I received a comment recently on a post from October 2011, from the great granddaughter of the song’s source, the Suffolk singer Percy Ling. That reminded me that I know another of Percy’s songs, learned like ‘Underneath your apron’ from the Topic LP Singing Traditions of a Suffolk Family.
This has the potential to be easily the rudest song on this blog but, Percy being a man of great taste and discernment, he manages to avoid using any offensive words. Which is more than can be said for the seventeenth century version found in Bishop Percy’s Folio (c 1625-40), and quoted in full in this Musical Traditions article by Steve Gardham.
I think it’s also worth noting that Percy Ling provides, in verse 2, one of the great non-rhyming couplets in folk song – one of those cases where the singer seems to go out of their way to avoid an obvious rhyme. And, needless to say, I do exactly the same.