Barbara Svoboda introduced me to this magnificently eerie song of Mike and Lal Waterson via a harmony rendition by The Witches of Elswick.


Here's Mike Waterson singing it, quite differently.

Here are the words, for those who find the vowels too strange:

As I roved out one summer's morn,
I saw a scarecrow tied to a pole in a field of corn.
His coat was black and his head was bare,
And as the wind shook him the crows took into the air.
Ah but you'd lay me down and love me,
Ah but you'd lay me down and love me if you could,
But you're only a bag of rags in an overall
That the wind sways so the crows fly away and the corn can grow tall.

And as I roved out one winter's day,
I saw an old man hanging from a pole in a field of clay.
His coat was gone and his head hung low,
Till the wind flung it up to look, wrung its neck and let it go.
How could you lay me down and love me?
How could you lay me down and love me now?
For you're only a bag of bones in an overall
That the wind blows, and the kids throw stones at the thing on the pole.

And as I roved out one fine spring day,
I saw twelve jolly dons dressed out in the blue and gold so gay,
And to a stake they tied a child new-born,
And the songs were sung, the bells were rung, and they sowed their corn.
Now you can lay me down and love me,
Now you can lay me down and love me if you will,
But you're only a bag of rags in an overall,
But the wind blew and the sun shone too and the corn grew tall.

As I roved out one summer's morn,
I saw a scarecrow tied to a pole in a field full of corn.

 

It's interesting to hear what the Witches did to the song. It sounds quite different, even more eerie to my ears, and some of their word choices strike me as better ("decked out" not "dressed out"), some as not so good. I wish their version were on line.

 

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