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.