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The Greenhopper

[Phil Burkin]

Phil Burkin wrote The Greenhopper for the first album of his band Vulcan’s Hammer, True Hearts and Sound Bottoms, published in 1973 as a privately pressed LP with just 250 copies. It’s is available on CD now, though.

Peter Bellamy sang The Greenhopper acoompanied by his concertina in 1975 on his eponymous LP Peter Bellamy. He commented in the album’s sleeve notes:

This piece is the work of Phil Burkin, a young singer of traditional and original songs who lives in Kent, in the land through which Chaucer’s pilgrims did indeed travel on their way to Canterbury.


Peter Bellamy sings The Greenhopper

Now the greenhopper plays his merry fiddle in the grass,
The children try to catch him in their glass jar, in their glass jam jar.
Now the jam was of strawberry and the colour it was red;
The children used to have it on biscuits and bread.
But now they try to catch the green grasshopper as he jumps from blade to blade,
Skips into the shade on a hot summer day.

Chorus (repeated after each verse):
And the hills are green once more,
The hills the pilgrims saw
On their way to Canterbury,
On their way to Canterbu-u-u-ury.

Oh the primrose-coloured flowers they are peeping through the hedge-rows.
The sparrows and the thrushes cry, “Look how the sun glows!”
And the skylark flies so high, sees the world passing by.

Now the children they are running helter-skelter cross the land.
The man on the tractor, he waves his hand,
Saying, “Look over there, see the fox’s lair,
See the cubs running fair and fair.”

Now the sparrow-hawk he flies from the old oak tree,
The hares and the rabbits they all run free.
For summer is come once more, that’s the time the kids adore.
And all the bells in Canterbury ring

Final chorus:
That the hills are green once more
The hills the pilgrims saw
On their way to Canterbury,
On their way to Canterbu-u-u-ury.