Notes

Transcription of
live performance
by Trevor Crozier

Printable version

MP3 Sample

Dead Dog Cider

Written by Trevor Crozier 1977
After the singing of Norman & Betty MacDonald,
Bristol-Birmingham, England, as learned from Anne Dodson

Tune: Eight More Miles to Louisville

New chorus and musical arrangement
by Charlie Ipcar 1998

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In eighteen hundred and forty-nine, in a little cider mill,
A poor old dog lay down to rest, for he was feeling ill;
He chose a most precarious perch, above the apple press,
And in his sleep he tumbled in and perished in distress.

This caused his master for to grieve, likewise his mistress too,
And so their sorrows to relieve, they sampled of the brew;
"Gadzooks," cried Farmer Afwater, "the likes I ne'er did sup;
Let's summon all the neighbors in, and bid them take a cup."

Now, here's to Dead Dog Cider, the best there is by far;
Here's to Dead Dog Cider, no moaning at the bar;
You can search this wide world over, find many a beer or ale;
But, when you've tried Dead Dog Cider your search will be curtailed!

Now everyone that drank that night got drunk as drunk could be,
And wondered how the scrumpy had acquired such potency;
The farmer kept his council, as he took another drop,
When all at once that poor old dog came floating to the top.

A silence fell around the room, and everyone did frown,
For they recognized old Bendigo, though he was upside down;
The parson lost his color and collapsed upon the floor,
And the squire split his britches in the rush to reach the door.

Now, here's to Dead Dog Cider, the best there is by far;
Here's to Dead Dog Cider, no moaning at the bar;
You can search this wide world over, find many a beer or ale;
But, when you've tried Dead Dog Cider your search will be curtailed!

"Oh, halt!" cried Farmer Afwater, "For in his life I vow,
He never bit man nor beast, nor will he bite ye now;
And this shall be his epitaph, 'Here lies old faithful Ben
Who perished in the cider vat, only to rise again.'"

So if you're down in Devon, and you stops off at a bar,
Just call for Dead Dog Cider, it's the best there is by far;
Refuse all imitations; you'll sleep just like a log,
You can always recognize it by the hair of the dog.

Now, here's to Dead Dog Cider, the best there is by far;
Here's to Dead Dog Cider, no moaning at the bar;
You can search this wide world over, find many a beer or ale;
But, when you've tried Dead Dog Cider your search will be curtailed!
Yes, when you've tried Dead Dog Cider your search will be cur-tailed!

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Notes:

I'd heard rumors of Trevor Crozier's famous song years before I actually heard it sung in a smokey back room gathering at a Bristol (UK) tavern (White Horse Tavern?) back in 1997. Our old friend Chez Watts of Bristol led us in and we stumbled around until an arm reached out to help us find seating. We then listened as one shadowy figure after another led a song. I led some Southern Appalachian ballads in turn and then asked "Did anyone know the song "Dead Dog Scrumpy?" Silence fell around the room but it was too dark to determine if there were frowns or smiles, and then someone led this ballad of death and resurrection.

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Here is a transcription from a live performance by Crozier (source: Trevor Crozier and Friends "Trouble Over Bridgwater: Recorded 'Live' at Poynton Folk Centre" EMI One Up LP OU 2185 [1977]).

He introduces it as "one of my own little songs." The record sleeve credits "Crozier/Sheldon" copyright "Cinephonic Music Co. Ltd." Sheldon is Kevin Sheldon, who was a friend of Trev's and a producer at Decca records.

There is no chorus.

DEAD DOG SCRUMPY
(Crozier-Sheldon)

In the year of sixteen forty-two in a little cider mill,
A poor old dog lay down to rest 'cos he were feeling ill
He chose a most precarious perch above the apple press
And in his sleep he tumbled in and he perished in distress.

Which caused his master for to grieve, likewise his mistress too
Until their sorrows to relieve, they sampled of the brew
'Odzoons', cried Farmer Atwater, 'the like I ne'er did sup
Go summon all the neighbors in, and bid them take a cup'

So the neighbours came from far and near, the parson and the squire
The blacksmith and the gamekeeper and daft old [Obediah ?]
They wished the farmer health and wealth and the parson played his fife
And the squire he filled three flagons up for to take home to his wife

Now every man that drank that night got drunk as drunk could be
And wondered how the scrumpy had acquired such potency
The farmer kept his counsel as he took another drop,
When suddenly the poor old dog come a-floating to the top

Now a silence fell upon the room, and every man did frown,
They recognised old Bendigo though he were upside down;
The parson changed his colour and collapsed upon the floor,
And the squire he lost his britches in the fight to reach the door

'Fear not', shouts Farmer Atwater, 'for in all his life I vow,
He never bit nor man nor child and he'll not bite no one now
And this shall be his epitaph, 'Here lies poor faithful Ben
Who perished in the scrumpy vat and quickly rose again

So if you're down to Devon, and you goes into a bar,
Ask for Dead Dog Cider, it's the best there is by far;
Refuse all imitations and you'll sleep like a log,
You can always recognise it by the hair of the dog

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