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Origins: Broomfield Wager

19 Aug 08 - 01:26 PM (#2417857)
Subject: Origins: Broomfield Wager
From: SINSULL

BROOMFIELD WAGER

A wager, a wager, a wager I'll lay you
I'll lay you five thousands to your one
That a maiden I will go to the merry broom field
And a maiden I'm sure I will return
(repeat last two lines)
Hold the wheel


I have checked all the threads on this song and can not find an explanation for "hold the wheel". Is it a work song of sorts?

SINS


19 Aug 08 - 01:51 PM (#2417888)
Subject: RE: Origins: Broomfield Wager
From: The Borchester Echo

I imagine it means "don't take any notice of the SatNav when it tells you to turn down the road that leads (probably) to Carterhaugh. But if you do and see a bloke fast asleep in the gorse, throw a few Class A drugs around to make sure he stays that way.


19 Aug 08 - 02:13 PM (#2417902)
Subject: RE: Origins: Broomfield Wager
From: Desert Dancer

See this thread. The phrase originally appears in an early recording of Cyril Poacher's version, which you may know from John Roberts & Tony Barrand on "Dark Ships in the Forest", also apparently on Frankie Armstrong's "Female Frolic".

"On Cyril's first recording of the song, made by the BBC (Child Ballads Vol I, Topic 12T160, 1961 [originally Caedmon]), singer and audience constantly interject the phrase hold the wheel. This allegedly arose as a result of the singer trying to explain the story to a visiting yachtsman who misunderstood had his way as hold the wheel, but by the 1970s Cyril had gone back to the old way of singing it. (ref. notes to Cyril Poacher: Plenty of Thyme, Musical Traditions MT CD 303 )."

~ Becky in Tucson


19 Aug 08 - 02:14 PM (#2417904)
Subject: RE: Origins: Broomfield Wager
From: Desert Dancer

Sorry, lost the italics on the quote, but if you go to the original thread it will be clearer.

~ B in T


19 Aug 08 - 02:57 PM (#2417937)
Subject: RE: Origins: Broomfield Wager
From: JohnB

A version of this song is on Brian Peters latest CD "Songs of Trial and Triumph". In the liner notes he attributes Cyril Poacher and the regulars at the "Blaxhall Ship"
With the "Hold the Wheel" part of the chorus being a local in-joke mocking a visiting yachtsman's mishearing of the words.
Brian includes the wheel part of the chorus in his version.
JohnB


19 Aug 08 - 03:07 PM (#2417944)
Subject: RE: Origins: Broomfield Wager
From: Terry McDonald

I thought the original phrase was 'had his will.' I have the EP 'Songs from the Village Inn' with Cyril Poacher singing it, but it's in the loft............


19 Aug 08 - 03:19 PM (#2417957)
Subject: RE: Origins: Broomfield Wager
From: Big Al Whittle

I've always thought of it as 'steady the buffs!' sort ofthing.


19 Aug 08 - 03:19 PM (#2417958)
Subject: RE: Origins: Broomfield Wager
From: SINSULL

Thank you all - so it's not a sea chanty then???


19 Aug 08 - 04:01 PM (#2417982)
Subject: RE: Origins: Broomfield Wager
From: SINSULL

Another observation: Men seemed to have slept very soundly when these songs were first performed. (The Maid On The Shore, eg) Or was it drink?


19 Aug 08 - 04:13 PM (#2417994)
Subject: RE: Origins: Broomfield Wager
From: Desert Dancer

As Terry says, it's supposed to be "had his will": it was mistakenly (or in fun?) changed to "hold the wheel" for a period in one community, then that error perpetuated among revival singers -- here's the quote with italics:

"On Cyril's first recording of the song, made by the BBC (Child Ballads Vol I, Topic 12T160, 1961 [originally Caedmon]), singer and audience constantly interject the phrase hold the wheel. This allegedly arose as a result of the singer trying to explain the story to a visiting yachtsman who misunderstood had his way as hold the wheel, but by the 1970s Cyril had gone back to the old way of singing it."

I agree about the slumbering men...

~ Becky in Tucson


19 Aug 08 - 04:16 PM (#2417995)
Subject: RE: Origins: Broomfield Wager
From: Jim Carroll

Story is that she was a witch who cast a spell on him
Three times around his head, three times around his feet, three times she kissed..... etc.
Same with maid on the Shore:
She sang so sweet, so neat and complete,
She sang sailors and captain asleep.
Jim Carroll


19 Aug 08 - 04:18 PM (#2417997)
Subject: RE: Origins: Broomfield Wager
From: terrier

Could be very wrong but I always thought that this song was a two magicians song? Certainly not a sea shanty. The first version I learned years ago was from the Penguin Book of English Folk Songs. Are we talking about the same song?


19 Aug 08 - 04:24 PM (#2418003)
Subject: RE: Origins: Broomfield Wager
From: The Borchester Echo

Maid On The Shore is quite definitely Class A drug-based. And Tam Lin / Two Magicians is an out-and-out ad for LSD.


19 Aug 08 - 04:46 PM (#2418026)
Subject: RE: Origins: Broomfield Wager
From: Desert Dancer

terrier, the thread I linked is very complete -- and starts with the Penguin version.

~ Becky in Tucson


19 Aug 08 - 05:08 PM (#2418047)
Subject: RE: Origins: Broomfield Wager
From: terrier

Sorry DD, I missed your link, thanks.


19 Aug 08 - 05:56 PM (#2418072)
Subject: RE: Origins: Broomfield Wager
From: BB

The reason he slept soundly was the fact that it was the *Broomfield* Hill. Broom is a soporific.

So:
"When that she came to the Broomfield Hill,
Her lover he lay fast asleep,
With his hawk and his hound and his silk and satin gown,
And a bush of green broom at his feet."

She makes sure that he's fast asleep:-
"Then she's picked the blossom from off the broom,
The blossom that smelled so sweet,
And she's scattered it round and about his head
And likewise at his feet."

She makes doubly sure by casting the spell.

And no, it isn't a version of The Two Magicians - no shape changing in this one.

Barbara


19 Aug 08 - 06:12 PM (#2418091)
Subject: RE: Origins: Broomfield Wager
From: The Borchester Echo

no shape changing . . . ?

This does rather depend on which lab the plant extracts were boiled up in. Tamburlaine:Leary Industries Inc make top acid (I'm told).


19 Aug 08 - 06:46 PM (#2418114)
Subject: RE: Origins: Broomfield Wager
From: SINSULL

My quip about the sea shanty was a joke.


19 Aug 08 - 07:13 PM (#2418132)
Subject: RE: Origins: Broomfield Wager
From: Big Al Whittle

had his way, and hold the wheel.

the two phrases don't sound similar. that yachtsman must have been deaf.


19 Aug 08 - 07:21 PM (#2418145)
Subject: RE: Origins: Broomfield Wager
From: Desert Dancer

Likely impaired, at least. ;-)

~ B in T


20 Aug 08 - 04:08 AM (#2418410)
Subject: RE: Origins: Broomfield Wager
From: Terry McDonald

WLD - that's because it wasn't 'way' but 'will.'


20 Aug 08 - 04:15 AM (#2418414)
Subject: RE: Origins: Broomfield Wager
From: the button

It's a lovely song, anyway. I have Walter Pardon's version on my iPod fairly constantly (minus "hold the wheel").


20 Aug 08 - 02:56 PM (#2418832)
Subject: RE: Origins: Broomfield Wager
From: Spot

Allloo everybody...

Anyone heard Bob Fox's version on his CD "The Blast".. I'd not heard of the song till then... I think the tune is his own.. I also think the whole CD is excellent.. (I also wish I was Bob Fox...!!)   ;-)

                  Regards to all, as ever... Spot


20 Aug 08 - 03:11 PM (#2418840)
Subject: RE: Origins: Broomfield Wager
From: Terry McDonald

Yup, heard it, learnt it immediately, and sung it several times at local clubs. It's (to my mind) the best version of the ballad I've heard.


20 Aug 08 - 06:05 PM (#2418985)
Subject: RE: Origins: Broomfield Wager
From: Spot

Terry...
          You learned it immediately????   Wow..respect!! I've been trying for three weeks.. I can't remember past 5th verse for anything!!   :-)   Good version, eh?

               Regards to all... Spot


20 Aug 08 - 06:43 PM (#2419051)
Subject: RE: Origins: Broomfield Wager
From: Terry McDonald

Well, within a few days of hearing it. It helps that it's a narrative ballad and each verse follows (fairly) logically from the one before. I also know a couple of other versions and used to sing the one learned from Tim hart and Maddy Prior (A wager, a wager, a wager I will lay, I'll lay you five hundred to one.....) I'm also cursed with what a fellow singer at Wimborne calls a 'prodigious' memory.