> Steeleye Span > Songs > The Ups and Downs

“the Ins-and-Outs, the Side-to-Sides and the Backwards-and-Forwards”
Terry Pratchett: Monstrous Regiment

The Aylesbury Girl / As I Strolled Out to Aylesbury / The Ups and Downs

[ Roud 364 ; Master title: The Aylesbury Girl ; Ballad Index K176 ; Wiltshire 255 ; trad.]

The Ups and Downs was a nick-name, or possibly an euphemism, for the sixty-ninth foot regiment, a Welsh regiment which was regarded as a humorous anomaly because their ranks consisted largely of raw recruits and elderly veterans.

George ‘Pop’ Maynard sang The Ups and Downs in a recording by Mervyn Plunkett in his own home in West Hoathly, Sussex, in October 1956. This was published in 1998 on the Topic anthology As Me and My Love Sat Courting (The Voice of the People Series Volume 15). Another recording made by Brian Matthews in the Abergavenny Arms in Copthorne in 1960 was included in 2000 on his Musical Traditions anthology Down the Cherry Tree.

Chris Willett sang As I Was Going to Salisbury in 1962 on the Willett Family’s album The Roving Journeymen. The album notes commented:

Although the song is rather inconclusive, its meaning is obvious. It is perhaps best regarded as a fragment of a longer song such as The Aylesbury Girl sung by the noted Sussex singer George Maynard among others. There are no generally published versions, but the song is extremely common and appears in the MS collections of almost every English collector of importance.

Since old Mr Willett (Tom) knew George Maynard, he may well have had this song in its entirety at one time.

Bob Hart sang As I Strolled Out to Aylesbury in his home in Snape, Suffolk in July 1972. This recording by Tony Engle was releases in 1972 on his Topic record Songs From Suffolk. An earlier recording also from his home was recorded on 8 July 1969 by Rod and Danny Stradling and included in 2007 on his Musical Traditions anthology A Broadside.

Jack Goodban of St Margarets-at-Cliffe sang The Aylesbury Girl in a recording made by Mike Yates in between 1972 and 1975 on the Topic album Green Grow the Laurels: Country Singers From the South. It was also included in 2001 on the Musical Traditions anthology Up in the North and Down in the South. Mike Yates noted on the first album:

The Aylesbury Girl has been plying her wares for at least 250 years, certainly since Tom D’ Urfey printed it in 1720 under the title The Tottingham Frolick. Recently James Reeves suggested that “the sign of the Ups and Downs” represented the 69th Foot Regiment and so “Johnny the Rover” was, at one time, a soldier. A long-shot perhaps, bur an interesting one nevertheless.

Steeleye Span sang The Ups and Downs in 1973 on their album Parcel of Rogues. A live recording from The Forum, London on 2 September 1995 was released on their 25th anniversary concert CD, The Journey.

Alien Stollery sang Strolling Down to Hastings in a recording made by Keith Summers in 1975-77 on the 1978 Topic album Sing, Say and Play: Traditional Songs and Music From Suffolk.

Gordon Woods sang The Ups and Downs on a Veteran tape published in 1987-89. This was also included in 2000 on the Veteran anthology Songs Sung in Suffolk: Popular Folk Songs, Old Songs and Ballads. John Howson commented in the CD notes:

A longer version of this song was collected by Gardiner in 1908 from Mr E. Frankham in Petersfield, Hampshire. It was published in the book Marrow Bones (EFDSS 1965) where Frank Purslow’s notes quote James Reeves as suggesting that the ‘Ups and Downs’ represents the 69th Foot Regiment, as 69 can be read when it is written upside down! Other collections include the song under different titles, including The Aylesbury Girl, and a 1955 recording made by the BBC in Norfolk of Bill Lowne, goes under the title of Happisburgh Market.


Jack Goodban sings The Aylesbury Girl

As I was going to Aylesbury Town ’twas on a market day,
I fell in love with an Aylesbury maid and by luck was going my way;
Her business being to market with butter, eggs and wine
So we both jogged on together, my boy, wack-for-the-ar-riddle-i-ay.

Now as we were going along the road, this lassie by my side,
When looking down I noticed that her garter’d became untied.
And before she’d time to notice it I unto her did say:
“Oh your garter is untied, my dear,” wack-for-the-ar-riddle-i-ay.

“Well,” said she, “You being so adventuresome, so anxious and so free,
But won’t you be so kind, young man, as to tie it up for me?”
“Oh yes, oh yes, that I will do if you’ll come to yon shady grove with me.”
So we both walked on together, my boy, wack-for-the-ar-riddle-i-ay.

Now when we reached yon shady grove, the grass being very high,
I gently sat the maiden down, oh, her garter for to tie.
And while tieing up of her garter such sights you never did see,
Oh, “For John,” said she, “I thought I’d see the world go round and round.”

Now as we were coming from market, the eggs and win she’d sold,
And passing by that very same spot, well, it made my blood run cold,
For my name is Johnny the Rover and from Dublin Town I came,
And I live all alone by the Ups-and-Downs, wack-for-the-ar-riddle-i-ay.

Steeleye Span sing The Ups and Downs

As I was going to Aylesbury all on a market day,
A pretty little Aylesbury girl I met upon the way.
Her business was to market with butter, cheese and whey
𝄆 And we both jogged on together, my boys, fol-der-o diddle-o-day. 𝄇

As we jogged on together, my boys, together side by side,
By chance this fair maid’s garter, by chance it came untied.
For fear that she might lose it, I unto her did say,
𝄆 “Oh, your garter’s come untied, my love, fol-der-o diddle-o-day.” 𝄇

As we rode on together, my boys, to the outskirts of the town,
At length this fair young damsel, she stopped and looked around,
“Oh, since you’ve been so venturesome, pray tie it up for me.”
𝄆 “Oh, I will if you go to the apple grove, fol-der-o diddle-o-day.” 𝄇

And when we got to the apple grove, the grass was growing high.
I laid this girl upon her back, her garter for to tie.
While tying of her garter such sights I never did see
𝄆 And we both jogged on together, my boys, fol-der-o diddle-o-day. 𝄇

“Oh, since you’ve had your will of me, come tell to me your name,
Likewise your occupation, and where and whence you came.”
“My name is Mickey the drover boy, from Dublin town come I.
𝄆 And I live at the sign of the Ups and Downs, fol-der-o diddle-o-day.” 𝄇

And when she got to Aylesbury, her butter was not sold,
And the losing of her maidenhead it made her blood run cold.
“He’s gone, he’s gone, he’s gone,” she said, “He’s not the lad for me,
𝄆 For he lives at the sign of the Ups and Downs, fol-der-o diddle-o-day.” 𝄇


Thanks to Patrick Montague for correcting the lyrics.