Simon John


Jon recalls, “This used to be sung brilliantly by Graham Metcalfe at the Half Moon until he buggered off to Canada with the lovely Lucinde. You can hear a proper Yorkshire version here.”

It’s nice to hit a humorous vein in the midst of all the usual grim goings on, but they aren’t the most forthcoming in terms of links and apart from Jon’s, although most entertaining it is and a change from my usual tangents. I’ve nothing much to add, except, “Where’s me nightcap?”

You can buy the February digital album now from all good download stores.


19 Responses to “Simon John”

  1. Reinhard says:

    What a wonderful vivid song! I just can see young Simen John in his cap and shirt and stockings before my eye.

    Simon, “Where’s me nightcap?” was the wrong question 🙂 I googled for “Simon John” and “pig-muck” and found the lyrics at Folk Leads Online. A link on this page led to Bill Price who recorded the song in 1972 for his LP The Fine Old Yorkshire Gentleman. And that page offered both a sound file with Price singing “Simon John” and the author Tom Daniel whose song “Poverty Knock” is much better known.

  2. Reinhard says:

    Oops, a typo in the first link. It should be Folk Leads Online

  3. Reinhard says:

    Simon, if I had read your blog entry properly instead of stumbling on, I should have seen that you already linked to Folk Leads 🙂 Sorry…

  4. Joe Offer says:

    Yeah, Reinhard, there doesn’t seem to be much information on this song. Roud and the Traditional Ballad Index have nothing, and there was nothing at Mudcat other than a message from Ray Padgett saying “Young Simon John” was written by Tommy Daniel from West Riding of Yorkshire, who also wrote “Poverty Knock.”
    So, I ended up at the same place you and Simon found, Folk Leads Online.
    Good song, though.

    -Joe Offer-

  5. Jan says:

    What a grand song! Although I ‘m an expat Yorkshire lass I’d never heard of the song or of Bill Price, but it’s a small world, isn’t it – following the links, I discovered I’d been standing next to his daugher Ruth watching her son perform at the Straw Bear festival this year!

  6. John Burton says:

    Graham Metcalfe would be one third of “the brilliant Folly Bridge” performers who Jon got “the Grey Goose” in Novembers AFASD from.
    I emailed Lucinde (email in Nov comments) and recieved a copy of the said CD just before Christmas, well they are only just on the opposite side of Canada after all, it really is a great CD. In it there was a note from Graham, who said that he has a couple of solo CD’s out too.
    Will have to order them too I guess.

  7. Jane Ramsden says:

    Absolutely love it! There’s nowt so queer as folk’ – or should that be Folk? – and we are rather warmly eccentric in Yorkshire. Your running together of consonants is coming along a treat here, Jon, with “t’back bedroom” and many more. The song is littered with them!

    Despite being Yorksher, I hadn’t heard this one before, or of Bill Price either, but the Paul Child link was a wonderful chorus of the very broad – hahahaha! He may have the edge on the accent, but you have the edge on the song, Jon. Thanks for posting that great combination, Simon Admin – no pun intended!

    @Jan. But we are not exclusively eccentric, if you were referring to the Whittlesea Straw Bear Fest I posted info on here about not long since. I absolutely love that bit of eccentricity as well!

  8. Jane Ramsden says:

    Here’s a link to a 1977 promotional leaflet about Bill Price:

    And a link to the Price sisters:

    Full notes on Tommy Daniel & Poverty Knock from the Yorkshire Garland web site here:

  9. Jane Ramsden says:

    Here’s a link to a 1977 promotional leaflet about Bill Price:

    And a link to the Price sisters:

    Full notes on Tommy Daniel & Poverty Knock from the Yorkshire Garland web site here:

  10. Jane Ramsden says:

    Sorry you got that 2x, Simon Admin. Duplicate filter didn’t quite catch it that time!

  11. John Biggs (Welsh Marches) says:

    Many congratulations to June Tabor, after all her successes, rightly deserved, at last night’s B.B.C. Folk Awards.

  12. Diana says:

    What a delightful amusing song – I would have liked to have been at that wedding – it would have been quite a spectacle!

  13. Diana says:

    Still a nice cheerful ditty.

  14. Summer Joy says:

    We recently put on a house concert for Graham Metcalfe here on Vancouver Island and met this song. Excellent CDs by the way.

  15. Phil says:

    Quite a few of the links above are broken, here’s what they should be:
    Ruth Price (Ruth and Sadie Price)
    Bill Price:
    Bill Price’s version of the song from the Fine old Yorkshie Gentleman LP can be played at


  16. Diana says:

    Still a cheerful little song sung well.

  17. Ray Padgett says:

    Yes Bill Price I believe died in 1980 and his two daughters are Ruth and Sadie who are now singing together ~ including Young Simon John and Bill’s Fine Old Yorkshire Gentleman

    I saw Bill and knew him and Wendy is very much alive and lives in Whitby having had a career as a lecturer and NVQ assessor for EFL working partly in Dewsbury and Pakistan. Wendy plays melodeon for Persephone and music sessions travelling to Huddersfield. Friend of Chris Parkinson and assorted “expats” from industrial Sth and West Yorks, like D and D Elliott

    YSJ is still sung by Mick Haywood and the visuals include the accentuation of the “pulling up of socks” etc ~ Mick is still in Whitby too


  18. Ray Padgett says:

    er um Neet cap not night shirt please ~ lol ~ rooit, tarn, noar rent to pay,


  19. David Shepley says:

    Er neet cap please ,I still have Bills LPs and I also know Wendy and the Price sisters,Poverty Knocks was another Tommy Daniels song sung by both Mick and Bill and other members of the Batley Ale voice choir. Happy days at the New Inn on Purwell lane and the West Riding Folk Club at the Shoulder of Mutton in Batley Carr and the Victoria Inn in Soothill Batley .

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