Mudcat Café message #621547 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #42673   Message #621547
Posted By: Malcolm Douglas
05-Jan-02 - 01:39 PM
Thread Name: Lyr Req: The Manchester Cornstalk
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Manchester cornstalk
Further to Lani's comments, Arthur Howard's set of The Christmas Goose, transcribed by Ian Russell, appeared in English Dance and Song, vol.43, no.4, Christmas 1981.  Dr. Russell added:

"Arthur is regularly called upon to perform this favourite during the hunt supper that follows the Boxing Day Meet of the Holme Valley Beagles.  This delightful tale of the cocksure commercial traveller who gets his come-uppance at the hands of the crafty chambermaid has an almost contemporary feel with its references to mild cigar, public, and bar.  Roy Palmer notes that gay Luthero in the first verse is almost certainly gay Lothario, a character from a play by Rowe entitled The Fair Penitent.  The combination of a deft turn of phrase and a beautiful, lingering chorus helps to explain the song's immense popularity in Arthur's district, the Pennines near to Holmfirth.  (A related song that shares the same motif of the change is Alfred Scannell's  The Brisk Young Butcher, see Marrowbones)."

The Brisk Young Butcher text in the DT was transcribed from a Revival performance, and no traditional source is named; one of the two tunes given, though, (XMASGOO2.1.MID) is precisely that noted by Hammond from George Hatherill of Bath, Somerset, in 1906 and printed with Alfred Scannell's text (Mere Workhouse, Dorset, 1905) in Frank Purslow's Marrowbones (EFDSS 1965).  I can't place the other tune offhand, and have no idea whether the DT text is a collation, a deliberate modification, or a traditional text from another source.  The song was widely published on broadsides, most often as The Leicester Chambermaid, and turns up under all sorts of other names.  Several broadside copies can be seen at  Bodleian Library Broadside Ballads,  amongst which:

The Leicester chambermaid  Printed between 1813 and 1838 by J. Catnach, 2, Monmouth-court, 7 Dials [London]. Sold by W. Marshall, Lawrence Hill, Bristol.