The Crawdad Song


h1 March 1st, 2015

My wife, Camilla was telling me how her grandma loved to fish. She didn’t use a fancy rod and reel like Opie up there, just a cane pole, a short fishing line and a hook bated with a worm (my wife had to affix the worm). Grandma caught small fish and returned them to the water. I started singing this song that I learned at the Old Town School of Folk Music over 55 years ago. Camilla asked if I’d ever recorded it for the Folk Den and I realized that I had not. So here it is!

Lyrics:
[G] You get a line and I’ll get a pole honey
You get a line and I’ll get a pole [D] babe
[G] You get a line and I’ll get a pole
[C] We’ll go down to the crawdad hole
[G] Honey [D] Baby [G] mine

Yonder comes a man with a sack on his back, Honey,
Yonder comes a man with a sack on his back, Babe,
Yonder comes a man with a sack on his back,
Got more crawdads than he could pack,
Honey, Baby mine.

What did the hen duck say to the drake, Honey,
What did the hen duck say to the drake, Babe,
What did the hen duck to the drake,
There ain’t no crawdads in this lake,
Honey, Baby mine.

Sittin’ on the bank ’til my feet get cold, Honey,
Sittin’ on the bank ’til my feet get cold, Babe,
Sittin’ on the bank ’til my feet get cold,
Watchin’ that crawdad dig his hole,
Honey, Baby mine.

What you gonna do when the lake runs dry, Honey,
What you gonna do when the lake runs dry, Babe,
What you gonna do when the lake runs dry,
Sit on the bank watch crawdads die,
Honey, Baby mine.

What you gonna do when the meal gives out, Honey
What you gonna do when the meal gives out, Babe
What you gonna do when the meal gives out
We’ll go visiting round about
Honey, Baby mine.

Crawdad Crawdad better dig deep, Honey
Crawdad Crawdad better dig deep, Babe
Crawdad Crawdad better dig deep
For I’m gonna ramble in my sleep
Honey, Baby mine

Stuck my hook in a crawdad hole, Honey
Stuck my hook in a crawdad hole, Babe
Stuck my hook in a crawdad hole
Couldn’t get it out to save my soul
Honey, Baby mine

Apple cider cinnamon beer, Honey
Apple cider cinnamon beer, Babe
Apple cider cinnamon beer
Cold hog’s head and a possum’s ear
Honey, Baby mine

What you gonna do when the meat’s all gone, Honey
What you gonna do when the meat’s all gone, Babe
What you gonna do when the meat’s all gone
Sit in the kitchen and gnaw on a bone
Honey, Baby mine

Repeat First Verse

Paddy and the Whale


h1 February 1st, 2015

Ewan MacColl and A.L. Lloyd sang this on their album “Thar She Blows” accompanied by Peggy Seeger doing an amazing 5-string banjo roll.

A.L. Lloyd had this to say about the song:

“From the latter days of whaling is this jokey remake of the Jonah legend. Presumably Paddy and the Whale originated late in the 19th century, though it’s debatable whether it was a sea-song first and a stage-song after, or t’other way round. Irish stage comedians knew it, and perhaps it was one of them who set the words to the tune of The Cobbler’s Ball.”

Lyrics:
[Dm] Well Paddy O’Brian left [C] Ireland in [Dm] glee;
[C] He had a strong notion for Greenland to see;[Dm]
He shipped on a whaler, for Greenland was bound,
[C] And the whiskey he drank made his head go around,

And it’s [Dm] whack, fol da rol doe, [C] fol da rol doe [D] dee lee *

[Dm] Now, Paddy had never been [C] whaling [Dm]before;
[C]It made his heart jump when he heard a loud [Dm]roar;
As the lookout he cried there’s a whale he did spy:
[C]“I’m going to get ate,” says old Pat,”by-and-by”
And it’s [Dm] whack, fol da rol doe, [C] fol da rol doe [D] dee lee

[Dm]O, Paddy run forward [C] caught hold of the [Dm] mast
[C] He grasped his arms round it and held to it [Dm]fast
And the boat give a pitch, and,while losing his grip,
[C]Down in the whale’s belly poor Paddy did slip,
And it’s[Dm] whack, fol da rol doe, [C] fol da rol doe [D] dee lee

[Dm]He was down in the whale [C]for six months and five [Dm]days
[C]Till one day by luck to his throat he made [Dm]way.
The whale give a snort and then he did a blow,
[C]And out on dry land old Paddy did go.
And it’s[Dm] whack, fol da rol doe, [C] fol da rol doe [D] dee lee

[Dm]Now, Paddy is landed and [C]safe on the [Dm]shore;
[C]He swears that he’ll never go whaling no [Dm]more.
And the next time he wishes old Greenland to see,
[C]It will be when the railroad runs over the sea.
And it’s[Dm] whack, fol da rol doe, [C] fol da rol doe [D] dee lee

The Ash Grove


h1 January 1st, 2015

The Ash Grove is a 19th century Welsh folk song the tune of which has been set to many different lyrics including hymns and Christmas carols.

At age 17 my first professional show was at Ed Pearl’s Ash Grove folk music club at 8162 Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles. The venue was named after this song.

I recorded the RCA LP “Tonight in Person” with the Limeliters there in July of 1960. I had my 18th birthday in the club and the servers brought me a cupcake with a candle. It’s a sweet memory!

Lyrics:
[G] Down yonder green valley, where [Am] streamlets [D] meander,
When [G] twilight is [C] fading I [D] pensively [G] rove
Or at the bright noontide in [Am] solitude [D] wander,
[G] Amid the dark [C] shades of the [D] lonely [G] ash grove;
‘T was there, while the blackbird [Am] was cheerfully singing,
[G] I first met that dear one, [A] the joy of my [D] heart!
[G] Around us for gladness the [Am] bluebells were [D] ringing,
[G] Ah! then little [C] thought I how [D] soon we should [G] part.

Still glows the bright sunshine o’er valley and mountain,
Still warbles the blackbird its note from the tree;
Still trembles the moonbeam on streamlet and fountain,
But what are the beauties of nature to me?
With sorrow, deep sorrow, my bosom is laden,
All day I go mourning in search of my love;
Ye echoes, oh, tell me, where is the sweet maiden?
“She sleeps, ‘neath the green turf down by the ash grove.”

Repeat First Verse

The Cherry Tree Carol


h1 December 1st, 2014

Brought to you from the 15th century, this carol (Child Ballad 54) tells the story of Mary and Joseph before the baby Jesus was born.

Lyrics:
[F] JOSEPH was an old man,
and an old man was he,
[When he courted lovely [Dm] Mary,
the queen of [F] Galilee. X2]

Joseph and Mary walked
through an orchard good,
Where was cherries and berries,
so red as any blood. X2

Joseph and Mary walked
through an orchard green,
Where was berries and cherries,
as thick as might be seen. X2

O then bespoke Mary,
so meek and so mild:
‘Pluck me one cherry, Joseph,
for I am with child.’ X2

O then bespoke Joseph,
with words most unkind:
‘Let him pluck thee a cherry
that brought thee with child.’X2

O then bespoke the babe,
from within his mother’s womb:
‘Bow down then the tallest tree,
for my mother to have some.’X2

Then bowed down the highest tree
unto his mother’s hand;
She cried, See, dear Joseph,
I have cherries at command.X2

O then bespoke Joseph:
‘I have done Mary wrong;
But cheer up, my dearest,
and be not thou cast down.’ X2

Then Mary plucked a cherry,
as red as the blood,
Then Mary went homeward
with her heavy load.X2

Then Mary took her babe,
and sat him down on her knee,
Saying, My dear son, please tell me
what this world will be.X2

‘O I shall be as dead, mother,
as the stones in this wall;
O the stones in the streets, mother,
shall mourn for me all.X2

‘Upon Easter-day, mother,
my uprising shall be;
O the sun and the moon, mother,
shall both rise with me.’X2

Little Moses


h1 November 1st, 2014

This spiritual was made popular by the Carter Family. A.P. Carter had learned it from his aunt Myrtle Bays who had learned it from her mother. It goes back a long way!

Lyrics:
Away by the river so clear
The ladies were winding their way
And Pharaoh’s daughter stepped down in the water
To bathe in the cool of the day
Before it was dark she opened the ark
And found the sweet infant was there
Before it was dark she opened the ark
And found the sweet infant was there

And away by the waters so blue
The infant was lonely and sad
She took him in pity and thought him so pretty
And it made little Moses so glad
She called him her own, her beautiful son
And she sent for a nurse that was near
She called him her own, her beautiful son
And she sent for a nurse that was near

Away by the river so clear
They carried the beautiful child
To his own tender mother, his sister and brothers
Little Moses looked happy and smiled
His mother so good done all that she could
To rear him and teach him with care
His mother so good done all that she could
To rear him and teach him with care

And away by the sea that was red
Little Moses the servant of God
While in him confided, the sea was divided
As upwards he lifted his rod
The He-brews safely crossed while all Pharaoh’s host was drownded in the waters and lost
The He-brews safely crossed while all Pharaoh’s host was drownded in the waters and lost

And away on a mountain so high
The last one he ever did see
While he was victorious, his hope was most glorious
Some day all of Jordan be free
When his labor did cease, he departed in peace
And rested in the Heavens above
When his labor did cease, he departed in peace
And rested in the Heavens above

Away by the river so clear
The ladies were winding their way
And Pharaoh’s daughter stepped down in the water
To bathe in the cool of the day

Chords:
[G] And away by the [D] river so [G] clear

[G] They carried the [D] beautiful [G] child

[D] To his own tender mother, his sister and brother
[G] Little Moses looked [D] happy and [G] smiled



[G] His mother [C] so [G] good, done all that [C] she [G] could

To rear him and [D] teach him with [G] care

[G] His mother [C] so [G] good, done all that she could

To rear him and [D] teach him with [G] care



Henry Lee


h1 October 1st, 2014

Derived from Child Ballad #68 “Young Hunting,” this classic tale of murder by a jilted lover is a good example of a Fatal Error. If Henry Lee had held his tongue about his love in that “Merry Green Land” he may have been able to escape his jealous girlfriend’s dagger.

Lyrics:
[E] Get down, [A] get down, [E] little Henry Lee, and stay all [B7] night [E] with me.
[E] The very best [A] lodging I [E] can afford will be fare [B7] better’n [E] thee.”
 [A] “I can’t get down, and I [E] won’t get down, and [A] stay all night with [B7] thee,
[E] For the girl I [A] have in that [E] merry green land, I love far [B7] better’n [E] thee.”

She leaned herself against a fence, just for a kiss or two;
With a little weapon-knife in her hand, she plugged him through and through.
”Come all you ladies in the town, a secret for me to keep,
With a diamond ring held on my hand I’ll never will be forsake.”

“Some take him by his lily-white hand, some take him by his feet.
We’ll throw him in this deep, deep well, more than one hundred feet.
Lie there, lie there, loving Henry Lee, till the flesh drops from your bones.
The girl you have in that merry green land still wants for your return.”

“Fly down, fly down, you little bird, and alight on my right knee.
Your cage will be of purest gold, in deed of property.”
”I can’t fly down, or I won’t fly down, and alight on your right knee.
A girl would murder her own true love would kill a little bird like me.”

“If I had my bend and bow, my arrow and my string,
I’d pierce a dart so nigh your heart your wobble would be in vain.”
”If you had had your bend and bow, your arrow and your string,
I’d fly away to the merry green land and tell what I have seen.”

Risselty Rosselty Now Now Now


h1 September 1st, 2014

Derived from an old Scottish folk song “The Wee Cooper O’ Fife” with a nonsense chorus. It was featured in the Alfred Hitchcock classic film “The Birds.” The tune sounds like dance music from another time.

Lyrics:
[A] I married a wife in the [D] month of [A] June,
   
Risselty rosselty, now now now!

I carried her off by the [D] light of the [A] moon (in a silver spoon)
   
Risselty rosselty, hey bombosity, nickety nackety,
retrical quality, willaby wallaby now now now!

She combed her hair but once a year,
   
Risselty rosselty, now now now!

With every rake she gave a tear,
   
Risselty rosselty, hey bombosity, nickety nackety,
retrical quality, willaby wallaby now now now!

She swept the floor but once a year,
   
Risselty rosselty, now now now!

She swore her broom was much too dear,
   
Risselty rosselty, hey bombosity, nickety nackety,
retrical quality, willaby wallaby now now now!

She churned the butter in dad’s old boot,
   
Risselty rosselty, now now now!

And for a dasher she uses her foot,
   
Risselty rosselty, hey bombosity, nickety nackety,
retrical quality, willaby wallaby now now now!

The butter came out a grizzledy gray,
   
Risselty rosselty, now now now!

The cheese took legs and ran away,
   
Risselty rosselty, hey bombosity, nickety nackety,
retrical quality, willaby wallaby now now now!

Tell Ole Gil


h1 August 3rd, 2014

We don’t know exactly what kind of trouble Gil ran into but one might suspect from the first verse it had something to do with those “downtown gals” or perhaps their male “protectors.”

Lyrics:
Capo on second fret
[G] Tell old [Em] Gil when [G] he gets [Em] home, this [G] mornin’ [Em] [G] [Em] ,[G] 

Tell ol’ [Em] Gil when [G] he gets [Em] home this [Am] evenin’[D] [Am] [D] ,[G] Tell old [Em] Gil when [G] he gets [Em] home, [G] 
Leave them [Em] downtown [Am] gals [D] alone,
[G] This mornin’, [Bm] this [Am] evenin’,[D] [G] so soon! [Bm] [Am] [D]

Gil he left by the alley gate, this mornin…
Old sal said, “Now, don’t be late.”…
They brought Gil home in a hurry-up wagon, this mornin’,
They brought…poor dead Gil–his toes were a-draggin’…

Oh no, it can’t be so, this mornin…
Oh no, it can’t be so—Gil he left about an hour ago, This morning, this evening, so soon.

Tell old Gil when he gets home, this mornin’,

Tell ol’ Gil when he gets home,
Leave them downtown gals alone,
This mornin’, this evenin’, so soon!

Oh no, it can’t be so, this mornin…
Oh no, it can’t be so—Gil he left about an hour ago, This morning, this evening, so soon.

Oh no, it can’t be so, this mornin…
Oh no, it can’t be so—Gil he left about an hour ago, This morning, this evening, so soon.

Hard Times of Old England


h1 July 1st, 2014

As Camilla and I prepare for our extensive Concert Tour through the UK, The Netherlands, Belgium and Germany, I’m reminded of this song. As part of the Folk Process, I’ve replaced the last line: “And soon I’ll have occasion to alter my song” with “
And soon we’ll have England financially strong,” a wish for now as it was in the Nineteenth Century.

The earliest broadside of this ballad came out before 1820, following the Napoleonic Wars. English tradesmen couldn’t find work. Soldiers and sailors returning to civilian life were faced with possible starvation. The singer however, ends on an optimistic note hoping there will be good times in old England once again.

Lyrics:
[G] Oh come all you [Bm] tradesmen who [Em] travel along

I’m [C] asking you [D] now where the [G] work has all gone
[C]
Long time I’ve been [D] traveling and I [G] cannot find none
Sing, Oh the hard [D] ti-m-es of old [G] England
In old [C] England [D] very hard [G] times

Provisions you find in the shops, it is true

But if you’ve got no money, there’s none there for you

So what are the poor folk and their families to do
Sing, Oh the hard times of old England
In old England very hard times

Our soldiers and sailors have come from war

They’re fighting for King and for country once more

Home to be starved, better stayed where they were
Sing, Oh the hard times of old England
In old England very hard times

And now to conclude and to finish my song

I’m hoping these hard times will not be here long

And soon we’ll have England financially strong
Sing, Oh the good times of old England
In old England very good times

Peg & Awl


h1 June 1st, 2014

This is a traditional song that chronicles the impact of the Industrial Revolution on the shoemaking craft. In 1801 a cobbler would spend all his time doing manual labor with his primitive tools “peg and awl” to create shoes. But by 1804 a machine was invented that could make a hundred pair to his one.

Lyrics:
[E] In the year of eighteen and one
Peg and awl
In the year of eighteen and one
[B7] Peg and awl
[E] In the year of eighteen and one
Peggin’ shoes was [A] all I done
[E] Hand me down my [B7] peg, my peg, [E] my peg and awl

In the year of eighteen and two
Peg and awl
In the year of eighteen and two
Peg and awl
In the year of eighteen and two
Peggin’ shoes was all I’d do
Hand me down my peg, my peg, my peg and awl

In the year of eighteen and three
Peg and awl
In the year of eighteen and three
Peg and awl
In the year of eighteen and three
Peggin’ shoes was all you’d see
Hand me down my peg, my peg, my peg and awl

In the year of eighteen and four
Peg and awl
In the year of eighteen and four
Peg and awl
In the year of eighteen and four
Said I’d peg them shoes no more
Throw away my peg, my peg, my peg and awl

They invented a new machine
Peg and awl
They invented a new machine
Peg and awl
They invented a new machine
Prettiest little thing you ever seen
Throw away my peg, my peg, my peg and awl

Makes one hundred pairs to my one
Peg and awl
Makes one hundred pairs to my one
Peg and awl
Makes one hundred pairs to my one
Peggin’ shoes it ain’t no fun
Throw away my peg, my peg, my peg and awl