"Dammed Idle Fellows" was learned from Brian Kelly
, of course, who taught it to Wilfried Drygala and myself when we formed the "Idle Fellows" (now defunct) folk group in 1979. It was amongst the first five songs we did together at a Bremen Anglo-German club event and it was our signature tune. Over the next 12 years or so and it was always the first song we played until our last performance in 1993.
The song is a pretty rousing affair about the jolly, rollicking life of a ploughman. (Somehow for me it's not quite believable - I mean there must be a better way of earning a living than following behind a horse's backside in the delights of a British summer.). The lyrics are typically Brian. I've never seen them in print or heard the song from anyone else. Lord knows where he got it. The tune itself however is a pretty straight-up-and-down Villikins Dinah.
We really belted out the choruses and it was a very good waker-upper or show opener. Perfect for very short programmes when sharing the venue with others.