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Your Baby ’as Gorn Dahn the Plug’ole

[ Roud 19810 ; Mudcat 19851 ; Jack Spade (combined pseudonym of Elton Box, Desmond Cox and Lewis Ilda (aka Irwin Dash)), 1944]

In May 1963, Decca gathered together London folkies for an all-night “hootenanny” in the studios which resulted in the LP Hootenanny in London and the EP The Thamesiders and Davy Graham. On the LP, Martin Carthy made his first solo recording singing this music hall song, i.e. Your Baby ’as Gorn Dahn the Plug’ole, and Girls. He also sang End of Me Old Cigar in a duet with Redd Sullivan.

Cream sang this song as Mother’s Lament in 1967 on their second album, Disraeli Gears.

John Roberts and Tony Barrand sang Dahn the Plughole in 1971 on their first album, Spencer the Rover Is Alive and Well and Living in Ithaca. They noted:

This tragic little ditty is another example of the Cockney music hall of London. it is perhaps best known to American audiences through the recording by Cream.


Martin Carthy sings Your Baby ’as Gorn Dahn the Plug’ole

Now a mother was bathing her baby,
Bathing her baby one night.
The mother was fat and the baby was thin,
Just like a skelington covered with skin.

She only turned round for a minute,
To fetch oh some soap from the rack,
She only turned round for a minute,
But oh, when she turned back.

Why, the baby had utterly vanished,
A-vanished completely away.
Oh where, oh where is my baby?
And she heard an angel say:

Madam, your baby has gone down the plughole,
Your baby has gone down the plug.
The poor little thing was so skinny and thin,
It should have been washed in a jug.

Your baby is perfectly happy,
He won’t need no bathing no more.
Your baby has gone down the plughole
Not lost, just gone before!


These Cockney lyrics were found at the Online Dictionary of Playground Slang. I adapted them to the actual singing of Martin Carthy.