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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
GUEST,Sue Allan Lyr Req: Lish Young Buy a Broom (64* d) RE: Lyr Req: Lish Young Buy a Broom 06 Jan 07

Following this thread after reading the article on William Graham, the Poacher on Musical Traditions website - and Matthew Edward's further comments about Len Irving on Pass the Jug Round album - I thought I might as well add my own two penn'orth. I was responsible for getting the archive recordings which make up Pass the Jug Round made into commercial recordings in the first place, first in vinyl in 1983 and then as a Veteran CD a couple of years ago. I did the sleeve notes for both (and please note Matthew, that my surname is Allan not Allen!) The insert with notes on songs and singers in the vinyl recording uses the picture of a man with a gun copied from the broadside of A New Song on William Graham which is in Carlisle library, by way (if anyone wants a photo of that ballad, I have one I can email).

Transcriptions of both Lish Young Buy a Broom and William Graham can also be found in the Frank Warriner collection in Vaughan Williams Memorial Library. The transcriptions were made by the late Stuart Lawrence of Dalton in Furness from Frank Warriner's own notebook, apparently dating from c.1930, of songs he got from variety of sources including the Denwood family of Cockermouth - and Folk Song Journals! Warriner later became more involved with dialect than folk song. He was one of the founders, with the late Lance Porter, of the Lakeland Dialect Society in 1939. Stuart Lawrence also transcribed a couple of broadside ballads in Porter's posssion, which included the one on William Graham (Bodleian version rather than Carlisle one, interestingly), the chap alleged by Len Irving to have written Lish Young Buy a Broom. Nice story if he did. Born in 1899, Irving lived at Wreay and was stationmaster there for many years.
I found on Veteran's website a transcription of the words of the Lish Young Buy a Broom ( by John Howson, with song notes by Will Noble & John Cocking. It says 'Will first heard it sung years ago, by an old singer in the Lake District called Esme Smith, and then later heard the 'Pass the Jug' recordings which rekindled his interest in the song.'

I well remember Esme! A fantastic singer who was a fixture at the Blencathra Hunt annual shepherd's meets in the 1970s when I occasionally attended. It certainly seems to have been sung in many a pub in Cumbria over the years, whatever its provenance.

As an indigenous person of these parts myself, and one who has been singing, playing, learning, collecting and writing about Cumbrian folk music for over thirty years (greatly helped along over the years in the fiddle music research by one Greg Stephens - good on yer Greg!) I can also verify that the word 'lish' is still in use in Cumbria today, and does mean lithe and sprightly, as in the reply to the dialect question 'Hes t' ivver seen a cuddy lowp a five-barred yat?' which has it that:'It mun a been a gey LISH cuddy or a gey la'al yat!

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