> Tony Rose > Songs > 'Twas on One April Morning
> Louis Killen > Songs > One April Morning
> June Tabor > Songs > April Morning
> Norma Waterson > Songs > One April Morning

'Twas on One April Morning / Young Men Are False

[ Roud 1546 ; trad.]

Although this song is commented on below by singers as “ubiquitous” and “another of those osmosis ones”, it was collected only twice in South-West England: by L. Priscilla Wyatt-Edgell from the singing of Mr. R. Bryant of Cowley, near Exeter, in March 1908, and printed in Folk Song Journal No. 15, and by Cecil Sharp from the singing of Ellen Carter of Cheddar Cliffs, Somerset, on August 13, 1908.

Cyril Tawney sang 'Twas on One April Morning in 1973 on his Argo LP I Will Give My Love.

Tony Rose sang 'Twas on One April Morning on his 1976 LP On Banks of Green Willow; he re-recorded it in 1999 for his CD Bare Bones. A live recording from Herga Folk Club in 1978 was included in 2008 on his CD Exe. He commented in the first album's sleeve notes:

The village of Cowley, near Exeter, awakens boyhood memories on three counts—it was the terminus of the old “F” bus route, my mum's favourite picnic spot, and a superb vantage point from which to behold the Great Western Railway in all its majesty! Last year I discovered it was also where Priscilla Wyatt-Edgell collected 'Twas on One April Morning from Mr R. Bryant.

Louis and Sally Killen sang April Morning in 1976 on the fundraiser album The Second Folk Review Record. Louis Killen recorded One April Morning again in 1989 for his cassette The Rose in June. He gives Cyril Tawney as his source and remarks: “It has a nice switch in the roles normally found in these dialogues.”

The Old Swan Band sang 'Twas on One April Morning in 1979 on their Free Reed album Old Swan Brand. They commented:

We heard a lady sing this lovely song at Bristol Folk Club, and finding that Mel [Dean] knew the words, instantly started trying out harmonies.

Folly Bridge sang April Morning in 1991 on their WildGoose cassette All in the Same Tune.

June Tabor recorded April Morning with Andy Cutting playing diatonic accordion and Mark Emerson playing viola in 1997 for her album Aleyn. This track was also included in the Topic Records compilation English Originals and on her anthology Always. She commented in the anthology's notes:

The song is another of those osmosis ones. I happened to be at John Jones' house in the company of Rod and Danny Stradling and we started singing after dinner. This was one of the songs that we sang and somehow I knew all the words, although I'd never consciously learnt them. From that remembering it stuck in my mind and I knew it would be a perfect one for Andy and Mark to play.

It was also sung by Norma Waterson as One April Morning in 2000 on her third solo album, Bright Shiny Morning. She was accompanied by Mary Macmaster, electro harp, Martin Carthy, guitar, Martin Green, piano accordion, Eliza Carthy & Ben Ivitsky, vocals. She commented in the album notes:

Lal and I used to sing this years and years ago and I've no idea where we learned it. (We probably heard it from Martin.)

Jim Moray sang April Morning in 2003 on his CD Sweet England.

Jon Boden sang On One April Morning as the April 1, 2011 entry of his project A Folk Song a Day. He commented in his blog:

A bit of a classic. I’m not sure where it comes from—it’s fairly ubiquitous, although I suppose I associate it most with Lou Killen. It’s unusual in that it’s a folk song actually celebrating chastity…

Pilgrims' Way sang this song as Young Men Are False in 2011 on their CD Wayside Courtesies. They commented in their sleeve notes:

Learned form the singing of Norma Waterson, this song was collected from a Mr R. Bryant in Cowley, near Exeter. 67% of the band agree with the sentiment.

Andy Turner sang 'Twas on One April Morning as the April 25, 2015 entry of his project A Folk Song a Week, referring to Cyril Tawney and Tony Rose who introduced it to the folk scene.

Lyrics

Tony Rose sings 'Twas on One April Morning

'Twas on one April morning, just as the sun was rising,
'Twas on one April morning, I heard the small birds sing.
They were singing Lovely Nancy,
For love it is a fancy—
And sweet were the notes that I heard the small birds sing.

Young men are false and are full of all deceiving;
Young men are false, and they seldom do prove true.
For they're roving and they're ranging
And their minds are always changing
And they're thinking for to find out some other girl that's new.

O if I had but my own heart in keeping,
O if I had but my own heart back again:
Close in my bosom
I would lock it up forever
And it should wander never so far from me again.

So why would you spend all your long time in courting?
Why would you spend all your long time in vain?
For I don't intend to marry,
I would rather longer tarry.
O young man, don't you spend all your single life in vain.

(repeat first verse)

Folly Bridge sing April Morning

'Twas on one April morning, just as the sun was rising,
'Twas on one April morning, I heard the small birds sing.
𝄆 They were singing Lovely Nancy,
For love it is their fancy—
And Sweet were the notes that I heard the small birds sing. 𝄇

Young men are false and they're full of all deceiving;
Young men are false, and they seldom do prove true.
𝄆 With their rambling and their ranging
Their minds they're always changing,
And thinking to find them some pretty girl that's new. 𝄇

O if I had my own heart for ever,
O if I had my own heart again:
Then it's 𝄆 safe in my bosom
I would lock it up forever,
And it would wander never so far from me again. 𝄇

Young men don't you spend all your long time in courting?
Young men don't you spend all your long time again?
𝄆 For I don't intend to marry,
I'd rather longer tarry.
So young man, don't you spend all your long time in vain. 𝄇

(repeat first verse)

June Tabor sings April Morning

'Twas on one April morning, just as the sun was rising,
'Twas on one April morning, I heard the small birds sing.
They were singing Lovely Nancy,
Love it is a fancy—
Sweet were the notes that I heard the small birds sing.

O young men are false and they are full of all deceiving;
Young men are false, and they never will prove true.
With their roving and their ranging
And their minds are ever changing
They're seeking for to find out some other girl that's new.

O if I had but my own heart in keeping,
O if I had but my own heart back again:
Safe in my bosom
I would lock it up forever
And it should wander never so far from me again.

Why must you spend all your long time in courting?
Why must you spend all your long time in vain?
For I don't intend to marry,
I would rather longer tarry.
Young man, don't you spend all your single life in vain.

(repeat first verse)

Norma Waterson sings One April Morning

It was on one April morning, just as the sun was rising,
It was one April morning, I heard the small birds sing.
They were singing Lovely Nancy,
For love it is a fancy,
And sweet were the notes that I heard the small birds sing.

Young men are false, young men they are deceitful;
Young men are false and seldom can prove true.
With their rambling and their ranging
And their minds are always changing
And they're always looking out for some other girl new.

O if I had but my own heart in keeping,
O if I had my own heart back again:
Close in my bosom
I would lock it up forever
And it would wander never so far from me again.

Why would you spend all your long time in courting?
Why would you spend all your long time in vain?
For I don't intend to marry,
I'd rather longer tarry.
So young men don't you spend all your long time in vain.

(repeat second verse)

Acknowledgements

Transcribed from the singing of Norma Waterson by Garry Gillard.