> Folk Music > Songs > Ale, Ale, Glorious Ale

Ale, Ale, Glorious Ale / Good English Ale

[ Roud 1512 ; VWML COL/5/74 ; DT GLORIALE ; Mudcat 115488 ; trad.]

The Cantwell Family sang Good English Ale, to Mike Yates in Standlake, Oxfordshire, in 1964. This recording was included in 2015 on the Musical Traditions anthology of songs from the Mike Yates collection, I Wish There Was No Prisons. He commented in the accompanying booklet:

This has all the hall marks of a Music hall song, although, sadly, we have been unable to trace it to any specific source.
Other recordings: Charlie Showers (Somerset) - MTCD252

Martyn Wyndham-Read sang Ale, Ale, Glorious Ale in 1966 on his, Danny Spooner and Gordon McIntyre’s Australian album A Wench, a Whale and a Pint of Good Ale.

A drinking song from the south of England, led by Martyn, and sung with obvious relish by all three.

The Pennine Folk sang Glorious Ale on their 1968 album Both Sides of the Pennines. They noted:

Frank [Clapton]’s acquired this drinking song from the Manchester singer Pete Smith. “A lump of fatty bacon and a pint of good ale” would seem to be a curious cocktail.

Bob Lewis sang Ale, Ale, Glorious Ale on 11 May 1974 at the Lewes Arms, Mount Place, Lewes, Sussex. It was released in 1975 on the Transatlantic album of “songs and stories in a Sussex pub,” The Brave Ploughboy.

Roy Harris sang Ale, Ale, Glorious Ale in 1976 on the Free Reed album The Tale of Ale.


The Cantwell Family sings Good English Ale

Now when I was a little ’un, my father did say
That ere that sun did shine, ’twas time to make hay
When hay had been gathered and harvest was got
’Twas farmer’s tradition to drink from the pot

Chorus (after each verse):
Singing, ale, ale, good English ale
Served up in pewter, it tells its own tale
Now some folks likes radishes and some curly kale
But gi’ I boiled parsnips and a good dish of taties
And a lump of fat bacon and a quart of good ale

Now these folks in parliament, their pledge for to keep
They do nothing else but they sit there and sleep
The next one I vote for will be a female
Who can stand up and drink her fair share of good ale

Now these here tee-totallers, they drink water neat
It must rust their stomachs and give ’em damp feet
I allus did say that a man could go stale
On broad beans and carrots and a quart of good ale

Spoken: You got it now, boy.

Roy Harris sings Ale, Ale, Glorious Ale

When I was a young man my father did say,
Summer is coming and it’s time to make hay.
And when hay is carted don’t you never fail
For to drink gaffer’s health in a pint of good ale.

Chorus (after each verse):
Ale, Ale, Glorious Ale,
Served up in pewter it tells its own tale.
Some folk like radishes, some curleye kale,
But give I boiled parsnips and a great dish of taters
And a lump of fatty bacon
And a pint of good ale

Now our MP’s in parliament, our faith for to keep;
I hope’s now we put him there, he won’t sit and sleep.
But he’ll always get my vote if he never fail
For to keep down the price of our good English ale.

Now take all teetotallers, they drink water neat,
Well it must rot their gutses and give ’em damp feet.
But I always say that a chap can’t grow stale
On broad beans and bacon and a pint of good ale.