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Origin: Cob a coalin

DigiTrad:
COB COALING SONG
COB O'COALING


Related thread:
Cob O'Coaling / Cob-a-Coaling for Bonfire Night (15)


Les in Chorlton 03 Nov 03 - 03:10 PM
GUEST,MCP 03 Nov 03 - 03:32 PM
GUEST,MCP 03 Nov 03 - 03:35 PM
GUEST,Les in Chorlton 03 Nov 03 - 05:09 PM
Mary Humphreys 03 Nov 03 - 05:47 PM
GUEST,Les in Chorlton 03 Nov 03 - 06:01 PM
Little Robyn 04 Nov 03 - 12:14 AM
GUEST,Les in Chorlton 04 Nov 03 - 12:48 PM
Little Robyn 04 Nov 03 - 11:59 PM
GUEST,stevethesqueeze 05 Nov 03 - 05:36 AM
Mary Humphreys 05 Nov 03 - 03:19 PM
Harry Basnett 05 Nov 03 - 04:05 PM
GUEST,Les in Chorlton 05 Nov 03 - 05:47 PM
Les in Chorlton 07 Nov 03 - 02:36 PM
GUEST 29 Oct 04 - 10:19 AM
Flash Company 29 Oct 04 - 11:27 AM
Les in Chorlton 29 Oct 04 - 01:33 PM
Les in Chorlton 11 Oct 07 - 09:13 AM
Greg B 11 Oct 07 - 09:28 AM
Les in Chorlton 11 Oct 07 - 10:14 AM
GUEST 11 Oct 07 - 11:42 AM
Les in Chorlton 11 Oct 07 - 12:11 PM
IanC 12 Oct 07 - 03:23 AM
Dave the Gnome 12 Oct 07 - 03:29 AM
Les in Chorlton 12 Oct 07 - 04:41 AM
Mo the caller 12 Oct 07 - 08:15 AM
Les in Chorlton 12 Oct 07 - 11:04 AM
Les in Chorlton 13 Oct 07 - 11:58 AM
Dave the Gnome 14 Oct 07 - 11:33 AM
Les in Chorlton 14 Oct 07 - 07:16 PM
Mo the caller 16 Oct 07 - 05:07 AM
John J 16 Oct 07 - 12:42 PM
Herga Kitty 16 Oct 07 - 03:19 PM
GUEST,Brian Peters 17 Oct 07 - 04:23 AM
Les in Chorlton 17 Oct 07 - 05:38 AM
GUEST, Sminky 17 Oct 07 - 06:34 AM
Les in Chorlton 18 Oct 07 - 06:15 AM
Mark Dowding 05 Nov 07 - 02:51 PM
Les in Chorlton 05 Nov 07 - 04:40 PM
Mark Dowding 05 Nov 07 - 07:00 PM
Mark Dowding 05 Nov 07 - 07:02 PM
Les in Chorlton 06 Nov 07 - 03:06 AM
GUEST, Sminky 11 Mar 08 - 07:31 AM
Paul Burke 07 Nov 08 - 05:50 AM
Les in Chorlton 07 Nov 08 - 05:58 AM
mandotim 07 Nov 08 - 06:15 AM
Les in Chorlton 07 Nov 08 - 06:17 AM
GUEST, Sminky 07 Nov 08 - 06:24 AM
Les in Chorlton 07 Nov 08 - 06:38 AM
Dave the Gnome 07 Nov 08 - 06:41 AM
Jack Campin 07 Nov 08 - 07:05 AM
The Borchester Echo 07 Nov 08 - 07:06 AM
Paul Burke 07 Nov 08 - 07:09 AM
Les in Chorlton 07 Nov 08 - 07:10 AM
Dave the Gnome 07 Nov 08 - 08:38 AM
Jack Campin 07 Nov 08 - 12:48 PM
Andy Jackson 07 Nov 08 - 04:54 PM
Dave the Gnome 09 Nov 08 - 06:02 PM
Snuffy 09 Nov 08 - 07:40 PM
BB 10 Nov 08 - 03:02 PM
folkypaul 11 Nov 08 - 12:12 PM
folkypaul 25 Oct 13 - 10:19 AM
GUEST 25 Oct 13 - 11:03 AM
Joe Offer 25 Oct 13 - 03:59 PM
Reinhard 25 Oct 13 - 04:06 PM
Paul Reade 26 Oct 13 - 08:34 AM
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Subject: Cob a coalin
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 03 Nov 03 - 03:10 PM

Whilst strteching my tonsils around this I checked it out in Harry Boadman's book of Lancashire songs. Does anybody know where Harry got it from?


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Subject: RE: Cob a coalin
From: GUEST,MCP
Date: 03 Nov 03 - 03:32 PM

I don't know Harry's source, but see thread Lyr Add:Cob O'Coaling.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Cob a coalin
From: GUEST,MCP
Date: 03 Nov 03 - 03:35 PM

I might add that Roud's index (No. 9234) lists only one version, a BBC recording from Hampshire in 1960.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Cob a coalin
From: GUEST,Les in Chorlton
Date: 03 Nov 03 - 05:09 PM

Thanks, I picked up the threads you listed through Mudcat, although one link is no longer live.

I guess someone from the folk community of Oldham and other parts of Greater Manchester will know a bit more. Did Harry knit his version from bits of others or is it a genuine complete survival of the Pace Egg, reborn for Bonfire Night?


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Subject: RE: Cob a coalin
From: Mary Humphreys
Date: 03 Nov 03 - 05:47 PM

Hi Les in Chorlton,
I have Harry's Folk Songs & Ballads of Lancashire in front of me now, open at the Cob-o'-coalin' song. If it is the same book that you are referring to, it says,the words and tune are traditional, arranged by Harry. 'To this day children in the Oldham area sing a shortened version of this song and collect money for fireworks.' The book was published in 1973, so the latter comment may no longer be true.
I remember Harry singing this many a time while I was a member of the Unicorn Club in Church Street Manchester. If my memory serves me right, he said he learnt it as a child in Failsworth. IMHO it has all the elements of a vestigial pace egg song with a bit of the surreal thrown in ( the umbrella & pepper pots). Typical of kids!
All the best.
Mary Humphreys


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Subject: RE: Cob a coalin
From: GUEST,Les in Chorlton
Date: 03 Nov 03 - 06:01 PM

Thanks a lot Mary, whom I believe used to live near Chorlton.

You are spot on with the reference. We, my wife Liz and I, used to go to the Unicorn around '78 - '82 and also remember Harry singing it along with lots of other excellent stuff that he had collected and resurected.


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Subject: RE: Cob a coalin
From: Little Robyn
Date: 04 Nov 03 - 12:14 AM

Joan Prior, a Lancashire lass by birth, used to sing it here in New Zealand back around 1966. I understood it was trad.
Robyn


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Subject: RE: Cob a coalin
From: GUEST,Les in Chorlton
Date: 04 Nov 03 - 12:48 PM

Wow, thats a long way. In a similar vein, I seem to remember The Holly Bairs(?) a Berry, which is on the Watersons Frost & Fire being collected in California or Australia


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Subject: RE: Cob a coalin
From: Little Robyn
Date: 04 Nov 03 - 11:59 PM

We used to sing Holly Bears here in the mid-late 60s as well.
Robyn


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Subject: RE: Cob a coalin
From: GUEST,stevethesqueeze
Date: 05 Nov 03 - 05:36 AM

Children in lancashire sang this song, or close relatives, when i was a child in the fifties. I remember doing it myself although I thought it was sang on the night before 5th november.

best wishes to you all

stevethesqueeze


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Subject: RE: Cob a coalin
From: Mary Humphreys
Date: 05 Nov 03 - 03:19 PM

I remember, when I lived in the North West ( Chorlton, Manchester and before that, Sale) that there was a tradition of children going out on Mischief Night ( somewhere between Halloween and Bonfire Night) and causing mild mayhem.I remember our gate being taken off its hinges and left down the road for us to find the next morning.
I wonder if the song had any links with all this sanctioned juvenile activity?
Mary


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Subject: RE: Cob a coalin
From: Harry Basnett
Date: 05 Nov 03 - 04:05 PM

Mischef Night is Novemeber 4th.


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Subject: RE: Cob a coalin
From: GUEST,Les in Chorlton
Date: 05 Nov 03 - 05:47 PM

Thanks again, their seems lots of evidence for bits of cob a coalin.

Does anybody have evidence of the complete song as it appears on record, in Harry's book and as many of us can recall actually hearing Harry sing it, beyond this context?

Was it collected or remembered in its entirety.

Oh and buy the way Liz Jones askes to be remembered to Mary, they spent time on Oakwood Governors some years ago.


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Subject: RE: Cob a coalin
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 07 Nov 03 - 02:36 PM

It looks as if the appearance of the Pace Egging bits of the song only appear in Harry's version. Does anybody have any other view or any other source or evidence?


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Subject: RE: Cob a coalin
From: GUEST
Date: 29 Oct 04 - 10:19 AM

I came across this old thread of mine, searching for the origins of Cob a coalin.

Since it is time to sing it again I wondered if anybody had any further info.


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Subject: RE: Cob a coalin
From: Flash Company
Date: 29 Oct 04 - 11:27 AM

I heard this from The Oldham Tinkers, but many years later when I sang a Line from it in a North Manchester office where I was temping, one of the older ladies on the staff (complete non-folkie)
said 'I used to sing that when I were little'. It has obviously existed in oral tradition in the Middleton area of North Manchester in the last 60 years or so.

FC


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Subject: RE: Cob a coalin
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 29 Oct 04 - 01:33 PM

Yes, lots of evidence of that nature but the song has such a tight tie in with Pace Egging I wondered how it came about.


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Subject: RE: Cob a coalin
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 11 Oct 07 - 09:13 AM

Ok this has become part of a tradition in it's own right.

Where did the complete song as it appears in "Folk songs & Ballads of Lancashire" Compiled and edited by harry and Lesley Boadman, Oak Publications, 1973,come from?

Any fresh evidence?

Cheers
Les


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Subject: RE: Cob a coalin
From: Greg B
Date: 11 Oct 07 - 09:28 AM

Seems strange that pace egging, an Easter tradition, would get
tied in with Bonfire night, two diametrically opposed and seemingly
unrelated events on the annual calendar.


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Subject: RE: Cob a coalin
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 11 Oct 07 - 10:14 AM

Perhaps the Industrial Revolution generated a melting pot of songs? Sailors that traveled through various parts of Europe pop up in all sorts of songs and Mumming and such like plays.

Morris Dances aledgedly associated with Spring appear at most times of the year - New Years day in Heddington Quarry.


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Subject: RE: Cob a coalin
From: GUEST
Date: 11 Oct 07 - 11:42 AM

I'd always thought the Cob-Coaling tradition was a carry-over from Souling. The tune to one of the most popular Souling songs is essentially the same as for Pace Egging. I always thought the words were related too.

Oh we've come a souling,
For the souling time's here;
And all that we soul for
Is your ale and strong beer.


:-)
Ian


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Subject: RE: Cob a coalin
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 11 Oct 07 - 12:11 PM

Mmmmmmmm ... Souling and All Souls being in October? Sounds good to me


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Subject: RE: Cob a coalin
From: IanC
Date: 12 Oct 07 - 03:23 AM

Sorry ... GUEST above was me.


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Subject: RE: Cob a coalin
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 12 Oct 07 - 03:29 AM

The traditions becoming mixed is a dead cert. In Harland and Wilkinsons 'Lancashire Legends' there is a mumming play that is identical to Lancaster/Abram Pace Egg. In fact, if I remember rightly, the title is 'Christmas Pace Eggers'!

If I think on I'll have a look to see if cob-a-coalin is in it.

D.


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Subject: RE: Cob a coalin
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 12 Oct 07 - 04:41 AM

thanks Dave

Les


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Subject: RE: Cob a coalin
From: Mo the caller
Date: 12 Oct 07 - 08:15 AM

Why waste a good tune by only singing it once a year, when you can adjust the words and use it again.


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Subject: RE: Cob a coalin
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 12 Oct 07 - 11:04 AM

True enough, recycling tunes and ideas is part of the living tradition Mo.

But where did this little gem come from?


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Subject: RE: Cob a coalin
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 13 Oct 07 - 11:58 AM

It's that time of year


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Subject: RE: Cob a coalin - source?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 14 Oct 07 - 11:33 AM

Nothing ar all in H&W about cob-a-coalin, Bonfire night or Soulcakes! I looked under various October/November traditions and all I found was mischief night. I thought that may be around Halloween but to my surprise it was the day before All Fools! So, no help at all I'm afraid:-(

I always discover something new in this wonderful tome. As well as the above I found reference to footracing by Nude men around Whitworth moor. There's something you don't see nowadays. The final comment is however "Races by nude men are not yet extinct in Lancashire, notwithstanding the vigilance of the county police." The mind boggles:-)

Dave


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Subject: RE: Cob a coalin - source?
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 14 Oct 07 - 07:16 PM

Bogglin' then, that's what we'll do next?


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Subject: RE: Cob a coalin - source?
From: Mo the caller
Date: 16 Oct 07 - 05:07 AM

Mind the boggles..... (family saying)


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Subject: RE: Cob a coalin - source?
From: John J
Date: 16 Oct 07 - 12:42 PM

It's nearly this time of year:

http://www.larchfieldhouse.co.uk/Souling/WarburtonSoulingPlay.htm

JJ

Thinks: must learn how to do blue clickies.


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Subject: RE: Cob a coalin - source?
From: Herga Kitty
Date: 16 Oct 07 - 03:19 PM

John - I recently discovered (after years of claiming that I couldn't do blue clickies) that if you click on "Make a link ("blue clicky")in the options next to "Submit Message)it's fairly self-explanatory. If you put wording into the "Link text" box you'll get a link from clicking on the underlined text, rather than the URL.

Hope this works for your link, anyway!

Kitty

blue clicky


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Subject: RE: Cob a coalin - source?
From: GUEST,Brian Peters
Date: 17 Oct 07 - 04:23 AM

Up here in the Glossop area I usually ask, when giving presentations at Women's Institutes or other organisations including some older people, whether they remember this rhyme from their youth. Quite a few still do, but only the chorus. Can't help on how the calling-on verses got associated with it, although I have a vague memory of coming across the "pepper pot" verse somewhere else.

After successfuly jogging a few memories at a local WI on the "Cob O Coalin'" front, on one occasion I pressed further and sang the first verse of the Pace Egg song ("Here's one, two, three jolly lads...."), asking whether anyone could remember that one. After a pause, a very elderly lady murmured from the back in a thick local accent, "Yes, I do." Very excited, I asked her where she recalled it from. "From a Watersons LP,", came the reply.


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Subject: RE: Cob a coalin - source?
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 17 Oct 07 - 05:38 AM

The striking thing about Deep Lancashire was its collective feel. Lots of people from the area contributed and it still has an overall feel of quality and continuity.

I guess this was not unconnected with Harry and his personal commitment to sharing music. In the that context where did;

The first to come is a collier you see
With his pick and his shovel all ready to dig

etc. come from?


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Subject: RE: Cob a coalin - source?
From: GUEST, Sminky
Date: 17 Oct 07 - 06:34 AM

It's even been arranged for choir by the composer Alan Bullard.
The Colchester Bach Choir have it in their repertoire.
Amazing!


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Subject: RE: Cob a coalin - source?
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 18 Oct 07 - 06:15 AM

Perhaps the Souling season will rake up a few memories?


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Subject: RE: Cob a coalin - source?
From: Mark Dowding
Date: 05 Nov 07 - 02:51 PM

The fact that it's bonfire night has reminded me of this thread.
I've just looked at the sleeve notes ritten by Harry Boardman on "Deep Lancashire" and they say:

"This song has connections with earlier mummers' plays, but in living memory, it has provided a means by which children extract money from unsuspecting grown-ups for fireworks during the weeks leading up to the 5th November. The chorus, including the tune, is from the Failsworth version (near Oldham) whereas the tune used for the verses is that sung by children in and around the Oldham area itself. The last two verses are still sung by children in the Oldham area but the first three verses were given by Mrs Norah Sykes of Greenfield who, in a letter to the Oldham Chronicle in November 1966, decried the fact that children are singing less and less of the song which she remembers from childhood. In spite of this, the custom shows no sign of dying out completely."

I shall be singing the song tonight at my folk club to keep the tradition going. Whether I'll collect enough money for fireworks or even half a pint remains to be seen!

Does anybody know if this song is still sung or heard kids singing it anywhere or has it died out apart from people singing it in folk clubs?

Cheers
Mark


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Subject: RE: Cob a coalin - source?
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 05 Nov 07 - 04:40 PM

Thanks Mark, you got to the bottom of it!

Cheers

Les Jones


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Subject: RE: Cob a coalin - source?
From: Mark Dowding
Date: 05 Nov 07 - 07:00 PM

Not a problem Les. You can get a decent night's sleep now ant worry about it.

(By the way I can spell "Written"! My 2-finger typing technique is so fast I missed the w!)

I never remember Harry saying anything about where the song came from other than it from his neck of the woods in Failsworth/Oldham.

Cheers
Mark


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Subject: RE: Cob a coalin - source?
From: Mark Dowding
Date: 05 Nov 07 - 07:02 PM

Must get my fingers sorted out

"Not a problem Les. You can get a decent night's sleep now and not worry about it." is what I meant to say!


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Subject: RE: Cob a coalin - source?
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 06 Nov 07 - 03:06 AM

It's probably a banjo - keyboard crossover problem. It's just as well you don't play the Bodrhan. I believe it can be cured with Timothy Taylor Landlord

Thanks again
Les


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Subject: RE: Cob a coalin - source?
From: GUEST, Sminky
Date: 11 Mar 08 - 07:31 AM

Extract from Samuel Bamford's PASSAGES IN THE LIFE OF A RADICAL about his childhood in Middleton.

Bamford was born in 1788 and died in 1872. If these events took place while he was a 'youth' as he states (ie under 21) then I make that pre 1810.


"
THE next holiday was on the Fifth of November, the anniversary of the discovery of Gunpowder Plot. Most people ceased from working in the afternoon, and children went from house to house begging coal to make a bonfire, a distich of the following words being their form of application:

"The Fifth o' November, I'd hayo remember;
A stick an' a stake for King George's sake;
Pray, dame, gimmi a cob-coal,
To make a leet i' Lunnun cellar hole."

In addition to these contributions gates and fences suffered, and whatever timber was obtainable from the woods and plantations was considered fair game "for King George's sake." At night the country would be lighted up by bonfires, or as pronounced in Lancashire, "bunfoyers"; tharcake and toffy were distributed to the younger members of families, whilst the elder clubbed their pence and at night had "a joynin'" in some convenient dwelling. The lord of the manor made the young men a present of a good two-horse load of coal, with which a huge fire was lighted on The Bank near the church, and kept burning all night and most of the day following. The young fellows also joined at ale from the public-house, and with drinking, singing, and exploding of firearms, they amused themselves pretty well, especially if the weather was favourable. Such were the principal games, pastimes, and observances of the rural population of Middleton and its vicinity when I was a youth.
"


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Subject: RE: Origin: Cob a coalin
From: Paul Burke
Date: 07 Nov 08 - 05:50 AM

Someone sang Cob 0' Coalin' the other night- leaving me a touch puzzled about the words. His version ran:

Down in yon cellar
There's an owd umberella,
There's nowt on yon cornice
But an owd pepper pot...

Cornice being dialect for mantelpiece, and the obvious warm place to keep the salt and pepper dry. No knicknacks or ornaments, hence poverty and a good reason to give them a few coppers.

But "pepper pot, pepper pot, mornin' till neet"? This is deeply philosophical. What would Lancashire folk expect a pepper pot to do, change to a capo di monte shepherdess now and again?


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Subject: RE: Origin: Cob a coalin
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 07 Nov 08 - 05:58 AM

Perhaps the song can be traced back to pre-Christian, neo-Celtic fertility practices said to be common even into the 20C in rural Lancs?

Or maybe not?

L in C
Who loves the song and all things Harry


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Subject: RE: Origin: Cob a coalin
From: mandotim
Date: 07 Nov 08 - 06:15 AM

I learned it in the late 1950s from my Great Aunt Agnes, when she was in her seventies. She told me she learned it from her grandmother when she was a child in Oldham, so that puts it back to the late 19th century at least. We used to sing it when we were collecting money for fireworks and wood for the bonfire. Incidentally, Norah Sykes (mentioned above by Mark Dowding) lived next door to another of my Great Aunts (Sarah) in Greenfield. Small world!
Tim, feeling nostalgic!


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Subject: RE: Origin: Cob a coalin
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 07 Nov 08 - 06:17 AM

Wow, that's amazing,

did she sing the verses about Colliers - his pick and his shovel, and Sailors - a bunch of blue ribbons tied under his knee?

Chz

L in C


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Subject: RE: Origin: Cob a coalin
From: GUEST, Sminky
Date: 07 Nov 08 - 06:24 AM

There's an interesting discussion by some Oldhamers about the song.


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Subject: RE: Origin: Cob a coalin
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 07 Nov 08 - 06:38 AM

Yes it's a fascinating collection of songs and fragments of songs. What none of them seem to have is Colliers or Sailors.

I wonder who introduced them?

Cheers

Les


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Subject: RE: Origin: Cob a coalin
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 07 Nov 08 - 06:41 AM

Maybe they had an occasional table as well:-D

DeG

If you give us nowt we'll tek nowt, farwell and good neet.


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Subject: RE: Origin: Cob a coalin
From: Jack Campin
Date: 07 Nov 08 - 07:05 AM

Much of Lancashire was garrisoned for most of the Roman occupation by troops from the far north-east of the Empire who spoke an Iranian language. Never mind the Celts, we're talking Zoroastrian fire worship here.


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Subject: RE: Origin: Cob a coalin
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 07 Nov 08 - 07:06 AM

Bunches of blue ribbons feature in various mummming plays about St George etc and also in the children's game Mary sat a-weepin' which is sung to the same tune as Cob-a-Coalin'.
So it seems to be a case of floating ribbons, chunks of flying mantlepiece plaster and and pepper pots. And mondegreens.


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Subject: RE: Origin: Cob a coalin
From: Paul Burke
Date: 07 Nov 08 - 07:09 AM

Thanks Jack, but what precisely is the significance of non-shape-shifting pepperpots in 3rd century Zoroastrianism?

And what does the pepper pot do twixt neet and mornin'?


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Subject: RE: Origin: Cob a coalin
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 07 Nov 08 - 07:10 AM

True enough Diane, it's just that they don't seem to drift in untill the late 1960s

L in C


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Subject: RE: Origin: Cob a coalin
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 07 Nov 08 - 08:38 AM

I bet they worshipped fires a bloody site more after spending a wet winter in Lancashire...

D


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Subject: RE: Origin: Cob a coalin
From: Jack Campin
Date: 07 Nov 08 - 12:48 PM

Pepper is as direct a symbol for fire as you could get. The pepper pot is the human body with the holy fire inside it. And Zoroastrianism being a monotheistic religion, it's saying that the fire which is Ahura Mazda is the whole ball of wax, even at night when the physical sun is out of sight.

Now can somebody tell Mr Walkaboutsverse that he's been singing a song imported by Iranian immigrants?


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Subject: RE: Origin: Cob a coalin
From: Andy Jackson
Date: 07 Nov 08 - 04:54 PM

Well it was sung by our Mike Greenwood at Llantrisant Folk Club Wednesday night. I wondered then if I was hearing the words right but never did ask Mike.

Andy


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Subject: RE: Origin: Cob a coalin
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 09 Nov 08 - 06:02 PM

Just found the lyrics of a Waterson Carthy version

Pepperbox, ball of wax, morning to night
If you give us nowt, we'll tek nowt


So the Peppbox is a ball of wax from morning to night and overnight becomes a pepperbox? Some sort of derivation of the Werewolf legends maybe?

:D(eG)


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Subject: RE: Origin: Cob a coalin
From: Snuffy
Date: 09 Nov 08 - 07:40 PM

No, the pepper pot is mourning tonight.


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Subject: RE: Origin: Cob a coalin
From: BB
Date: 10 Nov 08 - 03:02 PM

It occurred to me when I heard this song sung the other night that it would be logical if it had originally been "Copper calling" rather than "cob a coalin". But that's because it didn't make sense to me as a Southerner... But the verses did also seem to me to be very close to some of the souling play songs from the North West.

I found it very sad that I had real difficulty remembering the verse that we used to say as kids around November 5th:

"Please to remember the fifth of November,
Gunpowder, treason and plot;
I see no reason why gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot."

Sadly, it's being overtaken by Trick or Treat, especially as to go out with a guy is seen as begging, and kids aren't allowed to buy fireworks anyway, nor could they afford to with the small amount that they would likely be able to collect.

Barbara


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Subject: RE: Origin: Cob a coalin
From: folkypaul
Date: 11 Nov 08 - 12:12 PM

Hey Miskin Man - it was sang in Llantrisant on the 5th.

I sang it the night befor, just up the road at the Turberville, Llanharan at their acoustic night.

Cheers

PaulO


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Subject: COB COALING SONG
From: folkypaul
Date: 25 Oct 13 - 10:19 AM

With bonfire night approaching I looked for this song in the lyrics search.   Whilst there where two entries neither was the one I was looking for.
I went back to the old method of looking through folders and found this version that I used to sing.
Anyone remember this one?
Cobba Coalin'

COBBA COALIN'

CHORUS
We come a cob a coalin', come a coalin', come a coalin'
We come a cob a coalin' for Bon Fire Night.

Well the first to come in is a miner you see
With his pick and his shovel all ready to dig
He digs it and picks it and down it does fall
And that is the way that we gather cob coal

The next to come in is a sailor you see
He's a bunch of blue ribbons tied under his knee
He's travelled from England to France and to Spain
But now he's returned to England again

The last to come in is a miser you see
He's a hunch on his back and he's bowed at the knee
He's a weary old fellow and he wears a pigtail
And all his delight is in drinking strong ale

Well down in yon' cellar there's plenty of bugs
They've eaten me stockings and part of me clogs
I'll get a sharp knife and I'll cut their heads off
And we'll have us a supper of bugs head and broth

And down in yon cellar there's an old umbrella
There's now't in yon cornice but and old pepper pot
Pepper pot, pepper pot morning till night
If you give us now't we'll take now't farewell and good night


PaulO


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Subject: RE: COB COALING SONG
From: GUEST
Date: 25 Oct 13 - 11:03 AM

Mike harding recorded it on an early Lancashire Songs on Topic


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Subject: ADD: Cob Coaling Song
From: Joe Offer
Date: 25 Oct 13 - 03:59 PM

There's a brief (33-second) recording of this song by Dora Turner on a terrific Smithsonian Folkways CD set called An English Folk Music Anthology. The songs on the album were recorded in the field by Sam Richards and Tish Stubbs between 1974-1980. The recording is available on Spotify. Here are the notes:

Cob Coaling Song, sung by Dora Turner, Stockfield, Lancashire
(Opie, The Language and Lore of Schoolchildren)

COB COALING SONG

We come a cob coaling for bonfire time
Your coal and your money we hope you'll enjoy
Fol a day, fol a day
Fol a diddle i doe day

Down in your cellar there's an old umbrella
And nowt on your cornice but an old pepper box
Pepper box, pepper box, morning till neet
If you give us nowt we'll have nowt but bid you good neet.
    Notes (1981): Cob coaling, a custom which appears to be confined to the industrial areas around Oldham, consists of blacking faces and singing this song from door to door. The reward for singing is money which is traditionally spent on fireworks to be let off on Guy Fawkes Night, November 5th.
    We have not discovered whether modern children keep up this custom, although it is more than likely that they do as we have heard the Cob Coaling Song from a number of people in their 20s.
    It is sad to note that its absence from the majority of standard collections is not untypical of England's attitudes (until very recently) to urban folklore


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Subject: RE: ADD: Cob Coaling Song
From: Reinhard
Date: 25 Oct 13 - 04:06 PM

Mainly Norfolk: Cob-a-Coaling


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Subject: RE: Origin: Cob a coalin
From: Paul Reade
Date: 26 Oct 13 - 08:34 AM

I was brought up in Oldham, where we used to sing Joe Offer's version when we were kids, with a rather brutal addition at the end:-

Guy, guy, guy, poke him in the eye
Tie him to a lamp-post and let him die


I remember later having a discussion with Harry Boardman about his Failsworth version, which he had collected from local children. He had heard the Oldham version that I sang.

There's a bit of local rivalry between Oldham and Failsworth, even though they're only a couple of miles apart. I was brought up in Oldham, and moved to Failsworth when we first got married. In the local pub, they called me a "yonner", meaning I came from "up yon"!


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