each heat in the final will be more likely to give a fair result than 6 heats of 6 runners with one from each heat in the final, he took a large spade and widened the road where the Eton school mile starts, so as to make room for 9 runners....

"To know H-J was a tonic, a corrective to pessimism The world became a simpler, brighter, happier place when he was present."


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: who wrote the Woad Song?
From: GUEST,Mike Field
Date: 08 Nov 18 - 11:14 PM

The third verse, quoted by Reiver 2 on 13 Jun 10, is one I learnt as part of the whole song in the Scouts in Australia in the 50s/60s. (Dave, writing on 11 Sep 13, notes that the third verse is in fact an Aussie addition to Ho-Jo's original two-verse version.)

As someone else said earlier, this was always a favourite song around the camp-fire, being shouted out and stomped to with great glee...


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: who wrote the Woad Song?
From: BobL
Date: 09 Nov 18 - 04:05 AM

Has anyone ever tried translating it into Welsh?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: who wrote the Woad Song?
From: GUEST,ripov
Date: 09 Nov 18 - 07:50 PM

No idea as to origin, but a favourite at choir camp in the 50s, along with "never let your braces dangle" and "Lloyd George knew my father" and of course "*insert local vicar's daughters name here* ate some marmalade"
Our variation- "hats and things you buy in places/ Down the Old Kent Road". and the "Go it ancient B's" refrain.


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