Can you decipher long-lost verse of historic dale song?
A FORGOTTEN Teesdale song is being revived by local duo Michael Tarn and Andrew Bousfield for a farmer supper in Middleton-in Teesdale this month.
But there’s one problem – one of the verses has proved too difficult to transcribe. Now Teesdale Mercury readers with a good ear for the dale’s dialect are being as asked to help decipher it.
In 1951, the celebrated American folklorist Alan Lomax turned up in Teesdale with his recorder and captured a host of local songs which have largely been forgotten since.
With titles like The Teesdale Hills, Lovesick Bonnie Lassie and You Gallant Poacher Lads’ these were all dance tunes that would have been popular up and down the dale.
One recorded track, sung by leadminer Mark Anderson, of Newbiggin (1874-1953), captured a dale show in all its colour.
Ewan Allinson, who is organising the farmer supper at Utass on November 27 at 7pm, said: “It still remains as relevant today as it was back then. High Force Agricultural Show paints a vivid picture of this now disappeared show and concludes with a powerful cautionary note.”
It was recently transcribed by Teesdale musician Mike Bettison and folk legend Martin Carthy. However, they faltered over the fifth verse – even after consulting dialect experts. It comes one minute 46 seconds into the song and begins: “There’s one old farmer...”
Mr Allinson said: “Can anyone decipher the words of the verse in time for the farmer supper. We’d love to hear from you?”
To listen to the song, click on this link
Anyone who can reveal the missing verse can email
email@example.com or write to us at Teesdale Mercury, 24 Market Place, Barnard Castle, County Durham, DL12 8NB.
To attend the farmers supper, which is open to anyone with a working interest in farming, call Utass on 01833 641010.
l The lyrics to The High Force Agricultural Show as sung by Mark Anderson, who is also credited with writing the version of Scarborough Fair that 1960s stars Simon and Garfunkel made famous:
Hurrah my lads, this is the day when tens of thousands haste away,
Both rich and poor and the high and low are off to the agricultural show.
Hey ho and away we go. Lads and lasses all in a row.
Don’t get kissing with the girls as you go to High Force Agricultural Show.
Now at the show such sights you’ll find to delight the eye and improve the mind.
There’s cart and wagon, pairs and ploughs, mares and stallions, bulls and cows.
There’s scythes that reap and forks and rakes. Ganders, turkeys, ducks and drakes
Chickens, hens and cocks that crow to be seen at the agricultural show.
There’s buckets wet and tubs and pails and cats with five and twenty tails
All sorts of flowers and fruits that grow to be seen at the agricultural show.
Missing verse: There’s one old farmer... his wife...
There’s Carrotty Kit so jolly and fat with her regular flipperty-flopperty hat.
She has holes in her stockings as big as a crown. The hoop in her skirt goes three miles round.
Now there’s one old lady says she’ll go to see the agricultural show.
She’s a peacock feather in her hat and a hump of a belly and another of her back.
Now lady be careful when you go to the High Force Agricultural Show.
For in nine months’ time itself will show what you did at the agricultural show.