’Eel an’ Toe

by Tom Sydall

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Chorus A :
It's ’eel an’ toe, an’ to and fro,
And naythur slow nor tarry
As way toe deawn to Bowton teawn
An’ turn reet reawnd to Bury.

An’ weet or fine, an’ dull or shine
In ev’ry kind o’ weather,
Mi mate an’ me agree that we
Sh’d allus be together.

Chorus B :
’Is ’eart is strung, an’ it’s wide an’ lung,
An’ it’s softer, aye, nor putty
’E knows, of course, as ’e’s my owd ’orse,
As e’s’ my mate, an’ my butty.

And one cowd neet there’d bin some sleet,
An’ both mi feet went splatter
’E backed up slow, ’is tow rope low,
An’ poo’d me fro’ t’cowd watter

Mi sweetheart wrote a farewell note
An’ bowt a coat to marry
Mi owd pal Ted, because, hoo said,
As ah wur wed to ’Arry.

Ah ripped an’ cussed, an’ spit some dust
To know ah’d bust wi’ Clarrie.
Bur ah’ll nar fret, nor be upset,
Ah’m ’appy, yet, wi ’Arry.

Last Chorus :
It’s ’eel an’ toe, an’ to and fro,
And naythur slow nor tarry
An’ neaw, by gum, the time ’as come
To wander whoam to Bury,
An’ fain am I, aye very.

The lyrics and recording of this poem, written in the Lancashire dialect by Tom Sydall, were kindly provided to me by Bernard Cromarty. He got the words directly from Tom (verbally) who said that he had 'put a chant to it' but there is no known recording of Tom singing it. Bernard has put a tune to it and made the recording featured here.
It should be noted that 'butty' is a dialect word meaning 'friend or workmate' as well as a 'towed boat or barge' (or sandwich!).

My sincere thanks to Bernard, and Alan Grace who first brought the song to my attention, for helping to bring this song to a wider audience.