Little Mister Baggy Britches

One of my own favourite posts in this blog concerns my late Mother and how we finally got to sing together.  You can read that one here

One of the key points of that post was that, although Mum never sang in public, she was always singing and humming around the house and quite a few of the songs I heard in that way have never been heard by me anywhere else, before or since. 

Now and again these songs turn up – on the radio, in a movie – and it an odd experience whenever I hear one.

One such song turned up out of the blue about a week ago.  It wasn’t on the radio, nor in a movie, it was in my head.  I was watching Twitter when someone mentioned in passing that they were thinking of re-lining their coat rather than getting it done professionally, to save a few quid… 

Pow! There it was – a fully formed song in my head - a song I hadn’t thought of in over thirty years, a song I had only ever heard in one place.

The song was all about stitching and patching, you see, so that’s why the coat-lining thing brought it back.  I thought it was called ‘Little Mrs Patch-Me-Britches’ because that’s how Mum sung it but it turns out it was actually called ‘Little Mister Baggy Britches.’  The chorus went like this:

Little Mister Baggy Britches
I love you
If you'll be my Sunday follow
I'll patch them with pink and with purple and yellow
And folks shall say
As we lean on the old sea wall
Lena's been patchin' his britches
Til he's got no britches at all.

I went looking straight away but there’s no YouTube or Blip of the song that I can find.  I found nowhere to hear it except in my head.

So I did a little research and some Twitter buddies helped.  Together, we found that the sheet music for this song is available and there’s a forum where people have discussed it and posted much more lyrics than I ever knew.  We also found out that the song was recorded by Carol Deene in 1970 and was the flipside to her single ‘Windmill in Old Amsterdam’.

That’s about all we got though.  Not very much at all.  So, sod it, I thought, I can’t just let the memory go again.  I’ll write a blog post, I thought, that’ll do it.

But that doesn’t really do it, does it?

I know how the song goes, don’t I?  What am I supposed to do about that?  Let it go?

Can’t do that… so brace yourself.  This is me in ‘lullaby’ mode, something I still do every night though my song is Bob Dylan’s ‘All The Tired Horses’.  So it’s not any good but it does give an idea how the song’s chorus went – the lyrics aren’t exact but they are how they were sung in our house years ago.

Now don’t start – I know I don’t sing well.  But there are two reason for embarrassing myself like this.  The first is that this post will now become first in the search engines for any other poor bugger who comes looking for ‘Little Mister Patchy Britches’ so I might actually be doing a public service by collating what little information I have on it.

The second reason is trickier…

Although this song was released in 1970 on the back of a single, it goes back way before that.  Mum was singing it before that.  I believe (but can’t be sure) that she sang it as a lullaby.  It’s more likely that I heard it being sung to my younger sisters rather than me but again can’t be sure.

So here’s a little piece of memory that has popped to the surface after a long time.  It deserves to be cleaned up and kept, doesn’t it?  It is incumbent upon us to keep the memory of the dear-departed alive in whatever ways we can – by laughing about them, telling stories about them, including them in our day, by remembering them.

So long as we do that, there is at least a little bit of life after death…

…for sure.


hope said...

I love stories like this! There is something warm and comforting in remembering the sweetness of childhood, when we didn't know the world could be cold or cruel. And I found your version endearing. :)

Mom's was "Que Sera, Sera". Guess that "whatever will be, will be" sort of became a silent guiding factor for me at times. :)

And before your head or ego explodes I must add...I LOVE that new photo.

Have a wonderful weekend. Feel free to find something else to sing to us. the way. Yes, I know. You thought I was gone. What happened with your movie?

missesgandt said...

Actually, it was lovely ;)

Rachel Fox said...

I've heard much worse singing!

You might have given me an idea for a challenge next week too...


Ken Armstrong said...

Hope: Sorry for late reply. My head exploded. I'm okay now though. :)

I didn't think you'd gone away, it's open house here and we come and go as we please, myself included.

Ce Sera would have been sung in our house too - a lot.

I think I'll hold the singing for a while now. :)

Betty: Thank you. You're potential career as an X Factor judge is now over. :)

Rachel: I hope I have given you an idea - I love that! :)

Pam Nash said...

Great story. My grandma always sang 'Beautiful Dreamer' to me - she died in 1969, but whenever I hear the song, I'm transported right back to my childhood and Saturday afternoons in front to the fire.

Your singing? Robbie Williams should be worried, but Placido Domingo shouldn't ;)

Elisabeth said...

Grade two Our Lady of Good Council school in Deepdene, Melbourne, Ausralia. This is how I remembered it. We were to put on a play that had a Dutch theme.

I did not get a leading part, which felt cruel to me then even as I knew I lacked any star qualities but my parents had come to Australia from Holland only eight years earlier and I felt that I might play the part better than the Australian girls. I knew some Dutch. I could create an accent.

We made clogs from hessian bags and my mother had trouble sewing them together.

I know the song well. The words I learned were only slightly different from words, Ken. The music is the same.

Little Mt Baggy Britches, I love you.
Will you be my Sunday fellow
I'll patch you with purple
With green and then yellow
And folks will sa-ay
As we lean on the old sea wall, Lena's been patching poor Jacob Till he's got my britches at all.

Thanks for this trip down memory lane, Ken.

Susan at Stony River said...

What a wonderful post; I love the thoughts you chose to end it.

But AGH I can't get the audio to play -- me and my 6bps connection. pffft.

My mother and I can't sing at all, but my father could whistle beautifully. Moon River was his favourite, and every time I hear it I'm suddenly six years old and in my mother's kitchen again.

Terry Heath said...

Your story reminds me of something I got from an old Shirley Temple movie . . . I think it was called "The Bluebird of Happiness" (okay, thanks Google. It was, and it was made in 1940). In one scene Miss Temple's character (and her brother) come across their grandparents, who have long since passed away (but the encounter wasn't at all scarey). The grandparents tell the children they continue to live as long as they are remembered, it's only when they are forgotten that they really are gone. I've always remembered that.

I'll come back and listen to your song when nobody else is in earshot, just so they won't wonder why I've got some guy singing a lullaby!

Jim Murdoch said...

My mother also sang all the time. She sounded like Gracie Fields. My dad sang occasionally. He thought he sounded like Bing Crosby.

Dee GF said...

Can I hire you to come and sing lullabies for my children? Am charmed to bits by that. xx

Anonymous said...

Funny how that happens eh... I know it's the same for me too. Bit's of memory bob up from time to time and you rarely get the chance to get a rope around 'em and drag the buggers in!

That it set Karen off here and took her back to primary school in Melbourne (can't help that Karen ;-) ) is amazing too - suddenly your memory has reach out across this world and flipped their memory switch as well...

These yarns always make for the best stories eh Ken

Ken Armstrong said...

True to form, I've messed this post up a little. The song is called 'Little Mister Baggy Britches' rather than how I remember it.

I wondered where the links we had found had all gone... I was searching 'Patchy' instead of 'Baggy'... 'story of my life, really. :)

Pam: Imagine me worrying Robbie. :)

Elisabeth: See? You had the words right all along! I *do* think 'no' britches makes more sense than 'my' britches - that might have been a wee bit too racey for your show. :)

Susan: You mean you didn't hear me sing? Poor lass!! :)

Terry: I think there's obviously some truth in that, don't you?

Jim: Bing had that kind of voice that made people believe it was easy to sing like him, when it patently wasn't. I must have a listen to some Gracie Fields to get the vibe.

Dee GF: I could do that. My 'All The Tired Horses in the Sun' is tried and tested. :)

belongum: Always a treat to see you here mate. I think we've got to lasso these memories and coral them whenever we can. :)

koe said...

Ken - wonderful posting. Really. Not much of a difference between 'Patchy' and 'Baggy.' I enjoyed the singing.

My mom used to sing to us in Portuguese - I just asked her what one of them was and she said - that the songs she sang didn't have any titles that she knew but she used to sing. . . O La Lindina, larinja limao which she said means "O pretty girl, oranges and lemons."

Mom - you had two boys and you sang 'O pretty girl. . ." to us?

Loved the post - sing more.

crpitt said...

Oh you did a grand job!! :)

I love the story behind it too, I think your mum would love the fact that this is such a lovely memory for you.

So glad you decided to mark the memory with this post/sing a long :)

Greg (aka Drolgerg) said...

What a great post! It's fantastic when you suddenly come across a reawakened memory that reminds you of a departed loved one. My Dad loved music & was often singing around the house, & every so often I'll hear an old song that reminds me of him. And please feel free to keep singing :)

shinester said...

How utterly charming, Ken.

Anonymous said...

my version was sung to me in the 1940s by my British mother:
Little Mister Patchy Britches
I love you
If you'll be my Sunday fellow
I'll patch them with pink and with purple and yellow
And folks shall say
As they lean on the old sea wall
Mama's been patchin' his britches
Til he's got no britches at all.

Anonymous said...

I came across your comments when I was looking for the words to the Baggy Britches song for my 94 year old mother, who told me about it for the first time today! She remembered singing it at the Canterbury State School concert (Melbourne, Australia) as a child. My search lead me to an Australian archive site from which I was able to print off the 1915 sheet music -, so you might be interested to see it. Seems like that song had influence at an international level and captured the imagination of many children of that era.

JohnOC said...

The problem I have in writing a reply is the veil of emotional tears that make everything blurry. My mother used to sing this to me as a child, in the 1940’s. It came into my head so I popped the first few words into Google, and up came your blog. I have the tune in my head and it’s slightly different to yours. I’d offer a sung version, but I’d end up bawling. Men aren’t supposed to do that sort of thing. Thanks for your bravery.

Like your mother, mine sang all the time, and I find I do too, to the amusement of all around me, and the distress of some. Perhaps there are others who remember the song, Little Brown Seed (- oh little brown brother) : another one to reduce one’s ability to breath properly. Whatever happened to the good old British stiff upper lip?

John Olliff

Anonymous said...

I love this song too and it's been playing in my head on and off for nearly 40 years since we sang it at drama club. We call my parents dog Mr Baggy Britches, as when he stands on his hind legs, his fur droops and wrinkles over his rear.

I remember the lyrics slightly differently:

Little Mr Baggy Britches
I love you,
If you'll be my Sunday fellow
I'll patch them in pink, blue and mid-yellow,
And folks will see
As we sit on the old sea wall:
Patches of pink, blue and yellow
Till you can't see those britches at all.

woodflower said...

Hi Ken, loved this!! My Grandmother used to sing this to me as both a fun song and a lullaby, our lyrics (Yours and mine) and the tune are practically identical. The only real difference is that we sing this in a rollicking kind of way,we always sing it right before 'Christmas is coming and The Pigs are Getting Fat'!Do you know it? These two songs go together in my mind. I was overjoyed to find your post.
I have a little story and it is as follows; my grandmother sang to me as did my mum, I sang to my children and grandchildren also as a result we sing every where we go.
About 10 or so years ago I sat down and wrote out all the songs we have sung as a family,in a very modest calligraphy hand.I the songs into one of those plastic sleeve binders, one copy for each of my four children.
MY granddaughter has recently given birth to a dear little boy. During her pregnancy she asked me if I would make a copy for her and her baby.
Being a little more IT savvy than previous I decided to to look for clip art pics to illustrate each song, it's working well. On a whim I entered "Dear Old Mr Baggy Britches" and while I haven't found any illustrations I found your delightful and I will add, your very brave rendition of this great old song, bravo! Thank you:) PS I fly up to Darwin to give the song book to her tomorrow :)

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr Baggy Britches was one of my childhood songs, though I don't remember where it came from. I did spend the first 3 years of life with my grandmother and then a further 2 with my aunt, so it may have come from there. Goodness knows why it has been in my head all day, but decided to google it, and lo and behold, here it is! We always sang as children, with our parents teaching us all the war songs as well. We 10 children would ride in the back of the old ute, and we'd sing. There is another song I remember doing at school, but I just cannot get it. It was something to do with a rainbow, but NOT Somewhere Over The Rainbow, or I Can Sing A Rainbow. Maybe it will come to me, or someone else may remember it. Please share if you do.

Brenda Power said...

My dad and mam used to sing this song to us before 1970 also. It came up in conversation with my mam today as we reminisced about things, she is almost 86 now and we couldn't remember all the words. Thank you for this, I will show her the words tomorrow

Ken Armstrong said...

I'm pleased to have been of some use, Brenda. Send your Mam my best. :)

Unknown said...

Am 62 now but can remember singing this little song at a sunday school concert when i was about 8 or 9 ....memories i never forgot the words.

Ken Armstrong said...

All the dates seem to collide, Dorothy. Sometime in the mid sixties, this must have been popular. :)

Unknown said...

We all have similar lyrics for it,
But there's a chorous...

til he's got, no britches at all
Comes - nte the same rhythm

Yah, Yah Yah,
patches big
patches small
Yah, Yah Yah,
til he's got no britches at all

And that lets you start all over again...
little Mr Baggy Britches
I love you
So yu just keep crooning them off to sleep
Got it sung to me and I am 72 and sung it to my own children and my grand children

Lanky said...

Sat at home googling and came across little Mr baggy britches it was sung in a Sunday school concert in 55/56 I remember it went little Mr baggy britches I love you if you'll be my Sunday fellow I'll patch up with purple with pink and with yellow and folks will say as we lean on the old sea wall someone's been patching his britches till he's got no britches at all sung at St James church Accrington sun school happy days

Nanette said...

Just googled little mr baggy britches and found this delightful thread. With grandchildren in full dance concert mode I recall my own dance concert about sixty years ago where dressed in black baggy britches with pink and purple and yellow patches we danced and sang away. All still as fresh and detailed in my mind as yesterday. Over the years I sang it as a lullaby for my children and grandchildren. It's been a treat to read all the memories

Unknown said...

Hi, I'm from Australia and in my early 60's and our Mum sang this to us. My Sister (who is in her late 70's ) and I were only talking about this song yesterday, so I decided to get on the net to see if I could find the lyrics and came across your blog. Her version was:- Little Mr Baggy Britches, I love you. If you'll be me Sundy fella, I'll patch up your trousers with pinks and with yellows, And folks will say as we lean on the old sea wall, Lena's been patching her Ya ya till he's got not britches at all, Ya ya yaha patches big, patches small, ya ya yaha till he's got no britches at all. Not sure of the spelling of the ya ya's never saw the lyrics written, Mum just sang it and unfortunately we never asked questions about it. Thanks for your blog, I have enjoyed reading it. Regards Sue

Anonymous said...

Hi I'm 55 and my mother used to sing this song to me when I was small, in London. Her lyrics were as follows: Little Mr Baggy Breeches, I love you. Will you be my Sunday fellow? I'll patch them in green, and blue and yellow, and folks will say, as they sit on the old sea wall, 'Mummy's been patching his breeches, till he ain't got no breeches at all'. She recently died and so I remember this song with a sweet sorrow.

annique said...

I found myself singing this song recently - no idea what made me think of it. I didn't learn it myself at school, but probably heard the children from another grade singing it. I always remembered the words of every song I heard that I liked, so I was singing it at home. My father (a primary school teacher) started to join in with me, but his version was "Little mister baggy britches, I love you. If you'll be my Sunday fellow, I'll patch them with pink and with purple and yellow, and folks will say as we lean on the old sea wall, old Lina's been patching her Jakob till he's got no britches at all". Jakob (pronounced YA-kob) is a Dutch name, and someone in an earlier comment here mentioned the song was on the flip side of someone's record about old Amsterdam, so maybe the song has Dutch origins? We had lots of Dutch children at our school in Melbourne in the 1960's, and I always wanted to go to Holland and see the windmills and the tulips. As it happened about 27 years later, my sister's husband was transferred to The Hague for work, and I finally go to visit the country. Not quite as my 8 year old self had pictured it, but loved it anyway.

Ken Armstrong said...

Thanks Annique. It's a funny old song. So many memories for so many people yet not a recording to be found.

Lucy said...

Had to add as was looking for the Lyrics as I was singing it to my baby having heard Dad sing it! Dad away so couldn't get the lyrics but will get him to record it and get it on youtube!

As the last poster says I was told it was of Dutch origins and that the sea wall was the banks Holland used to have to literally keep the sea out, though will ask Dad again.

He uses the Sunday fellow lyrics and chorus is "Ya, Ya, Jakob"

Unknown said...

Ken, it's lovely to hear of someone else who knows this. I am 37 and my ana used to sing this to my little sister. She sang "Little Mr Baggy britches I love you, won't you be my Sunday Fellow, I'll patch you in pink and in purple and yellow, and folks will say as they lean on the old sea wall, Yan has been patching his britches till he's got no britches at all. Where Yan came from, I have no idea. All the references I can find online refer to Lena!

Unknown said...

Lying here and thinking about my interview today and this song pops in my head. We use to sing this in primary, I am from NZ by the way and in my early 50s. I have not sung this song in ages and not sure why this particular song should pop up??? My memory is not that great but words seem to be a collective of what everyone else has written...

Little Mr Baggy Britches, I love you!
Won't you be my Sunday fellow
I'll patch you with pink and with purple and yellow
And won't you say ay..
As we lean on the old sea wall
Lena's been patching your britches forever soon you'll have no britches at all

Ay yah yah patches big and patches small
Ay yah yah till he's got no britches at all

We use to dress up in wooden clogs and the dutch hats and dresses for the girls and baggy pants with suspendor belts for the boys, walking around in circle singing and acting out the song... memories - thanks everyone and thanks Ken for the song 😊😊😊

glencar said...

Found this page when checking the words for the song.
A friend and I performed this at a Sunday school concert when we were 10 or 11 in Melbourne in 1954...dressed up as Dutch kids, great fun!!
Little Mr Baggy Britches,I love you
If you'll be my Sunday fellow
I'll patch you mit purple mit blue and mit yellow
And folks will say, as you sit on the old brick wall
Lena's been patching her Yacob
Til he's got no britches at all
Yah yah yah patches big patches small
Yah yah yah til he's got no britches at all

Unknown said...

Hi everyone,

My mother used to sing me this song and I have sung it to my children. Slightly different lyrics, changes britches to ya yas at the end.
I found this clip on YouTube

Unknown said...

Hi Ken, Hopefully you received my comment with the above link. Thank you so much for starting this conversation.

Apocalypstick said...

Thank you so much for this post :)
My grandmother (87) used to sing this song to me when I was little.
Slightly different lyrics, but pretty much the same song.
"Mr Baggy Britches
I love you.
If you'll be my Sunday fellow
I'll patch up your britches
With purple and yellow
and folks will say
as they lean on the old sea wall
'Bridget's been patching his britches
Till he's got no britches at all'."

For reference, I'm 36 and I live in Australia.

Kangarucci said...

Yep, thats the version I remember. Im in tasmania.

Meg Crane said...

I wonder why there are so many Australian memories here - is that where the song originated in 1915? I sang it with my music-and-dancing class in the London suburbs in about 1955. I remember the verse about the patches, but also some of the final verse, which began:

Travellers who come to the mighty sea wall
That keeps out the great Zuyder Zee ...

and carried on:

...When all of those trippers see ten little nippers
Lean over mit fader [with father] and sing
'Little Mister Baggy Britches
I love you'.

Can anyone remember any more?

Unknown said...

Hi, my mum and great aunt sang this song to us. It's actually called leeetle Mr baggy breeches. And there are verses as well as the chorus you remembered. Thanks for the memories of a time of innocence and love

Unknown said...

I had never heard of this until I visited an aunt in her nursing home where she began singing this. Her daughter said she sang it often but no one else had even heard of it.
I googled to see if I could find it but like you nothing. I found your lovely version and sent her daughter the link so she could play it for her.
Wouldn't it be lovely if someone who could play the piano and sing were to perform the full song and put it on so we could all enjoy it.

Al said...

Hi and thanks. Sitting darning a very small tear in a pair of pyjamas, the song (which I discovered I still know perfectly)
came to mind after some 60 years. Figured I might be the only person alive to remember it, so began a search and lo and behold, far from it! Learnt it as a cub when 9 for what was called ‘The Gang Show’, put on yearly by all the scouts and cubs in Islington, London UK. Each year about 30 cubs did one musical sketch, with a country theme - evidently in 1958 it was Holland. We sang this, ‘Tulips from Amsterdam’ and ‘By the side of the Zyder Zee’, ( going to check that out too in a minute) plus a clog dance!

Unknown said...

I remember in Primary School, Western Australia, late 1960s, our year end school concert was Dutch themed and we sang that song, all decked out in pinafores and plaits. The word "with" was replaced with "mit". And the chorus we all joined in - ya ya yaha, patches big, patches small. Ya ya yaha, he's got no britches at all"
Ah, memory lane! A good street to visit!

Unknown said...

My Nanna sang this when I was little and to my children, her great grandchildren. Could only recall a few lines so great to see more

Val said...

I learned this song in the sixties at school in Vancouver.

Unknown said...

My mother sang this with the chorus

Sewing britches for Jacob
Patches big, patches small
Til he's got no britches at all,

Jacob was pronounced Yarcob

wirrah said...

1964 we did it as a school show. All dressed up with patched trousers.In my second year of school. New South Wales.

Anonymous said...

Oh my goodness. The exact same song popped into my head today as i had a lovely flashback of my Dad singing it to me as a i quickly googled the lyrics and your blog post came up as the first on the list. Loved the coincidence. Thank you from Sarah in Australia.

Unknown said...

I am in my 70'th year and my Mum sang a slightly diffebt versionto yours
Here it is

Little Mr Baggy Britches
I love you.
If you'll be my Sunday fella
Ill patch 'em with pink and with with purple and yella
the folks will say as we sit on the old sea wall
Cock-a-doodle Cock-a-doodle
He's got no britches at all!

Unknown said...

this is my e mail

Anonymous said...

My dad sang this to me as a very young child so must have been around 1955/56 (age 3 or 4)
Little Mr Baggy Britches I love you
If you'll be my Sunday fella
I'll patch 'em mit pink and mit purple mit yellow
The folks will say-ay
As you walk on the old sea wall
Lena's been patching her Jacob (Yarcob) til he's got no Britches at all

Anonymous said...

I was taught this in 1960.
I always thought it was yarcocts.

Sue J said...

I learnt this song as Little Mr Baggy Breeches when I was about 5 or 6 years old .. 1953 /54. I have a feeling it was in a pantomime I was performing in. For some reason it popped into my head this morning and I have been singing it repeatedly. I have not thought about this song since then .. the mind is an amazing thing as it came to me for no reason and I had no trouble remembering the lyrics. All of them! The most difficult line for me though was ... "Lena's been patching with(?) J(y)acob till he's got no breeches at all."

Anonymous said...

My 89-year-old mother's version (Sussex, UK) is

Little Mr Baggy Britches
Don't I love you
If you'll be my Sunday fellow
I'll patch them and patch them in pink and in purple and yellow
And folks wil say
As we sit on the old garden wall
Patch them and patch them and patch them
Till I've got no britches at all

jramage said...

I don’t know why I thought of this and just had to look up and check if I still had the words. My mum taught me friend and I this and made us little Dutch boy costumes to sing at our Girl Guide concert. I honestly didn’t know that it was so widely known. Great memories thank you all

jramage said...

I don’t know why I thought of this and just had to look up and check if I still had the words. My mum taught me friend and I this and made us little Dutch boy costumes to sing at our Girl Guide concert. I honestly didn’t know that it was so widely known. Great memories thank you all

Pammo63 said...

My mother used to sing this song to us on long car trips in the 1960's and 1970's. She was a singer in Eisteddfod's when he was young so maybe that's where she learnt it.

I was confused as to what "Yacob" was but I remember the song starting like this:

He was a fat little Hollander boy, he was watching the boats going by
Oh me, Oh my, he was watching the boats going by

She was a pink little Hollander girl, and she said from behind a big smile
If I can't put stitches in poor Yacob's breeches, much better than that I would die

Little Mister Baggy Britches, I love you.

If you'll be my Sunday fellow I'll patch 'em with purple, with pink and with yellow, and folks will say, as you lean on the old sea wall.
Lena's been patching poor Yacob till he's got no breeches at all

Ya, Ya Ya-ah
Patches big
Patches small
Ya, Ya, Ya-ah
Till he's got not breeches at all.

Hilary Joan said...

A lovely trip down memory lane. I tap danced to that song on the City Hall stage in Brisbane, Queensland Australia. It would have been about 1939 as I was about 8 years old. I remember being miffed because I was the boy in the duet as I had short straight hair . The girl had lovely fair curly hair. If you have done the maths you will see that I will be 91 in a few weeks but I can still remember all the words to little mister baggy britches. Thanks for sharing. Hilary Australia.

Sally Tough said...

I came across this blog when trying to find the song my mother used to sing to me when I was small. I’m now 70. Apparently her mother used to sing it to her and she was born in 1925 in Manchester. She thought it was Dutch. I always thought it was Little Mister Baggy Britches and it went

Little Mister Baggy Britches I love you,
If you’ll be my Sunday fellow I’ll patch them with purple, green and yellow,
And folks will say as you sit on the old sea wall,
Lena’s been patching your britches ‘til you’ve got no britches at all!

I only have a tune in my head for it and was unable to find it anywhere and so delighted to find your blog!

Kim Degg said...

Thank you for half solving our query! my niece reminded me of this song asking who was the singer... my mum n dad sang it to me ..early 60's and this has been passed down in the family. Can't find a singer but great to see the lyrics stuck with everyone.. kind regards..

Anonymous said...

I sang this in 1947 ,words are slightly different ...patch you in purple and pink and with yellow.......til he's got no britches at all

Anonymous said...

A lovely memory of my wife's Mum singing this to her and her sister as they swung on their home made swings on the porch of their farm house in New Zealand pre 1960.

Jocelyn Grace said...

This wee song was sung at Gore Main School production for parents in 1961. I was a purple flower. Lyrics have stayed with me ever since.

Anonymous said...

I'm very late to this party, but I learned this song from my organ/piano teacher and then sang it for a state opera kids chorus audition back around 1985 or 86? So forgive my rusty memory.

I do know the sheet music I had detailed the beginning as...

Little mister saggy britches, I love you.
If you'll be my Sunday fellow, I'll patch them with purple, with pink and with yellow.
And folks will say-ay, as we lean on the old sea wall,
Lena (sounds as lay-na) has patch-ed her Jacob (pronounced yacob) till he's got no britches at all.

I don't know if it was my esoteric song choice, or singing voice (or lack thereof). Anyway, I didn't get the part. Lol

Anonymous said...

Hi, My mum who is 96 did this song in a school concert in Manly NSW when she was 8 or 9... she still remembers the words and sang it to me today in her nursing home.