the song
title : Shirt and comb
written by : Peter Blegvad
song copyright : © 1991 Virgin Music (Publishers) Ltd ?
source recording : Peter Blegvad, recorded this on his King Strut and other stories album (1991)

the performance
Eddi Reader vocal
Teddy Borowiecki guitar
key : F sharp major
time-signature : 4/4
tempo : MM 74
form : V V V V b V V V b

provided for research and private study only (see above for copyright details):

Shirt and comb

he came home downcast that day
the bearer of bad news
she smiled at him as he came in
as he stood there in his muddy shoes

he loved her so his poor heart cracked
in telling what was told, ah
her smile froze, her mouth went slack
and his grief oppressed him double-fold

he said “I’m not the master of my fate
as I would wish to be
but I’m leaving now and I can’t be late
they ship out tonight and they’re taking me

“Our mission’s still a mystery
I’m just one of many men
who must leave their homes and their families
and might not pass this way again.”

she said “I’ll come with you my love
I’m not afraid nor weak, now I will
bind my breasts and crop my hair
and I’ll speak low just like a boy would speak.”

“But you cannot come with me, my love
for they do not take volunteers
oh but there’s one thing to you I’ll swear
though I may be gone for many years

“no shirt shall ever touch my skin
nor comb go through my hair
and I’ll think on the bed you’re in
and I’ll wish that I were lying with you there.”

the recording
produced by : Greg Penny
recorded by : Teddy Borowiecki and Eddi Reader at 3am in Vancouver
mixed by : ? at ?
mastered by : ? at ?
track timing : 3:44
song timing : m:ss
released on
single : Patience of angels track 3
album : Eddi Reader (Japan, WPCR-45) track 13

although this song is written by Peter Blegvad, it has a number of elements of English folk-song, particularly in the woman’s offer to join the armed forces disguised as a man to remain with her husband
Adrian Dover