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Farewell to Old Bedford

[ Roud 16399 ; Ballad Index Wa099 ; trad.]

Frank Warner collected Farewell to Old Bedford from Lee Presnell in 1951. This was published in Traditional American Folk Songs from the Anne & Frank Warner Collection, 1984.

Tim Eriksen, singer and guitar player with Cordelia's Dad, sang Farewell to Old Bedford in 2001 on his eponymous solo CD Tim Eriksen. He commented in his liner notes:

The first time I heard Anne and Frank Warner's recording of this song by Lee Monroe Presnell from Beech Mountain, NC was in 1989, when I got a copy from Peter Kennedy in England. What a beautiful singer. I wish I'd known him. I'd like to have heard him preach (Primitive Baptist) and sing church songs too. I've started a lot of shows with this, including gigs with eight million bands like Nirvana, Weezer, the Dead Milkmen etc. It didn't seem odd in the moment, but in retrospect it's interesting to think how people and songs navigate time, and where they wind up.

This is a video of Tim Eriksen singing Farewell to Old Bedford.

Jon Boden learned Farewell to Old Bedford from Tim Eriksen and sang it as the November 28, 2010 entry of his project A Folk Song a Day.

Lyrics

Tim Eriksen sings Farewell to Old Bedford

Farewell to Old Bedford, I am bound for to leave you
Likewise those pretty girls I nevermore shall see.
My portion is small but I truly confess it:
What little I have, it is all my own.

Well might I have enjoyed it, all in pleasure,
If my cruel parents had left me alone.
I will drown away sorrow in a full-flowing bumper,
I'll drown away sorrow in a bottle of wine.

Eight drams a bottle is, and I don't care for folly
Now never let trouble come into your mind.
I will drown her away in a full-flowing bumper,
I will drown away sorrow in a bottle of wine.

Eight drams a bottle is, and I don't care for folly,
I'll play on my fiddle and dance away time.
My fingers are frozen, my bow it needs rosin,
My sound-post is down and my bridge it won't stand.

Jon Boden sings Farewell to Old Bedford

Farewell to Old Bedford, I am bound for to leave you
Likewise those pretty girls that I used for to know.
My portion is small but I truly confess it:
What little I have, it is all my own.

Well might I have enjoyed it, all in pleasure,
If my cruel parents only left me alone.
I will drown away sorrow in a full-flowing bumper,
I will drown away sorrow in a bottle of wine.

Eight drams is a bottle, and I don't care for folly;
Now never let trouble come into your mind.
I will drown away sorrow in a full-flowing bumper,
I will drown away sorrow in a bottle of wine.

Eight drams is a bottle, and I don't care for folly;
I'll play on my fiddle and I'll dance away time.
My strings are all broken, my bow it needs rosin,
My sound-post is down and my bridge it won't stand.