A select group tried out some new songs and recitations around the fire in Dodds. Very enjoyable. More anon, when this writer gets the time!
Tony sang (not all at the same time) the Greenmore Hare, the King’s Shilling, The Bantry Girl’s lament and:
The cocks are crowing, daylight is appearing
It's drawing nigh to the break of day
Arise my darling, out of your slumbers
Arise my darling, and come away.
And he included the verse which has caused much discussion on the Mudcat Café:
If the Killy Boyne, it were mine in the chorus
And the green fields, they were mine, and wide
If my pen were made of the temper-ed steel, sure
My true love's praises I could never write.
Mudcat: What's a killy boyne? You’ll have to check out Mudcat Café yourself to find out what the theories and opinions were.
Frank had The Lowlands of Holland, a song from the 1770s. Again, from Mudcat: “... in some versions Holland may have been New Holland, the former name for Australia, which has perhaps been confused with the Dutch East Indies. This may explain the strange description of Holland in the third verse or the "sugar cane" mentioned in other versions.”
Frank also sang a local song composed 60 years ago, telling about a dispute between two neighbours over a goat. James Dillon was minister at the time; Clement Attlee was Prime Minister in England. Jim Dillon, you did it, you scoundrel... You won’t find that one on Mudcat.
Breege started off with Once I had a fair young sweetheart ... “Go and leave me, I don't mind.”
She also sang her own song about the emigration of her uncle who had no future labouring for McDermottroe in Roscommon at the time. She made a great job of Banks of the Lee and Staunton’s Brae too.
George’s new song: I dropped in to the barbers shop, badly needing a shave... and had him swapping hats with a “toff”, then drinks and finally wives – Exchange is no robbery, so I don’t care.
Recitations on the night included Yeats’ Wild Swans at Coole from Martin and Frances’s Nancy Lee and the flea. Martin: Some are fast, more are slow: his own poem, inspired by Céilithe and the set dance gang.
Frances was “battered and scarred” and George was too, according to The sick note, written by Pat Cooksey in 1969. Its original title was Paddy and the Barrel, which he tells us (on Mudcat, of course) was based on Gerard Hoffnung's address to the Oxford Union, and this in turn had its origin in a more simple story dating back to the English music halls in the 1920s.
Here Paddy is, halfway through his sorry tale:
Now when those building bricks fell from the barrel to the floor,
I then outweighed the barrel so I started down once more,
I held on tightly to the rope as I flew to the ground
And I landed on those building bricks that were scattered all around.
Safe home now. See you for the Christmas session.