I Know My Love By His Way Of Talking


Jon calls this “Another Irish song I believe, but I know it from Eliza Carthy and Nancy Kerr’s Shape Of Scrape album, which is in my opinion is a hugely important album. It certainly had a massive impact on me.”

This is another song that it’s difficult to add a great deal to. It may be Irish, although it seems to be quite widespread and this Mudcat thread offers a few clues as it certainly appears in Herbert Hughes’ Irish Country Songs. Also the dance hall in Mardyke is in apparently Cork City. It is one of a family of songs, however, that includes Queen Of Hearts and although it wasn’t printed as a broadside until the 1830, there is a suggestion that it has a flavour of the mid C17th about it. That may be speculation, but who am I to argue.



25 Responses to “I Know My Love By His Way Of Talking”

  1. Shelley says:

    I’ve come across this one in books a lot, but I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone sing it – thanks Jon.

    I think it’s rather quaint she thinks her love will be impressed by her laundry skills!

  2. Shirley Leyshon says:

    Swarb’s “Lazarus” recorded this a few years back, the lead vocals taken by Kevin Dempsey.

  3. Shirley Leyshon says:

    Ahem….. The album is called “Live and Kicking”. Okay, that’s all from me folks. :-))

  4. Phil says:

    James Yorkston does a rather fine version of this, albeit with most of the tune missing, on his first album Moving up country. JY said in an interview that the two bands he’d most like to play in are Planxty and Can, and you can hear what he means on that track.

  5. Brian says:

    A lively version of the song can be found on: “A Woman’s Heart-A Decade On”,track 2, by the Corrs and The Chieftains,taken from The Chieftains album “Tears of Stone”.

  6. Jane Ramsden says:

    Thanks for all the different versions of this song – all good!

  7. the_otter says:

    I grew up with the version by the Corries. Nice song.

    There are a couple of verses here that I’ve never heard before. Like Shelley, I find the girl’s boast about her awesome washing skills rather amusing. ‘Don’t leave me – I can wash your underpants!’

  8. Jane Ramsden says:

    Well, the fast and loose women won’t wash yer underpants! Remember, the camp followers who were wife in all but name were often referred to as laundresses!

  9. Muzza (N.W.Surrey.UK) says:

    The key to this poor girl’s plight…………the shortage of fellas in the area.
    So this rogue was a desirable object despite his bountiful shortcomings!
    In present times, we forget that in those days, some folk were born, lived, died, without even seeing the next village. However, the song was written by somebody, somewhat later, who had an education and experience of the wider environment.

  10. Diana says:

    Certainly different sentiments expressed in this song. rather quaint language too. Well sung though.

  11. Mark says:

    Lady Maisery have recorded a great version of this on their Weave & Spin album. Recommended!

  12. Diana says:

    You can hear Lady Maisery sing this on Reynard’s site at Mainly Norfolk too.

  13. Emma, Lady Hamilton says:

    Has anyone seen Lord Nelson? Don’t tell me he has run away to sea again? He was supposed to meet me in Trafalgar Square.

  14. Reynard says:

    Just climb on the Fourth Plinth, stand still and wait for the next year’s Pace Egging when he will come alive again. If you feel extremly bored, you may sing “I Know My Love” repeatedly until then. Try to sing it in three-part harmony like Lady Maisery.

  15. Emma, Lady Hamilton says:

    I don’t know who you are Mr Reynard but I am not bored with Horatio’s company and I certainly do not want to wait a year for him.

  16. Linda says:

    @Muzza , disagree with Diana and the no alcohol .Hot toddy’s are a lot more fun then the paracetamols hope your feeling better soon. Catching up at the moment went to see Faustus last night really enjoyed the night.

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

    Huzzah…Haven’t had a man cold this year….YET !!!……wonder if lady Hamilton still waiting in Trafalgar square……been four years now….almost as bad as waiting for comments on AFSAD !!!

  18. Brian Kell says:

    Oh boy, this song takes me straight back to the Elloits club in Birtley in the late 60s. Shame I can’t remember who used to sing it. A great song and delivery Jon

  19. Old Muzza (NW Surrey-UK) says:

    the old empty 4th plinth in Trafalgar Square was quite an entertainment…..I wonder if that will happen again some time…..still no Man cold yet this year!…..perhaps I’m so ancient…the germs cant survive

  20. oldMuzza(NWSurreyUk) says:


  21. OldMuzza(NWSurrey UK) says:

    We mustn’t forget what a pickle we were in this time last year with the virus…..we didn’t know at the time that the wonderful scientists would develop the vaccines…Phew!
    Somebody should write a folksong about them

  22. OldMuzza(NWSurrey UK) says:

    Last year we lived in fear of a pandemic…..THIS YEAR….we are tottering on the brink of dealing with an insane invasion of Ukraine…..human beans and their activities….I ask yer!

  23. OldMuzza(NWSurrey UK) says:

    Hallo everybody……I’m still here……and now we can add to the Ukraine tragedy….with numpties blasting the Sudan to pieces…..thank goodness for folk songs.

  24. OldMuzzza(NW Surrey UK) says:

    How times change…due for my covid booster on Sunday…thank goodness for scientists (and folk songs!)

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