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Sweep, Chimney Sweep

[ Roud 1217 ; Ballad Index K240 ; trad.]

Sweep, Chimney Sweep is a song from the The Copper Family Song Book. Bob and Jim Copper sang it on a BBC recording made on March 1, 1951 by Brian George, which was included in 2001 on the Topic CD Come Write Me Down: Early Recordings of the Copper Family of Rottingdean. Bob and Ron Copper sang it on the anthology Jack of All Trades (The Folk Songs of Britain Volume 3; Caedmon 1961; Topic 1968). Bob and John Copper sang the song in 1971 on the Copper Family's 4 LP box on the Leader Label, A Song for Every Season, and Bob, John, Jill and Lynne Copper and Jon Dudley sang it in 1988 on their EFDSS LP Coppersongs: A Living Tradition.

Steeleye Span (then with Martin Carthy and John Kirkpatrick) recorded Sweep, Chimney Sweep in 1977 for their tenth album, Storm Force Ten. They also sang it live at their 25th anniversary at The Forum, London, which was released on their CD The Journey.

White Hart sang Sweep, Chimney Sweep in 1979 on their Traditional Sound Recordings album In Search of Reward.

The Wilson Family sang Sweep, Chimney Sweep in 1991 on their The Wilson Family Album.

Jon Boden sang Sweep Chimney Sweep as the November 27, 2010 entry of his project A Folk Song a Day.

Matt Quinn sang Sweep Chimney Sweep, “a curious little song from the singing of Bob and Jim Copper”, on his 2017 CD The Brighton Line.

Lyrics

The Copper Family sings Sweep Chimney Sweep

𝄆 Sweep Chimney sweep is the common cry I keep,
If you can but rightly understand me. 𝄇
With my brush, broom and my rake, with my brush, broom and my rake,
See what cleanly work I make,
With my hoe, hoe, hoe and my hoe
And it's sweep, chimney sweep for me.

𝄆 Girls come unto the door I look as black as any Moor,
I'm as constant and true as the day 𝄇
Although my face is black, although my face is black,
I can give as good a smack,
And there's no one, no one, no one there's no one
And there's no one shall call me on hire.

𝄆 Girls come unto the door I look as black as any Moor,
Go and fetch me some beer that I might swallow 𝄇
I can climb up to the top, I can climb up to the top,
Without a ladder or a rope,
And it's there you, there you, there you and there you,
And it's there you will hear me halloa.

𝄆 Now here I do stand with my hoe all in my hand
Like a soldier that's on the sentery 𝄇
I will work for a better sort, I will work for a better sort
And kindly thank them for it.
I will work, work, work and I'll work
And I'll work for none but gentery.

Steeleye Span sing Sweep, Chimney Sweep

𝄆 Sweep, chimney sweep, is the common cry I keep
If you can but rightly understand me 𝄇
With my brush, broom and my rake, with my brush, broom and my rake
See what cleanly work I make
With my hoe, with my hoe, with my hoe and my hoe
And it's sweep, chimney sweep for me

𝄆 Girls came up to my door I looked black as any Moor
I am constant and true as the day 𝄇
With a bunch of ribbons gay, with a bunch of ribbons gay
Hanging down by my right knee
And there's no one, and there's no one
And there's no one and no one
And there's no one can call me on high

𝄆 Arise girls, arise, wipe the sleep from off your eyes
Go and fetch to me some beer that I might swallow 𝄇
I can climb up to the top, I can climb up to the top
Without a ladder or a rope
And it's there you, and it's there you, and it's there you and there you
And it's there you will hear me “Hullo”

𝄆 Now here I do stand with my hoe all in my hand
Like some soldier that's on the sentery 𝄇
I will work for a better sort
And I'll kindly thank them for it
I will work, I will work, I will work and I'll work
And I'll work for none but gentery

Links

See also the Mudcat Café thread Sweep Chimney Sweep.