Hail, Hail The First Of May



Jon knows this one as “A song by Dave Webber that has been, as I understand it, adopted into the Padstow May morning celebrations. In fact there is a story that Dave was down at Padstow for May morning and started singing this, only to be told off for starting a Padstow song when he was a visitor. In a way that’s the biggest complement he could have been given! Happy May morning everyone, particularly everyone who was up early for the choir in Oxford, or dancing in Newcastle / Dungworth.”

Having talked about the May Day celebration usurping St. George this seems an appropriate celebratory song and I too should wish you all well, although I don’t know what the greeting should be and Happy May Day seems a bit naff. Still, it’ll have to do. I love the optimism of this and the sense of young love’s blossoming. It’s a fine tune too and deserves to be taken up and used wherever it can be regardless of who starts singing it. I can say with some certainty that the bluebells were early this year and arrayed in all their splendour along the Greensand Way last weekend. I was out for a ramble myself, the weather was glorious and nature itself seemed brimful of purpose – not just the bluebells, but the blossoms and primroses, the birdsong, the lambs and all. Had I lodged this song in my brain before setting out, I might well have skipped the entire 12.5 (or more!!) miles. Absolutely lovely stuff.


71 Responses to “Hail, Hail The First Of May”

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

    Hail Hail……the first of May…..Determined to see the dawn in with the morris men (old habits die hard and I haven’t got too many left!)alarm woke me at 4am but I fell asleep again and woke half hour later. Frantic 10 mile drive and arrived at Wyndhams pond 5>25am, having only missed one dance. The torrential rain through the night had ceased and we were treated to a beautiful dawn…..I do hope I see it again next year…welcome summer.

  2. John Bryson says:

    Welcome Summer here in Leicestershire. Unlike Muzza, I chickened out. To see the Leicester Morris Men means a 1 mile uphill walk with no shelter, standing on the second highest point in the county with no shelter, and a mile walk back to the car – it has been raining all night, and still is.

    Instead I shall be attending, with my Wife Jane, the May Fayre in the nearby village of Quorn. The forecast says clearing late morning, and the Fayre starts at mid-day.

    Anyway, enough of me waffling. Jane and I both feel May is a glorious month, and it’s good to hear songs like this one from the archives

  3. Linda says:

    Bluebells in the garden about to flower (know down south they have already flowered Muzza) nice start to the morning but now very grey and drizzling …….Nice song from Jon,,,

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

    Good to see John/linda still out there…………..yes…bluebells have been out a couple of weeks…amazing how the Spanish Bluebells(stands upright) have multiplied…the English Bluebell(droopy head and flower hangs underneath) will soon be a rarity

  5. John Bryson says:

    Welcome Summer. A year on, and this song still lodges well and truly in my brain. I started attending a folk club here in Leicestershire last Autumn. It’s very much a singers club, meeting the last Thursday of the month at a village pub. To a packed room last Thursday I belted this one out, and I’m glad to say the whole room did on the chorus – great stuff

  6. Old Muzza (NW Surrey UK) says:

    Whoa John…good to see that you are still clinging to the wreckage!
    Cant believe I got the day wrong and missed dancing in the dawn with Yateley Morris Men.
    So pleased the rain stopped and they had a rare sunshine experience this morning.
    Come on Summer…give us a break

  7. John Bryson says:

    A year on, and Welcome Summer once again. A bit foggy here, which is Aachen in Germany, travelling back to England today, so no freezing with the Leicester Morrismen today.
    Musically my Wife Jane and I think this is a great start to May, our favourite month of the year, and we have been singing along with Jon in our hotel room before we start the parking.
    Hail May

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

    Cant believe it……I slept through my 4:15am alarm and so missed dancing in the dawn with Yateley Morris men at Wyndoms pond…..the problem is ,at my age, will I be healthy enough (or even still around ) to do it next year! (and the bally sun was shining this year…usually raining)
    At least Jon’s jolly song cheered me up!!!

  9. Linda says:

    Reading back through the comments notice you set the alarm later Muzza maybe you ll make it next year and as in previous years the bluebells are looking great again this year…nicely sung Jon

  10. Linda says:

    Yep bluebells out…. don’t know if the Morris men were allowed out this morning but hopefully next year will be back to “normal”

  11. John Bryson says:

    Welcome May,

    A year on from my previous post on this song, and so much has happened to this old country of ours.

    Songs like this one brightens things up

  12. DecrepitOldMuzza(NWSurrey UK) says:

    I was up at 5 am this morning………went to a secluded place in the woods…played a load of morris tunes …..danced as though nobody was watching.. and then danced several jigs until exhausted.
    Then home for breakfast………where we’re you fellas?

    BEEEEEHAAAAVE……….I was snuggled under the duvet until the alarm at 7Am!
    My early rising days are a distant memory!(no Jane….not an innuendo!)

  13. John Bryson says:

    A year on, what can I say but Welcome May

  14. OldMuzza (NWSurrey UK) says:

    Oooohhhhh……yawn……blimey 11;20 am….I’d better get up!!!!!!!!!!!
    I could dance around the room a bit….naaaaahhh….I’ll just grab the old melodeon and play a few morris tunes and a few folk songs…..welcome May

  15. John Bryson says:

    Welcome May.

    The forecast was for rain here through the night so I gave the Leicester Morris Men dancing in the Summer at 7.00 am a miss.

    Instead I’ll be at the White Horse Folk in the village of Seagrave,here in Leicestershire, for the club’s mini fest. We go round the room, or outside if the weather is OK, and this lovely song is first up for me

  16. OldMuzza(NWSurrey UK) says:

    Ha….I have had computer trouble..still got it but I missed my chance to tell (boast) that I awoke at 4.20am on May morning and drove 8miles to dance in the dawn with Yateley Morris men.. They let me join with the musicians on my lil ole melodeon…and I remembered the tunes…and it was chilly but dry….and the Queen turned up…See their website…(they weren’t expecting that!

  17. John Bryson says:

    A great way to welcome May.

    I was belting this out yesterday afternoon at the White Horse Folk Club in Seagrave, Leicestershire, at our May Bank Holiday mini fest – the pub is closed on a Monday, so it was sung a few hours earlier this year.

    We’re not a massive club, but the room was tightly packed by mid afternoon and a whole host of chorus songs created a super atmosphere

  18. OldMuzza(NWSurrey UK) says:

    Wey Hey you fellows….. the dear old Yateley Morris men couldn’t make it to Wyndhams pond to dance in the dawn this year and so I felt it my duty to take a hit for the side and drag myself out of bed at 4;15am to dance/play in the dawn to keep the old tradition alive!
    Sod’s law….instead of the usual rain lashed dawn….it was a beautiful sunrise and it was as if the great Morris dance in the sky shone down on me…BeeeeeHaaaave!…so glad I managed it!

  19. John Bryson says:

    Welcome May, my Wife Jane and I say this is our favourite month.

    Aside from both our birthday’s this month (!) our garden is coming along, one of our apple trees has a lovely display of blossom, and this is a great song to start the month.

    I shall be at the White Horse Folk Club in Seagrave, Leicestershire, on Saturday night and this is one of the songs I’m singing – always great to hear the room belting out the chorus

  20. old Muzza(NW Surrey UK) says:

    Wey Hey John…good to see that you are both still clinging to the wreckage!
    May has started cold and wet in Surrey…..only a couple of months before mid ‘summer’. (sigh!)The white horse is in for a treat!

  21. Linda says:

    Hanging on to the wreckage Think its been cold and wet every where but we saw sun today….hope you were up early this morning …Jon did a zoom meeting at nine this morning with a few good May songs…

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