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Wassail, wassail all over the town
The cup it is white and the ale it is brown
The bowl it is made of the good old ashen tree
And so is the malt of the best barley

Formerly it was not only apple trees, but all our crops, and even the beehives, that were wassailed. Here are recordings of local West Country traditions from Cornwall, Gloucestershire, Herefordshire, Gower (S Wales) and Somerset.

1. Song from Emily Bishop (73), 3 Bell Cottage, Bromsberrow Heath,
Herefordshire 1952 - 1'43"

2. Song from Charlie Bate (with p-accordion), Padstow, Cornwall, 1956
- 3'08"

3. Talk and song by Joe Thomas (87), Constantine, Cornwall 1956 -

4. Talk and song & by the Truro Wassailers entering the inn at Malpas,
Falmouth, Cornwall rec by PK February 1957 - 3'03"

5. Talk by Bill Meare (68), rec by PK, Drayton, Somerset 1957 - 1'25"

6. Song led by Charlie Shavers, Drayton rec 1975 - 2'53"

7. Talk by Fred Adams, of Alcombe, Minehead, rec by PK, Eastern Farm,
Carhampton, Somerset 1956 - 3'20"

8. Song by Eric Tarr, Carhampton, Somerset, 1975 - 0'52"

9. Talk & song by Walter Sealey (67), rec by PK, Ash Priors, Somerset, 24th January 1957 - 2'14"

10. Harry Sealey (63) joins his brother, Walter, for the song (learned
from Harry Woodberry who sang it to Cecil J Sharp)-- 2'15"

11. Talk & Song by Billy Buckingham with chorus, rec by Gwilym Davies, Stonehouse, Gloucestershire 1978 - 3'19"

12. Talk & Song by Phil Tanner rec by Maud Karpeles, Llangennith,
Gower 1947 - 3'45"

Recorded and edited by Peter Kennedy and first published on Folktrax
Cassettes 1975.

Emily Bishop can also be heard singing "No Sir" on FOLKTRAX 013, Talk about Morris with her sister Beatrice Hill (melodeon) playing Morris dance tunes on 113, her solo album is 129 - "The Baffled Knight" ballad is on 502 and her Carols on 504. Charlie Bate with the Padstow Hobby Horse is on 215 and in the Christmas Day Radio prog on 950. Joe Thomas is on 010 & 218. Truro Wassailers are Harold TOZER, Thomas JEWEL & Albert JOSE (The Wassail Bowl used to be carried by the Little family and Harold went round with a dozen or so of them, at the age of 15, New Year's Eve and 12 days following - Mr Little was a cattle drover and wore knee-breeches - no special costume was worn but at Bodmin they blacked their faces and wore top hats). Bill Meare can be heard on the Dialect CD FOLKTRAX 453. Phil Tanner (1862-1950) His "Great Man of Gower" solo album is FOLKTRAX 057 (All titles assigned to Folktrax by his grand-nephew, John, of Scurlage Farm, Reynoldston Oct 19th 1966).

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