At primary school we sang a different version of this song and when I went to secondary school we sang this one. I liked the unusual leap on the word ‘laddy’, which was a significant challenge to some of my classmates and the cause of much giggling. Both songs originated in Tyneside, in the north-east of England. The one I sing here was collected by Cecil Sharp from Sister Emma, aged 71, at Clewer, Berkshire on 27th February 1909. She had a great fund of traditional songs and stories from her childhood (incidentally, she sang ‘dance to thee daddy’) but died the following month just before Sharp was to visit her again. Valerie Bonham wrote a fascinating biography in three volumes about Emma and her family, beginning with: A Joyous Service.
The picture (to an entirely different song) is by the inimitable Randolph Caldecott.