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Bring Us in Good Ale

[ Roud - ; Ballad Index MEL82 ; trad.]

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. Maddy Prior also sang it in 2008, with a new tune by Jub Davis, on her CD with the Carnival Band, Ringing the Changes. Jub Davies noted:

I like the idea of taking Medieval text (with Medieval spelling!) and giving it a completely different arrangement. I can just see it now: a West End stage complete with Irish dancers!

This video shows them in a (probably) 2018 live performance:

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. They noted:

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.

The Wilson Family sang Bring Us in Good Ale on their 2009 CD A Grey Lock or Two. They noted:

It’s not unusual for people to have a picture of their loved ones on their desk at work, so it should come as no surprise that, for many years, the photo our Chris [Wilson] chose to have on his, was of two barrels of Cameron’s Strongarm from the cellar of The Collingwood at Thornaby! This song can be found in several collections including one by Joseph Ritson, a 17th century collector from Stockton-on-Tees, and appears to date from as early as 1460. It made that year’s Christmas No. 1 and was sung by Cliff Richard.

This video shows the Wilsons at Walthamstow Folk Club on 24 January 2010:

Marisa Jack & Davy sang Bring Us In as the title track of their 2019 EP Bring Us In.

Lyrics

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 thread Tune Discussion: Bring us in Good Ale .