> Peter Bellamy > Songs > Butter and Cheese and All

Butter and Cheese and All / The Greasy Cook

[ Roud 510 ; G/D 4:914 ; Ballad Index CoSB236 ; Bodleian Roud 510 ; Wiltshire Roud 510 ; trad.]

Butter and Cheese is a bawdy song from Sam Larner's and Harry Cox's repertoire. Ewan MacColl and Peggy Seeger recorded Sam Larner singing this song in 1958-60 and issued it on the Folkways LP Now is the Time for Fishing. Harry Cox sang it with the title The Greasy Cook on the 1965 LP Harry Cox Sings English Love Songs.

Peter Bellamy sang Butter and Cheese and All unaccompanied on his first solo LP, Mainly Norfolk, and on June 22, 1971 live at the Folk Studio, Norwich. This performance was published on his LP with Louis Killen, Won't You Go My Way?.

Peter Bellamy commented in the original album's liner notes:

Of the many singers discovered by song collectors in my home country of Norfolk, Harry Cox and Sam Larner stand supreme, unrivalled not only for the quantity of their songs, but also the quality. Thus it is hardly surprising that six of the twelve songs which I have chosen to record have come from them. Both these singers had repertoires which covered the entire spectrum of English rural song, from the high Classic Ballad down (or up?) to outright bawdry.

The German Musicianer from Harry Cox and Butter and Cheese and All from Sam Larner are fine examples of the latter—both of them witty songs, revelling in double entendre—so much that I have known audiences totally failing to grasp the meaning of the Musicianer. You can work it out for yourself!

Jon Boden sang Butter and Cheese and All as the February 12, 2011 entry of his project A Folk Song a Day.

Matt Quinn learned Butter and Cheese and All from the singing of Leslie Johnson and recorded it for his 2017 CD The Brighton Line. He commented:

A Sussex version of a popular song. The most well known versions come from the repertoires of Norfolk singers Harry Cox and Sam Larner. This is a nice little bawdy comic song that touches on farce towards the end. Surely a vicar should appear at some point…


Harry Cox sings The Greasy Cook

I fell in love with a Greasy Cook
And that I can't deny
I fell in love with a greasy cook
𝄆 I'll tell you the reason why. 𝄇

Plum pudding, roast beef a plenty
Plum pudding, roast beef
Oh when my belly was empty
𝄆 She gave to me relief 𝄇

I kindly was invited
Some supper for to take
And kindly I did accept it
𝄆 All for my stomach's sake 𝄇

Now after supper was over
The cupboard she took some key
One pocket she crammed butter
𝄆 And the other she crammed with cheese 𝄇

Her master smelling of the cheese
Came rat-tat at the door
I had nowhere to hide my face
𝄆 But up the chimney crawl 𝄇

I had not been there very long
A sitting at my ease
The fire melted my butter
𝄆 And likewise touched my cheese 𝄇

Every drop that fell on the fire
It caused the old fire to rear
The old woman looked up the chimney top
𝄆 And she swore the old devil was there 𝄇

Her master went to the chimney top
A bucket of water let fall
And I came following after
𝄆 Me butter and cheese and all 𝄇

The dogs did bark and the children screamed
Up flew the windows all
The old woman cried out well done, well done
𝄆 There goes butter and cheese and all. 𝄇

Peter Bellamy sings Butter and Cheese and All

Well now you've called on me to sing I'll see what I can do,
And when that I have finished it I'll call on one of you.
Well now you've called on me to sing I'll see what I can do,
And when that I have finished it
𝄆 I'll call on one of you. 𝄇

Now, the first time I went a-courting, well I'll tell you the reason why,
It was to a jolly old cook because my wants she did supply.
She fed me on the best roast beef and plenty of mince pies,
And whenever that I was hungry
𝄆 My wants she did supply. 𝄇

So one day I went to see her and she asked me in to tea,
She said the missus and master's out, we'll have a jolly spree.
So I went into the parlour my own true love to please
And into one pocket she's rammed some butter
𝄆 And into the other some cheese. 𝄇

Now after supper was over, and I could eat no more,
Oh Lord, to my surprise when a knock comes to the door.
So I looked around for a place to hide but that I did not know.
So it's up the old chimney I did creep,
𝄆 As black as any old crow. 𝄇

Now, the fire it being rather warm, it began to scorch my knees,
Likewise to melt my butter and likewise to toast my cheese,
And every drop dropped in the fire, a terrible place was there.
And the master swore as in his poor old house
𝄆 That the Devil himself was there. 𝄇

So it's way up on the roof he climbed for to drive old Harry out,
He began to pour cold water down what put me to a rout.
And it's down the old chimney I did creep and into the street did crawl,
I was forced to ramble as fast as I could
𝄆 With my butter and cheese and all. 𝄇

Now some they said it was the devil and him they very well know,
But some they just said it was Harry myself though I was as black as a crow,
The dogs did bark, the children screamed, up rushed the women all,
And then they began to blabber as how
𝄆 You've got butter and cheese and all. 𝄇