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Origins: Maurice Crotty


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Maurice Crotty

GUEST,Rob in DC 10 Mar 10 - 06:04 PM
Joe Offer 10 Mar 10 - 07:18 PM
Joe Offer 10 Mar 10 - 07:56 PM
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Subject: RE: Irish Newfoundland lyrics
From: GUEST,Rob in DC
Date: 10 Mar 10 - 06:04 PM

I'm trying to reach John from Brisbane who mentioned that he had a song called or by "Maurice Crotty."

I'm doing some genealogy work and my ancestor is named Maurice Crotty and hailed from Newfoundland. I was wondering how I could get a hold of the lyrics or find out more about this song.

Thanks so much! You can e-mail at:
    I'm sorry, but John died a few years ago. We'll do what we can to help you find the songt.
    -Joe Offer, Forum Moderator-

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Subject: RE: Origins: Maurice Crotty
From: Joe Offer
Date: 10 Mar 10 - 07:18 PM

We have one version of the lyrics in our Digital Tradition Folk Song Database. See the link above. Here's the Traditional Ballad Index entry for this song:

    Maurice Crotty

    DESCRIPTION: Green hand Crotty understands nothing about sealing. When the Dan reach the seals Crotty boxes with a big one until he is rescued. Crotty is thankful the seal's breath smelled of whisky, else he might have been beaten to death
    AUTHOR: unknown
    EARLIEST DATE: 1900 (Burke & Oliver)
    KEYWORDS: fight rescue hunting ship humorous animal
    FOUND IN: Canada(Newf)
    REFERENCES (3 citations):
    Peacock, pp. 73-74, "Maurice Crotty" (1 text, 1 tune)
    Lehr/Best 74, "Maurice Crotty" (2 texts, 2 tunes)
    Ryan/Small, pp. 86-87, "Maurice Crotty"; p. 88, "The Spring of the Wadhams" (2 texts, 1 tune)

    ST Pea073 (Partial)
    Roud #6649
    cf. "Grandfather Bryan" (tune)
    Notes: According to Ryan/Small, "1852 is generally known and spoken of as the 'Spring of the Wadhams.'" Seals were found very plentiful in the vicinity of the Wadhams, (islands located in Notre Dame Bay S.E. of Fogo Island), and the majority of vessels were caught in a fearful gale of NNE wind which caused great destruction to the fleet." - RBW
    File: Pea073

    Go to the Ballad Search form
    Go to the Ballad Index Instructions
    Go to the Bibiography
    Go to the Discography

    The Ballad Index Copyright 2009 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.

Anybody care to post other versions? -Joe-

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Subject: ADD Version: Maurice Crotty
From: Joe Offer
Date: 10 Mar 10 - 07:56 PM

Here's the version from Peacock's Songs of the Newfoundland Outports:


1.        Sit down while I sing you a ditty,
        Of the spring I was out in the Dan;
        Maurice Crotty was one of her sealers,
        A comical cure of a man.

2.        He could spin out a yarn by the hour,
        And lies he could tell by the score,
        And when Maurice came down in the ballroom,
        All hands in 'er body would roar.

3.        It was his first spring at ice hunting,
        Not a rope in the ship did he know,
        Not even to fold up a bunting,
        And awkward to lace up a tow.

4.        Then the captain sang out one fine morning,
        "Come Crotty, your trick at the wheel."
        He shook like a mouse in a skillet,
        So timid and nervous did feel.

5.        We passed by some steamers lights blazing,
        And Maurice he whispered to me,
        "Ain't that a fine sight Mr. Daly?
        Apothecaries' shops on the sea!"

6.        "Does a swordfish go in for hop bitters?"
        Says Maurice to me with a frown,
        "Is there no one laid up with the measles?
        For it's strange to see drug stores leave town!"

7.        We struck the white-coats the next morning,
        And over 'er side every man,
        With his gaff and his bat on his shoulder,
        As we copied over each pan.

8.        And Maurice a half mile behind us,
        Was catching all kinds of queer frills,
        He was bowing and scraping on tip-toe,
        Like a man in a set of quadrilles.

9.        We missed him all day till the evening,
        I mind I had four young harps laced,
        We were over three miles from the steamer,
        A long road before us to face.

10.        McCarthy had six, he was stronger,
        And Mullins could only haul two.
        I said it myself, "Oh yes Crotty
        Was the only slack man in the crew."

11.        Coming home 'bout a mile from the steamer,
        We saw Maurice stripped off for a bout,
        And a big old dog-hood with his flippers,
        Was stretching him out every clout.

12.        "I challenged him fair," said poor Maurice,
        "For a fight he before me does stand;
        But he took a mean dirty advantage,
        And he hit me with rocks in his hand!"

13.        We backed him in turn to the steamer,
        And tucked him up snugly in bed;
        Next morning he came to his senses,
        He called me aside and he said:

14.        He must have got drunk from the liquor,
        Or with that he would beat me to death,
        For I'm certain he had a nice jag on,
        I got the smell of 'Old Tom' from his breath.

The text and the tune of this native sealer's ditty sound Irish enough to have been composed in Ireland, or in New York City in the nineteenth century at the height of the Irish influence. Mr. Willis has taken the tune from the Irish comic ditty Grandfather Bryan, reproduced elsewhere in this section.

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