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Lyr Req: A Penny for the Ploughboys (Colin Cater)

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Lyr Req: Penny for the plowboy? / ...Ploughboys (11)


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Subject: A Penny for the Ploughboy
From: My guru always said
Date: 23 Jan 02 - 09:18 AM

Hi All, Can anyone point me in the direction of the words for this song? I'm not sure if that's the right title, but 'A penny for the ploughboy' came up in the chorus. I heard it at a song session at Straw Bear this year. Cheers!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: A Penny for the Ploughboy
From: PaulM
Date: 23 Jan 02 - 02:49 PM

Nothing from Google

Any more words or clues?

Paul


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: A Penny for the Ploughboy
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 23 Jan 02 - 07:58 PM

The phrase is associated with Plough Monday and Molly Dancing, but I don't know of a related song; presumably it's a modern one?  As Paul says, more details would help.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: A Penny for the Ploughboy
From: My guru always said
Date: 24 Jan 02 - 09:30 AM

Hi, Sorry I can't remember any other words - you know what it's like at an these pagan festivals, loads of morris & molly & far too much booze. Have asked someone with a better memory (he was singing along with the chorus) & am waiting for his reply. Meanwhile thanks for trying, will post again when I get some more words! Cheers!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: A Penny for the Ploughboy
From: one-roger
Date: 24 Jan 02 - 10:23 AM

Woman who sang that in the "Boat" at "Straw Bear" this year is called "Jo" lives in the Romford area of Essex. Believed to be an active singer in that area. Don't know if that will help you? The complete line is "A penny for the ploughboys, only once a year" You could also try contacting "Old Glory Molly Gang" they have a website. a) They use the line as a legend on some of their publications. b) I think "Jo" is known to one or two of them. If I come across her in my travels, or get any other info will attempt to put you in touch.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: A Penny for the Ploughboy
From: GUEST,Desdemona
Date: 24 Jan 02 - 10:24 AM

I'm familiar with the phrase, "penny for the ploughboy, only once a year", and as noted above it has an association with Plough Monday and Molly Dancing; perhaps it's based on a poem rather than a song per se (I searched it as a lyric on several engines & came up empty).

Ihope someone comes up with it; I'm curiouser & curiouser!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: A Penny for the Ploughboy
From: Wolfgang
Date: 24 Jan 02 - 11:33 AM

The phrase is given as a citation on this site with an e-mail address. Very long shot.

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: A Penny for the Ploughboy
From: GUEST,RolyH
Date: 24 Jan 02 - 02:01 PM

According to the narrative on "Rattlebone and Ploughjack" by Ashley Hutchings etc,the Molly Dancers and the local ploughboys used to go around the locality once a year on Plough Monday begging for money with the cry "A penny for the Ploughboy,only once a year"If they came across a house of one of the local gentry who were not forthcoming they would plough up their lawn or worse, smash their windows.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: A Penny for the Ploughboy
From: My guru always said
Date: 25 Jan 02 - 04:21 AM

Incredible! One-Roger has not only pin-pointed the song & sent clues to find more info, but has identified the very point in time when, where & who by I heard the song!!! Have already got the Old Glory site marked, so I'll wander around there! Grateful thanks indeed - I shall continue my hunt!

Wolfgang's link is very interesting - wonder if they need to wear thermals or if the dancing keeps them cosy?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: A Penny for the Ploughboy
From: one-roger
Date: 20 Feb 02 - 06:39 AM

Further to my last on this, I have discovered that the song has been written recently by Colin Cater who runs the card company Headingham Fair with his wife Karen. Frequently seen at Festivals around the country, though if you can't wait I note that the back of one of their cards has the telephone number 01787 462731.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: A Penny for the Ploughboy
From: masato sakurai
Date: 20 Feb 02 - 08:33 AM

The phrase ("a penny for the ploughboy") is mentioned with some info HERE in an article on Plough Monday (January 7).

Today is Plough Monday in England. This is traditionally the first Monday after the Twelve Days of Christmas is over and represents getting back to work after the holidays.
On the Sunday before Plough Monday, ploughs are taken to church for a special blessing. On Plough Monday, however, you are supposed to decorate your plough and have your plough-boy (called a Plough Bullock or Plough Stot) drag your plough all over the neighborhood asking for "plough-money" ("a penny for the ploughboy") which is supposed to be spent in "a frolic," and food and drink. At the frolic, or banquet, later that day, the whole village joins in Mummers' plays, enacting ritual combat and symbolic death and revival, and Molly dancing. A queen, known as Bessy, is then crowned and farm workers do sword dances around the ploughs.
Incidentally, if someone fails to give money to the Plough Bullocks, they just take the plough and cut a big furrow right through the spoilsport's front lawn. What jolly fun! And you thought the British had a subtle sense of humor! Too bad the tradition didn't survive the journey to the New World.

~Masato


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: A Penny for the Ploughboy
From: masato sakurai
Date: 20 Feb 02 - 06:53 PM

Two more quotes (underlines mine):

(1) "Molly dancing, the local name in East Anglia for morris dancing, has been a tradition in Cambridge for well over one hundred years. It is associated with the annual Plough Monday ritual, during which young farmhands would drag a plough round the local villages, crying 'A penny for the plough boys,' and, if no penny was forthcoming, cut a furrow across the cheapskate's front lawn. As one would expect of such a 'trick-or-treat' event, the Plough Monday processional customarily took place after dark. However, during the daytime lcoal Molly dancers would tour the region, performing the local social dances on the street in somewhat rough and ready style." (From: Molly Team 'The Harpies').

(2) "What are Molly's origins?
Molly dancing is associated with the annual Plough Monday tradition (the first Monday after Twelth Night), during which young farmhands would drag a plough round the local villages, crying "a penny for the plough boys", and if no penny was forthcoming cut a furrow across the cheapskate's front lawn. As one would expect of such a "trick-or-treat" event, the Plough Monday procession usually took place after dark. However, during the daytime local Molly dancers would tour the region, dancing and collecting money/food/beer all day, then meet up in the evening for communal dancing." (From: Molly Dancing F.A.Q.)

~Masato


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: A Penny for the Ploughboy
From: masato sakurai
Date: 20 Feb 02 - 08:29 PM

There's an article on this:

Wortley, R. (1974). "'A Penny for the Plough Boys'." English Dance and Song 36: 23. (reprinted in R. Wortley, "Russell Wortley [memorial booklet]". Cambridge Morris Men (1980), 47 pp.)

(Info from: Morris Dancing FAQ Sheet: Bibliography of Journal Articles; Morris Dance Folklore Book List; and An Introductory Bibliography on Morris Dancing)

~Masato


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Subject: Lyr Add: PENNY FOR THE PLOUGHBOYS (Colin Cater)
From: My guru always said
Date: 06 Sep 02 - 01:10 PM

The words to this were passed to me from Colin Cater (who wrote it) after a search on a thread which has now disappeared.

PENNY FOR THE PLOUGHBOYS
(Colin Cater)

At the end of the year all the fields were brown in the days when I was young
With corn in the barns, frost in the ground and never a green shoot sprung
Then the ploughmen came with hobnailed boots and the Molly dance rich and slow
And with magical plays and songs of the land they bade the corn to grow

CHORUS
Only once a year, Penny for the Ploughboys
To keep us in good cheer and multiply the grain
Only once a year, Penny for the Ploughboys
Speed the plough until the year turns round again

Then they ploughed and sowed and harrowed him in and the rain from heaven did fall
The wind did blow and the sun did shine and he soon grew amazing tall
When the corn was ripened the harvesters came and the barns and the breweries rang
And when all was safely gathered in they raised their voice and sang.

But now the seasons are all changed round, a slave to the great machines.
The fields are ploughed in the high summer time, by the turn of the year they're green
Gone are the trades, the horses, the families that followed the seasons along
And the old pubs close because they can't resound to the fiddle or a country song

But there's strength in the plays, the dances and songs that have lasted a thousand years
There's strength in barley malt and hops brewed into a country beer
It puts a spring in the step of an old straw bear, makes the dancer leap for the skies
And when the Molly gangs come to speed the plough they'll raise their glass and cry.

© Colin Cater, 2000

Hope this pasting works!

It's a fab song & I'm hoping to hear it again at the Straw Bear Festival in January - I can't remember the tune.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: A Penny for the Ploughboy
From: MMario
Date: 06 Sep 02 - 01:18 PM

The verses scan to "John Barleycorn" - at least the version of it that I know...

would be interested in hearing this.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: A Penny for the Ploughboy
From: George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca
Date: 06 Sep 02 - 06:06 PM

Now if we could have a JoeClone move those lyrics into here putting all of the information together, it'd be great.
Messages from multiple threads combined.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: A Penny for the Ploughboy
From: My guru always said
Date: 07 Sep 02 - 03:24 AM

Thank you Masato!

I don't know how I managed to lose the link to the other thread, I searched & searched for it & couldn't find anything the least bit 'blue' for it. Being relatively recent I thought perhaps it was because there was no lyrics in it & it had 'dropped off the list'.

Thankyou for being so involved! May you always have music. Hilary


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: A Penny for the Ploughboy
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 07 Sep 02 - 04:25 AM

Poor old Penny, that's all I can say. She only gets out once a year and then it's all those pretty ploughboys....

LTS


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: A Penny for the Ploughboy
From: Herga Kitty
Date: 07 Sep 02 - 07:53 PM

Pete Coe sings this - he's at Sharps in a couple of weeks, so I may request it....

Kitty


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: A Penny for the Ploughboy
From: Herga Kitty
Date: 17 Sep 02 - 08:55 PM

Pete Coe did sing "A penny for the ploughboy" at Sharps this evening, and jolly good it was too.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: A Penny for the Ploughboy
From: My guru always said
Date: 18 Sep 02 - 05:06 AM

The author, Colin Cater, told me that Pete Coe was going to record it later this year. AnyCat know if it's been recorded yet?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: A Penny for the Ploughboy
From: My guru always said
Date: 20 Sep 02 - 01:53 PM

And a big Thank You to Joe Offer for sorting these threads out behind the scenes! Hilary :-)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: A Penny for the Ploughboy
From: GUEST,My Guru Always Said
Date: 22 Oct 02 - 08:25 PM

Heard Pete Coe sing this tonight at the Kiverton Park Folk Club, excellent song & an super evening!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: A Penny for the Ploughboy
From: Harry Basnett
Date: 23 Oct 02 - 07:04 AM

Pete sang this at the Extravaganza (Open Door Folk Club) on the Saturday...should be on his next CD!

All the best................Harry.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: A Penny for the Ploughboy
From: My guru always said
Date: 13 Jan 03 - 05:34 AM

Jo sang this again at the singaround in the Boat at Straw Bear on Saturday, such a good song!

Any news on a Pete Coe recording?


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Subject: Plough Monday
From: IanC
Date: 13 Jan 03 - 05:59 AM

Masato

Not quite right with the dating. Plough Monday is

The Monday following the first Sunday after Epiphany (January 6th).

:-)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: A Penny for the Ploughboy
From: masato sakurai
Date: 13 Jan 03 - 07:02 AM

Thanks, Ian, it's movable. Here's the entry of "Plough Monday" from CHAMBERS'S BOOK of DAYS (1879, pp. 94-96).

~Masato


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: A Penny for the Ploughboy
From: treewind
Date: 13 Jan 03 - 07:55 AM

Don't know if Pete Coe's recording is out yet.

I do have the tune if anybody needs it. Transcribed from a minidisc of Colin singing one verse and chorus. Difficult to capture as he pulls many words half a beat ahead of the music. On the list for learning, if we can decide what key and instrumentation to use (Colin seems to be using a melodeon in E flat on my recording)

Anahata


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: A Penny for the Ploughboy
From: My guru always said
Date: 13 Jan 03 - 08:24 AM

Anahata: It would be lovely if you & Mary could work this one out. Glad you've got it onyour list, it's a grand song. I'll sing along with the Chorus :-)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: A Penny for the Ploughboy
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 15 Jan 08 - 08:50 AM

I heard the song at Stanstead Abbots on New Years Day, and loved it.
Sorry to say I forget the singer, but I remember he was good.
I wish I could remember the tune so that I could help spread it.
Any recordings yet.
Keith.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: A Penny for the Ploughboy
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 15 Jan 08 - 09:12 AM

It's on Pete Coe's In Paper Houses BASH CD 53, also available from the Backshift site here or from Pete at gigs.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: A Penny for the Ploughboy
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 15 Jan 08 - 09:36 AM

Thanks Diane.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: A Penny for the Ploughboy
From: Singing Referee
Date: 15 Jan 08 - 11:18 AM

Pete's version is actually up on "The Music Well" (used to be Radio Britfolk) right now.

Music Well Billboard

It takes few seconds to fire up, (you might have to click the play button a couple of times) but then you can scroll down and click on the song you want to hear, or just let them play through.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: A Penny for the Ploughboys (Colin Cater)
From: GUEST,Colin Cater
Date: 24 Feb 09 - 02:09 PM

Words are above, posted 6th Sept 02

Idea derives from who knows when - I got it from Ratlebone and Ploughjack - actual quote "Penny for the Ploughboys, Only once a year And God Speed the Plough"

The museum in Whittlesey has mugs with all or part of this on, dating from C19. It's so long since I looked at them that I can't remember precisely.

Hedingham Fair did a card image of Old Glory Molly Dancers in 1997 with a surrounding banner with the Penny for the Ploughboys inscription on it. Central part of this used by Elaine Bradtke for front of Truculent Rustics.

Song took several years to develop - chorus came first then the verses a couple of years later.

I'm going to record the song soon as part of a compilation of bits and bobs developed over the years - songs, tunes and resettings of songs handed down through the tradition. Hedingham Fair will publish and market


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: A Penny for the Ploughboys (Colin Cater)
From: My guru always said
Date: 24 Feb 09 - 05:19 PM

Good to see you found us here Colin, you can see we enjoyed looking for and hearing this song of yours. It's sung out by a few people now & enjoyed by all, thankyou!
Hil


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: A Penny for the Ploughboys (Colin Cater)
From: Sue the Borderer
Date: 24 Feb 09 - 06:14 PM

Yes, indeed, Colin, I'll second that. And do please make sure you tell us (on this thread) when you start marketing the CD.

Sue


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: A Penny for the Ploughboys (Colin Cater)
From: Howard Jones
Date: 24 Feb 09 - 06:40 PM

Glad you're going to make a recording, Colin, it's about time. Looking forward to it.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: A Penny for the Ploughboys (Colin Cater)
From: ClaireBear
Date: 24 Feb 09 - 06:55 PM

Here's a hearty cheer from one who loves that song in far-off California. Thank you for writing it, Colin!

Claire


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: A Penny for the Ploughboys (Colin Cater)
From: Fidjit
Date: 25 Feb 09 - 07:15 AM

Ah Colin. I'm in your workshop at Mendelsem at the end of March. That'll be good I know.

Chas


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: A Penny for the Ploughboys (Colin Cater)
From: treewind
Date: 25 Jan 12 - 04:55 PM

Just found this thread again by accident.

In case anyone's been fast asleep, Colin's "Penny for the Ploughboys" book and CD have been on sale for over a year now, and include that song, obviously.

Go to Hedingham Fair Books Page if you haven't got yourself a copy already.

Anahata
(obligatory declaration of interest: I recorded and mixed the CD. And played on bits of it.)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: A Penny for the Ploughboys (Colin Cater)
From: Rusty Dobro
Date: 26 Jan 12 - 12:36 PM

It's very regularly sung in Suffolk pubs......


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: A Penny for the Ploughboys (Colin Cater)
From: Wheatman
Date: 26 Jan 12 - 03:20 PM

Well, I never spotted this thread before. The song has been sung, with Colin's permission, at Whittlesey for a good number of years now. I certainly sang it in the Brickies on the Thursday evening before straw bear, as requested by the strawbearers. The song is now part of the mythology of the event and long may it do so. It is regularly sung, in the winter at various happenings in South Lincolnshire and North Cambs and I am sure elsewhere. I did sing it in South Shields a couple of years ago but in the summer but it did not seem right at the time. It is part of Pete Coe's present set list. Hope you learn it Hils Gan Canny Brian


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