A Pint of Old Peculier

OLD PECULIER is a grand drinking song composed in 1979 by the late Keith Marsden (d. 1991).  Although I’ve heard a friend or associate here and there sing this song, I finally decided to learn it from the singing of John Patcai.  Old Peculier is a rather famous beer from North Yorkshire, England (note the spelling of the beer name).  It was made especially known here in the US by the singing of Dick Holdstock and Alan MacLeod, with their classic two-voice English singing style.  Keith had begun a band named Cockersdale which still sings today.

It must be said that while there is a fervent desire to make a connection between a favourite song and a preferred historical setting, this is a song from the 20th century “in the old style” and NOT from the 18th century… I have heard at least one performer at a historical setting assert that it comes from the 18th century, and it has been taken up by a “pirate” group or two at Renaissance Faires.  Lovely that they would sing it, but it’s important to relate the origins of every song accurately.

Jos. Morneault


Some men take cider in the spring / to make the sap rise frisky,
And when the Autumn mists come on / they drive them out with whiskey.
Some say there’s nought like English ale / in Summers heat to cool yer
But I’ve one drink all seasons round / a pint of Old Peculier.

Chorus: A pint of Old, a pint of Old, a pint of Old Peculier,
Yes I’ve one drink all seasons round – a pint of Old Peculier.

For ague, gout some men take rum / for fever some take brandy,
Some keep the Hollands standing nigh / some keep the porter handy.
Forswear I say these physics all I say / let no such doctors rule yer,
The one true cure; the nostrum sure / a pint of Old Peculier.


In youth long hours with maids I spent / tasting their delights, sir,
Though greatly I enjoyed their days / I much preferred their nights, sir.
I lost my heart to Kate and Jane / and sold my soul for Julia,
But now the ranting days are done / I’m left with Old Peculier.


If wife should nag or children err / or trusted friend betray you,
With the magic potion to your hand / these slights will not dismay you.
If peevish master with new tricks / or foolish ways would school yer,
Then find your consolation in / a pint of Old Peculier.


And when the years are drawing in / and fame past you has slid, sir,
Forget the maids who said they might / recall but those who did, sir.
Let cruel fact be lost in time / let kinder mem’ry fool yer,
And find your consolation in / a pint of Old Peculier.