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Unfortunate Tailor, The

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Performer: Webley, John
Place Collected: Arlington
Date collected: Between 1913 and 1916
Collector: Williams, Alfred
Roud Number: 1614

Tailors have a bad press in folklore and their trade is not considered manly enough to impress the fair sex.  In this song, the lady is far more attracted to a sailor “with a big black beard and a muscular frame” rather than to a “blubbering ” tailor.  This seems to me rather harsh but such is life.  It is surprising that this jaunty song is not wider spread throughout the tradition but the fact is that only 3 versions have ever been collected, 2 of those in Hampshire.  Curiosly, the tune turns up in the Cotswold Morris tradition as the dance Go and enlist for a sailor which is the last line of the song.  The collector H H Albino noted the tune as Why does my Sarah Serve me so, again linking the song to the Morris tradition.


Notes by Gwilym Davies 12 April 2016