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Favorite Songs Nick sang

Page history last edited by Mary.Ellsworth 6 years, 9 months ago

Songs Nick sang or played

If you have music or song files that you would like to contribute to this site please contact the workspace owner.


On this page:

    Link to videos of Nick at Shepherdstown

    Comment on A Whiter Shade of Pale

    Audioclips of Nick on concertina

    Lyrics to Large Boots


    Nick provides lyrics to FIVE FOOT FLIRT




    Video: Planxty Fanny Power

    The Oggy Man




  Videos of Nick at Shepherdstown, 2004




I will always remember Nick's unlikely playing of A Whiter Shade of Pale on his concertina. He would just shut out everything else and play that song with intensity. I looked up the lyrics, which are strange and indecipherable, except for this line which jumped out at me. Nick brought us all both music and laughter.

    If music be the food of life

    then laughter is its queen

                    A Whiter Shade of Pale, Procol Harum, words by Keith Reid


- Mary Ellsworth, Takoma Park, MD




Here is an audio clip of Nick playing his concertina.


Here is another - This one is \"Roll Alabama, Roll\"


And this is \"Queen's Navee\"


He made these recordings for me last summer (2007) for a project I was working on.

--Bill Brown





Nick had been singing this one recently at morris outings:





There was an old fellow called Anthony Clare

And he was a hell of a conjurer

There wasn't the like of him anywhere

For twisting and twirling his boots.


CHORUS: For they were large boots!

Large boots! Boots as heavy as lead.

With a dexterous twist of his muscular wrist

He could flick 'em right over his head!


As he was walking down the street,

>Little Miss Brown he chanced to meet,


>Twisting and twirling his boots.


As he was twirling them round and round,

Down they came with a hell of a bound,

Right on the head of her favourite hound

>Twisting and twirling his boots.


Little Miss Brown was overwrought -

She told her story to the court:

That in her opinion no-one ought

To Twist and twirl their boots.


The Judge declared the case was clear:

The fine would be a barrel of beer,

>For anyone else who came in here

Twisting and twirling their boots.





Nick always seemed to wait until everyone had a few beers in them to spring this song on them, which made for a great deal of hilarious confusion as they tried to get the chorus and it's rapid-fire sound-effects in the right order. Not sure if this is his version, but it is close.


--Bill Brown





The was an old farmer who had an old sow

(grunt) ow (whistle) ow (PFTHTTT) idle-e-dow

Suzanna's a funicle man


ch: Sing lassy go rings below

Suzanna's a funicle man

(grunt) an (whistle) an (PFTHTTT) idle-e-dan

Suzanna's a funicle man


Now this old sow had nine little pigs

(grunt) ig (whistle) ig (PFTHTTT) idle-e-dig

Suzanna's a funicle man



These nine little pigs, they got out of their sty

(grunt) i (whistle) i (PFTHTTT) idle-e-di

Suzanna's a funicle man




(grunt) eet (whistle) eet (PFTHTTT) idle-e-deet

Suzanna's a funicle man



They got in the barn and they ate all the corn

(grunt) orn (whistle) orn (PFTHTTT) idle-e-dorn

Suzanna's a funicle man



These nine little pigs, grew big and grew fat

(grunt) at (whistle) at (PFTHTTT) idle-e-dat

Suzanna's a funicle man



That's the end of this little song

(grunt) ong (whistle) ong (PFTHTTT) idle-e-dong

Suzanna's a funicle man




Five Foot Flirt (Cyril Tawney)


>From: Aldona Joseph 

>To: Nick Robertshaw <bignick@paraglyph.com>

>Subject: Lyrics please

>Date: Sun, Jan 30, 2000, 1:31 AM



> Hi Nick!


> It was great hearing you sing. Let's do it again

> sometime soon.


> Any chance I can convince you to send me the lyrics

> for "Five Foot Flirt?" It's not the easiest set of

> words to get your tongue around if you've forgotten

> how they go.


> Thanks!


> Aldona



To: Aldona Joseph 

From: Nick Robertshaw <bignick@paraglyph.com>

Subject: Re: Lyrics please

Date: Sun, Jan 30, 2000, 10:48 PM

You forgot a song????  



Now don't say Jim Johnson weren't with 'ee last night

I heard him as plain as can be

I was crossing the road when I heard a strange sound

Down by the sycamore tree

I thought p'raps a cow had got stuck in the mud

And pulled out her foot with a moo

I'm satisfied now that that noise were'nt a cow

It were Jim kissing you



You'm a five foot flirt in the robes of an angel

You'd better had leave I alone

The way that you'm acting it nearly un-nerves I

The thing that preserves I is my joviality

Though I've got trouble as thick as the stubble

It's you that's the worst of them all

Keep out of my track if you want to come back

You can crawl, crawl, crawl.


Remember what happened last Saturday night

The air was so peaceful and still

Like a bolt from the blue came a hallabaloo

A growling and cackling so shrill

It came to me head as I crawled from me bed

There's a fox at me chickens 'tis true

I crept out in me socks and bumped into the fox

It were Jim kissing you




Now what's your excuse for last Sunday in church

It fair turned the poor vicar gray

The organist was rendering 'Lead Kindly Light'

Jim Johnson kept pumping away

Then all of a sudden the organ stopped short

The vicar got into a stew

When he went 'round behind tell me what did he find?

He found Jim kissing you.




Why don't we sing ballads? Have the Kippers and the finger-in-ear

posers ruined the crowd for them? Will they sit still in the absence of shanty

choruses, humor, and bawdry? Can they deal with the rape, violence, and

incest or is it too close to home?


Let's do a ballad session.




Nick Robertshaw

ParaGlyph. 301 694 8604




Nick certainly knew a lot of songs about drinking -- here's a few that he always sang with that special twinkle in his eye.



-- Aldona Joseph




(Harold Gretton -- to the tune of MEN OF HARLECH)


What's the use of drinking tea,

Indulging in sobriety,

And teetotal perversity?

It's healthier to booze.

What's the use of milk and water?

These are drinks that never oughter,

Be allowed in any quarter.

Come on, lose your blues,

Mix yourself a shandy,

Drown yourself in brandy,

Sherry sweet,

Or whisky neat,

Or any kind of liquor that is handy.

There's no blinking sense in drinking,

Anything that doesn't make you stinking,

There's no happiness like sinking,

Blotto to the floor.


Put an end to all frustration,

Drinking may be your salvation,

End it all in dissipation,

Rotten to the core.

Aberrations metabolic,

Ceilings that are hyperbolic,

These are for the alcoholic,

Lying on the floor.

Vodka for the arty,

Gin to make you hearty,

Lemonade was only made,

For drinking if your mother's at the party,

Just steer clear of home-made beer,

And anything that isn't labeled clear,

There is nothing else to fear, so

Bottom's up, my boys.





(Flanders and Swan)


She was young! She was pure! She was new! She was nice!

She was fair! She was sweet seventeen!

He was old! He was vile and no stranger to vice!

He was base! He was bad! He was mean!

He had slyly inveigled her up to his flat

To view his collection of stamps,

And he said as he hastened to put out the cat,

The wine, his cigar and the lamps:


'Have some Madeira, m'dear!

You really have nothing to fear;

I'm not trying to tempt you-that wouldn't be right.

You shouldn't drink spirits at this time of night;

Have some Madeira, m'dear!

It's very much nicer than Beer;

I don't care for Sherry, one cannot drink Stout,

And Port is a wine I can well do without;

It's simply a case of Chacun a son GOUT!

Have some Madeira, m'dear!'


Unaware of the wiles of the snake in the grass,

Of the fate of the maiden who topes,

She lowered her standards by raising her glass,

Her courage, her eyes-and his hopes.

She sipped it, she drank it, she drained it, she did;

He quietly refilled it again

And he said as he secretly carved one more notch

On the butt of his gold-handled cane:


'Have some Madeira, m'dear!

I've got a small cask of it here,

And once it's been opened you know it won't keep.

Do finish it up-it will help you to sleep;

Have some Madeira, m'dear!

It's really an excellent year;

Now if it were Gin, you'd be wrong to say yes,

The evil Gin does would be hard to assess

(Besides, it's inclined to affect m' prowess!)

Have some Madeira, m'dear!'


Then there flashed through her mind what her mother had said

With her antepenultimate breath:

'Oh, my child, should you look on the wine when 'tis red

Be prepared for a fate worse than death!'

She let go her glass with a shrill little cry.

Crash, tinkle! it fell to the floor.

When he asked: 'What in heaven ... ?' she made no reply,

Up her mind and a dash for the door.


'Have some Madeira, m'dear!'

Rang out down the hall loud and clear.

A tremulous cry that was filled with despair,

As she paused to take breath in the cool midnight air;

'Have some Madeira, m'dear!'

The words seemed to ring in her ear

Until the next morning she woke up in bed,

With a smile on her lips and an ache in her head-

And a beard in her earhole that tickled and said:

'Have some Madeira, m'dear!'





(R.P Weston and Bert Lee, 1915 -- A WWI song in reponse to government attempts to limit alcohol consumption during the war)


We shall win the war, we shall win the war,

As I said before, we shall win the war.

The Kaiser's in a dreadful fury,

Now he knows we're making it at every brewery.

Have you read of it, seen what's said of it,

In the Mirror and the Mail.

It's a substitute, and a pubstitute,

And it's known as Government Ale (or otherwise).


Lloyd George's Beer, Lloyd George's Beer.

At the brewery, there's nothing doing,

All the water works are brewing,

Lloyd George's Beer, it isn't dear.

Oh they say it's a terrible war, oh law,

And there never was a war like this before,

But the worst thing that ever happened in this war

Is Lloyd George's Beer.


Buy a lot of it, all they've got of it.

Dip your bread in it, Shove your head in it

From January to October,

And I'll bet a penny that you"ll still be sober.

Get your cloth in it, make some broth in it,

With a pair of mutton chops.

Drown your dogs in it, pop your clogs in it,

And you'll see some wonderful sights (in that lovely stufo).


Lloyd George's Beer, Lloyd George's Beer.

At the brewery, there's nothing doing,

All the water works are brewing,

Lloyd George's Beer, it isn't dear.

With Haig and Joffre when affairs look black,

And you can't get at Jerry with his gas attack.

Just get your squirters out and we'll squirt the buggers back,

With Lloyd George's Beer.





Planxty Fanny Power

composed by Turlogh O'Carolan, 17th Century, Ireland.

Nick playing his Jeffries Duet concertina along with an unknown recording, Washington, D.C.

Recorded by this landlady, Margaret Dunkle. April 2005.





The Oggy Man

- by Cyril Tawney,

(Contrasts the disappearance of the oggie, or Cornish pasty, seller at Devonport docks with a sailor's lost love. This version was transcribed from a recording of Nick Robertshaw, August of 2002)



Oh the rain's softly falling and the oggy man's no more

I can't hear him calling like I used to before

I came through the gateway and I heard the sergeant say

Oh the big boys they are coming, see the stands across the way

But the rain's softly falling and the oggy man's no more


Twas there that she told me, 'ere she bade me goodbye

There's no one that could love you one half as much as I

My love it will endure dear like the leaves unto the fall

As faithful as that oggy man beneath the dock yard wall

But the rain's softly falling and the oggy man's no more




Comments (2)

Joe Shelby said

at 9:52 pm on Dec 6, 2009

I have video of Lloyd George's Beer, from Thrumster 2000, which I will have archived and online soon.

Joe Shelby said

at 2:22 pm on Dec 9, 2009

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xI85jonOEAc - for some reason any time I try to embed it, the page keeps getting wiped, so I'll just do this for now.

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