Polly Put the Kettle On (5)
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POLLY PUT THE KETTLE ON . English, Reel and Country Dance. G Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABBCC. Source Charles "Charlie" (or sometimes George, as Cecil Sharp mistakenly referred to him) Baldwin (b. 1827, Gorsley Common, Gloucestershire, on the border with Herefordshire) was an elderly charcoal burner and fiddler aged 88 years in 1910 when he was visited by Cecil Sharp, who noted several tunes from him. At the time the old fiddler was living in the Alms Houses of Newent, Gloucestershire, a town he had lived in most of his life. In younger days he was the fiddler for the Clifford Mesne’s Morris, although by that time all the team members had died, and the team disbanded some 40 years prior. Sharp said in his notes from the visit:
Tho. Philpotts was fool, Bodenham, John Aplin, etc. dancers—all now dead. As at Mayhill they processed from place to place in column formation, top left being flagman and top right swordman. The former had a large flag peculiar to the village which he waved in time with the music, and the latter two swords which he whirled round his head with the lilt of the music. He also danced the sword dance (swords on the ground) to the tune of Greensleeves. Baldwin used to play at all the Wakes and gave me some interesting tunes (see tune book). He played me Pop Goes the Weasel and described figures which were the same as usual. He said he had known the tune since he was a boy and that it wasn’t a new one then. He was quite positive on this point.
Baldwin’s youngest son, Stephen, was also a fiddler and played for the Bromsberrow Heath (Worcestershire) morris side. He inherited his father’s fiddle, which had been bought at a music shop in Hereford, and Stephen later passed it to his own son.
Source for notated version: Charles (George) Baldwin, Newent, Gloucestershire, 1910, via collector Cecil Sharp [Callaghan].
Printed sources: Callaghan (Hardcore English), 2007; p. 46.
Recorded sources: Wild Goose Records, Old Swan Band - "Swan for the Money."