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Jack and the Robber

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Alternative title: The Crafty Boy

Performer: Brazil, Danny
Place Collected: Staverton
Date collected: 1978 (5 Mar)
Collector: Davies, Gwilym
Roud Number: 2637

In the days when highway robbery was a very real danger on long journeys, a song about a highway robber being outwitted must have had great appeal. It can be traced back to 18th century broadsides with the title “The Highwayman Outwitted”, and Mr Brazil’s version follows this text fairly closely, whilst the Gloucestershire version collected by Collinson from an anonymous singer is more concise. The song is very widespread in the English-speaking world and has been frequently collected in the USA.  The theme of the highway robber outwitted also occurs in the song “Rich Farmer of Sheffield” (usually known as “The Farmer of Cheshire”.

Notes by Gwilym Davies 25 March 2015

Media & Downloads

Hear the song/tune as collected (mp3 stream):

See the song/tune as collected (PDF file)
Hear the song/tune (midi file)
Version to sing (PDF file)
Hear a version to sing (midi file)

Modern recording performed by: Puzzlejug

Song/tune as collected (abc file)
Version to sing (abc file)