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Soldier's Joy

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Alternative title: “Sailor’s Hornpipe”

Source: Peter Shepheard's recording; Gwilym Davies’ recording
Performer: Brazil, Lemmie
Place Collected: Sandhurst
Date collected: December 1968, April 1981

Gipsy melodeon player, Lementina “Lemmie” Brazil, was born near Southampton and spent 26 years of her youth in Ireland, before her family returned to England to settle in Gloucester. She described some of her tunes as “Irish” and used to play for step-dance competitions. Gwilym Davies recorded her twice, in October 1977 and April 1981, when she was living on a caravan site near Gloucester. She played a one-row melodeon in C. We have transcribed her music in D or G.

Soldier’s Joy:
Both Peter Shepheard and Gwilym Davies recorded Lemmie Brazil playing this tune. In neither case did she play it complete. The playing version combines the two recordings.

The tune is often attributed to Joshua Cummings and there is a date of 1778 associated with it (Folkopedia). It is widely known, being played as far afield as Estonia. Robert Burns used it for the first song of his cantata ‘The Jolly Beggars’.