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Lyr Add: Old Molly Metcalfe

rich-joy 09 Jun 02 - 02:55 AM
CarolC 09 Jun 02 - 04:16 AM
09 Jun 02 - 12:50 PM
Watson 09 Jun 02 - 01:20 PM
rich-joy 03 Mar 05 - 07:47 AM
Bill D 03 Mar 05 - 05:13 PM
GUEST,The Vulgar Boatman 03 Mar 05 - 05:56 PM
brid widder 03 Mar 05 - 06:29 PM
brid widder 03 Mar 05 - 06:53 PM
GUEST,Don Stallone 05 Mar 05 - 08:14 AM
Desert Dancer 02 Nov 14 - 11:11 AM
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Subject: Lyr Add: OLD MOLLY METCALFE
From: rich-joy
Date: 09 Jun 02 - 02:55 AM

OLD MOLLY METCALFE
From the singing of Tony Capstick

Old Molly Metcalfe counting sheep:
"Yan, tan, tether, pether, pimp," she counted.
Up upon Swaledale, steep and bleak,
"Yan, tan, tether, pether, pimp," she said.

Grow, little sheep, come hail, come snow,
Fine warm wool for a gentleman's shoulder blades.

Over the heather when the weather is cold,
Stiff Molly Metcalfe goes bow-leggedly.

Grow little sheep, come hail, come rain,
Fine warm wool for a lady's counterpane.

On her back in the bracken with frozen bones,
Daft Molly Metcalfe singing alone.

Grow, little sheep, come death, come dark,
No such wool for old Molly Metcalfe.

Does anyone know the author of, or have details on, this song? (I don't have any data on my copy of the tape.)

See also old thread "Counting Songs" and new thread "Shepherds Counting Systems: British Only?"

Cheers! R-J


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Old Molly Metcalfe
From: CarolC
Date: 09 Jun 02 - 04:16 AM

Clicky for Shepherds Counting Systems : British only thread.

Clicky for Counting Songs thread.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Old Molly Metcalfe
From:
Date: 09 Jun 02 - 12:50 PM

I think the author is Jake Thackray (spelling?).He certainly wrote a song with the counting rhyme as part of it, and I'm pretty sure its this one (though I havent heard it for a good many years!)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Old Molly Metcalfe
From: Watson
Date: 09 Jun 02 - 01:20 PM

Yes, indeed it was Jake Thackray. And it's Yan Tan Tether Mether Pip - not pimp - although that does sound like the Welsh word for five.
I think a word of caution is needed when transcribing lyrics from Tony Capstick - I don't think he always got them right! I can only spot one Capstick substitution in the above though - it should be

Grow little sheep come wind come rain,
Fine warm wool for a lady's counterpane.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Old Molly Metcalfe
From: rich-joy
Date: 03 Mar 05 - 07:47 AM

refresh

(current counting song thread)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Old Molly Metcalfe
From: Bill D
Date: 03 Mar 05 - 05:13 PM

" "Yan, Tan, Tether, Pether, Pimp"
should be 'pip'. I believe...(no comment on what what was being counted if I am wrong)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Old Molly Metcalfe
From: GUEST,The Vulgar Boatman
Date: 03 Mar 05 - 05:56 PM

Recorded by Jake on "Bantam Cock". A song he took seriously, apparently based in fact; as he said,"that's how they treated people then, and given a chance the buggers still would."


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Subject: Lyr Add: OLD MOLLY METCALFE (Jake Thackray)
From: brid widder
Date: 03 Mar 05 - 06:29 PM

OLD MOLLY METCALFE

Words & Music: Jake Thackray

Old Molly Metcalfe counting sheep
Yan tan tether mether pip she counted
Up upon Swaledale steep and bleak
Yan tan tether mether pip she said.

Grow little sheep come hail come snow
Yan tan tether mether pip she counted
Fine warm wool for a gentleman's shoulderblades
Yan tan tether mether pip she said.

Over the heather when the weather is cold
Yan tan tether mether pip she counted
Stiff Molly Metcalfe goes bow-leggedly
Yan tan tether mether pip she said.

Grow little sheep, come wind come rain
Yan tan tether mether pip she counted
Fine warm wool for a lady's counterpane,
Yan tan tether mether pip she said.

On her back in the bracken with frozen bones
Yan tan tether mether pip she counted
Daft Molly Metcalfe singing alone
Yan tan tether mether pip she said.

Grow little sheep, come death come dark
Yan tan tether mether pip she counted
No such wool for Old Molly Metcalfe,
Yan tan tether mether pip she said.

From the Jake website
which has more Jake lyrics than you could imagine... a genius!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Old Molly Metcalfe
From: brid widder
Date: 03 Mar 05 - 06:53 PM

also from the same site Jakes own explanation of the song:-

BBC TV 20 January 1981

I prefer not to explain songs; songs should just sing for themselves. I'll try and make it quick.

The song is about a . . . about a woman . . . er, who was a shepherdess. Well, not a shepherdess: that's too . . . fine a word. She was a . . . sheepminder. And she wasn't really . . . a woman: she was a girl. And she was a little girl. And this happened, this happened about sixty year ago; sixty year ago.

She was sent up to look after the sheep on the moor, and to fend for herself – you know: scrabble about for her own food. And of course, er, after three of four years of this she passed away. And it was some time before they found her. And when they found her, they found her as they find . . . dead sheep; you know: a wisp of wool and a scrap of bone. And that was her life, one end to another. Fourteen, fifteen year old. That's how they used to treat children, they used to do it like that, and, given 'em a chance and the bastards still do.


Braden's Week, BBC TV 6 November 1971

In Swaledale, in the North Riding of Yorkshire, sheep-farmers used to, and some still do, count their sheep in a very curious fashion: instead of one, two, three, four they go thus: yan, tan, tether, mether, pip; azar, sazar, akker, conter, dick; yanadick, tanadick, tetheradick, metheradick, bumfit; yanabum, tanabum, tetherabum, metherabum, jigget. Having reached twenty they then take a stone, representing the twenty sheep that they have counted, and if they possess more than twenty sheep then they go for another twenty: yan, tan, tether, mether, pip; another twenty, another stone; yan, tan, tether, mether, pip; again twenty, again another stone.

Some time ago my grandmother told me – vaguely, casually, in a very off-hand sort of way – that we had a great aunt, Aunt Molly, who was a shepherdess. Not one of your petticoated shepherdesses with a frilly pinafore and a creamy complexion: this woman started minding sheep at the age of seven, scarcely left the moor, rotted and died with her ghastly sheep at the age of twenty-eight. Believe me, it comes as a shock to one at thirty-three years old, purple-shirted, Hush-Puppied, with the Aqua Velva still cool upon my cheek, with a house and a car and access to most kinds of physical contentment to discover that I'm related by bone, skin, time and place to somebody who led such a grim, grinding swine of a life.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Old Molly Metcalfe
From: GUEST,Don Stallone
Date: 05 Mar 05 - 08:14 AM

I've been singing this song for decades ever since an ex old good friend played it for me on a Jake Thackray record, but I've never known much more about it than the intro on the record. Thanks for sharing more of the background. I really believe some songs are enhanced by an intro, true or otherwise (never let truth get in the way of a good story) and this is one of them.

Thanks.
Don


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Old Molly Metcalfe
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 02 Nov 14 - 11:11 AM

Jake Thackray 'Molly Metcalfe' on YouTube -- looks to be the 1971 BBC performance transcribed by Brid Widder, above.

~ Becky in Long Beach


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