Good Luck to the Barley Mow

Traditional

Audio clip

This example of "Good Luck to the Barley Mow" is performed by Gerald of Leesville.
Please refer to Cantaria's Copyright information

Background notes

According to Cecil Sharp's notes in Folk Songs and Ballads of Scotland, there are a large number of variants of this song.   Chappell, without giving its origin, prints a traditional version in his Popular Music (p. 745), and connects it with one of the Freemen's Songs in Deuteromelia. In Bell's Songs of the Peasantry of England, two versions of the words are given, one from the West Country, and a Suffolk variant.  In a note to the former, it is stated that the song was usually sung at country meetings immediately after the ceremony of "crying the neck,"  an ancient pagan rite, traces of which still survive in Somerset.

    A good singer, proud of his memory, will often lengthen the song to abnormal proportions by halving the drink-measures, half-pint, half-quart, half-gallon, and so on.

Now here's jolly good luck to the quarter gill
Good luck to the Barley Mow
Jolly good luck to the quartergill
Good luck to the Barley Mow
Oh, the quarter gill
Fetch in a little drop more
Here's good luck, good luck, good luck to the barley mow

Now here's jolly good luck to the half gill
Good luck to the Barley Mow
Jolly good luck to the half gill
Good luck to the Barley Mow
Oh, the half gill, quarter gill
Fetch in a little drop more
Here's good luck, good luck, good luck to the barley mow

Now here's jolly good luck to the gill pot
Good luck to the Barley Mow
Jolly good luck to the gill pot
Good luck to the Barley Mow
Oh, the gill pot, half gill, quarter gill
Fetch in a little drop more
Here's good luck, good luck, good luck to the barley mow

similarly:
half pint
pint pot
quart pot
half gallon
gallon
half bushel
bushel
half barrel
barrel
bar maid
land lady
land lord
brewery
company