Submitted by Harry Tuft

I learned this song from a Riverside album by Bob Gibson, “I Come for to Sing.” According to some internet research, Joan Baez must have learned it that way, as well, mostly. She may have conflated both his and the older one, below. Again, from the internet, I have learned that it is likely a version of “Little Musgrave and Lady Barnet,” purported to go back as far as the fifteenth century. 

Perhaps the first version, from which others have learned the song, was by Ewan MacColl and Peggy Seeger on a Folkways recording in 1961. Fairport Convention did it and Doc Watson, too. I have only heard the Gibson version, and I believe I have stayed close to his rendition.

Listen to Harry singing “Matty Groves:”

Sheet music for "Matty Groves"
Download the sheet music for “Matty Groves.”


Hi ho, hi ho holiday, the best day of the year.
Little Matty Groves to church did go, some holy words to hear,
Some holy words to hear.

He spied three ladies dressed in black, as they came into view.
Lord Arlyn’s wife among them walked, a flower among the few,
A flower among the few.

She trip-ed up to Matty Groves, her eyes so low cast down,
Oh pray, oh pray, come with me stay, as you pass through the town,
As you pass through the town.

I cannot go, and I dare not go. I fear ‘twould cost my life. 

For I can tell by the little ring you wear that you are Lord Arlyn’s wife,
You’re the great Lord Arlyn’s wife.

This may be false, it may be true, I can’t deny it all.
But Arlyn’s gone to consecrate King Henry at Whitehall,
King Henry at Whitehall.

Oh pray, oh pray, come with me stay, I’ll hide you out of sight.
And I’ll serve you there beyond compare, and sleep with you the night,
And sleep with you the night.

Her little page did listen well to all that they did say.
And ere that they were out of sight, He quickly sped away,
He quickly sped away.

He did run the Kings Highway, he swam across the tide.
And he ne’er did stop until he came to the great Lord Arlyn’s side,
To the great Lord Arlyn’s side.

What news, what news, me bowly boy, what news bring you to me?
My castle burned, my tenants wronged, or my lady with baby,
My lady with baby.

No harm has come your house and land, the little page did say,
But Matty Groves is bedded up, with your fair lady gay,
With your fair Lady gay.

Lord Arlyn called his men and he bade them with him go.

And he bade them ne’er a word to speak, and ne’er a horn to blow,
And ne’er a horn to blow.

Among Lord Arlyn’s merry men ’twas one who wished no ill,
And ere the castle was in sight, blew his horn so loud so shrill,
Blew a blast so loud so shrill.

What’s this, what’s this, cried Matty Groves, what’s this that I do hear?
It must be Lord Arlyn’s merry men, the ones that I do fear,
The ones that I do fear.

Lie down lie down, cried Arlyn’s wife, come keep my back from cold.
It’s only my uncle’s shepherd men, a-calling their sheep to fold,

A-calling their sheep to fold.

Little Matty Groves he did lie down, and he took a nap asleep.
And when he woke, Lord Arlyn was a-standing at his feet,
A-standin’ at his bed feet.

Well, it’s how do you like your pillow said he, and it’s how do you like your sheets
And how do you like that fair lady gay, what lies in your arms asleep?

What lies in your arms asleep.

Very well do I like my pillow said he, and it’s better do I like my sheets,
But it’s best, do I like, that fair lady gay, what lies, but ain’t asleep,
Who lies but ain’t asleep.

Rise up, rise up, little Matty Groves, defend you if you can.
In England, it shall never be said, I slewed a sleeping man,
I slewed a sleeping man.

I cannot rise and I dare not rise, I fear ‘twould cost my life.

For you have got two bitter swords and I ain’t got a knife,
I ain’t got a knife.

Oh yes, I have two bitter swords, they cost me deep in the purse,
But you shall have the better one and I shall have the worst,
I shall have the worse.

Firstest stroke little Matty struck, he hurt Lord Arlyn sore.
And the nextest stroke Lord Arlyn struck, little Matty struck no more,
Little Matty struck no more.

Rise up, rise up, my gay young wife. Draw on your wedding clothes.

And tell me do you like me best, or like you Matty Groves

Or the now dead Matty Groves.

She lifted Matty’s dying head, and kissed from cheek to chin.
It’s Matty Groves I’d rather have, than Arlyn and all his kin,
Than Arlyn, and all his kin.

He took his lady by the hand, and he dragged her through the hall.
And with his sword, he cut off her head, and he stove it again’ the wall
He stove it again’ the wall.

Oh, woe is me, oh woe is me, why stayed you not my hand?
For I have killed the fairest folk in all of England,
In all of England. 

Harry Tuft says: I grew up in Philadelphia in a family that enjoyed music. I owe my first interest in folk music to the recordings of Pete Seeger and Big Bill Broonzy, and also to Roger Abrahams and Bob Coltman, early influencers. I credit the Gilded Cage coffee house also as a great incubator in the late fifties in Philadelphia. I started a folk music store in Denver in 1962, the Denver Folklore Center, which I ran until I sold it to friends in 2016. This has allowed me to concentrate on making music, a primary goal when I came to Colorado in 1960. (It’s only taken me sixty years to pursue my real love, making music for folks). I have also been a member of the group Grubstake, which has had a run for over forty years. It was dormant for a few years, but has once again surfaced for occasional performances.

Submitted by Mara Levine

“Tree of Life” was written for the 1983 musical theater production Plain Hearts: Songs and Stories of Midwestern Prairie Women by Lance Belville, with music and lyrics by Eric Peltoniemi. The play features a variety of scenes and songs celebrating the lives of pioneer women who settled in the midwest in the early 1900’s. According to Eric, much of it was based on his grandmother’s and great-grandmother’s lives.

The first two verses of “Tree of Life” are entirely comprised of the names of quilt block patterns. Eric related to me: “I was inspired by a fabulous hardcover book I found filled with hundreds of quilt patterns. I thought their names were so evocative that I made them the lyrics of the song.”

Listen to Mara singing “Tree of Life:”

Track Credits: From the Facets of Folk album
Written by Eric Peltoniemi, © Eric Peltoniemi Music LLC / ASCAP 
Mara Levine (lead & harmony vocals), Caroline Cutroneo (harmony vocals & rhythm guitar), Hillary Foxsong (harmony vocals), Ed Trickett (hammered dulcimer), John Guth: Bass 
Vocal arrangements: Mara Levine/ Bob Harris / Caroline Cutroneo 
Engineered by Bob Harris; mixed and produced by Bob Harris and Mara Levine at Ampersand Records, Bridgewater, NJ.

Lyrics and chords to "Tree of Life"
Download the lyrics and chords for “Tree of Life.”

Lyrics: Tree of Life

By Eric Peltoniemi

Beggar’s Blocks and Blind Man’s Fancy,
Boston Corners and Beacon Lights,
Broken Starts and Buckeye Blossoms
Blooming on the Tree of Life.

Tree of Life, quilted by the lantern light,
Every stitch a leaf upon the Tree of Life.
Stitch away, sisters, stitch away.

Hattie’s Choice (Wheel of Fortune), and High Hosanna (Indiana),
Hills and Valleys (Sweet Wood Lilies)
and Heart’s Delight (Tail of Benjamin’s Kite),
Hummingbird (Hovering Gander) in Honeysuckle (Oleander),
Blooming on the Tree of Life.



We’re only known as someone’s mother,
Someone’s daughter, or someone’s wife,
But with our hands and with our vision,
We make the patterns on the Tree of Life.

Called “one of the best singers of her generation” by Christine Lavin, and “golden voiced” by David Amram, song finder Mara Levine selects songs with inherent beauty, then crafts them to a glittering brilliance. According to folk singer Si Kahn, “Layering harmony line on top of harmony line, Levine creates rich tapestries of sound and emotion.”

Mara joined Bell Buckle Records in 2020. Her critically acclaimed albums Facets of Folk (2013) and Jewels and Harmony (2019) were each #1 on the Folk Alliance International Folk DJ Chart upon release, and reached #3 for the year. Mara has appeared on radio programs and at venues and festivals in the US, Canada, and Europe. Her performances are known for thoughtful and inspiring interpretations of traditional songs, worthy modern classics, protest music, and some of the sweetest vocalizing you’ll find this side of the golden sounds of the 60s, with songs that stir the emotions, and encourage singing along!

Chris Spector of Midwest Record described her as “the new standard bearer for folk music” after the release of her latest project, and according to Les Siemieniuk of Penguin Eggs, “The world needs more such interpreters of fine and contemporary folk songs.”

Submitted by Dave Para

The song is also known by “Whiskey on a Sunday” or “Come Day, Go Day.” Liverpool folksinger Glyn Hughes wrote it in 1959 after hearing stories from older people who remembered seeing Davy in the 1890s.

Originally a sailor from Jamaica, Seth Davy became a fixed character on the streets of Liverpool entertaining, especially young children, dancing his three homemade dolls on a plank. He sang the minstrel song “Massa Is a Stingy Man,” with the chorus, “Sing come day go day, God send Sunday, we’ll drink whiskey all the week, and buttermilk on Sunday.”

The place and idioms in the lyrics reference Liverpool, but Irish singers have sung the song often with words changed to reference Dublin.

Listen to John Roberts and Tony Barrand singing “Seth Davy:”

See English singer Christopher Lawley essentially re-enacting Seth Davy:

Sheet music for "Seth Davy"
Download the sheet music for “Seth Davy.”

Lyrics: Seth Davy or Come Day, Go Day

By Glyn Hughes

Come day, go day
Wish in my heart for Sunday
Drinking buttermilk all the week
Whiskey on a Sunday.

He sat on the corner of Bevington Bush
Beside an old packing case
And the dolls on the end of his plank went a-dancing
As he crooned with a smile on his face:

The tired old man drummed the wooden beam
His dolls, they danced the gear
A better old show as you’ve ever seen
At the Pivvy or the New Brighton Pier:

In 1902 old Seth Davy died
His song was heard no more
The three dancing dolls in the jowler bin ended
And the plank went to mend the back door:

But on some stormy nights down old Scotty Road way
With the wind blowing in from the sea
You can still hear the song of old Seth Davy
As he croons to his dancing dolls three:

Dave Para is a folksinger from Missouri and now from New Mexico, who with his late wife, Cathy Barton, danced the limberjack for children many, many times. He used information from a Mudcat thread and Secondhand Songs for this article.

Submitted by Sara Grey

“Cobweb of Dreams” was written by Joy Masefield and Leon Rosselson, an English songwriter whose specialty is topical political songs. It is not just the simple love song it first appears to be. In Oxfordshire, England, it was the tradition to present a historical documentary, a combination of drama, music, and light show, of the ancient village of Towersey. “Cobweb of Dreams” was the song which opened and closed the drama, thus binding together the life-cycle of the townspeople of Towersey.

Leon was commissioned to write a love song that was to be sung at the Towersey Festival, and he was very reluctant to do so because he was primarily a writer of political songs and felt uneasy about writing a love song….what a misconception! It turned out to be one of the most poignant and beautiful love songs ever written!

Listen to Sara Grey and the late Ed Trickett performing “Cobweb of Dreams:”

Sheet music for "Cobweb of Dreams"
Download the sheet music for “Cobweb of Dreams.”


Words by Joy Masefield, Music by Leon Rosselson

I have been searching through the timeless past
Because of you, my love, because of you
Weaving a cobweb that will hold you fast
Because of you, my love, because of you.

Oh sing again the song I heard you singing
The song that set the bells of Heaven ringing.
The song that surely told me
The grave could never hold me
Because of you, my love, because of you.

And now I know that love’s a fragile flower
Because of you my love, because of you
So little time between the sun and showers
Because of you, my love, because of you.

Only by singing can I soothe my sorrow
Because of you, my love, because of you.
Today is gone, but there is always tomorrow
Because of you, my love, because of you.

Sara Grey is a fine American singer, banjo player and song collector, who is immersed in the song traditions of both sides of the Atlantic. Her love affair with traditional songs for over 60 years has given her an incomparable knowledge of songs and ballads and how they have moved and evolved. She wants to gather the songs and pass them on to future generations so that they will have the pleasure of hearing and singing them just as she has. After living and singing in Britain for more than 45 years, Sara has returned to her native New England and is living in Vermont with her husband Dave. She continues to tour actively, mostly with her son Kieron Means. See more about Sara on her website.

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Special This Issue

Recurring Contributions

Submitted by Mary Garvey

“The Badger Drive” is a Newfoundland folk song/ballad. The song is about a lumber drive near Badger, Newfoundland. As with many Newfoundland ballads, the lyrics are about traditional places and events and sometimes actual individuals—and this song has all those qualities.

The song was composed in 1912 by John V. Devine of King’s Cove, Bonavista Bay, NL. Local and family tradition hold that Devine composed it in a Grand Falls boarding house after having been fired from his job as scaler for the Anglo Newfoundland Development Company (A.N.D.). He sang the song at a St. Patrick’s Day concert at which company officials were present, and allegedly won his job back.

Listen to Barry Delaney performing “The Badger Drive:”

Sheet music for "The Badger Drive"
Download the sheet music for “The Badger Drive.”


There is one class of men in this country that never is mentioned in song.

And now, since their trade is advancing, they’ll come out on top before long.

They say that our sailors have danger, and likewise our warriors bold,

But there’s none know the life of a driver, what he suffers with hardship and cold.


With their pike poles and peavies and bateaus and all

They’re sure to drive out in the spring, that’s the time

With the caulks on their boots as they get on the logs,

And it’s hard to get over their time.

Bill Dorothey he is the manager, and he’s a good man at the trade;

And when he’s around seeking drivers, he’s like a train going down grade,

But still he is a man that’s kindhearted, on his word you can always depend.

And there’s never a man that works with him but likes to go with him again.


I tell you today home in London, The Times it is read by each man,

But little they think of the fellows that drove the wood on Mary Ann,

For paper is made out of pulpwood and many things more you may know,

And long may our men live to drive it upon Paymeoch and Tomjoe.


The drive it is just below Badger, and everything is working grand,

With a jolly good crew of picked drivers and Ronald Kelly in command,

For Ronald is boss on the river, and I tell you he’s a man that’s alive,

He drove the wood off Victoria, now he’s out on the main river drive.


So now to conclude and to finish, I hope that ye all will agree

In wishing success to all Badger and the A.N.D. Company.

And long may they live for to flourish, and continue to chop, drive and roll,

And long may the business be managed by Mr. Dorothey and Mr. Cole.


Mary Garvey writes: I am a retired but still working person originally from the lumber (major log drives here and pulp mills) region of Southwest Washington, USA. I did graduate work in experimental psychology at the University of Newfoundland (unfortunately was unable to complete it) and heard magnificent music there, including in my own house. I have been given a number of songs about my own corner of the world and put out CDs with other people on traditional songs of here (SW WA) and other places. Love Irish and British Isles songs, and Newfoundland songs, of course.  

Submitted by Derek Piotr

I recently collected a version of “I Wonder When I Shall Be Married” from famed writer Roxana Robinson, at her home in North Cornwall, Connecticut. While the song is primarily attributed to the Ritchie family of Viper, Kentucky, Roxana had learned it from her family in Pine Mountain, and sings it to a different tune.

The song is strangely neutral in tone: the lyrics speak of hope and anticipation, yet the overall tone of the song is melancholic and open-ended.

This song also has the distinction of being the seven hundredth song I have recorded for my Fieldwork Archive!

Hear Roxana Robinson sing “I Wonder When I Shall Be Married:”

Sheet music for "I Wonder When I Shall Be Married"
Download the sheet music for “I Wonder When I Shall Be Married.”


I wonder when I shall be married,
Be married, O be married,
I wonder when I shall be married,
For my beauty’s beginning to fade.

My mother she is so willing,
So willing, O so willing,
My mother she is so willing,
For she has more daughters than I.

My father has forty good shillings,
Good shillings, O good shillings,
My father has forty good shillings,
And they will be mine when he dies.

My shoes they have gone to be mended,
Be mended, O be mended,
My shoes they have gone to be mended,
And my petticoat gone to dye green.

And they shall be ready by Sunday,
By Sunday, O by Sunday,
And they shall be ready by Sunday,
And then shan’t I look like a queen.

O say, won’t I be a bargain,
A bargain, O a bargain,
O say, won’t I be a bargain,
For someone to carry away.

I wonder when I shall be married,
Be married, O be married,
I wonder when I shall be married,
For my beauty’s beginning to fade.

Derek Piotr is a folklorist, researcher and performer whose work focuses primarily on the human voice. His work covers practices including fieldwork, vocal performance, preservation and autoethnography; and is primarily concerned with tenderness, fragility, beauty and brutality. His work has been supported by The Traditional Song Forum and The Danbury Cultural Commission, and has featured on Death Is Not the End and the BBC. He recently launched the Fieldwork Archive.

Submitted by Andrew Calhoun

Collected by James Carmichael of Ballymena, Ulster; printed in Sam Henry’s Songs of the People. Arranged by Andrew Calhoun.

Listen to Andrew Calhoun performing “The Hills of Tandragee:”

Sheet music for "The Hills of Tandragee"
Download the sheet music for “The Hills of Tandragee.”


When my love wakes in the morning,
She oils and combs her hair;
And dresses in her superfine
All for to meet her dear.
Her name I will not mention
Lest she should offended be;
For she is the fairest creature
In the hills of Tandragee.

The time is drawing nigh, brave lads,
When I must leave you here;
And part with all my comrades,
Likewise my sweetheart dear.
For her beauty I admire
Above all that I can see;
And her killing glances bring the blush
On the hills of Tandragee.

Farewell unto my native rocks,
Likewise you grand old shore;
Where with my daily comrades,
I’ve trod the sands all o’er.
And when I’m on the ocean wide,
Nor house nor home can see;
I’ll be thinking of you Rosy dear,
That dwells in Tandragee.

When my love wakes in the morning,
She walks down to the sea;
To watch for the ship returning
That bore her love away.
She’ll watch the foaming billows
As they roll in from the sea;
Saying “Oh, poor Johnny Hartin,
You’re far from Tandragee.”

Andrew Calhoun is a gigging singer-songwriter/folk artist since 1975. He founded and managed Waterbug Records, Inc. from 1992–2019. In 2012 he received the Lantern Bearer Award from Folk Alliance Region Midwest; in 2014, a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Woodstock Folk Festival. He’s currently (2023) at work on a Robert Burns songbook called Glorious Work, which will have 410 songs based on research into Burns’s original tunes and texts. Different Now, a CD of 20 old and new original songs, will be released in 2024.