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Origins: Billy O'Shea (shanty)

DigiTrad:
BILLY O'SHEA


Related thread:
Tune Req: Billy O'Shea (11)


Martin Ryan 25 Mar 97 - 10:40 AM
Barry Finn 25 Mar 97 - 08:19 PM
Martin Ryan 27 Mar 97 - 05:39 AM
Martin Ryan 27 Mar 97 - 05:55 AM
Barry Finn 27 Mar 97 - 06:47 AM
Louis Killen (killen@tscnet.com) 17 Apr 97 - 01:10 AM
dick greenhaus 17 Apr 97 - 09:45 AM
Louis Killen 18 Apr 97 - 01:26 PM
Martin Ryan 21 Apr 97 - 07:19 AM
Martin Ryan 08 May 97 - 06:27 AM
Barry Finn 23 Jun 98 - 09:46 PM
24 Jun 98 - 12:15 PM
Martin Ryan. 24 Jun 98 - 08:30 PM
Barry Finn 22 Jul 98 - 08:24 PM
Martin Ryan. 23 Jul 98 - 08:46 PM
Wolfgang 29 Jan 99 - 10:05 AM
George Henderson NSC 29 Jan 99 - 11:49 AM
George Henderson 29 Jan 99 - 03:57 PM
Martin _Ryan 30 Jan 99 - 07:17 AM
George Henderson 30 Jan 99 - 07:23 AM
Liam's Brother 30 Jan 99 - 01:10 PM
Martin _Ryan 01 Feb 99 - 04:12 PM
Liam's Brother 01 Feb 99 - 04:39 PM
01 Feb 99 - 08:13 PM
Liam's Brother 05 Feb 99 - 03:41 PM
Denny Maloy (shylight@hotmail.com) 05 Feb 99 - 05:16 PM
Martin _Ryan 05 Feb 99 - 07:20 PM
Liam's Brother 11 Feb 99 - 01:15 AM
Graemeknights@yahoo.com 19 Mar 99 - 08:49 PM
Martin _Ryan 20 Mar 99 - 07:07 AM
Liam's Brother 21 Mar 99 - 10:05 AM
Liam's Brother 21 Mar 99 - 10:15 AM
radriano 20 Sep 00 - 06:55 PM
A Wandering Minstrel 21 Sep 00 - 09:54 AM
Liam's Brother 21 Sep 00 - 04:37 PM
radriano 21 Sep 00 - 05:06 PM
GUEST 30 May 02 - 02:08 PM
JenEllen 30 May 02 - 02:17 PM
JenEllen 30 May 02 - 02:40 PM
GUEST,Pete MacNab Macanabba @ AOL.com 30 May 02 - 02:43 PM
Herga Kitty 30 May 02 - 05:48 PM
Noreen 30 May 02 - 06:22 PM
GUEST,Martin Ryan 31 May 02 - 08:31 AM
GUEST,vectis 31 May 02 - 09:28 AM
Wolfgang 03 Jun 02 - 10:18 AM
MMario 30 Oct 03 - 11:13 AM
GUEST,MCP 30 Oct 03 - 06:57 PM
GUEST,MCP 31 Oct 03 - 08:33 AM
GUEST 13 Jun 07 - 07:08 AM
mick p r.m s.c 13 Jun 07 - 10:10 AM
ClaireBear 20 Sep 07 - 12:00 PM
GUEST,Gary Keep 15 Mar 08 - 03:00 AM
Seamus Kennedy 15 Mar 08 - 03:15 AM
Barry Finn 15 Mar 08 - 12:21 PM
GUEST,Lynn Noel 15 Mar 08 - 10:27 PM
Big Mick 16 Mar 08 - 01:14 PM
Feadan 16 Mar 08 - 03:02 PM
Big Mick 16 Mar 08 - 03:06 PM
Wolfgang 02 Apr 08 - 11:54 AM
GUEST,stuart smyth 13 Jan 11 - 06:09 PM
MartinRyan 13 Jan 11 - 06:21 PM
GUEST,stuart smyth 14 Jan 11 - 04:48 AM
MartinRyan 14 Jan 11 - 04:51 AM
GUEST 14 Jan 11 - 11:47 AM
GUEST,stuart 14 Jan 11 - 04:43 PM
MartinRyan 14 Jan 11 - 04:59 PM
GUEST,stuart smyth 18 Jan 11 - 09:23 AM
GUEST,Stuart smyth 19 Jan 11 - 03:36 PM
Fergie 19 Jan 11 - 07:45 PM
MartinRyan 20 Jan 11 - 05:01 AM
GUEST,Mike O'Leary-Johns.........guest. 20 Jan 11 - 06:01 AM
MartinRyan 20 Jan 11 - 06:09 AM
GUEST 30 Jan 11 - 10:42 AM
GUEST,Richard I 30 Jan 11 - 10:45 AM
Liberty Boy 30 Jan 11 - 07:11 PM
GUEST,Derek Sarjeant 13 Apr 11 - 12:13 PM
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Subject: Shanty: Billy O'Shea
From: Martin Ryan
Date: 25 Mar 97 - 10:40 AM

Anyone know a shanty with Irish references and chorus lines

of "All down me Billy" and "All down Billy O'Shea"? May be Haul or Fall, for that matter

Regards


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Subject: RE: Shanty: Billy O'Shea
From: Barry Finn
Date: 25 Mar 97 - 08:19 PM

Can you supply more info, it looks like it would be Haul instead of All & with the 2 refrains it would probly be a halyard shanty, but Billy is very uncommon in the chourses of shanties, a few Billy Boy or Billy Reily & last names (instead of nicknames) are even more uncommon (Billy Reily), but O'Shea I've never heard, I just looked through Hugill & Doeflinger & couldn't find anything close, maybe you've got something that's been written recently. Post more info if you can & if you find it, post it, it sounds like it could by an interesting shanty. Good Luck.


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Subject: RE: Shanty: Billy O'Shea
From: Martin Ryan
Date: 27 Mar 97 - 05:39 AM

Barry

Its a long story! At a seminar (singing/drinking weekend, in fact) in Donegal last weekend, a man called Dan Milner sang this shanty at three in the morning.I'd never heard it so had a chat.It turned out he had heard a fragment years ago and been chasing it ever since. He had in despair written a few verses himself, for a recording project he was involved in.

The same afternoon, in a fringe session in a(nother) pub, a collector called Tom Munnelly sang a complete version of the same song!Chorus was definitely "Fall down..." except in the final verse which has "Farewell....". He had a vague recolection of learning it many years ago - hadn't sung it for twenty years!

Coincidence is a nasty thing - I suspect there's a link neither is conscious of!

Anyway, I'll follow up the Dublin end here. This thread is really to see if there is any more floating about in the ether.

As to whetherr its old or recent - its hard to tell. Got a nice swing and shape to it. There are specific Dublin references in both versions - but obviously there could be other localised versions of it. Tune vaguely familiar.

Regards


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Subject: RE: Shanty: Billy O'Shea
From: Martin Ryan
Date: 27 Mar 97 - 05:55 AM

I should have mentioned that Milner (who published an excellent songbook called "A Bonny Bunch of Roses" some years ago) was on a flying visit from the States!

Regards


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Subject: RE: Shanty: Billy O'Shea
From: Barry Finn
Date: 27 Mar 97 - 06:47 AM

Hi Martin, I"ll be keeping a sharp weather eye on this shanty, I have a high regard for Dan, who I've run into at a few singing sessions at Mystic Shanty Festival, along with his wife, Bonny, who also is a nice singer. I'll be running across Dan again in early June, maybe I can carry this on then, if I find out more. Good Luck.


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Subject: RE: Shanty: Billy O'Shea
From: Louis Killen (killen@tscnet.com)
Date: 17 Apr 97 - 01:10 AM

Gentlemen, I see Dan has stirred up a large dose of conciousness. I joined him recording that shanty just before he went to Donnegal. Martin's right about the power of ideas floating in the ether. A case of "think it and and it shall emerge" version of "Build it and they shall come". Dan and I will be singing it together at Mystic and at a concert we're doing for NY Pinewoods F/M Club on July 12. Hope to see you there Brian - and Martin, good luck on the Dublin end. Yours Aye! Louis Killen


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Subject: RE: Shanty: Billy O'Shea
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 17 Apr 97 - 09:45 AM

Welcome aboard, Louis! Good to hear from you .


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Subject: RE: Shanty: Billy O'Shea
From: Louis Killen
Date: 18 Apr 97 - 01:26 PM

Your welcome, Dick. Great expansion of DT. Thanks and keep up the good work.


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Subject: Lyr Add: BILLY O'SHEA (shanty)
From: Martin Ryan
Date: 21 Apr 97 - 07:19 AM

Here's the words as heard from Tom Munnelly:

We all got drunk in Dublin City.
Fall down, me Billy
We all got drunk and more's the pity.
Fall down, Billy O'Shea

We lay ourselves down on Rogerson's Quay. Fall...
And when we woke up we were out to sea. Fall...

We are no sailors, Captain dear,
And a bit unhappy to reef or steer

The Captain said, "I've a cure for that,
And here for a start is a dose of the cat."

He sent him up to the topmast yard.
When he hit the deck he took it hard.

We wrapped him up in the canvas sail.
Farewell me Billy.
And we lowered him gently o'er the rail.
Farewell Billy O'Shea.

Over the side and down he goes.
Farewell...
He's gone to Davy Jones with a stitch through his nose.
Farewell...

Farewell, farewell, farewell me Billy
For I am bound for Americay.

Any ideas?

Regards

HTML line breaks added. --JoeClone, 9-May-02.


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Subject: RE: Shanty: Billy O'Shea
From: Martin Ryan
Date: 08 May 97 - 06:27 AM

In Donegal, Tom Munnelly claimed that a man called Terry Moylan had asked him about this song some months ago and he had dredged it up from his memory.

I finally caught up with Terry last night. He says he has been slowly compiling a book of Dublin songs (Yes! a rival to Frank Harte)and remembered hearing Tom singing Billy O'Shea many years ago. In fact, he insists Tom wrote it. The "Rogerson's Quay" reference is to a pub they used to drink in many years ago. Tom, meanwhile, is tolerably vague on this theory.

I suspect its true.

Regards to all


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Subject: RE: Shanty: Billy O'Shea
From: Barry Finn
Date: 23 Jun 98 - 09:46 PM

Martin, any more on this Billy O'Shea from your Dublin end? I mentioned this in another post (star of the county down). I just got the tape of Dan Milner's with it on it, a great song, looking for more too. Turns out Dan's source is a fellow, Shay Walker, who I've played in sessions with for ages, I don't around much anymore but I'll ask him about it when I see him next, if I can remember, I forgot to ask Dan when I saw him this past Mystic & when I picked up his tape it was at festivals end. If I hear I'll post. Barry


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Subject: RE: Shanty: Billy O'Shea
From:
Date: 24 Jun 98 - 12:15 PM

Barry

No further developments. It looks like Tom Munnelly probably did write it back in the sixties - and Shay Walker or someone else took it to the States. Serendipity brought it all back to Donegal (see above)!

Must get a copy of Dan's tape.

Regards


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Subject: RE: Shanty: Billy O'Shea
From: Martin Ryan.
Date: 24 Jun 98 - 08:30 PM

No idea why my name didn't appear in that last posting!

Lest there be any doubt:

Regards

Martin Ryan


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Subject: RE: Shanty: Billy O'Shea
From: Barry Finn
Date: 22 Jul 98 - 08:24 PM

Martin, just got a copy of a tape Dan sent to Shea Walker (a Dubliner), who Dan had originally heard 1 verse from, Shea's tape has a fellow singing it to Dan as you have it & also stating he hadn't sung it in 20 years. I don't know if this is your same Tom, but he says he has it form a medical photographer Dave Smith who helped run a kitchen club (?) from 1962-1965. That's about it, Shea can't recall where he got the 1 verse from. Barry


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Subject: RE: Shanty: Billy O'Shea
From: Martin Ryan.
Date: 23 Jul 98 - 08:46 PM

The "kitchen club" was probably "The Copper Kitchen" which was a well known folk club in Dublin around that time.

Regards

--------- Club was in the "Coffee Kitchen". Joe Clone ------------


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Subject: Lyr Add: BILLY O'SHEA (shanty)
From: Wolfgang
Date: 29 Jan 99 - 10:05 AM

There's a good reason now to revive this thread:

Dan Milner's (and others') CD mentioned above is on sale (sail?) now (see also thread "Mudcat reporting artists"). The lyrics Dan sings on that CD are very different from the lyrics posted here by Martin (and now in the DT-database). Only the first verse and the chorus are close.

Here's my far from perfect transcription of what Dan Milner sings. I'd love to see corrections and completions.

BILLY O'SHEA

1. Oh, we all got drunk in Dublin City,
All down me Billies,
We all got drunk in Dublin City,
All down Billy O'Shea.

Chorus: All down, all down,
All down me Billies,
All down, all down by Dublin City,
All down Billy O'Shea.

2. St. Patrick was a roaming sailor,
All down...
He had a (porter?) and a (mater?),
All down...
He sailed around the Gloucester Diamond,
All down...
And he drove the snakes all out of Ireland.
All down...

3. I'll sing you a song of the Blackball Line, boys,
That's the line I wasted me prime, boys,
There was tinkers and tailors and fakers all, boys,
They shipped (us all...aboard?) the Blackball, boys.

4. Just take a trip to Liverpool, boys,
Liverpool that packet school, boys,
Yankee sailors you'll see there, boys,
With their red-topped boots and short-cut hair, boys.

5. (Santander Jim?) was a mate for Hell, boys,
with fists or iron and feet as well, boys,
(its fought a pallion see those roar???), boys,
.(???)...loved Mickey, a son of a whore, boys.

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: Shanty: Billy O'Shea
From: George Henderson NSC
Date: 29 Jan 99 - 11:49 AM

I have a recording of this song made around 1984 and sung by Eddie Doyle in the Goílín singing club when that club's home was in the Four Seasons at the top of Capel Street.

I will look up the tape tonightt and post his version tomorrow. Strange coincidence - that song is on the same tape as the Pawnbroker's wife which I posted this morning. (It is ahome made tape of live recordings - not a commercial tape.

Louis - Nice to see you name around. A long time since we met. Perhaps you could drop me an e-mail and advise your address. My e-mail address is georgehenderson@tinet.ie


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Subject: Lyr Add: BILLY O'SHEA (shanty)
From: George Henderson
Date: 29 Jan 99 - 03:57 PM

I have located my recording. It was not on the same tape as advised earlier, nor was it Eddie Doyle, but it was one of goílín fellers.

I don't know which one. I didn't know those people well at that time but it wasn't: Luke, Barry, Terry, Gerry, Eddie Frank Harte or Mick. Perhaps Martin may know who he is. The singer had a deep voice reminiscent of Barry Gleeson.

Anyway, the version goes as follows;


We all got drunk in Dublin City.
Fall down, me Billy.
We all got drunk and the more the pity.
Fall down, Billy O'Shea.

We lay ourselves down on Rogerson's Quay.
When we woke up, we were out to sea.

The captain's name was Michael Flynn,
And the bosun carried a belayin' pin.

We are no sailors, captain dear,
And a bit unhappy to reef or steer.

The captain said, "I've a cure for rap,
And here for a start is a dose of the clap."

He sent him up to the topmast yard.
When he hit the deck, he took it hard.

Over the side and down below,
He's gone to Davy Jones with a stitch through his nose.

Farewell, farewell,
Farewell, me Billy,
For I am bound for Americay.
Farewell, Billy O'Shea.


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Subject: RE: Shanty: Billy O'Shea
From: Martin _Ryan
Date: 30 Jan 99 - 07:17 AM

George:

Eddy seemed the most likely candidate - apart from the deep voice! Could well have been Tom Munelly, whom Terry Moylan claims wrote the song (see earleir in the thread). You might let me hear the tape sometime.

Regards

p.s. I think Dan "reconstructed" his version from what he could remember of Shay's. The story of the coincidence in Inishowen is perfectly true, by the way.


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Subject: RE: Shanty: Billy O'Shea
From: George Henderson
Date: 30 Jan 99 - 07:23 AM

Eddie's a good friend. I'd know his voice anywhere and it wasn't him or Tom. I do not think Tom wrote this but I will ask him the next time I meet him (probably Willie Clancy week. I can,t go to ennistymon this year as I will be in Canada /USA during Whit. If you are going to Inisowen ask him there. He may not tell you if he wrote it but he will definitely tell you if he didn't.

I'll ask Dan to ask him as well. I would like to know the source.

Regards George


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Subject: RE: Shanty: Billy O'Shea
From: Liam's Brother
Date: 30 Jan 99 - 01:10 PM

Hi!

Back about 1984, I had a sales job and covered the Northeastern USA & Canada. Every time I would go to Boston, I would look up Shay Walker. Shay is from Dublin. After the session, he and I bought a lagre bag of potato crisp (USA: chips) and went over to the harbor in Boston behind the aquarium. We had been singing and talking about songs all night and continued.

Shay asked if I knew "Billy O'Shay." I said no and he continued that he didn't either but that Clive Collins used to sing it when he lived in Boston. (I have never met Clive Collins. He is from Birmingham, England, I believe. He recorded with the Christy Moore band that became Planxty on the LP "Prosperous.") Shay had only the first verse and sang it. I had no tape recorder with me.

I liked what I heard and ran the fragment past a lot of people over the years in hopes of getting the rest. I asked Stan Hugill about it the day he came to our plkace for lunch; I asked Frank Harte about one night in London. No luck.

After about 12 years, I just gave up and took the little bit I remembered, put an extra chorus to it, made up a few extra verses and added some stock Black Ball couplets to make a complete shanty.

The Ballyliffin story is as Martin described it. As a matter of course, I always ran "Billy" past a Dublin singer when I met one.

The version George gives above is pretty much the same as the one Tom Munnelly sang for me except for the addition of the "Flynn" couplet and the "clap" couplet which I gather is a corruption of the one Tom sang:

"Now," says he, "I've a cure for that." Fall....... "And here for a start is a dose of the cat." Fall.......

"Cat" would refer to "cat o' nine tails" or flogging and I think that's more in keeping with meaning of the song than buggery.

I am happy through my dogged curiosity and damned good luck (facilitated through the very kind and helpful Martin Ryan) that I was able to help ring "Billy" back from the depths.

All the best,
Dan


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Subject: RE: Shanty: Billy O'Shea
From: Martin _Ryan
Date: 01 Feb 99 - 04:12 PM

George

Once Terry Moylan started the hare, I did of course ask Tom if he was the culprit (note: that should give some of our pedants something to chew on!). As far as I recall, his reaction was "I don't remember! But I don't know where else I might have got it from either!".

Regards


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Subject: RE: Shanty: Billy O'Shea
From: Liam's Brother
Date: 01 Feb 99 - 04:39 PM

Well George and Martin, if Tom, a full-time folklorist doesn't remember whether he composed it, I think we have to agree that "Billy" certainly has entered tradition.

All the nest, Dan


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Subject: RE: Shanty: Billy O'Shea
From:
Date: 01 Feb 99 - 08:13 PM

Martin / Dan

Looks prety convincing. I said that if Tom wrote this song he wouldn't admit it . If he didn't he would say so. however I will still ask him personally and watch his reactions. Don't either of you say a word to him.

regards

George.


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Subject: Lyr Add: BILLY O'SHEA (shanty)
From: Liam's Brother
Date: 05 Feb 99 - 03:41 PM

Hi!

I received the following by e-mail this afternoon...

QUOTE

Hello Dan

I have just enjoyed listening to your CD, which I have purchased from the Chantey Cabin, England.

I sing with my shanty group 'The Harry Brown Shantymen Of Bristol' England.

I was particularly interested in the track 'Billy O'Shea' since it is a song we have also recorded on cassette. I collected the words from a Pete MacNab of Cheddar, Somerset, England, who I believe collected it from the Scottish singer Tich Frier, who collected it from an old Dublin seaman.

The tune I have is similar to your tune, the first verse being almost identical in stanza. Here are the words I have, if you have any more information on the song I would like to hear from you.

FALL DOWN, ME BILLIES

1. Oh, we all got drunk in Dublin City.
CHORUS: Fall down, me Billies.
We all got drunk and, oh, what a pity!
CHORUS: Oh, it's fall down, Billy O'Shea.

FULL CHORUS:
Fall down, fall down,
Fall down, me Billies.
Were bound away for Americay.
Oh, it's fall down, Billy O'Shea.

2. And we all got drunk on the Rogerson's Quay,
And when we awoke, we were all at sea.

3. Oh, we're not sailors, Captain Drew.
We come from land and we won't work for you.

4. So we swung him up to the top'sl yard.
He hit the deck and he hit it hard.

5. And we wrapped him up in a big white sheet,
Threw him overboard for the sharks to eat.

6. Oh, I thought I heard the old man say:
"We're bound away for Americay."

Pleasant sailing aye

UNQUOTE

I have invited the originator of this e-mail message to check into this thread. More to come?

All the best,
Dan

Line breaks added. --JoeClone


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Subject: RE: Shanty: Billy O'Shea
From: Denny Maloy (shylight@hotmail.com)
Date: 05 Feb 99 - 05:16 PM

I am interested in learning/doing shanty......can someone help? I am Irish by birth and gaelic by hand...I have played guitar for many a year-since I was 13 I believe...unless I got to loud...then it was 14... Lively now....is anyone going to give an old man a hand?


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Subject: RE: Shanty: Billy O'Shea
From: Martin _Ryan
Date: 05 Feb 99 - 07:20 PM

Good man, Dan!

Regards


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Subject: Lyr Add: BILLY O'SHEA (shanty)
From: Liam's Brother
Date: 11 Feb 99 - 01:15 AM

This just in from England...

QUOTE

Dear Dan,

I was listening to your CD with Johnny Collins and I read the sleeve notes on Billy O'Shea and your search for the lyrics.

I thought you might be interested in the attached version which I have been singing for some time. I sing to more or less the same tune but probably quite a bit quicker.

Grae

Billy O' Shea

Well we all got drunk in Dublin City,
Fall down me Billy
Well we all got drunk an' its mores the pity
An' it's fall down Billy O' Shea.

Fall down, fall down, me Billy
We're bound away for Americay
An' it's fall down Billy O' Shea.

Well we all got drunk on the Rudyardstone Quay
When we awoke we were all at sea

We are not sailors Captain dear
We come from land and we won't work here

We hoisted him up to the Tops'l yard
When he hit the deck well he hit it hard

When I gets back to the Rudyardstone Quay
I'll take my Girl out on a spree

I'll say to her will you marry me
Then no more will I go to sea

But now I hear the Captain say
We're bound away for Americay

UNQUOTE

George...

I have invited the originator to check in on the thread. I believe we have a genuine folk song here.

All the best,
Dan


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Subject: RE: Shanty: Billy O'Shea
From: Graemeknights@yahoo.com
Date: 19 Mar 99 - 08:49 PM

Billy O'Shea

Hi guys may I enter the "Fray"

I have followed the thread after E-mailing dan with regard to his recording.

I have been singing Billy O'Shea for some years and have a version wich is not made up from couplets of other shanties and was always led to believe it was a Liverpool song (any Liverpudlians will know the name Shea) However I do not hail from Liverpool or Ireland so have no vested interest, BUT it is a damn fine song (if it was written recently, I wish I had written It ! ! ! )

That's my contribution from old Blighty, It hasn't helped but I couldn't help but get involved.

Yours

Graeme


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Subject: RE: Shanty: Billy O'Shea
From: Martin _Ryan
Date: 20 Mar 99 - 07:07 AM

I still haven't seen any evidence that the damn thing goes back beyond about 1965!

Regards


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Subject: RE: Shanty: Billy O'Shea
From: Liam's Brother
Date: 21 Mar 99 - 10:05 AM

Hi Martin!

There was a fellow in Connecticut, an airline pilot as I recall, whose wife disappeared without a trace. Foul play was suspected but the police had a problem in that no body was found. He was convicted in the end, as I recall, based on the fact that he had been observed standing on a bridge over the Housatonic River operating a wood chipper at 3 o'clock in the morning. I think I have those facts mostly correct.

As much as I would like to comply with your writ of habeas corpus, as happens with oral history, delivering the body of Billy O'Shea presents some difficulty.

I did a concert last night with Bob Conroy and Brian Conway and, as I looked down the list of songs, I was amazed how many of them were only preserved by one chance meeting between between one folk song collector and one singer. A good case in point is "The Leaving of liverpool," a personal favorite of mine and a song now in wide circulation. Despite the variety of textual versions, I know of no other source for this song than Dick Maitland, Bill Doerflinger's informant.

Ewan MacColl got the song from Bill's book and recorded the non-rhyming version. Lou Killen, who was in the chorus at the session, started singing it in folk clubs. Luke Kelly got it from Lou; the Clancys from Luke. By the time the Clancys got to Carneige Hall, everything now rhymed but, if my suspicions are correct, if it wasn't for Captain Dick and Bill, there would have been no Leaving of Liverpool for the rest of us. I will call Bill a little later today and ask.

My point is, rather than indicate it must be proved that "Billy O'Shea" is a traditional song, it must be proved that "Billy O'Shea" is NOT a traditional song. I haven't seen any evidence of that yet.

See you on Tuesday night. I look forward to a pint and a song with you.

All the best,
Dan


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Subject: RE: Shanty: Billy O'Shea
From: Liam's Brother
Date: 21 Mar 99 - 10:15 AM

Hi Martin!

As you know also. Billy O'Shea was buried at sea, further complicating the issue.

All the best,
Dan


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Subject: RE: Shanty: Billy O'Shea
From: radriano
Date: 20 Sep 00 - 06:55 PM

This thread started in March of 1997. That's quite a while ago but I was hoping to get Dan (Liam's Brother) to post, if he can remember or dig up the information, the names of the people who e-mailed him versions of Billy O'Shea. I realize it's a long shot but I like to have names for who a version came from or who passed a version on.


Also, Graeme posted to the original thread and said he had a version of Billy O'Shea from Liverpool that, in Graeme's words, "..is not made up from couplets of other shanties.." If you're still out there, Graeme, please post your version.


Regards to all,
Radriano


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Subject: RE: Shanty: Billy O'Shea
From: A Wandering Minstrel
Date: 21 Sep 00 - 09:54 AM

I sing this myself from time to time and heard it from Johnny Collins. Perhaps he may remember. In his version the whole point of the "Fall Down" chorus is that in the song Billy falls off the yardarm and is killed.

The stitch through the nose line is possibly a clue as it was a tradition for a sailmaker sewing a corpse into a hammock for burial at sea to run a needle through the corpses nose (just to make sure!)

my $.02 worth


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Subject: RE: Shanty: Billy O'Shea
From: Liam's Brother
Date: 21 Sep 00 - 04:37 PM

Sorry, Radriano, I have only what I posted above. My former computer was turned back to my former employer.

The Minstrel (above) is entirely correct on both counts. Billy has a hangover, is inexperienced and flys to the deck. If he had any life in him, the stitch would've woke him up.

All the best,
Dan


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Subject: RE: Shanty: Billy O'Shea
From: radriano
Date: 21 Sep 00 - 05:06 PM

Thanks for looking into this Dan. I appreciate it.


Richard


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Subject: RE: Shanty: Billy O'Shea
From: GUEST
Date: 30 May 02 - 02:08 PM


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Subject: RE: Shanty: Billy O'Shea
From: JenEllen
Date: 30 May 02 - 02:17 PM

addition/correction to the version that Wolfgang posted:
St. Patrick was a Roman sailor
He had a pater and a mater

lemme see if I can find that version (in a box somehweres) and I'll post in entirety, if memory serves, it isn't like the version Martin posted.


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Subject: RE: Shanty: Billy O'Shea
From: JenEllen
Date: 30 May 02 - 02:40 PM

complete correction/additions to Wolfgang's version, (scribbled on a napkin during a shanty-sing, and my penmanship stinks) but the best I could make out was:

Verse 2.
St. Patrick was a Roman sailor,
All down...
He had a pater and a mater,

Verse 3.
Last line: They shipped us out aboard the Blackball..

Verse 5.
They say that Jim was a mate for Hell, boys,
All down...
With fists of iron and feet as well, boys,
It's fearful how yes he does roar, boys
"Ya lay-a-lot mick, ya son-of-a-whore" boys


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Subject: RE: Shanty: Billy O'Shea
From: GUEST,Pete MacNab Macanabba @ AOL.com
Date: 30 May 02 - 02:43 PM

I have just read this series of discussions on Billy o' Shea and find myself mentioned in it along with a perfect example of the folk process. This song was being sung by Bitter Withy in Edinburgh in the mid sixties and Tich Frier, the lead singer, collected it off an Irish singer, from Dublin who came over to Edinburgh about that time. Tich can't remember his name which doesn't help matters but, whilst making enquiries in Dublin a few years ago it was suggested to me that it might have been a man called Jim Kelly who apparently went to Edinburgh for a while about that time. I have not met him and it may be a complete red herring but I believe he is in his sixties and still living in Dublin. The quay in the song is in the centre of Dublin and now a fashionable wine bar area and is Sir John Rogerstones Quay. I have sung it since the sixties and recorded it for the Festival of the Sea in Bristol with my band of that time 'Whigamaleeries', now known as 'Hen's Teeth' on a tape called Tall Ships. Johnny Collins and Jim Magean heard me sing it at Bromyard a number of years back and had never heard it before. Stan Hugill hadn,t heard it either. Tich says I have altered it by putting the chorus after every verse, I think they only sung it twice. Compare my version to the Harry Browns, who got it off me and to Johnny Collins one. I have spoken to Dan Milner about it.

Oh we all got drunk in Dublin City Fall down me Billys We all got drunk and more's the pity Fall down Billy o' Shea

Fall down Fall down Fall down me Billies We're bound away for Amerikay And it's fall down Billy O' Shea

We all got drunk on John Rogerstones Quay When we awoke we were all at sea

Oh we are not sailors Captain, dear We come from land and we won't work here

Oh we strung him up from the topsail yard He hit the deckand he hit it hard

And we wrapped him up in a big white sheet Threw him overboard for to feed the sharks

I thought I heard the old man say We're bound away for Amerikay

The last verse was added by myself as a fairly standard shanty finish


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Subject: RE: Shanty: Billy O'Shea
From: Herga Kitty
Date: 30 May 02 - 05:48 PM

Since posting to this thread, Graeme Knights has recorded a version with Johnny Collins, Dave Webber and Anni Fentiman singing on the choruses (on his "Echoes from afar" CD.) The song notes say "there have been many discussions as to the origins of this"......


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Subject: RE: Shanty: Billy O'Shea
From: Noreen
Date: 30 May 02 - 06:22 PM

Now all we need is the tune... please?


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Subject: RE: Shanty: Billy O'Shea
From: GUEST,Martin Ryan
Date: 31 May 02 - 08:31 AM

All roads lead to Dublin....

Regards

p.s. Luke Kelly, of immortal memory, had a brother (still alive) called Jimmy - who sings.....


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Subject: RE: Shanty: Billy O'Shea
From: GUEST,vectis
Date: 31 May 02 - 09:28 AM

I have been hunting for the words ever since I heard it in Devon last year. I "heard" it as Bully O'Shea.
Thanks everyone I can cobble together a version that suits me from all these lovely postings.
Thant's the folk process for you.


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Subject: RE: Shanty: Billy O'Shea
From: Wolfgang
Date: 03 Jun 02 - 10:18 AM

JenEllen,

the corrections are much appreciated. I never was comfortable with my transcription.

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: Shanty: Billy O'Shea
From: MMario
Date: 30 Oct 03 - 11:13 AM

tune? (in a postable form)


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Subject: RE: Shanty: Billy O'Shea
From: GUEST,MCP
Date: 30 Oct 03 - 06:57 PM

I'll post the abc later (bedtime now!)

Mick


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Subject: Tune Add: BILLY O'SHEA (chantey)
From: GUEST,MCP
Date: 31 Oct 03 - 08:33 AM

Here's the abc as promised. His full text is given above.

Mick



X: 1
T:Billy O'Shea
M:C|
L:1/4
Q:2/4=76
S:Graeme Knights CD - Echo From Afar
K:D % original in B IIRC
D/F/|A A A A| A B A< A|
w:Well we all got drunk in Dub-lin Ci-ty
A2 B> A|F< A z
w:Fall down me Bil-ly
A/A/|B d B F/D/|E> F E/D/
w:Well we all got drunk and it's more's the pi-ty
B,/A,/|F F E/D/ E|D4||
w:And it's fall down Bil-ly O' Shea
A2 B z|A2 B z| A2 B> A|F< A z
w:Fall down! Fall down! Fall down me Bil-ly!
A|B d (B/A/)F/D/|E F (E/D/)
w:We're bound a-way_ for A-mer-i-cay_
B,/A,/|F F E/D/ E|D3|]
w:And it's fall down Bil-ly O' Shea


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Subject: RE: Shanty: Billy O'Shea
From: GUEST
Date: 13 Jun 07 - 07:08 AM

I am Billy O'Shea and would like to deny the rumours of my demise. :-)

For those looking for the melody, a short sample of Dan Milner's version can be heard at the Amazon page:

HERE

Billy O'Shea

--------------link fixed. JoeClone----------


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Subject: RE: Shanty: Billy O'Shea
From: mick p r.m s.c
Date: 13 Jun 07 - 10:10 AM

Billy, I am so glad that the reports of your demise were false. Sorry but we have just recorded Billy Oshea and it is on our new CD.


                Cheers Mick, Naze Shanty Crew.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Shanty: Billy O'Shea
From: ClaireBear
Date: 20 Sep 07 - 12:00 PM

I just heard a lovely version of this from Michael Black's CD. There's a sample with just about enough to get you the tune at the Compass Records Web site.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Shanty: Billy O'Shea
From: GUEST,Gary Keep
Date: 15 Mar 08 - 03:00 AM

Jeeze Claire, Small world!

Shay left me a copy of Michaels CD Saturday night, what a nice birthday surprise that was! We listened to it three times through on SUnday cleaning up, and of course Billy O'shea became hopelessly melded into my now 50 year old brain.

So I google it tonight looking for background on it and the first hit is this thread. Reading down I stumble onto Richards posts and finally yours!?!?!??

Very interesting discussion, I'll have to ask Shay if he knows where Michael learned it. Perhaps Shay picked it up in the 80s from Stan or it was one they learned at their parents sessions. Maybe somewhere out there is the evidence that would push it back past 1965. Perhaps a verse exists in one of the Shanty books from the late 1800s or early 1900s?

Great song in any time period. INteresting thread all.

Gary


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Subject: RE: Origins: Shanty: Billy O'Shea
From: Seamus Kennedy
Date: 15 Mar 08 - 03:15 AM

According to the liner notes on Michael's CD "There are different versions of this shanty.
It appears to be a relatively new shanty and many claim it was first sung at the Goilin Singers' Club in the 1960's in Dublin."

It's a great song, and I enjoyed hearing Michael and Shay doing it at the North Texas Irish Festival.

BTW, the rest of Michael's CD is brilliant, with fine singing and excellent instrumentation.

Seamus


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Subject: RE: Origins: Shanty: Billy O'Shea
From: Barry Finn
Date: 15 Mar 08 - 12:21 PM

I was gonna learn this & add it to my repertoire but damn everybody's singing it, I think I'll wait another 10 years or so & then come back to this thread again. It's been an interesting trail.

Barry


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Subject: RE: Origins: Shanty: Billy O'Shea
From: GUEST,Lynn Noel
Date: 15 Mar 08 - 10:27 PM

Well, Barry, looks like that's true! David de la Barre and Three Sheets & co. (including us two) did such a great job of Billy O'Shea at the Press Room about six hours after you posted this, that I had to come looking for the words to sing at the MIT Chantey Sing tomorrow and found this thread.

I hope Dan Milner appreciates that the song has circled around to Boston again, since Barry first introduced me to Shay Walker about ten years ago during one of our periodic efforts to start a chantey/pub sing--which have since resurfaced as the Press Room and MIT sings. I hope to bring it to the Gloucester Hornpipe & Clog Society, since we're always looking for Irish maritime stuff. Ten-year-long threads are one thing I love about Mudcat!

Slainte,
Lynn Noel

http://launch.groups.yahoo.com/group/NE_ChanteySings/


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Subject: RE: Origins: Shanty: Billy O'Shea
From: Big Mick
Date: 16 Mar 08 - 01:14 PM

The song has become iconic for us. As many of you know, we opened our last CD with it. The crowd's now expect us to start every concert with it. They all start clappin', I launch into it, and we seque direcly into an instrumental from it, Whiskey Before Breakfast/Soldiers Joy. The crowd sings right along. We loved Dan Milner's version and based our arrangement on his.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Origins: Shanty: Billy O'Shea
From: Feadan
Date: 16 Mar 08 - 03:02 PM

Dan Milner was kind enough to give me missing lyrics a couple of years ago. Here they are as passed on to Lynn N. last evening:

Billy O'Shea_____________

from the singing of Dan Milner


Oh, we all got drunk in Dublin City,
All down me Billies,
We all got drunk in Dublin City,
All down Billy O'Shea.

(Chorus)

All down, all down,
All down me Billies,
All down, all down by Dublin City,
All down Billy O'Shea.


St. Patrick was a roamin' sailor,
All down me Billies,
He had a Pater and a Mater,
All down Billy O'Shea.
He sailed around by the Gloucester Diamond,
All down me Billies,
And he drove the snakes all out of Ireland.
All down Billy O'Shea                         ……………………Chorus

I'll sing you a song of the Blackball Line, boys,
That's the line where I wasted me prime, boys,
There was tinkers and tailors and fakers all, boys,
They shipped us A.B.s aboard the Blackball.        …………………Chorus

Just take a trip to Liverpool, boys,
Liverpool that packet school, boys,
Yankee sailors you'll see there, boys,
With their red-topped boots and short-cut hair, boys. …Chorus

Santander Jim was the mate from Hell, boys,
with his fists or iron and feet as well, boys,
Its "Foretop halyards!" he does roar, boys,
And, "Ye lay aloft Mick, ye a son of a whore!", boys. …Chorus x2


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Subject: RE: Origins: Shanty: Billy O'Shea
From: Big Mick
Date: 16 Mar 08 - 03:06 PM

Other than the order of verses, and a few lyric differences , that is the version we sing. We got it directly from Dan, as well. Wonderful song. If you see Dan anytime soon, please send him my regards.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Origins: Shanty: Billy O'Shea
From: Wolfgang
Date: 02 Apr 08 - 11:54 AM

Feadan, thanks.

I'm very pleased to see the version how Dan Milner sings it. My transcription (see far above) was full of gaps.

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: Origins: Billy O'Shea (shanty)
From: GUEST,stuart smyth
Date: 13 Jan 11 - 06:09 PM

The song was written by Iain McCarthy, Dublin in or around '63 or '64.

Iain gave the song to Dave Smyth, Dublin (then medical photographer and one of the founders of the Coffee Kitchen tradition club - roughly as per a previous post - also former member of The Press Gang).

At that time Dave was in a group with Pearse McAuliffe and Derrig Monks called "The Buskers". They recorded the song in "65 and I will send a link to the track soon.

Signed

Stuart Smyth (son of David)


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Subject: RE: Origins: Billy O'Shea (shanty)
From: MartinRyan
Date: 13 Jan 11 - 06:21 PM

Nailed at last! Tom Crean, who sang with The Press Gang, always thought Dave had written it.

I haven't heard of Iain before but will make some enquiries.

Regards


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Subject: RE: Origins: Billy O'Shea (shanty)
From: GUEST,stuart smyth
Date: 14 Jan 11 - 04:48 AM

Iain was a really good copywriter in McConnell's Advertising. As far as I know he invented "Aul' Mr Brennan", the Dublin baker, who plugs his bread on TV and radio to this day..!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Billy O'Shea (shanty)
From: MartinRyan
Date: 14 Jan 11 - 04:51 AM

Thanks for the info, Stuart.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Billy O'Shea (shanty)
From: GUEST
Date: 14 Jan 11 - 11:47 AM

How about that!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Billy O'Shea (shanty)
From: GUEST,stuart
Date: 14 Jan 11 - 04:43 PM

Here is a bit more information on Iain, the writer of the famous song, who unfortunately is quite ill I understand. Iain is the father of my five cousins, Aisling, Niall, Tilde, Ailbhe and Donagh McCarthy.

Iain MacCárthaigh is one of Ireland's most experienced copywriters and promotional strategists. He has written for both major Irish political parties; for the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Finance, and Industry & Commerce, and for the European Union.
Corporate and brand campaigns he created include such diverse institutions as Aer Lingus, Bank of Ireland, Cement-Roadstone Holdings, Dunlop, Eagle Star, Guinness, ICI, Irish Tourist Board, Siemens Nixdorf Computers, RTÉ (national TV and radio), Renault, Shell, VG and Williams & Humbert.
Originally a journalist, Iain was a PR executive with the Irish Tourist Board before switching to advertising. He was a founder-member of the Public Relations Institute of Ireland and is a Past President of the Institute of Creative Advertising and Design. Iain is Couchman's primary creative consultant.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Billy O'Shea (shanty)
From: MartinRyan
Date: 14 Jan 11 - 04:59 PM

Thanks for that, Stuart. Make sure he knows how far his song has travelled!

Regards


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Subject: RE: Origins: Billy O'Shea (shanty)
From: GUEST,stuart smyth
Date: 18 Jan 11 - 09:23 AM

This is a link to the first ever recording of Billy O'Shea by "The Buskers", recorded in 1965. The writer Iain MacCarthaigh presented them with the song as he thought it would suit them.

They sang it in the early to mid sixties in The Neptune Rowing Club, Dublin amongst other places...

Click here

This was for a demo, and the reel-to-reel tape was wearing a bit thin, but it's ok...

Dave Smyth: vocals and guitar
Pearse McAuliffe and Derrig Monks: backing vocals

Feedback welcome via mudcat, or email: stuart@stuartsmyth.ie

Best wishes

Stuart

---------link fixed. JoeClone-------------


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Subject: RE: Origins: Billy O'Shea (shanty)
From: GUEST,Stuart smyth
Date: 19 Jan 11 - 03:36 PM

I was not using the mudcat linkmaker correctly. I think it's ok now. Click the link below for the song.
Thanks

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/556038/billy_oshea.m4a


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Subject: RE: Origins: Billy O'Shea (shanty)
From: Fergie
Date: 19 Jan 11 - 07:45 PM

Ah ha, well done Stuart
Yes Martin, 14 years and it's finally nailed. I'll bring this thread and Stuart Smyth's link to the attention of; Tom Crean, Jerry O'Reilly, Barry Gleeson and to the great exponent of this song Luke Cheevers

Fergus


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Subject: RE: Origins: Billy O'Shea (shanty)
From: MartinRyan
Date: 20 Jan 11 - 05:01 AM

Fergie

I reckon Luke will enjoy the "Aul' Mister Brennan" connection!

Regards


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Subject: RE: Origins: Billy O'Shea (shanty)
From: GUEST,Mike O'Leary-Johns.........guest.
Date: 20 Jan 11 - 06:01 AM

Hello Martin , I recall we were talking about this song/Shanty walking through Dublin on the Sunday morning of the Festival{Sept {Frank's festival}.We spoke of many songs ,"origins of".
You gave me some interesting information that day.
The "End Story" for Billy O'shea is good to reach.
As the saying goes..... Every Thing Comes to he who waits.
But it helps to shorten the process whe you have many hands to the sheets.By the way I hope you are keeping well...........
Mike O'Leary-Johns.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Billy O'Shea (shanty)
From: MartinRyan
Date: 20 Jan 11 - 06:09 AM

Hi Mike

Yeah - nice to see this one pinned down. Great song - and Fergie is right, Luke does a particularly fine job of it!

We're fine - hoping to get to Inishowen in March to kick start the singing year...

Regards


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Subject: Lyr Add: Billy O'Shea (shanty)
From: GUEST
Date: 30 Jan 11 - 10:42 AM

Thank you to all who have contributed to this thread; and especially to Stuart Smyth for attributing it to Iain MacCarthaigh and providing the recording. It was very interesting to listen to, because I see that the version I learned (from someone from Dublin) has been subject to the drift of 'the folk process'. The tune I learned is the same, but I heard it sung quite a bit faster, and there's an addition of a chorus (not on the recording), and the story has been retold so that it is the captain who is killed, rather than one of the men taken on board. In essence, it's kind of morphed into a drinking song, and isn't too bad for all that. Having now heard the original words in the recording, I have to admit that I plan on sticking to the retold story - just because I tend to stick to singing things as I learned them, keeping to the idea of the folk process being an original sing.

I thought I'd just throw the words that I sing into the thread, not to claim they're 'authentic', but just because the variation from the recorded version may be interesting to some people.

Billy O'Shea (Dublin song, in the style of a long-haul shanty)

Well, we all got drunk in Dublin city
Fall down me Billy!
Well we all got drunk and more's the pity
Fall down Billy O'Shea!

Chorus:        And it's fall down, fall down,
       Fall down me Billy!
        And we'll all get drunk in Dublin city
        Fall down Billy O'Shea!

We lay ourselves down on Rogerson's Quay
Fall down me Billy!
And when we awoke we were out at sea
Fall down Billy O'Shea!

We are not sailors, captain dear
Fall down me Billy!
We come from land and we won't work here
Fall down Billy O'Shea!

So we swung him up to the topmast yard
Fall down me Billy!
Well he hit the deck, and he hit it hard
Fall down Billy O'Shea!

And we wrapped him up in a big white sheet
Fall down me Billy!
Threw him overboard for the sharks to eat
Fall down Billy O'Shea!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Billy O'Shea (shanty)
From: GUEST,Richard I
Date: 30 Jan 11 - 10:45 AM

Above was from me, I've just re-read it, and I haven't a clue what I meant when I say "the folk process being an original sing"! Answers on the back of a postcard.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Billy O'Shea (shanty)
From: Liberty Boy
Date: 30 Jan 11 - 07:11 PM

Stuart, this is absolutely brilliant! As someone who has been listening to this song for about 40years its nice to know who is responsible. I remember my brother in law, the late Tom Munnelly, singing it for a long number of years and not being sure who was the originator. Dave was (and is, I'm sure still!) a superb singer. I remember himself and Derrig Monks in the back lounge of O'Donoghues and The Neptune.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Billy O'Shea (shanty)
From: GUEST,Derek Sarjeant
Date: 13 Apr 11 - 12:13 PM

Hi Stuart, Upon browsing Mudcat Cafe Forum noticed your letters re. origins of Billy O'Shea.Your comments brought back great memories. I met your Father - Dave back in 1962. I booked him at Battersea Folkclub and a few times at Surbiton & Kingston Folkclub. He was a great performer and introduced many of our members and myself to unforgettable versions of Dublin Street Ballads. I have in my collection a couple of nice Photos of Dave and Derrig Monks performing at a Christmas Concert I held at The Assembly Rooms Surbiton 13/12/1963. They appeared alongside Alex Campell, Diz Disley and Nadia Cattouse. At a party in London Dolly MacMahon encouraged me to sing at the Kilrush Fleadh in August 1963 She also arranged for an interview by Ciaran MacMathuna for Radio Eireann . Dave Smyth booked me at his Folkclub at the Coffee Kitchen.The club was packed and floor singers included Archie Fisher, Liam and Tommy Clancy, Luke Kelly and The Corries all had been at The Fleadh.I don't remember much of the session but I do remember that it carried on at Eric Farren's house until breakfast time. I've often wondered what had happened to Dave and Derrig. Please say Hello from me - my Email address is on my website.


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