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The Nutting Girl / A-Nutting We Will Go

[ Roud 509 ; G/D 7:1475 ; Ballad Index K186 ; trad.]

Cyril Poacher sang this bawdy ballad with chorus and melodeon in the early 1950's at The Ship Inn, Blaxhall, Woodbridge, Suffolk; it was recorded by Peter Kennedy and published in 1960 on the EMI/HMV EP The Barley Mow: Songs from the Village Inn and a year later on the anthology Songs of Seduction (The Folk Songs of Britain, Volume 2; Caedmon 1961; Topic 1968). Another recording made by Keith Summer at The Ship Inn, Blaxhall, in 1972 was included in 2007 on the Musical Traditions anthology A Story to Tell: Keith Summers in Suffolk 1972-79. A second recording at The Ship Inn on November 16, 1973 was released in 1974 on the Transatlantic album The Larks They Sang Melodious: Sing-Song in a Suffolk Pub. A further version was recorded by Tony Engle in Cyril Poacher's home in Blaxhall in 1974 and included on his album The Broomfield Wager (1975), on his Musical Traditions anthology Plenty of Thyme, and on the Topic anthology Hidden English: A Celebration of English Traditional Music (1996).

The Ian Campbell Folk Group sang The Nutting Girl in an evening at the Jug of Punch folk club at the Crown, Station Street, Birmingham. This recording was published in 1962 on their Topic EP Ceilidh at the Crown.

John Kirkpatrick sang The Nutting Girl on Ashley Hutchings and friends' first Morris dance album Morris On. This track was also included in the Island anthology Folk Routes. The Nutting Girl—song and tune—is also on a more than 30 years newer live CD by Ashley Hutchings and friends, Morris On the Road.

Cyril Tawney recorded A-Nutting We Will Go in July 1971, but his ensuing Leader album Down Among the Barley Straw had to wait until 1976 to be released.

Notts Alliance sang The Nutting Girl in 1972 on their Traditional Sound album The Cheerful 'Orn.

Maggie Holland sang The Nutting Girl in 1982 on the English Country Blues Band's album No Rules.

Jim Eldon sang A-Hunting We Will Go in 1984 on his album I Wish There Was No Prisons.

Tony Harvey sang The Nutting Girl on the Veteran cassette Songs Sung in Suffolk Vol 2, published in 1987-89. This track was reissued in 2000 on the Veteran CD Songs Sung in Suffolk. John Howson commented in the album's notes:

A very popular song around the country, indeed, in Suffolk The Nutting Girl become a Blaxhall Ship's anthem, its best known exponent being Cyril Poacher, and there have in fact been many commercial recordings issued of him singing it. E.J. Moeran noted down the song in Suffolk in the 1930's, under the title Nutting Time. The common tune is close to that used for an Oxfordshire morris dance, although Fred Hamer collected an interestingly different tune from Essex singer Harry Green.

Will Noble and John Cocking sang The Nutting Girl live at the Huntsman, Holmfirth, Yorkshire, on November 23, 2004. This recording was published a year later on their Veteran CD Yon Green Banks. They and John Howson commented in the album's notes:

John learned this in the early days from the late Charlie Stopford from Slaithwaite at gatherings with the Colne Valley Beagles, while Will got his from Arthur Howard and the Holme Valley gatherings. Their versions are slightly different, so they sing it verse and verse about.

Phyllis Martin sang The Nutting Girl at the Fife Traditional Singing Festival, Collessie, Fife in May 2010. This recording was included a year later on the festival CD Hurrah Boys Hurrah! (Old Songs & Bothy Ballads Volume 7). The booklet commented:

Collected by Phyllis in 1967 from Maggie Wright of Sorbie, Wigtownshire. The song has been collected throughout the British Isles—more commonly in England than Scotland—and was regularly printed on broadsides.

Andy Turner sang The Nutting Girl as the May 19, 2013 entry of his project A Folk Song a Week.

Lyrics

John Kirkpatrick sings The Nutting Girl

Now come all you jovial fellows, come listen to me song.
It is a little ditty and it won't contain you long.
It's of a fair young damsel, oh she lived down in Kent,
Arose one summer's morning and she a-nutting went.

Chorus (after each verse):
With my fal-lal to my ral-tal-lal
Whack-fol-the-dear-ol-day
And what few nuts that poor girl had
She threw them all away.

Now it's of a brisk young farmer, was a-ploughing of his land,
He called unto his horses to bid them gently stand.
As he sat down upon his plough all for a song to sing,
His voice was so melodious, it made the valleys ring.

Now it's of this brisk young damsel, was nutting in the wood,
His voice was so melodious, it charmed her as she stood.
She could no longer stay and what few nuts she had, poor girl,
She threw them all away.

Well she then came to young Johnny as he sat on his plough,
Said she, “Young man I really feel I cannot tell you how.”
So he took her to some shady broom and there he laid her down,
Said she, “Young man, I think I feel the world go round and round.”

So come all you young women, this warning by me take,
Oh, if you should a-nutting go, don't stay out too late.
For if you should stay too late for to hear that ploughboy sing,
You might have a young farmer to nurse up in the spring.

Phyllis Martin sings The Nutting Girl

There was a jolly plooboy, a-plooin up his land,
He whistled and he sang all day to make the valleys sound,

Chorus (after each verse):
Singin tarry doodle aye, doodle aye, doodle aye,
Tarry doodle aye ae
Tarry doodle aye, doodle aye, doodle aye,
Tarry doodle aye ae.

The nuts that she was gaitherin, she threw them aa away,
She went tae hear the plooboy sing, “Tarry doodle aye ae.”

He's taen her by her middle sma, lain her doun wi speed,
Says he tae her, “Ma bonnie wee lass, I'll hae tae dae the deed.”

He's taen her by her middle sma, lain her on the grun,
Says she tae him, “Oh Jock ma man, the world's gan roun and roun.”

She went doun tae the valley tae pick up the words he said,
When she got doun she heard nae soun, she thocht that he was dead.

He wrote tae her a letter and in half a croun,
Saying, “Ye mind the nicht, ma bonnie wee lass, the world gaed roun and roun.”