Number one, number one, ’od my ’oss while I jump on.
With a rum-tum-taddalar, old Jack Braddalar,
Country lads are we.
Number two, number two, some wear a boot but I wear a shoe.
Number three, number three, some like coffee but I like tea.
Number four, number four, some jump in but I jump o’er.
Number five, number five, some are dead but I’m alive.
Number six, number six, I can chop some very fine sticks.
Number seven, number seven, some go to Hell but I’ll go to Heaven.
Number eight, number eight, some are bent but I am straight.
Number nine, number nine, some drink beer but I drink wine.
Number ten, number ten, if tha wants any more tha mun sing it for thissen.
This is a traditional song
Old Jack/Joe/John Braddalar/Braddles/Braddlum appears to have largely avoided being collected and anthologised. Of the seven versions I have seen six are from Yorkshire. We include it here as a children’s song, in the absence of any peculiarly Yorkshire children’s songs.
The earliest version in print Owd Joe Braddles was reprinted in the 1931 Oxford Song Book, Volume 2 at p110, derived from John Goss’s Week-End Song Book. In the same Oxford volume on p108 is the closely related Nickernacks, nowadays better known as This Old Man or Knick-knack, Paddy Whack. Both appear to derive from an earlier song Jack Jinkle collected and published by Frank Kidson in his Hundred Singing Games, 1916, p106. Kidson describes it as a children’s stick dance in which the participants lined up in morris dance formation, and each verse involved successive dancers employing their sticks in some way to strike parts of the body or other dancers’ sticks. We can’t be certain how much of this dance Kidson had actually observed in tradition and how much he had invented. There is a version Jack Jintle in Journal of the English Folk Dance and Song Society, Volume III, No. 2, (1937) p124, which can be traced back to 1870.
A twelve stanza version of our song Jolly Country Lads Are We was published in the Hudlestons’ Songs of the Ridings, 2001, p13. This West Riding version we give here is unusual in that it goes to the tune of This Old Man whereas all of the other versions I have seen or heard are more like the Owd Joe Braddles tune in the Oxford Book.
Apart from some other obvious textual differences between our song and This Old Man, ours is mainly based on ‘some like/do this, I like/do that’ whereas This Old Man is usually based on playing ‘Knick-knack’ on various objects and parts of the body.
Our version is sung by Doreen and Dennis Wilcockson, now of Bridlington, and their daughter Wendy, who sang it for us at a Sing for Your Life session in Gilberdyke School organised by ArtsAway. They are an arts group who take music into the community and occasionally call on the assistance of some of our singers.