At school in the 1950s we sang in all innocence this version of A-Roving, collected and ‘cleaned up’ by Cecil Sharp. It has none of the rousing, bawdy original, but of course we liked it anyway, never questioning what the lady’s trade was or why roving had caused the young man’s ruin.

In the folk clubs of the 1960s the versions were slightly more robust, but never ventured much further than ‘I put my hand upon her toe, She said, Young man you’ve far to go.’

About SongShepherd

Singer, musician & cyclist.
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