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Yarmouth Town

[trad.]

Peter Bellamy learned this “old song-yarn with an East Anglican twist” [Cyril Tawney] from Peter Bullen of Norfolk and sang it on his first LP, Mainly Norfolk. It used to be the standard closing number of his live set as in this recording before an invited audience at the Folk Studio, Norwich, on June 22, 1971. This concert by him and Louis Killen was published as Won't You Go My Way?. This track was also included on his anthology Wake the Vaulted Echoes.

Nic Jones sang a two verses shorter Yarmouth Town in a concert performance recorded prior to 1982 but of unknown origin. It was included in his 2 CD collection Unearthed.

Cyril Tawney sang Yarmouth Town on his 1990 cassette Sailor's Delight. In 2003, this recording was included in his compilation CD Nautical Tawney: Songs of the Old Seafarers.

Jon Boden sang Yarmouth Town as the August 31, 2010 entry of his project A Folk Song a Day, and with Bellowhead on their 2010 CD, Hedonism.

Lyrics

Peter Bellamy sings Yarmouth TownNic Jones sings Yarmouth Town

In Yarmouth Town there lived a man,
He kept a tavern by the sand.
This landlord had a daughter fair,
A plump little thing with the golden hair.

In Yarmouth Town there lived a man,
He had a tavern all by the sand.
The landlord had a daughter fair,
A plump little thing with golden hair.

Chorus (after each verse):
Oh, won't you come down,
Won't you come down,
Won't you come down
To Yarmouth town.
Chorus (twice after each verse):
Oh, won't you come down,
Won't you come down,
Won't you come down
To Yarmouth town.

Now to this tavern come a sailor-man
He asked the daughter for her hand.
“Why should I marry you?” she said,
“I get all I want without being wed.”

Now to this tavern come a sailor-man
And he asked the daughter for her hand.
“Why should I marry you, kind sir?” she said,
“I get all I want without being wed.”

“But,” she says, “If you want with me to linger,
I'll tie a bit of string all around my finger.
As you pass by, just pull on the string,
And I'll come down and I'll let you in.”

At closing time the sailor-man,
He went to the tavern by the sand.
And then he went and he pulled on the string,
And she come down and she let him in.

Now the very same night in Yarmouth Town
He goes to the tavern all by the sand.
And he goes round the back and he pulls on the string
And she come down and she let Jack in.

Well, he's never seen such a sight before,
'cause the string around the finger was all she wore.
And when he went and he pulled the old string
She pulled back the blanket and let Jack in.

Now Jack had never seen such a sight before:
The string around the finger was all she wore.
And when he went and he pulled that string
She come down and she let Jack in.

So, the sailor stayed the whole night through
And early in the morning went back to his crew,
Where then he told them all about that maiden fair,
The plump little thing with the golden hair.

And the story, that soon got around
And the very next night in Yarmouth Town
There was fifteen sailors pulling on the string
And she come down and she let them all in.

So the very next night in Yarmouth Town
Down in the tavern all by the sand
Sixteen sailors pulling on the string,
She come down and she let Jack in.

So all young men what ever to Yarmouth do go,
See a plump little girl with her hair hung low,
Well, all you got do is pull the old string,
And she'll come down and she'll let you all in.

All young seamen that to Yarmouth do go,
If you see the little thing with her hair hanging low,
All you've got to do is pull on the string,
And she'll come down and she'll let you in.

Links

See also the Mudcat Café thread ADD/Origins: Yarmouth Town.