Fiddlers Green

2015
02.26

Correcting a popular misconception Jon says of this one, “One of those songs that conveniently became traditional only a few years after being written! I understand John Connolly is gradually recouping some of his lost royalties. Quite right too – a fabulous song.”

Mainly Norfolk carries the notes from the songs appearance on the Fellside Records compilation Flash Company, as recorded by John Connolly himself. It seems this was a very popular number around the folk clubs, a veritable folk hit and a good thing in most ways, except where those royalties are due. It seems only fair, therefore, to link to John’s myspace. The term Fiddlers Green seems to be an old concept and Wiki dates it back to at least the 1830s as a sort of nautical equivalent of the Elysian Fields. It also appears in a soldiers’ poem or song that may have a similar date. Not surprisingly others have used the title and the concept in song and story. There are also several places called or known as Fiddler’s Green, which makes any further Goggling a bit of a waste of time. Best leave this to Jon and John, with the thought that it’s easy to see why this song became a popular one around the folk scene.
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22 Responses to “Fiddlers Green”

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

    A great song and an old favourite. Tends to be overlooked these days as being “Too common” to sing.” Thank you John Conelly and Jon B.(I sailed on the old Jon B)
    It has the feel and genre of a song I knew in the scouts in 1950s.

    A tramp by the wayside lay dying
    His sobs came again and again
    As tears rolled from under his eyelids
    He sobbed out this dying refrain

    Chourus: Oh, rock me to sleep on a clothes line
    Hang out my jumper to dry
    Dress me in purple pyjamas
    And then let me curl up and die.

    I have taken Simon(Admin’s) advice and not bothered to GoGGLE further!

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

    John Conolly………………that’s how you spell it! (I got it wrong as well)

  3. Joe Offer says:

    Mudcat has a thread on the song here:
    http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=93405

    John Conolly himself dropped by with a comment in 2006.

    -Joe-

  4. Pat Poole says:

    Although I haven’t seen him for some time now, being a Grimsby girl and a long time folkie, John was a friend of mine through my ex-husband from way back. Fiddlers Green is only one of a number of amazing songs that John wrote back in the day, with his friend and playing partner Bill Meek, ‘Men of the Sea’, being particularly good. John and Bill started Grimsby Folk Club together in the sixties, together with others, and remained active through several incarnations. The most hilarious version I ever heard of Fiddlers Green was a double time bluegrass in a folk club in Yorkshire, I must admit that John found that quite funny himself.

    Thanks Jon for giving this lovely song a well deserved place in the canon.

  5. Shelley says:

    I’d always thought this was trad – as I’ve said before, this project really is an education. I’ve only ever heard it sung by one person at a local singing session. Thanks Jon for a great version!

  6. Jane Ramsden says:

    I really liked this song (which I don’t remember hearing before) and the singing of it, Jon.

    A quick trawl of YouTube does yield John Conolly singing it himself with Bill Whaley & Dave Fletcher:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3-yzh8bO6PM

    But this comical link is of John Conolly’s re-write of Fiddler’s Green by Tim Rig And A Doxy at Lancaster Maritime Festival in 2006 with John in the audience:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ikifd5PbLuE

    One comment on the notion of Fiddlers’ Green says it was originally “locus fidelis in gremia” = “a place for deep believers”, but it seemed to be too much for fisherman’s dictionary 😉 so they mispronounced “fidelis in gremia” as “fiddler’s green”.

  7. Jane Ramsden says:

    John Conolly really is a wag! Here is a link to him singing his song ‘Punch & Judy Man’ at the Flyde Folk Festival in 2007 (4-letter word warning ref his intro!)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jsNfePZI07A

    And then there’s his Grumpy Old Men Of England, who don’t think much of t’internetty, so they’ll not get AFSAD!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N0joRysAQ84

    Not the best quality recordings, but worth a posting to hear John live (even tho I have an absolute horror of Punch & Judy!)

  8. John Bryson says:

    I had the pleasure to see John Conolly in Sept 2010 at a local folk club in Herts – excellent, well worth seeing in action – this is a super song, well sung here by Jon

  9. Diana says:

    Really enjoyed this one and Jon’s singing.

  10. John Biggs (Welsh Marches) says:

    A real classic, beautifully sung Jon, and the ‘Old Squeeze Box’ is just right.

  11. Diana says:

    I would love to hear Jon sing James Taylor’s “Fire and Rain”. Any chance?

    No lyrics available for above song.

  12. Diana says:

    As usual more haste less speed. Know words to “Fire and Rain” – have played it often enough. I means “Fiddler’s Green”.

  13. Reynard says:

    The lyrics are at the Digital Tradition

  14. Diana says:

    Thank you – have got at link.

  15. Muzza(NW Surrey.UK) says:

    @Jane above…….I listened to Tim Rig and Doxy version(link repeated below) but I couldn’t make out the words…..(ears ain’t wot they used to be!)
    and did John Conelly write the new words or did Tim Rig write them?

  16. Jane Ramsden says:

    @ Muzza: Having revisited the link to the ‘Fiddler’s Green’ rewrite, it was re-written by John himself methinks, under the guise of not Tim Rig (thought that sounded an odd name!) but Trim Rig, an even odder name! So it is comically being performed by Trim Rig (oh-er, Matron!) and a Doxy! There was a discrepency between the direction to YouTube saying ‘Tim’ when the name ‘Trim’ is actually what’s written on the opening credit to the video.

  17. Muzza (N.W.Surrey-UK) says:

    Another favourite song that I haven’t got round to putting on Ytube yet….I have a photo of me leaning on the village name sign of ‘Fiddler’s Green in Cornwall…booking me place so to speak….and a link of me singing another one of John Conolly’s great songs…Punch&Judy man

  18. Jan says:

    My ears ain’t wot they used to be either Muzza – I can’t make out the words on the Trim Rig and a Doxy (what a splendid name) link either!
    My mum remembers her dad singing bits of the Tarpaulin Jacket mentioned in the Mudcat thread.
    Look forward to your YouTube rendition of Fiddlers Green. I wonder whether Mr Conolly finds it pleasing or not that his song gets attributed to that ubiquitous bloke Trad?

  19. Diana says:

    Muzza I have that picture too courtesy of Jane. Very relaxed!

    Enjoyed this song.

  20. Diana says:

    Enjoyed the song and singing yet again.

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

    Drat……………I was hoping to get my Fiddler’s Green up on Youtube before this came round again

  22. old Muzza(N.W.Surrey.UK) says:

    Still haven’t managed it

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