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We are all Jolly Fellows that Follow the Plough

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Performer: Pitts, Charles
Place Collected: Brize Norton
Date collected: 1935 (Dec)
Collector: Albino, H.H.
Roud Number: 346

There is a genre of English folksong which praises the labouring man, e.g. “There’s none can lead a jollier life than Jim the Carter’s Lad” or “The Jolly Waggoner”, portraying the simple countryman as happy in his humble trade. This song falls easily into that category and is hugely popular with singers in England, but the genre did not export well.   Folk song collectors in England have found it over and over again and Bob Copper would sing the song to his informants to get them going before moving on to rarer material. Even today it is in oral tradition circulation. It was certainly printed in broadsides in the first half of the 19th century but possibly it is no older than that.

These days it is nearly always found to the ubiquitous “Villikins and his Dinah” tune, but Mr Pitts’ variant on this is a welcome change.

 

Notes by Gwilym Davies