Billy Don’t Weep For Me


Jon calls this one “A strange, spiky broadside from Nic Jones and all very Hogarthian.”

A fairly straight forward cautionary tale this one and I note a tune written for the words by Nic jones. His version on Game Set Match comes with typical, mind-boggling guitar accompaniment, but I think Jon handles this well. Mainly Norfolk has some details of the broadside printing and also details Nic’s recordings. There a Mudcat thread too, although it’s not especially packed with extras. I must say I think that the alternate title of Unfortunate Sally is a bit wide of the mark, as she seems calculating and a fair bit wanton as well, or am I being harsh?


16 Responses to “Billy Don’t Weep For Me”

  1. Joy Toole says:

    Weird song but hey!! I love anything done by Nic Jones so thanks! Hope all’s well with you and yours!

  2. LadyD says:

    Could almost be in a modern setting. Sally would probably claim benefits and get a council house. 😉

  3. Peter Walsh says:

    Thanks Jon, I enjoyed this one. There’s more going on in this than in an episode of Eastenders. Wonder what happened to the baby!

  4. Peter Walsh says:

    Postings are a bit sparse this week. I hope it is because you are all playing your Oak Ash Thorn CD’s!

  5. Mark says:

    Ruth Notman’s version at the Nic Jones gig was one of the standouts – both she and Jon here have managed to make it their own, which I would have thought was pretty difficult, given Nic’s amazing, brilliant version (first thing I ever heard of him). Nice work!

  6. Nick Passmore says:

    Like a Thomas Hardy novel or story in miniature…

  7. Jane Ramsden says:

    Love this one from knowing Ruth Notman’s version. I prefer the variation on the tune that she sings, but think it is a great tale and very well-rendered, Jon. If the baby didn’t end up in the water butt as well, I think you have to assume it probably ended up in a workhouse somewhere. Sad little scenario.

  8. Phil says:

    I think Unfortunate Susan is about right – she done Billy wrong, fair enough, but she’s the one who ends up dead.

    I see Jon followed Nic Jones’s rendering of the words, including

    “And when at last they found her, she’d drowned in the water-butt”

    instead of the original

    “And there she committed susanside right in the water-butt”

    Illiteracy or just extreme tastelessness?

  9. Jane Ramsden says:

    I think it’s a bit like Springfield Mountain. Hard to imagine it as amusing, but Ruth Notman’s slightly jaunty, saucy rendition lends a laugh, despite the sad outcome. No ‘susanside’ in her version though either.

  10. Diana says:

    What an odd tale set to a strange rhythm. Jon carries it off well but shouldn’t think it easy to sing. An unhappy ending and a peculiar way to drown yourself in a water butt.

  11. Muzza(NW Surrey.UK) says:

    I liked Jon’s version as you could hear the story……
    Ruth’s version was overun by the instruments..couldn’t hear the words.
    BUTT…….the moral of the story is….stay away from Gin and Stout gals called Susan!

  12. Diana says:

    :Muzza I agree with you, I couldn’t catch the words on Ruth’s version either. I do like your interpretation of the “moral” of the story. Very droll. 😀

  13. Jane Ramsden says:

    I think you should just stay away from butts of all kinds, whether ‘sitting all on men’s knees’ or especially water butts… HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

    Love this song though, and you can hear the words much better on Ruth Notman’s CD ‘Threads’ than the Mainly Norfolk video, but I have heard her do it more clearly live as well.

  14. Jane Ramsden says:

    Still love this song too!

  15. Diana says:

    Still a strange way to die!

  16. Diana says:

    Cannot say this is a favourite – still find it a little odd.

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