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> Eliza Carthy > Songs > Just As the Tide Was Flowing

Just As the Tide Was Flowing

[ Roud 1105 ; Ballad Index GrMa066 ; VWML GG/1/6/349 , HAM/2/1/27 ; Bodleian Roud 1105 ; Wiltshire Roud 1105 ; trad.]

Harry Cox sang Just As the Tide Was A-Flowing in a BBC recording supervised by E.J. Moeran in The Windmill, Sutton, Norfolk, on December 18, 1945. It was published on BBC 17231 and in 1998 on the Topic anthology We've Received Orders to Sail (The Voice of the People Series Vol. 12).

Stephen Baldwin played Just As the Tide Was Flowing as a Morris Dance tune with the Travelling Morrice in the primary school at Bishop Upton, Herefordshire, June 22, 1954. This was published in 1976 on his Leader album English Village Fiddler and in 1998 on the Topic anthology As Me and My Love Sat Courting (The Voice of the People Series Vol. 15).

Shirley Collins learned a fragment of this song from her aunt Grace Wingorn and recorded it four times, each with very similar words: The first time in 1959 for her second LP, False True Lovers, and the second time in 1967 for her album The Power of the True Love Knot. The latter version was also included in her compilation The Classic Collection. The third and best known version is with the Albion Country Band on their 1971 album No Roses, on her 1974 anthology A Favourite Garland, and on the two compilations Rave On and The Greater Antilles Sampler. A live recording from Shirley and Dolly Collins made in London in 1979 was published in 1998 on Harking Back in 1998. Additionally, the first, third and the live recording were included in 2002 on Shirley Collins' 4 CD anthology Within Sound.

Shirley Collins commented in the No Roses sleeve notes:

This is a fragment from my Aunt Grace [Grace Winhorn, Hastings] that she sang to my sister and me when we were children. To my amazement and amusement it was covered by the American group 10,000 Maniacs. I like their version—it's very much like mine, so I've got to!

Sam Larner of Winterton, Norfolk, sang Just As the Tide Was A-Flowing to Ewan MacColl and Peggy Seeger in 1958-60. This recording was included in 2014 on his Musical Traditions anthology Cruising Round Yarmouth. Rod Stradling commented in the accompanying booklet:

A song published on a broadside before 1839, and known only in southern England (except for three Canadian examples) according to Roud, who lists 73 instances, including 21 named singers. I like Sam’s knowing “Show me the man that won’t do so,” in the final verse—not a line I’ve heard before.

Peggy Seeger sang two verses of Just As the Tide Was Flowing on her and Tom Paley's 1964 Topic album, Who's Going to Shoe Your Pretty Little Foot?. She commented in the album's liner notes:

There doesn’t seem to be a fully assimilated text of this song in print, other than the four verses given by Frank Kidson in Traditional Tunes. Kidson claims it is of broadside origin. Only fragments have been collected in oral tradition, chiefly in Southern England, and it is hardly reported from America. The two verses here are from Newfoundland.

Peter Bellamy recorded Just As the Tide Was A-Flowing for his 1968 album Mainly Norfolk. He commented in his sleeve notes:

From Harry Cox also comes this version of Just As the Tide Was A-Flowing. This is (to me) the most complete text and most beautiful melody of the several versions in existence.

Tony Rose sang Just As the Tide Was Flowing on his 1971 LP Under the Greenwood Tree (with Dolly Collins playing her flute-organ on this album too though not on this track). His version has one more verse than the other versions listed below. Tony Rose commented in his sleeve notes:

Just As the Tide Was Flowing seems to have been a tremendously popular song with traditional singers in the South of England. Its appeal lies in the fine tune and a somewhat unusual story line. Among the scores of returning sailors celebrated in song, this must surely have been one of the most fortunate in meeting such a generous young lady.

Robin and Barry Dransfield recorded Just As the Tide Was Flowing in 1971 for their Trailer album Lord of All I Behold.

Tim Laycock sang Just As the Tide Was A-Flowing in 1976 on the fundraiser album The Second Folk Review Record.

The Ripley Wayfarers sang Just As the Tide Was Flowing on his 1976 Traditional Sound album Gentlemen of High Renown.

Brian Osborne sang Just As the Tide Was Flowing on his 1976 Traditional Sound album Ae Fond Kiss.

Derek Sarjeant and Hazel Kink sang Just As the Tide Was Flowing in 1976 on their album Hills & Dales.

Tony Hall, accompanied by Nic Jones on fiddle, sang Just As the Tide Was Flowing in 1977 on his Free Reed album Fieldvole Music. This track was also included on the Free Reed anthology This Label Is Not Removable.

Brian Peters and Gordon Tyrrall sang Just As the Tide Was Flowing in 1996 on their Harbourtown album Clear the Road. They noted:

A chance meeting, an amorous coupling, and mutual satisfaction—a postmodern moralist's nightmare. The unusual and sensual melody was collected by Vaughan Williams in Kings Lynn and reproduced in one of Roy Palmer's excellent song books.

Magpie Lane sang Just As the Tide Was Flowing on 1998 on their Beautiful Jo album Jack-in-the-Green.

Mick Ryan and Pete Harris sang Just As the Tide Was Flowing on their 1999 WildGoose CD Hard Season. They commented:

One of the most beautiful of traditional English songs. The description of the girl has always seemed particularly fine to Mick.

Like Peter Bellamy, Eliza Carthy learned Just As the Tide Was Flowing from the singing of Harry Cox. She recorded it in 2002 for her CD Anglicana. She sang and played her octave violin and was accompanied by Ben Ivitsky on viola and Tim van Eyken playing melodeon and guitar.

Jon Boden, who used to play this song with Eliza and the Ratcatchers, sang it as the June 1, 2011 entry of his project A Folk Song a Day. He noted in the blog:

We used to do a string-tastic version with the Ratcatchers. This is fairly similar to Liza’s for pace (I think it’s more often done as a jaunty fast number but it works both ways.)

Megson sang Just As the Tide in 2006 on their eponymous CD Megson.

Steeleye Span sang Just As the Tide Was Flowing in 2009 on their CD Cogs, Wheels and Lovers. Another recording from their spring tour 2011 was included in the same year on their album Now We Are Six Again.

James Yorkston sang Just As the Tide Was Flowing on his 2009 CD Folk Songs.

Nick Dow sang Just As the Tide Was Flowing on his 2013 CD Old England's Ground.

Lyrics

Shirley Collins sings Just As the Tide Was A-Flowing

One morning in the month of May
When all the birds were singing,
I saw a lovely lady stray
Across the fields at break of day,
And softly sang her roundelay.

Chorus:
The tide flows in, the tide flows out,
Twice everyday returning

A sailor's wife at home must bide,
She halted heavily, she sighed,
“He parted from poor me, a bride,
Just as the tide was a-flowing.”

(2× chorus)
 

Harry Cox sings Just As the Tide Was A-Flowing Peter Bellamy sings Just As the Tide Was Flowing

One morning in the month of June
Down by a rolling river,
There a jolly sailor chanced to stray,
Where he beheld some lover.
Her cheeks were red; her eyes were brown;
Her hair in wrinkles were hanging down;
And her lovely brow without a frown,
Just as the tide was a-flowing.

One morning in the month of June
Down by a rolling river,
There a jolly sailor he chanced to stray,
Where he beheld some lover.
Her cheeks were red; her eyes were brown;
And her hair in wrinkles was hanging down;
And her lovely brow without a frown,
Just as the tide was a-flowing.

“My pretty maid,” to her he said,
“How come you here so early?
My heart by you it is betrayed
And I might love you dearly.
For I am a sailor come from sea,
If you will accept of my company
For to walk and view the fishes play,
Just as the tide was flowing.”

“Good morn to you, my pretty fair maid,
How came you here so early?
My heart by you it is betray'd
And I could might you dearly.
For I am a sailor come from sea,
And if you'll accept of me company
For to walk and watch the fishes play,
Just as the tide was a-flowing?”

No more did say, but on her way
They both did gang together;
The small birds sang and the lambs did play,
How pleasant was the weather.
And they being weary both sat down
Beneath a tree with the branches around;
And what they said shall never be known
Just as the tide was a-flowing.

No more they did say, but on her way
They both did go together;
The small birds sang and the lambs did play,
How pleasant was the weather.
Then feeling weary they both sat down
All beneath a tree with the branches around;
And what was said shall never be known
Just as the tide was a-flowing.

And upon the grass she then did roll
And her colour it kept changing.
And this pretty maid called out, “Alas!
Don’t let your mind be ranging.”
And she gave him twenty pounds in store,
Saying, “Meet me when you will, there's more.
For a jolly sailor I adore
Just as the tide was flowing.”

Then on the grass this young girl did roll
And her colour it kept changing.
And this pretty maid called out, “Alas!
Don’t let your mind be ranging.”
Then she gave him twenty pound in store,
Saying, “Meet me when you will have more.
For a jolly sailor I adore
Just as the tide was flowing.”

So they kissed, shook hands and then did part;
Jackie Tar drank rum and brandy.
“And to keep my shipmates in good cheer
The lady's gold came handy.
And with some other young girl you’ll go
To the public bar where the brandy flow.
Give me the lad that will do so
Just as the tide was a-flowing.”

So they kissed, shook hands and then did part;
Jack Tar drank rum and brandy.
“And to keep me shipmates in good cheer
That lady's gold came handy.
And with some other young girl you’ll go
To the public bar where the brandy flow.
Give me the lad that will do so
Just as the tide was a-flowing.”

Tony Rose sings Just As the Tide Was Flowing Eliza Carthy sings Just as the Tide Was Flowing

One morning in the month of May,
Down by a rolling river,
Oh, a jolly sailor, I did stray,
And I beheld some lover.
She carelessly along did stray,
A-viewing of the daisies gay;
And she sweetly sang a roundelay,
Just as the tide was a-flowing.

One morning in the month of June,
Down by a rolling river,
There a jolly sailor chanced to stray,
There he beheld some lover.
Her cheeks were red, her eyes were brown,
Her hair in ringlets hanging down;
Her lovely brow without a frown,
Just as the tide was flowing.

Oh, her dress it was as white as milk,
And jewels did adorn her.
And her shoes were of the crimson silk,
Just like some maid of honour.
Her cheeks were red, her eyes were brown,
Her hair in ringlets hanging down;
She'd a lovely brow without a frown,
Just as the tide was a-flowing.

I made a bow and said, “Fair maid,
How came you here so early?
My heart by you it is betray'd
And I could love you dearly.
I am a sailor come from sea,
Will you accept my company
To walk and view the fishes play,
Just as the tide is a-flowing?”

“My pretty maid,” to her he said,
“How come you here so early?
My heart by you it is betray'd
And I might love you dearly.
I am a sailor come from sea,
If you will accept my company
For to walk and view the fishes play,
Just as the tide was flowing.”

And no more we said, but on our way
We walked along together;
And the small birds sang and the lambs did play,
And pleasant was the weather.
When we were weary we sat down
Beneath a tree with the branches round;
And what was done shall ne'er be found
As long as the tide is a-flowing.

No more did stay, but on the way
They both did gang together;
The small birds sing, the lambs did play,
And pleasant was the weather.
They being weary both sat down
Beneath the trees with the branches round;
And what they said will never be known
Just as the tide was flowing.

And as she lay there on the grass
Her colour it was a-changing
And she cried out and said, “Alas,
Never let your mind be ranging.
Here's twenty pounds I have in store,
Well use it, when you will there's more.
Oh the jolly sailor I adore
Just as the tide is a-flowing.”

Upon the grass she then did roll,
Her colour it ran changing.
This pretty maid called out: “Alas!
Don’t let your mind be ranging.”
She gave him twenty pounds in store
Saying, “Meet me when you will there's more.
For a jolly sailor I adore
Just as the tide was flowing.”

We both shook hands and off did steer,
Jack Tar drinks rum and a brandy.
And to keep his shipmates in good cheer
The lady's gold is a-handy.
So along with another pretty maid I'll go
To a public house where the beer do flow,
Success to the maid that will do so
Just as the tide is a-flowing.”

So they kissed, shook hands and when they part
Jack Tar drank rum and brandy.
And to keep his shipmates in good cheer
The lady's gold came handy.
Then with some other young girl you’ll go
To the public bar where the brandy flows
Give me the lad that will do so
Just as the tide was flowing.

Acknowledgements and Links

See also the Mudcat Café thread Lyr Req: Just as the Tide Was Flowing.

Thanks to Mair La Touche for help with Eliza Carthy's lyrics.