DIRTY OLD TOWN

Posted on Posted in Breedloves's Folk Songs

DIRTY OLD TOWN

 

“Dirty Old Town” is an English song written by Ewan MacColl in 1949 that was made popular by The Dubliners and has been recorded by many others.

The song was written about Salford, Greater Manchester, England, the city where MacColl was born and brought up. It was originally composed for an interlude to cover an awkward scene change in his 1949 play Landscape with Chimneys, set in a North of England industrial town, but with the growing popularity of folk music the song became a standard. The first verse refers to the Gasworks croft, which was a piece of open land adjacent to the Gasworks  and then speaks of the old canal, which was the Manchester Bolton & Bury Canal. The line in the original version about smelling a spring on “the Salford wind” is sometimes sung as “the sulphured wind”. But in any case, most singers tend to drop the Salford reference altogether, in favour of calling the wind “smoky”.

 

Found my love by the gaswork croft

Dreamed a dream by the old canal

Kissed my girl by the factory wall

Dirty old town, dirty old town

 

I heard a siren from the dock

Saw a train set the night on fire

Smelled the spring on the sulfured wind

Dirty old town, whoa-oh, dirty old town

 

We’re goin’ to take a good sharp axe

Shining steel teFound my love by the gaswork croft

Dreamed a dream by the old canal

Kissed my girl by the factory wall

Dirty old town, dirty old town

 

I heard a siren from the dock

Saw a train set the night on fire

Smelled the spring on the sulfured wind

Dirty old town, whoa-oh, dirty old town

 

We’re goin’ to take a good sharp axe

Shining steel tempered in the fire

And we’ll chop you down like an old dead tree

Dirty old town, dirty old town

Dirty old town, whoa-oh, dirty old town

 

And oh we’ll chop you down

Oh, dirty, dirty, dirty old town

Dirty old town, dirty old town

And oh whoa-oh dirty old town

Chop you down one of these days

mpered in the fire

And we’ll chop you down like an old dead tree

Dirty old town, dirty old town

Dirty old town, whoa-oh, dirty old town

 

And oh we’ll chop you down

Oh, dirty, dirty, dirty old town

Dirty old town, dirty old town

And oh whoa-oh dirty old town

Chop you down one of these days