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Coalowner & Pitman's Wife tune question

Desert Dancer 06 Apr 04 - 08:50 PM
Desert Dancer 06 Apr 04 - 08:53 PM
Desert Dancer 06 Apr 04 - 09:25 PM
Desert Dancer 06 Apr 04 - 10:08 PM
Desert Dancer 06 Apr 04 - 11:23 PM
GUEST,MCP 07 Apr 04 - 05:28 AM
Desert Dancer 07 Apr 04 - 12:01 PM
GUEST,MMario 07 Apr 04 - 01:23 PM
Desert Dancer 07 Apr 04 - 01:40 PM
Desert Dancer 07 Apr 04 - 02:04 PM
Desert Dancer 07 Apr 04 - 02:41 PM
Desert Dancer 07 Apr 04 - 02:55 PM
Desert Dancer 07 Apr 04 - 03:29 PM
Malcolm Douglas 07 Apr 04 - 04:29 PM
Desert Dancer 07 Apr 04 - 05:46 PM
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Desert Dancer 07 Apr 04 - 09:26 PM
GUEST,MCP 13 Apr 04 - 03:20 PM
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Dave Hanson 06 Jan 12 - 03:34 AM
Les in Chorlton 06 Jan 12 - 10:23 AM
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Subject: Coalowner and the Pitman's Wife
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 06 Apr 04 - 08:50 PM

The Coalowner and the Pitman's Wife shows up in the world with two tunes. The tune in the DT is a traditional one, as published in A.L. Lloyd's Folk Song in England (p. 344, International Publishers, 1967). It's discussed in the Forum here.

There's another tune, which is the one I've heard sung recently (notes and midi are here). Apparently a late 20th century variation - somewhat more dramatic. Anyone know where it came from? Ewan MacColl (perhaps as recorded on Four Pence a Day. British Industrial Folk Songs, Stinson SLP 79, LP (1963), cut #B.01 - I don't have this but found it indexed online here)?

~ Becky in Tucson


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Subject: RE: Coalowner & Pitman's Wife tune question
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 06 Apr 04 - 08:53 PM

Further notes on the song, since we seem to have none on record here:

A.L. Lloyd writes in his Folk Song in England,
"An impressive specimen of early strike balladry is "The coal-owner and the pitman's wife", which has entered on a lively second existence since a miner at Whiston, Lancs, unearthed it in 1951. Seemingly it was made at the time of the 1844 Durham strike by a collier, William Hornsby of Shotton Moor. ... In using a classical ballad form, the pitman-songmaker was not inspired by a romantic wish to revive the beauties of past folk song. In fact, no doubt involuntarily, his ballad emerges rather as a witty caricature of the lyric of former times. The tune belongs to the great family of "Henry Martin" and a score of ballads with 'derrydown' refrain..."

and these two items from this site (which doesn't offer details on the literature cited):

[1974:] According to Mr J.S. Bell of Whiston, Lancs., who sent most of these words to be published in 'Coal', this song was probably composed by a Shotton Moor collier, William Hornsby by name, during the great Durham strike of 1844. The tune came from Mr. J. Denison of Walker. The 'derry down' chorus indicates its antiquity - a relative of Henry Martin? Most songs with a 'derry down' refrain used to be fairly salacious, and it has been suggested that the words, now nonsense, originally had a sexual connotation. (Dallas,Toil 224)

[1975:] This [...] was one of the many songs to emerge from the bitter twenty-week strike of 1844 in the North-East. Many of them were composed by Primitive Methodists and members of other dissenting sects who also belonged to the miners' union. Song sheets, usually sold for a penny each, as well as being a source of much-needed money were also a means whereby the men's case could be put to the general public.
The pitman's wife mentions in the last verse [not included above] that she has been turned out of her home. This is a reference to the mass evictions made by Lord Londonderry and other coalowners. They threw strikers and their families out of their homes to make way for blacklegs. As a result, numerous roadside encampments sprang up. Putting a few blankets as a roof above their modest pieces of furniture, the evicted families tried in vain to keep out the cold and rain. Songs like this, however, did help to bolster morale. (Notes 'The Bonnie Pit Laddie')


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Subject: RE: Coalowner & Pitman's Wife tune question
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 06 Apr 04 - 09:25 PM

The note above labelled "Bonnie Pit Laddie" is probably from the notes for the recording TSCD486 The Bonnie Pit Laddie by The High Level Ranters.

A soundclip here shows the MacColl/Seeger rendition is definitely the second version of the tune. Did it pre-date MacColl, or can we attribute it to him?

Anybody have Sing Out! v.4 #2 p.10 or the reprint?

And examples of how Google might lead one astray, or at least afield:

Or maybe someone has record or recollection of a 1952 arrangement by Bernard Stevens for A.L. Lloyd's compilation "Coal Dust Ballads" (noted nearly at the bottom of this page)?

The video here looks a bit scary (from a traddy folk point of view).


~ Becky


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Subject: RE: Coalowner & Pitman's Wife tune question
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 06 Apr 04 - 10:08 PM

(Note to self: before attempting to engage in erudite discussion about tunes, pull out the instrument and play the available dots... [sound of self-administered lashes is heard])

O.k., so the dots in Lloyd, the dots on the site cited in my first reference to "the second tune", the MacColl rendition, and the one I heard recently are all one and the same. The midi in the DT, however, is Henry Martin, straight. Does anyone actually sing CO&tPW to that tune??

~ Becky


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Subject: RE: Coalowner & Pitman's Wife tune question
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 06 Apr 04 - 11:23 PM

I'll keep this thread trundling on all by myself, then. I hope it will be of use to someone else someday...

There are two more verses at the end of the song that are not recorded in the DT:

'For all you coalowners great fortunes has made
By those jovial men that works in the coal trade
Now how can you think to prosper and thrive
By wanting to starve your poor workmen alive?'
Derry down, down, down derry down.

So come ye poor pitmen and join heart and hand
For when you're of work all trade's at a stand.
In the town of Newcastle all cry out amain:
Oh gin the pits were at work once again!
Derry down, down, down derry down.


~ B in T


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Subject: RE: Coalowner & Pitman's Wife tune question
From: GUEST,MCP
Date: 07 Apr 04 - 05:28 AM

Becky

So you don't think you're talking to yourself, the tune given on the site you quoted above from Folk Song In England (also given by Lloyd earlier in Come All Ye Bold Miners, in a different key - G Aeolian rather than D Aeolian) is the tune I've always hears it sung to. The tune in the DT, while obviously related, I've never heard anyone use.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Coalowner & Pitman's Wife tune question
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 07 Apr 04 - 12:01 PM

Thanks, Mick!!

~ Becky


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Subject: Tune Add: THE COAL OWNER AND THE PITMAN'S WIFE
From: GUEST,MMario
Date: 07 Apr 04 - 01:23 PM

Here's the tune Becky linked to above:

X:1
T:The Coal Owner and the Pitman's Wife
N:tune submitted by Desert Dancer
N:from http://www.crixa.com/muse/unionsong/u013.html
I:abc2nwc
M:6/8
L:1/8
K:Bb
zz4G|G d d d d d|d e c d2(B/2 G/2)|
w:A dia-log I'll tell you as true as my life Be_
G G G B B B/2 B/2|B c B A2G|G G G d d d|e e e g2G|
w:-tween a coal own-er and a poor pit-man's wife As she was a trave-ling all on the high-way She
G G G G g f|g G G G2B/2 c/2|d3f3|d c B G2z
w:met a coal own-er and this she did say Der-ry down, down, down der-ry down


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Subject: RE: Coalowner & Pitman's Wife tune question
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 07 Apr 04 - 01:40 PM

Oh! That was quick, Mmario.

~ Becky


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Subject: RE: Coalowner & Pitman's Wife tune question
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 07 Apr 04 - 02:04 PM

The notes from the High Level Ranters' The Bonnie Pit Laddie say,

The pitman's wife mentions in the last verse [not included above] that she has been turned out of her home.

The "not included above" refers to the set at My Songbook (http://mysongbook.de/msb/songs/d/dialogue.html#notelink), which does include the two verses I've added above, which are on that site, and also included by A.L. Lloyd.

Any clues at all about that additional verse?

~ Becky


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Subject: Origins: The Coal Owner and the Pitman's Wife
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 07 Apr 04 - 02:41 PM

And Karl Dallas says, "Mr J.S. Bell of Whiston, Lancs., who sent most of these words to be published in 'Coal' ...." (italics mine)

SO, just what went on in the early days of this song's revival? I suppose that'll be a bit hard to track down now.

- Mr. Bell published the song in "Coal" (a union publication?) in 1951. Exact set of words unknown.

- A.L. Lloyd got his hands on it published in Come All Ye Bold Miners in 1952, and later in Folk Song in England (1967). The latter has 9 verses, doesn't include the one where they're turned out of their home.

- Recorded in 1952 in an arrangement by Bernard Stevens for A.L. Lloyd's compilation "Coal Dust Ballads", published by the Workers Music Association (who performed?).

- Ewan MacColl got his hands on it, presumably from Lloyd?, and recorded it in 1963 with Peggy Seeger on banjo on Four Pence a Day, British Industrial Folk Songs, Stinson SLP 79, cut #B.01. Only the first 7 verses?


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Subject: RE: Coalowner & Pitman's Wife tune question
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 07 Apr 04 - 02:55 PM

Eek, italics gone wild. Never skip the preview feature. Here's what I intended.

And Karl Dallas says, "Mr J.S. Bell of Whiston, Lancs., who sent most of these words to be published in 'Coal' ...." (italics mine)

SO, just what went on in the early days of this song's revival? I suppose that'll be a bit hard to track down now.

- Mr. Bell published the song in "Coal" (a union publication?? It's not a good one for a Google search.) in 1951. Exact set of words unknown.

- A.L. Lloyd got his hands on it published in Come All Ye Bold Miners in 1952, and later in Folk Song in England (1967). The latter has 9 verses, doesn't include the one where they're turned out of their home.

- Recorded in 1952 in an arrangement by Bernard Stevens for A.L. Lloyd's compilation "Coal Dust Ballads", published by the Workers Music Association. Was this a recording or a print publication?

- Ewan MacColl got his hands on it, presumably from Lloyd?, and recorded it in 1963 with Peggy Seeger on banjo on Four Pence a Day, British Industrial Folk Songs, Stinson SLP 79, cut #B.01. Only the first 7 verses?

~ Becky


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Subject: RE: Coalowner & Pitman's Wife tune question
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 07 Apr 04 - 03:29 PM

Aargh. The fingers lag behind the brain and what I typed is not what I meant. It should read:

- A.L. Lloyd got his hands on it and published it in Come All Ye Bold Miners in 1952, and later in Folk Song in England (1967). The latter has 9 verses, doesn't include the one where they're turned out of their home. (I don't have access to the former text.)


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Subject: RE: Coalowner & Pitman's Wife tune question
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 07 Apr 04 - 04:29 PM

The former has 12 verses (including the one you mention) in the revised edition of 1978, but was shortened, I think, in the original 1952 edition. Tune from tradition, text from a MS in the Picton Library "communicated by J S Bell".


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Subject: RE: Coalowner & Pitman's Wife tune question
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 07 Apr 04 - 05:46 PM

Thank you, Malcolm, could you post the 3 verses that we don't have here? Do you have access to anything that would clarify the implications of Dallas's "Mr J.S. Bell ... sent most of these words..." comment? Did he have words he didn't send? Did someone add to the words he sent?

My apologies to everyone for the messy nature of this stream-of-inquiry thread, made messier by my proofreading problems.

~ Becky


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Subject: RE: Coalowner & Pitman's Wife tune question
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 07 Apr 04 - 08:46 PM

Oh, we all have days like that. I'm having one now. I'll have to come back to it next week when I get back from Norfolk. The sets in Come All Ye Bold Miners (1978) and Folk Song in England vary in some respects beside the inclusion of different verses, and there are what appear to be mistakes in the DT file (now there's a surprise). The tune file referred to in the DT is a generic example rather than one actually found with this song, and the provisional attribution to Hornsby is presented as definitive. Hmm...


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Subject: RE: Coalowner & Pitman's Wife tune question
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 07 Apr 04 - 09:26 PM

Thank you, thank you for the promise of further details. I'll try to be patient -- unless someone else with the right texts drops in, in the meantime --?

~ Becky


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Subject: Lyr/Tune Add: THE COAL OWNER AND THE PITMAN'S WIFE
From: GUEST,MCP
Date: 13 Apr 04 - 03:20 PM

Here are the complete texts for 3 of the versions mentioned above. I also give the tune as given in Folk Song In England, which differs a little from the tune as given by MMario above.

Mick



X: 1
T:The Coal-Owner And The Pitman's Wife
M:6/8
L:1/8
S:Lloyd: Folk Song In England
K:G aeo
G|Gdd ddd|dec d2
w:A dia-logue I'll tell you as true as my life,
(B/G/)| GGG BBB/B/|BcG {B}A2
w:Be_tween a coal-ow-ner and a poor pit-man's wife.
A|GGG ddd|eee Hg2
w:As she was a-walk-ing all on the high-way,
G|GGG Ggf|gGG G2
w:She met a coal-ow-ner and this she did say:
B/c/|d3 f3|dcB G2||
w:Der-ry down, down, down der-ry down.




THE COAL OWNER AND THE PITMAN'S WIFE

A dialogue I'll tell you as true as my life
Between a coal owner and a poor pitman's wife.
As she was a-travelling all on the high way
She met a coal owner and this she did say.

  Derry down, down, down derry down

'Then where do you come from?' the owner he cries.
'I come from hell', the poor woman replies.
'If you come from hell, come tell me right plain
How you contrived to get out again?'

'Aye the way I got out, the truth I will tell,
They are turning the poor folk all out of hell.
This to make room for the rich wicked race
For there is a great number of them in that place.

'And the numbers not known, sir, that is in that place;
And they chiefly consist of the rich wicked race
And the coal owners is the next in command
To arrive into hell as I understand.'

'How know you the owners is next in command?'
'How div I know, ye shall understand,
I hard the old devil say when I cam out
The coal owners all had receiv'd their rout.'

'Then how does the old Devil behave in that place?'
'O sir, he is cruel to the rich wicked race.
He is far more crueller than you can suppose;
Aye, even a mad bull with a ring through his nose.'

'Good woman', says he, 'I must bid you fare well.
You give me a dismal account about hell.
If this be all true that you say unto me,
I'll go home and with my poor men I'll agree.'

'If you be a coal owner, sir, take my advice:
Agree with your men and give them their full price.
For and if you do not, I knaw very well,
You'll be in great danger of going to hell.

For all ye coal owners great fortunes has made
By those jovial men that works in the coal trade.
Now, how can ye think for to prosper or thrive
For wanting to starve your poor workman alive?

So all ye gay gentlemen that's got riches in store,
Take my advice and be good to the poor,
And if you do this all things will gan well,
Perhaps it will save you from gannin to hell.'

So now the poor pitman may join heart and hand,
For when they're off work, all trade's at a stand,
Yon town of Newcastle, all cry out amain:
'Oh, gin the pits were at work once again!'

It's now to conclude, little more I've to say.
I was turned out of my house on the thirteenth of May,
But it's now to conclude and I'll finish my song;
I hope you'll relieve me and let me carry on.

Source: Lloyd: Come All Ye Bold Miners, 1978 edition

In my copy the following 2 lines are given in the text at the end of verse1, but not in the 1st verse attached to the music:

She met a coal owner and to him she said:
'Sir, to beg on you I am not afraid'

I don't know if this is as given in ms, a misprinted addition, or a sign of some omission.




THE COAL OWNER AND THE PITMAN'S WIFE

A dialogue I'll tell you as true as my life,
Between a coal-owner and a poor pitman's wife.
As she was a-walking all on the high way
She met a coal-owner and this she did say:

  Derry down, down, down derry down.

'Good morning Lord Firedamp', this woman she said,
'I'll do you no harm, sir, so don't be afraid.
If you'd been where I've been the most of my life,
You wouldn't turn pale at a poor pitman's wife.'

'Then where do you come from?' the owner he cries,
'I come from hell', the poor woman replies.
'If you come from hell, then come tell me right plain,
How you contrived to get out again?'

'Aye, the way I got out, the truth I will tell,
They're turning the poor folk all out of hell.
This is to make room for the rich wicked race
For there is a great number of them in that place.'

'And the coal-owners is the next on command
To arrive in hell, as I understand,
For I heard the old devil say as I came out,
The coal-owners all had received their rout.'

'Then how does the old devil behave in that place?'
'O sir, he is cruel to the rich wicked race.
He's far more crueller than you could suppose.
He's like a mad bull with a ring through his nose.'

'If you be a coal-owner, sir, take my advice
And agree with your men and give them a fair price,
For if and you do not I know very well
You'll be in great danger of going to hell.'

'For all you coal-owners great fortunes has made
By those jovial men that works in the coal trade.
Now, how can ye think to prosper and thrive
By wanting to starve your poor workmen alive?'

So come, ye poor pitmen and join heart and hand;
For when you're off work, all trade's at a stand,
In the town of Newcastle all cry out amain:
Oh, gin the pits were at work once again!'


Source: Lloyd: Folk Song In England 1967




THE COAL OWNER AND THE PITMAN'S WIFE

A dialogue I'll tell you as true as my life,
It's between a coalowner and a poor pitman's wife.
As she was a-travelling all on the highway,
She met a coalowner and this she did say,

  chorus: Derry down, down, down derry down.

Good morning Lord Firedamp, this woman she said,
I'll do you no harm, sir, so don't be afraid.
If you'd been where I've been the most of my life
You wouldn't turn pale at a poor pitman's wife

Then where do you come from? the owner he cries.
I come from hell the poor woman replies.
If you come from hell then come tell me quite plain
How you contriv-ed to get out again

The way I got out, the truth I will tell,
They're turning the poor folk all out of hell,
This to make room for the rich wicked race
For there are a great number of them in that place.

And the coalowners is the next on command
To arrive in hell as I understand,
For I heard the old devil say as I came out
That the coalowners all had receiv-ed their rout.

'Then how does the devil behave in that place?
Oh sir, he is cruel to that rich wicked race.
He is far more crueller than you can suppose,
Even like a mad bull with a ring through his nose.

If you be a coalowner sir, take my advice,
Agree with your men and give them a fair price,
For if and you do not, I know very well,
You will be in great danger of going to hell.

For all you coalowners great fortunes has made
By those jovial men that works in the coal trade.
Now how can you think for to prosper and thrive
By wanting to starve your poor workmen alive?

Good woman, says he, I must bid you farewell,
You give me a dismal account about hell.
If all this be true that you say unto me
I'll go home like a whippet, with my poor men agree.

So all you gay gentlemen with riches in store,
Take my advice and be good to the poor.
And if you do this all things will gan well,
And perhaps it will save you from going to hell.

So come ye poor pitmen and join heart and hand,
For when you're off work all trade's at a stand.
In the town of Newcastle all cry out amain,
Oh gin that the pits were at work once again.

Well, the pitgates are locked, little more I've to say,
I was turned out of my house on the thirteenth of May.
But it's now to conclude and I'll finish my song,
I hope you'll relieve me and let me carry on.

Source: Dallas: One Hundred Songs of Toil 1974


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Subject: RE: Coalowner & Pitman's Wife tune question
From: GUEST,MMario
Date: 13 Apr 04 - 03:38 PM

Thanks mick


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Subject: RE: Coalowner & Pitman's Wife tune question
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 13 Apr 04 - 05:41 PM

Yes, thanks, Mick!

~ Becky


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Subject: RE: Coalowner & Pitman's Wife tune question
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 25 Sep 05 - 05:46 PM

Looking at this again, it seems worth pointing out that while all the lyrics mention Newcastle, and the notes mention the 1844 Durham strike, the DT notes say "Lancaster."

From the sleeve notes to "Shuttle and Cage" (10T13) (MacColl & Seeger), on the Working Class Movement Library (Salford) site:

4.
The Coal-owner and the Pitman's Wife

This ballad is believed to date from the Durham strike of 1844 and to have been written by William Hornsby, a collier of Shotton Moor, Durham. The ballad was discovered among a collection of papers relating to the strike by a studious Lancashire miner, J. S. Dell. The tune was supplied by J. Dennison of Walker and together with the text can be found in A. L Lloyd's 'Come all ye Bold Miners'.


~ Becky in Tucson


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Subject: RE: Coalowner & Pitman's Wife tune question
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 25 Sep 05 - 06:05 PM

I see that my second link at the very top now goes ultimately to a different address, which is this.

~ B in T


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Subject: RE: The Coal Owner & the Poor Pitman's Wife
From: 2581
Date: 05 Jan 12 - 10:03 PM

I have five recorded versions of "The Coal Owner and the Poor Pitman's Wife" - by Ewan MacColl (2 different versions); Enoch Kent; the High Level Ranters; and Graeme Allwright (in French). Does anyone know of any other recorded versions of this classic coal mining song?


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Subject: RE: Coalowner & Pitman's Wife tune question
From: 2581
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 02:38 AM

Check out these three excellent versions of "The Coal Owner and The Poor Pitman's Wife".

The Coal Owner & The Poor Pitman's Wife - Graeme Allwright

The Coal Owner & The Poor Pitman's Wife - Alex Campbell

The Coal Owner & The Poor Pitman's Wife - Ewan MacColl


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Subject: RE: Coalowner & Pitman's Wife tune question
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 03:34 AM

Hamish Imlach also recorded it on his German LP ' Portrait '

Dave H


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Subject: RE: Coalowner & Pitman's Wife tune question
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 10:23 AM

A dialogue I'll tell you as true as me life
Between an Old Banker and a banking clerks wife
As she was a walking along the highway
She met an Old Banker and to him did say ............

L in C#


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Subject: RE: Coalowner & Pitman's Wife tune question
From: 2581
Date: 08 Jan 12 - 02:51 PM

Dave -- Do you know how I can get a copy of Hamish Imlach's version of "The Coal Owner & the Poor Pitman's Wife"? I see on the internet that his album "Portrait" is out of print.. Best wishes, Tony


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Subject: RE: Coalowner & Pitman's Wife tune question
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 09 Jan 12 - 03:18 AM

Sent you a PM Tony.

Dave H


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Subject: RE: Coalowner & Pitman's Wife tune question
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 09 Jan 12 - 03:37 AM

Sandra Kerr made a nice job of this back in the 70s - to the same tune - Evelyn Home was an agaony aunt then.
Jim Carroll

Advice to the Lovelorn
(John Fryer)

I'm Blue-eyes of Scunthorpe, I need some advice,
For I've been a bad girl (why was it so nice?),
I've no one to turn to in this modern age;
So all that is left is the Lonely Hearts Page,
And Miss Home, Home, Evelyn Home.

Dear Evelyn Home, I've a problem for you,
I've slept with my boyfriend (he slept with me too),
His parents found out and blamed it on me,
And completely ignore me when I go to tea,
Dear Miss Home, Home, Evelyn Home.

Should I say I'm sorry, not do it again,
Refrain from all romance and be home by ten?
My boy says, ``Don't do it, you might drive them to
Informing your parents, then what would you do?''
Dear Miss Home, Home, Evelyn Home.

Dear Blue-eyes of Scunthorpe, I can't understand
Why you and you only are taking a stand,
It takes two to go wrong, apportion the guilt;
Your boyfriend was in it, right up to the hilt,
Says Miss Home, Home, Evelyn Home.

Dear blue-eyes of Scunthorpe, hear what I must state,
For grief and contrition it's really too late,
Unless you get married as soon as you can,
You'll regret having had carnal knowledge of man,

O dear, sighs Miss Home, as she lays down her pen,
The troubles these young women have with their men;
It's sordid, immoral, and I really can't see
Why the hell all these things never happened to me,


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Subject: RE: Coalowner & Pitman's Wife tune question
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 09 Jan 12 - 04:14 AM

Cracking songs Jim. How times have changed.

Good morning Lord Moneybags the woman she said
I'll do you no harm so don't be afraid
If you'd been where I'd been for most of me life
You wouldn't turn pale ata Banking Clerk's Wife
..................

L in C#


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Mudcat time: 21 August 9:31 PM EDT

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