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Dirty Old Town

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Ewan MacColl's classic folk song; originally written about Salford, Greater Manchester, England, the town where MacColl was born and brought up. It was originally composed for an interlude to cover an awkward scene change in his 1949 play Landscape with Chimneys, set in a North of England industrial town, but with the growing popularity of folk music the song became a standard.

Lyrics

I met my love by the gas works wall
I dreamed a dream by the old canal
And I kissed my girl by the factory wall
In the dirty old town
The dirty old town

Clouds a drifting across the moon
And cats are prowling on their beat
Springs a girl from the streets at night
In the dirty old town
Is'a dirty old town

I heard a siren from the docks
Saw a train set the night on fire
And I smelled the spring on the smoky wind
In the dirty old town
Dirty old town

Well I'm going to make me a big sharp axe
Of shining steel tempered in the fire
And I'll chop you down like an old dead tree
From the dirty old town
Dirty old town

Well I met my love by the gas works wall
I dreamed a dream by the old canal
And I kissed a girl by the factory wall
In the dirty old town
Dirty old town
It's a dirty old town
It's a dirty old town
Dirty old town
It's a dirty old town