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Happy Sam / The Multitude Who Labour

[words John Hartley, tune Dave Hillery]

Dave Hillery sang Happy Sam (or The Multitude Who Labour) in 1971 on his and Harry Boardman’s Topic album of popular song and verse from Lancashire and Yorkshire, Transpennine.

Graham Metcalfe with Folly Bridge sang Happy Sam in 1991 on their WildGoose cassette All in the Same Tune. Claire Lloyd commented:

Happy Sam was written by ex-weaver John Hartley, the most prolific and perhaps the most versatile of all Yorkshire dialect writers. Hartley edited the Original Illuminated Clock Almanack [for Yorkshire working men], from 1867 until his death in 1915.

Happy Sam appeared in the Almanack in 1909. It sold 70,000 copies but Hartley died a pauper. The tune was added by Dave Hillery, who recorded it with Harry Boardman on an album for Topic around 1970.


Folly Bridge sing Happy Sam

Chorus (after each verse):
And Ah cry a fig for care
Rough and ready though me fare
And Ah try to do me duty to me neighbour
Do you wonder who I am
Me name is happy Sam
Ah’m a member of the multitude who labour

Oh good neet friends one and all
Ah just thowt Ah’d mek a call
For Ah love to see a crowd of ’appy faces
And sin’ last time here Ah’ve bin
Many strange things have Ah sin
For Ah shove me nose into all sorts of places

Ah’ve seen rich fowk wastin’ brass
And despisin’ t’ workin’ class
Never thinking that they owe to us their riches
An’ Ah’ve seen loud-talkin’ men
Allus boastin of their sen
An’ Ah’ve known the wives o’t yon were wearin’t’ britches

Oh there’s many an honest chap
Though ’e hasn’t got a rap
Nor a decent suit o’ clothes to keep ’im warm in
Aye and many a knave well dressed
Wi’ a black heart in his breast
But Ah treat such like as better sort of varmin

An’ there’s workin fowk a lot
Who can boast a cosy cot
Wi’ a buxom wife and childer strong and ’earty
Who can smoke their pipe at neet
Wi’ warm slippers at their feet
And enough to eat and wear Sunday and workday

Ah’ve seen better times and worse
An’ Ah’ve ’ad money in me purse
And Ah’ve known what’s bin to have me belly empty
But Ah’ve allus met a friend
Who would either give or lend
And Ah’ve ne’er refused to help folk when Ah’d plenty

Nivver look to’t upper ten
If you cannot help yoursen
Unless you practice bowing low and fawning
Workin’ chaps get my advice
Stick together like a vice
And you’ll find a breeter day will soon be dawnin’