Three Maidens to Milking Did Go

DESCRIPTION: "The maidens to milking did go (x2), And the wind it did blow high and the wind it did blow low And it tossed the milking pails to and fro." The singer asks a friend to help him hunt "birds." The singer wishes luck to blackbird and thrush
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: before 1856 (broadside, Bodleian Harding B 11(3968)); tune listed from 1828)
KEYWORDS: bird hunting courting seduction
FOUND IN: Britain(England(All),Wales)
REFERENCES (11 citations):
Williams-Thames, p. 229, "Three Maidens a-Milking Would Go" (1 text) (also Wiltshire-WSRO Gl 154)
Kidson-Tunes, pp. 72-73, "Three Maidens a Milking Did Go" (1 fragment, 1 tune)
Kennedy 191, "Three Maidens to Milking Did Go" (1 text, 1 tune)
Copper-SoBreeze, pp. 280-281, "Three Maidens" (1 text, 1 tune)
Reeves-Sharp 102, "Three Maids a Milking" (3 texts)
Reeves-Circle 131, "Three Maids a Milking" (1 text)
Palmer-ECS, #67, "Thee Maids A-milking" (1 text, 1 tune)
RoudBishop #87, "Three Maidens to Milking Did Go" (1 text, 1 tune)
MacSeegTrav 50, "The Bird in the Bush" (1 text, 1 tune)
Silber-FSWB, p. 160, "Two Maids Went A-Milking One Day" (1 text)
ADDITIONAL: Leslie Shepard, _The Broadside Ballad_, Legacy Books, 1962, 1978, p. 150, "Three Maids A-Milking Would Go" (reproduction of a broadside page with "Three Maidens to Milking Did Go" and "The Butcher and the Tailor's Wife")

Roud #290
RECORDINGS:
Frankie Armstrong, "The Bird in the Bush" (on BirdBush1, BirdBush2)
Fred Hewett, "Three Maidens To Milking Did Go" (on Voice10)

BROADSIDES:
Bodleian, Harding B 11(3968), "Three Maids A Milking Would Go", W. Jackson and Son (Birmingham), 1842-1855; also Harding B 11(3815), "Three Maids A-milking Would Go"
CROSS-REFERENCES:
cf. "The Spotted Cow" (theme)
cf. "Kitty of Coleraine" (theme)
cf. "Blackberry Grove" (theme)
cf. "Three Maidens to Milking Did Go" (theme)
ALTERNATE TITLES:
The Blackbird in the Bush
The Bird in the Lily-Bush
NOTES: Most printed versions of this are "clean," but clearly there is much going on beneath the surface.... - RBW
Indeed, there is. In fact, this is one of the few descriptions of group sex in traditional music -- unless, of course, you count "The Ball at Kerriemuir," and I'd be more inclined to describe that with the word "mob." - PJS
Last updated in version 4.1
File: K191

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