> A.L. Lloyd > Songs > When Johnson's Ale Was New
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> John Kirkpatrick > Songs > When Jones's Ale Was New

When Johnson's Ale Was New / When Jones's Ale Was New

[ Roud 139 ; G/D 3:561 ; Ballad Index Doe168 ; Bodleian Roud 139 ; Wiltshire Roud 139 ; trad.]

Bob and Ron Copper sang The Barley Mow (When Jones's Ale Was New) on March 1, 1951 for the BBC archive recording 16067 made by Brian George. This track was also included as The Jovial Tradesmen (When Jones's Ale Was New) on the anthology Jack of All Trades (The Folk Songs of Britain Volume 3; Caedmon 1961; Topic 1968).

A.L. Lloyd sang When Johnson's Ale Was New in 1956 on his Riverside album English Drinking Songs. He commented in the sleeve notes:

Here and there at Easter time, the “Jolly-boys” or “Pace-eggers” go from house to house, singing songs and begging for eggs. They wear clownish disguises: the hunch-backed man, the long-nosed man, the fettered prisoner, the man-woman etc. Johnson's Ale (or John's or Joan's) is one of their favourite songs. Whether the drinking song comes from the pace-egging version or the other way round, we do not know. It is an old song. Ben Johnson knew it and mentioned it in his 16th century Tale of a Tub. Its qualities are durable, for it has altered little in 350 years. It appeals most to those who are most elevated.

Harry Green of Tilty, Essex, sang When Jones's Ale Was New to Fred Hamer in 1967. This recording was included in 2010 on the Veteran anthology of traditional singers from Essex, The Fox & the Hare. John Howson commented in the liner notes:

This popular country song was first published as Jones Ale is Newe in 1594 and the many recorded versions seem to produce a never-ending parade of artisans visiting the local pub. 19th century broadside printers including Catnach, Birt, Fortey, Such, Thackeray and Jennings (London), Willey (Cheltenham), Harkness (Preston), Fordyke (Newcastle /Hull) and Baird (Cork), also found a market for the song, often under the name Joan's Ale, John's Ale or The Jovial Crew. The song spread all over England and in East Anglia Ralph Vaughan Williams noted it down from a Mr Hilton in South Walsham, Norfolk in 1908 and Ben and Robert Hurr in Southwold, Suffolk in 1910.

Martyn Wyndham-Read sang When Jones's Ale Was New in 1973 on his Trailer album Harry the Hawker is Dead; this track was also included on the Trailer anthology The World of Folk.

Fred Jordan sang When Jones's Ale Was New at home in Aston Munslow, Shropshire, in 1974. This recording by Tony Foxworthy was released in the same year on his Topic album When the Frost Is on the Pumpkin, and in 1998 on the Topic anthology They Ordered Their Pints of Beer and Bottles of Sherry (The Voice of the People Volume 13).

Walter Pardon sang Jones' Ale in 1977 on his Leader album Our Side of the Baulk.

George Fradley of Sudbury, Derbyshire, sang Jones's Ale to Mike Yates in 1984. This recording was included in ca. 1987-89 on Fradley's Veteran Tapes cassette of songs from Derbyshire, One of the Best. This track was included in 2005 on the Veteran CD It Was on a Market Day—One.< Mike Yates commented:

Jones's Ale is a song with a veritable pedigree. Tom D'Urfey included it in his early 18th century song collection Pills to Purge Melancholy (1719-20), and it was also listed in Thackeray's 17th century broadside catalogue. Robert Bell included a 19th century broadside text in his Ballads and Songs of the Peasantry of England (1857), together with a note that the song was probably originally a lampoon levelled at Oliver Cromwell and his wife, who were named ‘Nolly and Joan’ by the Royalist Party (the names found in D'Urfey's set).

Charlie Stringer of Wickham Skeith, Suffolk, sang When Jones's Ale Was New on the ca. 1987 Veteran Tapes cassette Songs Sung in Suffolk Vol. 2. This track was included in 2000 on the Veteran CD Songs Sung in Suffolk. John Howson commented in the liner notes:

This popular country song was first published as Jones Ale is Newe way back in 1594. The song has been recorded extensively all over the country (sometimes as Joan's Ale), with a variety of characters added to produce more verses. Charlie learnt his version locally and it is not really complete. An interesting version was sung by Derbyshire's George Fradley with quite a different tune. The song became popular within the folk-song revival, mainly through recordings of the Copper family of Rottingdean in Sussex, and Shropshire's Fred Jordan sang it regularly.

Ray Driscoll sang Jones' Ale to Gwilym Davies in 1993 and 1996. One of these recordings was included in 2008 on Driscoll's CD Wild, Wild Berry. Gwilym Davies commented that this is

a fine version which Ray learned in Shropshire. Note especially the verse about the ditcher, which I have not seen in any other version.

Dave Townsend sang Joan's Ale on the Mellstock Band's 1995 Saydisc CD Songs of Thomas Hardy's Wessex.

John Kirkpatrick and Danny Spooner sang English and Australian variants of When Jones's Ale Was New on the 2003 Fellside anthology Song Links: A Celebration of English Traditional Songs and Their Australian Variants.

Andy Turner learned When Jones's Ale Was New from the Copper Family repertoire and sang it as the June 25, 2012 entry of his project A Folk Song a Week.

Lyrics

Ron and Bob Copper sing When Jones's Ale Was New

Come all you honest labouring men that work hard all the day
And join with me at the Barley Mow to pass an hour away.
Where we can sing and drink and be merry
And drive away all our cares and worry,
When Jones's ale was new, my boys, when Jones's ale was new.

The first to come in was the ploughman with sweat all on his brow,
Up with the lark at the break of day he guides the speedy plough.
He drives his team, how they do toil
O'er hill and valley to turn the soil,
When Jones's ale was new, my boys, when Jones's ale was new.

The next to come in was the blacksmith, his brawny arms all bare
And with his pint of Jones's ale he has no fear or care.
Throughout the day his hammer he's swinging
And he sings when he hears the anvil ringing,
When Jones's ale was new, my boys, when Jones's ale was new.

The next to come in was the scythe-man so cheerful and so brown
And with the rhythm of his scythe the corn he does mow down.
He works, he mows, he sweats and he blows
And he leaves his swathes laying all in rows,
When Jones's ale was new, my boys, when Jones's ale was new.

The next to come in was the tinker and he was no small beer drinker,
And he was no small beer-drinker to join the jovial crew.
He told the old woman he'd mend her old kettle,
Good Lord how his hammer and tongs did rattle
When Jones's ale was new, my boys, when Jones's ale was new.

Now here is Jones our landlord, a jovial man is he,
Likewise his wife a buxom lass who joins in harmony.
We wish them happiness and good will
While our pots and glasses they do fill,
When Jones's ale was new, my boys, when Jones's ale was new.

A.L. Lloyd sings When Johnson's Ale Was New

There were six jolly tradesmen come rambling over the hill.
Come ambling over the hill, my boys, for they were a cheerful crew.
They all sat down for to be merry;
They called for a bottle of wine or sherry.
“You're welcome over the hills,” says Nelly,
When Johnson’s ale was new.

The first come in was a soldier and no captain ever looked bolder.
His gun on his right shoulder, his good broadsword he drew.
He said he’d fight with all his might
Before old England should be drunk dry;
And so they spent a rowdy night
When Johnson’s ale was new.

The next come in was a hatter and he began to chatter.
He asked what was the matter among the jovial crew.
He dashed his hat unto the ground
And he flung the landlord half a crown.
And the company drank his health around
When Johnson’s ale was new.

Then in come a jolly mason his hammer to put a face on,
No man could be more decent among the jovial crew.
He dashed his trowel against the wall
And he wished every church and steeple would fall,
So there would be work for masons all
When Johnson’s ale was new.

The last come in was a ragman weary, his ragbag he did carry,
And he was already merry among the jovial crew.
While he was kissing and squeezing the lasses
They burned his ragbag all to ashes,
When Johnson’s ale was new, my boys,
When Johnson’s ale was new.

The ale was always improving and nobody thought of moving.
The longer they sat boozing the greater friends they grew.
So rowdily they drunk about
Until the ale had all run out,
And they asked old Johnson to give ‘em a shout
When he had brewed anew.

Harry Green sings When Jones's Ale Was New

There were three jolly countrymen come over the hills together,
Come over the hills together to join our jovial crew,
They called at our ale-house
And asked for pints and pots of ale,
They asked for pints and pots of ale,
While Jones’ ale was new my boys, while Jones’ ale was new.

Oh the first to come in was a soldier with his firebrand over his shoulder,
No man could look any bolder to join our jovial crew,
The landlord's daughter she come in,
and so she tickled him under his chin,
And the pots and pints of ale rolled in,
While Jones' ale was new, my boys, while Jones' ale was new.

Oh the next come in was a tinker, he was no small beer drinker,
Nobody could look any bolder to join our jovial crew,
“Have you any old pots or kettles to mend,
For my rivets are made of the best of metal.”
Good lord how his hammers and pincers did rattle,
While Jones' ale was new, my boys, while Jones' ale was new.

The next come in was a dyer, he sat himself down by the fire,
No man could look any bolder to join our jovial crew,
He told the landlord to his face
The chimney corner was his place,
And there he'd sit and scorch his old face,
‘Til Jones' ale was new, my boys, while Jones' ale was new.

The next come in was a mason, his hammer it wanted new facing,
No man could look any bolder to join our jovial crew,
He threw his old hammer at the wall
And wished alI the churches and chapels might fall,
And then there'd be work for masons all,
While Jones' ale was new, my boys, while Jones' ale was new.

The next come in was a ragman with his ragbag over his shoulder,
No man could look any bolder to join our jovial crew,
He told the landlord to his heart
That he would pawn his old donkey and cart,
And spend the money with all his heart,
While Jones' ale was new, my boys, while Jones' ale was new.

Now the last to come in was a cobbler, slapstone over his shoulder,
No man could look any bolder to join our jovial crew,
He dropped his slapstone on his toes
And he swore that his wife should never want for shoes,
And he swore that his wife should never want for shoes,
While Jones' ale was new, my boys, while Jones' ale was new.

Fred Jordan sings When Jones's Ale Was New

Now, three men came over the hill, came over the hill together,
Come over the hill together for to join in the jovial crew.
And they ordered their pints of beer and bottles of sherry
To carry them over the hills so merry,
To carry them over the hills so merry,
When Jones's ale was new, my boys, when Jones's ale was new.

Now, the first to come in was a dyer; he sat himself down by the fire,
He sat himself down by the fire for to join in the jovial crew.
And he sat himself down with a good grace
For the chimney breast was his own place,
And here he could drink and dye his old face,
When Jones's ale was new, my boys, when Jones's ale was new.

Now, the next to come in was a tinker and he was no small-beer drinker,
And he was no small-beer drinker for to join in the jovial crew.
“Hast ye any old pots or pan or kettles?
I mends them with the very best metals
And I'll put all your pots in good fettle.”
When Jones's ale was new, my boys, when Jones's ale was new.

Now, the next to come in was a hatter and no man could be fatter,
And no man could be fatter for to join in the jovial crew.
And he placed his hat upon the ground,
Wished everybody'd place in a pound,
And then he'd be able to buy drinks all round,
When Jones's ale was new, my boys, when Jones's ale was new.

Now, the next to come in was a mason and his hammers need refacing
And his hammers need refacing for to join in the jovial crew.
And he sat his hammers against the wall,
Wished all the churches and chapels'd fall,
And then there's be plenty of work for all,
When Jones's ale was new, my boys, when Jones's ale was new.

Now, the next to come in was a soldier with a firelock o'er his shoulder,
And no man could be bolder for to join in the jovial crew.
And the landlady's daughter come in,
And he kissed atween the nose and the chin,
And the pints of beer they came rolling in,
When Jones's ale was new, my boys, when Jones's ale was new.

And they ordered their pints of beer and bottles of sherry
To carry them over the hills so merry,
To carry them over the hills so merry,
When Jones's ale was new, my boys, when Jones's ale was new.

George Fradley sings When Jones's Ale Was New

There were six stalwart young fellows came over the hill together,
Through all kinds of weather to find a jovial crew.
We said we had found a very fine brew
And it satisfies us so it’s bound to suit you
And you’ll be in the best of good company too,
When Jones’s ale was new, my boys,
When Jones’s ale was new.

The first to come in was a tinker, with his melting pot and iron.
Who better could you rely on to join a jovial crew?
He said, “I will make you a pan or a kettle
And all my wares are made of good metal
And I myself am in jolly good fettle”,
When Jones’s ale was new, my boys,
When Jones’s ale was new.

And the next to come in was a tailor with his slave board and his thimble.
What man could look more nimble to join a jovial crew?
He said, “I will make you a coat or a cloak
As I make for the gentry and other good folk.
Now we’ll sit ourselves down and we’ll tell a good joke”,
When Jones’s ale was new, my boys,
When Jones’s ale was new.

And the next to come in was a soldier with his knapsack o’er his shoulder.
What man could look more bolder to join a jovial crew?
He said, “I will fight for England’s crown
Before this country shall be run down
Let every man spend half a crown”,
When Jones’s ale was new, my boys,
When Jones’s ale was new.

And the next to come in was a sailor with his bell bottoms and his compass.
Who better to quell a rumpus or to join a jovial crew?
He said, “I’ve got a girl in every port
And up to now I’ve never been caught
So we’ll sit ourselves down and we’ll draw us a quart”,
When Jones’s ale was new, my boys,
When Jones’s’ ale was new.

And the next to come in was a rich man and you could tell he was in clover.
He searched the whole world over to find such a jovial crew.
He said, “I have come a very long way
And now I am hear tis my pleasure to say
For all you can drink I am willing to pay”,
When Jones’s ale was new, my boys,
When Jones’s ale was new.

And the next to come in was a poor man and his coat was all in tatters
And I don’t see that it matters when you join a jovial crew.
“If you have any work I am able and willing
And raring to earn a good honest shilling.
Now I see that these tankards are ready for filling”,
When Jones’s ale was new, my boys,
When Jones’s ale was new.

Charlie Stringer sings When Jones's Ale Was New

When me and a few more fellows came over the hills together,
Came over the hills together, boys, to join that jovial crew.
They brought with them some wine and sherry,
To help them over the hills so merry,
To help them over the hills so merry,
When Jones' ale was new, my boy,
When Jones' ale was new.

And the first that came in was a soldier with a firelock over his shoulder,
With a firelock over his shoulder for to join that jovial crew.

The next came in was a tinker and he was a very good tinker.
“Have you any old tins or cans to fettle?
My rivets are made of the very best metal,
My rivets are made of the very best metal.”
When Jones' ale was new, my boy,
When Jones' ale was new.

And the last that came in was a mason and he was a jolly good mason,
He swung his old hammers against the wall,
Prayed that all the churches and chapels might fall,
And there'd be work for masons all.
When Jones' ale was new, my boy.
When Jones' ale was new.

Then the landlord's daughter she came in.
They kissed between her nose and chin,
And the quarts and gallons they all rolled in.
When Jones' ale was new, my boy.