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Merry Mac ? Mary Mac? Marry Mac?

DigiTrad:
MARY MACK


Related threads:
Lyr Add: Kids' songs: Miss Mary Mack & Miss L (24)
Tune Req: Miss Mary Mack in a minor key? (3)
Lyr Req: Mary Mack or Mari-Mac (16)
Lyr Req: Clarification actually... Mary Mac? (12)
Lyr Req: Mary Mack (6)
Mari Mac (7)
Lyr Req: Mari-Mac (from Great Big Sea) (6)
Mary Mack parody (5)
Lyr Req: Mari Mac / Mary Mack (8)
Lyr Req: Mari Mac (7) (closed)
Lyr Req: Mari-Mac (Great Big Sea) (3)
Tune Req: Mary Mack / Mary Mac / Mari-Mac (5)


G. Blondin 09 Jul 99 - 12:00 PM
Jack (who is called Jack) 09 Jul 99 - 12:07 PM
Bert 09 Jul 99 - 12:23 PM
Jeremiah McCaw 09 Jul 99 - 01:59 PM
Eh Canadian 10 Jul 99 - 09:34 AM
GUEST 23 Jan 04 - 10:39 PM
GUEST,Jim I 23 Jan 04 - 11:28 PM
GUEST,Jim I 23 Jan 04 - 11:29 PM
Sorcha 24 Jan 04 - 12:39 AM
Murray MacLeod 24 Jan 04 - 01:30 PM
breezy 24 Jan 04 - 05:05 PM
Clinton Hammond 24 Jan 04 - 05:24 PM
breezy 24 Jan 04 - 08:56 PM
Blackcatter 24 Jan 04 - 10:14 PM
rumgumption 28 Jun 05 - 02:54 PM
GUEST 28 Jun 05 - 03:04 PM
My guru always said 28 Jun 05 - 03:10 PM
Clinton Hammond 28 Jun 05 - 03:14 PM
Herga Kitty 28 Jun 05 - 04:52 PM
My guru always said 28 Jun 05 - 06:19 PM
GUEST 28 Jun 05 - 06:20 PM
Cllr 28 Jun 05 - 06:39 PM
GUEST 28 Jun 05 - 06:40 PM
My guru always said 29 Jun 05 - 09:32 AM
GUEST,Trevor Hanson 10 Apr 11 - 05:02 PM
Effsee 10 Apr 11 - 10:21 PM
Vic Smith 11 Apr 11 - 06:51 AM
BobKnight 11 Apr 11 - 09:07 AM
Jack Campin 11 Apr 11 - 09:24 AM
Vic Smith 11 Apr 11 - 12:49 PM
sciencegeek 12 Apr 11 - 06:21 AM
Jack Campin 12 Apr 11 - 06:27 AM
sciencegeek 12 Apr 11 - 08:02 PM
GUEST,Trevor Hanson 20 Mar 18 - 02:58 AM
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Subject: Merry Mac ? Mary Mac? Marry Mac?
From: G. Blondin
Date: 09 Jul 99 - 12:00 PM

So what's the correct title and where can i get the lyrics? Really want to use song for performance. Thanks


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Subject: RE: Merry Mac ? Mary Mac? Marry Mac?
From: Jack (who is called Jack)
Date: 09 Jul 99 - 12:07 PM

Actually I learned it as Merrimac.


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Subject: RE: Merry Mac ? Mary Mac? Marry Mac?
From: Bert
Date: 09 Jul 99 - 12:23 PM

Mary Mack


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Subject: RE: Merry Mac ? Mary Mac? Marry Mac?
From: Jeremiah McCaw
Date: 09 Jul 99 - 01:59 PM

On the "Great Big Sea" Cd entitled "Up", it's listed as "MARI-MAC"


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Subject: Lyr Add: MARI-MAC (from Great Big Sea)
From: Eh Canadian
Date: 10 Jul 99 - 09:34 AM

This is how I learned it... This is the Great Big Sea version from their album Up.

Mari-Mac

There's a neat little lass and her name is Mari Mac
Make no mistake, she's the girl I'm gonna track
Lot of other fellas try to get her on her back
But I'm thinking that they'll have to get up early

Chorus:
Mari Mac's mother's making Mari Mac marry me
My mother's making me marry Mari Mac
Well I'm going to marry Mari for when Mari's taking care of me
We'll all be feeling merry when I marry Mari Mac

Now Mari and her mother are an awful lot together
In fact you hardly see the one without the other
And people often wonder if it's Mari or her mother
Or both of them together I am courting

Chorus

Well up among the heather in the hills of Bonifee
Well I had a bonnie lass sitting on me knee
A bumble bee stung me right above me knee
Up among the heather in the hills of Benifee

Chorus

Well I said "Wee bonnie lassie, where you going to spend the day?"
She said "Among the heather in the hills of Benifee"
Where all the boys and girls are making out so free
Up among the heather in the hills of Benifee

Chorus

The wedding's on Wednesday, everything's arranged
Soon her name will be changed to mine unless her mind be changed
And making the arrangements, I'm feeling quite deranged
Marriage is an awful undertaking

Chorus

Sure to be a grand affair, grander than a fair
Going to be a fork and plate for every man that's there
And I'll be a bugger if I don't get my share
If I don't we'll be very much mistaken

Chorus

There's a neat little lass and her name is Mari Mac
Make no mistake, she's the girl I'm gonna track
Lot of other fellas try to get up on her back
I'm thinking that they'll have to get up early

Chorus
Line Breaks
added.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Merry Mac ? Mary Mac? Marry Mac?
From: GUEST
Date: 23 Jan 04 - 10:39 PM

Tommy Makem c 1977


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Subject: RE: Merry Mac ? Mary Mac? Marry Mac?
From: GUEST,Jim I
Date: 23 Jan 04 - 11:28 PM

Can't remember when I learnt this but its a very long time ago. I think that a lot of the words were chosen so as to be alliterative.

Mary Mack

1.         
There's a fine wee lass
And her name's Mary Mack
Mak' no mistake
She's the lass I'm gonna tak'
There's a lot o' ither chaps
That would get upon her track
But I'm thinking that
They'd have tae get up early.

Chorus:        
Mary Mack's faither's making Mary Mack mairry me
My faither's makin' me mairry Mary Mack
I'm goin' tae mairry Mary
Tae get mairried and tak' care o' me
We'll a' be makin' merry when I mairry Mary Mack.

2.         
This wee lass,
She's got a lot o' brass
She has a lot o' gas,
Her faither thinks I'm class
And I'd be a silly ass
Tae let the maitter pass
Her faither thinks that
She would suit me fairly.

3.         
Noo Mary and her mither
Gang an awfy lot together
In fact ye never see the yin,
Nor the yin wi'oot the ither
An' the fellas offen wunner
If it's Mary or her mither
Or the baith o' them the gither
That I'm mairryin'

4.         
Noo the weddin' day's on Wednesday
And everything's arranged
Her name will soon be changed tae mine
Unless her mind be changed
Wi' makin' the arrangements, faith,
I'm just aboot deranged
For marriage
Is an awfy undertaking

5.         
It's sure tae be a grand affair
And grander than a fair
A coach and pair for rich and puir
And every pair that's there
We'll dine upon the finest fare,
I'm sure tae get ma share
If I don't
We'll a' be very much mistaken


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Subject: RE: Merry Mac ? Mary Mac? Marry Mac?
From: GUEST,Jim I
Date: 23 Jan 04 - 11:29 PM

Oops! Sorry bert I didn't notice your blue clicky thing.

Jim


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Subject: RE: Merry Mac ? Mary Mac? Marry Mac?
From: Sorcha
Date: 24 Jan 04 - 12:39 AM

And, I would like to ask...just where is OUR MaryMac? or however she spelled it...


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Subject: RE: Merry Mac ? Mary Mac? Marry Mac?
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 24 Jan 04 - 01:30 PM

It's such a shame that the version in the DigiTrad has the lines

Mary Mack's faither's makin' Mary Mack marry me
My faither's makin' me marry Mary Mack

when it should be, of course,

Mary Mack's mother's makin' Mary Mack marry me
My mother's makin' me marry Mary Mack

The continued alliteration is essential to the chorus, as anyone who has ever tried singing it will know ....


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Subject: RE: Merry Mac ? Mary Mac? Marry Mac?
From: breezy
Date: 24 Jan 04 - 05:05 PM

ask guru she sings it very well,last night for example and shall I say she was slightly, nay modestly, nah, she was pissed.
I think she may have more verses too.
She should be back here soon.


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Subject: RE: Merry Mac ? Mary Mac? Marry Mac?
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 24 Jan 04 - 05:24 PM

There are very few "shoulds" in music...

that ain't one of 'em....

---------------------------------------------------------------------

a couple of other verses I've found here and there...

Mary made her sister May the merry maid of honour
May she made a face so gay the day it fell upon her
She's standing up with Connor who'll bestow his honour on her
And I'm thinkin' he'll bestow her plenty more

and

Her little brother Seamus was a bugger of a lad
We never thought he's shame us but the little bugger had
For Seamus he is shameless - Seamus he is bad
And he threw a bloody tantrum in the church

:-)


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Subject: RE: Merry Mac ? Mary Mac? Marry Mac?
From: breezy
Date: 24 Jan 04 - 08:56 PM

thats them

ta

she'll be back soon

is thatallreet?


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Subject: RE: Merry Mac ? Mary Mac? Marry Mac?
From: Blackcatter
Date: 24 Jan 04 - 10:14 PM

Many of us have learned it as her father - makes more sense since it's the father that typically was the one who would make a man marry his daughter. Aliteration may make "mother" more manageable, but . . .

Tommy Makem sings it that way and the version in the DT is different enough from Tommy's to suppose it came from another source. Both versions are different enough from the one I learned from a friend from Kerry as well.


As for the difference in spelling - that's the result of difference in spelling in Ireland, Scotland, England, the U.S., etc. Ain't none of them, "right", ain't none of them "wrong."


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Subject: RE: Merry Mac ? Mary Mac? Marry Mac?
From: rumgumption
Date: 28 Jun 05 - 02:54 PM

I notice that Tommy Makem claims a 1977 copyright on "Mary Mack" here, and credits the tune as an air: "Up among the heather."

My impression was always that it was traditional, especially given the number of variants--but I don't believe I actually heard it before '77. Can anyone shed more light?


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Subject: RE: Merry Mac ? Mary Mac? Marry Mac?
From: GUEST
Date: 28 Jun 05 - 03:04 PM

I heard Peter Hall (The Scottish Folksinger, Collins, c1972) of The gaugers sing it, in braid Scots, in the Aberdeen Folk Club in the early '70s.


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Subject: RE: Merry Mac ? Mary Mac? Marry Mac?
From: My guru always said
Date: 28 Jun 05 - 03:10 PM

Aha, just spotted this!

Yes, I sing it (sober & not-so-sober) with those two verses Clinton & have had a fair few discussions with Scots & Irish personages alike. Those extra verses appear to be Irish in origin whereas the originals in the DT (using Mother, not Father) see, to be Scottish. I'm almost convinced......


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Subject: RE: Merry Mac ? Mary Mac? Marry Mac?
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 28 Jun 05 - 03:14 PM

Interesting MGAS...

There's another folkie I used to be in a band with who claimes he WROTE those two extra verses I posted...

I suspected he was full of cr@p....


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Subject: RE: Merry Mac ? Mary Mac? Marry Mac?
From: Herga Kitty
Date: 28 Jun 05 - 04:52 PM

MGAS does an impressive version. Not sure whether I've heard her not-so-sober as well as sober, or even whether it was her singing or my hearing......

Kitty


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Subject: RE: Merry Mac ? Mary Mac? Marry Mac?
From: My guru always said
Date: 28 Jun 05 - 06:19 PM

Kitty: It's usually my 'last thing at night' test during festivals to see if I've had enough to drink *grin*

Clinton, it may be possible that your friend wrote those verses, no-one else has claimed them as far as I know. It's just that they've got a decidedly Irish slant to them as opposed to the Scots of the original. Interesting indeed!


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Subject: RE: Merry Mac ? Mary Mac? Marry Mac?
From: GUEST
Date: 28 Jun 05 - 06:20 PM

Peter Hall in his book (with Norman Buchan) accredited the collecting of it from Jake Mitchell of Peterhead, Aberdeenshire, but suggested it had strong Music Hall connections.


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Subject: RE: Merry Mac ? Mary Mac? Marry Mac?
From: Cllr
Date: 28 Jun 05 - 06:39 PM

can I have a whiskey mac (hic) irish version


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Subject: RE: Merry Mac ? Mary Mac? Marry Mac?
From: GUEST
Date: 28 Jun 05 - 06:40 PM

roaring jack does that. crazy stuff man.


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Subject: RE: Merry Mac ? Mary Mac? Marry Mac?
From: My guru always said
Date: 29 Jun 05 - 09:32 AM

GUEST of 28 June 6.20pm - yes, we have those credits within the DT, but thanks!


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Subject: RE: Merry Mac ? Mary Mac? Marry Mac?
From: GUEST,Trevor Hanson
Date: 10 Apr 11 - 05:02 PM

It's a long time since anybody commented on this thread, but I should add my two cents: I have always understood this to be Tommy Makem's song, I never heard anybody else sing it before I heard him singing it, and I cannot believe he would have claimed credit for any song he didn't write. (He wrote so many, and his integrity was famously rock-ribbed.) I would be astonished if anybody can identify an earlier source. The air is, of course, "Up among the heather." - Trevor


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Subject: RE: Merry Mac ? Mary Mac? Marry Mac?
From: Effsee
Date: 10 Apr 11 - 10:21 PM

Sorry Trevor, I heard Peter Hall sing it long before 1977...see previous posts as to what Peter said about it. No bad reflection on Tommy M inferred!


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Subject: RE: Merry Mac ? Mary Mac? Marry Mac?
From: Vic Smith
Date: 11 Apr 11 - 06:51 AM

Eh Canadian wrote:-

"Well I said "Wee bonnie lassie, where you going to spend the day?"
She said "Among the heather in the hills of Benifee"
Where all the boys and girls are making out so free
Up among the heather in the hills of Benifee"


This verse seems to me to have nothing to do with the rest of the song and has never been included in any other version that I have heard over the years. I reckon that it has been grafted in from an entirely different song called either Up Amang The Heather or The Hills of Bennachie. I have just looked at the cover of the vinyl recording where I first heard this song - A Rovin' - Robin Hall & Jimmie MacGregor (Decca Ace of Clubs, 1962). I bought this record when it was first released and I find that this was [gulp] 49 years ago! It is called Up Amang The Heather on this recording and the verse in question runs:-

Now says I, "My bonnie wee lassie wid ye like tae spend the day
Up amang the heather on the hill o' Bennachie?
For a' the lads and the lasses they are makin' awfa' free,
Among the bloomin' heather on the hill o' Bennachie."


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Subject: RE: Merry Mac ? Mary Mac? Marry Mac?
From: BobKnight
Date: 11 Apr 11 - 09:07 AM

Right Vic - When I read that line about Benafee - I knew it should have been Bennachie - those verses are from, "Up Amang The Heather On The Hill O' Bennachie."


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Subject: RE: Merry Mac ? Mary Mac? Marry Mac?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 11 Apr 11 - 09:24 AM

Did Tommy Makem actually get paid royalties for this?

If so somebody needs to figure out how to get them back.

Hall and Buchan's note that it "has strong music-hall connections" sounds right - and if so, there's good chance it's still in copyright to a Scottish music-hall singer of the early 20th century.

I presume Makem got it from either the Corries or from Hall and Buchan's "Scottish Folksinger" book - both were very widely available all over the world. Integrity my arse.


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Subject: RE: Merry Mac ? Mary Mac? Marry Mac?
From: Vic Smith
Date: 11 Apr 11 - 12:49 PM

Jack Campin wrote:-
"Hall and Buchan's "Scottish Folksinger" book"


Norman Buchan had produced the earlier, highly influential songbook. 101 Scottish Songs (Wm. Collins 1962) - the famed "Wee Red Book" - but by the time the follow-up that Jack mentions (Wm. Collins 1973), the book was mainly the work of Peter Hall - singer, member of The Gaugers and prominent song collector in the North-East of Scotland rather than the very busy Norman Buchan - MP for two Glasgow area constituencies at various times. (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norman_Buchan or Google his name for many other references.)
Mary Mack is on Page 66 of the Scottish Folksinger and was one of two songs collected by Peter from Jake Mitchell of Peterhead - the other being Tatties and Herrin'.

Though he was a great song collector - there are 694 recorded items lasting some 28 hours - Peter did not catalogue his recordings properly or keep detailed notes and dates. After Peter's death, the task fell to fellow Gauger Tom Spiers who has completed a magnificent job of cataloguing and digitising all the cardboard boxes of tapes. Tom has attempted to log the tapes in chronological order and the recording of "Mary Mac" as it is called here seems to have been amongst Peter's early recordings; it is item 29 on Tape A06 and this version is as published in The Scottish Folksinger. I would have thought that it is very unlikely indeed that Tommy Makem had anything to do with the writing of it.


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Subject: RE: Merry Mac ? Mary Mac? Marry Mac?
From: sciencegeek
Date: 12 Apr 11 - 06:21 AM

I noticed long ago that many songs that should have been labeled traditional get credited to the performer.... but as the hubby once said, all you need for a copyright is seven changes and a lawyer.

The copyright laws in the US have no interest in protecting public domain... in fact the opposite is true because the last thing in the world that the Disney Corp wants to see is losing their claim to Mickey Mouse, et al.   Copyright laws were originally to protect the rights of individuals... but corporations are now regarded as individuals and seem to have more rights than mere flesh & blood people. At least, so the Supreme Court seems to feel. Corps can't vote... but they can buy as many politicians as they please.


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Subject: RE: Merry Mac ? Mary Mac? Marry Mac?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 12 Apr 11 - 06:27 AM

In this case the song probably WASN'T public domain when Makem took credit for it. He could have found out where the composition royalties were due; and chose not to.


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Subject: RE: Merry Mac ? Mary Mac? Marry Mac?
From: sciencegeek
Date: 12 Apr 11 - 08:02 PM

I totally agree that Makem had no business copyrighting the song... period.... it was never his to copyright.
but it could be moot as to whether or not it had ever actually been copyrighted previously. It may well have roots in music hall but then been "folk processed" into a bothy song. That's where finding an earlier written version is important... which doesn't seem to be the case here.

A penny broadside ballad was rarely if ever signed, much less copyrighted... and the better ones entered the tradition/public domain, as did other composed pieces where we do know the composer. The bureaucratic insanity that I fear is where someone can make minor changes to a work like Amazing Grace and then claim a copyright for it.
Call me paranoid, but I knew in 1963 - as a sixth grader- that we were headed for big trouble with oil supplies if we didn't curb our wasteful ways... and was naive enough to think that it was obvious to any reasonable adult. Well, silly me. Now I know that short sighted greed trumps sanity ever time.


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Subject: RE: Merry Mac ? Mary Mac? Marry Mac?
From: GUEST,Trevor Hanson
Date: 20 Mar 18 - 02:58 AM

I just have to weigh in again on this old thread. I see a number of harsh comments here about Tommy Makem, based primarily I think on the 1977 copyright date asserted for this tune. It's possible, I suppose, that he decided to claim authorship of an old broadside lyric, though that seems inconsistent with what I know about him (and I don't see anything definitive that supports that argument). But, considering that he came to prominence in the 60s, isn't it possible that he wrote this song in that fertile period, or earlier, but only recorded it later in his career (and only then had the opportunity to assert copyright)? In the same way that lots of people think his Four Green Fields was a traditional song, I can imagine this other great tune being created and sung in the folk world for years, and taking on a life of its own, despite being deliberately written. It's just hard for me to see him in this doubtful light, based on what else I know about his life and his creative stream.


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