> Tim Hart & Maddy Prior > Songs > Lish Young Buy-a-Broom

Lish Young Buy-a-Broom

[ Roud 1865 ; Bodleian Roud 1865 ; trad.]

Lish Young Buy-a-Broom was collected and collated by Geoff Wood. Tim Hart and Maddy Prior on chorus recorded it (with an interesting banjo accompaniment by Tim Hart) in 1968 for their first duo album, Folk Songs of Old England Vol. 1. The record's sleeve notes commented:

This Cumberland sung is an amalgamation of three versions collected by Geoff Woods of Leeds between 1945-1967. It is believed to have been written by William Graham, “the Cumberland poacher”. The word “lish” is Cumberland dialect for active or brisk, and “buy-a-broom” is a tinker.

Len Irving of Wreay in Cumberland sang The Lish Young Buy-a-Broom at either the Crown and Thistle, Rockcliffe, or the Plough Inn, Wreay, on September 16, 1953. This recording was published in 1982 on the Reynard Records album Pass the Jug Round which was reissued as a Veteran CD in 2001.

Clannad sang Lish Young Buy-a-Broom in 1982 on their sixth album, Fuaim. This recording was also included on the French anthology Planète Celtique.

Will Noble and John Cocking sang Lish Young Buy-a-Broom live at the Three Horseshoes, Dutton Hill, Essex, on April 21, 2004. This recording was published in the same year on their Veteran CD Yon Green Banks. They and John Howson commented in the album's notes:

A song with its origins in the Lake District. There is a recording made in 1953 of 64 year old Len Irving of Wreay in Cumberland on Pass the Jug Round. He maintained that it was written by a poacher called William Graham who achieved fame for killing a local gamekeeper and was transported, but whether he did actually write the song has not been proved. It was also collected by Geoff Woods of Leeds from some singers in the Keswick area and that version was made popular by folk singers Tim Hart and Maddy Prior and more recently by the Irish group Clannad.

Will first heard it sung years ago, by an old singer in the Lake District called Esme Smith, and then later heard the Pass the Jug Round recordings which rekindled his interest in the song.

Andy Turner sang Lish Young Buy-a-Broom with an extra verse as the March 3, 2014 entry of his project A Folk Song a Week. Although he referred to Tim Hart and Maddy Prior's recording in his blog he learned the song from words noted down “on an early visit to the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library”.

Lyrics

Tim Hart & Maddy Prior sing Lish Young Buy-a-Broom Will Noble and John Cocking sing Lish Young Buy-a-Broom

As I was a-travelling in the North Country,
Down by Kirkby Stephen I happened for to be,
As I was a-walking up and down the street,
A pretty little buy-a-broom I chanced for to meet.

As I was a wandering the North Country,
Near to Kirkby Stephen it happened for to be.
As I was a-wandering all up and down the street,
A pretty little buy-a-broom I chanced for to meet.

Chorus (after each verse):
And she was right, I was tight, everybody has their way.
It was the lish young buy-a-broom that led me astray.

Chorus (after each verse):
And she was right, I was tight, everybody has their way,
It was the lish young buy-a-broom that led me astray.

She kindly then invited me to go along the way,
“Yes” was the answer to her that I did say.
There was me with my music walking down the street
And her with her tambourine was beating hand and feet.

I kindly asked her to go along with me,
“Yes”, was the answer she gave to me.
And I with the music went playing down the street,
And she with the tambourine she did both hands and feet.

Straightway for Kendal we steered, her and I,
Over yon white mountain, the weather it was dry.
We each had a bottle filled up to the top
And whenever we were feeling dry, we took a little drop.

As we steered for Kendal the weather it being dry.
Over yon bright mountain went her and I.
We each had a bottle filled up to the top,
And when we were thirsty we took a little drop.

We arrived in Kendal dressed out so fine,
Velvet caps and jackets and buckles they did shine.
We each had a ribbon hanging from our cap,
Nineteen bright sovereigns she threw down with a slap.

I tret her with brandy, I tret her with beer.
I kissed her, I cuddled her, I called her me dear.
She tret me with whiskey, ale, gin and rum,
And said, “My bold young fellow, you shall play my little drum.”

The night's coming on, good lodgings we did find,
Eatables of all sorts and plenty of good wine.
Good bed and blankets just for we two
And I rolled her in my arms, my boys, and wouldn't you do, too?

With night coming on, good lodgings we did find,
All sorts of eatables and plenty of good wine.
As good a bed and bedding as was needed to be seen,
And I rolled her in my arms that night behind the screen.

Well early the next morning we arose to go away,
I called to the landlord to see what was to pay.
“Fourteen and sixpence, just for you two.”
And a fiver on the table oh my darling then she threw.

So early the next morning before the break of day,
She called to the landlord to see what was to pay.
Fourteen and sixpence, I think it was for two,
Down on the table a fiver then she threw.

Now the reason that we parted, I now will let you hear,
She started off for Germany right early the next year.
And me not being willing to cross the raging sea,
Here's a health to my buy-a-broom, wherever she may be.

And the reason why we parted, I mean to let you hear.
She said, “Let's go to Germany, will you remain, my dear?”
But I not being willing to cross the raging sea,
Here's luck to the buy-a-broom, wherever she may be.

Links

See also the Mudcat Café thread Lyr Req: Lish Young Buy a Broom.