On the face of it, this is a simple amorous encounter with various ‘floating’ verses. Earlier versions on broadsides show a more complete story: the girl is lamenting because her lover has gone away to America. There is also a hint that she is of a lower social class than her lover. Be that as it may, the song has been beloved by singers throughout the English-speaking world. Most of the Gloucestershire versions have some consistency in the tune, with Mr Tandy’s variant showing a nice Mixolydian variation. Until recent times, the song was in the repertoire of the Brazil family of Gloucestershire gypsies.
Notes by Gwilym Davies 20 April 2015