Dad's Dinner Pail and Other Songs From the Helen Hartness Flanders Collection

by Debra Cowan



Co-produced with composer and guitarist Michael DeLalla, the
renowned singer breathes new life into eleven traditional songs from
the Flanders Song Collection in an elegant dance with Michael's
exquisite guitar settings, always delivered with reverence for the
song. Dad's Dinner Pail also features Falling Mountaineers Tabby
Finch (The Bog Wanderers) on hammered dulcimer and accordion,
Chas Fowler (The Unfortunate Rakes) on whistle, and Joe DeZarn
(The Bog Wanderers) on fiddle, Ralph Gordon on cello and bass, and
guest appearances from acclaimed singer John Roberts (Roberts
and Barrand, Nowell Sing We Clear) lending his voice to two hymns,
"Fearless In the Fire" and "Star In the East". Highlights include
Michael's beautiful guitar arrangements in songs such as "Bold
Richard" and Debra's gloriously nested three-part harmony vocals on
"The Poor Soldier".


released July 26, 2005

Produced by Debra Cowan and Michael Delalla
Recorded and Mixed at Falling Mountain Studios by Michael DeLalla
Graphics by Richard Brooker
Mastered by Charlie Pilzer at Airshow Mastering


all rights reserved



Debra Cowan Shrewsbury, Massachusetts

Singer Debra Cowan performs a cappella and with guitar, interpreting a wide range of folk songs. Debra has two acclaimed solo recordings to her credit, and her third, “Fond Desire Farewell” was produced by former Fairport Convention drummer Dave Mattacks. A former California resident, she now resides in Massachusetts and tours all over North America and the United Kingdom. ... more

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Track Name: Bold Richard
One Sunday morning as I've heard say
Young Richard he mounted his dobbin grey
And over the fields he rode a lee
A courtin’ the parson’s daughter Jean
With your rumbledum dumble dum doddikan day

Young Richard he put on his Sunday clothes
His buckskin trousers and silken hose
And a brand new hat upon his head
Was all bedecked with ribbons of red

Young Richard he rode without any fear
‘til he came to the hall in his own good cheer
Then he upped and shouted Hullo! Hullo!
Be the folks at home? Say yes or no!'

The servants quickly let Dick in
So that his courting might begin
But when he got him inside the hall
He loudly for Miss Jean did bawl

Miss Jean come down without delay
What you young Richard have got for to say?
Says he I suppose you know, Miss Jean
That I am Young Richard of Taunton Dean

I’m an honest man yet I be poor
And I’ve never been in love before
But my father he sent me out for to woo
And I could fancy none but you

Oh if I consent to be your bride
Pray how for me will you provide?
I’ll give you all I have I’m sure
And what could a poor fellow do for you more

For I’ve a pig poked up in a sty
As Granny did give me when she did die
And if you consent to marry me now
My father will give us a fine fat sow

For I can reap and I can sow
And I can plow and I can mow
And I go to market with father’s hay,
And earn my ninepence every day

Oh nine pence a day would never do
For I must have silks and satins, too
'Twould never do for you and I
'Ah come' says Richard 'I can but try'

Dick's compliments did so delight,
They made the family laugh outright.
And when he got no more of they
He gave her a kiss and he rode away
Track Name: Walloping Window Blind
A new ship lies anchored in the bay
While the captain and mate did dine
And hearty was the grog that filled their mugs
But one thing disturbed their minds
At the mariners’ inn while they both sat in
and they thought it quite unkind
For amid their cheers they would often hear
A walloping window blind

So blow you winds high ho
A roving I will go
I’ll stay no more on England’s shore
So let the music play
I’m off on the morning train
I’ll cross the raging main
For I’m off to my love with the boxing gloves
Ten thousand miles away

Said the captain to the mate it must be fate
For our ship is un-named you know
And the walloping blind disturbs my mind
When the raging winds doth blow
To hell with fate said the sturdy mate
Such trifles we will not mind
O'er the waves we’ll skip and we’ll name our ship
The Walloping Window Blind

Now a capitol ship for an ocean trip
Is the Walloping Window Blind
No gale that blew disturbed her crew
Or troubled the captain’s mind
The man at the wheel was said to feel
Contempt for the wind that blow.
For it often appeared when the gale had cleared
That he'd been in his bunk below.

The bosun and the mate were very sedate,
Yet fond of amusement too;
So they played hopscotch with the starboard watch
While the captain tickled the crew.
And the gunner we had was apparently mad
For he'd sit on the after-rail,
And fire salutes with the captain's boots
In the teeth of a blowing gale.
Track Name: Young Charlotte
Young Charlotte lived by the mountainside, in a lone and dreary spot spot
No dwelling there for five miles 'round, except her father's cot
Yet on many a winter's night, young swains would gather there
For her father kept a social board and she was very fair

Her father loved to see her dressed, fine as a city belle
For she was the only child he had and he loved his daughter well
'Twas New Year's Eve, the sun went down, wild looked her anxious eye
Along the frosty window pane to see the sleighs pass by

At the village inn, fifteen miles round, there's a merry ball tonight
The air is freezing cold above, but the hearts are warm and light
And While she looked with longing eyes, then a well known voice she hears
And dashing up to the cottage door, young Charlie's sleigh appears

Her mother says, “My daughter dear, this blanket round you fold
For it is a dreadful night abroad you'll take your death of cold"
"Oh no! Oh no!" young Charlotte said and she laughed like a gypsy queen:
"For to ride in blankets muffled up, I never could be seen"

My silken cloak is quite enough, 'T is lined you know, throughout,
And then I have a silken scarf, to tie my face about"
Her gloves and bonnet being on, she jumped into the sleigh
And away they ride o'er the mountainside and o'er the hills away

There merry music in the bells, as o'er the hills they go
What a creaking rake the runners make, as they bite the frozen snow
Then o'er the hills and faster o'er, and by the cold starlight
When Charles in these frozen words, at last the silence broke

Such a night as this I never knew, the reins I scarce can hold
When Charlotte, shivering, faintly said, "I am exceedingly cold"
He cracked his whip and urged his team, more swiftly than before
Until five other dreary mile, in silence were passed o'er

"O see," said Charles, "How fast the frost is gathering on my brow"
when Charlotte in a feeble voice said, "I am growing warmer now"
And on they ride through the frosty air and the glittering cold starlight
Until at last the village inn, and ballroom are in sight

They reached the inn and Charles jumped out and held his arms to her
"Why sit you like a monument, without the power to stir?"
He called her once, he called her twice, she answered not a word
He called her by her name again, but still she never stirred

He took her hand in his, O God, 'twas cold and hard as stone
He tore the mantle from her brow and on her the cold stars shone,
And then into the lighted hall, her lifeless fore he bore
For Charlotte was a frozen corpse and words spoke never more

He sat himself down by her side and the bitter tears did flow
And he said, "My young intended bride, I nevermore shall know"
He threw his arms around her neck and kissed her marble brow
And his thoughts went back to where she said, "I'm growing warmer now"

He bore her out into the sleigh and with her he drove home
And when he reached the cottage door, oh how her parents mourned
They mourned the loss of their daughter, dear, while Charles mourned o'er their gloom
Until with grief his heart did break and they slumber in one To
Track Name: Cruel Brother
Three ladies played at cup and ball
With a hey and a lady gay
Three knights there came among them all
The rose it smells so sweetly

And one of them was dressed in red
He asked me with him to wed

And one of them was dressed in yellow
He asked me to be his fellow

And one of them was dressed in green
He asked me to be his queen

O You must ask my father the king
And you must ask my mother the queen

You must ask my sister Ann
And you must ask my brother John

O I have asked your father the King
And I have asked your mother the Queen

And I have asked your sister Ann
And I have asked your her brother John

Her father the king led her down the hall
Her mother the queen led down the stair

Her sister Ann led her down the path
Her brother John set her on her horse

And as she bent to give him a kiss
He stuck his penknife into her breast

Now up and ride my foremost man
My lady fair looks pale and wan

And what will you leave to your father the king
The golden chair that I sit in

And what will you leave to your mother the queen
The golden coach that I ride in

And what will you leave to your sister Ann
My silver broach and ivory fan

And what will you leave to your brother John
A pair of gallows to hang him on
Track Name: Star In the East
5. Star In the East (Source-Thomas Armstrong, Moores fork, NY)
The words to this hymn were written by Englishman Reginald Heber in 1811. This hymn is also known as “Brightest and Best” and it was originally collected and sung by the Ritchie Family.

Brightest and best of the sons of the morning,
Dawn on our darkness and lend us thine aid;
Star of the East, the horizon adorning,
Guide where our infant Redeemer is laid.

Cold on His cradle the dewdrops are shining;
Low lies His head with the beasts of the stall;
Angels adore Him in slumber reclining,
Maker and Monarch and Savior of all!

Say, shall we yield Him, in costly devotion,
Odors of Edom and offerings divine?
Gems of the mountain and pearls of the ocean,
Myrrh from the forest, or gold from the mine?

Vainly we offer each ample oblation,
Vainly with gifts would His favor secure;
Richer by far is the heart’s adoration,
Dearer to God are the prayers of the poor.
Track Name: The Poor Soldier
I'll tell you of a soldier who lately came from sea
He courted a lady of high frisk o' free
Her riches were so great they scarcely could be told
But yet she loved the soldier because he was so bold

She said my brave soldier I would be your wife
But I fear my cruel father will surely take your life
He drew his sword and his pistol and he hung them by his side
And he swore that he would marry her and let what would betide

As they were going to church one day and on returning home again
Up steps her cruel father with sevne armored men
“Oh then” cries the lady “I fear we shall be slain”
Fear nothing, my jewel” the soldier says again

Then up stepped the old man in form he did saying
“Is this your behaviour or is it your wedding day?
Altho you've been as silly as to be a soldier's wife
All in this pleasant valley, I will end your sweet life.”

Then up stepped the soldier, “I do not like this rattle
Altho I am a bridegroom and not prepared for battle.”
He drew his sword and pistol and he caused them to rattle
The lady held the horse while the soldier fought the battle

The first man he came to he soon had him slain.
The second one he came to, he served him the same.
“Oh run,” cries the rest, “I fear we shall be slain
For a fight with a soldier is altogether in vain”

“Stay your hand” the old man cries, “Don't carry on so bold.
And you can have my daughter and ten thousand pound in gold”
“Fight on,” cried the lady, “My portion is too small”
“Oh stay your hand,” the old man cried “and you can have it all!”

The old man took him home with him and treated him as an heir
Tis not because he loved him but it was for dread and fear
There never was a soldier twas fit to carry a gun
That would either flinch or stir inch 'til the battle he had won

Despise not a soldier because he is poor
He's as happy on the battlefield as at the barracks door
His brave, brisk and bold and sociable and free
And willing to fight for his love and for his liberty
Track Name: Burly Burly Banks of Barbry-O
There was three sisters picking flowers
High and a lee and aloney-O!
They scarced but picked but one or two
On the Burly Burly Banks of Barbry-O

It's there they spied a bank robber bold
It's there they spied a bank robber bold

He took the oldest by the hand
He hurled her 'round he made her stand

Saying will you be a bank robber's wife
Or will you die by my penknife

No I shan't be a bank robber's wife
I'd rather die by your penkife

Then he took out his penknife
And there he ended her sweet life

He took the next one by her hand
He hurled her 'round he made her stand

Saying will you be a bank robber's wife
Or will you die by my penknife

No I shan't be a bank robber's wife
I'd rather die by your penkife

Then he took out his penknife
And there he ended her sweet life

He took the youngest by her hand
He hurled her 'round he made her stand

Saying will you be a bank robber's wife
Or will you die by my penknife

Yes I will be a bank robber's wife
So I shan't die by your penknife

Oh dear I wish my two brothers was here
You would not have killed my sisters dear

Oh what would your two brothers do
One was a minister, the other such as you.

‘What was your two brothers’ names?’
One was John, the other was James.’

Oh, what is this that I have done?
I have killed my sisters, all but one.

And now I’ll take out my penknife,
And here I’ll end my own sweet life
Track Name: Schooner EA Horton
(Albert Howard, Orford, NH)
This song, which is native to Massachusetts, is based on a true story. On September 1, 1871 the EA Horton a Goucester-based schooner was captured by Canadian authorities in Nove Scotia for fishing inside the three mile limit. She was stripped of her sails and secured to a wharf where she was held until a court of custody was convened to decide the case. Capt. Harvey Knowlton, also a part-owner of the vessel decided that he wanted the ship back. He pretended to return to Cape Ann, but instead headed for Canso, N.S. three weeks later. There, in the home of a notorious smuggler, plans were laid to recapture the schooner. He gathered together a crew and on October 8th, at 2:30 a.m., the Horton was water-born and made her way back to Gloucester, where she arrived on Oct. 18th to cries of “The Horton's in! The Horton's in!”

Come all you sons of Uncle Sam, come listen to me awhile
And I'll tell you of a capture that was made in Yankee style
'Twas the Schooner E.A. Horton in the British harbor lie
She was shaken by "The Sweepstakes" while cruising in disguise
Our treaties they've rejected and our governments defied
It's now you've stole our fishermen so Johnnies, mind yer eye.

'Twas the thirteenth day of October in the year of sixty-one
Brave Knowlton and his comrades, the day it was begun
While the British thick-skulls were sleepin' with red ruin on their brain
We stole away our fishermen and brought her back again
Our treaties they've rejected and our governments defied
It's now you've stole our fishermen so Johnnies, mind yer eye.

Says brave Knowlton to his comrades, "If you will follow me
We'll have the Horton home again whate'er the cost may be
We'll stick to one another like brothers just as true
And we'll show those Yankee thievish-men what Yankee lads can do"
Our treaties they've rejected and our governments defied
It's now you've stole our fishermen so Johnnies, mind yer eye.

'Twas early in the next morning the news did spread about
They found the gold prospector with the Horton had stepped out
The news began to penetrate the British skulls so thick
They finally did acknowledge 'twas a bold and Yankee trick
Our treaties they've rejected and our governments defied
It's now you've stole our fishermen so Johnnies, mind yer eye.

Now boys, there is a jolly time in Glou-cester tonight
For heavy guns are firing and torches burning bright
The band plays, "Yankee Doodle" and the voices loudly ring
For the Yankee boys are shouting that the Horton has got in
Our treaties they've rejected and our governments defied
It's now you've stole our fishermen so Johnnies, mind yer eye.

Now you Dominion Canaday, I warn you to beware
You better sign the treatie and settle this affair
And always do to others as you'll have 'em do to you
And don't try to treat your neighbor like old Johnnie tried to do
Our treaties they've rejected and our governments defied
It's now you've stole our fishermen so Johnnies, mind yer eye.
Track Name: In the Town of Oxford
My tender parents brought me up
Provided for me well
And in the town of Oxford
Employed me in the mill

I did not like my master
He did not use me well
I formed a resolution
Not long with him to dwell

Unbeknowing to my parents
I vowed I'd run away
I steered my course for Holland
And cursed be that day!

While on my way to Holland
A lady met me there
She offered me great wages
To drive her coach one year

Unbeknowing to my promises
At length I did agree
To drive her coach to Holland
Which proved my destiny

I had not been in Holland
But scarce two months or three
When my unworthy mistress
Became very fond of me

She said her gold and silver
Her houses and her land
If I'd concent to marry her
Would be at my command

Excuse me, dearest mistress
I must now tell you bold
I have already promised
And took a salamo

To wed with charming Sally
Your handsome chambermaid
Excuse me now, dear mistress
My heart she has betrayed

And early the next morning
Just at the break of day
I saw my unworthy mistress
A-viewing the flowers gay

A ring from her forefinger
Just as I was passing by
She dropped it in my pocket
And for the same I die

Long time I did feel guiltless
But that was all in vain
They swore so hard against me
That I was sent to jail

From jail to execution
They dragged me to a tree
Come all that stands around me
My cruel fate you see

Don't glory in my downfall
But pray do pity me
They wrapped a rope around my neck
And hung me from that tree

Farewell, my tender parents
I bid this world adieu
Farewell, my my charming Sally
I died for love, nor you
Track Name: Fearless In the Fire
Head of thy church triumphant,
We joyfully adore thee
Till thou appear, thy members here
Shall sing like those in glory.
We lift our hearts and voices with blest anticipation,
And cry aloud, And give to God
The praise of our salvation.

Thou dost conduct thy people
Through torrents of temptation,
Nor will we fear, While thou art near,
The fire of tribulation.
And if thou count us worthy,
We each, as dying Stephen,
Shall see thee stand, At God's right hand,
To take us home to glory

By faith we see the glory
To which thou shalt restore us,
The cross despise, For that high prize
Which thou hast set before us.
And if thou count us worthy,
We each, as dying Stephen,
Shall see thee stand, At God's right hand,
To take us home to glory
Track Name: Dad's Dinner Pail
Preserve that old kettle, so black and so worn;
It belonged to my father before I was born;
It hung in a corner beyond on a nail
'Twas the emblem of labor, my dad's dinner pail

CHORUS: For it glistened like silver, so sparkling and bright;
I am fond of the trifle that held his wee bite;
In summer or winter, in snow, rain or hail,
I've carried that kettle, my dad's dinner pail.

When the bell rang for mealtime my father'd come down —
He'd eat with the workmen about on the ground;
He'd share with the laborer and he'd go the bail,
You'd never reach the bottom of dad's dinner pail.

If the day should be rainy my fathe'd stop home,
And he'd polish his kettle as clane as a stone;
He'd joke with my mother and me he would whale
If I put a finger on dad's dinner pail.

There's a place for the coffee and also for bread,
The corned beef and praties, and oft it was said:
"Go fill it with porter, with beer or with ale;"
The drink would taste sweeter from dad's dinner pail.