The House Carpenter

Listen to "The House Carpenter" in its entirety thanks to Internet Archive.


"The House Carpenter" is one of the songs referred to by Ashley as a "lassy makin'" tune. It is a Child Ballad and one of the earliest to be recorded by Ashley, (Columbia 15444 recorded in 1928). Ashley's sense of mischief was responsible for the rare early recording of a Child Ballad. After a recording session with Byrd Moore and his Hot Shots, a Columbia man asked if they had any more songs to do. Ashley stepped forward and volunteered some "lassy makin'" tunes. For years after this incident, Ashley and his friends loved to laugh about this naive city slicker's complete acceptance of "lassy makin'" tunes as a distinct category of songs. It is evident that thet man was unaware of what a rare gem he was recording. Many of the old timers knew a number of very old ballads and lyric songs which they did not offer to recording companies because the songs had strong personal associations for them or were too long or thought not entertaining enough for the mass media.

Well met, well met, said an old true love
Well met, well met, said he
I'm just returning from the salt, salt sea
And its all for the love of thee

Come in, come in, my old true love
And have a seat by me
It's been three-fourths of a long, long year
Since together we have been

Well, I can't come in or I can't sit down
For I haven't a moment's time
They say you're married to a house carpenter
And your heart can never be mine

Says, it's I could have married a king's daughter dear
I'm sure she'd have married me
I forsaken her crowns of gold
And it's all for the love of thee

Will you forsaken your house carpenter
And go along with me
I will take you where the grass grows green
On the banks of the deep blue sea

Said, it's she picked up her little babe
And kisses she gave it three
Says, stay right here, my darling little babe
And keep your papa company

Then it's she jumped on the snow white steed
And him on the dapple gray
They rode till they come to the banks of the sea
Three hours before it came day

Says, it's are you a-weeping for my silver and my gold
Says, it's are you a-weeping for my store
Are you a-weeping for that house carpenter
Whose face you'll never see anymore

Says, it's I'm not a-weeping for your silver or your gold
Says, it's I'm not a-weeping for your store
I am a-weeping for my darling little babe
Whose face I'll never see anymore

Hadn't been on the ship but about three weeks
I'm sure it was not four
Till they sprung a leak in the bottom of the ship
And they sinken for to rise no more