Complexity Level: super simple - could be taught by ear
Parts: lead singer with 4 part backing
Deets: Cminor, 12/8, strophic
Emlyn and I recently returned from a week in Melbourne where we were running the festival choir for the Newport Folk Festival. Newport is in inner western Melbourne, and the festival is an amazing celebration of music and community nurturing and growing each other.
For this festival choir, I wanted folk songs that would be new for the singers - songs people hadn't heard before. The arrangements had to be absolutely accessible for anybody who came to the workshops, and they needed to be quick to learn. (We only had two workshops in the festival and then a public concert.) I used the lead/backing format to help all this work. Emlyn was our lead and he was splendid of course.
Google says Oliver Cromwell is a nursery rhyme from Suffolk. The words are great fun and the song went splendidly at the festival. We were busy singing so we didn't record it then, but here we are with a few of our singing buddies (thanks Matthew, Fergus and Alison) - recorded selfie style on an iphone so you can have a listen.
Oliver Cromwell lay buried and dead - Hey Ho buried and dead
There grew a great apple tree over his head - Hey Ho over his head
The apples were ripe and ready to fall - Hey Ho ready to fall
There came an old woman to gather them all - Hey Ho gather them all
Oliver rose and gave her a drop - Hey Ho gave her a drop
Which made the old woman go hippety-hop - Hey Ho hippety-hop
The saddle and bridle they sit on the shelf - Hey Ho sit on the shelf
If you want any more you can sing it yourself - Hey Ho sing it yourself.