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Life of a Man, The

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Performer: Goode, Archer
Place Collected: Charlton Kings
Date collected: 1980
Roud Number: 848

Definitely not the song to song at gatherings of senior citizens. This somber song has been known since the early 19th century and most contemporary folk song collectors will have come across it. It was known as “The Fall of the Leaf” in earlier versions with many more verses but the oral tradition has cut it down to 2 or 3. It is still a favourite in the folksong revival as a chorus song. Sharp only noted the song twice, which is surprising. Apart from a couple of versions in Canada, its spread is confined to England.

It was also collected in Gloucestershire from Dick Parsons and in incomplete form from William Ballinger of Hardwick and ‘Pooch’ Gail of Stonehouse.

Notes by Gwilym Davies 2 April 2015