Oats Peas Beans and Barley Grow

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"Oats Peas Beans and Barley Grow" is a traditional British and American folk song, 1380 in the Roud Folk Song Index.

The tune normally used, goes by the name "Baltimore" and appears in Joshua Cushing's book "The Fifer's Companion" (1790). The sleevenotes to "The Wild Mountain Thyme" claim that the tune was written by John Playford (1650). According to Alice Bertha Gomme's book "The Traditional Games of England, Scotland and Ireland" (1894), this is a "play song", in which children perform actions with the song, standing in a ring. In "Notes and Queries" 7th series, number xii (c 1870) it is discussed, but the Columbia State University website claims that the earliest known version of the words is dated 1898 (Gomme).

Recordings[edit]

  • Tim Hart and Maddy Prior on "Folk Songs of Olde England" Vol 2 (1968)
  • Roberts and Barrand on "Mellow With Ale From the Horn" (1975) as "Oats and Beans and Barley Grows"
  • Raffi on Baby Beluga as Oats and Beans and Barley 1980
  • The Friends of Fiddler's Green This Side of the Ocean as Oats and Beans 1981 and 1997. The highest note is D, and the lowest note is G. The dynamic is soft, The part in this song that gets higher is mesure 5&6.
  • The Revels on "The Wild Mountain Thyme" (1994)
  • Broadside Band on "Old English Nursery Rhymes" (1996)
  • The Cedarmont Kids on "Preschool Songs" (1997)

The children's book character Spot the Dog had spin-off albums. "Spot's Farmyard Animals" (date unknown) contains this song.

Published Versions[edit]

  • Lucy Broadwood English County Songs
  • In Notes and Queries 7th series, number xii (c 1870)
  • In Northall, G. F. English Folk-Rhymes: A collection of traditional verses relating to places and persons, customs, superstitions, etc. (1892) pg. 370
  • Hampshire Dance Tunes by Bob Shatwell & Paul Sartin (2007)
  • The very first edition of the Journal of the EFDSS had an article on this song.

External references[edit]