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Lyr Req: Jolly Plough Boys

09 Aug 99 - 05:24 PM (#103443)
Subject: words

Does any one know the words to the song "Jolly Plough Boys" as sung by Kate Rusby on her "Hourglass" album??
See also this thread on Damned Idle Fellows and The Ploughboy

09 Aug 99 - 05:32 PM (#103444)
Subject: RE: Jolly Plough Boys
From: Susan of DT

a search for plough in th4 blue search box yields 67 songs, including the Jolly Plough Boy and the Merry Plough Boy. Are any of these what you are looking for?

10 Aug 99 - 03:02 PM (#103771)
Subject: RE: Jolly Plough Boys
From: Dave Clifford

Susan, I had a look at all the songs containing 'plough' and I couldn't find this particular one. The line that repeats quite frequently at the end of several of the verses is' For we're all jolly fellaa's as follow the plough'

11 Aug 99 - 10:39 AM (#103951)
From: The_one_and_only_Dai

This one from Ceceil Sharp. Collected from Somerset in 1906. Kate Rusby does the flattest, most funereal rendition of this or any other song I've ever heard.

'Twas early one mornin', at the break of the day
The cocks they were crowing and the farmer did say,
Rise up my jollw fellows, arise with good will,
Your horses want something their bellies to fill.

When four o'clock came me boys, it's up we did rise,
And off to the stable we merrily flies
With a rubbin' and a-scrubbin' our horses we'll go,
For we're all jolly fellows what follers the plough

When siz o'clock cam me boys, at breakfast we met
Of cold beef and pork we heartily ate
With a piece in our pocket, I'll swear and I'll vow,
That we're all jolly fellows that follows the plough.

Our farmer came to us, and this 'e did say,
What have you been doin' boys all this long day
You 'ave not ploughed yer acre, I'll swear and I'll vow,
You are all lazy fellows what follows the plough.

Our carter turns round, and he thus makes reply,
We 'ave all pploughed our acre, you 'ave told us a lie.
We 'ave all ploughed our acre, I'll swear and I'll vow,
We are all jolly fellows that follows the plough.

Our master turns round and he laughs at the joke (pause for audience participation)
It is gone two o'clock boys, it's time to unyoke.
Unharness your horses, and rub them down well
And I'll give you a jug of my very best ale.

So come all you jolly plough boys where ever you be,
Come take my advice and be ruled by me
Never fear you jolly masters where ever you go,
For we're all jolly fellows that follows the plough.

Segue seamlessly into 'Speed the plough' in G.

11 Aug 99 - 11:15 AM (#103960)
Subject: RE: Jolly Plough Boys
From: GeorgeH

Dai . .

Re Kate Rusby I trust by "flat" you're not referring to her ability to sing in key . . Other than that, I guess our tastes differ rather markedly . . I wouldn't say it was the best of Kate's songs (I think that would probably be Annan Water in the style of Nic Jones), but it's a pretty fine rendition to my ears!!


09 Apr 00 - 11:37 AM (#209218)
Subject: RE: Jolly Plough Boys
From: GUEST,

Thanks for the responses. The version I recall had the chorus:

With my toor-a-li toor-a-li toor-a-li-ay What have you been doing this long summers day Well, you ain't ploughed an acre I'll swear and I'll vow For you're damned idle fellows that follow the plough

It also had a verse refering to an early morning hour (4 or 5 o'clock) when "we rise from our bed - and its down to the pump house where we douses our head.

Does anyone know what album the Watersons performed this song?

09 Apr 00 - 04:20 PM (#209304)
Subject: RE: Jolly Plough Boys
From: Lady McMoo

Agree with you on this one Dai...!


09 Apr 00 - 07:21 PM (#209344)
Subject: RE: Jolly Plough Boys
From: Snuffy

There are more versions on this recent thread Damn Idle Fellows

10 Apr 00 - 06:41 PM (#209874)
Subject: RE: Jolly Plough Boys
From: Liz the Squeak

Mmmm, distant memories are stirring..... I remember one version where they toasted the dogs and curried the horses - put me off takeaways for a fortnight that did!!

I might have this in the dim and distant depths of a filing cabinet - may take some time to find, but if I do and no-one beats me to it, I'll post.


29 Jun 04 - 02:19 PM (#1216417)
Subject: RE: Jolly Plough Boys
From: GUEST,Susan-MArie

I've read a number of the "Ploughboy" threads and this seemed to be the best one in which to ask this question: What is it about being a ploughboy that has generated so many songs?

I sing "Plooboy laddies" with my band, and would like to be able to explain why "the plooboy ladies are all the go" (all the rage).   From some of the discussion above it appears that being a ploughboy was a little like being a cowboy? Rugged, free-spirited, tamer of great beasts (horses)?

ANy insight would be greatly appreciated.

29 Jun 04 - 03:04 PM (#1216458)
Subject: RE: Jolly Plough Boys
From: akenaton

Susan...I had this song sung to me many years ago by the wonderful geordeanna Mcculloch,a great lassie and still a great voice.
In the hierarchy of the Scottish farm "touns" the young ploughmen were the "Jack the lads" of their day.They were the most important workers in the toun, and were able to behave in a "gallus" cheeky manner to their comrades and even to the farmer himself.
They prided themselves in their fashionable appearance,and hoped ultimately to "Get their own place". As a result all the lassies were after a ploughboy,hense "A' the go".
AS a child, I remember the end of the heavy horses,and the mixed farming in Scotland,and of course the end of the gallus plooboys...Ake

30 Jun 04 - 03:42 AM (#1216795)
Subject: RE: Jolly Plough Boys

I suppose they were/are so essential to the work of the farm that they gained iconic status (at least in their own eyes). Quite a lot of the songs seem to be singing their own praises - there is quite a skill in cutting a straight furrow, and keeping straight time after time with a single plough over a whole field.

One old lad in our village, who has recently died, was a ploughman (with horses originally). The oldest resident (nearly 96 and still driving!) was a champion ploughman from the age of 16, and until quite recently was judging ploughing matches.

These days you can watch the young lads driving their big tractors down the street, with their multi-bladed ploughing attachments. They wouldn't know a ploughboys song if it jumped up and hit their bottle of Bud out of their hands in the pub.


30 Jun 04 - 03:44 AM (#1216799)
Subject: RE: Jolly Plough Boys
From: mouldy

Now have reset cookie!


30 Jun 04 - 04:00 AM (#1216804)
Subject: Lyr Add: THE MERRY PLOUGHBOY (Dominic Behan)
From: GUEST,freda

ther's always the Merry Ploughboy..
(Dominic Behan)

I am a merry ploughboy and I ploughed the fields all day
'Till a sudden thought came to my mind that I should run away
For I'm sick and tired of slavery since the day that I was born
And I'm off to join the I.R.A. and I'm off tomorrow morn.

well we're all off to Dublin in the green, in the green
Where the helmets glisten in the sun
Where the bayonets flash and the rifles crash
To the echo of the Thompson Gun.

I'll leave aside my pick and spade and I'll leave aside my plough
I'll leave aside my old grey mare for no more I'll need her now
And I'll take my short revolver and my bandoleer of lead
I'll do or die I can try to avenge my country's dead.

I'll leave aside my Mary she's the girl I do adore
And I wonder will she think of me when she hears the rifles roar
And when the war is over and old Ireland she is free
I will take her to the church to wed and a rebels wife she'll be.

30 Jun 04 - 01:18 PM (#1217124)
Subject: RE: Jolly Plough Boys
From: Susan-Marie

Thanks very much, Ake and Andrea. I really love knowing something about the song I'm singing.

Freda, there are other threads on the song you posted if you're interested.

01 Jul 04 - 02:50 AM (#1217508)
Subject: RE: Jolly Plough Boys
From: GUEST, Hamish

As per the One and Only Dai, plus:

"We harness up our horses and off we do go
We trip o'er the plains, boys, as nimbly as does
And when we all do get there all merry and bold
We see which of us a straight furrow can hold"

after the third verse. I can't remember which book I got this out of.

As for Kate being funereal, well, yes: that's what she does. She takes shanties and turns them into pensive pretty little things. Doesn't mean there not fine versions. Well, not always.