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Joe, the Collier's Son

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Place Collected: Bibury
Date collected: Between 1913 and 1916
Collector: Williams, Alfred
Roud Number: 1129

Sharp named this song “Joe the Pen Collier” when he collected it from a Mr Shepherd at Winchcombe, but it hard to see why as the singer, and all other versions of it have the title “Jolly Joe the Collier’s Son”.   “Hillborough” is possible “Oldbury”, and other placenames have been similarly misheard.  Other versions give an extra verse (verse 2) viz:

Come all you colliers in this row who delight in a bonny lass,
Who loves to drink good ale that’s brown and sparkles in the glass.
My parents they do frown on me and say that I am to blame
For keeping Rachel’s company, who liveth in Mash Lane.

 For a song with such northern connotations, it is interesting that it was taken up by several southern English source singers, presumably on the appeal of the gentle love story.

For a local tune to this song, see


Notes by Gwilym Davies 31 March 2016



Notes by Gwilym Davies 14 May 2015