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Nine Times a Night

[ Roud 18411 ; Ballad Index RcNinNig ; Bodleian Roud 18411 ; trad.]

A.L. Lloyd sang Nine Times a Night live at the Top Lock Folk Club, Runcorn, on November 5, 1972. This concert was published in 2010 on the Fellside CD An Evening with A.L. Lloyd. Paul Adams commented in the sleeve notes:

A more ‘industrial’ version of this song exists on a broadside printed in Birmingham. Bert's song is a more ‘country’ version with a sailor as the protagonist. The song is interesting because contrary to most songs of its style the woman's sexual prowess is greater than the man's. Again, Bert's source is unknown.

Frankie Armstrong recorded Nine Times a Night for her 1973 album Out of Love, Hope and Suffering. She commented in the album's sleeve notes:

Masters and Johnson [Human Sexual Response. Boston: Little, Brown 1966] were far from being the first to discover that women's capacity for sexual enjoyment considerably exceeds that of men. Our folk poets knew it long ago and used it as the theme of a good many songs, including this warm-hearted piece that I learnt from A.L. Lloyd.

Harry Boardman sang Nine Times a Night in 1973 on his Topic album A Lancashire Mon. He noted:

Male prowess and female insatiability in matters sexual must be among the most popular of folklore subjects; though not necessarily in song. In this version of the tale, there is a neat twist at the end. Strange, but there are perhaps few things funnier than “a bit of a let down”. Could there be a moral there? This text is from a broadside printed in 1800 by the well-known Manchester printer Bebbington and was supplied by Paul Graney.

John Roberts and Tony Barrand learned Nine Times a Night from the singing of A.L. Lloyd and recorded it in 1992 for their CD A Present from the Gentlemen.

A recording of Nic Jones singing Nine Times a Night was included in 2001 on his album Unearthed.

Lyrics

A.L. Lloyd sings Nine Times a Night

A rambling young sailor to London came down,
He'd been paid off his ship in old Liverpool town.
When they asked who he was, well, he answered them, “Right,
I do belong to a family called nine times a night.”

A buxom young widow who still wore her weeds,
Well, her husband had left her his money and deeds,
And resolved she was on her conjugal rights
To soften her sorrow with nine times a night.

So she sent for her serving girls Ann and Amelia
To keep a look out for this wonderful sailor.
And if ever by chance he appeared in their sight
They should bring her the glad tidings of nine times a night.

She was favoured by fortune the very next day,
These giggling girls saw him coming their way.
And upstairs they rushed full of amorous delight,
“ Oh, here comes that bold sailor with his nine times a night.”

Well, she danced out of bed and she pulled on her clothes
And down to the hall door like lightening she goes.
And she viewed him all over and gave him a smack
And the bargain was struck: no more sailing for Jack.

Well, the wedding was over, the bride tolled the bell,
Jack trimmed her sails five times and that pleased her well.
She vowed in her heart she was satisfied quite
Yet she still gives sly hints about nine times a night.

Says Jack, “My dear bride, you mistook me quite wrong,
I said to that family I did belong:
Nine times a night's a bit hard for a man;
I couldn't do it myself, but my sister she can.”

Frankie Armstrong sings Nine Times a Night

A handsome young sailor to London came down,
He'd been paid off his ship in old Liverpool town.
They asked him his name and he answered them, “Quite,
I belong to a family called nine times a night.”

Well a handsome young widow who still wore her weeds,
Her husband had left her his money and deeds,
Resolved she was on her conjugal rights
And to soften her sorrows with nine times a night.

So she's called to her serving maids Ann and Amelia
To keep a watch out for this wonderful sailor,
And if ever he happened to chance in their sight
To bring her fond tidings of nine times a night.

She was favoured by fortune the very next day
These two giggling saw him coming their way.
They've rushed up the stairs full of amorous delight,
Crying, “There comes that sailor with his nine times a night.”

She's jumped out of bed and she's pulled on her clothes
And straight to the hall door like lightening she goes.
She's looked him once over and gave him a smack
And the bargain was struck: no more sailing for Jack.

The wedding was over, the bride tolled the bell,
Jack trimmed her sails five times and that pleased her well.
She vowed to herself she was satisfied quite
But she still gives sly hints about nine times a night.

Says Jack, “My dear bride, you mistook me quite wrong,
I said to that family I did belong:
Nine times a night's a bit hard for a man;
I couldn't do it myself, but my sister she can.”

Links

See also the Mudcat Café thread Origins: Nine Times a Night.