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Lyr Add: Low Down in the Broom

In Mudcat MIDIs:
Low Down in the Broom (Tune noted by W.P. Merrick from Henry Hills of Shepperton (originally of Lodsworth in Sussex) in 1900. Published in the Journal of the Folk Song Society, vol.I, issue 3, 1901.)


rich-joy 17 Jun 02 - 02:43 AM
Malcolm Douglas 17 Jun 02 - 09:25 AM
rich-joy 18 Jun 02 - 05:13 AM
Jim Dixon 26 Nov 11 - 10:35 PM
Jim McLean 27 Nov 11 - 05:05 AM
GUEST,Michael Clayton 10 Mar 14 - 05:00 PM
Steve Gardham 10 Mar 14 - 06:04 PM
GUEST,Anne Neilson 11 Mar 14 - 04:37 AM
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Subject: Lyr Add: LOW DOWN IN THE BROOM
From: rich-joy
Date: 17 Jun 02 - 02:43 AM

LOW DOWN IN THE BROOM

It was last Monday morning, the day appointed was
For me to go down to the broom, to meet my bonny lad
How sweet and pleasant was the day
I kept him company
For he's low, low down in the broom
Waiting in the broom for me.

I looked over my left shoulder, to see whom I could see
There I saw my own true love, come running down to me
His heart so brisk and bonny
To bear me company
For he's low, low down in the broom
Waiting in the broom for me.

I took hold of his hand, and gaily sang my heart
As long as we're together, I hope we ne'er shall part
Oh part my dear, no never
Such a thing can never be
For he's low, low down in the broom
Waiting in the broom for me.

For he's low, low down in the broom
Waiting in the broom for me.

: a fragment of a fuller broadside, collected from an old Sussex singer around the turn of last century ...

from the singing of Frankie Armstrong, but also "recently" recorded by Coope, Boyes and Simpson ...

Cheers! RJB


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Subject: Lyr Add: LOW DOWN IN THE BROOM
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 17 Jun 02 - 09:25 AM

The unnamed "old Sussex singer" was Henry Hills of Lodsworth in Sussex, and this song was noted from him by W. P. Merrick in January, 1900. Frankie Armstrong seems to have altered his text somewhat (and reversed the sexes of the participants), so, on the basis that it's always best to go back to a traditional source where we can, here it is as he sang it:

LOW DOWN IN THE BROOM

(Noted by W.P. Merrick from Henry Hills of Lodsworth, Sussex, in 1900)

'Twas on last Monday's morning, the day appointed was
To walk out into a meadow-green field to meet a bonny lass.
To meet a bonny lassie, to bear her company,
For she's low down, she's in the broom, a-waiting there for me.

I look'd over my left shoulder, to see whom I could see,
There I spied my own true love, come tripping down to me;
Her heart being brisk and bonny, to bear me company,
For she's low down, she's in the broom, she's a-waiting there for me.

I took hold of her lily-white hand, and merrily was her heart,
"And now we're met together, I hope we ne'er shall part."
"Oh part, my dear? no never, until the day we die."
For she's low down, she's in the broom, she's a-waiting there for me.

From The Journal of the Folk Song Society, vol.I, issue 3, 1901.

Ms. Armstrong's line How sweet and pleasant was the day I kept [him] company seems to have been introduced from another set of the song printed in Frank Purslow's The Wanton Seed (EFDS Publications, 1968) which had a longer text collated from two traditional examples from Hampshire, and a broadside.

Since a song is of limited use without its tune, I've made a midi from the notation in JFSS. Until it appears at Mudcat Midis, it can be heard via the South Riding Folk Network site:

Low Down in the Broom (midi)

There are two examples of a broadside issue by an unknown printer at Bodleian Library Broadside Ballads, the clearer of the two being:

Whitsun Monday. A new song ("It was on Whitsun-Monday ...")

There is also a Scottish Low Down in the Broom, beginning My daddy is a canker't carle, which is a relative (textually) of the English versions; the sexes of the participants there follow Ms. Armstrong's arrangement. Opinions differ as to which is the older; Frank Kidson thought the English song to be the "original", while Frank Purslow considered the reverse to be more likely. Of the Scottish version, the Bodleian has two issues by Catnach of Seven Dials on large songsheets, and the following:

Low down in the broom ("My daddy is a canker'd carle ...") -printer and date unknown.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Low Down In The Broom
From: rich-joy
Date: 18 Jun 02 - 05:13 AM

Thanks for that Malcolm! I'll work my way through ...

I've just located my 1972 Topic vinyl of Frankie doing it : "Lovely on the Water", with notes by Lloyd. He also mentions that : "Grainger took some of the words of this (Hills) version to fill out his unique but incomplete recording of "Brigg Fair"

Cheers! R-J


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Subject: Lyr Add: LOW DOWN IN THE BROOM
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 26 Nov 11 - 10:35 PM

From Scotish [sic] Song, Vol. 1 by Joseph Ritson (London: J. Johnson, 1714), page 45 – where it appears with musical notation for the melody line.
^^

LOW DOWN IN THE BROOM

1. My daddy is a canker'd carle.
He'll nae twin wi' his gear.
My minny she's a scalding wife,
Hads a' the house a-steer.

CHORUS: But let them say, or let them do,
It's a' ane to me;
For he's low down, he's in the broom,
That's waiting on me:
Waiting on me, my love,
He's waiting on me,
For he's low down, he's in the broom,
That's waiting on me.

2. My aunty Kate sits at her wheel
And sair she lightlies me;
But weel ken I it's a' envy
For ne'er a jo has she.

3. My cousin Kate was sair beguil'd
Wi' Johny i' the glen;
And ay sinsyne she cries, "Beware
Of false deluding men."

4. Gleed Sandy he came west ae night
And spier'd when I saw Pate;
And ay sinsyne the neighbours round
They jeer me air and late.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Low Down in the Broom
From: Jim McLean
Date: 27 Nov 11 - 05:05 AM

Interestingly, the melody of Low Down in the Broom was set against Robert Burns' My Love is Like a Red, Red Rose by R A Smith, years after Burns' death.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Low Down in the Broom
From: GUEST,Michael Clayton
Date: 10 Mar 14 - 05:00 PM

Frank Purslow's notes anent this song suggest "it could be assumed from the rhyming of 'die' and 'be' or 'me' that it has a Scottish origin", but this could equally suggest Northumbrian origin. Robert Burns set his song 'Sweetest May' to the first section of the Northumbrian 'Blow the wind southerly' melody and it is known the bard carried a book of English folksongs everywhere with him when young.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Low Down in the Broom
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 10 Mar 14 - 06:04 PM

A book of English folksongs in the early 18th century. I'd sure like to have seen that. Any suggestions?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Low Down in the Broom
From: GUEST,Anne Neilson
Date: 11 Mar 14 - 04:37 AM

Burns was never really 'old' -- born 1759, died 1796 -- if that's of any help, Steve.


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