DESCRIPTION: Singer, tired of his old job, hires out as a laborer to farmer Adam Mitchell, of Sleepytoon. The farmer's work (no more than ten hours a day, but with strict rules and fines) is described; with the season ended, singer and friends are off to celebrate
AUTHOR: See NOTES
EARLIEST DATE: 1907 (GreigDuncan3)
KEYWORDS: farming work worker
FOUND IN: Britain(Scotland(Aber))
REFERENCES (3 citations):
Greig #133, pp. 2-3, "Sleepy Toon"; Greig #127, pp. 2-3, "Sleepytoon"; Greig #123, p. 2, "Sleepytoon"; Greig #102, p. 3, "Sleepy Town" (3 texts plus 1 fragment)
GreigDuncan3 356, "Sleepy Toon" (6 texts, 3 tunes)
Ord, pp 225-226, "Sleepytown" (1 text)
ST RcSlepTn (Full)
J. C. Mearns and friends, "Sleepytoon" [2 verses missing] (on Lomax43, LomaxCD1743)
NOTES [206 words]: In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, Scottish workers hired out as contract farm laborers, living in "bothies," barn dormitories. Many "bothy ballads" were composed there, including this one. - PJS
Paul compares this to a wide variety of lumbering songs, which have the same theme of working too hard and then partying the off-season away. The song type is hardly limited to lumbermen; there are, e.g., many Australian shearing songs of the same type. Compare also Scottish songs such as "The Barnyards o Delgaty."
Reinhard Zierke writes to point out to me that "According to Greig/Duncan Volume 3 page 623 the author of Sleepytoon G/D #356 B is William 'Poet' Clark." But see also "Sleepytoon (II)." - RBW
Greig #124, p. 3: "...there is a good deal of material common to these ploughman ditties" ["Sleepytoon" and "Swaggers"].
GreigDuncan3: "The farm was officially named Christ's Kirk, with Sleepytoon appearing as the title after 1870. Adam Mitchell, named in the song, was farmer from the 1840s to 1858."
GreigDuncan3 has a map on p. xxxv, of "places mentioned in songs in volume 3" showing the song number as well as place name; Sleepytoon (356) is at coordinate (h2-3,v6) on that map [roughly 25 miles WNW of Aberdeen]. - BS
Last updated in version 4.1
Go to the Ballad Search form
Go to the Ballad Index Song List
Go to the Ballad Index Instructions
Go to the Ballad Index Bibliography or Discography
The Ballad Index Copyright 2018 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.