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Duck Foot Sue / I’d Like to Tell to You
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Harry ‘Crutter’ Cook sang Duck Foot Sue in 1938 or 1939 at The Eel’s Foot in Eastbridge. This BBC recording was released in 2000 on the Veteran CD of traditional singing and music from The Eel’s Foot, Good Order! Ladies and Gentlemen Please.
An unknown singer sang The Girl I Love So True on 27 May 1960 at The Royal Oak, Milton Street. This recording by Brian Matthews was included in 2001 on his Musical Traditions anthology of 1960 songs from Sussex country pubs, Just Another Saturday Night. Rod Stradling commented in the album’s booklet:
This is a part of a song called Duck-Foot Sue, written by Harry Bennett in 1884, and sung by G.W. Hunter. It was also sung, later, by George Foster (1864-1946), who may have recorded it. The only other published recording of this song from these islands was made by the BBC at Eastbridge Eel’s Foot in 1938 or ’39, when Harry ‘Crutter’ Cook sang it. This recording has just resurfaced on the Veteran CD Good Order!, and it appears that the song had some East Anglian popularity, as both Keith Summers and Neil Lanham recorded it there and Ginette Dunn cites it as being in Ruby Ling’s repertoire. ‘Crutter’ Cook’s version may be more complete than this present one, but it’s not a great deal more intelligible!
Jimmy Knight sang Duck Foot Sue at Little Glenham in 1974. This recording by Keith Summers was included in 2007 on his Musical Traditions anthology A Story to Tell: Keith Summers in Suffolk 1972-79.
Jon Boden sang I’d Like to Tell to You—a variant of Duck Foot Sue—as the 29 December 2010 entry of Jon’s project A Folk Song a Day. He commented in the blog:
Given to me on cassette by Malcolm Taylor from the Vaughan Williams Library. We started doing it with the Ratcatchers but never recorded it. A fairly amazing bit of traddy surrealism.
Harry ‘Crutter’ Cook sings Duck Foot Sue
(Philip Lumpkin) Good order ladies and gentlemen please,
good order ladies and gentlemen please,
We’re now going to have a song from Mr Harry Cook, Duck Foot Sue, order please.
Come listen for a while and I will tell to you
It’s about a girl I love and they call her Duck foot Sue
She’s gentle and devine long waisted in her feet
Her heels stuck out behind like an 18 carat beet
So now I’ll sing to you about my love so true
She was chief engineer in the white shirt laundry
Out in the back yard view
Her beauty was all she had she had a mouth like a soft shell crab
She’d an India rubber lip like a rudder of a ship
And I tell you she was bad
She was not very fat or was she very thin
For she looked when she was dressed like a straw in a barrel of gin
I took her to a hall, a black man at the club
It took me half a quid for to stuff her out with grub
For she was a funny old guy
She had a double barrel squint in her eye
She’d a number 10 feet they would cover up the street
She’d a mouth like a crack in a pie
She had a cheerfully cemetery laugh
She had a head like an excellent calf
She’s a iron-clad gun, clipper built brig
All on a main top guard
Her face was the colour of a ham
She had knees like a Japanese fan
She could talk for an hour like 40 horse power
And a voice like a catamaran
Her hair was an indigo blue
She could walk like a Kangaroo
You ought to see her tussle with a patent leather bustle
She could whistle like a steam boat too
Jon Boden sings I’d Like to Tell to You
I’d like to tell to you
About my love so true,
He was chief engineer
On the White Star line,
The one with the backyard view.
His beauty was all he had,
He’d a mouth just like a crab
And an India-rubber lip
Like the rudder of a ship
And I tell you he’s gone mad!
I’ll never forget the day
His spirit passed away.
it was early about ten o’clock at night
When the birds were sweetly singing
And the ducks were making hay
And the sun and moon where shining both at night.
We filled his mouth with glue
To try to bring him to
But found that all our efforts were in vain.
For he just sat up and smiled
And then laid down and died
And he blowed his nose and smiled and died again.
He’s gone forevermore
At the age of ninety-four,
I’ll never see my cross-eyed boy again.
I’ll go down to some graveyard
To fulfil his last request
And plant a blood-red rose upon his grave.