I learned this song from the Sussex Singer Harry Upton, via the limited edition 1978 Topic LP Why Can’t It Always Be Saturday?
Harry’s tune was somewhat different to that usually sung on the folk scene and, inadvertently, I seem to have bent it a bit further. Consequently, having started to sing this at folk clubs in the early nineties, I soon gave up – when it got to the chorus everyone seemed to weigh in with the tune or harmony they knew, and it tended to clash rather horribly with what I was singing. After that I didn’t sing the song at all for many years, but revived it one year ago, to perform in very particular circumstances. Several readers of this blog will know what those circumstances were, and will understand when I say that I have never derived less enjoyment from singing a song.
The Life of a Man