The new tractor, song

Eddie Butcher, singing in English
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Oh, come all you gay farmers intending to plough,
If you listen awhile an advice I’ll give now;
If your land it is frosty or it’s wet with the rain
You can send for young Barr to the town of Coleraine.

For this young man he ploughs with a tractor machine,
There are no lie about it for him I have seen;
For corn or hay sure he needs none at all,
Just get him a gallon of paraffin oil.

For the nation’s at war as you all understand
And every brave farmer must plough up his land;
If Britain and France are to win at the sea
It depends on the plough to keep hunger away.

In Magilligan parish in a place called Duncrun
There dwelt a big farmer of fame and renown;
Being late with his labour, I’ll tell you straight now,
He has sent for this tractor his farm to plough.

Well, the day that she landed in this farmer’s yard
The weather was frosty and the ground it was hard;
Someone passed the remark, – you are not going to plough?
But the answer they got was, – Immediately now.

Then the man with the tractor his oil tank did fill
While the pilot behind him the plough did hook till;
He touched the self-starter and then grabbed the wheel,
Like a swift bow and arrow he went to the field.

Then the people all gathered this ploughboy to see
For the neighbours around thought the like could not be,
For an old man aged eighty he solemnlie swore
He had ne’er saw the like in his whole life before.

Now when this plough’s in motion she does her work fine,
Three furrows at the time and as swift as the wind;
When he reaches the end rig to wind her about
With a snatch of the lever the plough she jumps out.

Now all you brave farmers, I have told yous quite plain,
If your land’s lying waste it’s yourself that’s to blame;
Just send him a postcard and tell him to come,
For a few extra shillings your farm he’ll (spoken) turn.


This is one of the earliest of Eddie’s own compositions which I have recorded, dating from 1940. The occasion it commemorates is now history: a local ‘first’ of much more than national importance. Eddie as a bystander catches and enhances the wonder of the scene: wonder mitigated by a certain amount of wholesome suspicion.