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Leather Breeches, The

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Performer: Avery, William
Place Collected: Aldsworth
Date collected: Between 1913 and 1916
Collector: Williams, Alfred
Roud Number: 12739

Mr Avery’s version is a fragment of a longer ballad “Hodge and his Leather Breeches” which goes back at least to the 18th century.  The complete words can be found on broadsides – see http://ballads.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/static/images/sheets/05000/02448.gif.  The word Hodge, according to the Collins English Dictionary, is “a typical name for a farm labourer; rustic and this would probably have been understood at once by singer and audience.  The mock rustic dialect and the mocking of the simple country lad is typical of later songs such as “Farmer Giles” or “I bain’t half as soft as I looks”.  It was printed in several 19th century song books and Cecil Sharp found a tune for it in Somerset.

 

Notes by Gwilym Davies 2 April 2016

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