December is here, and before I launch into a slew of Christmas Carols, here’s a couple of comic songs set in December, and where the narrator ends up in the gutter.
‘One Cold Morning in December’ is from my favourite traditional singer, Walter Pardon of Knapton in Norfolk. I learned it from the Topic LP A Country Life, but you can now find it on Voice of the People Volume 15: As Me and My Love Sat Courting. The song has not been collected from any other traditional singer.
I first heard ‘The Drunkard and the Pig’ sung – many years ago – by Doug Hudson of Tundra. The final line (rather like the line “Someone called out: Daddy, don’t go down the mine!” from ‘Rawtenstall Annual Fair’) stayed with me, even though I couldn’t remember the rest of the song. So I was very glad to find it included in Roy Palmer’s A Taste of Ale, and even more pleased when Magpie Lane were asked to record a CD to go with the book, so that I got the chance to record the song. Roy doesn’t print a tune, but notes that it’s to be sung to the tune of ‘The Wonderful Crocodile’. I took my recollection of ‘The Wonderful Crocodile’ and bent it a bit to fit these words. It’s very satisfying to sing; if you only have 30 seconds to spare and are desperate to burst into song, this is a good one to have in your repertoire!
One Cold Morning in December
The Drunkard and the Pig