Birds Upon The Tree


Jon brings up another interesting that we haven’t linked to often saying  “This is from the excellent CDR producing label Musical Traditions who specialise in making various recordings of ‘source singers’ available, despite there being no commercial impetus for doing so! You can check them out at here – well worth looking in to. This is a sweet little song from Charlie Bridger.”

Mainly Norfolk names the author of this as W.C. Robey with the suggestion that it was written in America at the end of C19th. Unfortunately efforts to turn up any more information on either the song or its author have hit dead ends. There’s a tantalising glimpse of another song from his pen called He Never Laughed Again and also this link, but there it seems to end as  unless I’m doing something daft even Mudcat draws a blank with this one. Still it’s a jolly little song with something of the Music Hall about it. Given my recent ornothological lessons, I’m just slightly nervous of taking it at face value.



25 Responses to “Birds Upon The Tree”

  1. Nick Passmore says:

    Nice to hear this one again! I first heard Andy Turner sing it: he collected a lot of songs from Charlie Bridger, who lived/lives? in Stone on the Isle of Oxney in Kent. We (Andy, Chris Wood, Chris Taylor and I) had a couple of expeditions down there to have music sessions with Charlie at his local pub. Andy also used to do a great version of “The (Blessed) Zulu Wars”, which was one of Charlie’s favourites, though some of its sentiments might be a little out of kilter with the 21st Century world view….

  2. Rosie says:

    I,d never heard this one either, and was absoloutely convinced it must be a Peter Bellamy song. ( I could just hear him singing it. ) I,ts delightful anyway.

  3. Dave Rogers says:

    There’s also a rather nice version on the “Trip to the Lakes” cd by the Boat Band:

  4. Matthew Edwards says:

    Thanks Jon for this lovely gem. As Dave Rogers has noted Kate Barfield sings this very nicely with the Boat Band, but her version probably comes from the Lake District. It is included in a remarkable set of recordings made in the early 1950’s by Robert Forrester and Norman Alford in pubs in Cumberland. The recordings were found in 1975 by Sue Allan in Carlisle Record Office and issued on LP, but more recently Veteran have reissued them on CD as Pass the Jug Round.

    On the CD you can hear Tom “Copper” Brodie, from Cargo, near Carlisle singing The Birds Upon the Trees. Its a real treat to listen to!


  5. Jane Ramsden says:

    A pretty ditty, that’s all, folks!

    I think W. C. Robey’s ‘He Never Laughed Again’ might be ‘He Never Smiled Again’ as per this:

    Though I must confess, I think the song ‘She Got It Where McDooley Got The Brick’ sounds more intriguing and possibly, very Bellowhead!

    But here’s the words and music for ‘He Never Smiled Again.’ You can enlarge the music sheet and there’s an image set of 1-4 sheets on the right-hand side of the page to access the whole song. Reads distinctly less fun than McDooley sounds!

  6. Jane Ramsden says:

    C’mere, there’s more!

    I like the singers of the day being called Lillie Beach and Lottie Williams, described as ‘The Queen Of Ideal Soubrettes.’ No McDooley though! I am so disappointed!

  7. Jane Ramsden says:

    I had to look up ‘soubrette’ – fascinating!

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

    Jane Ramsden……………..I fear that I will never rest again until somebody enlightens me as to where she got it …as in……..’She Got It Where McDooley Got The Brick’

  9. Jane Ramsden says:

    @ Muzza: I know! I’m trying… Don’t even go there with that one either! Hahahahaha!

  10. Diana says:

    Another good song with sentiments I endorse, I don’t like to see animals in cages, birds especially although this doesn’t seem as prevalent as it usee to be.

  11. Reynard says:

    I just noticed, while re-reading my page for this song, that Tom Brodie’s recording was originally issued on Reynard Records. Must have this!

  12. Diana says:

    Of course you must! What a brilliant name for a record company.

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  14. McDooley(old west) says:

    Well you folks might find it funny but I have never smiled again since I crossed that woman with her ‘soubrette’….and I might remind you all again that a sand faced fletton is mighty uncomfortable where ever you get it!

  15. Diana says:

    I have the distinct feeling that Muzza has appeared under a new alias!

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

    Hi Diana……I didn’t see your comment above until today when I rechecked RSS following Linda’s post……….how could you possibly think that Old McDooley was me………….

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

    Blimey boys and gals…………….we’re back to poor old McDooley and his painful interlude again….seems like only yesterday that we first shared the pain.

  18. Jane Ramsden says:

    @ Muzza: I don’t know what you mean! McDooley was one of the highlights of this whole venture! I finally got it – not where she, or McDooley, got the brick – but the crossover between folk and music hall. Plus it cost me 25 squids to find out where she (and McDooley) got the brick! You are deeply ungrateful of my anorak efforts… and I am now suffering under the yoke of a headcold to boot! Are there no workhouses, other than mine? Lol.

  19. OldMuzza (N.W Surrey-UK) says:

    Oh Janey……………never think that your efforts are not appreciated…… are the best little ferreting, cat botherer that we are blessed with…..You could show all those TV detectives a clean pair of heels and leave them standing. You can find out things known only to the Gods…..things we didn’t know we needed to know but now we know we should know………….
    That it cost you 25Earth Pounds is a travesty but is the expected behaviour of those bally colonials and their materialistic habits…..
    Don’t ever change and may your cold get better soon…………..
    I will do a nekkid ‘go away cold dance’ this very day…in the rain…That’ll shift it!

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

    Janey…..ref my last comment……..please tell me that your cold has gone as I am getting very tired with all this dancing and the neighbours are complaining!

  21. Old Muzza (NW Surrey) says:

    Janie…….has that cold gone yet……..I’ve been down the garden dancing in all weathers…you never came back
    Everything is going wrong……even Jon singing ‘the little birds’ has cut out and is ‘buffering’ at 1minute 39secs…woe is me

  22. Peter Walsh says:

    Saw her on sunday Muzza and she was free of cold!!!

  23. Old Muzza(NW Surrey UK) says:

    Hi Pewter…………thanks for the good news ref Janie/cold……going in now to get warm!

  24. OldMuzza(NW Surrey UK) says:

    Now hear this….anybody thinking that I can help them shift a cold …
    I just ain’t up to the rain dance anymore so you’ll have to suffer!

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