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Origins: Thousands or More

DigiTrad:
DRIVE SORROWS AWAY
HUNDREDS OR LESS


Related threads:
Lyr Req: Hundreds or Less (14)
Meaning of 'learnt a new act ...' (34)


Dorrie 02 Jun 02 - 09:43 AM
Jeri 02 Jun 02 - 10:06 AM
Malcolm Douglas 02 Jun 02 - 10:07 AM
Snuffy 02 Jun 02 - 06:23 PM
Bev and Jerry 02 Jun 02 - 06:32 PM
Dorrie 02 Jun 02 - 07:11 PM
Malcolm Douglas 02 Jun 02 - 08:02 PM
dick greenhaus 03 Jun 02 - 12:07 AM
Herga Kitty 03 Jun 02 - 04:47 PM
Dorrie 03 Jun 02 - 09:21 PM
Malcolm Douglas 03 Jun 02 - 10:13 PM
Jim Dixon 05 Jun 02 - 09:14 AM
Garry Gillard 06 Jun 02 - 03:36 AM
Joe Offer 03 Apr 04 - 11:02 AM
GUEST,BlackAcornUK 08 Feb 21 - 04:58 AM
GUEST,Jon Dudley 08 Feb 21 - 05:30 AM
The Sandman 08 Feb 21 - 05:32 AM
GUEST,BlackAcornUK 08 Feb 21 - 05:49 AM
GUEST,Jon Dudley 08 Feb 21 - 06:59 AM
GUEST,Jon Dudley 08 Feb 21 - 07:04 AM
The Sandman 08 Feb 21 - 07:11 AM
GUEST,BlackAcornUK 08 Feb 21 - 07:30 AM
Steve Gardham 08 Feb 21 - 08:36 AM
GUEST,BlackAcornUK 08 Feb 21 - 09:45 AM
GUEST,BlackAcornUK 08 Feb 21 - 09:57 AM
Reinhard 08 Feb 21 - 09:57 AM
GUEST,BlackAcornUK 08 Feb 21 - 10:00 AM
Reinhard 08 Feb 21 - 10:36 AM
GUEST,BlackAcornUK 08 Feb 21 - 01:32 PM
The Sandman 08 Feb 21 - 01:45 PM
Steve Gardham 08 Feb 21 - 04:02 PM
Thompson 09 Feb 21 - 08:44 AM
Richard Mellish 09 Feb 21 - 09:36 AM
The Sandman 09 Feb 21 - 10:29 AM
Richard Mellish 10 Feb 21 - 12:25 PM
GUEST,BlackAcornUK 04 Mar 21 - 07:36 AM
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Subject: thousands or more
From: Dorrie
Date: 02 Jun 02 - 09:43 AM

i've searched and searched the internet and i cant find the lyrics to this song and me and my sister a trying to find the true words to alot of songs at the moment.

please help me if u can

thanks alot dorrie and holly


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: thousands or more
From: Jeri
Date: 02 Jun 02 - 10:06 AM

Here's Drive Sorrows Away in the DT.

Garry Gillard has created some fantastic pages on quite a few English singers, including the Coppers, Kippers and Watersons. Click.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: thousands or more
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 02 Jun 02 - 10:07 AM

This is one case where the very useful "Digitrad and Forum Search" box, which you will see on the main Forum page, will not easily find you the song. If you were to type thousands or more into it, it would interpret or as a search instruction, and the results would include all examples of the occurance of either word. Put the phrase in inverted commas, though, so that the search engine knows that you are looking for the whole phrase, and you will get, as Jeri mentions:

DRIVE SORROWS AWAY  This is the Digital Tradition entry, which for some reason has the wrong title and the wrong first line, which is not You see we brave sailors so cheerful and gay, but The times passes over more cheerful and gay. There are some other minor mistakes of transcription, too.

An accurate transcription from The Copper Family Song Book can be seen at Garry Gillard's Copper Family site:

Thousands or more


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: thousands or more
From: Snuffy
Date: 02 Jun 02 - 06:23 PM

A candidate for a DTStudy?

WassaiL! V


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: thousands or more
From: Bev and Jerry
Date: 02 Jun 02 - 06:32 PM

This song has the unique property that its title is not mentioned in the lyrics until the last three words of the last verse.

You never know. You could be on Jeopardy some day and ...

Bev and Jerry


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: thousands or more
From: Dorrie
Date: 02 Jun 02 - 07:11 PM

thanks for finding the lyric.

sorry i'm not as great at using digitrad as some people.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: thousands or more
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 02 Jun 02 - 08:02 PM

Don't be; it isn't an easy one to find; in any case, the file here isn't really worth finding anyway. I wouldn't think it worth a "study" thread, as there aren't many versions that don't derive from the Coppers' set, and all that's wrong with the DT file is that it's... wrong. It can easily be corrected from the transcription at Garry's site.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: thousands or more
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 03 Jun 02 - 12:07 AM

Malcolm- "wrong"? Pshaw. Not the way the Coppers sang it. Sure.

BTW

"I wear high heeled shoes
And a red satin dress
And take them all off
For hundreds or less..."


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: thousands or more
From: Herga Kitty
Date: 03 Jun 02 - 04:47 PM

We had some interesting discussions in the song discussion workshops that Johnny Collins ran at Chippenham Festival over this last weekend. One of them was about choice of material. We were discussing songs (especially those from the Coppers) that fall in and out of fashion because they get done to death and have to wait until they come round again, and the perils of doing an interesting version and getting to the chorus and finding out that all your audience are singing the version they know. But today's session was about the influence of families in transmitting songs and tunes, and Tim Laycock told us about Walter Pardon's family. Because singing in the pub had gone out of fashion his uncles used to meet in a shed on Saturday nights and sing. Tim sang a ballad he had learned from Walter Pardon that corresponded in every word with the version that had been published 200 years earlier. The Pardon family had transmitted it orally from generation to generation without changing it.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: thousands or more
From: Dorrie
Date: 03 Jun 02 - 09:21 PM

thanks for you help i've found the lyrics i knew and changed what isnt right to me or holly.

i say sorry because i really think that sometimes people will be bitchy when it is meant to be a place for help


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: thousands or more
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 03 Jun 02 - 10:13 PM

No need for any apology, as I said. It's a difficult one to find here, and I'm glad we were able to help a bit. At one time (late '60s/early '70s) you couldn't get away from the song, but it has rather dropped out of fashion in recent years; a pity, as it's a fine tune and great fun to sing, especially in company when the harmonies get extensive.

Dick: it's an interesting philosophical point, I suppose, but I see it as more straightforward than you do. Either the DT text is a transcription from the Coppers (which is what is implied, though I do realise that early files like that one often just mentioned recordings as additional references, whether the texts were actually based on them or not), in which case it is wrong, or it is not; in which case it may very well be a correct transcription of something or other; however, we are not told of what. So far as I can tell, no traditional text has ever been found which begins "You see we brave sailors", (the Roud Index mentions only two that are not from the Coppers, and one of them is unpublished) and can only assume that somebody or other had learned the song from a modern record (maybe at several removes) without having understood what was being sung. We can of course argue the toss about whether this is a legitimate example of "folk process" or simply a ludicrous mondegreen of the kind common among revival singers who don't check their sources; as I'm sure you've noticed, I am for the less charitable interpretation in this case.


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Subject: Lyr Add: THOUSANDS OR MORE (from Copper family)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 05 Jun 02 - 09:14 AM

Copied from http://wwwmcc.murdoch.edu.au/~gillard/copper/thousands.html
I have marked the differences between Gary Gillard's transcription and the DT version with Italics. The difference between "you'll" and "you will" may not seem significant to some people, but "you'll" definitely fits the rhythm better. (This is an argument for checking one's sources and not assuming all versions are equal.)

THOUSANDS OR MORE

The time passes over more cheerful and gay,
Since we've learnt a new act to drive sorrows away.
Sorrows away, sorrows away, sorrows away,
Since we've learnt a new act to drive sorrows away.

(Similarly:)
Bright Phoebe awakes so high up in the sky
With her red, rosy cheeks and her sparkaling eye....

If you ask for my credit you'll find I have none,
With my bottle and friend you will find me at home....

Although I'm not rich and although I'm not poor,
I'm as happy as those that's got thousands or more....

[Recorded by the Copper family on "Coppersongs [1]: A Living Tradition," EFDSS LP #004, 1988.]


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: thousands or more
From: Garry Gillard
Date: 06 Jun 02 - 03:36 AM

I should admit that it's not my transcription in the sense that I got it from a recording. In all cases where the song is in the Copper Family Song Book - as here - I have merely copied the words from the book. It was quite a different story with Martin Carthy. None of his albums include printed lyrics, and in some cases it was quite a challenge to get the words right. There are still question marks in some of the pages.

The Copper Family Song Book is very beautiful, by the way. All the transcriptions (of the tunes) are in Bob Copper's own hand. A fine publication.

Garry Gillard


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Subject: RE: Origins: Thousands or More
From: Joe Offer
Date: 03 Apr 04 - 11:02 AM

There's not much on this song in the Traditional Ballad Index:

Thousands or More

DESCRIPTION: Singer says time passes more cheerfully since they've found a new way (drink) to drive sorrows away. He has no credit, but you will find him at home with his bottle and friend. Neither rich nor poor, he's "as happy as those that's got thousands or more"
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1951 (recorded from Jim Copper)
KEYWORDS: drink nonballad
FOUND IN: Britain(England(South))
REFERENCES (1 citation):
Kennedy 284, "Thousands or More" (1 text, 1 tune)
Roud #1220
NOTES: Kennedy suggests this may be a version of "Drive the Cold Winter Away". I don't hear it myself.... It's worth noting that... all versions of this song have come from one or another members of the Copper family of Rottingdean. - PJS
File: K284

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 2014 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.


The version in Peter Kennedy's Folksongs of Britain and Ireland is the Copper version that Jim Dixon posted above, sung by Jim Copper and recorded by Kennedy in 1951. I have not been able to find the first Coppersongs album CD, but I did get Coppersongs ( 2 ) and ( 3 ) from Dick Greenhaus at CAMSCO, and they imply there was a CD issue of the first one. Dick got me an extraordinary Topic CD called Come Write Me Down: Early Recordings of the Copper Family of Rottingdean. This has 28 tracks, including all but two of the 13 songs from the original Coppersongs I LP, so maybe this is a replacement for Coppersongs I - Come Write Me Down has a recording of Jim Copper singing "Thousands," recorded by Seamus Ennis in 1952.
Kennedy's Notes:
    This song is one of our finest drinking songs, yet it has not appeared in any of the well-known published collections. It has much in common with and may well be a version of "Drive the Cold Winter Away" which William Chappell included in National English Airs (1838), the tune of which appeared in Playford's English Dancing Master (1650-90). The song was also published in D'Urfey's Pills to Purge Melancholy (1707)

Anybody know the source of the version in the Digital Tradition? It's actually not much different from the Copper version, except that the DT version begins:
    You see we brave sailors so cheerful and gay
In the DT version Bright Phoebe awaits. If that's a Mondegreen, it's not an 'orrible one. At least it makes sense.
-Joe Offer-
This Roud Number Search will lead you to a bit of information.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Thousands or More
From: GUEST,BlackAcornUK
Date: 08 Feb 21 - 04:58 AM

Just *bumping* this one to ask - given that the earliest occurrence of this song seems to be from 1951 (according to the above Traditional Ballad Index ref), do you think that Jim Copper wrote it? When does it make its earliest appearance in the family song-book?

Many thanks for any/all facts/thoughts on this matter!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Thousands or More
From: GUEST,Jon Dudley
Date: 08 Feb 21 - 05:30 AM

Jim Copper most certainly did not write Thousands or More. The words appear in Jim’s prewar songbook (number 34). Other than that we do not know from where or when the song entered the Copper Family repertoire. It was Bob Copper’s favourite song and he remembered his grandfather James (Brasser) Copper singing it - he was born in Rottingdean in 1845.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Thousands or More
From: The Sandman
Date: 08 Feb 21 - 05:32 AM

If any of them wrote it , more likely Bob


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Subject: RE: Origins: Thousands or More
From: GUEST,BlackAcornUK
Date: 08 Feb 21 - 05:49 AM

Thanks Jon, that's exactly the sort of info I'm looking for as the sources I'd explored - including all of the prior discussion above - don't mention it.

Could it have been written by James (Brasser) Copper? Are there references to it that predate the Coppers, are that are at least contemporaneous? Are there any 'ancestor' songs or close relatives elsewhere in the collected record?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Thousands or More
From: GUEST,Jon Dudley
Date: 08 Feb 21 - 06:59 AM

And I can tell you that Bob didn't write it!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Thousands or More
From: GUEST,Jon Dudley
Date: 08 Feb 21 - 07:04 AM

No, Brasser didn't write it either...if any family members or villagers had written this song we would definitely have known about it. Just because there doesn't happen to be another version noted from elsewhere doesn't necessarily mean that it must be unique to us and therefore by extrapolation written by a family member. So far we don't know of any other versions but you never know.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Thousands or More
From: The Sandman
Date: 08 Feb 21 - 07:11 AM

Thanks.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Thousands or More
From: GUEST,BlackAcornUK
Date: 08 Feb 21 - 07:30 AM

Many thanks again Jon - doubly so, as I've only just, belatedly realised who you are! Presumably this wasn't one of the songs 'collected' from the family by Kate Lee in the late 1800s?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Thousands or More
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 08 Feb 21 - 08:36 AM

Backing Jon, although the song appears to be unique to the Copper Family, it is obviously from an earlier era and is typical of the not a few glees in the family repertoire as Jon will tell you. I have been researching broadside ballads for 50 years and I would have picked up on it if I'd have come across it as I used to sing it in the 60s. If you want to find an earlier version the best place to look is in glee/catch collections. Although it has some of the characteristics of the stuff sang in the pleasure gardens I have looked through thousands of their songsters and again it didn't turn up, yet! There were hundreds of glee clubs all over the country from the 18th to the 20th century and many of them were purely local and made up their own glees.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Thousands or More
From: GUEST,BlackAcornUK
Date: 08 Feb 21 - 09:45 AM

Thanks Steve, that's a very interesting point. I went to a local history society lecture on glee unions around this time last year, just before lockdown. The links between the North-of-England glee lineage and Sheffield carolling seemed particularly apparent (Hail, Smiling Morn being the most obvious example).

Is there a go-to online repository for glees?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Thousands or More
From: GUEST,BlackAcornUK
Date: 08 Feb 21 - 09:57 AM

PS - just linking back to this previous thread on the Copper Family and music hall:
/https://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=167532)
Link Fixed - mod


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Subject: RE: Origins: Thousands or More
From: Reinhard
Date: 08 Feb 21 - 09:57 AM

The liner notes from Oak: Welcome to Our Fair (1971) about Thousands or More:

Oak got this one from the singing of the Copper family of Peacehaven, Sussex. The good old folk singer George Townsend, who lived not far from Peacehaven, used to sing a similar version in two-part harmony with his father. It’s a composition by Samuel Arnold, proprietor of the Marylebone Entertainment Gardens and founder of several London glee clubs at the turn of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Thousands or More became popular with country singers towards the middle of last century, when the choral society and part-singing club movement began to affect villages close to the towns.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Thousands or More
From: GUEST,BlackAcornUK
Date: 08 Feb 21 - 10:00 AM

Reinhard, that's amazing, thank you! That's exactly what I was after.

(PS the Coppers/music hall link appears broken above - this one seems to work, but perhaps copy/paste it: https://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=167532)


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Subject: RE: Origins: Thousands or More
From: Reinhard
Date: 08 Feb 21 - 10:36 AM

Since the Mudcat move from http ho https the blue clicky maker is broken. You'll have to remove the https://mudcat.org prefix in the link URL and start with /thread.cfm?...


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Subject: RE: Origins: Thousands or More
From: GUEST,BlackAcornUK
Date: 08 Feb 21 - 01:32 PM

Belatedly realised I should check the sleeve-notes to 'A Song For Every Season' - not a lot of extra info, but it indicates that the Coppers picked the song up from 'Bing' Dudeney; this is the only song in the 4LP set that they passed on, but perhaps there are others in the full family song-book?

Song title: Thousands or More
Name of performer: Bob, Ron & John
The Copper's source for the song: 'Bing' Dudeney
The title of the song given in Margaret Dean-Smith's Folk Song Collections 1822-1952: Not in guide
Bibliographic reference: CBL* (*'sets in this booklet', ie no external reference)
Broadside reference: No broadside version


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Subject: RE: Origins: Thousands or More
From: The Sandman
Date: 08 Feb 21 - 01:45 PM

reinhard that is useful interesting info thanks


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Subject: RE: Origins: Thousands or More
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 08 Feb 21 - 04:02 PM

Nice one, once again, Reinhard.

There are definitely more, but other glees the Copper Family have are Dame Durden and Spring Glee.

BAUK I'm not aware of any sites specifically dealing with glees but I think there are some on general old music sites. There are some of this type of music books in the stuff on the National Library of Scotland site, not the chapbooks and broadsides. If you go looking please keep a look out for 'Spring Glee' I wouldn't mind knowing the background on that one. I have a sheet music copy of Dame Durden from the early 19thc.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Thousands or More
From: Thompson
Date: 09 Feb 21 - 08:44 AM

The blue clicky for the Digitrad link from 2002 isn't working, maybe it needs to be reblueclicked by an admin to put the s in the https?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Thousands or More
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 09 Feb 21 - 09:36 AM

The blue clicky is now working. Someone has worked very fast.

We still don't know where the "brave sailors" words came from. Or how it came about that the text with the music in the DT has the usual words, the "brave sailors" ones.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Thousands or More
From: The Sandman
Date: 09 Feb 21 - 10:29 AM

Alfred Williams had a diiferent approach to some other song collectors and included gleesin his song collections, not sure if he collected the tunes though


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Subject: RE: Origins: Thousands or More
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 10 Feb 21 - 12:25 PM

I now see that my previous post was a bit garbled. I meant to say that the text attached to the music in the DT has the usual words, not the "brave sailors" ones that are in the separate text,


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Subject: RE: Origins: Thousands or More
From: GUEST,BlackAcornUK
Date: 04 Mar 21 - 07:36 AM

Hi all, further to earlier discussion, I've written a short blog researching the origins of 'Thousands or More' - hopefully it may be of interest!

https://afolksongafortnight.blogspot.com/2021/03/afolksongafortnight-no5-thousands-or.html

Regarding the Samuel Arnold link, I've done quite a lot of foraging so far, but hit a dead end - I'm trying to contact a scholar of his work, so fingers crossed for further progress...

I've also included a clip of me and others singing it, but I feel less able to recommend that, ha ha.


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