Archive for April 29th, 2016

April 29, 2016

Week 245 – Dido, Bendigo

Learned from Mike Waterson, on The Watersons’ eponymous 1966 LP (the red one).

As A.L.Lloyd pointed out in his sleevenotes “the name of the sporting duke may vary, the list of hounds stays much the same”. Although, in the three broadside versions which you can find on Broadside Ballads Online, the second hound’s name is not Bendigo but Spendigo, or Spandigo.

The Sportsman's Companion - including 'Dido, a favourite hunting song'. Printed by Pitts of Seven Dials, London, between 1819 and 1844. From Broadside Ballads Online.

The Sportsman’s Companion – including ‘Dido, a favourite hunting song’. Printed by Pitts of Seven Dials, London, between 1819 and 1844. From Broadside Ballads Online.

There was a time when I used to sing this quite a lot at Oyster Morris music sessions. But up until a few weeks ago, when I decided to revive the song for this blog, I probably hadn’t sung it for twenty years or more. And I have to confess that it took me a while to remember which fox went for its cover and which for the river, and what their respective fates were. In fact, as a result of a simple mishearing of what Mike Waterson was singing, I think I must always have reordered the sequence of events. The Watersons’ third verse – according to this transcription at least – runs

Well the next fox being old and his trials fast a-dawning,
He’s made straight away for the river.
Well the fox he has jumped in but an hound jumped after him:
It was Traveller who straited him forever.

Actually the line on the Yorkshire Garland site seems to make more sense

It was Traveller a-striding in for ever.

and listening again to the Watersons version, I think what Mike sang was

It was Traveller who strided him for ever.

Either way, I’ve always sung

It was Traveller destroyed his life forever.

After which, of course, there was no possibility of said fox running across the plain in the next verse. Hence my reordering of the verses.

Dido, Bendigo

Tags: ,