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Origins: Nipperkin and a brown bowl (Barley Mow)

DigiTrad:
GOOD LUCK TO THE BARLEY MOW


Related threads:
Lyr Req: Good Luck to the Barley Malt? / ...Mow (17)
Barley mow (33)
Lyr Add: Zachery Bell, or The Barley Mow (1)
Lyr Req: Good Luck to the Barleymow? (6) (closed)
Lyr Req: Barley Mow (Green Willow Band) (6)


30 Jan 98 - 11:48 PM
Jon 31 Jan 98 - 01:27 AM
Alan Ackerman 31 Jan 98 - 03:45 AM
Bruce Olson 01 Feb 98 - 11:57 AM
Dan Duryea 01 Feb 98 - 07:36 PM
Catfeet 03 Feb 98 - 01:51 PM
Bert 03 Feb 98 - 02:00 PM
SeanM 08 May 00 - 06:40 PM
GUEST,Meadow Muskrat 08 May 00 - 11:05 PM
Richard Bridge 09 May 00 - 03:29 PM
GUEST,bill young 10 May 00 - 06:43 AM
masato sakurai 24 Jun 04 - 09:10 AM
GUEST 24 Jun 04 - 09:19 AM
GUEST 24 Jun 04 - 09:26 AM
greg stephens 24 Jun 04 - 09:30 AM
Podger 25 Jun 04 - 07:41 AM
IanC 25 Jun 04 - 08:36 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 28 Jun 04 - 05:24 PM
GUEST 27 Feb 07 - 03:58 AM
Folkiedave 27 Feb 07 - 06:46 AM
Scrump 27 Feb 07 - 07:47 AM
Bonecruncher 27 Feb 07 - 06:43 PM
Bert 27 Feb 07 - 08:30 PM
Chip2447 28 Feb 07 - 01:13 AM
Scrump 28 Feb 07 - 05:51 AM
Richard Bridge 28 Feb 07 - 07:37 AM
Big Jim from Jackson 28 Feb 07 - 10:16 AM
GUEST,chris 28 Feb 07 - 11:29 AM
Strollin' Johnny 01 Mar 07 - 08:16 AM
Lady Nancy 02 Mar 07 - 04:58 AM
Scrump 02 Mar 07 - 05:12 AM
greg stephens 02 Mar 07 - 09:29 AM
Schantieman 02 Mar 07 - 10:05 AM
GUEST,Capn'Rob 01 Feb 09 - 10:11 PM
Jim Dixon 03 Feb 09 - 01:08 PM
RowanGolightly 14 Apr 09 - 09:09 PM
Gurney 15 Apr 09 - 12:41 AM
Folkiedave 15 Apr 09 - 03:56 AM
Tug the Cox 15 Apr 09 - 07:47 PM
Penny S. 16 Apr 09 - 03:54 AM
IanC 16 Apr 09 - 05:11 AM
MMario 16 Apr 09 - 10:34 AM
IanC 16 Apr 09 - 10:57 AM
MMario 16 Apr 09 - 11:00 AM
IanC 16 Apr 09 - 11:09 AM
MikeT 16 Apr 09 - 02:46 PM
Crane Driver 16 Apr 09 - 07:41 PM
Crane Driver 17 Apr 09 - 01:49 PM
Steve Gardham 17 Apr 09 - 05:00 PM
Joe Offer 25 Jul 15 - 03:25 AM
Reinhard 25 Jul 15 - 03:46 AM
MGM·Lion 25 Jul 15 - 05:23 AM
Steve Gardham 25 Jul 15 - 10:49 AM
MGM·Lion 25 Jul 15 - 10:54 AM
GUEST 23 Jul 17 - 11:02 PM
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Subject: Nipperkin and a brown bowl
From:
Date: 30 Jan 98 - 11:48 PM

There's a song called "Good Luck to the Barley Mow" in the database that ALMOST looks like what I'm looking for, but the version I've always heard sung has the words "nipperkin and the brown bowl" (or maybe "a brown bowl") in the chorus. These words are missing from the version in the database. Does anyone have words for my version? Or can anyone point me to a recording?


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Subject: RE: Nipperkin and a brown bowl
From: Jon
Date: 31 Jan 98 - 01:27 AM

I know one that seems to be the one you are talking about. Don't know if it has a chorus, though, but this is what I know.

Okay, here goes:

Here's good luck to the pint pot, good luck to the barley mow
Jolly good luck to the pint pot good luck to the barley mow
Here's the company, slavey, drayer, brewer, daughter, Land Lady, Land Lord, barrel, half barrel, gallon, half gallon, quart pot, pint pot, half a pint, gill pot, half a gill, quarter gill, nipperkin, and the brown bowl.
Here's good luck, good luck, good luck to the barley mow.

That being the final verse (after adding in all the pieces one at a time). Try getting that out without passing out! Almost as silly as Rattlin Bog!

Jon


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Subject: RE: Nipperkin and a brown bowl
From: Alan Ackerman
Date: 31 Jan 98 - 03:45 AM

That's it! Thanks! Actually, I suppose "Here's good luck, good luck, good luck to the barley mow" actually IS the chorus, if there is one.


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Subject: RE: Nipperkin and a brown bowl
From: Bruce Olson
Date: 01 Feb 98 - 11:57 AM

Thats an old song. You can see a pretty old version among the texts from R. Bell's and 'Poems, Ballads and Songs of the Peasantry' (1857). I don't have the link memorized. Go to
www.pbm.com/~lindahl/ballads/ballads.html
and there you can click onto a copy of the book.

The Barley-Mow Song

[This song is sung at country meetings in Devon and Cornwall, particularly on completing the carrying of the barley, when the rick, or mow of barley, is finished. On putting up the last sheaf, which is called the craw (or crow) sheaf, the man who has it cries out 'I have it, I have it, I have it;' another demands, 'What have'ee, what have'ee, what have'ee?' and the answer is, 'A craw! a craw! a craw!' upon which there is some cheering, &c., and a supper afterwards. The effect of the Barley-Mow Song cannot be given in words; it should be heard, to be appreciated properly, - particularly with the West-country dialect.]

    Here's a health to the barley-mow, my brave boys,
    Here's a health to the barley-mow!
    We'll drink it out of the jolly brown bowl,
    Here's a health to the barley-mow!
    Cho. Here's a health to the barley-mow, my brave boys,
    Here's a health to the barley-mow!

    We'll drink it out of the nipperkin, boys,
    Here's a health to the barley-mow!
    The nipperkin and the jolly brown bowl,
    Cho. Here's a health, &c.

    We'll drink it out of the quarter-pint, boys,
    Here's a health to the barley-mow!
    The quarter-pint, nipperkin, &c.
    Cho. Here's a health, &c.

    We'll drink it out of the half-a-pint, boys,
    Here's a health to the barley-mow!
    The half-a-pint, quarter-pint, &c.
    Cho. Here's a health, &c.

    We'll drink it out of the pint, my brave boys,
    Here's a health to the barley-mow!
    The pint, the half-a-pint, &c.
    Cho. Here's a health, &c.

    We'll drink it out of the quart, my brave boys,
    Here's a health to the barley-mow!
    The quart, the pint, &c.
    Cho. Here's a health, &c.

    Well drink it out of the pottle, my boys,
    Here's a health to the barley-mow!
    The pottle, the quart, &c.
    Cho. Here's a health, &c.

    We'll drink it out of the gallon, my boys,
    Here's a health to the barley-mow!
    The gallon, the pottle, &c.
    Cho. Here's a health, &c.

    We'll drink it out of the half-anker, boys,
    Here's a health to the barley-mow!
    The half-anker, gallon, &c.
    Cho. Here's a health, &c.

    We'll drink it out of the anker, my boys,
    Here's a health to the barley-mow!
    The anker, the half-anker, &c.
    Cho. Here's a health, &c.

    We'll drink it out of the half-hogshead, boys,
    Here's a health to the barley-mow!
    The half-hogshead, anker, &c.
    Cho. Here's a health, &c.

    We'll drink it out of the hogshead, my boys,
    Here's a health to the barley-mow!
    The hogshead, the half-hogshead, &c.
    Cho. Here's a health, &c.

    We'll drink it out of the pipe, my brave boys,
    Here's a health to the barley-mow!
    The pipe, the hogshead, &c.
    Cho. Here's a health, &c.

    We'll drink it out of the well, my brave boys,
    Here's a health to the barley-mow!
    The well, the pipe, &c.
    Cho. Here's a health, &c.

    We'll drink it out of the river, my boys,
    Here's a health to the barley-mow!
    The river, the well, &c.
    Cho. Here's a health, &c.

    We'll drink it out of the ocean, my boys,
    Here's a health to the barley-mow!
    The ocean, the river, the well, the pipe, the hogshead,
    the half-hogshead, the anker, the half-anker,
    the gallon, the pottle, the quart, the pint, the
    half-a-pint, the quarter-pint, the nipperkin, and
    the jolly brown bowl!
    Cho. Here's a health to the barley-mow, my brave boys!
    Here's a health to the barley-mow!

[The above verses are very much ad libitum, but always in the third line repeating the whole of the previously-named measures; as we have shown in the recapitulation at the close of the last verse.]


The Barley-Mow Song (Suffolk Version)

[The peasantry of Suffolk sing the following version of the Barley-Mow Song.]

    Here's a health to the barley mow!
    Here's a health to the man
    Who very well can
    Both harrow and plow and sow!

    When it is well sown
    See it is well mown,
    Both raked and gavelled clean,
    And a barn to lay it in.
    He's a health to the man
    Who very well can
    Both thrash and fan it clean!

    Lyrics copy-pasted from the source Bruce cited.
    -Joe Offer, 14 April 2009-


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Subject: RE: Nipperkin and a brown bowl
From: Dan Duryea
Date: 01 Feb 98 - 07:36 PM

This song is included on the Revels Records CD1094 "wild Mountain Thyme", which is available from Revels, Inc., Cambridge, MA.


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Subject: RE: Nipperkin and a brown bowl
From: Catfeet
Date: 03 Feb 98 - 01:51 PM

I actually learned a version that was slightly different in that it was "good luck to the nipperkin and the brown bowl". The other references to the lucky bowl in the song were always "bonny bowl". The explination that I heard was that it was a song in praise of the oak that aged the beer or wine. This reference to a brown bowl can also be found in several wassailing songs when they speak about beer or ale.

Catfeet


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Subject: RE: Nipperkin and a brown bowl
From: Bert
Date: 03 Feb 98 - 02:00 PM

I always thought it was "round bowl". EMI put out a recording in the mid to late Fifties and that's what it sounded like to us.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: good luck to the barleymow
From: SeanM
Date: 08 May 00 - 06:40 PM

Should add that for some reason (probably to help with meter), most versions I know start with "Here's good luck to the quart pot", with the callback starting at
"Oh, the quart pot, pint pot, half a pint, gill, quarter gill, nipperkin and the brown bowl,
Here's good luck, (etc.)

Similar songs include "Rattlin' Bog", "Hole in the Bucket", and 20 billion other songs children have used to annoy their elders over the past couple centuries...

M


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: good luck to the barleymow
From: GUEST,Meadow Muskrat
Date: 08 May 00 - 11:05 PM

A live version of this song is available on Barrand and Roberts Live at Holsteins album.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: good luck to the barleymow
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 09 May 00 - 03:29 PM

The version of this I know is I think common in Kent (UK) and is similar but not identical. Starts with Pint, of course, but the whole thing is
    Here's good luck to the COmpany, good luck to the Barley Mow
    Jolly good luck to the company, good luck to the Barley Mow
    Oh the COmpany, Brewer, the Drayer, the Slavey, the Daughter, the Landlady, Landlord, the Barrel, the HALF Barrel, Gallon, the HALF Gallon, Quart Pot, Pint pot, HALF pint, Gill pot, HALF gill, Quarter gill, Nippikin, Pippikin and the Brown Bowl - Here's good luck good luck good luck to the Barley Mow.
Those capitalised HALF syllables are sort of barked, which adds a difficult off-cadence because they don't come round symmetrically.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: good luck to the barleymow
From: GUEST,bill young
Date: 10 May 00 - 06:43 AM

I learnt this song as a student in Liverpool in the sixties. It was broadly as already indicated, finishing with:
    The Landlord, the barmaid, the hogshead, the barrel, the half barrel, the ferkin, the PIN, the gallon, the half gallon, quart pot, pint pot, gill pot, any potality, quality, try a little drop more, here's a health, a health to the Barley Mow, oh, oh, oh, rumpetty tum tum tum
The pitch was raised on the word pin (= 4.5 gallons) and glasses generally raised in the air at this point!


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Subject: RE: Origins: The barley mow
From: masato sakurai
Date: 24 Jun 04 - 09:10 AM

From folktrax:

BARLEY MOW, THE - "Here's good health to the " - Cumulative Drinking Song - ROUD#944 - DIXON 1846 - BELL BSPE 1857 pp159-161 West Country (w/o)/ Suffolk (w/o) - CHAPPELL NEA 1838 & PMOT 1858 p745 describes actions in song - LONG DIOW 1886 pp149-50 (w/o) - SHARP-MARSON FSS 5 pp13-15 Charles Neville - SHARP Sel Ed 2 pp126-8 - SHARP-KARPELES CSC 1974 2 pp406-407 Charles Nevill Senr & Jnr, East Coker, Somerset 1908 - WILLIAMS FSUT 1923 pp289-90 #389 Elijah Iles, Inglesham, Wiltsh & David Sawyer, Ogbourne, Wiltsh (w/o) - SHARP-MARSON Somerset V 109 p289 - BROCKLEBANK- KINDERSLEY DBFS 1966 p26 Hammond: J Caddy, Melplash,Dorset - O'SHAUGHNESSEY LLL 1973 (?) p1 Brian Dawson (c): Harry Blackburn, Washingborough, Lincolnsh 1973 - KARPELES CSC 1974 2 #335 pp406-7 - HAMER GGr 1973 pp28-9 Mr Salisbury, Bedfordsh - KENNEDY FSBI 1975 #265 Arthur Smith - PALMER EBECS 1979 #118 pp196-8 Dixon (w) & Chappell (m) - HOWSON SSIS 1992 p30 Harry Chambers, Dennington, Suffolk (w/o) --- MEREDITH- ANDERSON 1967 Australia p70 -- Unknown singer (& ch) Wickham Ford, Gloucestersh 1938: RPL 1755 - Jack FRENCH with ch rec by PK, Blaxhall, Suffolk 1953: RPL 19882/ EMI DLP-7-EG 8288 1960 (45 EP) - Arthur SMITH (+ ch) rec by PK, Blaxhall, Suffolk: 025 & 036 - Gabriel FIGG rec by Joy Hyman, Sussex 1964-5: RPL LP 29821 (16v) - Dick PEARCE rec by PK, Exeter, Devon 1954: 086 - George SPICER rec by PK, Copthorne, Sussex 1956: RPL 23093/ CAEDMON TC- 1225/ TOPIC 12-T-198/ TSCD-663 1998 - rec Lewes Arms, Lewes: TRANSATLANTIC XTRS-1150 1975 - YETTIES Radio 2 14/11/87: CASS-60-0555 (Dorset version with unusual chorus coll at Melplash) - Reg BACON rec by Neil Lanham, Radwinter, Essex: NLCD 5/6 2002 - Beryl COWAN rec by Neil Lanham, Colchester, Essex: NLCD 5/6 2002 (last 3v)

BARLEY MOW, THE - Jig - HAYWOOD #11 p10 (D) -- Tavish McMILLAN (fid) rec Kinross Folk Festival 1975: SPRINGTHYME SPRC 1003/ CASS-1313


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Subject: RE: Origins: The barley mow
From: GUEST
Date: 24 Jun 04 - 09:19 AM

first recorded use of the term "gallon" is 1342 so it must post-date that.


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Subject: RE: Origins: The barley mow
From: GUEST
Date: 24 Jun 04 - 09:26 AM

in 1842 the gallon was standardized (In the UK) so I suspect the song date from approximately that era


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Subject: RE: Origins: The barley mow
From: greg stephens
Date: 24 Jun 04 - 09:30 AM

The song may well date from 1840ish(though I would personally guess a lot earlier). But I really dont see why the folk of England would be eager to sing about an 1842 standardised gallon, but uninterested in say a 1742 unstandardised gallon.


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Subject: RE: Origins: The barley mow
From: Podger
Date: 25 Jun 04 - 07:41 AM

Not all versions of The Barley Mow mention the gallon so that word shoulnd't be used to estimate the age of the song.


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Subject: RE: Origins: The barley mow
From: IanC
Date: 25 Jun 04 - 08:36 AM

It's in Ancient Ballads ... originally published by The Percy Society in 1846. The version collected is discussed as part of the traditional harvest celebrations in Devon and Cornwall, so it's certainly earlier than 1840.

Chappell (1859) connects it with one of the Freemen's Songs in Deuteromelia, which would take it back another 250 years or so. However, I can't really see any serious likeness.

:-)


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Subject: RE: Origins: The barley mow
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 28 Jun 04 - 05:24 PM

Barley Mow is mentioned in Olson's website, from "Thompson's Compleat Collection of Country Dances, vol. 4, ca. 1780.
Some contradancers use the tune Linden Hall.

Nothing to do with the origin, but a nice little verse is inserted into the routine by Billy Leatherbreeks called "Bobobella; or, The Blacky Moor Keelman" (pub. 1870s in "Tyneside Songs, by E. Corvan and G. Ridley et al.), tune for this segment "Dixey's Land."

"..... On, on, wi' yor sprees, let the gam gan on now;
An' end a' yor glories i' the aud Barley Mow.

"Aw wish aw was i' the Barley Mow,
Wiv a quairt o' yell before me now.
Huzza! huzza! huzza! huzza!
For iv a' the places aw ever met,
Thor's nyen can beat aud Sangyet yet.
Huzza! etc.

Chorus
"So drink away mee hearties
Huzza! etc.
Niver say die, for that's all mee aye,
So drink away mee hearties,
Huzza! etc."


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Nipperkin and a brown bowl (Barley Mow)
From: GUEST
Date: 27 Feb 07 - 03:58 AM

I think Cyril Tawney used "nipperkin & a RYE bowl"


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Nipperkin and a brown bowl (Barley Mo
From: Folkiedave
Date: 27 Feb 07 - 06:46 AM

Round


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Nipperkin and a brown bowl (Barley Mow)
From: Scrump
Date: 27 Feb 07 - 07:47 AM

Cheers Folkiedave - mine's a pint, since you offered :-)

I think one version I remember had "nipperkin, pipperkin and a brown bowl". I guess people kept adding different words to make it even longer and difficult to sing (or listen to).

Whether these measures were actually used I don't know, although I believe a 'nipperkin' meant a small quantity (sometimes assumed to be half a gill, or 1/8 of an English pint), but sometimes just meaning a small amount as in a 'nip'.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Nipperkin and a brown bowl (Barley Mow)
From: Bonecruncher
Date: 27 Feb 07 - 06:43 PM

Oxford English Dictionary defines a gill as a quarter-pint, with the proviso that in some parts of UK it is a half-pint.
Same reference defines nipperkin as obsolete, a small measure.
Colyn.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Nipperkin and a brown bowl (Barley Mow)
From: Bert
Date: 27 Feb 07 - 08:30 PM

Nipperkin may be obsolete, but it's shortened form 'nip'was in common use in England in the Fifties and was synonymous with 'tot'.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Nipperkin and a brown bowl (Barley Mow)
From: Chip2447
Date: 28 Feb 07 - 01:13 AM

I use "fetch in a little drop more" in lieu of the more familiar nipperkin and a brown/round bowl.

"...Here's the quart pot,
pint pot,
haffa pint,
gill pot
haffa gill,
quarter gill,
fetch in a little drop more,
here's good luck, good luck, good luck to the barley mow"

Chip


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Nipperkin and a brown bowl (Barley Mow)
From: Scrump
Date: 28 Feb 07 - 05:51 AM

Yes, a gill is 'officially' a quarter of a (UK) pint, i.e. 5 fl oz.

But in some parts of the country it is used colloquially to refer to a half pint. I suppose it's a bit like the proverbial 'swift half' which usually implies a slightly larger quantity :-)

A 'nip' does often mean a small quantity or 'tot' as Bert says, but it was also used by brewers to refer to a small bottle of ale (usually a strong one such as Barley Wine or Russian Stout) which was sold in 1/3 pint bottles. Maybe some brewers still use this measure?

Something many people don't know is that the 1/3 pint measure (once common) can still be served legally in pubs, but I don't personally know of any that do this. A recent CAMRA beer festival had 1/3 pint glasses. I hope this idea spreads, because it seems very sensible when attending a beer festival, as you can then try more different ales before you assume the horizontal position :-)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Nipperkin and a brown bowl (Barley Mow)
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 28 Feb 07 - 07:37 AM

Yes Scrump, I have always heard and sung "nippikin pippikin and the brown bowl".

No-one objected at Faversham hp fest last year


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Nipperkin and a brown bowl (Barley Mow)
From: Big Jim from Jackson
Date: 28 Feb 07 - 10:16 AM

John Roberts (Mudcat name: Anglo) and Tony Barrand have a very good version of this song on one of their albums. A search for Golden Hind Records would get you to their catalog, and I'm sure John would respond to a PM.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Nipperkin and a brown bowl (Barley Mow)
From: GUEST,chris
Date: 28 Feb 07 - 11:29 AM

I haven't heard that song for years!
chris


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Nipperkin and a brown bowl (Barley Mow)
From: Strollin' Johnny
Date: 01 Mar 07 - 08:16 AM

You're so lucky.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Nipperkin and a brown bowl (Barley Mow)
From: Lady Nancy
Date: 02 Mar 07 - 04:58 AM

When this was "doing the rounds" a lot of years ago, the words I learned were "... nipperkin, hand-around bowl" but I guess it is sung so quickly you could (almost) sing anything....
LN


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Nipperkin and a brown bowl (Barley Mow)
From: Scrump
Date: 02 Mar 07 - 05:12 AM

Lady Nancy: "hand-around" sounds like a mondegreen for "and the brown", to me :-)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Nipperkin and a brown bowl (Barley M
From: greg stephens
Date: 02 Mar 07 - 09:29 AM

"nipperkin and a rum bowl" is what was always sung at the Plough in Galgate in the 60's. I think. Well, maybe half were singing "round bowl". No brown bowls I dont think.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Nipperkin and a brown bowl (Barley Mow)
From: Schantieman
Date: 02 Mar 07 - 10:05 AM

nipperkin and the brown bowl
pour on a little drop more

are the versions I know

S


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Nipperkin and a brown bowl (Barley Mow)
From: GUEST,Capn'Rob
Date: 01 Feb 09 - 10:11 PM

Forget not "Little Sir John and the Nut Brown Bowl proved the stronger man at last!"
I refer to John Barleycorn. I learned of the measures from Toby Lynch. The song referred to the "Barley Malt" and the the last measure being little brown bowl.


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE BARLEY-MOW (from Cecil Sharp)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 03 Feb 09 - 01:08 PM

Here's the version from One Hundred English Folksongs by Cecil James Sharp (Boston: Oliver Ditson Company, 1916)—where it appears with musical notation for voice and piano.


THE BARLEY-MOW

1. O I will drink out of the nipperkin, boys;
So here's a good health to the barley mow.
The nipperkin and the brown bowl.
So here's a good health to the barley mow.

2. O I will drink out of the pint, my boys;
So here's a good health to the barley mow.
The pint, the nipperkin and the brown bowl.
So here's a good health to the barley mow.

3. O I will drink out of the quart, my boys;
So here's a good health to the barley mow.
The quart, the pint, the nipperkin and the brown bowl.
So here's a good health to the barley mow.

The song proceeds after the usual manner of cumulative songs, an additional measure being added to each verse. The last verse runs as follows: —

18. O I will drink out of the clouds, my boys;
So here's a good health to the barley mow.
The clouds, the ocean, the sea, the river, the well, the tub, the but, the hogshead, the keg, the gallon, the quart, the pint, the nipperkin and the brown bowl.
So here's a good health to the barley mow.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Nipperkin and a brown bowl (Barley Mow)
From: RowanGolightly
Date: 14 Apr 09 - 09:09 PM

I'm reviving this song, "Good Luck to the Barley Mow" at a Renaissance festival that we're building near Springfield, MO. I learned it years and years ago at the Kansas City Renaissance Festival.

We always taught that the "brown bowl" is that oldest of drinking vesselse; one's own two cupped hands.

Great mystery solved?   I hope so.

Rowan of Queen's Gambit


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Subject: RE: Origins: Nipperkin and a brown bowl (Barley Mow)
From: Gurney
Date: 15 Apr 09 - 12:41 AM

I've also seen it written somewhere as 'Nipperkin and a Rambeau.'

Just to add a soupcon of confusion.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Nipperkin and a brown bowl (Barley Mow)
From: Folkiedave
Date: 15 Apr 09 - 03:56 AM

And I suspect it was really "round bowl".

And whatever version youh have - we had a tradition that if you sing it and fail to get through it correctly then you buy a pint for everyone in the room.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Nipperkin and a brown bowl (Barley Mow)
From: Tug the Cox
Date: 15 Apr 09 - 07:47 PM

Folkiedave, you are too kind. Having failed once, and having bought all a pint, and downed their's in one, they should then start again from the beginning, except this time attracting a two pint penalty etc. etc. ad nauseum ( literally!).


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Subject: RE: Origins: Nipperkin and a brown bowl (Barley Mow)
From: Penny S.
Date: 16 Apr 09 - 03:54 AM

This is a bit of synchronicity. When I was at college, there was a guy from Derbyshire sang this in the folk club to much admiration. He also sang a version of Yeats "Jester and Princess" and I started trying to track him down last week to find what tune he used. After years of not finding him on the net, he turned up at last, but then also turned out to no longer be where the references showed him. I don't have quite enough chutzpah to go any further.

Penny


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Subject: RE: Origins: Nipperkin and a brown bowl (Barley Mow)
From: IanC
Date: 16 Apr 09 - 05:11 AM

While I've always heard it as "and the brown bowl" I see absolutely no sense in speculating about rambeaus, round bowls and all that other nonsense when the words already make perfect sense. Would somebody like to also speculate as to the meaning of the brown bowl in John Barleycorn (penguin version for example)...

Here's little Sir John in a nut-brown bowl,
And brandy in a glass;
And little Sir John in the nut-brown bowl
Proved the stronger man at last.


Just because you drink beer out of glasses, doesn't mean people always did. Brown is the normal colour of glaze added to the outside of stoneware for most traditional bowls and jugs.

:-)
Ian


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Subject: RE: Origins: Nipperkin and a brown bowl (Barley Mow)
From: MMario
Date: 16 Apr 09 - 10:34 AM

Well - most of the measuements fiven are half the amount of the preivous one (qt, pint, half pint, gill, )
Nipperkin the dictionary says is 1/8 pint (maybe) -

As I learned the song it goes: gill (40z) half-a-gill (2 0z) quarter gill (1 oz) nipperkin (1/2 oz) and a brown bowl. approx 1/4 oz, the amount that can be in the hollow of the flat hand.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Nipperkin and a brown bowl (Barley Mow)
From: IanC
Date: 16 Apr 09 - 10:57 AM

Is a USA pint 16oz then? In the UK a pint is 20oz.

:-)


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Subject: RE: Origins: Nipperkin and a brown bowl (Barley Mow)
From: MMario
Date: 16 Apr 09 - 11:00 AM

Aye. lessee - that would make

gill = 5 oz
half gill = 2.5
quarter qill 1.25
nipperkin .625 oz
brown bowl .3125 oz.......


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Subject: RE: Origins: Nipperkin and a brown bowl (Barley Mow)
From: IanC
Date: 16 Apr 09 - 11:09 AM

I think the Brown Bowl is just what it says ... "Brown Bowl".


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Subject: RE: Origins: Nipperkin and a brown bowl (Barley Mo
From: MikeT
Date: 16 Apr 09 - 02:46 PM

When I heard John and Tony sing this song years ago, they would say that the Brown Bowl was what you puked in after you were done drinking the various quantities of ale......

Mike


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Subject: RE: Origins: Nipperkin and a brown bowl (Barley Mow)
From: Crane Driver
Date: 16 Apr 09 - 07:41 PM

This is the song from Thomas Ravenscroft's Deuteromelia, published in 1609. Ravenscroft was publishing songs sung in taverns during the Elizabethan period, which were falling out of favour under the new king, James I. That would suggest this was being sung about the mid 1500s, and possibly earlier. I have retained Ravenscroft's spelling, which dates from an age when people had a more relaxed attitude to that sort of thing. I find the suggestion of a connection to the Barley Mow reasonably convincing:

Give us once a drink for and the black bole
Sing gentle Butler balla moy
For and the black bole,
Sing gentle Butler balla moy

Give us once a drink for and the pint pot
Sing gentle Butler balla moy
The pint pot, for and the black bole
Sing gentle Butler balla moy

Give us once a drink for and the quart pot
Sing gentle Butler balla moy
The quart pot, the pint pot, for and the black bole
Sing gentle Butler balla moy

Give us once a drink for and the pottle pot
Sing gentle Butler balla moy
The pottle pot, the quart pot,
The pint pot, for and the black bole
Sing gentle Butler balla moy

Give us once a drink for and the gallon pot
Sing gentle Butler balla moy
The gallon pot, the pottle pot,
The quart pot, the pint pot,
For and the black bole
Sing gentle Butler balla moy

And so on, until:

Give us once a drink for and the tunne
Sing gentle Butler balla moy
The tunne, the butt
The pipe, the hogshead
The barrel, the kilderkin
The verkin, the gallon pot
The pottle pot, the quart pot,
The pint pot, for and the black bole
Sing gentle Butler balla moy

Note it is the black bowl here - the basic mediaeval drinking vessel was of leather waterproofed with pitch. This would presumably predate the brown bowl of glazed earthenware. Ravenscroft prints the 'Balla Moy' of the chorus in italics, perhaps to indicate that he doesn't understand it but is just printing what he heard - it could be a mondegreen for 'Barley Mow', which may well have meant nothing to a city dweller like Ravenscroft.

Or maybe our 'Barley Mow' developed separately, without reference to the 'Balla Moy' - what do you think?

Andrew


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Subject: RE: Origins: Nipperkin and a brown bowl (Barley Mow)
From: Crane Driver
Date: 17 Apr 09 - 01:49 PM

Incidentaly the 'pottle' in both Ravenscroft and the West Country version quoted above, was an archaic term for 2 quarts, i.e. a half-gallon.

Andrew


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Subject: RE: Origins: Nipperkin and a brown bowl (Barley Mow)
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 17 Apr 09 - 05:00 PM

The general concensus among scholars is that 'Balla Moy' is derived from 'Bell Ami', i.e., good friend. 'Barley Mow' is a derivative of 'Balla Moy'. It eventually at some point may have been attached to celebrations of barley harvesting but originally it had nothing to do with barley directly. It would be interesting to research how far back the pub name 'The Barley Mow' can be traced.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Nipperkin and a brown bowl (Barley Mow)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 25 Jul 15 - 03:25 AM

Does "Barley Mow" rhyme with "how" or "hoe"?

Here's the Traditional Ballad Index entry on this song:

Barley Mow, The

DESCRIPTION: Cumulative song toasting successive sizes of drinking vessels, and those who serve them: "The quart pot, pint pot, half-a-pint, gill pot, half-a-gill, quarter-gill, nipperkin, and the brown bowl/Here's good luck, good luck, good luck to the barley mow."
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1609 (Ravenscroft's Deuteromelia, under the title "Give Us Once a Drinke")
KEYWORDS: ritual drink nonballad
FOUND IN: Britain(England(Lond,South,West)) Australia
REFERENCES (7 citations):
Sharp-100E 99, "The Barley Mow" (1 text, 1 tune)
Williams-Thames, pp. 289-290, "The Barley-Mow Song" (1 text) (also Wiltshire-WSRO Wt 389)
Meredith/Anderson, pp. 70-71, "The Barley-Mow" (1 text, 1 tune)
Dixon-Peasantry, Song #8, pp. 177-178, "The Mow" (1 text); Song #9, pp. 178-182,246, "The Barley-Mow Song"; p. 246, "Barley-Mow Song, (Suffolk version)" (3 texts)
Bell-Combined, pp. 379-382, "The Barley-Mow Song" (1 text plus an excerpt)
Kennedy 265, "The Barley Mow" (1 text, 1 tune)
DT, BARLEYMO

Roud #944
RECORDINGS:
George Spicer, "The Barley Mow" (on Voice13)
ALTERNATE TITLES:
Good Luck to the Barley Mow
NOTES: The brown bowl is to get sick into.
Sharp cites a reference noting that this was sung after a pre-Christian ritual called "crying the neck". -PJS
It was my understanding (don't know where I heard it) that the "Barley Mow" was a challenge -- if you fail to sing it through accurately and/or in one breath, you have to take another drink and, perhaps, buy a round for the house. Naturally, things tend to go downhill rapidly after the first error.
Ravenscroft's version of this is fascinating, since the final words are not "barley mow" but "balla moy," which (depending on the language) could mean something like "throw to me." Even the English version has its archaic words -- the chorus runs
The Tunne, the Butt, the Pipe, the hogshead, the barrell, the kilderkin, the verkin, the gallon pot, the pottle pot, the quart pot, the pint pot,
for and the blacke bole, sing gentle Butler balla moy,-
And, yes, a pottle is a half gallon. But I know that only because of an Isaac Asimov science essay which sneered at it. RBW
Wiltshire-WSRO Wt 389 omits the "peck" verse between verses 8 and 9. - BS
Last updated in version 2.8
File: ShH99

Go to the Ballad Search form
Go to the Ballad Index Song List

Go to the Ballad Index Instructions
Go to the Ballad Index Bibliography or Discography

The Ballad Index Copyright 2015 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Nipperkin and a brown bowl (Barley Mow)
From: Reinhard
Date: 25 Jul 15 - 03:46 AM

"Barley Mow" rhymes with "hoe".


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Subject: RE: Origins: Nipperkin and a brown bowl (Barley Mow)
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 25 Jul 15 - 05:23 AM

Doesn't seem to have been mentioned that, as well as the name for a stack of mown barley, "The Barley Mow" is a not uncommon pub name in England. I have always taken it the the one in the song, to which the health is being drunk in all those pots and nipperkins and whevs, served by all these gaffers & slaveys & all, is the name of the house in which such bibulation is occurring.

≈M≈


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Subject: RE: Origins: Nipperkin and a brown bowl (Barley Mow)
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 25 Jul 15 - 10:49 AM

Mike,
See my posting on the 17th Apr.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Nipperkin and a brown bowl (Barley Mow)
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 25 Jul 15 - 10:54 AM

Ah, yes. Thank you, Steve.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Nipperkin and a brown bowl (Barley Mow)
From: GUEST
Date: 23 Jul 17 - 11:02 PM

Seamus Kennedy - The Barley Mow.


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