> The Albion Band > Songs > House in the Country

House in the Country

[ Roud 2499 ; Mudcat 1874#131401 ; Maggie Stewart]

Maggie Stewart (1902-1983) of Aberdeen, aunt of Jeannie Robertson, wrote I Can’t Get a House in the Country which is an autobiographical account of the persecution of Travellers, particularly after the First World War. It is printed in the Folk Music Journal 3:1 (1975).

Kate McGarrigle and John Tams sang House in the Country on the Albion Band’s 1978 album Rise Up Like the Sun. Julie Matthews sang House in the Country in a 1992 Albion Band recording that was included in 1994 on their HTD CD Captured. The liner notes from the first album’s CD reissue noted:

This song was learned from an article on Traveller’s Songs in the Journal of the English Folk Dance & Song Society (EFDSS). It is an early 20th century song written in the traditional manner. Both [Ashley] Hutchings and [John] Tams have long been fascinated by new songs which manage to unite contemporary concerns with traditional musical forms. Curiously enough, in late 1991 both the latest incarnation of The Albion Band and John Tams & Stalking Horses have begun to feature the song again in live performances, recent homelessness having provided an added resonance to the song.

Andy Turner sang House in the Country as the 1 May 2016 entry of his project A Folk Song a Week.


Maggie Stewart sings I Can’t Get a House in the Country

I can’t get a house in the country,
Nor I can’t get a house in the town,
But I have my horse and my wagon,
And I travel the country around.

For it’s fine to get up in the morning,
When the lark’s flying high in the sky,
And pack up all your belongings,
And you bid all the travellers goodbye.

And away to the hills we go roaming,
To find our new resting place,
It may be clearing in the woodland,
Or it may be some wide open space.

Then why should I join the army?
When I’ve no home to call my own.
I would fight for my king and my country,
But I’ve no place that I can call home.