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Origins/Info: Dolli-ah (Newcastle Song)

DigiTrad:
DOL-LI-A
LIVERPOOL LULLABY


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Santa 24 Oct 03 - 09:41 AM
GUEST,MMario 24 Oct 03 - 09:45 AM
Watson 24 Oct 03 - 10:04 AM
Santa 24 Oct 03 - 10:34 AM
John Routledge 26 May 08 - 07:53 AM
GUEST 26 May 08 - 07:58 AM
Jack Blandiver 26 May 08 - 08:54 AM
CupOfTea 26 May 08 - 08:55 AM
Mick Pearce (MCP) 26 May 08 - 12:15 PM
Jim Carroll 26 May 08 - 01:33 PM
Jack Blandiver 27 May 08 - 04:40 AM
Jim Carroll 27 May 08 - 05:08 AM
Jack Blandiver 27 May 08 - 05:14 AM
Jim Carroll 27 May 08 - 07:53 AM
Jack Blandiver 27 May 08 - 09:15 AM
Jack Blandiver 27 May 08 - 09:16 AM
John Routledge 27 May 08 - 04:37 PM
Jack Blandiver 27 May 08 - 05:04 PM
GUEST,guest 11 Mar 09 - 04:06 PM
GUEST,Brian Kell 11 Mar 09 - 05:05 PM
Jack Campin 11 Mar 09 - 05:57 PM
GUEST,Gerry 11 Mar 09 - 06:40 PM
Joe Offer 11 Mar 09 - 06:42 PM
Jack Campin 11 Mar 09 - 07:17 PM
Snuffy 11 Mar 09 - 08:45 PM
Jack Blandiver 12 Mar 09 - 06:14 AM
Jim Dixon 23 Apr 09 - 12:55 PM
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Subject: Dolli-ah
From: Santa
Date: 24 Oct 03 - 09:41 AM

My wife was looking for something light to fit between two heavy ballads/songs, and I suggested this Newcastle song. Fine, she says, what does it mean?

Not the verses.... the chorus.

Is it just a load of fol-de-rols, or did it have a meaning? What was a dillen doll?


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Subject: RE: Dolli-ah
From: GUEST,MMario
Date: 24 Oct 03 - 09:45 AM

no luck googling on either phrase - Do you have the complete chorus you could post?


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Subject: RE: Dolli-ah
From: Watson
Date: 24 Oct 03 - 10:04 AM

It's in the DT, Mmario.
I don't think the chorus means anything - just nonsense.


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Subject: RE: Dolli-ah
From: Santa
Date: 24 Oct 03 - 10:34 AM

My vote would be for nonsense/mouth music, but where better to come for enlightenment, should there be any to be had?

There is the line in the verse "Dolly Coxon......" which makes me wonder whether the chorus should be "Dolly, Dolly", in which case only "dillen" is left to be explained?


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Subject: RE: Dolli-ah
From: John Routledge
Date: 26 May 08 - 07:53 AM

Have been searching without success "dillen" anybody?


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Subject: RE: Dolli-ah
From: GUEST
Date: 26 May 08 - 07:58 AM

Try Dollia - I think it's spelt one of those ways. If you still have no luck I think I have a recording of Louis Killen singing it somewhere - maybe it has notes!
You might try Liverpool Lullaby, which is based on it and uses the same tune.

Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Dolli-ah
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 26 May 08 - 08:54 AM

Or Dol Li A indeed - see here and the Northumbrian Minstrelsy &c. A fond old favourite, and all the more since decamping to Lancashire, where as an ex-pat Geordie I sing it with pride. I've even used to melody for one of Ron Baxter's songs which we'll be doing it as part of the Wrecks & Rescues show at the Fylde Festival this year (Saturday afternoon in The Mount; a date for your diaries - all star cast - Spitting on a Roast, Ross Campbell & - er - me...).

Otherwise, the song is about the Sandgate whores on Newcastle's quayside, and, in my experience, the chorus is generally pronounced doley rather than dolly, which always used to raise a smile on impoverished Tyneside. Dillen Doll I would think is a whore, without good reason I might add, but that's just how I've thought of it over the years in the context of the song, with Dolly Coxon pawning her sark to become a camp follower...


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Subject: RE: Dolli-ah
From: CupOfTea
Date: 26 May 08 - 08:55 AM

If Liverpool Lullaby is the 'light' thing between ballads, 'tis a frightening thing to think how dreadful the plotline of the ballads would have to be!


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Subject: RE: Dolli-ah
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 26 May 08 - 12:15 PM

I can't find dillen, though Shorter OED does have:

dilling - Now dial 1854. Darling; the last born of a family; dial. the weakling of a litter.

Perhaps it's a version of this in the darling sense. The song doesn't imply she's a whore, but maybe a woman of easy virtue!.

As regards the pronounciation of dolly as doley, that must be a recent change. Since first hearing the song in the 60s I don't think I ever heard it as other than dolly.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Dolli-ah
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 26 May 08 - 01:33 PM

Sorry,
The title in Bell's Rhymers of The Northern Bards (1812) is Dol Li A, which I think is a nonsense refrain.
Dillen - runt is, I think, a word from around Stratford on Avon - hence the book of the same name.
If you are singing the old version a couple of other explanations might be useful:
Black Cuffs - North Yorks Militia
Green Cuffs - 23 Ulster Dragoons
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Dolli-ah
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 27 May 08 - 04:40 AM

Into my waking brain this morning there filtered a memory of having come across a very old parody someplace; maybe as old as the song itself. I'll have a look in the likely places, but if anyone knows anything in the meantime...


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Subject: RE: Dolli-ah
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 27 May 08 - 05:08 AM

Liverpool Lullaby maybe?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Dolli-ah
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 27 May 08 - 05:14 AM

God no, spare me that! And isn't that a recent thing anyway? No, I'm thinking of some old broadside in the Farne Archive, although successive searches have thus far proved fruitless...


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Subject: RE: Dolli-ah
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 27 May 08 - 07:53 AM

Sedayne,
That was definitely tongue-in-cheek on my part - with you totally.
I suppose early 1960s is recent
Jim carroll


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Subject: RE: Dolli-ah
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 27 May 08 - 09:15 AM

Actually, Jim... Just done a bit of searching and it would seem Liverpool Lullaby owes more to the much later Sandgate Dandling Song than Dol Li A, though I reckon half the tune originates here. It's a significant remove however, and offers some much needed breathing space between the splendid Dol Li A and the execrable Liverpool Lullaby.


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Subject: RE: Dolli-ah
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 27 May 08 - 09:16 AM

PS - I reckon anything in my lifetime to be recent by folkish standards!


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Subject: RE: Dolli-ah
From: John Routledge
Date: 27 May 08 - 04:37 PM

Thanks Jim for putting names to the Green Cuffs and the Black Cuffs.

As far as Dolly Coxon and her friends are concerned I feel them to be camp followers for the two regiments rather than simply whores.


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Subject: RE: Dolli-ah
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 27 May 08 - 05:04 PM

Dolly paws her sark to become a camp follower, otherwise her mates hang around the Quayside waiting for the next regiment to come in. Girls of easy virtue? The song does imply a degree of emotional attachment (that will be a crying day) but they soon get over it & one can't imagine these sassy Tyneside lassies of yore simply giving it away!


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Subject: RE: Dolli-ah
From: GUEST,guest
Date: 11 Mar 09 - 04:06 PM

Any information about the tune? Sounds as though it could have been brought to Tyneside by early 18th century Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe.


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Subject: RE: Dolli-ah
From: GUEST,Brian Kell
Date: 11 Mar 09 - 05:05 PM

I was always under the impression the "Green Cuffs" were the Lincolnshire regiment.


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Subject: RE: Dolli-ah
From: Jack Campin
Date: 11 Mar 09 - 05:57 PM

Sounds more like a mutation of the psalm tune "Martyrs" than anything Jewish to me.

Did Newcastle even have a significant Jewish population before this song first appeared?

(I am trying to think of songs in the British Isles folk repertoire that might have originated in Jewish tradition, and can think of nothing at all from before the twentieth century. Is there anything?)


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Subject: RE: Origins/Info: Dolli-ah (Newcastle Song)
From: GUEST,Gerry
Date: 11 Mar 09 - 06:40 PM

Nobody asked, but I thought I'd mention anyway that there's a recording of this song on the Bob Fox, Stu Luckley CD.


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Subject: RE: Origins/Info: Dolli-ah (Newcastle Song)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 11 Mar 09 - 06:42 PM

Not much on this song at the Traditional Ballad Index, but here's what they have:

Dol-li-a

DESCRIPTION: "Fresh I cum frae Sandgate Steet, Dol-li, dol-li, Maw best freends here to meet, Dol-li-a, Dol-li the dillen dol...." "The Black Cuffs is gawn away, An' that'll be a crying day." "Dolly Coxon's pawned her shirt...." "The Green Cuffs is cummin' in...."
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1900 (Stokoe/Reay)
KEYWORDS: clothes soldier nonballad
FOUND IN: Britain(England(North))
REFERENCES (2 citations):
Stokoe/Reay, pp. 86-87, "Dol-li-a" (1 text, 1 tune)
DT, DOLLIA

Roud #2611
Notes: This apparently refers to a situation where one British regiment left town and another replaced it, with the Black Cuffs and Green Cuffs being references to their uniforms. Without further details, though, I can't determine the historical situation. - RBW
File: StoR086

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

The Ballad Index Copyright 2007 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.


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Subject: RE: Origins/Info: Dolli-ah (Newcastle Song)
From: Jack Campin
Date: 11 Mar 09 - 07:17 PM

The date's wrong. The Northumbrian Minstrelsy was published in 1882, and the preface implies that all the song material was assembled by 1870, maybe even 1858.


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Subject: RE: Origins/Info: Dolli-ah (Newcastle Song)
From: Snuffy
Date: 11 Mar 09 - 08:45 PM

With its call-and-response style and identical tune for both verse and chorus, it sounds fairly "primitive", and could well be derived from an older work song or ritual melody. It would also work very well as a shanty tune or perhaps, as Jack suggested, a hymn tune.

As for "Dolly the dillen doll", a quick Google will find plenty of examples of Dolitha as a female first name from the 18th to the 21st century.


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Subject: RE: Origins/Info: Dolli-ah (Newcastle Song)
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 12 Mar 09 - 06:14 AM

I see the thread title's changed; maybe it would help if the song was given it's correct name? Still, at least I know what I'm going to sing at The Steamer sing tonight!

Lot's of queer tunes in the Northumbrian Minstrelsy; check out the one given for Binnorie - '...a true Northumbrian melody...' indeed. Think I'll sing that as well; been a while anyway...


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Subject: Lyr Add: DOL LI A / DOL-LI-A (trad Newcastle)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 23 Apr 09 - 12:55 PM

From Rhymes of Northern Bards by John Bell (Newcastle upon Tyne: Printed for J. Bell by M. Angus, 1812).

DOL LI A.
A Song famous in Newcastle about the Years 1792-3-4.

1. Fresh I'm cum fra Sandgate Street,
    Do li, do li,
My best friends here to meet,
    Do li a,
    Dol li th' dil len dol,
    Do li, do li,
    Dol li th' dil len dol,
    Dol li a.

2. The Black Cuffs is gawn away,
    Do li, do li,
An that will be a crying day.
    Do li a, &c.

3. Dolly Coxon's pawn'd her sark,
    Do li, do li,
To ride upon the baggage cart.
    Do li a, &c.

4. The Green Cuffs is cummin in,
    Do li, do li,
An that 'ill make the lasses sing.
    Do li a, &c.


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