Young Banker


Another from the Watersons and Jon says, “No, not that kind of banker, although it would make sense of the bit where he runs away on board ship.”

This is another of those curious songs where the lyrics seem to get muddled to me, although I’m easily confused. But having said that this Mudcat post nails my concern, although reading through the Waterson’s version on Mainly Norfolk I can force it to work as a repetition, but only just. I wonder whether it should be “the answer that he gave” in the third verse, after she has turned him down in the second. Anyway the banker in question is a field worker or labourer rather than anything from the financial world, possibly working on dykes or drainage. Perhaps something to do with the waterways might explain the deck reference in the song. If you scroll up that Mudcat thread, however, the nautical connection to bank is made and that puts a whole new spin on things. There is clearly some association with Yorkshire given the Watersons’ version recorded seemingly for the county’s tourist board, but I’ve also come across a link to Wiltshire and the Upper Thames as well as suggested ties to Dorset and The Fens. Confused? I am and I’d appreciate any clarification that any of you can offer.

Bonus Track: Young Banker Live at The O’Reilly Theatre, Keeble College, Oxford.

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


19 Responses to “Young Banker”

  1. John Monk says:

    I enjoyed this song. Also enjoyed the live bonus from The Hive, Shrewsbury from the ASFAD live gig that features on the RSS feed. Strangely we only have the one version here and the other one there.

  2. Simon says:

    Sorry for the delay with the live bonus today folks, but Ben is unwell and I had to get it re-sent. The site is being a little slow and unco-operative too. The podcast will follow in due course.

  3. Jane Ramsden says:

    I can’t shed definitive light on the Yorkshire origin of this song, or any dialect meaning of the word ‘banker/banksman.’ However, acc. to Jane’s Dictionary of Old Occupations – I jest not! See link below! – aside from the coal mining connection, a banker was indeed a drainage ditch digger, and we have loads of rivers and canals in this part of Yorkshire at least!

    This dictionary might prove useful for occupations mentioned in other folk songs, as a start point at least:

  4. Jane Ramsden says:

    2pm and I can’t listen to the bonus track at present as just keeps buffering. Off for peanut butter sandwich – crunchy! – will return later!

  5. Shelley says:

    Ah Young Banker – one of my favourite joining in songs!

  6. Jane Bird says:

    The currently usage of “banksman” refers to the person who signals to and assist a driver whilst a large vehicle or piece of construction plant (such as a crane) is being manoevered.

    Lovely song!

  7. Lizzy Harrall says:

    I too have been unable to listen to oue bonus track, despite trying at variouse times throughout the day…

  8. Joanne Sheppard says:

    I can’t play the bonus track either… although I have technically already heard it as I was there in the bar when it was recorded!

    Absolutely amazing gig in Oxford, by the way. We had a brilliant time – loved it.

  9. Mike Gibson says:

    very enjoyable gig and i enjoyed singing in the session afterwards, hopefully hear the podcast soon?

  10. Simon says:

    Sorry folks although you’ll all have it working by now… It’s those confusing i-tunes formats that snagged me with this one. The music file as delivered isn’t compatible with the blog, although it all seemed to load up fine. Luckily Ben returned to sort it while I went and had a cuppa with my good mate Kermit.

  11. Muzza(NW Surrey.UK) says:

    Well I don’t seem to have commented first time round…great little song.

  12. Daina says:

    There seems to be a contradiction in the words of this song. Does she want him or does she not? Hard to work that one out.

    Muzza have you read the comments from a couple of days or so back?

  13. Diana says:

    A great song!

  14. Jane Ramsden says:

    Sung with great gusto, celebrating a good-looking young lad, and the value of love!

    At first I had the same confusion over the lyrics as Simon and Diana. Listening to the marvellously rich-voiced rendition of the Wilson Family on Mainly Norfolk, & reading the lyrics there, I get the impression that a likely female onlooker is the one praising and possibly yearning after the Young Banker. He appears to be with his lady love, who is playing a bit hard to get, but who them seems to realise how much she likes him when the foreman tells him to get his coat and move on, no doubt to another site. Love only valued when it might disappear, so lovely ladies take note! Or am I being a bit fanciful? Lol. Much handed-down singing may have mucked this song abaht a bit, or led to small but salient omissions to the full sense, but I get the drift! Wonderful jaunty repeated chorus whatever.

  15. Little old Muzza(N.W surrey.UK) says:

    Oh Dear……….I’m in ‘moldegreen mode’and so will not comment

  16. Kian says:

    Appreciating the hard work you put into your blog and detailed
    information you offer. It’s good to come across a blog every
    once in a while that isn’t the same outdated rehashed information. Great read!
    I’ve bookmarked your site and I’m adding your RSS feeds to my Google account.

  17. Alan Eardley says:

    Another use of the term ‘banker’ as a job title is a banker mason, who cuts stone into ashlars (blocks for building) on a bank or bench. This would be a higher status job than the (assumed) interpretation of a drainage worker or banksman. I think the context of the song implies this.

  18. Ray Padgett says:

    Pretty sure I have seen an entry in one of the EFDSS books which say collected in Harrogate ~ I have not been able to get chapter and verse yet tho’


  19. published in the Journal of the English Folk Dance and Song Society (vol.III no.I, 1936). It was noted by Charles Lolley from Mrs Kate Thompson of Knaresborough) from mudcat

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