"Order, gentlemen, please", the Chairman bangs on the bar-counter with the cribbage board and calls for the first singer "to oblige with a little ditty" This particular Saturday night, in 1953, features 16 songs recorded in "The Ship" at Blaxhall. The Chairman was Wickets (Alfred) Richardson & the other singers include Bob Scarce Cyril Poacher, Jack French, Joe Row, Eli Durrant, Arthur Smith, Spuds Bailey, the Ling Family and the publican himself. A continuous recording with public house atmosphere throughout. A black-and-white 16mm cine film, made in 1955, is also available on Video: "HERE'S HEALTH TO THE BARLEY MOW".

1. THE NUTTING GIRL - Cyril Poacher - 3'36"

2. WHEN PADDY STOLE THE ROPE - Bob Scarce - 3'39"

3. IF I WAS A BLACKBIRD - Joe Rowe - 4'45"

4. THE DOLPHIN - Jack French - 4'51"

5. M-O-N-E-Y - Arthur Hewitt (landlord) - 4'38"

6. NANCY OF YARMOUTH - Fred Ling - 4'16"

7. THE ROAMING BLADE - Bob Scarce - 4'54"

8. FLASH COMPANY - Eli "Sterry" Durrant - 3'36"

9. A SAILOR AND HIS TRUELOVE - Arthur Smith - 3'05"

10. MAGGIE MAY - Geoffrey Ling - 2'43"

11. THE BROOMFIELD WAGER - Cyril Poacher - 5'00"

12. THE MAID AND THE MAGPIE - Alderman Ling - 3'44"

13. HARE AND PHEASANT SHOOTING - Bob Scarce - 5'23"

14. JONES'S ALE - "Spuds" Bailey - 2'55"

15. BOLD GENERAL WOLFE - Bob Scarce - 5'59"

16. HEALTH TO THE BARLEY MOW - Arthur Smith - 4'31"

Recorded by Peter Kennedy at "The Ship", Blaxhall, Suffolk 1955. Edited by Peter Kennedy and first published by Folktrax 1975.

Alfred RICHARDSON, the Chairman, was born in Blaxhall in 1899. He served in the Army in France in the 1914-18 War and in the "Home Guard" in the 1939-45 War. When recorded he was working for the E.Suffolk County Council as a road foreman. He drinks mild beer and likes people to be happy. He can be heard singing FAGAN THE COBBLER on Folktrax 021, and his actions for this song can be seen in the film, HEALTH TO THE BARLEY MOW, made by Peter Kennedy and Alan Lomax, which is available on Folktrax Video (VC.5).

Cyril POACHER was born at Stone Common, near Blaxhall in 1910. Like his father before him, he has been a cowman all his life. He left school at 14 to work on a farm for 6 shillings a week. He served as a gunner in the Royal Artillery in the First World War. He learned THE NUTTING GIRL from his grand-father, Walter Ling.

Bob SCARCE was born in Blaxhall in 1885 and was one of three brothers who all drank in "The Ship", occupying their own settle (a wooden one-piece seat with a tall straight back). As Bob, in the film, gets up to sing GENERAL WOLFE, he puts down his pint of mild and stubs his cigarette out in his hand, and taking his time and turning to his two brothers, on each side of him, looks to them for confirmation before beginning his remarkable performance.

Joe ROW, 82 when this recording was made, was later to feature in George Ewart- Evan's book, ASK THE FELLOWS THAT CUT THE HAY (London: Faber 1956), which is an important Oral History and social study of the village of Blaxhall.

Jack FRENCH, an agricultural labourer, was born at Blaxhall in 1888.

Arthur HEWITT was born in "The Ship" and succeeded his father who was landlord of "The Ship" for 43 years.

Freddy J. LING is one of the many Lings in Blaxhall whose forebearers were sailors.

Eli "Sterry" DURRANT, an agricultural labourer, was born in Blaxhall and drinks mild beer.

Arthur SMITH, born locally in 1887, retired from H.M.Forestry in 1952, was prisoner-of-war in German hands in the 14-18 War. He drinks mild and bitter three times a week.

Geoffrey LING, born 1916, used to go round the local public houses with his father playing the game of Steel Quoits. When recorded he was working at the nearby American Air Force base at Bentwater in the Aerodrome Water Dept. He drinks mild beer twice a week and known locally as being of a happy disposition.

Alderman LING, born 1870, Geoffrey's uncle and also, on his mother's side, uncle of Cyril Poacher. With Joe Row, was the oldest of the singers included on this recording.