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Origins: Whiskey You're the Divil

DigiTrad:
WHISKEY, YOU'RE THE DIVIL


Related threads:
Lyr Req: Whiskey You're My Darling (5)
Lyr Add: Whiskey you're the devil (18)
Lyr Req: Whisky, you're the devil (4) (closed)


GUEST,Bob Coltman 15 Oct 07 - 09:49 AM
GUEST,Bob Coltman 15 Oct 07 - 10:25 AM
Uncle_DaveO 15 Oct 07 - 10:42 AM
Lighter 15 Oct 07 - 06:33 PM
GUEST 15 Oct 07 - 07:15 PM
GUEST,Bob Coltman 15 Oct 07 - 07:52 PM
GUEST,Bob Coltman 15 Oct 07 - 10:06 PM
GUEST,Bob Coltman 15 Oct 07 - 10:15 PM
GUEST,Bob Coltman 15 Oct 07 - 10:29 PM
Maryrrf 15 Oct 07 - 11:08 PM
GUEST,lew becker 03 Aug 10 - 09:17 PM
meself 04 Aug 10 - 10:44 AM
GUEST,lew becker 04 Aug 10 - 06:09 PM
meself 04 Aug 10 - 11:16 PM
GUEST,Oz Childs 07 May 13 - 09:27 PM
Jim Dixon 15 May 13 - 07:30 PM
GUEST,JSkid 20 Feb 14 - 01:10 PM
GUEST,Chris Zajdler Simmons 25 Aug 14 - 11:00 AM
Big Al Whittle 25 Aug 14 - 12:48 PM
Mrrzy 25 Aug 14 - 11:50 PM
GUEST 21 Sep 16 - 08:29 PM
Mrrzy 21 Sep 16 - 10:07 PM
GUEST,seamus pender 09 Apr 17 - 08:24 AM
GUEST,anglo 09 Apr 17 - 10:37 PM
Teribus 10 Apr 17 - 03:20 AM
Lighter 10 Apr 17 - 09:54 AM
Jim Carroll 26 Apr 17 - 08:50 AM
GUEST,steve hassmer 10 Mar 18 - 07:47 AM
Lighter 10 Mar 18 - 08:03 AM
GUEST 10 Mar 18 - 08:10 AM
meself 10 Mar 18 - 11:44 AM
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Subject: Origins: Whiskey You're the Divil
From: GUEST,Bob Coltman
Date: 15 Oct 07 - 09:49 AM

Looking over the DT threads connected to "Whiskey You're the Divil," I didn't find any information about its origin. Sounds like it must have an interesting history. But the first I know of it is its performance by the Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem in the 1950s.

1.   Can anyone trace it back BEFORE Makem and the Clancys? Was it one of the Makem family's songs? Derived from Sarah Makem? Someone else? Could someone who has the Clancy Bros Songbook check the notes to see if they say anything about its history?

2.   I'm curious in particular because it sounds like a medley of two or three songs. There is the "Whiskey you're the divil" part, which is usually given as a refrain. It sounds as if it goes with the second verse, "Says the mother, do not wrong me."

3.   Then comes the first verse with its "marchin' off to Portugal and Spain" part, which sounds like a piece of a different song -- perhaps a soldier's song? -- and yet another refrain, "Love, fare thee well." This seems to go best with the third verse, which has a French war theme.

4.   Then there's "Tithery aye the oodle um a da" or equivalent, with "whiskey in the jar," a phrase we know from at least one other song, "Kilgarry (or far famed Kerry, etc.) Mountain." Yet another refrain! From yet another song?

5   I have long had a hunch that "Whiskey in the jar," which sounds tacked onto both songs, might be the remnant of a separate (lost?) drinking song called "Whiskey in the Jar." Does anyone have an opinion on this, or know of such a song?

6   Then, if this song really is a medley, does anyone have any information on who first put it together? Could it date back to some earlier Irish singing group? (The McNulty Family comes to mind, but there were many more.)

Thanks all, Bob


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Subject: RE: Origins: Whiskey You're the Divil
From: GUEST,Bob Coltman
Date: 15 Oct 07 - 10:25 AM

Joe, I meant to title this thread "Origins: Whiskey You're the Divil," but a brain cell must have gone bzzzt. If you get a chance, would you add "Origins" to the title for me? Thanks, Bob
    Gotcha covered, Bob. -Joe-


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Subject: RE: Whiskey You're the Divil
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 15 Oct 07 - 10:42 AM

"Whiskey In The Jar" is NOT lost. It's the one you referred to as "Kilgarry Mountain". I haven't looked at it at this moment, but I'd bet heavy money it's in the DT.   

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: Origins: Whiskey You're the Divil
From: Lighter
Date: 15 Oct 07 - 06:33 PM

Bob, the song appears to descend largely from the broadside "John and Moll," dated by the Bodleian to some time between 1790 amd 1840:

http://bodley24.bodley.ox.ac.uk/cgi-bin/acwwweng/ballads/image.pl?ref=Harding+B+25(976)&id=09760.gif&seq=1&size=0

O'Neill has a hornpipe called "Whiskey, You're the Devil," which is really the same as "Off to California," but in the key of A.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Whiskey You're the Divil
From: GUEST
Date: 15 Oct 07 - 07:15 PM

Chorus:

"Whiskey, you're the divil,
You're leadin' me astray!
Over hills and mountains,
And to Amerikay.
You're sweeter, stronger, decent-er,
You're spunkier than tay;
Oh, whiskey, you're me darlin' drunk or sober."

I always thought it sounded almost like a compendium of immigration, drinking, rebellion and conscription or anti-war songs, all rolled into one. As indicated, I, too,first heard this done by the Clancy Brothers, circa 1959. There is a part that goes, "...Men are dying hot and cowardly; Give every man his flask of powder, his firelock on his shoulder, Love, fare thee well......"


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Subject: RE: Origins: Whiskey You're the Divil
From: GUEST,Bob Coltman
Date: 15 Oct 07 - 07:52 PM

Uncle DaveO, I was speculating whether there might be a preceding song "Whiskey In the Jar" from which "Kilgarry Mountain" later drew part or all of its chorus. I think that's a serious possibility.

Lighter, thanks for that reference. I'll have to wait till I can get on another computer. For some reason I'm unable to access the Bodleian from this one. I'm eagerly looking forward to seeing that broadside.

Bob


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Whiskey You're the Divil
From: GUEST,Bob Coltman
Date: 15 Oct 07 - 10:06 PM

Back from a wild 'n wooly trip through the Bodleian and some other sources too. It appears that much of my instinct about "Whiskey You're the Divil" is borne out. This is the first of several messages in which I'll try to lay out the song's origins (found!) and disentangle its different parts.

First, and most important, a lucky find of a reference on Liam Clancy's messageboard --

http://www.liamclancy.com/cgi-bin/teemz/teemz.cgi?board=_master&action=opentopic&topic=1176&forum=Messageboard

-- tipped me to a series of messages. After some discussion of "Whiskey You're the Divil," a contributor, Sean, states that "the song was written in America by a Jewish-American lawyer for a friend of his who was an Irish-American judge." Sean located the sheet music at American Memory.

I traced that sheet music. It credits the song to Jerry Barrington, the "great Irish vocalist." He wrote and published it in 1873 for James Bracken, Esq. of New York. The words are substantially the same.

(By the way, Sean cites Tommy Makem as stating that the Clancy Bros. never recorded the song. Untrue. They did it on their Tradition LP "Come Fill a Glass With Us" as "Whiskey You're the Devil," with Liam soloing. The notes say Patrick Clancy learned the song from his grandmother.)

Here is the Barrington original. Note the variance in the refrain. But "Whiskey in the jar" does appear -- borrowed, it would seem, from the earlier "Kilgarry Mountain," which appears in four apparently identical broadsides, the oldest dating between 1846 and 1854.

(It may seem quixotic, but I still insist it's worth searching for an EARLIER "Whiskey in the Jar" song from which "Kilgarry Mountain" and its later versions like "Whiskey in the Bar" derived their chorus line.)

WHISKEY YOU'RE THE DIVIL

Written and composed by Jerry Barrington, Arr. by R. Steirly. Published by E. H. Harding, 288 Bowery, NY 1873.

Now brave boys we're on for marching off to Portigil [sic] and Spain,
Drums are beating, colors flying, divil a home we'll go again,
Love farewell.

Cho: With my Re arruh arrah, with my re arrul arrah,
         My re arruh a raddy, Oh! There's Whiskey in the jar.
         Oh! Whiskey you're the Divil, you've led me astray,
         Over hills and over mountains, and out of the way,
         You're stronger, sweeter, decent, and spunk-er than tea,
         Oh whiskey you're my darling, drunk or sober.

Says the mother, do not wrong me, do not take my daughter from me,
If you do I will torment you, and after death my ghost will haunt you,

Now the drums are beating boldly, men are dying hot and coldly,
Give ev'ry man his flask of powder, and his firelock on his shoulder,


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Subject: Lyr Add: JOHN AND MOLL
From: GUEST,Bob Coltman
Date: 15 Oct 07 - 10:15 PM

The broadside "John and Moll" to which Lighter referred me, dated by the Bodleian to between 1790 and 1840, does seem to be the root of the military part of "Whiskey You're the Divil." Plainly Barrington, in composing his song, remembered some lines from it. The broadside runs as follows.

JOHN AND MOLL

As John and Moll did lie composed
On a bed of sweet primroses;
Colours flying, drums a-beating,
March, my lads, there's no retreating,

Cho:   Love, farewell, darling, farewell,
          For we are all for marching.

O, soldier dear, pray do not wrong me,
Do not take my daughter from me,
If you do, I shall torment you,
And after death my ghost shall haunt you,

O mother dear, I will not wrong you,
Neither take your daughter from you,
If I do, you shall torment me,
After death your ghost shall haunt me,

Our captain cries, Lads, all be ready,
March, my boys, let's all be steady,
There's every man with his ball and powder,
And every lad his firelock on his shoulder,

Hark, I hear the drums are beating,
March, my boys, there's no retreating,
Drums are beating, colours flying,
Cannons roaring, soldiers dying,

Farewell my dear, since I must leave you,
Do not let my absence grieve you,
If you wait for my returning,
I will [ease?] you of your mourning [moaning?],

[The final line is badly blotted in the broadside copy and difficult to read.]


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Subject: RE: Origins: Whiskey You're the Divil
From: GUEST,Bob Coltman
Date: 15 Oct 07 - 10:29 PM

Miscellany:

The Bodleian also has a song called "The Whiskey," not related, but it has two intriguing opening lines with the same sentiment:

Whiskey, you are my own darling,
I love you both early and late, ...

And finally, it's interesting that the four-line melody of

"Whiskey you're the divil, you're leadin' me astray,
Over hills and mountains, and [to Americay],
You're sweeter, cleaner, decenter, you're spunkier nor tay,
Oh whiskey, you're my darling, drunk or sober"

is echoed closely, though not exactly, in the 1913 pop song "Too Ra Loo Ra Loo Ral (That's an Irish Lullaby," written by James Royce Shannon (1881-1946), which premiered in the show "Shameen Dhu" produced by Chauncey Olcott, and later became a hit for Bing Crosby, who sang it in "Going My Way" (1944). Seems as if Shannon had been listening hard to Barrington's song!

"Toora" has had a long life and is still current as a favorite lullaby:

Toora loora loora, toora loora li,
Toora loora loora, hush now, don't you cry,
Toora loora loora, toora loora li,
Toora loora loora, that's an Irish lullaby.

A version was done by The Band on The Last Waltz. Info from:
http://theband.hiof.no/lyrics/tura_lura_lural.html

Bob


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Subject: RE: Origins: Whiskey You're the Divil
From: Maryrrf
Date: 15 Oct 07 - 11:08 PM

Bob, thanks for researching this. I too had wondered about the origins of the song.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Whiskey You're the Divil
From: GUEST,lew becker
Date: 03 Aug 10 - 09:17 PM

If anyone is still interested in this thread - I came across a song published in the Fireman's Songster published by A. Winch in Philadelphia with a copyright date of 1868. One song is "Whisky, You're a Villyan." It says - "as sung by Frank Drew. Music published by Marsh's 1029 Chestnut Street". Chestnut Street is a Philadelphia address.

Words are:
Whisky you're a villyan, you led me astray,
Over bogs, over briers, and out of my way,
You wrestled me a fall and you threw me today,
But I'll toss you tomorrow, when I'm sober.

Still whisky you're my comfort by night and by day,
You're stronger and sweeter and spunkier than tay,
One naggin of spirits is worth tuns of bohay,
But above a pint I never could get over.

3d verse - omitted by me.


So goodbye whisky jewel, it's the last word I'll say,
Shake hands and part friends, now I'll stick to bohay,
There's a bade on your lip! Let me kiss it away-
Acushla, you're my darling drunk or sober.

The resemblance to the song made famous by the Clancys is very clear. To me it suggests that there was a well known song before Barrington's copyright in 1873.

Lew Becker


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Subject: RE: Origins: Whiskey You're the Divil
From: meself
Date: 04 Aug 10 - 10:44 AM

Two questions that demand to be answered: 1) What is "bohay"?; and, 2) Why did you omit the third verse?

No, three questions: 3) Can we see the third verse?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Whiskey You're the Divil
From: GUEST,lew becker
Date: 04 Aug 10 - 06:09 PM

I think, from the context, that "bohay" must refer to wine. I did a brief Google search and found some wine under "bohae". But I don't know.

I omitted the third verse to save myself some typing in case no one was interested in the thread. Here's the verse -

Sweet whisky, you're a coaxer, I'd best keep away,
If your lips I once taste, sure its wid you I'd stay,
So I'll make up my mind, and my mouth too, this day,
To drink no more whisky till I'm sober.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Whiskey You're the Divil
From: meself
Date: 04 Aug 10 - 11:16 PM

Ah, thank you, sir. I can now sleep easy, drunk or sober.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Whiskey You're the Divil
From: GUEST,Oz Childs
Date: 07 May 13 - 09:27 PM

Bohay = Bohea (Chinese black tea)


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Subject: Lyr Add: WHISKEY YOU'RE A VILLYAN (Frank Drew)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 15 May 13 - 07:30 PM

Here's a more complete version of the broadside that Lew Becker referred to above, which can be viewed at Brown University Digital Repository. This copy keeps the original spelling and punctuation:


WHISKEY, YOU'RE A VILLYAN.
Written and sung by Mr. Frank Drew.
Entered according to Act of Congress A. D. 1865, by J. Marsh, in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the Eastern District of Pa.

Oh! Whiskey you're a villyan, you led me astray,
Over bogs, over briers, an' out of my way,
You wrastled me a fall, an' you threw me to-day,
    But I'll toss you to-morrow when I'm sober.
            Whiskey, you're a villyan, &c.

Still Whiskey you're my comfort, by night an' by day,
You're stronger, an' are sweeter, an' spunkier than tay,
One naggin o' spirits is worth tons of Bohay,
    But above a pint I never could get over.
            Whiskey, you're a villyan, &c.

Sweet Whiskey, you're a coaxer, I'd best keep away,
If you're lips I once taste, sure it's wid you I'd stay,
So I'll make up my mind, an' my mouth, too, this day,
    To drink no more Whiskey till I'm sober.
            Whiskey, you're a villyan, &c.

So good bye, Whiskey, jewel, it's the last word I'll say,
Shake hands and part friends, now I'll stick to Bohay,
There's a bade on your lip! let me kiss it away,
    Acushla, you're my darlin', drunk or sober.
            Whiskey, you're a villyan, &c.

J. Marsh
Music Publisher,
No. 1029 Chestnut Street, Philada


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Subject: RE: Origins: Whiskey You're the Divil
From: GUEST,JSkid
Date: 20 Feb 14 - 01:10 PM

Maybe I go too far, but could the deepest roots of this song come from all the way back to the Nine Years War?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Whiskey You're the Divil
From: GUEST,Chris Zajdler Simmons
Date: 25 Aug 14 - 11:00 AM

Apparently JOHN AND MOLL also was apparently rewritten during the Napoleonic Wars as LOVE FAREWELL. Some of the verses are the same - or nearly the same. The refrain for LOVE FAREWELL is simply "Love Farewell".


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Subject: RE: Origins: Whiskey You're the Divil
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 25 Aug 14 - 12:48 PM

thanks for this thread - a lovely insight into the folk process, the different syntheses that singers and writers have made for their various times in history and disparate audiences.

love Mudcat and Mudcatters!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Whiskey You're the Divil
From: Mrrzy
Date: 25 Aug 14 - 11:50 PM

Boy I love this place. This seemed like such a standard drinking song I never wondered about the origins (I had it from the Clancy Brothers too)... and I had a little mondegreen for a while, since they pronounce Boldly and Coldly as if they had a few more syllables than we Americans use, I heard them dying as hot or cowardly... even though I had understood bowedly to mean boldly, go figure.

Fascinating stuff, do tell more.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Whiskey You're the Divil
From: GUEST
Date: 21 Sep 16 - 08:29 PM

My mondegreen for this was "Over hills and mountains, until I'm married gay."


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Subject: RE: Origins: Whiskey You're the Divil
From: Mrrzy
Date: 21 Sep 16 - 10:07 PM

Love this place.

So was it a particular war they were off to, in Iberia?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Whiskey You're the Divil
From: GUEST,seamus pender
Date: 09 Apr 17 - 08:24 AM

Any one familiar with this version "Whiskey you're my darlin' you wear a gold crown, whiskey you're my darlin' come dance me round & round...."


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Subject: RE: Origins: Whiskey You're the Divil
From: GUEST,anglo
Date: 09 Apr 17 - 10:37 PM

There's a version of Love Farewell in Lewis Winstock's Songs & Music of the Redcoate. Also recorded, by one of the Druids I think, on the LP (Argo?) of many of these songs.

There's also a version of John And Molly recorded on Louth Mouths from Drogheda, Donal Maguire et al.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Whiskey You're the Divil
From: Teribus
Date: 10 Apr 17 - 03:20 AM

Verse one of the version we used to sing was

"Brave boys are all for marchin'
To Portugal and Spain
Down the street their banners flyin'
Devils own they'll be tonight
And Love fare the well"

Etc.

Last verse went

"Now the French are fighting boldly
Dying all too coldly
Give everyman his flask of powder
And his flintlock ower his shoulder
And Love fare thee well"

Would seem to put that in the Napoleonic era and of the time of Wellington. The reference to the "flask of powder" might seem at first anachronistic as the smoothbore muskets of this era fired premade charges made in paper cartridges, the flintlock Baker Rifles however did not, so the song in this version would indicate 95th or, more likely with the reference to America the 60th Rifles.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Whiskey You're the Divil
From: Lighter
Date: 10 Apr 17 - 09:54 AM

Barrington's 1873 song is interesting proof that a song *about* something (in this case the Peninsular War) may have been composed long after the event.

Since "Amerikay" isn't in Barrington's original, it probably edged its way in as more interesting and euphonious than "out of the way."

As for "firelocks" and "flasks of powder," there's no need to assume that Barrington was a military historian.

The song may have been composed (or rewritten as the case may be) as part of a long lost vaudeville skit of the 1870s.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Whiskey You're the Divil
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 26 Apr 17 - 08:50 AM

"Lewis Winstock's Songs & Music of the Redcoate. "
This is Winstock's note on the song which places it in the period of the American War of Independence
Jim Carroll

Yet this song, so unmistakably Irish in melody and words, almost certainly had its origin in an English nine-verse broadside ballad of the American War of Independence.

2nd verse
The drums are beating to alarm them,
We wish to stay still in your arms.
But we must go and cross the ocean,
The Americans keep us all in motion,
A long farewell.

4th verse
I think I hear my brother crying,
'March, my lads, the colours flying.
Our cause is just, we'll be victorious,
If we're killed our death is glorious,

7th verse
Dear mothers, weep not for us,
We're going to fight for Britain's glory.
Our country calls, our courage to display.
The drums are beating, there's no delay.

This ballad may have been written with an established Irish melody in mind, or the melody may have been composed for the words by some forgotten Irish fiddler or harpist, or words and tune may just have been thrown together because they happened to suit. Whatever the circum¬stances may be, hove farewell is certainly an Anglo-Irish hybrid.
Only one traditional English song was found in the redcoats' repertoire, but it is a melody of great beauty that belies the critics who pretended, throughout the 19th century, that the English soldier was incapable of singing any but the simplest tunes. In 1807 a needless campaign was undertaken in Egypt, then a province of the Turkish Empire. The British occupied Alexandria, but their attempts to venture further afield were effectively halted by an Albanian general named Mehemmet Ali. The night before a disastrous foray which ended in the Battle of El Hamed, an infantry commissary sang a "gay old English carol" in the cold of the desert, and twenty or thirty voices came in on the chorus.68 The carol was called The owl.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Whiskey You're the Divil
From: GUEST,steve hassmer
Date: 10 Mar 18 - 07:47 AM

Hi all,

Wow! What a great source of information!! posting this question here as it looks like the most recent replies were here:

What does the lyric "rikes fall, tour a laddie" or "me right fol torral addee" mean?

Have seen both .... I am going to be singing this song, but don't know what this lyric means. Any insight would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Whiskey You're the Divil
From: Lighter
Date: 10 Mar 18 - 08:03 AM

Like "doodly doodly doo," meaningless sounds to make to the music.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Whiskey You're the Divil
From: GUEST
Date: 10 Mar 18 - 08:10 AM

Ah!! Explains why I couldn't find it! Thanks!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Whiskey You're the Divil
From: meself
Date: 10 Mar 18 - 11:44 AM

Either that - or it's an ancient Druid magic spell that turns beer green on one day of the year - when the sun is in the proper position, of course.


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