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Origins: Down by the Old Mill Stream

DigiTrad:
NUTS IN MAY


Related thread:
(origins) Origins: 'Nuts in May' a trad(?) bawdy parody (9)


GUEST,Gadaffi 24 Mar 05 - 04:11 AM
Joe Offer 24 Mar 05 - 04:54 AM
Snuffy 24 Mar 05 - 08:49 AM
GUEST 24 Mar 05 - 10:50 AM
GUEST 24 Mar 05 - 11:01 AM
GUEST,Gaddafi 24 Mar 05 - 11:55 AM
open mike 24 Mar 05 - 11:26 PM
Jos 27 Mar 05 - 07:51 AM
GUEST,gadaffi 30 Mar 05 - 07:57 AM
GUEST,breezy 30 Mar 05 - 09:47 AM
Jim Dixon 21 May 11 - 12:47 AM
GUEST,Stewart 30 Sep 15 - 10:56 AM
Steve Gardham 30 Sep 15 - 03:48 PM
Joe Offer 29 May 16 - 03:34 AM
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Subject: Down by the Old Millstream
From: GUEST,Gadaffi
Date: 24 Mar 05 - 04:11 AM

Back in the early 1980s, there was a woman called Ruby who played piano on Sunday nights at the Fox at Bucks Green on the Sussex-Surrey border. Brendan and Chrissie Buckley (now living in Northumbria) learnt it and used to sing it at the Guildford folk club.

One of the songs was 'Down by the Old Millstream'. Chorus goes:
    Let's go out tonight, tonight,
    The moon is shining bright tonight,
    I see the twinkle in your eyes,
    Lie Lie Lie.
    Everyone is watching us, watching you and I
    Let's go round the corner and have a bit on the sly.
The song strikes me as music hall/variety. Does any Catter know its provenance? Can anyone else recall Ruby, and even what her surname was? If so, what else did she sing?

See: "We All Just Knew Her as Ruby"

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Subject: ADD: Down by the Old Mill Stream
From: Joe Offer
Date: 24 Mar 05 - 04:54 AM

I take it you don't want the song that the barbershop quartets sing, but I'm going to post that one since it hasn't been posted at Mudcat.
Gadaffi, can you recall any of the part of the song that talks of a millstream?
-Joe Offer-

Title: Down by the Old Mill Stream
Words and Music: Tell Taylor
Publication information: Chicago: Tell Taylor, c1910

Lyrics

    1.
    My darling I am dreaming of the days gone by,
    When you and I were sweethearts beneath the summer sky;
    Your hair has turned to silver the gold has faded too;
    But still I will remember, where I first met you.
       Chorus:
       Down by the old mill stream where I first met you,
       With your eyes of blue, dressed in gingham too,
       It was there I knew that you loved me true,
       You were sixteen, my village queen, by the old mill stream.
    2.
    The old mill wheel is silent and has fallen down,
    The old oak tree has withered and lies there on the ground;
    While you and I are sweethearts the same as days of yore;
    Although we've been together, forty years and more.
       Chorus:

Source: http://www.lib.duke.edu/music/sheetmusic/am_mem/taylor.htm
Duke University, Historic American Sheet Music Project.

Warren Wilson's "Old Mill Stream" is here (click) - but it isn't your song, either.


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Subject: RE: Down by the Old Millstream
From: Snuffy
Date: 24 Mar 05 - 08:49 AM

You'll find several versions of the song (and several titles for it) in this thread Origins: 'Nuts in May' a trad(?) bawdy parody


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Subject: RE: Down by the Old Millstream
From: GUEST
Date: 24 Mar 05 - 10:50 AM

Thank you - I've known/sung that song for years and have never been able to remember where I learnt it. But I used to go to Guildford Folk club in about '82/'83 so I guess that solves the mystery!! I'll check the link and if the versions there are very different to mine, I'll post what I know as it'll probably be close to the version you remember.


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Subject: RE: Down by the Old Millstream
From: GUEST
Date: 24 Mar 05 - 11:01 AM

Yes - having checked the link in Snuffy's posting the song is basically the same. The Chorus I sing is:

No, you can't have it tonight,
The moon is shining bright
And the stars are shining in the sky-y-y-y
Everybody's watching us
Watching you and I
So lets go round the corner
And have it on the sly.

And the verses were:

We went gathering flowers, flowers, flowers
   Down by the old mill stream
Instead of gathering flowers he kept me there for hours
   Down by the old mill stream.

We went gathering cowslips,
This lad he kissed me on the lips

We went gathering watercress
He left me in a helluva mess

We went gathering new mown hay
We lay there till the break of day

We went gathering nuts in may
He left me in the family way

We went gathering Rosemary
He promised he would marry me.


Hope that helps.


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Subject: RE: Down by the Old Millstream
From: GUEST,Gaddafi
Date: 24 Mar 05 - 11:55 AM

Yes, that's more or less it ... and hello Jos, if you're the same Jos that I know from my Guildford days.
That leaves the problem of Ruby from Bucks Green.


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Subject: RE: Down by the Old Millstream
From: open mike
Date: 24 Mar 05 - 11:26 PM

The "Old Mill Stream" song i have heard goes thusly:

Down by the old (not the new, but the old)
Mill Stream (not the river, but the stream)
Were I first (not second, but first)
met you (not me, but you)
you were 16 (not 17, but 16)
you were my queen (not the king but the queen)
Down by the old (not the new, but the old)
Mill Stream (not the river, but the stream)

this was a song we sang at camp


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Subject: RE: Down by the Old Millstream
From: Jos
Date: 27 Mar 05 - 07:51 AM

Thanks, Gaddafi, for those extra verses. I knew there must be more than the two I remembered, but I wasn't convinced by the version that talked about rape - I'm sure the young lady in this song knew what she was getting herself into.

I didn't know Ruby. I heard it from the Buckleys, but I remember being told it had come from Sussex.


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Subject: RE: Down by the Old Millstream
From: GUEST,gadaffi
Date: 30 Mar 05 - 07:57 AM

... and apparently Phil Gorton took Flirby down in his car with who knows else to Bucks Green on those Sunday nights, years before I knew her. My version too comes from the Buckleys.


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Subject: RE: Down by the Old Millstream
From: GUEST,breezy
Date: 30 Mar 05 - 09:47 AM

not the Yetties then?

It was a regular feature in the ship in Padstow on a Sat night in the days of Nigel Rowe


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Subject: RE: Origins: Down by the Old Millstream
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 21 May 11 - 12:47 AM

YouTube has recordings of DOWN BY THE OLD MILL STREAM (written by Tell Taylor) by:

The Standard Male Quartet, 1911
Harry Macdonough and Chorus, 1911
Vernon Archibald with Marie Kaiser, 1913


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Subject: RE: Origins: Down by the Old Mill Stream
From: GUEST,Stewart
Date: 30 Sep 15 - 10:56 AM

Just come across this old post and noted that someone was asking after Ruby at The Fox at Bucks Green, West Sussex. I used to drive down there with friends in the late 70s early 80s. Ruby played piano and her husband (I presume) was Percy, who was short and stood on a stall beside the piano and sung along, conducting theatrically with his cigar in hand. We all used to sign along, especially to "Down by the Old Mill Stream". Ruby would never play it after Percy died. There was a good bar billiard table in the pub and sausages at the bar. We would then go on to the Golden Palace at Cranleigh, but that's another story.

I, too, was a regular at the Star Folk Club in Guildford.

Best wishes, Stewart


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Subject: RE: Origins: Down by the Old Mill Stream
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 30 Sep 15 - 03:48 PM

Once these mixed-up threads have run their course someone ought to sort out the half-dozen different songs being presented. The other thread is nearly the same with a version of the children's song 'Here we come gathering nuts in May'in its midst. It would take some sorting out and combining with the other thread but would save a lot of confusion.

The original request was for a provenance and that has still not been addressed. John Mehlberg has my uncle's version which he picked up in the RN during the Korean War so just after WWII. Here is a verse and chorus of my uncle's version:

I took her gathering roses, roses, roses
Down by the old millstream.
I took her gathering roses, we took off all our closes
Down...

Oh don't do it tonight, my love, the moon is shining bright
The stars are twinkling in the sky, so high,
Somebody's watching us, they're watching you and I
So let's go round the corner and do it on the sly.

The nearest other tune I can think of is the 19thc song 'Granny's Old Armchair'


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Subject: ADD: Down by the Old Millstream (Nuts in May)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 29 May 16 - 03:34 AM

I found an article titled "We All Just Knew Her as Ruby" at http://www.mustrad.org.uk/articles/ruby_c.htm. The page has these lyrics:
    Down by the Old Millstream (Nuts in May)

    This song, above all others, is the one recalled by everyone contacted in this project.  Similar versions are known to exist and can be found on internet sites; I heard something similar shortly after learning the same in the Anchor at Sidmouth in around 1981.  The verses are spoken, with the exception of the lines leading 'down by the old millstream' which is sung, with the second line acting like an interrogation from the audience (e.g. roses??) to which the singer replies in confirmation (e.g. roses!)

    [Chorus]
    Let's go out tonight, tonight,
    The moon is shining bright tonight.
    I see a twinkle in your eye - aye aye aye
    Everybody's watching us, they're watching you and I
    Let's go round the corner and have a bit on the sly
    Aye aye, tiddly aye aye aye .  .  .

    He took her gathering nuts in May,
    Nuts in May? Nuts in May!
    Down by the old mill stream, aye aye aye
    But instead of gathering nuts in May
    He put her in the family way
    Down by the old mill stream.

    [Chorus]

    He took her gathering roses,
    Roses? Roses!
    Down by the old mill stream, aye aye aye
    But instead of gathering roses
    He took off all her clotheses
    Down by the old mill stream.

    [Chorus]

    He took her gathering watercress,
    Watercress? Watercress!
    Down by the old mill stream, aye aye aye
    But instead of gathering watercress
    He got her in one hell of a mess.
    Down by the old mill stream.

    [Chorus]

    He took her to see his mother,
    His mother? His mother!
    Down by the old mill stream, aye aye aye
    But instead of seeing his mother
    They had a bit of the other
    Down by the old mill stream.

    [Chorus]


Here's a recording sample: http://www.horntip.com/mp3/fieldwork/horntip_collection/g/steve_g/2006-03-05/Down%20By%20The%20Old%20Mill%20Stream%20[Learned%20Early%201960s].mp3


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