Navvy on the Line


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I am a navvy bold, that's tramped the country round, sir,
To get a job of work, where any can be found, sir.
I left my native home, my friends and my relations,
To ramble up and down and work in various stations.

I'm a navvy don't you see, I'm a navvy in my prime;
I'm a nipper, I'm a tipper and I'm working on the line.

I left my native home on the first day of September,
That memorable day I still do remember.
I bundled up my kit, Sunday smock and cap put on, sir,
And wherever I do go, folks call me happy Jack, sir.

I've got a job of work in the lovely town of Bury*,
And working on the line is a thing that makes me merry.
I can use my pick and spade, likewise my old wheelbarrow;
I can court the lasses, too, but I don't intend to marry.

I worked a fortnight there, and then it come to pay-day,
And when I got my wages, I thought I'd have a play-day.
And then a little spree in High* Street went quite handy,
Then sat me down in Jenkinson's beside a Fanny Brandy.

I called for a pint of beer, and bid the old wench drink, sir,
But whilst she was a-drinking, she too at me did wink, sir.
Well, then we had some talk; in the back we had a rally;
Then jumped o'er brush and steel and agreed we'd both live tally.

They called for liquors freely, the jug went quickly round, sir
That being my wedding day, I spent full many a crown, sir.
And when my brass was done, old Fanny went a-cadging,
And to finish up my spree, I went and sloped my lodgings.

Oh now I'm going to leave the lovely town of Bury;
I'm sorry for to leave you chaps, for I always found you merry.
So call for liquors freely, and drink away my dandy,
Here's a health to happy Jack, likewise to Fanny Brandy.

* The original leaves a blank for the town and street names, presumably to allow the singer to set the song in his own locality.

From 'A Touch on the Times'. Edited by Roy Palmer.

Recorded on :

 Reflections