There were many songs written about the lives of the 'Travelling People'. Here are some examples...

Click on the music note images to print off the lyrics.

 

Go, Move, Shift

(Ewan MacColl and Peggy Seeger)

Born in the middle of an afternoon
In a horse-drawn wagon on the old A5
The big twelve wheeler shook my bed
You can't stop here the policeman said

Chorus:
You better get born someplace else
So move along, get along, move along, get along,
Go, move, shift

Born in the tatie lifting time
In an old bow tent in a tatie field
The farmer said, The work's all done
It's time that you were moving on

Repeat chorus

Born in a wagon on a building site
Where the ground was rutted by the trailer's wheels
The local people said to me,
You'll lower the price of property

Repeat chorus

Born at the back of a blackthorn hedge
When the white hoarfrost lay all around
No wise men came bearing gifts
Instead the order came to shift

Repeat chorus

The winter sky was hung with stars
And one shone brighter than the rest
The wise men came so stern and strict
And brought the order to evict

Repeat chorus

Wagon, tent, or trailer born
Last week, last year, or in far off days
Born here or a thousand miles away
There's always men nearby who'll say
Repeat chorus

 

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The Travelling People


A jaunty song written by Ewan MacColl for his radio ballad about gypsies and didikais. The song is a lament, though not a heavy hearted one, for the old days and the picturesque old ways, the canting tongue, the horse-dealing, the clothes-peg whittling, the hawking of artificial flowers.

The old ways are changing you cannot deny
The day of the traveller is over
There's nowhere to go and there's nowhere to bide
So farewell to the life of the rover


Chorus (after each verse):
Farewell to the tent and the old caravan
To the tinker, the gipsy, the travelling man
And farewell to the thirty-foot trailer
Farewell to the cant and the travelling tongue
Farewell to the romany talking
The buying and selling, the old fortune telling
The knock on the door and the hawking

You've got to move fast to keep up with the times
For these days a man cannot dander
It's a bylaw to say you must be on your way
And another to say you can't wander

Farewell to the besoms of heather and broom
Farewell to the creel and the basket
For the folks of today they would far sooner pay
For a thing that's been made out of plastic

Farewell to the pony, the cob, and the mare
Where the reins and the harness are idle
You don't need a strap when you're breaking up scrap
So farewell to the bit and the bridle

Farewell to the fields where we've sweated and toiled
At pulling and shawing and lifting
They'll soon have machines and there's travelling queens
And their menfolk had better be shifting

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