Go and Leave Me


Jon attributes his source on this one to Peta Webb and as she works at the EFDSS library she got wind of the project and this post…

Dear Jon,

I hear you are going to feature my version of Go And Leave Me, so thought you might like to know the sources. (I recorded it on the Fellside compilation Voices: English Traditional Songs (FECD 87.)

I first heard it in Suffolk in the early 1970s (where it was commonly song in pubs) sung by Percy Webb from around Framlingham (no relation, but a great character!). He sang it in straightforward style, verse and chorus the same tune.

I then heard Sarah & Rita Keane (Co. Galway) sing it, on their beautiful LP for Claddagh  Once I Loved, (available on CD CC04CD.) This is their title for it (in Ireland it is claimed as an Irish song). I gathered extra verses from them and use their more elaborate tune for the verse, retaining Percy Webb’s straight chorus tune as being easier to join in with. I changed the key line to “Go and leave me if you wish LOVE” (instead of “to”) so she’s directly addressing the runaway lover. I also introduced a sense of scorn for him and pride in herself rather than keeping to the pathos of the Keanes’ delivery.

I heard a wonderful tune variant from traveller Anne O’ Neill, with a country & western twist, so I inserted that particular variant just once at the end of the “Here’s the ring love” verse. I didn’t consciously set out to do any of this, the song just evolved over five years or so as I sang it then heard other versions.

All the best,


How good is that!? It comes direct from someone Jon describes as a “singer of great note,” and shows both how slippery provenance is and how songs continue to evolve. Fantastic! Interestingly, just to add to the confusion, Mudcatters point to this being of American origin and you can follow this link to dive into that should you wish.

The buy links should now work properly. We had some problems with a duplicate track and everything needed to be updated, but I’ve just tested them and they are now OK!

You can buy the digital album now from the following stores:


15 Responses to “Go and Leave Me”

  1. Reinhard says:

    A brilliant song in both Jon’s and Peta’s interpretations. And it’s great to learn how songs evolve.

    This blog is a wonderful opportunity to revisit albums that sat unheard on my CD shelf for way too long. Thank you very much!

  2. Peter Walsh says:

    Country and Western versions (accompanied by banjo, such as Cliff Carlisle from the 30’s) seem to share the same chorus parts; “if you think I’m so unworthy, never let me cross your mind”. They differ a lot in the verses though. I prefer Jon and Peta’s performances!

  3. Richard Sails says:

    Wonderful, but especially good is reading Peta’s comments, which take me back to great nights (Wednesdays?) in the King’s Head, Islington in the early 70s. I still enjoy Oak’s LP ‘Welcome to our Fair’ which I suspect I won in a raffle there!

  4. Pat Poole says:

    I have Percy Webb’s version on this on a very old LP from Topic. Forget the title of the album now, but it’s full of the same type of singer. Percy Webb’s voice, as I bring it to mind now, is very strong and clear, tho he was over 80 at the time.

  5. Jane Ramsden says:

    Well-sung, Jon… but I still imagine a cowboy on the trail of the lonesome pine! Hahahaha! The woman in question is the opposite to Keys of Canterbury as she’s gone off with the rich fella! Cliff Carlisle? Never heard of him, Peter! Youthful ignorance, of course! But you’re younger than I am!

  6. Julia Taylor says:

    My main love affair with Folk was in the 1980’s and I remember Peta Webb both on the radio and in performance. I like this collection of verses – especially the one about the lover being only lent; but I do wish the chorus had rhymed the word ‘mind’ with
    ‘behind’, with which it would have gone so naturally, at the end of the line.

  7. saira-jane says:

    ooh great…one of those songs that is on the ‘to learn’ list.
    Great version 🙂

  8. John Biggs says:

    A beautiful song, and beautifully sung Jon.
    It is really good to be able to catch up with all these songs from the early part of the voyage when I was not on board.

  9. Diana says:

    I like this song very much and as usual nicely sung.

    @ Muzza: Glad you are feeling slightly better, so continue to take care of yourself and try and keep out of the rain. I am sure Jane or I would have been delighted to thump you on the back – tee hee. It is pouring with rain here – so what’s new? It’s about time you had some sunshine in your neck of the woods though.

  10. Linda says:

    What a sad song beautifully sung..

  11. Old Muzza(N.W.Surrey UK) says:

    The subject of the song seems mired in finding why there was a breakup….and if poverty was the cause, had a lucky escape as the perceived ‘love’ was very shallow

    Whoever you are out there…….if you have just parted from another
    the sooner that you realise that the relationship is over, for whatever reason, dust yourself down, count the rest of your blessings and get on with life, the happier you’ll be.
    Been there-done that!

  12. old Muzza (NW Surrey) says:

    Blimey….old Muzza the philosopher …………hey….we are still in a grip of a heat wave
    Next year (If I’m still clinging to the wreckage)I’ll probably be moaning about 6 weeks of torrential rain….Good old England weather.. keeps you guessing!

  13. old Muzza (NW Surrey) says:

    Ha…when I wrote the above….ref the heatwave…I hadn’t taken a sneaky peak at tomorrows offering!

  14. OldMuzza (NWSurreyUK) says:

    Well lookee here……after several weeks of overcast sky in the South of UK, we now have a week of scorching weather……but mustn’t grumble as the poor folk of South Germany, Belgium and The Netherlands have been devastated by floods and those in California have more wild fires……..no doubt somebody is recording it all with a hastily written folksong!
    To add to our woe…..restrictions stop on pandemic precautions tomorrow…despite it getting out of hand yet again……….I hope we all survive for a year or two!

  15. Old Muzza (NW Surrey UK_ says:

    Ooooooer…..when going to make a comment it usually pops up with all my details…but that seems to have stopped…..lucky I can remember the details”
    Look at that….my last comment 2021.we had the pandemic…..it seems so long ago now and the thought of lockdown…wellllll !..I don’t think we would stand for it next time around.
    Fingers crossed we can enjoy AFSAD for some years to come

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