Farmer’s Toast


Song two is called The Farmer’s Toast. At some point Jon developed a veggie friendly version…

“For a while I changed ‘I eat my own ham, my own chicken and lamb / I shear my own fleece and I wear it’ to ‘I make my own stew, lentil bake and tofu / I knit my own hemp and I wear it’. But not anymore.”

It seems this is also known as God Speed The Plough and you can explore various Mud Cat threads here. But  just to add to the layers Spiers & Boden recorded a tune called Speed The Plough on their Vagabonds CD.



48 Responses to “Farmer’s Toast”

  1. Michael Birch says:

    I came late to folk music – aged 50, a very kind and astute friend introduced me to it via Show of Hands at the Middlewich Boat and Folk festival 2007. Instantly gobsmacked, I’ve been revelling in it all since then and am really looking forward to hearing a new (to me) traditional song every day for the next whole year. Brilliant! And thank you.

  2. edith lewis says:

    What a wonderful start to the day. I will endeavour to listen every day.

  3. Colin Leslie says:

    A song a day – fantastic idea. Not heard “Farmers Toast” for a long long while and bound to hear more that bring back great memories in the days, months to come. Hoping to hear some I am not familiar with too. Great idea linking to a blog where we can get the lyrics, etc. I’ll have them singing along in the office before long. Looking forward to it.

  4. I do know a local farmer who sings this, and has changed it a little to suit his own circumstances. That’s just as it should be…

  5. Jane Ramsden says:

    That weren’t half-bad, lad! Top compliment in Yorkshire! A toast to you, Jon, for this brilliant idea of bringing folk music to people on a daily basis. I’m going to listen and list every one. Entertainment and education combined! Please say you are going to archive them, record or whatever. Shouldn’t be lost to posterity!

  6. admin says:

    The folk festival scene is the UK’s most vibrant musical landscape as this link clearly demonstrates. However you got here you are most welcome and will hopefully find more inspiration as the year unfolds.

  7. Interesting song. Of recent origin and possibly a modern tune. Beautifully done (as usual) But can you add some notes as to the provenance of the songs? It would add another dimension to this excellent idea. Keep it up!

  8. admin says:

    Paul we are trying to add a Mudcat link at least for each song, so that those who wish can explore a little further. Jon has generously written some comments, but what with learning the songs, recording them and maintaining his otherwise hectic schedule this is already an epic undertaking. Also, any dip into Mudcat will reveal how difficult it is to be definitive about any of this with even the titles open to debate. We will try and at least ensure that Jon’s source is part of the post. I hope that helps, that you enjoy the site and thanks for your comment.

  9. matt milton says:

    “For a while I changed ‘I eat my own ham, my own chicken and lamb / I shear my own fleece and I wear it’ to ‘I make my own stew, lentil bake and tofu / I knit my own hemp and I wear it’. But not anymore.”

    I have, once or twice, in singing ‘The False Bride’ toyed with a veggie version of one verse:

    “Oh, when that I saw my love sat down to meat,
    I sat myself by her but no thing could eat”

    such as:

    “I piled my plate high with soya-based treats
    I sat myself by her but no thing could eat”

    But I’ve always ended up going for a compromise half-rhyme that’s not so silly:

    “Oh, when that I saw my love sit at the feast,
    I sat myself by her but no thing could eat”

  10. Jerry Simon says:

    Maybe not that recent Paul. THIS link from Mudcat :
    puts text origin back a wee bit.

  11. Jan Bullock says:

    I am so enjoying these , thank you , its an education!

  12. Jon Boden says:

    Hi Paul. It’d be great to have some discussion about sources of songs etc on this blog. Often these are songs I’ve just got off a record or other pub singers so I won’t always have that much to offer I’m afraid! In this case I learnt it off a record called ‘Noise of Minstrels’ that I borrowed from Winchester library many moons ago so don’t know anything of its provenance – really interesting to see the broadside though, thanks Jerry! Anyone else come across Noise of Minstrels? It was a good album as I recall. I also learnt the tune Argiers from it which has served me well! j

  13. gordon potts says:

    I’ve got this chorus on an old cider cup from Dorset. I think i know the provenance, but i’ll check before i write…g

  14. Julie Travis says:

    Another day, another lovely song, although I’d love to hear the veggie version sung too! I’m an old punk who’s very much into folk (a lot of old punks are folkies now – perhaps the similar vein of a lot of the songs?). Am I the only person to think Jon’s voice is very reminiscent of Josef Porter, singer/drummer with Blyth Power? That is no bad thing…

    Will be checking in every day. Excellent stuff.

  15. Gerald says:

    This is an inspired thing to do and I shall try not to miss even one. Brilliant stuff. Looking forward to meeting you in Strachur soon. Gerald.

  16. Sare says:

    I really enjoyed the song and the whole idea of a song a day is brilliant. Why not extend it? Just keep going til you run out!

  17. TrishS says:

    This song gets sung regularly by the Middle Bar Singers at Sidmouth Folk weeks, which was where I first heard it.
    I have also seen it inscribed on a piece of pottery, in Beatrix Potter’s house in the Lake District (National Trust visitor attraction now).

  18. As far as I know, the words are indeed old, although adapted slightly by Eric Winter, who wrote the tune.

  19. Shez Wright says:

    thank you Jon – as an Aussie who loves English music, this is just brilliant – as Trish mentions, I have enjoyed this song at Sidmouth also – it has been 3 yrs since I have been in the UK – have spent a few good summers there touring around the music festivals – keep up the work – I run a email list in Brisbane and have sent this around for others to enjoy – as was mentioned, unaccompanied song is becoming rarer by the day here also – we had a representation at the Woodford festival up until 3 yrs ago, and alas that was dumped – and certainly rarely seen on the big stages anymore, not even in England.

  20. Rachel Fox says:

    Love the look of the site too.

  21. Gary Keep says:

    Very well sung and marvelous idea. There are many who attempt unaccompanied song but shouldn’t, you on the other hand should never be allowed a rest. 30 years ago I sang with a group dong these rustic songs of farm and village, pub and hunt. I have been performing sea music in the San Francisco area since the late 70s, but your making me miss those other fine genres of song.

    I too love the design of your website, looking forward to hearing many more and maybe its time to cram some new lyrics and tunes into the old grey matter in my head.

    All the best!

    Gary Keep

  22. Joy Toole says:

    one of my favourites! Thanks Jon

  23. Gervase Webb says:

    Of recent origin? Depends what you mean by recent. It’s dated back to at least 1850, and I’ve got a cup dating from 1880 with the chorus painted on it.

  24. My Dad was a farmer and someone gave him or my mother a mug with the chorus of this written on it, I’ve still got it. When I was at a minor public school in Worksop in the late sixties I used to sneak out on a Sunday night and go to the Folk club there at The Boundary Inn (I think). It was brilliant and I saw lots of great people there including Nic Jones (a damascene moment for me) anyway this was always a favourite for the whole club to sing a long to in a rousing manner. Nicely done Mr Boden and a great project.

  25. edith lewis says:

    great to be able to listen again

  26. nev perry says:

    The tune here is once again very interesting. It has something of the sweet molly mallone about it. I wonder how many tunes in the oral tradition have in some way similarities to other tunes found elsewhere In this tune I keep wanting to substitute the words at the beginning of each verse for the chorus found in Molly Mallone “In the streets broad and narrow she wheels her wheelbarow crying, cockles and muscels alive alive ‘o”‘

  27. Mike New says:

    Edith – concur with your sentiments. Nice song and wonderfully delivered.

    Music Mike

  28. Diana says:

    A pleasant song and well sung as usual – one does tend to run out of adjectives with regard to Jon’s singing.

    Pewter I caught up with Mike Harding’s radio programme and heard the 2 songs from “This is Proper Folk too!!” They were “King of Birds” and “Sweet Thames flow softly” – my favourite track. Jon and Sam do a terrific version. I printed the words from Reynard’s site and Ewan MacColl has a slightly varied version plus l or 2 extra verses. That is also worth listening to on YouTube.

  29. Pewter says:

    I can’t believe we’re still here Diana! Make hay while the sun shines…

  30. Pewter says:

    To all AFSAADDERS: the Archives dropdown is still working (in the brown bit, top right of this page) – so you can still click on any month, hear the songs and read the comments. Diana, and others who joined the project late, might want to try this!

  31. John Biggs (Welsh Marches) says:

    Hello. Are you all still here?
    As suggested by Jon on Saturday, I have signed on aboard Andy Turner’s A.F.S.A.W. while this old vessel is getting a re-fit. It would appear to be an excellent craft, but only does weekly voyages. Still, it helps to fuel this folk music addiction.
    See you there. John.

  32. Diana says:

    Lovely surprise wasn’t it Pewter and as you say make the most of it. Everything seems to be working as before. I do use the archive bit quite a lot to go back to certain dates, so at present all is well. So glad I would have missed it all so much like others I expect.

    John all present and correct and bristol fashion, and captain and crew are aboard. It’s great isn’t it?

  33. Jane Ramsden says:

    I have just had a quick look at Andy Turner’s AFSAW and already found a new note for my AFSAD archive! I have posted this under ‘Sweet Mossom’ here:

    Sweet Mossom, another mystery possibly solved! – From A Folk Song A Week: ‘This song has been referred to under a variety of titles: Banks of the Mossen, Mossem, Mossom, Mossing… but Mike Tristram, in a discussion on the Tradsong list, says:

    ‘Mossen’ in my understanding is a Saxon plural, ie ‘mosses’, rather than the name of a river; in other words it is ‘mossy banks’ good for lambs and love, rather than riverbanks.’

    I had had this idea missen from the Ash Hutchings/Chris While song called ‘Mossing We’ll Go’ on the Ridgeriders In Concert CD from 2001. Great album, also with Phil Beer.

    I can see I am not going to be able to break my folky-investigative addiction and the archive is only going to get bigger! Methinks it is a case of what Lenin said, ‘Everything is connected with everything else!’

    Nice to see people back on here for as longs as it lasts!

  34. Simon says:

    Right folks, as all of the audio is still attached to the pages, the job of rescheduling is now very easy and takes a few minutes, so I’ve just done July… I must confess I got a bit carried away with June and went past the start point and couldn’t work out how to undo it all. Until someone pulls the plug, I’ll keep it up and will dip in from time to time. I’m wondering about a personal archive too and how to make the most of the wealth of information that you’ve all added to.

  35. Diana says:

    Well it looks like most of the gang is back in the fold – we just seem to be missing a morris man and a vulpine friend, so thanks Simon for your welsome message. We will be around (I believe I speak for us all) as long as it is possible. Keep up the good work.

  36. Diana says:

    Pity I could not spell welcome correctly but second time does it.

  37. Old Muzza(NW Surrey UK) says:

    @Diana….blimey Gal….Vulpine!……
    my arm is aching reaching for the damn dictionary
    The word had me foxed…….and I thought…..
    what the hell has Mr.Spock got to do with folksong? …….lucky I checked!

    Incidently, ref Teignmouth folk festival..
    Long drive, heavy rain & winds getting there and through the friday night……lovely but blustery day saturday….me knackered and in bed at 7:30pm…Challenging night for the tents on saturday…very heavy rain and gale force winds…a couple of tents were washed out (not mine)…..scorching hot, sunny Sunday.
    Finished at 5pm and home in Surrey by 11pm……..
    but it was a colourful and delightful weekend.
    On the downside…..The steep, unending Devon and Cornwall hills and the clingy, muddy,red Devon clay all over everything…nearly did for this old fella.

  38. Diana says:

    Muzza I should have read this first before looking at the following day. Most of my queries seem to have been answered. It is a long drive down to Teignmouth I do know and in rain it is dreadful with spray from the preceeding vehicles which does not help.
    Glad that your tent stood up to the gales – not much fun though for you under those conditions. Still Sunday made up for it by the sound of it. Sorry you are knackered and that red clay does cling to everything doesn’t it?

    Dear me I do put you to a lot of trouble don’t I? I hope your dictionary isn’t too heavy I really do, as one of mine is. I thought that vulpine was a great word. I don’t believe I see the Mr. Spock connection – remind me.

  39. Old Muzza(NW Surrey UK) says:

    @Diana……Pointy ears Mr. Spock is a ‘Vulcan’ and makes the tea on the Star Ship Enterprise…and he goes where no folksong has ever gone before.

  40. Diana says:

    Muzza I did know who Mr Spock of Star Trek is or was but I am not sure I understand the reference. Unless you were confused with my vulpine which is possible I suppose but not probable. I liked Star Trek anyway.

  41. Old Muzza(N.W.Surrey-UK) says:

    This old AFSAD comments file is like an old diary to read and relive passed times…..
    little did I realise that feeling unwell when struggling up and down those Devon hills at Teignmouth with the morris men back in 2012…was the symptom of a heart attack that happened a month later!!!!!…Still here though….clinging to the wreckage! Thank you NHS.

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

    Lindy Lou…..your comment yesterday sent me into a panic as there was no…..’newer entry’ to click on…..relieved to find todays song via June 2014archive and yes…..having a good old Melodious chorus sing-a-long…..(a day ahead!)using the traditional words ,….even though I’m a veggie…..bliss!

  43. Linda says:

    Here we go again via June 2014….have you found it Muzza.

  44. Ray Padgett says:

    Eric Winter says ~ “the original is poeticised song about the farmers’ life ~ i have chosen half verses here and there and put them together to make a shorter and more singable version ~ i wrote the tune as that given in Irish Street Ballads (Colm O Lachlainn, Three Candles Press, Dublin 1939)didn’t seem to have enough spirit ~ First half of verse three is found on old Englsh drinking cups ~ use second half of verse one as a chorus

    Traditional words adapted by and arranged by and tune by Eric Winter (c) Sing Publications 1964

    Above from Songs squibs and a couple of poems by Eric Winter (THEY NEVER CLAPPED ME LIKE THAT) December 1992 published book

  45. OldMuzza(NWSurrey UK) says:

    Well…just for future reference…….the weather is HOT in 2020 and has hit 33C (96F in old money)
    Blimey…bit scary remembering ,via the past comments, 2012 and the heart attack…and sad but nice to see comments from Diana…My dad would have been 119 today if he hadn’t fallen off his perch at 57……funny old world ain’t it!

  46. OldMuzza(NWSurrey UK) says:

    Oh….I am in a ‘Drop the dead donkey’ mood…..having a good old sing with this old favourite….and I sing a vegetarian version.
    Weather in 2021.a whole week of rain and no sun ‘Darn sarf’……and as for Farmer’s Toast…do they use a fork in front of a blazing fire or drop it into a kitchen appliance.
    World news…a skyscraper collapses for no reason on the shore line in Miami and the poor old health secretary gets caught playing away on cctv.(Blokes- I ask yer!)

  47. OldMuzza(NWSurrey UK) says:

    At least we have these old songs for comfort and to remind us of the ‘good old days’ (they had a different set of problems way back then!
    History note….Russian Invasion of Ukraine now into a relentless 5th month……dread to think what comment I will be able to report a year hence!

  48. OldMuzza(NWSurreyUK) says:

    Can’t believe that Russia still invading and now we have a greater threat to the world (including a threat to AFSAD)…will the present deranged leader be overthrown by another deranged ( and criminal) would;be leader!

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