The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #66702   Message #1109502
Posted By: Bob Bolton
04-Feb-04 - 06:09 PM
Thread Name: Whiskey in the Jar - Irish? Appalachian?
Subject: RE: Whiskey in the Jar - Irish? Appalachian?
G'day all,

Len Wallace: Interestingly, when Australian folklorist Ron Edwards had a grant to view all the broadsides in major British (that's geographically British ... so it includes Republic of Ireland) collections, he found that the oldest broadside version of Black Velvet Bands in all the collections had the same town ... Barking! (Apparently the sort of suburb where a poor young London Apprentice would find digs ... ?). I had always thought that local broaside printer had used their nearest large city name ... but, I seem to be wrong!

cobber: Just as interestingly, a lot of the source songs for Australian songs of the 19th century were American:

Click go the Shears is a direct parody of Henry Clay Work's song Ring the Bell, Watchman, celebrating the end of the American Civil War. The British sailor's song Ring the Bell, Second Mate, is also a direct parody of the original - and, probably, contemporary with Click go the Shears. Old dance music players in Australia still know the tune (popular as a schottische ... and, later, as a barn dance) as Ring the Bell, Watchman.

A number of Clay's popular songs of the 1860s turn up in Australian collected versions - His Ship That Never Returned (which, much later, gave us the MTA Song on American Hit Parades) has an Australian timbergetter's version, generally called Only One More Drink or The Man That Never Returned. There are a number of other examples of Clay's songs sprouting Australian songs, e.g. the later goldrush song The Golden Gullies of the Palmer - with its "Music Hall" origins - but using the tune of Clay's Marching Thro' Georgia ... anyway, I need to get back to work!

The song collected in an Australian version as The Gum Tree Canoe (not a Clay song ... I need to look up the origins ...) is a localisation of an American song of the same name ... about a canoe of Mississipi Red Gum!

These are just random examples ... but we should never fall into the trap of claiming "British" ( ... or "English" ... or "Irish") origins for all our songs.


Bob Bolton