Happy New Year to all. I am a Morristonian, born in Glantawe Street.i was taught the song by my Grandmother and remember as a child in the forties and earlie fifties going around the houses in Morriston singing the song and hoping to be rewarded, usually with pennies or sweets. It was important that the song was sung before midday. My memory of the song is that there were two verses. The words were the same as most versions with 'fighting' in the second verse. However, my version didn't include the middle lines 'if you think it is too soon'
I sang the song this morning to wife, who is from the Brynmill area, and was surprised that she had never heard the song before. When I look back I realise how lucky I was to be born and brought up in Morriston - best place on Earth! Also as a child I remember waiting at the cross for my father returning home from the Eisteddford with the Orpheus. Morriston is renowned for it's Culture, Industry and Singing, and over the years the town has been blessed with many fine choirs and I have been lucky enough to follow in my father's footsteps by being a member of the Orpheus for many years. I have so many wonderful memories and stories from my childhood in Morriston.
And to you Ray.
It was a song still sung in the sixties but it looks as though it became unfashionable and faded away in the seventies.
The midday "rule" seemed ubiquitous. "Fighting" appears to be the more authentic. As is the " if you think it is...."
You make a good point about Morriston and its musical heritage.
When researching my book "Morriston-It did its bit" about the park war memorial and Morriston during the Great War, I read daily reports in the newspapers of the time of events going on, usually in chapels/churches but sometimes pubs, where musical concerts were regularly held. For fundraising as well as enjoyment with a regular cast of local singers, musicians and choirs. Preceding the Orpheus but leading to it. With well known individuals like Ivor Sims, even while serving, and the Hanney Family Band. There is book in all that.
There is website which collects welsh folk songs which has linked to this thread. In it the Morriston New Year's Day tune is played on a piano. It is as I remember. https://www.mamalisa.com/?t=es&p=5171
One News Year's day on this thread I suggested that one of the local choirs should sing a version of the Morriston Song to preserve it for posterity! Do you have influence?
Yes I think it would be wonderful if the Morriston Song was recorded by a local choir in order to preserve it for prosterity.
In answer to your question 'do I have any influence'? In short, probably no more influence than any other chorister. Any such request would have to be put before the choir management committee.
Consider this. The choir today is nothing like it was during it's early days. In those days, all the choristers came from the Morriston area. Most of them were manual workers who worked in the local heavy industry. My father worked in the Swansea Vale Smelting works and I started my career there as an apprentice. Many choristers would be living in the same street. Ivor Simms Choir Conductor. Glyn Jacob and Ces the milk and several others lived in my street. They were always to and fro in each others houses.
It's not like that with the choir any more. There are very few genuine Morristonians in the choir now. Maybe I am the only one. The choir is now made up of members from Neath and Port Talbot, Bridgend and Cardiff in the east, and from Carmarthen and Pembrokeshire in the west.
It should also be noted that, because of several factors,the choir has, and in my opinion very regrettably, had to uproot itself from Morriston and is now based in Swansea University, which incidentally now favours the majority of the choir members mainly from a travelling point of view.
To summarise, when i have the opportunity i will sound out and make it known to those in the choir who may have more influence that Morriston does have a song and, who knows, just maybe.
What about a Title?
Thanks for the background to the Morriston Orpheus. I seem to recall the choir rehearsed in the Parish Hall on occasions.
Hope there is sufficient connection with the past still to consider a folk song with Morriston heritage.
Earlier today I was talking with my brother Raymond who still lives in Morriston about this forum today. He thought he might have been at Martin Street school with you.
I am from Morriston, born and brought up. I now live in New Zealand and have done so for 58 years. I learnt this song from my father in1947 or 1948 when I was 9 or 10 years old and used to go from house to house singing it to neighbours and relations because many of them lived in the same street. Sixpence was the normal reward.
And it must have worked because since then I went on to sing with The Morriston Orpheus Male Choir before emigrating to New Zealand, and have since sung roles for 21 years for Opera New Zealand. Currently I train a male voice choir in Auckland - The North Shore Male Choir. I sang the song to my wife (a New Zealander) early this morning, and, only by chance, sent the words and the recollection of childhood to the men in the choir, because it was New Year’s Day morning!
Then to my astonishment, one of them (Drew, an Irishman) found your site and sent it on to me. I thought it was a local song but didn’t know that for sure until you confirmed it. Thank you for that.
My learnt child-version was
“Happy New Year’s morning, the cocks are all a-crowing,
Rise up, rise up, look at the stars and moon.
The stars and moon are shining and we are all a-fighting
Rise up, rise up, look at the stars and moon."
My word Lynn you keep your self busy.
Sixpence would have been a good result.
You are of the “fighting” school but not the “ If you think...” couplet. I would guess you lived west of Pentrepoeth Road and North of Woodfield Street with that version!
Two to have sung with The Morriston Orpheus contributing to this thread about a local folk song which brings back memories of childhood.
There are some old photos of the choir in the Morriston of Yesteryear part of this Morriston Camera Club website (found via menu and home)The only person I recognise in the 1957 photo is John James ( second row seventh from the right) but remember his tTV appearance.
Thinking about it Ray and Lynn this could be small collaboration between New Zealand and Morriston choirs. One of those done on Zoom and recorded. An arrangement of the agreed lyrics and tune would be needed first. Quite something to try to do for 2021 in lockdown here.
Your brother Raymond is quite correct about us bein in Martin Street school together. I was in the school choir and I think Raymond may have been in it as well.
After our time in Martin Street we we both went to Pentrepoeth and I remember that we were very good mates.
I seem to recall that Raymong lived in the lower end of Chemical Road and lived not far from John James, who Lynn John recognised from an Orpheus photo.
I went on tour with the Orpheus to New Zealand in 1999 and 2003, so it is very likely that Lynn would have attended at least one of the concerts and met many of the choristers.
I would so pleased if you would remember me to your brother and I would love for him to get in touch with me for old time sale.