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Origins: Up to the Rigs in London Town

DigiTrad:
UP TO THE RIGS


Charley Noble 10 Oct 03 - 11:37 AM
Malcolm Douglas 10 Oct 03 - 12:52 PM
Charley Noble 10 Oct 03 - 05:02 PM
Joe Offer 11 Oct 03 - 04:32 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 11 Oct 03 - 05:26 PM
GUEST 12 Oct 03 - 07:31 AM
GUEST,Jim Ward 12 Oct 03 - 07:35 AM
Tattie Bogle 12 Oct 03 - 10:26 AM
Charley Noble 12 Oct 03 - 05:00 PM
Dave Bryant 13 Oct 03 - 12:17 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 13 Oct 03 - 12:33 PM
Charley Noble 13 Oct 03 - 02:09 PM
Jim Dixon 28 May 16 - 12:20 AM
Tradsinger 28 May 16 - 05:17 AM
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Subject: Origins: Up to the Rigs in London Town
From: Charley Noble
Date: 10 Oct 03 - 11:37 AM

There's a pretty good set of lyrics for this song in the Digital Tradition (DT) archives, sounds similar to what my old friend Chez Watts from Bristol (UK) used to sing. There are a couple of minor typos in the DT lyrics but nothing to lose any sleep over.

I am curious if anyone knows anything about this traditional Sailortown song. It is unique in that the sailor "rips off" the lady rather than the other way around. Nice fella!

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Origins: Up to the Rigs in London Town
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 10 Oct 03 - 12:52 PM

The song is number 868 in the Roud Folk Song Index. Versions have been found in tradition throughout Britain, and occasionally in Ireland. The hero is usually a countryman, not a sailor (a similar story in which the protagonist is a sailor is Ratcliffe Highway (Rolling Down Wapping). No source of any kind is named for the DT set, but it is actually from Charlie Wills of Morcombelake, Bridport, Dorset. Peter Kennedy recorded it from him in 1952. The recording appeared on vol. II of the Caedmon/Topic Folk Songs of Britain series, and quite a few people learned it from there. It's currently available on Topic TSCD 657, First I'm Going to Sing You a Ditty. A full transcription appears in Kennedy's Folksongs of Britain and Ireland, 423. The well-known traditional singers Harry Cox and Walter Pardon both had variants.

The song appeared on broadsides as The Countryman's Ramble in Cheapside; editions can be seen at  Bodleian Library Broadside Ballads:

The countryman's ramble in Cheapside


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Subject: RE: Origins: Up to the Rigs in London Town
From: Charley Noble
Date: 10 Oct 03 - 05:02 PM

Malcolm-

Thanks for your usual good work. Just what I was looking for.

Here's a corrected version of the song with your notes:

From the singing of Charlie Wills of Morcombelake, Bridport, Dorset.
Peter Kennedy recorded it from him in 1952.
The recording appeared on vol. II of the Caedmon/Topic Folk Songs of Britain series,
and quite a few people learned it from there.
It's currently available on Topic TSCD 657, First I'm Going to Sing You a Ditty

UP TO THE RIGS

Up London City I took my way,
It was up Cheapside I chanced to stray;
When a fair pretty girl there I did meet,
And with kisses her then I did greet.

Chorus:

For I was up to the rigs,
Down to the jigs,
Up to the rigs of London Town.

She took me to some house of fame (sin?)
And boldly did she enter in;
Loudly for supper she did call,
Thinking I was going to pay for it all.(CHO)

The supper o'er, the table cleared
She called me her jewel and then her dear;
The waiter brought white wine and red,
While the chambermaid prepared the bed.(CHO)

Between the hours of one and two
She asked me if to bed I'd go;
Immediately I did consent
And along with this pretty girl I went.(CHO)

Her cheeks was white and her lips was red
And I kissed her as she laid in bed;
But soon as I found she was fast asleep,
Out of the bed then I did creep.(CHO)

I searched her pockets and there I found
A silver snuffbox and ten pounds,
A gold watch and a diamond ring;
I took the lot and locked me lady in.(CHO)

Now all young men wherever you be
If you meet a pretty girl you use her free;
You use her free but don't get pied (drunk)
But remember me when I was up Cheapside.(CHO)

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Origins: Up to the Rigs in London Town
From: Joe Offer
Date: 11 Oct 03 - 04:32 PM

The Traditional Ballad Index also has an entry on this song. The only songbook source they cite is Kennedy, plus two recordings.
-Joe Offer-

Up to the Rigs

DESCRIPTION: Singer goes to Cheapside in London, where he picks up a girl. He takes her to dinner; she invites him to bed. When she falls asleep, he steals a snuff box, gold watch, diamond ring, and money, then locks her in. He tells men to remember his example
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1907 (Sharp, Gardiner mss)
KEYWORDS: courting seduction sex crime theft food trick
FOUND IN: Britain(England(South)), Ireland
REFERENCES (1 citation):
Kennedy 192, "Up to the Rigs" (1 text, 1 tune)
Roud #868
RECORDINGS:
Harry Cox, "Up to the Rigs of London Town" (on HCox01)
Charlie Wills, "Up to the Rigs [of London Town]" (on FSB2, FSB2CD)
ALTERNATE TITLES:
The Rigs of London Town
Notes: Tables turned. - PJS
File: K192

Go to the Ballad Search form
Go to the Ballad Index Instructions

The Ballad Index Copyright 2003 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Up to the Rigs in London Town
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 11 Oct 03 - 05:26 PM

Pied was also slang for confused. Pied also is "printer's pie," which is jumbled up type. Not to be confused with pied, parti-color.

Pie-eyed is another word for drunk. Now did it come from pied or from the round aspect of most pies?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Up to the Rigs in London Town
From: GUEST
Date: 12 Oct 03 - 07:31 AM

Jim Wilson of Three Bridges, Crawley, Sussex had an interesting varient published in 'Life of a man' by Ken Stubbs (EFDSS pubs. 1970).


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Subject: RE: Origins: Up to the Rigs in London Town
From: GUEST,Jim Ward
Date: 12 Oct 03 - 07:35 AM

Jim Wilson of Three Bridges, Crawley, Sussex had an interesting varient published in 'Life Of A Man' by Ken Stubbs, EFDSS pubs 1970.
        His last two lines were-

        She'll do a wiggle and you'll do the same
        And it's up to the rigs of Watery Lane


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Subject: RE: Origins: Up to the Rigs in London Town
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 12 Oct 03 - 10:26 AM

Got it in one of my song books, laboriously copied from listening to the record. I don't have the Topic album mentioned so guess I must have borrowed it from the record library (and taken it back!)


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Subject: RE: Origins: Up to the Rigs in London Town
From: Charley Noble
Date: 12 Oct 03 - 05:00 PM

I'm not entirely sure what the term "rigs" means. Is it something like "tricks'? I seem to remember it being used in another 19th century expression "the rigs of our time."

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Origins: Up to the Rigs in London Town
From: Dave Bryant
Date: 13 Oct 03 - 12:17 PM

Yes - "Rigs" means tricks or dishonest/dubious practices in this case.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Up to the Rigs in London Town
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 13 Oct 03 - 12:33 PM

From Francis Grose, 1785, A Classical Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue- "I am up to your rig, I am a match for your tricks."

Also old slang for clothes (also from Grose), "The cull has rum rigging, let's ding him and mill him, and pike." (knock him down, rob him and scour off).


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Subject: RE: Origins: Up to the Rigs in London Town
From: Charley Noble
Date: 13 Oct 03 - 02:09 PM

Excellent! Now I'm much better prepared when I transport myself to the early 19th century.

Charley Noble


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE RIGS OF LONDON TOWN (from Bodleian)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 28 May 16 - 12:20 AM

A broadside ballad from the Bodleian collection:


THE RIGS OF LONDON TOWN

As I walk'd up London streets one day,
Through Cheapside I took my way.
A buxom lass I chanc'd to meet.
With kisses sweet she did me treat.

I was up to the Rigs & down to the Jigs
Of famous London Town.

She took me to a house of fame.
She kindly asked me my name,
Then for a supper loud did call,
Thinking I should pay for all.

Supper being over and the table clear,
She called me her joy and only dear.
A waiter brought white wine and red.
The chambermaid prepar'd the bed.

Between the hours of one and two,
She ask'd me if to bed I'd go.
Then quickly I gave my consent.
Straight to the chamber door I went.

Her skin was white; her cheeks were red.
I kis'd her o'er and o'er in bed.
When my love was fast asleep,
I out of bed did softly creep.

I search'd her pockets; there I found
A silver snuff box and five pounds,
A silver watch and a diamond ring.
I bought a brush and left within.

You flats and sharps where'er you be,
If you meet a girl that's kind and free,
Use her well whate'er betide.
Be sure you keep her in Cheapside.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Up to the Rigs in London Town
From: Tradsinger
Date: 28 May 16 - 05:17 AM

Sharp collected a nice version in Gloucestershire
http://glostrad.com/rigs-of-london-town-the/.

Tradsinger


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