Deb Cowan did a nice recording of this on her Long Grey Line CD. She calls it "McGinnis Gets a Job." Spellings and alternate titles make this song a difficult one to locate. The version in the Digital Tradition is from Folk Songs of the Catskills, by Cazden Haufrecht and Studer (and it's an accurate transcription). Joe Hickerson and Lee Murdock recorded this song as "Last Winter Was a Hard One."
Here's the Traditional Ballad Index entry on this song:
Last Winter Was a Hard OneDESCRIPTION: Two Irish women lament the hard times. Neither woman's husband could find a job, and both families suffered. They curse the Italians who have arrived to take Irish jobs. They look forward to better times when their husbands find work
AUTHOR: Words: Jim O'Neil / Music: Jack Conroy
EARLIEST DATE: 1880 (sheet music)
KEYWORDS: work poverty unemployment foreigner hardtimes
FOUND IN: US(MA,MW) Canada(Mar)
REFERENCES (4 citations):
Dean, pp. 89-90, "When McGuinness Gets a Job" (1 text)
FSCatskills 98, "Last Winter Was a Hard One" (1 text+fragments, 1 tune)
Ives-DullCare, pp. 111-112,248, "Last Winter Was a Hard One" (1 text, 1 tune)
cf. "Longshoreman's Strike (The Poor Man's Family)" (theme)
Notes: The sheet music to this is "respectfully dedicated to comptroller John Kelly." John Kelly (1822-1886) was a New York politician. A one-time representative, the Dictionary of American Biography credits him with running Tammany Hall 1873-1882. Thus he would be the chief politician responsible for municipal employment.
See one version of "When McGuinness Gets a Job" [Sheet Music: digital id sm1880 11975], published in New York in 1880, at the Library of Congress American Memory site. - BS
The Ballad Index Copyright 2009 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.