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All of a Row

[ Roud 1474 ; trad.]

Martin Carthy recorded All of a Row with the Albion Country Band in 1973 for the at that time shelved album Battle of the Field. When it finally came out in 1976, this track had been replaced by another one, Reaphook and Sickle. In the meantime, Martin recorded All of a Row solo for his 1974 album Sweet Wivelsfield. This track was also included on the 1993 compilation Rigs of the Time: The Best of Martin Carthy. He sang it live at the Sunflower Folk Club, Belfast, on October 20, 1978; a recording of this concert was published in 2011 on the CD The January Man. And he finally sang All of a Row with the Albion Band on their and Keith Dewhurst's theatre production and album Lark Rise to Candleford.

Martin Carthy commented in the Sweet Wivelsfield sleeve notes:

Both John Barleycorn and All of a Row are, in their separate and different ways, songs about the cycle of seasons. One has the idea that the corn spirit is indestructible no matter what, and alive in all things remotely touched by it, and the other the idea that the cycle of planting and reaping is of necessity never ending. In a way one idea cannot survive without the other.

Jim Causley sang this song as Harvest Song in 2005 on his WildGoose album Fruit of the Earth.

Jon Boden learned All of a Row from Martin Carthy's singing on Lark Rise to Candleford and sang as the September 30, 2010 entry of his project A Folk Song a Day.

Lyrics

Martin Carthy sings All of a Row on
Sweet Wivelsfield
Martin Carthy sings All of a Row on
Lark Rise to Candleford

As the harvest comes on and the reaping begins
The farmer the fruit of the earth gathers in.
In mirth let us talk till the season be gone
And at night give a holler till it's all of a row,
Till it's all of a row,
At night give a holler till it's all of a row.

When the harvest come on and the reaping begin
Oh, the farmer the fruit of the earth gathers in.
In mirth let us talk till the season be gone
And at night give a holler till it's all of a row,
Till it's all of a row,
At night give a holler till it's all of a row.

Then early next morning our hooks we do grind,
Away to the cornfield to reap and to bind.
Our foreman looks back and he sees 'em behind
And he gives a loud hallo, bring it all well behind,
Bring it all well behind,
He gives a loud hallo bring it all well behind.

Then early next morning our hook we do grind,
Away to the cornfield to reap and to bind.
Our foreman looks back and he leaves well behind
And he gives a loud hallo, bring it all well behind,
Bring it all well behind,
He gives a loud hallo bring it all well behind.

Oh then says our foreman behind and before,
We will have a fresh wet and a half a pint more.
So me jolly boys to the end we will go,
To the end we will go till it's all of a row,
Till it's all of a row,
To the end we will go till it's all of a row.

Oh then says our foreman behind and before,
We will have a fresh wet and a half a pint more.
So me jolly boys to the end we will go,
To the end we will go till it's all of a row,
Till it's all of a row,
To the end we will go till it's all of a row.

When the night it comes on to the farm we will steer
To partake a good supper and to drink a strong beer;
In wishing the farmer such blessings in life
As in drinking a health unto him and his wife,
Unto him and his wife,
As in drinking a health unto him and his wife.

Our wheat's all in, oats and barley abound,
Here's success to the farmer who ploughs through the ground.
As to this wheat stubble it to turnips we'll sow
And so we'll continue till it's all of a row,
Till it's all of a row,
And so we'll continue till it's all of a row.

Our wheat is all in, oats and barley abound,
Here's success to the farmer who ploughs through the ground.
As to this wheat stubble it to turnips we'll sow
And so we'll continue till it's all of a row,
Till it's all of a row,
And so we'll continue till it's all of a row.

Acknowledgements

Transcribed from the singing of Martin Carthy by Garry Gillard