Free and easy to jog along, song

Eddie Butcher, singing in English
© Item in copyright  (contact for information on re-use)
Downloads: PDF |  Metadata (Dublin Core)


It is of my rambles I’m going to sing
Like any blackbird or thrush in spring;
When the sun arose up for to bless the land
I was free and easy for to jog along

The first place I landed was in Ballantrae
About two miles distant from Biscay Bay
They sat me down there for to sing a song,
For I was free and easy to jog along.

The next place I landed was in Glasgow Green
Where lads and lasses they were to be seen
I was the blythest among the throng,
For I was free and easy to jog along.

I had not travelled but a short space
When a nice wee girl she smiled in my face;
She says – Kind sir, are you a married man?
– No, I’m free and easy to jog along.

I took this wee girl down to yon inn
Where we drank brandy, strong ale and gin;
She pressed on me to join heart and hand
And forget ‘Free and easy to jog along’.

– Oh no, kind lady, such things can’t be,
For I am bound for to cross the sea;
When a man gets married his race is run,
But I am free and easy to jog along.

Do you see yon streams how they gently glide?
They can go no further than they are allowed,
They can go no further than they get command,
But I am free and easy to jog along.

[transcription: Lisa Shields]


A version in the Northern Constitution is the only printed one I know; The English broadside ‘Free and easy’ in, for example, L: LR 271 a 2, II 72, is a different song. The Northern Constitution gives Tom’s six verses, but the Butchers add a seventh with an image well suited to Magilligan, where ‘The high grounds in the parish are supplied with numerous and excellent springs, which gush out from the mountain’. – OS 1. Mention of Ballantrae and Glasgow is hardly enough to make the song Scottish, while the rhyme alang implied, though not used, by the Magilligan versions in v. 1, 4, 5, 7, is just as acceptable in Ulster as in Scotland. It is evidently a fairly late nineteenth-century song which has adopted a common traditional air.