The Moving On Song

Frank Blair
(C)opyright © 1964 Ewan MacColl, published by Stormking Music


From the CD "An Bóithrín."


Between 1957 and 1965, Ewan MacColl collaborated with Peggy Seeger to produce a series of radio documentaries for BBC Radio called “The Radio Ballads.” They were a combination of field recorded speech, collected folk music, and new composition that broke ground in radio production. Thematically based, “The Moving On Song” was written for this series and was first broadcast as part of the show entited “The Travelling People” on April 17th, 1964. The production involved interviews across the British countryside and into Scotland. “The Moving On Song” quickly entered the folk repertoire, sometimes called “Go, Move, Shift”.

I’m not sure if my first exposure was from Christy Moore or Eddie Delahunt, an Irish native who played extensively around Kansas City during my time there. Either way, I’ve known the song for a long time.


Born in the middle of the afternoon
In a horse-drawn wagon on the old A5
The eighteen wheelers shook my bed
The policemen came and the little one said
You’d better get born in...someplace else

Move along, get along, 
Move along, get along, 
Go, move, shift

Born at the tattie lifting time
In a canvas tent in a tattie field
The farmer said the works all done
It’s time that you was moving on
You’d better get born in...someplace else

Born in a common by a building site
Where the ground is rutted by a trail of wheels
A local Christian says to me
You’re lowering the price of our property
Would you mind being born in someplace else?

Born at the back of a Hawthorne hedge
Where the white hoar-frost lay on the ground
No Eastern kings came bearing gifts
But the order came to shift
You’d better get born in...someplace else

The eastern sky was full of stars
But none shone brighter than the rest
The wise men came so stern and strict
And brought the order to evict
You’d better get born in...someplace else

Wagon, tent, or trailer born
Last month, last year, or in far off days
Born here or a thousand miles away
There’s always men nearby who’ll say
You’d better get born in...someplace else

Streaming Samples

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