Drummer and the Cook, The
DESCRIPTION: A drummer is in love with a cook. He sneaks in to see her one night, she gives him a meal and he chokes on a bone. She tries to knock it out of him and wakes the house. The master comes down, chases them, the drummer falls into his drum, both get fired.
EARLIEST DATE: before 1856 (broadside, Bodleian Johnson Ballads 1885)
KEYWORDS: cook shanty nightvisit humorous courting disability escape food soldier
FOUND IN: Britain(Scotland(Aber))
REFERENCES (3 citations):
GreigDuncan2 314, "The Drummer and the Cook" (3 texts, 3 tunes)
Hugill, p. 460, "The Drummer and the Cook" (1 text, 1 tune)
DT, DRUMCOOK, DRUMCOO2*
Bodleian, Johnson Ballads 1885, "Walking Tub of Butter" ("There was a little drummer"), J. Cadman (Manchester), 1850-1855; also 2806 b.10(163), Harding B 16(299a), "The Walking Tub of Butter"; Harding B 15(132a), "Hump-back'd Drummer, and the Cross-eyed Cook"; Firth c.14(306), "The Little Drummer"
cf. "Sailor's Consolation" (similar chorus)
cf. "The Way to Swig It" (tune, per broadside Bodleian Firth c.14(306))
The Little Drummer
NOTES: [Regarding Hugill's 1926 date:] Hugill says this is from one of Richard Runciman Terry's books, unfortunately he didn't specify which one [It appears to be Shanty Book 2, and the informant, interestingly, was named James Runciman - RBW]. Terry supposed that this was a music hall song which was taken wholesale into the shanty repertoire. He says he learned it from Cap'n John Runciman, who in turn had it from the cook of the Blyth brig Northumberland. Harry Belafonte recorded this in the 1950s. - SL
If not a music hall song, it certainly came from the popular press, as the broadsides show. - RBW
The cook "had a squinting look" ["cross-eyed" in Bodleian Harding B 15(132a)] that plays little part in the story but leads to the best known line of the song: "She had one eye in the pot, and another up the chimney." - BS
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