Herrings' heads, performed by Johnny Doughty

Description

English

Johnny Doughty was a traditional folk singer and fisherman from the Sussex coast. He was ‘discovered’ as a performer whilst in his early 70s, and recorded for labels such as Topic Records.

Herring’s Heads is a traditional English folk song in which each verse dissects the body of the fish and transforms each part into something new. First, the head is turned into ‘loaves of bread’, the eyes become ‘puddings and pies’ and the bellies ‘jams and jellies’. A version of each verse and chorus is repeated until the performers’ reach the Herrings' tails.

Transcript

Transcript

JOHNNY DOUGHTY Now, of all the fish that’s in the sea,
The herring’s the king of the fish for me,
A-wack-fadoodle-li-do
Wack-fadoodle-lay.
But what should we do with the herring’s heads?

ALL Turn them into loaves of bread.

JOHNNY DOUGHTY Turn them into loaves of bread,

ALL Herrings’ heads are loaves of bread,

JOHNNY DOUGHTY And all such things.

JOHNNY DOUGHTY Of all the fish that’s in the sea,
The herring’s the king of the fish for me,
A-wack-fadoodle-li-do
Wack-fadoodle-lay.
But what shall we do with the herring’s eyes?

ALL Turn them into puddings and pies.
Herring’s eyes, puddings and pies,
Herring’s heads are loaves of bread,
And all such things.

JOHNNY DOUGHTY Of all the fish that’s in the sea,
The herring’s the king of the fish for – Oi! Sing up!

ALL A-wack-fadoodle-li-do
And a wack-fadoodle-lay.

JOHNNY DOUGHTY But what should we do with the herring’s backs?
Turn them into fishing sacks.
Herring’s back, fishing sacks,
Herring’s eyes, pudding and pies,
Herring’s heads are loaves of bread,

ALL And all such things.

JOHNNY DOUGHTY Of all the fish that’s in the sea,
The herring’s the king of the fish for me,
With a-wack-fadoodle-li-do
Wack-fadoodle-lay.
Well, what should we do with the herring’s belly?

ALL Turn them into jams and jellies.

JOHNNY DOUGHTY Herring’s belly,

ALL Jams and jellies,

JOHNNY DOUGHTY Herrings’ backs,

ALL Fishing sacks,

JOHNNY DOUGHTY Herring’s eyes,

ALL Puddings and pies,

JOHNNY DOUGHTY Herring’s heads are loaves of bread,
And all such things.
Of all the fish that’s in the sea,
The herring’s the king of the fish for me,

ALL With a-wack-fadoodle-li-do
Wack-fadoodle-lay.

JOHNNY DOUGHTY Now what should we do with the herring’s fins?

FEMALE SINGER Turn them into needles and pins [laughs].

JOHNNY DOUGHTYHerring’s fins,

FEMALE SINGER Needles and pins,

JOHNNY DOUGHTY Come on! Herring’s fins,

ALL ALL: Needles and pins,

JOHNNY DOUGHTY Herring’s belly,

ALL ALL: Jams and jellies,

JOHNNY DOUGHTY Herring’s back,

ALL ALL: Fishing sacks,

JOHNNY DOUGHTY Herring’s eyes,

ALL ALL: Puddings and pies,

JOHNNY DOUGHTY Herring’s heads,

FEMALE SINGER Jams and breads.

[All laugh]

FEMALE SINGER Loaves of bread.

JOHNNY DOUGHTY Herring’s head are loaves of bread,
And all such things.
Of all the fish that’s in the sea,
The herring’s the king of the fish for me,
A-wack-fadoodle-li-do
Wack-fadoodle-lay.
Don’t you feel very well?

[All laugh]

FEMALE SINGER No, I can’t sing [laughs].

JOHNNY DOUGHTY Now, what shall we do with the herring’s tails?

FEMALE SINGER Turn them into buckets and pails.

JOHNNY DOUGHTY Herring’s tails, buckets and pails,
Herring’s fins,

ALL Needles and pins,

JOHNNY DOUGHTY Herring’s belly,

ALL Jams and jellies,

JOHNNY DOUGHTY Herring’s back,

ALL Fishing sacks,

JOHNNY DOUGHTY Herring’s eyes,

ALL Loaves of bread.

[All laugh]

JOHNNY DOUGHTY [Inaudible 0:03:05] What made you – you shouldn’t have done it, you’ll take –

FEMALE SINGER You jumped one.

JOHNNY DOUGHTY Yeah, I know I did, to trick you.

[All laugh]

JOHNNY DOUGHTY Herring’s heads are loaves of bread,
And all such things.
Of all the fish that’s in the sea,

FEMALE SINGER The herring’s the king of the fish for me,

JOHNNY DOUGHTY Well, get them singing.
Now, of all the fish that’s in the sea,
Herring’s the king of the fish for me,

JOHNNY DOUGHTY Come on!

ALL A wack-fadoodle-li-do,
And a wack-fadoodle-lay.

[END OF RECORDING – 00:03:43]

Title:
Herrings' heads, performed by Johnny Doughty
Date:
16 June 1979
Format:
Sound recording
Creator:
Johnny Doughty, Edward Tise, Margaret Doughty, Bob Davenport
Copyright:
© We have been unable to locate the copyright holder for Herrings' Heads. Please contact copyright@bl.uk with any information you have regarding this item.
Image: Eye Ubiquitous / Contributor via Getty Images
Held by
British Library
Shelfmark:
C1047/39

Full catalogue details

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