’Eel an’ Toe by Tom Sydall Chorus A : It's ’eel an’ toe, an’ to and fro, And naythur slow nor tarry As way toe deawn to Bowton teawn An’ turn reet reawnd to Bury. An’ weet or fine, an’ dull or shine In ev’ry kind o’ weather, Mi mate an’ me agree that we Sh’d allus be together. Chorus B : ’Is ’eart is strung, an’ it’s wide an’ lung, An’ it’s softer, aye, nor putty ’E knows, of course, as ’e’s my owd ’orse, As e’s’ my mate, an’ my butty. And one cowd neet there’d bin some sleet, An’ both mi feet went splatter ’E backed up slow, ’is tow rope low, An’ poo’d me fro’ t’cowd watter Mi sweetheart wrote a farewell note An’ bowt a coat to marry Mi owd pal Ted, because, hoo said, As ah wur wed to ’Arry. Ah ripped an’ cussed, an’ spit some dust To know ah’d bust wi’ Clarrie. Bur ah’ll nar fret, nor be upset, Ah’m ’appy, yet, wi ’Arry. Last Chorus : It’s ’eel an’ toe, an’ to and fro, And naythur slow nor tarry An’ neaw, by gum, the time ’as come To wander whoam to Bury, An’ fain am I, aye very. The lyrics and recording of this poem, written in the Lancashire dialect by Tom Sydall, were kindly provided to me by Bernard Cromarty (folk musician and long time organiser of Lymm Folk Club). He got the words directly from Tom (verbally) who said that he had 'put a chant to it' but there is no known recording of Tom singing it. Bernard has put a tune to it and made the recording featured here. It should be noted that 'butty' is a dialect word meaning 'friend or workmate' as well as a 'towed boat or barge' (or sandwich!). My sincere thanks to Bernard, and Alan Grace who first brought the song to my attention, for helping to bring this song to a wider audience.
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