> Folk Music > Songs > Young Simon John

Young Simon John

[ Roud - ; TYG 77 ; Tom Daniel]

Bill Price recorded Young Simon John in 1972 for his Folk-Heritage album The Fine Old Yorkshire Gentleman. His sleeve notes commented:

‘Old Tommy’ Daniel of Batley, who died in April 1970, is best known for preserving and reconstructing the fine song Poverty Knock. Simon John is another one of Tommy's songs, possibly his own favourite, as he always enjoyed life and saw the humorous side. He always insisted that the audience join him in the actions of donning the “neetcap, neetshirt and long-stockings”, and that “Mm-mm”, was added at the end of every verse, as it was the best part of the song.

Folly Bridge sang Young Simon John in 1992 on their second WildGoose cassette, Unabridged.

Jon Boden sang Young Simon John as the February 9, 2011 entry of his project A Folk Song a Day. I didn't know this song before but found the lyrics at the Folk Leads Online website (now defunct) as sung by Paul Child and added them here.

Lyrics

Jon Boden sings Young Simon John

Now this is the story of young Simon John,
Who never got donned up, put Sunday clothes on,
’E could well afford it, but grass were ’is rooits,
So ’e just brushed off pig-muck an' blackened ’is boots;
But ’e were partic'ler what neet-clothes ’e ’ad,
So cosy an’ warm in ’is own feather bed;
So there every neet there were t’ young Simon John
Wi’ ’is neetcap an’ ’is neetshirt an ’is long stockin’s on.
Mm-mm

Now young Simon John ’ad a voice like a bell,
He could ’ave sung in church choir, but they couldn’t stand t’ smell;
But one Christmas concert ’e were asked to sing,
An’ somebody said some clean clothes they would bring;
But Simon were proud an’ went off in a huff,
An’ told them that ’e’d really got clean clothes enough;
So to sing there on t’ platform stood young Simon John,
Wi’ ’is neetcap an’ ’is neetshirt an’ ’is long stockin’s on.
Mm-mm

Nah Simon got pally wi’ t’ milkmaid on t’ farm;
T’ old farmer smiled, thought theyed come to no ’arm;
They’d lay ovver t’ stile an’ just giggle an’ talk,
’E daren’t even ask ’er to go for a walk;
But she ’ad more ’ope, said she would meet at stile
An’ ’oped ’e’d put clean clothes on once in a while,
An’ when she got to t’ stile, there were young Simon John,
Wi’ ’is neetcap an’ ’is neetshirt an’ ’is long stockin’s on.
Mm-mm

There must ’ave been summat in t’ lad after all,
As she sooin got to love ’im, pig-muck an’ all;
But they didn’t let coortin’ interfere wi’ their work,
But durin’ t’ neet-time theyed manys the lark.
She slept in t’ back bedroom, ’im in tattie cub-’ole,
An’ she crept upstairs just to be with ’er love,
An’ jump into bed there wi’ young Simon John,
Wi’ ’is neetcap an’ ’is neetshirt an’ ’is long stockin’s on.
Mm-mm

Well, after so many adventures in bed,
So time came round when they had to get wed;
T’ old farmer promised ’im a suit of good yarn
If ’e’d go get measured in t’ nearest town;
But Simon were gormless, got mixed up wi’ t’ date,
An’ when suit arrived, well, it were too late,
So ’e went to t’ altar, did young Simon John,
Wi’ ’is neetcap an’ ’is neetshirt an’ ’is long stockin’s on.
Mm-mm

Now village at t’ weddin’ they were all in good cheer;
There were plenty to eat an’ there were plenty o’ beer;
They got a farm cottage wi’ no rent to pay,
An’ she started knittin’ three ounces a day.
When t’ ’appy event were all ower an’ done
They let Simon in there to look at ’is son;
There at side of ’is mother laid t’ new Simon John,
Wi’ ’is neetcap an’ ’is neetshirt an’ ’is long stockin’s on.
Mm-mm