Song of the Day, November 21: The Barring of the Door by Silly Sisters

SillyBarringToday’s song is The Barring of the Door. A traditional British song (Roud 115, Child 275), it’s an amusing domestic tale also known as John Blunt (after one of the principles) and Get Up and Bar the Door. The couple in the song argue over who should bar the door to their home, angrily making a pact that the first to speak must perform the chore. They are so stubborn in their resolve that even the presence of burglars in their home does not move them to speak or act. The burglars finally go too far, prompting an outburst from the husband, followed by the wife gleefully demanding that he bar the door since he lost the wager.

Given the nature of the story, there are many versions of the song with added verses and a wide range of ribaldry. It has been recorded many times as well, including fine versions by Ewan MacColl and Martin Carthy. One of the nicest appears on the second collaboration between Maddy Prior and June Tabor, now formally calling themselves Silly Sisters. With a sprightly musical backing, they weave a fine harmony, clearly enjoying the silly tale.

Enjoy this delightful rendition of a traditional tune today.


About Robert Hulshof-Schmidt
Freelance writer, researcher, online comic vendor, and project manager. Fan of a wide range of music -- especially folk and 80s pop -- vintage comics, British TV, and LGBT fiction.

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