Tyne Folk


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Lish Young Buy-a-Broom Traditional

Lish Young Buy-a-Broom image

As I was a-walkin’ in the North count-er-y,
Down by Kirby Stevens I happened for to be,
As I was a-walkin’ up and down the street,
A pretty little Buy-a-Broom I chanced for to meet.

For she was right, I was tight, / Everybody has their way,
I’ ’twas the Lish Young Buy-a-Broom / That led me astray.

She kindly then invited me to go a little way,
Yes was the answer to her I did say,
There was me with my music a-walkin’ down the street,
And her with a tambourine a-beatin’ hand and feet.

An’ straight way out for Kendal town we steered her and I.
Ower yon green mountains the weather being dry;
We each had a bottle filled up to the top
And whenever we were feelin’ dry we took a little drop

The night was coming on, an’ good lodgings we did find,
Eatables of all kinds and plenty of good wine,
Good bed and blankets just for we two,
An’ I rolled her in me arms me boys, an’ wouldn’t you do too?

Early the next morning we arose to go our way,
I called upon the landlord to see what was to pay;
Fourteen and sixpence just for you two,
Four crowns upon the table my darling then she threw.

Now the reason that we parted I now shall let you hear,
She started off for Germany right early the next year,
But me bein’ unwillin’ to cross the raging sea,
Here’s a health to me bonny lass, wherever she may be.

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Lish Young Buy-a-Broom

I warm to this song as it's about a spirited pretty young lass who comes across a good looking fellow by chance. They take a liking to each other and there they go dancing and singing out of town over the hills, full of the joys in life.

Of course, at dusk of day it dawns on them to find somewhere to eat and sleep. Well fed, satisfied and weary they find each other in bed, together.

Up in the morning, and by gocks she even took charge of the payment! Admirable. There is something mightily impressive about her carefree independence and strength of will, for off she goes to Germany! Why? We don’t know, but good luck to her. Come to think of it, we didn't catch her name, but she will be remembered! What a day and night.

Most songs tell of a woman weeping and wailing, her lover gone, often with a child to dandle on her knee ...But here its this woman of independent spirit who goes off across the sea leaving him! Here’s to strong, independent-minded women wherever they may be! We cannot be without them. They are the beginning and the making of us all.

Geoff Wood, long associated with the Grove Folk Club in Leeds, sang this with raucous gusto. He said he collected this song on his travels in the Lake District, and this was acknowledged as being so by Maddy Prior when she recorded the song.

Sam Dodds