HOME    |     home
Ca' the Ewes to The Knowes   |   Queen Among The Heather   |   The Broom of Cowdenknowes   |   Bonny May   |   Searching for Lambs   |   Heather Down the Moor   |   The Shepherd's Wife   |   Tarry Wool   |   Stormy Winds   |   Shepherd of the Downs   |   The Sheep-Shearing Song   |   The Sheep Shearing   |   Rosebud in June   |   Lincolnshire Shepherd   |   Sheep Shearin   |   Drink Boys, Drink   |   Darby Ram   |   Ewie wi' the Crookit Horn   |   Master of the Sheepfold   |   The Sheep Under the Snow   |   The Weary Pund O' Tow   |   Sheep Crook and Black Dog   |   The Shearing's Nae For You   |   Band of Shearers   |   Twanky Dillo   |   The Shepherd Lad O' Rhynie   |   Laird o' Drum   |   Blind Shepherd   |   Canny Shepherd Laddie   |   Road to the Isles   |   Tip O' Derwent
Twanky Dillo

The life of a shepherd is a life of great care
But my crook and dog Whitefoot I shall drive away fear

Chorus (after each verse):
Twanky dillo twanky dillo, twanky dillo, dillo, dillo, dillo
And he played on his merry bagpipes made from the green willow
Green willow, green willow, green willow, willow, willow, willow
And he played on his merry bagpipes made from the green willow

Well if ever my sheep go astray on the plain
Why my little dog Whitefoot it'll fetch em again

Well if ever I meet with the old shepherd's horse
I shall cut off his tail clean up to his harness

And if ever I meet with the old shepherd's daughter
I shall block up the hole where she do draw water

Sung by the Watersons (Mike lead, Lal and Norma Waterson and John Harrison chorus) on The Watersons. Like all but one tracks from this LP, it was re-released in 1994 on the CD Early Days. It was also included in 2004 on the Watersons' 4CD anthology Mighty River of Song.

A.L. Lloyd said in the Early Days sleeve notes:

This is one of the songs harmonised with sweet dignity by the Copper cousins, Ron and Bob, who live in Sussex and sing in parts the way their fathers sung before them.

The song is usually found as an anthem for the blacksmith, celebrating his strong arm and brawny body. But the Watersons found these lusty, bucolic words in the Hammond collection from Dorset. The blacksmith's blowpipes are transformed into a shepherd's bagpipes, the song is taken out of the smoky forge into the open air and it ends on a ribald laugh rather than a 'health to the king'. D'Urfey's Pills to Purge Melancholy of 1719 contains a song about the tribulations of a rich farmer called Roger Twangdillo. There may be a connection. Or there may not!

Maddy Prior sings the blacksmith version of Twankydillo on her 1999 album Ravenchild; she quotes the Copper's version as source.

You can turn this off if you like

copyright 2002 , Jim & Beth Boyle, All Rights Reserved
No part of this website may be used for any purpose ( including using images )
 without written consent from The Rams Horn