> Folk Music > Songs > I'm a Man You Don't Meet Every Day / Jock Stewart

I'm a Man You Don't Meet Every Day / Jock Stewart

[ Roud 975 ; Ballad Index R476 ; Bodleian Roud 975 ; trad.]

Jeannie Robertson sang I'm a Man Youse Don't Meet Every Day in 1960 on her album Scottish Ballads and Folk Songs. Hamish Henderson commented in the album's sleeve notes:

Like the open-handed hero of the song, two of Jeannie's grandparents bore the surname Stewart, that is, they were members of one of the most famous “travelling clans” of Scotland. This Alan-Breck-like piece of braggadocio (originally an Irish music hall song) reflects with taking naivety the generous and impulsive nature of these still unfettered folk. The “river Killearl” sounds like a muffled echo of “the county Kildare” in the original.

Lemmie Brazil sang The Man You Don't Meet Every Day in a recording made by Peter Shepheard in Gloucester in December 1972. It was published in 2007 on the Brazil Family's Musical Traditions anthology Down By the Old Riverside.

Lena Jones sang The Bloke You Don’t Meet Every Day in a recording made by Mike Yates in 1972-5. It was included in 2003 on the Musical Traditions anthology Here's Luck to a Man: Gypsy Songs and Music from South-East England.

Archie Fisher sang this song with the alternate title Jock Stewart in 1976 both on his Folk-Legacy album The Man With a Rhyme and on the fundraiser album The Second Folk Review Record. He commented in the former album's liner notes:

An Irish narrative ballad that has been shortened to an Aberdeenshire drinking song. Though I've searched the map of Eire in vain for a “River Kildare”, and changed verse three so that the dog doesn't get shot, the song is essentially still Jeannie Robertson's version heard many years ago and re-inspired by the singing of her daughter, Lizzie Higgins.

Archie's sister Cilla Fisher and Artie Trezise recorded Jock Stewart in the same year for their Trailer album Balcanquhal.

The Pogues recorded I'm a Man You Don't Meet Every Day with Cait O'Riordan singing for their 1985 album Rum, Sodomy, and the Lash.

Sheila Stewart sang Jock Stewart in a 1999 recording by Doc Rowe in her home in Blairgowrie on her CD And Time Goes On: Songs and Stories. Doc Rowe commented in the album notes:

Popular on the folk scene, this song was found by the Stewarts in their letterbox when they returned from shopping one day! An anonymous writer simply stated that it was written for [Sheila's father] Alec, a fine piper and storyteller. Versions are found in Ireland.

Jigby sang Jock Stewart on the Holmfirth Festival 25 Years Anniversary CD of 2003, Roots & Wings.

Chris Foster sang The Man You Don't Meet Every Day in 2008 on his CD Outsiders, which seems to be the “Irish narrative ballad” that Archie Fisher mentioned above. Chris Foster commented in his album notes:

In the mid 1970s Bob Patton gave me a cassette recording he had made of Mrs Amy Ford from Low Ham, Somerset, singing this song. Bob had been collecting songs and folklore from older people around South Somerset, where both he and I originally come from. This song immediately appealed to me and I have been singing it on and off ever since.

Amy learnt the song from her grandfather, Frederick “Cauliflower” Crossman, who was one of Cecil Sharp's singers. It is interesting that of the songs that Sharp noted from him and the songs his family remembered him singing, the only overlap is As I Walked Through the Meadow, which was included in Folksongs from Somerset. Frederick is known to have learned some songs from ballets or ballad sheets. An undated broadside text of this song in the Bodleian Library, Oxford, is almost identical to Amy Ford's version.

Ewan McLennan sang Jock Stewart with Jackie Oates doing harmony vocals in 2010 on his Fellside CD Rags & Robes.

Jon Boden sang Jock Stewart with verses quite similar to Archie Fisher's as the October 23, 2010 entry of his project A Folk Song a Day.

Lyrics

Archie Fisher sings Jock StewartSheila Stewart sings Jock Stewart

Now, my name is Jock Stewart,
I'm a canny gaun man,
And a roving young fellow I've been.

Oh, my name is Jock Stewart,
I'm a canny gaun man,
And a roving young fellow I've been.

Chorus (after each verse):
So be easy and free
When you're drinkin wi' me.
I'm a man you don't meet every day.

Chorus (after each verse):
So be easy and free
When you're drinkin wi' me.
I'm a man you don't meet every day.

I have acres of land,
I have men at command;
I have always a shilling to spare.

I have acres of land,
And men at my command
And I've many's a shilling to spend.

I'm a piper by trade,
I'm a roving young blade,
And it's many the tunes I do play.

Chorus:
So be easy and free
When you're piping wi' me.
I'm a man you don't meet every day.

Let us catch well the hours
And the minutes that fly,
And we'll share them together this day.

Now, I took out my gun,
With my dog I did shoot
All down by the River Kildare.

I go out with my dog
And my gun for to shoot,
All along by the banks of the Tee.

So, come fill up your glasses
Of brandy and wine,
And whatever the cost, I will pay.

So, come fill up your glass
Wi' brandy and wine,
And whatever the cost, I will pay.

Chris Foster sings The Man Yo Don't Meet Every Day

I've a neat little cottage that's build out of mud,
Not far from the county of Kildare;
I've got acres of land and I grow my own spuds,
I've enough and a little to spare.
Well don't think I've come over to look for a job,
It's only a visit to pay.
You can be easy and free when you're drinking with me
'Cos I'm the man you don't meet every day.

Chorus (after each verse):
So fill up your glasses and drink what you please,
Whatever's the damage I'll pay.
You can be easy and free when you're drinking with me
'Cos I'm the man you don't meet every day.

When I landed in Liverpool a few days ago
I thought I would go to the Star,
And the first man I saw there was young Paddy White
With a glass of best ale at the bar.
Well I spoke to him kindly, took him to one side,
To him these words I did say:
“You can be easy and free when you're drinking with me
'Cos I'm the man you don't meet every day.”

When I landed in Liverpool, oh what a sight
Met my eyes as I walked on the shore:
There was Paddy Bolin, there was Paddy McGhee,
Michael Laney and one or two more.
Well they all burst out laughing to see my walk,
They treated me in a fine way.
I says, “Look here you scarecrows, don't you think I'm a ghost,
'Cos I'm the man you don't meet every day.”

There's a neat little maiden that lives around here
And it's here I've come over to see.
And we're going to be married next Sunday and then
She'll come back to old Ireland with me.
And if you come over twelve months from today,
And this I would venture to say,
We will have a smart lad who will say to his dad:
“I'm the man you don't meet every day.”

Links

See also the Mudcat Café thread Lyr Req: So Be Easy and Free When You're….