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Farmer Giles

[ Roud 1744 ; trad.]

Varmer Giles (“Oi come from the country, my name it be Giles”) was published by Francis Day & Hunter as sheet music in 1902.

Two variants of this song can be found in the book Songs of the Ridings: The Yorkshire Musical Museum (2001), sung by C.V. Horner of Leyburn and by Mr Agar of Levisham, respectively.

Harry Upton sang a fragment of I Come from the Country at home in Balcombe, Sussex, in July 1977 to Mike Yates. This was released in 1978 on his Topic album Why Can't It Always Be Saturday? and in 2015 on his same-named Musical Tradition anthology Why Can't It Always Be Saturday?.

I Come from the Country, sometimes known as Joe Muggins, belongs to a group of songs which deal with so-called ‘country bumpkins’. It may well be that such pieces originated on the urban Music Hall stage, though they later passed into the repertoire of country singers. Ken Langsbury's tale How Do You Spell Yokel? [on And Then It Happened!] belongs to the same tradition. Collected versions of I Come from the Country have been found by both Mervyn Plunkett and Tony Wales in Sussex, Fred Hamer in Shropshire and Peter Duddridge in Gloucestershire.

Bill Smith from Shropshire sang My Name is John Giles in a recording made by his son Andrew Smith in 1979-82; it was included in 2011 on his Musical Traditions anthology A Country Life.

Bob Lewis sang Farmer Giles on his 2003 album The Painful Plough. He also sang it at the Fife Traditional Singing Festival, Collessie, Fife in May 2009; this was released in the following year on his festival CD Drive Sorrows Away.

Lyrics

C.V. Horner sings Farmer Giles

I come fra' the country me name it is Giles,
I've travelled a hundred and fifty odd miles.
For a soft sort of farmer chap I have been took,
But I tell you I ain't such a fool as I look.
    Rye toodle, rye toodle, rye toodle rye tay,
To see all the sights I have come a long way,
It cost me from one or two shillings a day.
    Rye toodle, rye toodle, rye toodle rye tay.

Now I come up by train and the weather was fine,
On the London and Leyburn and North Eastern Line,
Of snails and of tortoise I've heard people talk,
But if I'm in a hurry on't way home I'll walk.
    Rye toodle, rye toodle, rye toodle rye tay,
It took all of t' night and best part of next day,
Folks got out and gathered wild flowers by the way.
    Rye toodle, rye toodle, rye toodle rye tay.

Now the Angels of Islington I haven't seen,
So I takes a bus up to Islington Green.
I saw score upon score of dainty young things,
They all had fine feathers but no one had wings.
    Rye toodle, rye toodle, rye toodle rye tay,
They all called for drinks and they asked me to pay,
Says I, “If you're Angels, go on fly away.”
    Rye toodle, rye toodle, rye toodle rye tay.

Now I went to a theatre in Leicester Square,
And I'm very glad that the Missis weren't there.
I saw lots of ladies all dressed up in tights,
But the Missis won't allow me to look at such sights.
    Rye toodle, rye toodle, rye toodle rye tay,
I'd gan every night if I had me own way,
Now one girl winked at me as much as to say,
    Rye toodle, rye toodle, rye toodle rye tay.

Now I saw Nelson's Column one day from the Strand,
And a man standing by me said, “Isn't that grand?”
I said, “If I can't beat that I'll pardon me begs,
For down in me barn I've a pig with five legs.”
    Rye toodle, rye toodle, rye toodle rye tay,
“I beat you that time, Mister, what dost you say?
'Cause I can't get five ham off a pig every day.”
    Rye toodle, rye toodle, rye toodle rye tay.

Harry Upton sings I Come from the Country

I come from the country my name it is Giles,
I travelled a hundred and forty odd miles.
So what sort of farmer chap I have been took,
I can tell you I bin't such a fool as I look.

Chorus:
Right tooral ri day, right tooral ri day
Right tooral ri tarara, right tooral ri day

And there was some ladies all dressed up in tights
And me missus she wouldn't let me look at the sights

Bill Smith sings My Name Is John Giles

I went to the country my name is John Giles,
I've travelled a hundred and fifty odd miles.
And to a soft sort of farmer bloke I have been took
But I'll tell thee I'm not such a fool as I look.

She went down to the cow house to milk the old cow,
The stool overbalanced and she fell there somehow.
I said, “Are you hurt dear?” I started to yell,
She said, “It's my elbow but it's not there I fell.”

She went into the kitchen to put all things right
And five pounds of fat bacon she put out of sight.
And she said, “Now Joe, can you do with a dumpling or two?”
And I said, “I don't care if I do.”

(Spoken) Then it goes:
Too-del-oo
Too-del-ay
You don't get five pounds off a pig every day.