Cruel Mother

from Fish Dreams the Universe by Meadow Argus



There are so many versions of this song that I've heard both recorded and performed live that I couldn't possibly begin to work out where I first came across it. For this version, though, we used the text and melody from the 'Penguin Book of English Folk Songs', which seems similar to the version A. L. Lloyd sings on 'English and Scottish Folk Ballads'.

Due to the nature of our arrangement, we've severely abridged the lyrics with only three verses remaining of the original 15. Our hope is that the listener might fill in the gaps and perhaps find a little sympathy for the protagonist of the story who finds herself in such a dire predicament of societal dishonour for fraternising with the 'riff raff', that she resorts to a fairly extreme act to cover her actions.


There was a lady lived in York
All alone and a-loney
A farmer's son, he courted her
All down by the greenwood sidey

He courted her for seven long years
All alone and a-loney
At last she proved in child by him
All down by the greenwood sidey

Oh, dear babe, if you were mine
All alone and a-loney
I'd dress you in silk and satin so fine
All down by the greenwood sidey


from Fish Dreams the Universe, track released April 4, 2019
Traditional, Arranged by. J. Cole

Jevan Cole - Acoustic and Electric Guitars, Bass Guitar, Organ, Drum Programming
Coby Cole Stegman - Vocals


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Meadow Argus QLD, Australia

Australian psych-folk freaks, Meadow Argus travel forgotten mountain tracks and narrow country lanes collecting imagined folklore and abandoned ephemera. Found sounds intertwine with bubbling synths, intricate acoustic guitars, and spaced-out electrics. Woven into a tattered and worn tapestry of pastoral acoustic abstracts, whimsical electronica, and sparklingly dark jangle fuzz pop songs. ... more

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