Mudcat Café message #3939699 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #162666   Message #3939699
Posted By: Vic Smith
26-Jul-18 - 05:06 PM
Thread Name: New Book: Folk Song in England
Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
I have held off posting this - but quite a number of posts here on the Bert/ song alteration/amending thread drift have made me think of a song that I learned directly from Bert who sang it each time he was booked at our club in Lewes and at a number of other local clubs where I saw him appearing. I have never seen this song anywhere in print (has anyone else?) so I give the version that I have typed out from my song book. According to my song book, he called it The Weaver:-
As I walked out rather late last night
The moon was a-shining and all things bright
I spied a fair maid by the light of the moon
And underneath her apron she working at her loom

She says, "Young man, what trade do you bear?"
"Oh!" says I "I'm a weaver, I declare."
" If you're a weaver then" said she
"Would you like to come and work upon my loom for me."

"Oh, no fair maid that never can be,
For last night I wove for two or three
Two or three and girls so bright
And they'd keep me at it all that night.

There was Nancy Fairclough of this town
I wove for her a pattern called 'The Rose & Crown'
And for Elvira, fairer still
I wove for her a pattern called the 'Diamond Twill'."

"A very fine pattern is the 'Diamond Twill'
And the 'Rose & Crown' is a finer still
But here's 20 I would lay down
If you weave a better pattern than the 'Rose & Crown'.

So I laid this fair maid on the grass
I braced her loom both tight and fast
My shuttle in her way back flung
And I thought "Good God how her loom was sprung".

The heels of her loom they being well greased
This young girl she began to hug and squeeze
And there and then by the light of the moon
I wove for her a pattern called the 'Bride & Groom'

"Oh, there's fine weaving!" then said she
"Would you like to come and weave another piece for me?"
And a my shuttle went to and fro
I wove for her a pattern called the 'Touch & Go'

My shuttle to her weft I bent
And I wove on to a lively end
And as a finish to the joke
I topped off the pattern with a 'Double Stroke'.

I can even remember how he introduced it saying that he thought it was a rather clever song because he had visited a weaving museum and seen all the patterns mentioned in the song - Bride & Groom, Rose & Crown etc. - so the person who made it up certainly knew what they were talking about.
Decades ago I was in a four piece group made up of regulars and residents from our club and I learned this song to sing with them. The group stopped performing together before my first daughter was born and she is now 43 so I'm talking about a long time ago.
We sung it, me singing to melodeon, concertina and fiddle accompaniment at our club and when we were given gigs at other clubs in and around Sussex. It was at one of these gigs (I think it was Chichester) when someone older then me came up at the end and asked me if I thought that it was a traditional song because he knew the A.L. Lloyd wrote it.

I didn't.... but the knowledge upset me. I had assumed from Bert's introductions that it was a traditional song.

I told the other members of the group that I didn't want to sing it any more and they were horrified. What did it matter who wrote it? It was a bloody good song with a great tune and one that always went down well with audiences and they all enjoyed playing the accompaniments. Of course they were right so I relented.
After the group finished, I rarely sang it and soon I gave it up altogether.... not because it was written and not traditional but because I started to find the words a bit Monty-Python-nudge-nudge-wink-wink and not the image I wanted to put over as a performer.
However, the posts about Bert and songs has made me think of it again and I wonder if there is anyone who could confirm that it is a Lloyd composition.