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Suffolk Song

[ Roud - ; Mudcat 170870 ; Ian Woods]

Ian Woods sang Suffolk Song in 1984 on his and Charley Yarwood’s Traditional Sound album Hooks & Nets. Ian Woods noted:

During the very hard winter of 1962/3 there was little or no work for the farm labourer in the villages of Suffolk. If you had no work you had no wages; no wages meant no food. Some stayed; I left.

After several years working in the Midlands and North West, I returned home to Raydon to be confronted with the results of improved communications, transport and ‘progress’. The worst type a city dweller had arrived and now the smithy was a weekend cottage, while the pub had been ‘formica-ed’ (its since shut down due to lack of trade!) and the green was black tarmac. About the only things missing were some concrete cows artfully posed in the fields. If anything, this song is for Bert Gilder, Jack Tricker and John Buckles, the likes of whom are also disappearing, and for all those who knew the village as it was.


Ian Woods sings Suffolk Song

When we were young, my mates and I, we worked upon the farms,
And there we ploughed and sowed and reaped and brought strength to our arms.
Now the land it’s been swallowed up, there’s pylons instead of corn;
There’s factories and houses springing up, a new one every morn.

I watched the seasons come and go, rain, sun and Winter’s snow.
I’ve brought young beasts into the world, reared them and watched them go.
Now factory farming it’s all the rage, there’s more beasts in less room;
It’s push-button feeding for them now, no need for stockman or groom.

And my mates they all worked on the land to draw their weekly pay,
And Saturday night, now, we all would meet and drink it all away.
Now there’s cocktail bars, there’s shining chrome—no mild, it’s all keg beer;
And when we ask the reason why they say, “Don’t need you here.”

And I used to take my horses on to the smithy down the road,
And I’d watch George Crispin, his apron black, a-paring them to be shod.
But now the smithy it’s disappeared, there’s no more spark or din,
And Crispy he lies in the old churchyard, aside of more like him.

And few now sing my county tongue or sing my county round;
And them that know the country ways are seldom to be found—
For the binder turns its flashing blade, the barley scything down,
And many a lad now turns his face unto the nearest town.