> The Copper Family > Songs > The Clothes Horse

The Horse the Missus Dries the Clothes on / The Clothes Horse

[ Roud 5661 ; Fred W. Leigh]

The Copper Family sang The Horse the Missus Dries the Clothes on at Will Noble’s barn in Denby Dale, Yorkshire on 27 September 1986. This recording was included in 1987 on the EFDSS Holme Valley Tradition cassette Will’s Barn.

And John Copper sang The Clothes Horse on the 1995 Veteran anthology When the May Is All in Bloom. John Howson noted:

Another song which came from Jim Copper’s song book and another from the repertoire of [music hall singer] Frank Coyne. Bob Copper remembered that his father had visited London at the turn of the century and was very keen on the music hall; it may be that he saw Frank Coyne. The Horse the Missus Dries the Clothes on was composed and arranged by Fred W. Leigh published in 1901.


John Copper sings The Clothes Horse

I wanted to join the yeomanry, so they told me that I’d have to ride a horse
Of course
I had to ride a horse.
So I went to the livery stables just along a Charing Cross to hire a horse
Of course
They said it was a horse
And so, of course, I thought it was a horse.
It was a funny animal, the legs it had were four.
There was one in every corner, it could have done with several more.
The men bumped me up and I was on my own,
But I don’t think I’ll ever get to ride like Sloan

Chorus (after each verse):
Oh, you don’t catch me on a gee gee’s back again.
It’s not the sort of place to sleep and doze on.
The only horse that I think that I can manage is
The one the missus dries the clothes on.

I’ll never forget that moment when that horrible quadruped got on the go,
You know,
I kept on shouting, “Whoa!”
And what with the wibbly-wobbling and the rocking to and fro
And so and so
You know, I made a rotten show.
And that is why I went to Rotten Row.
At last the bounder stopped a bit and looking over there
He saw a beautiful girl with any amount of carroty hair.
He dashed up behind, before I knew what he’d done,
He took a great big mouthful of that lady’s bun.

I had to get off the gee gee’s back for the lady with ginger hair was feeling sore,
Oh lor,
She soon began to roar.
I tried to get back to my place and perspired at every pore
When something tore
I swore, when I got up once more.
For there I was sat on behind before
I grabbed the bounder by the tail and away he dashed of course.
And soon the saddle began to slip and it took me under the horse.
The crowd gave a cheer they thought I was having a spree
And I said as I came up for the infirmary: