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Norwich Gaol

[Peter Bellamy]

Martin Windsor, in the role of The Convict, sang Norwich Gaol in Peter Bellamy's 1977 ballad opera The Transports. Chris Sugden a.k.a. Sid Kipper sang it in 2004 in the 25th anniversary re-recording.

Matt Quinn sang Norwhich Gaol on his 2012 CD Broom Abundance.

Lyrics

Martin Windsor sings Norwich Gaol

Chorus (after every other verse):
So early in the morning the turnkey rings his bell;
So early in the morning we wish his soul to Hell;
So early in the morning when the night begins to pale
We wonder if we'll ever see the last of Norwich Gaol.

The food is foul, the air is bad, the company not choice;
'Twould make you scowl to hear that mad old turnkey's rasping voice.
'Twould make you wonder would you ever live to tell the tale
Of the hardships and the miseries you've known in Norwich Gaol.

Our water here is scummy-green, our beds is heaps of straw;
There's water running down the walls, rats running o'er the floor.
There's naught to eat but rotten meat that'd make a dog turn pale;
Oh, it's dainty board-and-lodging when you visit Norwich Gaol!

Whene'er we fancy bathing, we paddles in the drains;
And when we wants a concert, we rattles of our chains;
And when we want a banquet we drink sludge and call it ale.
If you want a good time, commit a crime and come to Norwich Gaol!

Now if you fancy gaming here the race is run by fleas;
The stakes are perilously high, a crust of moldy cheese.
The first time that I tried my luck, I nearly lost my shirt
But lucky for me they couldn't see the bugger for the dirt.

If they'd sent us to America today we would be free,
But since the Revolution that land we'll never see.
We are not for New England's shores three thousand miles away;
They say we're bound for some further ground and they've named it Botany Bay.

Well perhaps it's out by India, or maybe near Japan,
Just off the coast of Canada or in the hills of Spain.
But wherever that strange land may be we know it cannot fail
To be a far, far better place than stinking Norwich Gaol.

Final chorus:
So early in the morning the turnkey rings his bell;
So early in the morning we wish his soul to Hell;
So early in the morning when the night begins to pale
We long for the day when we'll sail away from stinking Norwich Gaol.