Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Over the Hills and Far Away

Here's one youtube version

Here's forty shillings on the drum For those who volunteer to come, To 'list and fight the foe today Over the Hills and far away [Chorus] O'er the hills and o'er the Main Through Flanders, Portugal and Spain King George commands and we obey Over the hills and far away When duty calls me I must go To stand and face another foe But part of me will always stray Over the hills and far away [Chorus] If I should fall to rise no more As many comrades did before Then ask the pipes and drums to play Over the hills and far away [Chorus] Then fall in lads behind the drum With colours blazing like the sun Along the road to come what may Over the hills and far away [Chorus] X4

Here's another youtube version- the video is a bit gruesome at the end, but I wouldn't have the kids watch the videos. I just would have them listen and sing along.

The song was refurbished and sung again over a hundred years or more for different wars, so some versions say Queen Anne commands and we'll obey, like this one.

You may vaguely remember but never understood, that this is the only tune Tom, Tom the Piper's son could play:

Tom, he was a piper’s son” lyrics

1. Tom, he was a piper’s son,
He learnt to play when he was young,
And all the tune that he could play
Was ‘over the hills and far away’;
Over the hills and a great way off,
The wind shall blow my top-knot off.

2. Tom with his pipe made such a noise,
That he pleased both the girls and boys,
They all stopped to hear him play,
‘Over the hills and far away’;
Over the hills and a great way off,
The wind shall blow my top-knot off.

3. Now Tom did play with such skill
That those who heard him could never keep still;
As soon as he played they began for to dance,
Even the pigs on their hind legs would after him prance;
Over the hills and a great way off,
The wind shall blow my top-knot off.



English Country Garden

Youtube version

How many kinds of sweet flowers grow In an English country garden? I'll tell you now of some that I know And those I miss you'll surely pardon Daffodils, heart's ease and phlox Meadowsweet and lady smocks Gentian, lupine and tall hollyhocks Roses, foxgloves, snowdrops, forget-me-nots In an English country garden (In an English country garden) How many insects come here and go Through our English country garden? I'll tell you now of some that I know And those I miss you'll surely pardon Fireflies, moths and bees Spiders climbing in the trees Butterflies that drift in the gentle breeze There are snakes, ants that sting And other creeping things In an English country garden (In an English country garden) How many songbirds fly to and fro Through our English country garden? I'll tell you now of some that I know And those I miss you'll surely pardon Bobolink, cuckoo and quail Tanager and cardinal Bluebird, lark, thrush and nightingale There is joy in the spring When the birds begin to sing In an English country garden (In an English country garden)

(optional verse) Robin (robin, robin) don't forget the robin... (Don't forget the robin, robin) Robin (robin, robin) don't forget the robin...

My mother, who is in her seventies, remembers singing this in school as a child.

Billy Barlow

https://youtu.be/FrgTOPufru4 You can download a version by Peggy Seeger for .99. You can download the Pete Seeger version for .89. Mike and Peggy Seeger, (Pete's younger half siblings) perform the version I learned, and you can download it for .99. The Pete Seeger version has each person asking 'what shall I hunt/get/haul. But the version I learned, and it makes more sense to me, the boys are asking each other what they'll hunt/get/haul together - this is a group activity. So those are the lyrics I chose.

 As I have mentioned before, it doesn't matter if the lyrics you have are slightly different from the song you're listening to, because folk songs are fluid and they change and there is no one true correct way to sing a folk song (except the one that you learned as a child). The point is singing, not listening, so learn it as quickly as possible and then turn off the electronics and belt it out.

 Billy Barlow
 "Let's go huntin'," says Risky Rob
"Let's go huntin'," says Robin to Bob
 "Let's go huntin'," says Dan'l to Joe
"Let's go huntin'," says Billy Barlow

 "What shall we hunt?" says Risky Rob
 "What shall we hunt?" says Robin to Bob
"What shall we hunt?" says Dan'l to Joe
"Hunt for a rat," says Billy Barlow

 "How shall we get him?" says Risky Rob
"How shall we get him?" says Robin to Bob
 "How shall we get him?" says Dan'l to Joe
"Borrow a gun," says Billy Barlow (or, 'Go borry a gun,' if you want to sound more folksy)

 "How shall we haul him?" says Risky Rob
"How shall we haul him?" says Robin to Bob
"How shall we haul him?" says Dan'l to Joe
"Borrow a wagon," says Billy Barlow

 "How shall we divide him?" says Risky Rob
 "How shall we divide him?" says Robin to Bob
"How shall we divide him?" says Dan'l to Joe
"How shall we divide him?" says Billy Barlow

 "I'll take shoulder," says Risky Rob
"I'll take side," says Robin to Bob
 "I'll take ham," says Dan'l to Joe
"Tail bone mine," says Billy Barlow

 "How shall we cook him?" says Risky Rob
"How shall we cook him?" says Robin to Bob
"How shall we cook him?" says Dan'l to Joe
 "How shall we cook him?" says Billy Barlow

 "I'll broil shoulder" says Risky Rob
"I'll fry side," says Robin to Bob
"I'll boil ham," says Dan'l to Joe
"Tail bone raw!" says Billy Barlow

 We enjoyed this one when the kids were small. They often thought Billy Barlow was rather put upon and those other boys couldn't do anything without him, and it was rather rough shakes to give him the tailbone. But then we read somewhere that some towns would have rat catching contests to reduce troublesome vermin and the diseases they carry, and the bounty was often paid on the rat tails. So maybe Billy Barlow didn't really need our sympathy. I don't know if that's the back story to Billy taking the tail or not, and I wouldn't offer it up even as a possibility unless the kids asked.

 One of the things children enjoy about folksongs is that they often have a thin thread of a story running through them. This is one of that sort. One of my grand-daughters noticed then when she was just four years old. Once when I was visiting her house, she asked me to sing her a song and read her a book. I was not going to be able to do both, I think we were trying to get ready to leave, which, now that I think on it, might be why she asked for both. At any rate, I told her I could only do one, and asked her which she would prefer, a song, or a book. "Well," she thought through it aloud, "Some songs are also stories, so sing a song that is also a story." I am pretty sure I sang Billy Barlow.

Why sing folk songs?  Folk songs come into play very early in the chain of development toward a mature appreciation for and understanding of poetry. It’s the most reasonable thing in the world, right after Mother Goose, to introduce the child to singing folk songs. But not just any songs:

 “do not let us weaken him by giving him milk and water when he requires strong meat. It is ridiculous to see, as I have done, boys of ten at a dancing-class doing a teddy-bear dance or skipping, and many of the songs one finds in children's song-books are merely silly. I myself found my children took no pleasure in singing until, thanks to Mr. Cecil Sharp and Mr. Baring-Gould, I introduced them to a book of old English folk songs. The result was illuminating. Those songs immediately struck some responsive ancestral chord, and singing became a delight instead of a mere lesson; and now folk songs resound from morning till night." (Mrs. Alton, more here)
That book by Sharp and Baring-Gould is one of the books used in Mason's schools.
 What if you don't like folksongs, or the kids don't? Go ahead and sing them.=) It doesn't have to be *this* one, but find some you can and will sing. Here are some ideas about how.