The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #33532   Message #447657
Posted By: Susanne (skw)
23-Apr-01 - 06:39 PM
Thread Name: Lyr ADD: The Writing of Tipperary (Bill Caddick)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Bill Caddick's The Writing of Tipper
Here's some of what I found out about the events mentioned in the song. I'll post it here as 'W' is the one letter missing from Henry's Songbook.

[c. 1978:] [Jack Judge, the author of It's a Long Way To Tipperary'] is now immortalised in song, for earlier this year Wolverhampton folk singer Bill Caddick, former member of Magic Lantern, wrote a song about 'the writing of Tipperary'. Says Bill, I was looking through a book called 'The Black Country' by Edward Chitham and saw a brief mention about Jack Judge and his wager. It struck me as a good idea and I decided to try and write a short song about it. Which I did. - Then I was looking through another book which someone had given me, 'The Silver Jubilee Book', which covers the major national events of the early 1900s, and I wrote a song about this. The First World War marked an end of an era because no end of songs and dances died out during the war and the years leading up to it. However, few songs have been written about that era. After writing these two songs I realised that the writing of Tipperary was a very small event in the midst of all the world events of that time, yet it probably had more effect than all the rest, so I tried to join both songs together as one. Although, at first, I thought it was too long and cumbersome I found it worked and that's how The Writing of Tipperary evolved. And as one line in Bill's song says of Judge, "The song he made and sang that day, we never shall forget." (Folk Review, ???)

[1989:] I discovered that Tipperary in the song had nothing to do with the town Tipperary in Ireland. 'Tipperary' was the name the soldiers gave to the brothel area of Soho in London before the start of the First World War, and that's why they sang it. (Intro Iain MacKintosh)

[1990:] Tipperary was actually written in 1912, and was sung even in the army before the war. [...] It is probably not quite true to claim globally, that 'troops came to loathe it' or 'were nauseated by it'. Doubtless it was heard too often, and became simply boring, but although its triviality seems inappropriate to the war in which it is now so firmly embedded, it became a war song just as much as any regimental march. [...] The song as such tells of an Irishman wanting to return to his own country. But in its reception by soldiers from England in 1914 the emphasis was - as has been pointed out - on the farewell to Piccadilly, Leicester Square, and so on, as well as on the abstracted notions of 'it's a long way to go' and 'my heart's right there'. (Murdoch, Fighting Songs 72f)

[1990:] It's A Long Way To Tipperary is commonly regarded as being the song of the First World War. It has a catchy tune; it had been the hit song of 1913 and, in those days before the advent of electronic mass-entertainment, its appeal had by no means worn out a year later [...]. Those soldiers certainly sang it and the circumstances caught the popular imagination and made the song immortal. But Tipperary was a soldiers' song only briefly and by association. It was as remote from the experience of the First World War as two decades later the anodyne sentiments of The White Cliffs of Dover [...]. (A Long Way To Tipperary soon descended on the lips of the soldiers to a parody of which the only printable lines were "That's the wrong way to tickle Mary, it's the wrong way, you know".) (Lyn Macdonald in Palmer, Lovely War 1)

Not much about Jack Judge, I'm afraid, but I was interested to hear a biography of him exists.