> Peter Bellamy > Songs > Old Brown's Daughter

Old Brown's Daughter

[ Roud 1426 ; Full English FK/18/136/1 ; Bodleian Roud 1426 ; George W. Hunt (1839-1904)]

According to Wikipedia, Old Brown's Daughter “was an English music hall song, sung by Alfred Vance, and became a Newfoundland folk song. It was written by G.W. Hunt (1839-1904), circa 1878, although it is often wrongly credited to Johnny Burke (1851-1930).” Walter Pardon sang it at home in Knapton, Norfolk, on July 12, 1975 to Bill Leader and Peter Bellamy. This recording was published in the same year on his Leader LP A Proper Sort.

Peter Bellamy recorded Old Brown's Daughter in 1975 too for his eponymous album Peter Bellamy. He commented in the album's sleeve notes:

The Pardon family is also responsible for this extraordinary comic song. Whether its roots lie in the rural tradition or the Music Hall, it's difficult to say. It has been in the Pardon family repertoire for at least three generations.

Johnny Collins and Friends sang Old Brown's Daughter in 1982 on his Traditional Sound Recordings album Free & Easy. A live recording from the festival for traditional Dutch sailing barges in Workum, Friesland, was published a year later on his album Strontrace!.

Damien Barber sang Old Brown's Daughter on the 1992 Fellside anthology of English traditional songs, Voices. Paul Adams commented in the album's notes:

One of the greatest find of the 1970's was Walter Pardon, a hitherto undiscovered traditional singer. At the time of his “discovery” Peter Bellamy wrote about Walter's “vocal abilities and richness of repertoire”. Walter comes from the village of Knapton in Norfolk. Damien is a young man also from Norfolk. Barely into his twenties he is one of the new generation of singers. It is difficult to say whether Old Brown's Daughter comes from the Music Halls or a rural tradition. Whatever, it is a humorous tale and Damien accords it the dignity and understated style so typical of Mr. Pardon.

Jon Boden learned Old Brown's Daughter from Peter Bellamy via Damien Barber, and sang it as the January 3, 2011 entry of his project A Folk Song a Day.

Andy Turner learned Old Brown's Daughter from the singing of Walter Pardon and sang it as the January 11, 2014 entry of his project A Folk Song a Week.

Lyrics

Peter Bellamy sings Old Brown's Daughter

It's an ancient party at the other end of town,
He keeps a little chandler's shop, his ancient's name is Brown;
He's a miserable old party, such a I've never saw,
But, by jingo, I would like to be that old chap's son-in-law.

Chorus (after each verse):
'Cause Old Brown's daughter, she's a proper sort of girl,
Old Brown's daughter, she is as fair as any pearl;
I wish I was a Lord Mayor, Marquis, or an Earl,
I'm blowed if I would marry Old Brown's girl.

Now Old Brown, he's often troubled with the gout,
He grumbles in his little parlour when he can't get out.
Miss Brown she minds the shop and it's a treat to see her serve;
I'd like to run away with her but I haven't got the nerve.

Now Old Brown in his shop sell anything you please,
He sell treacle, wood, buns and soap, lollipops and cheese.
Miss Brown she smile so sweetly when she hand me my change;
It makes me feel right galvanised, I feel so very strange.

Now Miss Brown she smile so sweetly when I say a tender word,
But Old Brown say she'll marry a Marquis or a Lord.
I don't suppose that ever one of these swells I will be,
But, by jingo, I shall put up as M.P.

Jon Boden sings Old Brown's Daughter

There's an ancient old party at the other end of town,
He keeps a little cobbler's shop, his ancient's name is Brown;
He has a pretty daughter, such a girl you never saw,
By jingo, I would like to be that old man's son-in-law.

Chorus (after each verse):
For Old Brown's daughter, she's a proper sort of girl,
Old Brown's daughter, she's as fair as any pearl;
I wish I was a Lord Mayor, a Marquis, or an Earl,
I'm blowed if I wouldn't marry Old Brown's girl.

Old Brown can serve you almost anything you please,
Jew's harps for the little boys, bubble-gum and cheese.
Miss Brown she minds the shop for him, it's a thrill to see her serve;
I'd like to run away with her but I haven't got the nerve.

Old Brown he's much troubled with the gout,
He grumbles in his little parlour when he can't get out.
Miss Brown she smiles so sweetly as she hands to me my change;
It makes me feel right galvanised, I feel so very strange.

Miss Brown she smiles so sweetly when I say a tender word,
But Old Brown says she'll marry a Marquis or a Earl.
Well I don't suppose that ever one of them swells I shall be,
But, by jingo, next election I shall put up as M.P.

Links

See also the Mudcat Café thread Lyr Add: Old Brown's Daughter (from Peter Bellamy).