Originally published in 1977. The Travellers, from those living in bow-tents and horse-drawn caravans to those dwelling in motor caravans and permanent homes, are an important source of traditional music. Their society means that songs that have died out in more settled communities are preserved among them. Ewan MacColl and Peggy Seeger, widely known as two of the founding singers of the British and American folk revivals, here display a vast fund of folklore scholarship around the songs of British travelling people. Resulting from extensive collecting in southern and southeastern England and central and northeastern Scotland in the 1960s and 70s, this book contains 130 songs with music and comprehensive notes relating them to folkloristic and historical points of interest. It includes traditional ballads and ballads of broadside origin, bawdy, tragic and humorous songs about love, work and death. Most are in English or in Scots dialect with four in Anglo-Romani.

chapter |16 pages


chapter |13 pages

Music Note

chapter |2 pages

General Arrangement

chapter |13 pages

The Singers

chapter |2 pages


chapter 1|3 pages

The Elfin Knight (Child 2)

chapter 2|1 pages

Lady Isabel and the Elf Knight (Child 4)

chapter 3|3 pages

The Twa Sisters (Child 10)

chapter 4|4 pages

Lord Randal (Child 12)

chapter 5|3 pages

Edward (Child 13)

chapter 6|2 pages

Babylon (Child 14)

chapter 7|3 pages

The Broomfield Hill (Child 43)

chapter 8|4 pages

Young Beichan (Child 53)

chapter 9|2 pages

Lord Lovel (Child 75)

chapter 10|3 pages

The Lass of Roch Royal (Child 76)

chapter 11|3 pages

Bonny Barbara Allen (Child 84)

chapter 14|3 pages

Sir Hugh (Child 155)

chapter 15|2 pages

The Bonnie House o ’ Airlie (Child 199)

chapter 16|4 pages

Geordie (Child 209)

chapter 17|7 pages

The Braes o ’ Yarrow (Child 214)

chapter 18|2 pages

The Jolly Beggar (Child 279)

chapter 19|2 pages

The Gaberlunzie Man (Child 279, Appendix)

chapter 20|4 pages

Brake of Briars (Laws M 32)

chapter 21|2 pages

The Laird of the Denty Doon Bye

chapter 22|3 pages

Mother, Mother Make My Bed

chapter 23|3 pages

Long A-Growing (Laws O 35)

chapter 24|4 pages

The Three Butchers (Laws L 4)

chapter 25|4 pages

Sweet William (Laws K 12)

chapter 26|2 pages

The Dark-Eyed Sailor (Laws N 35)

chapter 27|5 pages

The Sailor’s Return (Laws N 42)

chapter 29|2 pages

The Lass o ’ Glencoe

chapter 30|2 pages

Still I Love Him

chapter 31|2 pages

If I Was a Blackbird

chapter 32|2 pages

The Yellow Handkerchief (Laws O 37)

chapter 33|2 pages

Busk, Busk, Bonnie Lassie

chapter 34|1 pages

The Courting Coat

chapter 35|2 pages

The Walnut Girl

chapter 36|5 pages

All Fours

chapter 37|2 pages

The jolly Barber Lad

chapter 38|2 pages

The Molecatcher

chapter 39|2 pages

Featherin’ Oot and In

chapter 40|1 pages

Ring Dang Doo

chapter 41|2 pages

Aye She Likit the Ae Nicht

chapter 42|4 pages

My Faither was Hung for Sheep-Stealing

chapter 43|2 pages

Rosemary Lane (Laws K 43)

chapter 44|2 pages

Seventeen Come Sunday (Laws O 17)

chapter 45|4 pages

The Lady and the Soldier (Laws P 14)

chapter 46|1 pages

Where Gadie Rins

chapter 47|2 pages

The Overgate

chapter 48|2 pages

The Oyster Girl (Laws Q 13)

chapter 49|2 pages

Eggs in her Basket

chapter 50|3 pages

The Bird in the Bush

chapter 51|2 pages

Caroline of Edinburgh Town (Laws P 27)

chapter 53|3 pages

The Braes of Strathblane

chapter 54|4 pages

The Seeds of Love (Sprig of Thyme)

chapter 55|4 pages

Died for Love

chapter 56|3 pages

The Blacksmith

chapter 57|4 pages

The Cuckoo

chapter 58|2 pages

The False-Hearted Lover

chapter 59|1 pages

Blue-Eyed Lover

chapter 60|2 pages

False, False Hae Ye Been to Me, My Love

chapter 61|2 pages

My Love Lays Cold Beneath My Feet

chapter 62|4 pages

Green Grows the Laurel

chapter 63|1 pages

I Went to Mass on Sunday

chapter 64|2 pages

The Bonnie Irish Boy (Laws P 26)

chapter 65|2 pages

The Girl I Left Behind (Laws P1-B)

chapter 66|3 pages

Green Bushes (Laws P 2)

chapter 67|2 pages

Too Young (Laws P 18)

chapter 68|3 pages

The Banks of Sweet Primroses

chapter 69|2 pages

The Bonnie Green Tree

chapter 70|2 pages

Sheep-Crook and Black Dog

chapter 71|2 pages

The Fatal Snowstorm (Laws P 20)

chapter 72|2 pages

The Banks of Red Roses

chapter 73|3 pages

The Butcher Boy (Laws P 24)

chapter 74|2 pages

Oxford City (Laws P 30)

chapter 75|4 pages

The Wexford Girl (Laws P 35)

chapter 76|4 pages

Camden Town

chapter 77|2 pages

Erin’s Lovely Home (Laws M 6)

chapter 78|1 pages

My Father’ s Servant Boy (Laws M 11)

chapter 79|6 pages

Locks and Bolts (Laws M 13)

chapter 80|2 pages

All Over Those Hills

chapter 81|2 pages

Bogie’ s Bonnie Belle

chapter 82|3 pages

Alan MacLean

chapter 83|1 pages

The Rainbow

chapter 84|3 pages

Jamie Foyers

chapter 85|2 pages

The Bonnie Bunch of Roses (Laws J 5)

chapter 86|2 pages


chapter 87|2 pages

The Deserter from Kent

chapter 88|2 pages

MacPherson’ s Farewell

chapter 89|2 pages

The Highwayman Outwitted (Laws L 2)

chapter 90|2 pages

Whiskey in the Jar (Laws L 13-A and 13-B)

chapter 91|2 pages

Captain Grant

chapter 92|2 pages

The Boston Burglar (Laws L 16-B)

chapter 93|2 pages

Van Dieman’ s Land (Laws L 18)

chapter 94|2 pages

Jamie Raeburn

chapter 95|2 pages

The Isle of France

chapter 96|3 pages

Thornaby Woods

chapter 97|2 pages

Bigjimmie Drummond

chapter 98|3 pages

The First Day in October

chapter 99|1 pages

The Prisoner’s Song

chapter 100|4 pages

Twenty-One Years (Laws E 16)

chapter 101|2 pages

John Barleycorn

chapter 102|2 pages

All Jolly Fellows that Handles the Plough

chapter 103|1 pages

We Dear Labouring Men

chapter 104|2 pages

The Feein’ Time

chapter 105|3 pages

The Tattie-Liftin’

chapter 106|1 pages

The Hash o ’ Bennygak

chapter 107|2 pages

Nicky Tams

chapter 108|2 pages

The Dying Ploughboy

chapter 109|3 pages


chapter 110|1 pages

The Ale-Wife and her Barrel

chapter 111|3 pages

Hooly and Fairly

chapter 112|2 pages

Erin-go-Bragh (Ireland Forever) (Laws Q 20)

chapter 113|2 pages

The Wild Rover

chapter 114|2 pages

Creeping Jane (Laws Q 23)

chapter 115|2 pages

The Penny Wager

chapter 116|1 pages

King William and the Keeper

chapter 117|3 pages

The Sailor Cut Down in his Prime (Laws Q 26)

chapter 118|2 pages

The Jolly Herring

chapter 119|2 pages

Paddy Backwards

chapter 120|1 pages

The Hop-Pickers’ Tragedy

chapter 121|2 pages

The Little Chimney Sweep

chapter 122|2 pages

The Little Beggar Boy

chapter 123|1 pages

Little Poppa Rich

chapter 124|2 pages

Twa and Twa

chapter 125|1 pages

The Two Gypsy Girls

chapter 126|3 pages

Diddling Songs

chapter 127|3 pages

The Moss o ’ Burreldale

chapter 128|1 pages

Jal Along

chapter 129|2 pages

Mandi Went to Poov the Grais

chapter 130|2 pages

The Atching Tan Song

chapter 131|1 pages

Hi, Bara Manishee