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Drive Dull Care Away

[ Roud 16927 ; Ballad Index IvDC081 ; trad.]

Dave Webber and Anni Fentiman sang Contentment (Drive Dull Care Away) in 2002 on their album Away From It All. They noted:

This song was collected from the Gorman family of Prince Edward’s Island by Sandy Ives and, like the first track on this album, was passed to us by our friend Dick Swain of Pennsylvania. Rumour has it that this piece was once a shape note hymn, but is now just a hymn to life.

John Roberts and Debra Cowan sang Drive Dull Care Away on their 2015 album Ballads Long and Short. They noted:

Drive Dull Care Away has only been found once in oral tradition: Sandy Ives noted it from Charles Gorman, on Prince Edward Island. Joe Hickerson sang and recorded it, and gave it a much wider circulation in the US. It is found in a few British broadside collections, though we haven't been able to see a copy to compare texts.

Lyrics

John Roberts and Debra Cowan sing Drive Dull Care Away

Oh, why should we our lot complain
Or grieve at our distress?
Some think if they could riches gain
T’would be true happiness
But alas how vain is all their strife
Life’s cares it will not allay
So while we’re here with our friends so dear
We’ll drive dull care away

Chorus (after each verse):
Away, away, away, away
We will drive dull care away
So while we’re here with our friends so dear
We’ll drive dull care away.

Why should the rich despise the poor?
Why should the poor repine?
When we will all in a few short years
In equal friendship join
They’re both to blame, they’re all the same
We are all made of one clay,
So while we’re here with our friends so dear
We’ll drive dull care away

The only circumstance in life
Which I could ever find
To conquer care or temper strife
Was a contented mind
With this in store we have much more
Than all things else can convey
So while we’re here with our friends so dear
We’ll drive dull care away

So let us make the best of life
Not rendering it a curse
But take it as you would a wife
For better or for worse
Life at its best is but a jest
Like a dreary winter’s day
So while we’re here with our friends so dear
We’ll drive dull care away