Down Among the Dead Men

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DOWN AMONG THE DEAD MEN. English, Air (4/4 time). C Minor (Chappell): D Minor (Howe). Standard tuning (fiddle). One part (Howe): AB (Chappell). An English song that gained great notoriety. The 'dead men' of the title are nothing more sinister that empty bottles rolled under the table, a metaphor still in use today for empty alcoholic beverage containers. Kidson (Groves) says it dates to the early years of Queen Anne's reign. Many songs were set to the air, often appearing on broadside sheets. One was engraved on a half-sheet from around 1715, headed "A Song sung by Mr. Dyer at Mr. Bullock's Booth at Southwark Fair," and begins:

Here's a health to the King and a lasting peace,
Let faction be damn'd and discord (cease).

The tune appears on broadside sheets, and also in Playford's Dancing Master (vol. iii, c. 1726), Hogg's Jacobite Relics (1st series) and Walsh's Compleat Country Dancing Master (vol. iii).



Source for notated version:

Printed sources: Chappell (Popular Music of the Olden Time), vol. 2, 1859; pp. 173-174. Howe (1000 Jigs and Reels), c. 1867; p. 45.

Recorded sources:




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