AmblesideOnline
AO Folksong Lyrics 2019-2020 AmblesideOnline.org

AmblesideOnline
Folksong Lyrics 2019-2020

More information on the AO Advisory blog here A YouTube playlist for this term's folksongs: *

September: The Happy Wanderer * *
October: Go Get the Ax * *
November: The Foolish Boy (or The Swapping Song) * *
January: Tenting Tonight on the Old Campground * *
February: Shake Sugaree * *
March: Health to the Company * *
April: Little Brown Dog (Autumn to May) * *
May: Arkansas Traveler * *
June: How Many Miles to London Town (or How Many Miles to Babylon) [Link] *

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September: The Happy Wanderer * *

I love to go a-wandering
Along the mountain track
And as I go, I love to sing,
My knapsack on my back.
     Val-deri,Val-dera,
     Val-deri, Val-dera-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha
     Val-deri,Val-dera.
     My knapsack on my back.

I love to wander by the stream
That dances in the sun
So joyously it calls to me
"Come join my happy song !"
     Val-deri,Val-dera,
     Val-deri, Val-dera-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha
     Val-deri,Val-dera.
     Come join my happy song!

I wave my hat to all I meet
And they wave back to me
And blackbirds call so loud and sweet
From ev'ry green wood tree
     Val-deri,Val-dera,
     Val-deri, Val-dera-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha
     Val-deri,Val-dera.
     From every green-wood tree.

High overhead the skylarks wing
They never rest at home
But just like me they love to sing
As o'er the world we roam.
     Val-deri,Val-dera,
     Val-deri, Val-dera-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha
     Val-deri,Val-dera.
     As o'er the world we roam!

Oh, may I go a-wandering
Until the day I die
Oh, may I always laugh and sing
Beneath God's clear blue sky!
     Val-deri,Val-dera,
     Val-deri, Val-dera-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha
     Val-deri,Val-dera.
     Beneath God's clear blue sky


October: Go Get the Ax * * *

Peeping through the knot-hole
In Grandma's Wood Leg
Who will wind the clock when I am gone?
Go get the ax, there's a flea in Lizzie's ear
And a boy's best friend is his mother.

I jumped out the window
A second story window
Why do they build the shore so near the ocean?
Who cut the sleeves out of dear old Daddy's vest?
And dug up Fido's bones to build the sewer?

A horse stood around with its
Feet upon the ground
Oh, who will wind the clock when I am gone?
Go get the ax, there's a fly on Lizzie's ear
And a boy's best friend is his mother.


November: The Foolish Boy (or The Swapping Song) * *

My father died and I cannot tell how,
He left me six horses to follow the plough.
     With a wing-wang-waddle, O!
     Jack sold his saddle O!
     Blossy boys, bubble O!
     Under the broom.

I sold my six horses and bought me a cow,
I'd fain have a fortune, but didn't know how.
     With a wing-wang-waddle, O!
     Jack sold his saddle O!
     Blossy boys, bubble O!
     Under the broom.

I sold my cow and bought me a calf,
I'd fain have a fortune, but I lost a half.
     With a wing-wang-waddle, O!
     Jack sold his saddle O!
     Blossy boys, bubble O!
     Under the broom.

I sold my calf and I bought me a cat;
The pretty thing by my chimney sat.
     With a wing-wang-waddle, O!
     Jack sold his saddle O!
     Blossy boys, bubble O!
     Under the broom.

I sold my cat and I bought me a mouse;
He fired his tail and he burnt down my house.
     With a wing-wang-waddle, O!
     Jack sold his saddle O!
     Blossy boys, bubble O!
     Under the broom.

I have nothing to buy, and I've nothing to sell,
And how I shall live, I am sure I cannot tell.
     With a wing-wang-waddle, O!
     Jack sold his saddle O!
     Blossy boys, bubble O!
     Under the broom.


January: Tenting Tonight on the Old Campground * *

We're tenting tonight on the old camp ground,
Give us a song to cheer
Our weary hearts, a song of home
And friends we love so dear.
     Many are the hearts that are weary tonight,
     Wishing for the war to cease;
     Many are the hearts looking for the right
     To see the dawn of peace.
     Tenting tonight, tenting tonight, tenting on the old camp ground.

We've been tenting tonight on the old camp ground
Thinking of days gone by
Of the loved ones at home that gave us the hand
And the tear that said "Goodbye"
     Many are the hearts that are weary tonight,
     Wishing for the war to cease;
     Many are the hearts looking for the right
     To see the dawn of peace.
     Tenting tonight, tenting tonight, tenting on the old camp ground.

We are tired of war on the old camp ground
Many are dead and gone
Of the brave and true who've left their homes
Others been wounded long
     Many are the hearts that are weary tonight,
     Wishing for the war to cease;
     Many are the hearts looking for the right
     To see the dawn of peace.
     Tenting tonight, tenting tonight, tenting on the old camp ground.

We've been fighting today on the old camp ground
Many are lying near
Some are dead and some are dying
Many are in tears
     Many are the hearts that are weary tonight,
     Wishing for the war to cease;
     Many are the hearts looking for the right
     To see the dawn of peace.
     Tenting tonight, tenting tonight, tenting on the old camp ground.


February: Shake Sugaree * *

Lyrics here: *


March: Health to the Company * *

Kind Friend and Companions, come join me in rhyme,
Come lift up your voices, in chorus with mine,
Come lift up your voices, all grief to refrain,
For we may or might never, all meet here again.
     Here's a health to the company and one to my lass,
     Let us drink and be merry, all out of one glass,
     Let us all drink and be merry, all grief to refrain
     For we may or might never, all meet here again.

Here's a health to the wee lass, that I love so well,
For her style and her beauty, sure none can excel,
There's a smile on her countenance, as she sits on my knee,
There's no man in this wide world, as happy as me,
     Here's a health to the company, and one to my lass
     Let us drink and be merry, all out of one glass,
     Let us drink and be merry, all grief to refrain
     For we may or might never, all meet here again.

Our ship lies at anchor, she's ready to dock,
I wish her safe landing, without any shock,
If ever I should meet you, by land or by sea,
I will always remember, your kindness to me,
     Here's a health to the company and one to my lass,
     Let us drink and be merry, all out of one glass,
     Let us all drink and be merry, all grief to refrain
     For we may or might never, all meet here again .

During your Christmas break, try a carol you may be less familiar with:
Lo, How a Rose e'er Blooming and/or It Came Upon a Midnight Clear


April: Little Brown Dog (Autumn to May) * *

Oh once I had a little dog, his color it was brown
I taught him for to whistle, to sing and dance and run
     His legs they were fourteen yards long, his ears so very wide
     Around the world in half a day, upon him I could ride.
     Sing Tarry-O Day
     Sing, Autumn to May.

Oh once I had a little frog, he wore a vest of red
He'd lean upon his silver cane, a top hat on his head
     He'd speak of far off places, of things to see and do,
     Of all the Kings and Queens he'd met while sailing in a shoe.
     Sing Tarry-O Day
     Sing, Autumn to May.

Oh once I had a flock of sheep, they grazed upon a feather
I'd keep them in a music box from wind or rainy weather
     And every day the sun would shine, they'd fly all through the town
     To bring me back some golden rings, candy by the pound.
     Sing Tarry-O Day
     Sing, Autumn to May.

Oh once I had a downey swan, she was so very frail
She sat upon an oyster shell and hatched me out a snail
     The snail had changed into a bird, the bird to butterfly
     And he who tells a bigger tale would have to tell a lie.
     Sing Tarry-O Day
     Sing, Autumn to May.


May: Arkansas Traveler * *

Once upon a time in Arkansas
An old man sat at his little cabin door
And he fiddled at a tune that he liked to hear
A jolly old tune that he played by hear
It was raining hard but the fiddler didn't care
He sawed away at the popular air
And his rooftree leaked like a waterfall
But it didn't seem to bother the man at all.

A traveler was riding by that day
And he stopped to hear him a-practicin' away
The cabin was afloat and his feet were wet
But still the old man didn't seem to fret
So the stranger said, "now the way it seems to me
You'd better mend your roof," said he.
But the old man said as he played away
"I couldn't mend it now, it's a rainy day."

The traveler replied, "That's all quite true,
But this, I think, is the thing to do;
Get busy on a day that is fair and bright,
Then patch the old roof till it's good and tight."
But the old man kept on a-playing at his reel,
And tapped the ground with his leathery heel.
"Get along," said he, "for you give me a pain;
My cabin never leaks when it doesn't rain."


June: How Many Miles to London Town (or How Many Miles to Babylon) [link] *

How many miles to London Town?
Three Score and Ten.
Can I get there by candlelight?
Yes, and back again.

Open the gates to let me through
Not without a beck and a boo (or bow)
There's your beck and there's your boo
Open the gates and let us through.