Mudcat Café message #59188 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #9047   Message #59188
Posted By: Jo Taylor
18-Feb-99 - 07:15 PM
Thread Name: Where are all the black country songs?
Subject: Lyr/Tune Add: Wednesbury Cocking^^
Here's the first song. Everything (including notes) as written in the booklet. I hereby absolve myself from having anything to do with the subject matter!


Wednesbury Cocking

Wednesbury - (Wedgebury) Cocking Notes -
From an early C19th Broadsbeet - the original sheet can be seen in Birmingham Reference Library. The chorus, line endings of 'me lads' and the tune were added by M. Raven. The version sung by the Black Country Three omits verses 3,4,5,6 ,7,8, & 12, The six main story verses and the chorus will then make a more manageable unit. All letter omissions appear as in the original. A revised version of this song is in existence, enquiries regarding this version should be sent to Dr. Fletcher. For further information regarding this song see J.F. Ede, History of Wednesbury.

1.At Wednesbury there was a cocking,
A match between Newton and Scroggins.
The Collers and Nailors left work,
And all to old Spittles went jogging.
To see this noble sport, me lads,
Many noble men resorted.
And though they'd little of money, me lads,
With that they freely sported.

Chorus -
Oh it's off to the fight cried Bill Cartwright,
And it's off to the fight cried he.
Oh it's off to the fight cried Bill Cartwright,
And it's off to the fight cried he.

2.There was Jeffory & Oldborn from Hampton*
And Dusty from Bilston was there,
Plummery he came from Darlaston,
And he was as rude as a bear.
Old Will he came from Walsall, me lads,
And Smacker from West Brom. come.
Blind Robin he came from Rowley, me lads,
And staggering he went whum (home)

*Wolverhampton

3. Ralph Moody come hobbling along,
As though he some cripple was mocking.
To join in the black-guard throng,
That met at Wednesbury Cocking.
He borrowed a trifle of Doll*, me lads,
To back old Taverner's grey,
He laid fourpence half-penny to fourpence, me lads,
Then lost and went broken away.

*Possibly a woman friend

4. But soon he returned to the pit,
For he'd borrowed a trifle of money,
And ventured another large bet,
Along with blobber mouth Coney.
Then Coney demanded his money, me lads,
Which is common on all such occasions,
He cry'd blast thee if thee don't bold thy peace, me lads
I'll pay thee as Paul paid the Ephesians.

5. Scroggins' breeches were made o' nankeen,
And wore very thin in the groin,
In stooping to handle his cock,
His bollocks burst out behind,
Besides his shirt tail was beshit, me lads1
Which caused among them much laughter,
Scroggins turned himself round in a pet, me lads,
And cried bugger ye what's the matter.

6. The morning's sport being over,
Old Spittle a dinner proclaimed,
Each man he should dine for a groat.
If be grumbled he ought to be damned,
For there was plenty of beef, me lads,
But Spittle he swore by his troth,
That never a man should dine, me lads,
Till he'd eaten his noggin of broth.

7. The beef it was old and tough,
Of a bull that was baited to death,
Barney Hide got a lump in his throat,
That had liked to have stopp'd his breath.
The company all fell into confusion, me lads,
At seeing poor Barney Hide choaked,
They took him into the kitchen, me lads,
And held his head over the smoke.

8. They held him so close to the fire,
He frizzled just like a beef steak,
Then threw him down on the floor,
Which had like to have broken his neck.
One gave him a kick in the stomach, me lads,
Another a kick on the brow,
His wife said throw him into the stable , me lads,
And he will be better just now.

9. Then they all returned to the pit,
And the fighting went forward again,
Six battles were fought on each side,
And the next to decide the *main.
For they were two famous cocks, me lads,
As ever this country bred,
Scroggins a duck-winged black, me lads,
And Newton's a shift-wing red.

*main - match

10. The conflict was hard on both sides,
Till brassy winged black's was choaked,
The colliers were nationally vexed,
And the nailors were sorely provoked.
Peter Stephens he swore a great oath me lads,
That Scroggins had played his cock foul,
Scroggins he gave him a kick, me lads,
And cried God damn ye soul.

11. The company then fell in a discord,
A bold fight did ensue,
Kick bugger and bite was the word,
Till the Walsall men were subdued,
Ralph Moody* bit off a man's nose, me lads,
And wish't that he could have him slain,
So they trampled him to death me lads,
And they made a draw of the main.

* Ralph Moody. Moses Whitehouse who kept the recently demolished Mine Borer's Arms in Darlaston was known as Ruff Noey because of his fighting reputation. This name was changed to Ralph Moody by later writers.

12. The cock pit was near to the church,
An ornament unto the town,
On one side was an old coal pit,
The other well gors'd around.
Peter Hadley peep'd through the gorse, me lads,
In order to see them fight,
Spittle jobb'd his eye out with a fork, me lads,
And said blast thee it serves thee right.

13. Some people may think this is strange,
Who Wednesbury never knew,
But those who have ever been there,
Won't have the least doubt but it's true.
For they are savage by nature, me lads,
And guilty of deeds most shocking,
Jack Baker he wacked his own father, me lads,
And so ended Wednesbury cocking.


And here's the tune:
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