> Folk Music > Songs > One Cold Morning in December

One Cold Morning in December

[ Roud 1745 ; Ballad Index RcTReWhy ; Bodleian Roud 1745 ; trad.]

Walter Pardon sang One Cold Morning in December in a recording made by Mike Yates at home in Knapton, Norfolk in June 1978. It was included in 1982 on his Topic album A Country Life and in 1998 on the Topic anthology As Me and My Love Sat Courting (The Voice of the People Series Volume 15). Mike Yates commented in the original album’s booklet:

Several songs deal with the adventures, or should it be misadventures, of country youths in the cities. Scotland especially has several such pieces. Unlike our present song, however, the countryman usually gains the upper hand.

Although I have been unable to trace One Cold Morning in December to a specific source I have found a parody Never Ask the Reason Why in The London Favourite (c. 1875), a collection of songs made famous by Welford Vawn, “Author, Comic Artist and Dancer, only pupil of the Great Maclagan”.

Walter Pardon appears to be the only singer from whom this song has so far been collected.

Paul Sartin sang One Cold Morning in December in 2009 on Belshazzar’s Feast’s WildGoose album Frost Bites. He noted:

Walter Pardon sang this at home in Knapton, Norfolk, on 24 June 1978. Mike Yates’ recording is featured on Volume 15 (As Me and My Love Sat Courting) of Topic’s Voice of the People series.

Andy Turner learned One Cold Morning in December from Walter Pardon’s album and sang it as the 3 December 2011 entry of his project A Folk Song a Week.


Walter Pardon sings One Cold Morning in December

One cold morning in December, I’ve reason to remember,
I fell in love with such a charming girl.
Her eyes were bright and tender, her form was tall and slender,
Her head it hung around her head in curls.

Chorus (after each verse):
And she said, “Come, come along old boy,
And don’t look so bashful and shy.”
She really was a beauty, I thought it was my duty,
So I paid and never asked the reason why.

Along the streets together, regardless of the weather,
She took me to a house that stood quite near.
She closed the door behind me, to me she said so kindly,
“It’s warmer in the bed, love, than down here.”

Into bed quite early, her hair so nice and curly,
Beside me there upon the pillow lay.
Her arms they clasped me tightly, to me she said so brightly,
“You are the nicest boy I’ve seen today.”

Before next dawn was breaking my head was sore and aching,
She said, “Dear I would love a jewelled ring.
Now there’s no need to worry, there is no need for flurry,
We’ll turn this cold December into spring.”

’Twas early next morning, without any warning,
A man inside the bedroom did appear.
Before I’d time to holler, he grabbed me by the collar
And quickly then he dragged me down the stair.

Final chorus:
And he said, “Come, come along old boy,
You’ve had your fun and now’s the time to fly.”
When I began to mutter he rolled me in the gutter,
I’d paid and never asked the reason why.