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Lyr Req: Oller Boller (Bill Caddick)

05 Oct 09 - 04:33 PM (#2739120)
Subject: Lyr Req: Oller Boller, Bill Caddick
From: GUEST,Tangy

evening all,

after successfully singing Unicorns a few weeks ago, I fancy a stab at this one from Bill. Anyone transcribed it yet please ?



05 Oct 09 - 05:06 PM (#2739146)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Oller Boller, Bill Caddick
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)

I've got a copy in one of my old song folders, but it's a rough transcript, so I'd like to have a listen again and check it (I'm not sure I can read my old writing!). If noone posts it, I'll do it tomorrow.


05 Oct 09 - 06:24 PM (#2739187)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Oller Boller, Bill Caddick
From: RTim

You have to be from Wolverhampton to sing this!!


05 Oct 09 - 08:59 PM (#2739254)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Oller Boller, Bill Caddick
From: GUEST,Dave hunt

Wolverhampton! Wolverhampton!! - that bay right aar kid - yoe gorra be from the Black Country - which _never_ included 'Hompton - even thought thev put it on theer signs now - 'Wolverhampton - capital of the Black Country ' What a load of oud squit!!

My very good friend Mr Caddick and I were born only a couple of miles away from each other - and in the same year too - an we'm proper Black Country folks - an Oller Boller was a game as was played by kids (sort of Hide 'n Seek)[and Bill and I now both live in Shropshire, about 5 miles apart!]

05 Oct 09 - 09:05 PM (#2739259)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Oller Boller, Bill Caddick
From: RTim

I remember - very fondly - the Old Holdens Goldens Morris team. One of the groups of "Ladies" teams in the mid 1970's.
Although born in the New Forest, and then transplanted to Adderbury (now the USA), some of those Midland places have a great memory for me. I also have a copy of Bill's LP with Oller Boller on it.
Tim Radford

06 Oct 09 - 03:28 AM (#2739379)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Oller Boller, Bill Caddick
From: GUEST,Tangy

Aye, I also am a matey of Mr C's (and of u too Dr Hunt).

Thank u in advance Mick !

When I was brung up in Brum, our hide n seek call was "aki one two three", but it's not such a good lyric as oller boller :)

The Brummie accent is probably close enuff for me to get away with it :)


David H

06 Oct 09 - 08:04 AM (#2739482)
Subject: Lyr Add: OLLER BOLLER (Bill Caddick)
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)

David - here's my transcription. I had a listen again and only changed about two words in my ancient transcription (I could decipher my handwriting once I heard the song again). It's a particularly clear recording and must have been easy to get the words even before access to modern digital technology.

There's only one word I'm not sure about, in the second line of verse 2, which I've transcribed as fodes. I had Spodes in my original transcription, but it definitely sounds like fodes. Whether that's should be a maker's name or some Black Country arcana I don't know (they'm a leery bunch), but I've no doubt yourself or some other native may be able to fix it up.

The only slight problem I had is in the last verse, 3 lines from the end. I can't decide if it's Jack rap the door as another game name, or Jack rapped the door as an action. I favour the first, but I'm not quite sure.


(Bill Caddick)

This is the place I was born,
Though little is left of the life that we had.
Caddick Street's all been pulled down
But seeing it now still makes me think how
We had good times when I was a lad:
Gaslight dim and moonlight bright,
The corner kids were out at night,
Hide and seeking out of sight
And shouting "Oller, Boller".

  Oller, Boller.
  If you don't come then I must foller.
  Oller, Boller.
  Oller, Boller.

We shared a muddy backyard
With its lavatory fodes(?) and a tumbledown well;
Out playground most of the day,
But when gaslight glowed it's into the road
We rushed like the bats out of Hell.
Running, walking, slip and sliding,
Hide-and-seek with the gaslight guiding
And creeping deeper into hiding
I'm hearing the "Oller, Boller".


I remember the brewing days
When the smell from the bruces was filling the air.
There were riddles and mash in the yard
And at night each man had a glass in his hand
And we played for as long as we cared.
Happy, dirty, half-asleeping,
In the darkness children creeping,
Hide your face and don't get peeping,
Then come with your "Oller, Boller".


  Where's Hobson's funny dog? They couldn't take it in a flat.
  Is Alf the barber singeing heads? No, there's no longer call for that.
  Is old Lucy on the step? No, she died so long ago.
  Is The Druid selling home-brew? No, they come and laid it low.
  Pop along to Hardmill's shop? They pulled it down in Sixty-Eight.
  Well let's go down to the old fields. No you can't - it's an estate.
  Well, where's The Rifle? Where's Aunt Charlotte's? Where's the house where I was reared?
  Where's St.Mary's? Where's old Lime Street? Where's the whole world disappeared?

  'Cause I'm standing on this corner where we used to meet before
  And I'm shouting "Oller, Boller", but I can't find you any more.
  Oh, I can't find you any more.

The gas lamp was taken down.
The bright new light laid suddenly bare
The patched up place where we lived:
The shadows were gone, the new night shone,
And childhood hid from the glare.
Tip-cat, Queenie, I kicked the can,
Jack rap(ped?) the door and off you ran,
Gone are the nights and games so grand.
I can't find you. "Oller, Boller".


Source: Bill Caddick, LP, Rough Music

06 Oct 09 - 06:36 PM (#2739988)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Oller Boller, Bill Caddick

Brilliant thanks Mick

and its probably "folds", and definitely "jack rap the door and off we ran" as in the game of thunder and lightning.


13 Oct 09 - 12:16 PM (#2745013)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Oller Boller (Bill Caddick)
From: GUEST,Ian Gill

Great song, known it [& him] years.
'Fode, or 'foad' is a Black Country corruption of the word 'fold'.Many families kept the odd pig or even a few sheep in the back yard between the house and the multi purpose outbuilding known as a brewhouse, washhouse, privy, coal store and adventure playground - as it was for us kids. It came to mean, certainly by the 60's, an enclosed or gated area at the back of the house - a Black Country patio, if you like. 'Jack rap the door' I remember as the anti social activity known elsewhere as 'knock down ginger'.

13 Oct 09 - 01:45 PM (#2745090)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Oller Boller (Bill Caddick)
From: GUEST,Dave Hunt

'When the smell from the bruces was filling the air' above - should be brew's-s' as in Brew-houses

'Tip-cat, Queenie, I kicked the can,' should be Tip-cat, Queenie-I, Kick-the-can ...- all common childrens games in the Black Country


AND - Wor-o Ian - day noe yoe wuz on 'ere aar kid !

13 Oct 09 - 02:19 PM (#2745127)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Oller Boller (Bill Caddick)
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)

Thank you natives for your helpful input.

Ian - thanks for the insight into the Black Country people and their livestock. (It reminds me of my school biology teacher on the tapeworm, saying it was common in developing countries because they kept pigs in the houses like members of the family. Probably frowned on to say that now!). I knew I'd find out about fodes eventually.

Dave - I did ponder over brews's when I was writing it out, but wasn't sure. Thanks also for the clarification of the game names. (Back home in Middlesbrough I don't think we had a proper name for Jack rap the door. It went more along the lines of: "Let's knock on X's door and run", and then we did. How we'd laugh at you posh Southerners with your names for everything).


13 Oct 09 - 03:42 PM (#2745194)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Oller Boller (Bill Caddick)
From: GUEST,Dave Hunt

'Southerners!!! - now owd on a minit aar kid - we'm Midlanders!!

19 Oct 09 - 08:39 AM (#2747841)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Oller Boller (Bill Caddick)

Even better - Im a Brummie and proud :)

David Harris
aka tangy
aka Dr tarot

27 Nov 18 - 08:05 AM (#3963563)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Oller Boller (Bill Caddick)
From: GUEST,Guest

Very sad to hear of Bill's death. His 'Oller Boller' reminds me of my Dad, (W'ton born and bred) who remarked that 'kids don't play in the streets any more', going on to talk about the games Bill recalls, in a similar accent.

Regarding the lyrics - a distant cousin of Bill's has posted, below a YouTube post of Bill singing 'Oller Boller', that their 'Aunt Mil' is mentioned in the original. Could this mean that 'Hardmill's Shop' is actually Aunt Mil's shop?

Thank you for Mudcat!