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Origins: tailor's britches (or breeches)

DigiTrad:
THE TAILOR'S BREECHES


Related threads:
Tune Req: Tailor's Breeches (4) (closed)
Lyr Add: The Jolly Little Tailor (7)


GUEST 12 Aug 04 - 12:53 PM
George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca 13 Aug 04 - 01:00 AM
George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca 13 Aug 04 - 01:03 AM
Joe Offer 13 Aug 04 - 02:01 AM
Joe Offer 13 Aug 04 - 02:19 AM
Abby Sale 13 Aug 04 - 11:02 AM
GUEST,Anne Croucher 13 Aug 04 - 06:37 PM
Compton 13 Aug 04 - 09:09 PM
GUEST 16 Aug 04 - 06:57 AM
IanC 16 Aug 04 - 12:42 PM
GUEST 17 Aug 04 - 04:49 AM
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Subject: Origins: tailor's britches (or breeches)
From: GUEST
Date: 12 Aug 04 - 12:53 PM

Can anyone help with the first(or an early)printed version of this song?


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Subject: RE: Origins: tailor's britches (or breeches)
From: George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca
Date: 13 Aug 04 - 01:00 AM

Guest, if you go to the top of the screen, and look at the file listed under DigiTrad, you will find at the bottom of the file, the attribution of where the song was collected. Think it said 1905.


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Subject: RE: Origins: tailor's britches (or breeches)
From: George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca
Date: 13 Aug 04 - 01:03 AM

Also, in the thread which starts off Ceremonial SongS, they give fairly long versions of the same song.


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Subject: RE: Origins: tailor's britches (or breeches)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 13 Aug 04 - 02:01 AM

Here's the entry on this song from www.folktrax.org - looks like the earliest known source is *PURSLOW MB 1965/ WS 1968/ CL 1972/ FD 1974 = Frank Purslow: Marrowbones/ Wanton Seed/ Constant Lovers/ Foggy Dew (EFDS Publ)



TAILOR'S BREECHES, THE - "There was a brisk young tailor - lived at the Ram and the Gate - loved wine and women's company" - ROUD#1610

- PURSLOW MB 1965 p87 Hammond: Jacob Baker, Bere Regis & Robert Barratt, Piddletown, Dorset 1905 (w/o) Note says Hardy mentions song in novels and that a broadside version is concerned with a sailor's adventures in Covent Garden (*PURSLOW MB 1965/ WS 1968/ CL 1972/ FD 1974 = Frank Purslow: Marrowbones/ Wanton Seed/ Constant Lovers/ Foggy Dew (EFDS Publ) )
- Cf SAILOR'S FROLIC - RICHARDS-STUBBS 1979 pp144-5 coll Colin Wharton, Middlesbrough--
Frank PURSLOW & John PEARSE rec by PK, London: DOBELL F-LEUT-1 1960/ 219
- Barry SKINNER: ARGO ZFB-34 1971 - UNION FOLK: TRADITIONAL SOUND TSR-007 1971
- THE YETTIES: ARGO ZFB-38 1972/ Radio 2: 25/11/87: CASS-60-0556 - Martin Carthy
(Whitby version with new words & "New Year" rec by John Howson on Radio 2: 4/1/96: CASS-1335


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Subject: ADD Version: The Tailor's Breeches
From: Joe Offer
Date: 13 Aug 04 - 02:19 AM

Here's the version from The English Folksinger (Sam Richards & Tish Stubbs, 1979). Tune available on request.

THE TAILOR'S BREECHES

Now ladies and gentlemen, if you'll listen unto me,
I'll sing you a song of the North Country.
In a village near Whitby town a tailor once did dwell,
And women, wine, and company, he loved them quite well.

A dance one New Year's evening the tailor did attend
I'm sure that he would ne'er have gone if he had seen the end.
The jolly little tailor he will ne'er forget that night
For never yet was tailor seen in such a sorry plight.

Oh he danced and he sang and had whisky many a tot,
The jolly little tailor was the merriest of the lot.
To a lady he was dancing with the tailor then declared
If you'll lend to me your petticoats I'll dance like a maid.

Oh his breeches he put off and her petticoats put on.
The maid the tailor's breeches she quickly did adorn.
The fiddler he played to them a merry merry tune.
She danced his money, watch, and breeches clean out of the room.

O bring me my breeches back, the tailor loud did call.
O bring me my breeches back, my money, watch and all.
All the company there assembled with laughter they did roar
When the little tailor's petticoats fell down upon the floor.

O Lord, said the tailor, where ever Thou may be.
O Lord, said the tailor, take pity now on me.
Well the little tailor didn't know the best thing for to do
For his little shirt was far too short to cover all below.

'Twas then the fiddler played a tune for all that he was worth.
The tune he played the tailor was the famous Cock o' the North.
All the ladies were delighted and they loudly shouted: No
When the tailor took his trilby hat to cover Uncle Joe.

When at last the little tailor got out into the street
A bevy of fair damsels he chanced for to meet.
All the ladies screamed with laughter when the tailor did appear
They wished him a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

The poor little tailor those ladies did address
Says he: it is not ladylike to laugh at man's distress.
Said the ladies to the tailor: Give us no more of that
If you call yourself a gentleman why don't you raise your hat?

In that village near to Whitby town there's old men living yet
They'll tell you of that famous dance they never will forget.
Old ladies too will tell to you the dance they loved the best
Was the dance where the tailor he did show his cuckoo's nest.

Now that jolly little tailor from that day unto this
Oh women, wine, and company he gave them all a miss.
At a dance that little tailor they never more did catch
Since the lady pinched his breeches, his money, and his watch.

Notes from Richards/Stubbs:
    The Tailor's Breeches (p. 144) Sung by Arthur Wood, Middlesborough, Teesside. Collected by Colin Wharton, 1962. In the archives of the Institute of Dialect and Folk Life studies, Leeds University.
    Arthur Wood, in his 80s in the early 1960s when he sang to Colin Wharton, claimed the words as his own and the collector notes that this incident happened at a dance in a village near Whitby many years ago. The traditional song about the tailor losing his breeches was known to Thomas Hardy in Dorset years before, and versions of the so have occasionally turned up ever since. None are as detailed or superbly ridiculous as Mr. Wood's version, and our justification for his claim to authorship is that he reworked the existing song in his own, very inventive way. It is not rare to hear of traditional tale being referred to as actual occurences.
These lyrics are very similar to those posted by George Henderson as The Jolly Little Tailor
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Origins: tailor's britches (or breeches)
From: Abby Sale
Date: 13 Aug 04 - 11:02 AM

If you ever meet up with Liz Dyer, capture her and force her to sing this. It's a very visual song and when she sang it, I could nearly see a movie of the action. Great! I still remember from about 1968.


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Subject: RE: Origins: tailor's britches (or breeches)
From: GUEST,Anne Croucher
Date: 13 Aug 04 - 06:37 PM

I think this was sung by the Elliots in Barnsley Yorkshire before I left home in 1969.

I use several different twists - I use the rhyme claim and dame rather than decared and maid in the third verse - which isn't.

In petticoats the tailor they swiftly did adorn
The maid the tailor's britches she very soon put on

rather than 'she quickly did adorn' which feels clumsy.

I usually repeat the last line so the audience can join in with the best bits.

Anne


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Subject: RE: Origins: tailor's britches (or breeches)
From: Compton
Date: 13 Aug 04 - 09:09 PM

One of the first songs I ever heard Cyril Tawney sing was this one !!


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Subject: RE: Origins: tailor's britches (or breeches)
From: GUEST
Date: 16 Aug 04 - 06:57 AM

Thanks for all your replies.I'm particularly interested in origins rather than in who sang it where.Thanks again.


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Subject: RE: Origins: tailor's britches (or breeches)
From: IanC
Date: 16 Aug 04 - 12:42 PM

Thomas Hardy mentions the song in "Tess of The D'Urbervilles" (1891) and "Life's Little Ironies" (1894). Most of the songs and tunes Hardy mentions in his stories come from his youth or from his father (a noted musician) and, given the context of the reference in both these cases (i.e rural reminiscences), it is probable that the songs were well known in the South of England well before the 1890s.

Having said this, it doesn't seem to have been well known among the broadside purveyors of the 19th Century. A search of the Bodleian ballads turns up nothing.

:-)


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Subject: RE: Origins: tailor's britches (or breeches)
From: GUEST
Date: 17 Aug 04 - 04:49 AM

Thanks for your references Ian.I'm much obliged.


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