> Louis Killen > Songs > Good Ale
> The Young Tradition > Songs > Bring Us in Good Ale
> Tim Hart & Maddy Prior > Songs > Bring Us in Good Ale
> Shirley Collins > Songs > Bring Us in Good Ale

Good Ale Thou Art My Darling / Bring Us in Good Ale

[ Roud 203 ; Ballad Index K273 , MEL82 ; Bodleian Roud 203 ; Wiltshire Roud 203 ; trad.]

Bob and Ron Copper sang Good Ale in a 1955 recording by Peter Kennedy on the EFDSS LP Traditional Songs from Rottingdean. Bob, Ron and John Copper returned to this song in 1971 on their Leader 4 LP box A Song for Every Season. Their earlier recording was included in 2001 on their Topic CD Come Write Me Down. The booklet notes commented:

Collected by several early collectors across southern England, in Scotland by Gavin Greig, and once in Kentucky, where it is understandably concerned with whiskey rather than ale. Several of Mervyn Plunkett's Sussex singers also knew the song. Oh Good Ale Thou Art My Darling also appeared on broadsides and in songsters, and its popularity is clearly based on its bucolic nature, as the London Methodist (c. 1831) notes it being “sung at convivial assemblies.” It seems also to be the basis of Robert Burns' O Gude Ale Comes, published in the Scots Musical Museum (1803, Vol. VI, No. 542) which is the earliest datable reference, although William Chappell assigns the song to the first half of the eighteenth century on the strength of the tune he published, which is quite different from that of the Coppers. Baring-Gould claims that the song was in the repertoire of the famous clown, Grimaldi (1779-1837), but its history and development is complicated by the fact that it shares several verses with the more widely-known Little Brown Jug, which was written for the minstrel stage about 1869.

Bob Copper and Bob Lewis sang Oh Good Ale at a concert at Nellie’s Folk Club, The Rose and Crown Hotel, Tonbridge, Kent, on October 17, 1999. This concert was released in 2017 on their Musical Traditions CD The Two Bobs' Worth.

Louis Killen recorded Good Ale in 1968 for his 1973 LP Sea Chanteys.

Cyril Tawney sang Oh Good Ale on his 1993 Neptune cassette Down the Hatch: Songs about Drink & Drinkers.

Magpie Lane sang O Good Ale with Ian Giles in lead in 2000 on their Beautiful Jo CD A Taste of Ale, and their Andy Turner sang it solo as the January 25, 2015 entry of his project A Folk Song a Week. The Magpies commented:

This song was included in Sabine Baring-Gould's English Minstrelsie, published in 1895, but is clearly much older than this. We have omitted one of the more misogynistic verses.

Paul Sartin with Jon Boden, Rob Harbron and Sam Sweeney sang Good Ale in Keble College Student's Bar after the Remnant Kings gig in The O'Reilly Theatre on Feb 14, 2011:

A song related to Good Ale by theme even if it has quite different lyrics is Bring Us in Good Ale.

In 1969, The Young Tradition split up while recording their album of Christmas songs with Shirley and Dolly Collins, The Holly Bears the Crown; and it was only in 1995 that the album was finally released. One of the songs on this album is Bring Us in Good Ale. The liner notes commented:

From William Chapell's Popular Music of the Olden Time [p. 42f]. It appears there in two forms, the carol and the wassail. We sing the wassail, dating from about 1460.

Tim Hart and Maddy Prior sang Bring Us in Good Ale in 1971 on their third duo album, Summer Solstice.

Eddie Upton and Pam Gilder sang Bring Us in Good Ale as the starting track of Vic Gammon's 1976 Free Reed project The Tale of Ale.

Magpie Lane sang Bryng Us in Good Ale with Tom Bower in lead in 2000 on A Taste of Ale too. They commented in the liner notes:

The earliest song in this collection, from a manuscript in the Bodleian Library dating from around 1480. The words are set to a carol tune—not the last time that a carol tune has been commandeered for use as a drinking song.

Lyrics

The Copper Family sing Good Ale

It is of good ale to you I'll sing,
And to good ale I'll always cling.
I like my mug filled to the brim
And I'll drink all you'd like to bring.

Chorus (repeated after each verse):
Oh Good Ale, thou art my darling,
Thou art my joy both night and morning.

It is you that helps me with my work,
And from a task I'll never shirk
While I can get a good home brew;
And better than one pint, I like two.

I love you in the early morn,
I love you in daylight, dark, or dawn.
And when I'm weary, worn, or spent
I'll turn the tap and ease the vent.

It is you that makes my friends my foes,
It is you that makes me wear old clothes.
But since you come so near my nose
It's up you comes and down you goes.

And if all my friends from Adam's race
Was to meet me here all in this place,
I could part from all without one fear
Before I'd part from my good beer.

And if my wife should me despise,
How soon I'd give her two black eyes.
But if she loved me as I love thee,
What a happy couple we should be.

You have caused me debts and I've often swore
I never would drink strong ale anymore.
But you, for all that, I'll forgive
And I'll drink strong ale as long as I live.

The Young Tradition sing Bring Us in Good Ale Tim Hart and Maddy Prior sing Bring Us in Good Ale

Chorus (repeated after each verse):
Bring us in good ale, bring us in good ale;
For our blessed Lady's sake, bring us in good ale.

Bring us in no brown bread, for that is made of bran,
Nor bring us in no white bread, for therein is no gain.

Bring us in no brown bread, for that is made of bran,
Nor bring us in no white bread, for therein is no grain,

Chorus (repeated after each verse):
But bring us in good ale, good ale,
And bring us in good ale,
For our blessed Lady's sake, bring us in good ale.

Bring us in no roast beef, for there is many bones,
But bring us in good ale, for that goeth down at once.

Bring us in no beef, for there are many bones,
But bring us in good ale, for that goeth down at once.

Bring us in no bacon, for that is passing fat,
But bring us in good ale and give us enough of that.

Bring us in no mutton, for that is passing lean,
And bring us in no tripes, for they be seldom clean.

Bring us in no mutton, for that is seldom lean,
Nor bring us in no tripes, for they are seldom clean.

Bring us in no eggs, for there are many shells,
But bring us in good ale, and give us nothing else.

Bring us in no eggs, for there are many shells,
But bring us in good ale, and bring us nothing else.

Bring us in no butter, for there are many hairs;
And bring us in no pig's flesh, for that will make us bears.

Bring us in no puddings, for there is all God's good;
Nor bring us in no venison, that is not for our blood.

Bring us in no capon's flesh, for that is often dear;
Nor bring us in no duck's flesh, they slobber in the mire.

Bring us in no capon's flesh, for that is often dear,
Nor bring us in no duck's flesh, for they slobber in the mire.

Links

See also the Mudcat Café threads Lyr Req: Oh Good Ale Thou Art My Darling and Tune Discussion: Bring us in Good Ale .