The Old Man from Over the Sea

from by Lynched

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about

We first heard this song from the singing of Frankie Armstrong on a Topic records LP titled The Bird in the Bush: Traditional Folk Songs of Love and Lust (12T135). It is popular throughout the Anglo-American tradition. We did come across one Irish version, ‘There Was an Old Man Came over the Hill’, which was noted from the singing of Dublin native Brendan Behan in 1957, by Peggy Seeger and Ewan MacColl for their book The Singing Island. According to The Penguin book of English Folk Songs, ‘The old man's courtship is an ancient joke of which country folk never seemed to tire’, and indeed the motif would also seem to be a common one in the Irish tradition. It is safe to say, however, that this is by far the most grotesque song on that theme that we have ever come across. We follow it up with two tunes from the American old-timey tradition, ‘The Kitchen Girl’ and ‘Angeline the Baker’.

lyrics

There was an old man came over the sea,
Aye, but I'll not have him.
There was an old man came over the sea,
Came snivelling, snuffling, over on me,
With his long grey beard, with his long grey beard,
A‐shivering and shaking

My mother she told me to bid him come in
Aye...
And he giggled and dribbled all over his chin
With his long...

My mother she told me to give him a stool,
Well I gave him a stool and he sat like a fool

My mother she told me to give him some cake
And the silly old fool wriggled just like a snake

My mother she told me to pass him the sugar
And he shivvelled and shovelled it down like a bugger

My mother she told me to take him to bed
And the daft old devil nigh stood on his head

My mother told me to show him what to do
But the silly old cod couldn’t learn how to screw

My mother she told me to bid him farewell
Well I bid him farewell and I wished him in hell

There was an old man came over the sea
Came snivelling, snuffling, over on me

credits

from Cold Old Fire, released May 25, 2014
Trad. arr. Lynched

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Lynched Dublin, Ireland

Gritty folksongs from the heart of Dublin city.

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