The Music of Electoral Treating in Liverpool
♫ Listen to it here ♫
This song supporting Henry Rawlinson’s campaign for the Liverpool election of 1780 calls on ‘lads who wish to poll’ to head to a particular location: the Talbot Inn, where Rawlinson’s supporters met, and were given free alcohol, during the election. Set to the lively drinking tune ‘Push about the Jorum’ – a jorum is a large drinking bowl and its contents —, the song encourages and may have accompanied Rawlinson’s ‘treating’ activities at the Talbot, as well as being sung by ballad singers in the streets.

Nancy Kerr’s version recaptures the persuasive convivial energy of this song, and the performance possibilities afforded by its focus on issues of gender – for example, its lines concerning the electoral involvement of ‘the ladies’ (and the restrictions on this involvement), which could have been sung by, and produced different responses from, women, as well as men.

‘A Song. To the Tune of, “Push about the Jorum”’, in A Collection of Papers, Addresses, Songs, &c. Printed on All Sides, During the Contest for Representatives in Parliament for the Borough of Liverpool ... (Liverpool, 1780), pp. 78-79, Copyright The Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford, Gough Lancs. 1 (1)