The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #5522   Message #3358469
Posted By: GUEST,Trevor Hanson
02-Jun-12 - 03:55 PM
Thread Name: Lyr Req: Johnny MacAdoo / Johnny McEldoo
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Johnny MacAdoo / Johnny McEldoo
I'm quite surprised to see this assertion, above: "I understood Tommy Makem copyrights everything he records as if it were his own, even traditional songs." In my experience, Tommy was scrupulous about attributions, taking the issue very seriously. In performance, he usually made a point of mentioning sources.

It is true, of course, that many songs Tommy did actually write eventually became so well know that many believed them to be traditional songs; and I also believe he had some issues with his publishers, who may have asserted copyrights that he did not agree with. (And of course, many of his songs were set to traditional airs. As everybody here knows, the lyrics are considered the more important element of authorship, not the associated air.)

Regarding Johnny McEldoo, the Clancys & Makem songbook cited above states "New words, arranged and adapted by Tommy Makem" with a copyright date of 1961; this would seem about right. The other recordings mentioned above would all seem to postdate this.

As I recall, Tommy told the story that he collected the original version of this song from an old man in Armaugh, who didn't remember all the verses -- in which case there would certainly be a need for new lyrics. I think I first heard him report this around 1985...though I can't recall whether this was told on stage or to me personally.

I do seem to recall an old Clancys & Makem album featuring local musicians from their homes, on which an obviously old man sang Johnny McEldoo at a sedate tempo. However I can't find it on my shelves any longer.

At any rate, I do take exception to the insult posted above (in 2005) which does not at all sound like the Tommy Makem I knew, nor does it make much sense given his lifelong support for traditional music.