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Padstow Wassail

[ Roud 209 ; trad.]

Peter Kennedy included two verses (verses 1 and 2 from the lyrics below) of Charlie Bate of Padstow, Cornwall, singing this Wassail song in the 1950s on the anthology Songs of Ceremony (The Folk Songs of Britain Volume 9; Caedmon 1961; Topic 1970). He accompanies himself on the accordion.

The live Christmas Day 1957 broadcast on BBC Radio, Sing Christmas and the Turn of the Year, has a track with Charlie Bate and Bob Rundle on accordion, David Alford on bones, Bob Cann on melodeon and Cyril Tawney on guitar playing Boscastle Breakdown, followed by Charlie Bates singing two verses of the Padstow Wassail Song (verses 1 and 3 below). Peter Kennedy and Charlie Bates introduce them with the words:

The west of England has always been carol country, and here the people once abided by King Alfred's decree that Christmas should last for 12 days, from Christmas Eve until the sixth of January— and so their “wassailing”, or making music for luck, might fall on any of these days. Charlie Bate here can tell you about that.

Well, we in Cornwall come out on Boxing Day. We black our faces and parade in the streets with accordions, tambourines, bones—any sort of instrument that'll make a good lively noise!

(instruments play Boscastle Breakdown)

And this wassail song I'm going to sing has been sung from door to door in Padstow and neighbouring districts—in St. Merryn where I live—for a long, long time. My dad used to sing it, and mother used to sing it.

A more complete recording of Charlie Bate singing six verses of the Padstow Wassail, made in 1956, was included by Kennedy on his Folktrax cassette West Country Wassailers.

Andy Turner learned the Padstow Wassail from the singing of Charlie Bate and sang it as the January 1, 2016 entry of his project A Folk Song a Week.

Lyrics

Andy Turner sings the Padstow Wassail

O master and mistress, our Wassail begin
Pray open your doors and let us come in
    With our wassail, wassail, wassail, wassail
    And joy comes with our jolly wassail.

O master and mistress sitting down by the fire
While we poor wassail boys are travelling the mire
    With our wassail, wassail, wassail, wassail
    And joy comes with our jolly wassail.

Good master and mistress, sitting down at your ease,
Put your hands in your pockets and give what you please
    With our wassail, wassail, wassail, wassail
    And joy comes with our jolly wassail.

Good master and mistress, now can you forbear,
I'll fill up our bowl with cider and beer
    With our wassail, wassail, wassail, wassail
    And joy comes with our jolly wassail.

We hope that your apples will prosper and bear
And bring forth good cider for this time next year
    With our wassail, wassail, wassail, wassail
    And joy comes with our jolly wassail.

We hope that your barley will prosper and grow
And bring forth good beer for you to bestow
    With our wassail, wassail, wassail, wassail
    And joy comes with our jolly wassail.