“The Courting Coat”

Alternate titles: “The Kettle Smock”; “The Moon Shining Brightly”; “Navvy Boots”
Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1914 (Greig)
Keywords: courting sex warning pregnancy mining worker clothes
Found in: Britain(England(North,South),Scotland(Aber,Hebr,High)) Ireland

Description

The singer takes his girl to bed while still in his (pit boots/navvy boots/courting coat). She fears pregnancy ("the baby will come with his pit boots on"); he laughs it off -- but runs away, still wearing the boots. Women are warned to beware

Long description

The singer (shaves and) dresses up, (by the light of the moon) arrives at his girl's window, and takes her to bed while still in his (pit boots/navvy boots/courting coat). She fears pregnancy ("the baby will come with his pit boots on"); he laughs it off -- but runs away, still wearing the boots. Women are warned to "beware of them colliers who are easy and free"

Notes

Between plot and lyrics (the girl's greeting and warning; also the way the young man dresses up), this makes me think it might be a sailor's/miner's adaption of "Rambleaway." - RBW

It may well be related, but inasmuch as there are few lyrics in common, and "Pit Boots" and its relatives are always sung from the man's point of view whereas "Rambleaway" is usually from the woman's, I think they qualify as separate songs.

I don't see any connection with "Rambleaway" other than the fellow's character. I don't see any words that "Rambleaway" has in common with any versions of "The Courting Coat" I've seen. - PJS

In McDermott's version on IRHardySons the singer is, at the end, brought to court and forced to pay five bob a week support. - BS

Cross references

Recordings

References

  1. MacSeegTrav 34, "The Courting Coat" (1 text, 1 tune)
  2. Kennedy 171, "The Bold English Navvy" (1 text, 1 tune plus a fragment in the appendix)
  3. DT, NAVVYBTS* NAVVYBOT*
  4. Roud #516
  5. BI, RcWMPBO