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 (Greig/Duncan3)
KEYWORDS: farming work worker
FOUND IN: Britain(Scotland(Aber))
REFERENCES (3 citations):
Greig-FolkSongInBuchan-FolkSongOfTheNorthEast #133, pp. 2-3, "Sleepy Toon"; #127, pp. 2-3, "Sleepytoon"; #123, p. 2, "Sleepytoon"; #102, p. 3, "Sleepy Town" (3 texts plus 1 fragment)
Greig/Duncan3 356, "Sleepy Toon" (6 texts, 3 tunes)
Ord-BothySongsAndBallads, 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"].
Greig/Duncan3: "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."
Greig/Duncan3 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
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