Constant Billy jig

There are 6 recordings of this tune.

Constant Billy has been added to 2 tune sets.

Constant Billy has been added to 26 tunebooks.

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One setting

1
X: 1
T: Constant Billy
R: jig
M: 6/8
L: 1/8
K: Gmaj
|:D|G2 d BGB|c2 A F2 D|BAG E2 E|DEF G2:|
|:d|Bcd e2 e|ABc d2 d|Bcd e2 e|ABc def|
g2 d BGB|c2 A F2 D|BAG E2 E|DEF G2:|

Nine comments

Constant Billy

A tune that’s sometimes played at the Golden Guinea pub session, Bristol, UK. It’s a Cotswold morris tune.

Constant Billy

Here’s setting from an 1831 Manuscript by a Wm. Egan https://archive.org/details/WmEganBook
I’m pasting it here because it’s in 3/8 and the setting tab defaults to 6/8.
X: 1
T: Constant Billy
R: jig
M: 3/8
L: 1/8
K: Gmaj
|: G2d | B2G| c2 A |FD2 |B>AG|E>DC|D2F|G2z :|
|: c2d |ecA| B2c |dBG | E2d |
d^cd|ed^c| d2e/f/| g2d|BG2|c2A|
FD2|B>AG|E>DC|D2F|G2z:||

I remember playing this with Golden Star Morris in Norfolk many years ago. I am sure it is in the black morris bible by Bacon.

Posted by .

Re: Constant Billy

Chanctonbury Ring Morris have used this tune for decades.

Re: Constant Billy

Nice little tune. I wonder what "constant" means in the context of the name of the tune. Perhaps loyal?

Re: Constant Billy

In a number of songs, ‘constant’ means ‘loyal and steadfast in love’; e.g., in ‘Johnny Todd*’: ‘if you will wed with me tomorrow / I will kind and constant be’. Maybe the same here, although I only know this as a Morris tune - I’ve not come across a song about this particular Billy.

*He’s the one ’ who took a notion / for to cross the ocean wide’ and whose girlfriend, at first distressed at being left behind, was fairly soon won over by a better offer, as above, plus the prospect of additional material goods.

Older Brits will be reminded of ‘Z Cars’ …

Posted by .

Re: Constant Billy

Bazza when I used to play for the Morris they would sing ‘oh my Billy my Constant Billy oh when shall I see my Billy again’ but I don’t remember the rest of the song.

Re: Constant Billy

Doesn’t sound as though Billy was all that constant, then, as far as the lass (presumably) was concerned.

Posted by .

Re: Constant Billy

Interesting. I had presumed constant to mean loyal, like a constant companion. I agree, Billy does not sound constant at all!