Buy Broom Buzzems (1)

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BUY BROOM BUZZEMS [1]. English, Scottish; Country Dance and Song Tune (3/4 time). England, Northumberland. G Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AB. "This unique little ballad, quaint and simple alike in music and words, is popularly attributed to William Purvis, commonly called 'Blind Willie', one the the most worthy and famous of the Newcastle eccentrics. He was the son of John Purvis, waterman, and born about the beginning of 1752, having been baptized at All Saints Church on the 16th February of that year. This eccentric character never enjoyed the faculty of sight, and many still living remember the cosy, contented, and sightless face of Willie as he trudged along the streets without a covering on his head. Several attempts were made by presenting him with a hat to induce him to wear one; but after having borne the infliction for a day or two, it was thrown aside, and the 'Minstrel', as he was called, again appeared uncovered, preferring the exposure of his hoary but well-thatched pate to the pelting of the pitiless storm. Blind Willie was perfectly acquainted with all the streets, lanes, and chares of his native town, and made his way everywhere without a guide, only using a long stick. His happy, contented nature made him a universal favourite with all ranks of society; and he had his regular places of call, where he was always welcome and duly served. At the inns and public houses of the town Blind Willie's presence in the taproom was a sure attraction, and his voice and fiddle in harmony, singing some quaint local ditty, gave never failing delight to his appreciative audiences. 'Buy Broom Buzzems' was usually considered to be Willie's chef-d'oeure, and he was in the habit of adding new verses, either made by himself or made for him, having no connection with the original theme. They have, therefore, been omitted here. Blind Willie died in All Saint's Poorhouse on 20th July, 1832, upwards of eighty years of age" (Bruce & Stokoe).

If ye want a buzzem
For to sweep yor hoose,
Come to me, ma honey,
Ye may hae yor choose.

CHO: Buy Broom buzzems,
Buy them when they're new
Fine heather bred uns
Better never grew.

Source for notated version:

Printed sources: Raven (English Country Dance Tunes), 1984; p. 134. Bruce & Stokoe (Northumbrian Minstrelsy), 1882; p. 118. Welling (Welling's Hartford Tune Book), 1976; p. 18.

Recorded sources: Tidy House Music THM 011999, The Fosbrooks - "As Pants the Hart."




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