“The Flies Are On the Tummits”


Singer has been farming all his life but "the only thing that flourishes is the damnation weeds." Flies are on his turnips... his live stock "eat me up and never turn out right." "No matters what I sell is cheap, but what I buy is dear"


Roud lumps this with "The Turnip-Hoer," with which it shares some lyrics, but Ben Schwartz and I both consider the general plots distinict enough to split them. "The Turnip-Hoer" is about the singer's employment history; "The Flies Are On the Tummits" about the hard life of a farmer.

Widespread growing of turnips, incidentally, was a relatively recent practice (turnips, after all, are bitter and rather unpleasant to eat); they are grown because they replenish the soil, and can be farmed on a field that would otherwise have to lie fallow (see Derek Beales, _From Catlereight to Gladstone: 1815-1885_, p. 36). - RBW

Cross references


  • Ted Laurence, "The Flies Are On the Tummits" (on Voice20)


  1. Roud #1376
  2. BI, RcFAOtT


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1976 (recording, Ted Laurence)
Found in: Britain(England(Lond))