The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #129161   Message #2896790
Posted By: Jim Dixon
29-Apr-10 - 02:51 PM
Thread Name: Lyr Add/Origins: When McGuiness Gets a Job
This is related to LAST WINTER WAS A HARD ONE in the DT. I don't think there has ever been a thread devoted to this family of songs, although there is some discussion of yet another version called CHEER UP, MRS RILEY in the thread Lyr Req: James M. Carpenter Shanties & Sea Songs.

From Flying Cloud: And One Hundred and Fifty Other Old Time Songs and Ballads of ... by Michael Cassius Dean (Virginia, Minn.: The Quickprint, 1922), page 89:


1. Last winter was a hard one, Mrs. Riley, did you say?
Faith, myself it is that knows it for many a long day.
Your old man wasn't the only one that sat behind the wall.
There was my old man McGuiness didn't get a job at all.
The contractors they promised him work on the boulevard,
To handle the pick and shovel and throw dirt on the car.
Six weeks ago they promised him that work he'd surely get,
But believe me, my good woman, they're promising him yet.

CHORUS: Then cheer up, Mrs. Riley. Don't give way to the blues.
You and I will cut a shine with bonnets and new shoes,
And as for me, I have done a-sighing. No more I'll cry or sob,
But I'll wait till times get better and McGuiness gets a job.

2. The Italians, devil take them, why don't they stay at home?
Sure, we have enough of our own sort to eat up all our own.
They come like bees in summer and in winter they go away.
The contractors hire hundreds for sixty cents a day.
They work upon the railroad; they shovel dirt and slush;
But there is one thing in their favor: Italians never lush.
They always bring their money home; they drink no beer or wine;
And that's something I would like to say about your old man and mine.

3. The spring time is coming and soon we'll all get work.
McGuiness will go back to his trade. Sure he's a handsome clerk.
You should see him climb the ladder, as nimble as a fox.
Faith, he's the boy that can juggle the old three-cornered box.
The boss he's always bawling, "Hi there! don't you stop.
Keep your eyes upward. Don't let no mortar drop."
My old man is very careful; nothing he e'er lets fall;
And damn the word you'd hear him say to my old man at all.