Dolli-ah

Terry Conway from Allandale, Northumberland: On Autumn Harvest ah010: Old Songs & Bothy Ballads: Hurrah Boys Hurrah! Live from the Fife Traditional Singing Festival May 2010.

The song seems first to have appeared in Rhymes of Northern Bards by John Bell (Newcastle upon Tyne, 1812) where it is given as a song famous in Newcastle about the Years 1792-3-4. The song refers to a situation where one British regiment left town and another replaced it, with the Black Cuffs (the North Yorks Militia) and Green Cuffs (23rd Ulster Dragoons) being references to their uniforms. Dolly pawns her sark to become a camp follower while her friends hang around the Quayside waiting for the next regiment to come in. The meaning of do-li-ah is unclear, but dillen dol must surely refer to a young woman and perhaps it should be written as Dolly the dillen doll.

1: Fresh I cum frae Sandgate Steet,
Dol-li, dol-li,
My best friends for ta meet,
Dol-li-a.
Dol-li the dillen dol, Dol-li, dol-li,
Dol-li the dillen dol, Dol-li-a.

2: Oh the Black Cuffs are gannin away,
An that'll be a cryin day.

3: Dolly Coxon's pawned her sark,
I'll ride upon the baggage cart.

4: But the Green Cuffs are cummin in,
An that'll make the lassies sing.

5: Fresh I cum frae Sandgate Steet,
Dol-li, dol-li,
My best friends there ta meet,
Dol-li-a.
Dol-li the dillen dol, Dol-li, dol-li,
Dol-li the dillen dol, Dol-li-a.

c p 2011 Autumn Harvest : www.springthyme.co.uk