Lads a Bunchum (1)

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LADS A BUNCHUM [1]. AKA and see "Balance A Straw," "Balance the Straw (1)," "Captain and His Whiskers (The)." English, Morris Dance Tune (2/2 {Karpeles & Raven} or 4/4 time {Mallinson}). F Major (Bacon, Karpeles and Raven): G Major (Mallinson). Standard tuning (fiddle). AAB (Bacon): AABB, x6 (Mallinson). The tune is also called "Balance a Straw," according to Bayard (1981), and both are simplified adaptations of "Tulip (The)," which is a march composed by James Oswald appearing in his Airs for the Spring, c. 1747. Bayard believes the title to be a corruption of "Laud'num Bunches" (Laudanum was a form of the drug opium), repeating Cecil Sharp's (1911) suggestion (see Lads a Bunchun (2)).

This version is from the morris dance tradition of the village of Adderbury [1], north Oxfordshire, in England's Cotswolds, where the following bit of verse is sung in the village's morris tradition at the beginning of the stick dance:

Oh dear mother, what a fool I be;
Here are six young fellows come a-courting me.
Three are blind and the others can't see,
Oh dear mother, what a fool I be! ... (Bacon)

See also the cognate second strain of "Birmingham March" or "Chimes."

Source for notated version:

Printed sources: Bacon (The Morris Ring), 1974; p. 7. Karpeles & Schofield (100 English Folk Dance Airs), 1951; p. 37. Mallinson (Mally's Cotswold Morris Book), 1988, vol. 1; No. 10, p. 11. Raven (English Country Dance Tunes), 1984; p. 77.

Recorded sources: Carthage CGLP 4406, Hutchings et al - "Morris On" (1972/1983).




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