> Nic Jones > Songs > Rakish Young Fellow

The Rakish Young Fellow / The Reckless Young Fellow

[ Roud 829 ; Ballad Index FR439 ; Bodleian Roud 829 ; trad.]

Cecil Sharp collected The Rakish Young Fellow in 1904 from William Nott of Meshaw, Devon. Sam Richards and Tish Stubbs printed it in 1979 in their book The English Folksinger.

Sam Larner sang The Reckless Young Fellow in a recording made by Ewan MacColl and Peggy Seeger in 1958-60 on his 1961 Folkways album Now Is the Time for Fishing. The sleeve notes commented:

These two verses are, according to Mr Larner, “the complete song” and that may well be so, although they could, equally well, be the first and last verses of a longer piece. Asked where he had learned it, Mr Larner replied, “That's a well-known ditty in these parts, a well-known ditty.” The editors have been unable to trace other versions of the song.

Mary Ann Haines sang The Rakish Young Fellow in a recording made by Mike Yates between 1972 and 1975. This was included in 2003 on the Musical Traditions anthology Here's Luck to a Man: Gypsy Songs and Music from South-East England.

Walter Pardon sang Rakish Young Fellow in a recording made by Mike Yates on December 2, 1978. It was published in 1983 on his album Bright Golden Store: Songs and Music from Knapton in Norfolk and in 2000 on his Topic anthology A World Without Horses: A Portrait of a Traditional Singer.

Nic Jones recorded Rakish Young Fellow in February 2006 as a bonus track for the Halliard's CD The Last Goodnight.

Andy Turner sang The Rakish Young Fellow, as the April 1, 2012 entry of his project A Folk Song a Week.

Lyrics

Sam Larner sings The Reckless Young Fellow

I once was a reckless young fellow
I never took care of my life.
I sailed the salt seas all over,
And every port a fresh wife.

I wish the wars were all over
And I safe ashore on the main,
God bless me forever and ever
If I ever go whoring again.
Spoken: I been a naughty boy in my time… little bit naughty. But no harm, no harm..

Mary Ann Haynes sings Rakish Young Fellow

I am but a rakish young fellow,
I never took no heed of my life.
But I've travelled this country all over,
I've travelled it far and, oh, near boys.
Oh, damn it, and now I'll give over,
If I go that road any more.

So send for my friends and relations,
And send for them everyone.
And roll up the long pipes of 'bacca,
Say, “Here's luck to a good hearted man.”

Oh, buy a bottle of rum, oh, boy,
And merrily drink everyone, boys,
And merrily drink over my coffin.
Say, “Here's luck to a good hearted man.”

So, I've travelled this country all over,
I've travelled it far and, oh, near boys.
And now damn it, I'll never give over,
I won't go that road any more.
Spoken: That's the finish of her.

Walter Pardon sings The Rakish Young Fellow

My ship she is lying at anchor
And I've arrived safely on shore.
May God bless me now and forever
If I go to sea any more.

I am a rakish young fellow;
I never took care of my life.
I've sailed the oceans all over
In every port I found a wife.

I have sailed through stormy weather;
I've travelled through hot and through cold.
I ventured my life on the ocean,
I ventured it all just for gold.

I'll send for my friends and relations
With two or three gallons of beer.
We'll drink and be merry and jolly
And away to the Derrydown Fair.

And I shall make them all welcome,
I'll send for them everyone.
We'll drink to our wives and our sweethearts,
I'll send for a cask of good rum.

And when I am dead and I'm buried,
For that is the end of my life,
I'll never go sobbing and sighing,
I'll do a good turn for my wife.

I'll never go sobbing and sighing,
But just one last favour I crave:
Wrap me in my tarpaulin jacket
and fiddle and dance round my grave.

Get six jolly young men to carry me
And let them all get roaring drunk,
And, as they are bearing me onwards,
Let them all fall down on my trunk.

And there shall be laughter and singing
Like so many men who've gone mad.
Give each one a drink o'er my coffin,
Saying, here's to the jolly young lad.

Links

See also the Mudcat Café thread Lyr Add: Tarpaulin Jacket.