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Bungay Roger / Muddley Barracks

[ Roud 1735 ; Ballad Index RcMuddBa ; GlosTrad Roud 1735 ; Wiltshire 704 ; Mudcat 51462 ; trad.]

Peter Bellamy sang Bungay Roger (which is also known as Muddley Barracks) unaccompanied on his 1975 album Peter Bellamy. He notes:

This is a comic dialect song, very popular in Norfolk in the nineteenth century, and one of the most frequently collected of East Anglian pieces.

Jumbo Brightwell sang Muddley Barracks in a recording by Peter Kennedy on the anthology LP A Soldier’s Life for Me (The Folk Songs of Britain Vol. 8, Caedmon 1961, Topic 1970). He was recorded again at home in Leiston, Suffolk in Spring 1975 by Tony Engle and Keith Summers; this was published on his LP Songs From the Eel’s Foot (1975) and on There Is a Man Upon the Farm (The Voice of the People Series Vol. 20, 1998).

Roy Harris sang Muddley Barracks on his 1979 LP of life in the lower ranks 1750-1900 through soldier songs, The Rambling Soldier.

Jon Boden sang Bungay Roger as the 26 January 2011 entry of his project A Folk Song a Day.


Peter Bellamy sings Bungay Roger

Because I come from Bungay Town
I’m called the Bungay Roger.
And they asked I o’er and o’er again,
If I go for a soldier;
They asked I o’er and o’er again,
To take the old King’s shilling.
“Cor blast!”, said I, “I’ll have a bloody good try.”
Just to show that I was willing.

Chorus (repeated after each verse):
With a fol a rol a day, fol a rol a day,
Fol a rol a day, when I get home.

Well, they marched I round the barrack square
Doin’ the duty manual.
And they buggered I here and they buggered I there,
For doing the duty general.
“Eyes a-right! Eyes a-left!
Cor bless! Just hold your head up!”
But if I chance to say one word
They’d bugger I in the lockup.

Well, they marched I down to the dinin’ hall
As hungry as a hunter,
And the orderly officer he shouts out,
“Are there any complaints, sir?”
Well up jumps I and I hollers out,
“Yes! ’Cause among this bloody plaster
All I find is a little bit of fat
And a bloody old potato.”

Now I wished I’d were back on the farm,
Milkin’ of the bloody old cow, sir.
And I wished I’d were back on the farm,
Pushin’ of the bloody old plough, sir.
And I wished I’d were back on the farm,
All among the beef and mutton
With my rusty old fork and a bloody old scythe
Cor blessed and go a-threshin’.


Thanks to Mike Musgrove for lyrics corrections.