A cumulative song found throughout the British Isles. There are versions in the archive from Sussex, Kent, Somerset, Cornwall, Kent, Wiltshire, Dorset, Oxfordshire and more. The ‘barley mow’ of the title is a stack of barley, gathered one assumes, in readiness for the manufacture of beer!
The Barley Mow is in The Full English Folk Chorus Songs Pack. One type of song that has remained popular across English speaking traditions is the ‘chorus song’. These are often led by one singer (in a pub, for example) with the community joining in with the repeated chorus, refrain or burden. This can be simple unison or improvised harmonies of varying levels of complexity. You can hear (and join in with) chorus songs in many folk clubs, singarounds, concerts and festivals.
The The Full English Folk Chorus Songs Pack is available from the PDF tab at the top of this panel, and contains some well-known chorus songs to provide some starting points for social singing from The Full English digital archive. Due to their popularity many of these songs are geographically widespread and may appear in many versions with all kinds of variation in words and melody. An Audio recording of this song is available for free download from the Audio tab at the top of the panel. It has been recorded by Ben Moss and Laurel Swift (www.benandlaurel.com).
The other songs in the pack are:
- The Sweet Nightingale (Sabine Baring Gould Collection)
- Fathom The Bowl (Clive Carey Collection)
- Young Banker (Percy Grainger/Frank Kidson Collections)
- Pleasant and Delightful (Collinson Collection)
- The Farmer’s Boy (Lucy Broadwood Collection)
- Abroad for Pleasure (Lucy Broadwood Collection)
Note that these links take you to the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library website which holds the full archival details of the material. Material on the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library website is not censored or expurgated and may contain material considered offensive by modern standards.