The Days Of ’49 (Old Tom Moore)


Jon calls this,“Another Bellamy tour-de-force from Songs An’ Rummy Conjurin’ Tricks. I can’t match Bellamy for power, but hopefully people will check out his version too.” This gold rush song that seems to have any number of verses and you’ll find a fairly extensive Mudcat thread  giving you plenty of information here. As well as Bellamy, Dylan recorded and released it on his Self Portrait album and his version certainly follows the same tune, adding lyrical variations. The song of course refers to the California gold rush of 1849 and may be contemporary, but probably actually dates from the 1870s being collected and published around this time. Somewhere in there I’ve read that this broadside would probably have made more money for its publishers than many made in prospecting. The real money was always made by the bar keepers, grocers, entertainers and so forth that set up to supply the miners. In this tale Old Tom Moore remains the survivor, as most of the salty crew it describes meet premature ends in desperate circumstances. It would likely have proved popular in any frontier situation. I believe the Bellamy album that Jon refers to above was recorded live by Fellside’s Paul Adams at the Cockermouth folk club and can now be found as part of a double CD. This Mainly Norfolk link gives you the details.

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:


12 Responses to “The Days Of ’49 (Old Tom Moore)”

  1. Simon Dewsbury says:

    a rather grim glee in being the only survivor. Reminded me of a more modern take on this – ‘People who died’ by Jim Carroll

    Teddy sniffing glue, he was 12 years old
    Fell from the roof on East Two-nine
    Cathy was 11 when she pulled the plug
    On 26 reds and a bottle of wine
    Bobby got leukemia, 14 years old
    He looked like 65 when he died
    He was a friend of mine

    Those are people who died, died
    They were all my friends, and they died

    and so on…

    only so many stories

  2. SRD says:

    This one is definitely one of my favourites so far.

  3. Jane Ramsden says:

    Surprised me how much I liked this one, but definitely one of my favourites so far too. You sang it really well, Jon.

  4. edith lewis says:

    One of the best yet

  5. Mike Armstrong says:

    I’m sure I’ve heard Jon sing this before – was it in the Spires & Boden set at Bury Arts Centre?

  6. muzza(s.e.England) says:

    Some other old friends that Old Tom Moore didn’t have breath to mention

    Now Admin Si thought you and I would like a song or two
    With Boden Jon to sing along and help from Technic crew
    They ploughed the waves they ploughed the land,
    The earth the sea the sky
    And every song a murder foul or a maiden’s anguished cry.

    And Catnip Jane who would explain, where all those songs came from
    House crammed with cats and full of stats our brains she could make numb
    She was a bonny Yorkshire lass, by folk songs she was led
    Not Harry Ramsden’s kith and kin, but perhaps his lost son Ted

    There was Reinhardt, John and Nick and Phil, such knowledgeable friends
    And Mudcat, Mainly Norfolk that followed all the trends
    They told us of the history and singers came in throngs
    Fate help our heritage now reduced, to Muzza’s Youtube songs!

  7. SRD says:

    Well; a year has passed and I’m just as stuck with cliché as I was a year ago, but I still think this is fabulous. Brilliantly presented; this is Jon at his best as far as I’m concerned.

  8. Jane Ramsden says:

    Yes, agree with you SRD, Jon can tell a cracking good tale in song. This is fabulous.

    @ Muzza: I am now immortalised in verse. Not quite ‘my love is like a red, red rose’ but Catnip Jane beats ‘free sex clip jesse jane’ anytime! Hahahahaha!

  9. Diana says:

    A really fascinating tale probably a lot of truth in it as well.

    @Muzza I really enjoyed your wonderful poem above – loved “Catnip Jane” – very appropriate. Any chance of another one this year?

  10. Pewter says:

    I enjoyed the performance and black humour of the verses, but can’t help feeling for the plight of those prospectors; hunger and poverty must have been the driving forces. Fast forward to now and California still entices a massive influx of peeps — but now they just want to be film stars!

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

    Blimey….Jon had a plethora of friends in this song…and they all met grizzly ends…perhaps being his friend was not a good idea!!

  12. OldMuzza(NW Surrey UK) says:

    Ha….just looking back, with heavy heart,
    to the banter we all enjoyed when AFSAD was new me boys, when AFSAD was new
    (same as Jones’s Ale),,,,
    and probably, as a more recent old Tom Moore empathised with our old goldrush friend (after he’d done his 100 circuits of his garden on his Zimmer frame!)

    Now of all the friends that I had then there’s no-one left to boast
    For I’m left alone in my misery like some poor wandering ghost.
    I just rove around from town to town, folks call me the roving sign,
    It’s just old Tom Moore, he’s a bummer sure from the days of ’49.

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