Week 142 – As I Walked Out

Bob Copper sings this solo on the Song for Every Season box set, and the song is included in the book of the same name, which is where I learned it. The song has some beautiful lines, but taken as a whole the verses don’t quite hang together. I initially assumed that the words had become corrupt through oral transmission. Then I heard Walter Pardon sing it on the LP A Proper Sort (it’s also on Who’s that at my Bed Window from the Voice of the People set). Both Walter’s tune and his words are more or less identical to Bob’s. Looking now at the many collected versions it appears that tune and words were sung fairly consistently across the North and South of England. And indeed the words are pretty much as printed on countless nineteenth century broadsides – although the place the singer wishes he was in varies from printing to printing: the list includes Dublin, Newcastle, Manchester and Exeter.

The Irish Girl - broadside from the Bodleian Collection.

The Irish Girl – broadside from the Bodleian Collection.

As I Walked Out

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