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Origins: J B Geoghegan and 'Cockles and Mussels'

GUEST,Sean Murphy (Guest) 17 Nov 11 - 07:11 AM
GUEST, Sminky 17 Nov 11 - 07:58 AM
GUEST,Sean Murphy 17 Nov 11 - 08:18 AM
GUEST, Sminky 17 Nov 11 - 10:45 AM
GUEST, Sminky 17 Nov 11 - 11:46 AM
GUEST,SteveG 17 Nov 11 - 04:35 PM
GUEST,SteveG 17 Nov 11 - 04:45 PM
GUEST 18 Nov 11 - 07:51 AM
GUEST,Sean Murphy 18 Nov 11 - 07:56 AM
GUEST,SteveG 18 Nov 11 - 03:18 PM
GUEST,Sean Murphy 18 Nov 11 - 05:42 PM
GUEST,SteveG 19 Nov 11 - 10:46 AM
GUEST,Sean Murphy 19 Nov 11 - 12:05 PM
GUEST,Sean Murphy 19 Nov 11 - 12:25 PM
GUEST,Sean Murphy 10 Feb 12 - 06:00 PM
Paul Burke 11 Feb 12 - 05:29 PM
GUEST,SteveG 12 Feb 12 - 02:03 PM
Mick Pearce (MCP) 12 Feb 12 - 04:24 PM
GUEST,Sean Murphy 13 Feb 12 - 09:31 AM
Steve Gardham 13 Feb 12 - 10:01 AM
RoyH (Burl) 13 Feb 12 - 10:26 AM
Steve Gardham 13 Feb 12 - 10:26 AM
Steve Gardham 13 Feb 12 - 10:42 AM
Mick Pearce (MCP) 13 Feb 12 - 04:58 PM
Steve Gardham 13 Feb 12 - 05:26 PM
MartinRyan 13 Feb 12 - 05:31 PM
Mick Pearce (MCP) 13 Feb 12 - 05:34 PM
MartinRyan 13 Feb 12 - 05:41 PM
Steve Gardham 13 Feb 12 - 05:42 PM
michaelr 13 Feb 12 - 07:53 PM
MartinRyan 14 Feb 12 - 03:25 AM
GUEST,Mike Mandaville 14 Feb 12 - 04:24 AM
MartinRyan 14 Feb 12 - 05:26 AM
GUEST,Mike Mandaville 14 Feb 12 - 08:16 AM
GUEST, Sminky 14 Feb 12 - 09:02 AM
GUEST,Sean Murphy 16 Feb 12 - 05:34 AM
Fergie 04 Jun 12 - 08:04 PM
Jim Dixon 17 Aug 17 - 04:10 PM
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Subject: Origins: J B Geoghegan and 'Cockles and Mussels'
From: GUEST,Sean Murphy (Guest)
Date: 17 Nov 11 - 07:11 AM

Having researched the origins of the song 'Cockles and Mussels' and its heroine Molly Malone for many years, I have picked up quite a bit of useful information from Mudcat threads. We know there are two songs called 'Cockles and Mussels', the famous Molly Malone one attributed to James Yorkston in a version published in 1884, the other set in London and telling the tale of Jim the Mussel Man which was attibuted to Joseph B Geoghegan in a version published in 1876.

I was not inclined to credit Geoghegan with involvement in the Molly version of 'Cockles and Mussels'. However, I have now located a Google Books snippet from 'The Ladies' Treasury' for 1882, where a reply to a query about the song 'Cockles and Mussels', beginning 'For dear Dublin City, Where the girls are so pretty', stated that it was 'by Mr Geoghegan, published by B Williams, Paternoster Row'.

Of course it is possible that the magazine was confusing the Jim the Mussel Man version with the Molly Malone one. But given Geoghegan's Dublin origins and genius for producing songs which were mistaken for traditional works, I am taking another look at the possibility that he wrote both versions of 'Cockles and Mussels'. Any comments, or has anyone ever come across the B Williams version mentioned above?

My evolving webpage on the song is at
http://homepage.eircom.net/~seanjmurphy/irhismys/molly.htm

Sean Murphy


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Subject: RE: Origins: J B Geoghegan and 'Cockles and Mussels'
From: GUEST, Sminky
Date: 17 Nov 11 - 07:58 AM

Good work, Sean. I'll look into it when I get chance.

One small point though: although Geoghegan's father was from Ireland, JB himself and his siblings were all born in Salford.


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Subject: RE: Origins: J B Geoghegan and 'Cockles and Mussels'
From: GUEST,Sean Murphy
Date: 17 Nov 11 - 08:18 AM

Thanks, and yes I should have written 'Dublin link' instead of 'origins', in that Joseph B Geoghegan (b Salford c1816, d Bolton 1889) was the son of a Dubliner, if I have that right. I should mention that as the 1884 version of 'Cockes and Mussels' attributed to James Yorkston was stated to have been published first in Edinburgh, I was interested to find a Joseph Geoghegan working there as choirmaster in Old Greyfriars Church, and he also founded a glee club. However, this JG is stated to have been born in Ballinasloe, Galway, in 1830, and died in (wait for it) Musselburgh in 1892 (Baptie's 'Musical Scotland', pages 61-62). Mudcat has revealed that Joseph B had a double life, but it would be too much to say that a music hall man could have a third life as an Edinburgh choirmaster, so this must be a distinct individual.


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Subject: RE: Origins: J B Geoghegan and 'Cockles and Mussels'
From: GUEST, Sminky
Date: 17 Nov 11 - 10:45 AM

I wouldn't put anything past JBG ;-]

But no, this must be a different individual.


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Subject: RE: Origins: J B Geoghegan and 'Cockles and Mussels'
From: GUEST, Sminky
Date: 17 Nov 11 - 11:46 AM

Sean, there's a Geoghegan version, dated 1876, here.


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Subject: RE: Origins: J B Geoghegan and 'Cockles and Mussels'
From: GUEST,SteveG
Date: 17 Nov 11 - 04:35 PM

I have copies of several Geoghegan sheets, by various publishers, but none of them are by B Williams. The publisher of C&M is D'Alcorn and the Yorkston C&M is Francis & Day, at least my copies are. Some songs were published by several publishers of course. I think some of Harry Clifton's were published by both Metzler and B Williams, but of course the majority by Hopwood & Crew.


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Subject: RE: Origins: J B Geoghegan and 'Cockles and Mussels'
From: GUEST,SteveG
Date: 17 Nov 11 - 04:45 PM

It's probably been stated in other threads but of course Yorkston's chorus is a straight rip-off of Geoghegan's.

The first verse ends with the 2 lines
Fresh cockles and mussels alive, alive, o
Alive, O, alive O,
Chorus: Alive, alive O! I call as I go
Fresh cockles and mussels alive, alive O!

There are similarities in the tunes but of course this could simply be both authors imitating the actual street cry.


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Subject: RE: Origins: J B Geoghegan and 'Cockles and Mussels'
From: GUEST
Date: 18 Nov 11 - 07:51 AM

Sminky, yes I have the online version of the 1876 Jim the Mussel Man version of 'Cockles and Mussels' by J B Geoghegan. The 1884 Molly Malone version of 'Cockles' attributed to James Yorkston is also in the British Library but alas apparently not yet online. Perusing my hardcopy of the latter, I note again how precisely this classic Molly version is described as 'Written and Composed by James Yorkston', also that it was 'Reprinted from No. 35, Musical Treasury, by permission of Messrs Kohler & Son, 11 North Bridge, Edinbro'.

So far I have not traced a copy of Kohler's 'Musical Treasury' No. 35, but did find a copy of No. 77 for the month of October 1885, indicating that No. 35 would have been published in or about March 1882. Given that the earliest sheet music version of the Molly 'Cockles' traced to date was published in a collection of college songs in Boston, Mass, in 1876, with no composer's name (new info to be added to my web article), the Yorkston version no longer appears as original as before.

You have already discussed here transatlantic connections between music hall composers and performers, eg, Tony Pastor and J B Geoghegan, whose 'Down in a Coal Mine' was a favourite of Pastor. Now was the Molly Malone 'Cockles and Mussels' as published in 1876 a European import, or should we also pay some attention to the possibility that it could have been an Hiberno-American creation, like 'Finnegans Wake'? If Yorkston was indeed the composer he must have been the proverbial one-hit wonder as nothing else of his has registered on the same scale. Which brings me back again to the recently discovered 'Ladies' Treasury' 1882 attribution of the Dublin 'Cockles and Mussels', to 'Mr Geoghegan'. Again, were the editors confusing the Jim the Mussel Man and Molly Malone versions, or were they in fact well informed? Steve G observes that 'Yorkston's chorus is a straight rip-off of Geoghegan's', but shouldn't we seriously now ask if Geoghegan could have written both songs, recycling elements of whichever was the earliest in the later version?

A final thought: if Joseph B Geoghegan was indeed also the composer of the Molly Malone version of 'Cockles and Mussels', could Messrs Kohler perhaps have been wary of causing scandal for the above mentioned namesake James Geoghegan, respectable choirmaster of the Old Greyfriars Kirk in Edinburgh 1857-83, deciding to play it safe by inserting the name of their trusty arranger James Yorkston as composer? I have been on this case since 1989, the mystery remains unresolved, the questions continue to multiply, but our friend J B Geoghegan is now more firmly in the frame.


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Subject: RE: Origins: J B Geoghegan and 'Cockles and Mussels'
From: GUEST,Sean Murphy
Date: 18 Nov 11 - 07:56 AM

Forgot to add my name to the above post.


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Subject: RE: Origins: J B Geoghegan and 'Cockles and Mussels'
From: GUEST,SteveG
Date: 18 Nov 11 - 03:18 PM

I have at hand evidence that JBG was singing the song before it was published in 1876. It was printed by the Glasgow Poet's Box in 1875. I also have a note that it was printed by Sanderson of Edinburgh who was printing right into the 1930s (and throughout the 19thc so that's not a lot of help)under the title 'Cockles and Mussels Alive, O' which could be the Yorkston version. I only have a title in their catalogue. One of them was also printed by Dundee Poet's Box, presumably the JBG song, but again this is only from a catalogue.
I'll check the GPB sheet to see if it gives further details. It will at least give a precise date and he sometimes gives a date for an earlier printing.


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Subject: RE: Origins: J B Geoghegan and 'Cockles and Mussels'
From: GUEST,Sean Murphy
Date: 18 Nov 11 - 05:42 PM

Very interesting SteveG. I had found 'Cockles and Mussels, Aliv, O', definitely the Molly Malone version, as published by the Dundee Poets' Box, on the National Library of Scotland's site at http://digital.nls.uk/broadsides/broadside.cfm/id/15031 However, the probable date of publication is given as '1880-1900', so it would be great if we could establish that this is the same song published by the Glasgow Poets' Box in 1875. I look forward to further information on the GPB version - does it in fact name Geoghegan?


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Subject: RE: Origins: J B Geoghegan and 'Cockles and Mussels'
From: GUEST,SteveG
Date: 19 Nov 11 - 10:46 AM

Sean,
My copy appears to be missing at the moment so I have requested a copy by email. If you PM me your email address I'll forward it to you when it arrives. Failing that you can get my email from the Yorkshire Garland website which incidentally contains some Geoghegan songs in their modern manifestations.


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Subject: RE: Origins: J B Geoghegan and 'Cockles and Mussels'
From: GUEST,Sean Murphy
Date: 19 Nov 11 - 12:05 PM

Thanks Steve, I'll be in contact.


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Subject: RE: Origins: J B Geoghegan and 'Cockles and Mussels'
From: GUEST,Sean Murphy
Date: 19 Nov 11 - 12:25 PM

I have referred above to the possibility of confusion between the two Joseph Geoghegans, one our J B the music hall composer and the other the Galway-born choirmaster in Old Greyfriars Edinburgh. Well, a Google Books snippet of an article on Tony Pastor in 'Music Journal' 1956 shows that at least one author mixed up the two:

'Joseph B. Geohegan (sic), a native of County Galway, in the west of Ireland, wrote it ['Down in a Coal Mine']. He had migrated to Edinburgh, became a schoolteacher, and was Choirmaster at the Old Greyfriars Church there for 25 years, starting in 1857. As a sideline he wrote Music Hall songs: Cockles and Mussels, Hey! John Barleycorn . . . '

Two Joseph Geoghegans, two distinct versions of 'Cockles and Mussels' set in Dublin and London respectively, a suspicion that JBG may have composed both - hopefully we'll manage to sort the matter out eventually.


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Subject: RE: Origins: J B Geoghegan and 'Cockles and Mussels'
From: GUEST,Sean Murphy
Date: 10 Feb 12 - 06:00 PM

As also reported in the main J B Geoghegan thread I have recently commissioned some Stationers' Hall research in the National Archives. While seven of Geoghegan's songs were entered in the copyright register in the period 1842-84, there was no sign of 'Cockles and Mussels', nor indeed any such title attributed to James Yorkston. It is possible that placing 'Ent. Sta. Hall' on the title page of songs may have been a device to deter pirates, without actually going to the trouble of registering copyright.

I have also managed to obtain an original copy of the 'Ladies' Treasury' for 1882 and now give the above mentioned query and reply in full:

'Who is the composer and publisher of the song "Cockles and Mussels?" Beginning - For dear Dublin City, Where the girls are so pretty, and ending with - Cockles and mussels alive, O. [The song (1s 6d.) is by Mr. Geoghegan; published by B Williams, 60, Paternoster Row.]' (page 237)

I have moved to the position that the attribution of the song to James Yorkston in the Francis Bros & Day 1884 edition is at least rendered subject to question by the 1882 'Ladies' Treasury' statement that Geoghegan was the author.


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Subject: RE: Origins: J B Geoghegan and 'Cockles and Mussels'
From: Paul Burke
Date: 11 Feb 12 - 05:29 PM

Sean and SteveG- just register- free and easy and ethical- and you can send PMs to each other.

But don't forget to tell us about the outcome.


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Subject: RE: Origins: J B Geoghegan and 'Cockles and Mussels'
From: GUEST,SteveG
Date: 12 Feb 12 - 02:03 PM

Sean,
Or Ladies Treasury simply looked up the title and got the wrong one!

Paul, Okay, you win, but I've joined twice before and my cookie disappeared twice. If it happens again I'll go back to Guest status.


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Subject: RE: Origins: J B Geoghegan and 'Cockles and Mussels'
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 12 Feb 12 - 04:24 PM

You don't need to rejoin Steve - just login again from the Quick Links drop-down at the top of the page: select Login, then press the Go button and reenter your details. The cookie only gets lost on your machine - you may have a protection program deleting cookies or sometime failures of various types lose the cookies.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Origins: J B Geoghegan and 'Cockles and Mussels'
From: GUEST,Sean Murphy
Date: 13 Feb 12 - 09:31 AM

SteveG wrote: 'Or Ladies Treasury simply looked up the title and got the wrong one!'

Of course it is possible that the 'Ladies Treasury' confused the attributed Geoghegan 'Cockles' starring Jim the Mussel Man with the Dublin version starring Molly Malone. But is it not equally possible that they were well informed? The Molly version was attributed to James Yorkston in an 1884 edition as is well known, but Yorkston is credited with no similar songs and his name appears usually as an arranger for Messrs Kohler of Edinburgh. As I noted above, in view of the discovery of an earlier edition of the Molly 'Cockles' published in Boston, Mass, in 1876, with no composer's name, 'the Yorkston version no longer appears as original as before'. So Geoghegan remains in the frame as possible composer, and in retrospect I was wrong not to have emphasised him more when I first went into print with the story in 1992.


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Subject: RE: Origins: J B Geoghegan and 'Cockles and Mussels'
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 13 Feb 12 - 10:01 AM

Ta Mick. And Joe.

Sean,
Yes, both are possibilities then.

I now have a copy of Yorkston's sheet music in front of me and here are all the vital details which you may find useful.

Cover page
Cockles and Mussels, or "Molly Malone" Comic Song BY
JAMES YORKSTON
ENT. STA. HALL.    PRICE 3/-
LONDON
FRANCIS BROs. & DAY, (Blenheim House) OXFORD St. W.
Publishers of
SMALLWOOD'S PIANOFORTE TUTOR, THE EASIEST TO TEACH AND TO LEARN FROM.

Inside cover has 8 snapshot scores of waltzes/polkas etc.,

Page 1
COCKLES AND MUSSELS
Written and Composed by James Yorkston. Arranged by Edmund Forman

(Bottom of page) Reprinted from No.35, Musical Treasury, by permission of Messrs. Kohler & Son, 11, North Bridge, Edinbro.

F&D. 1713

The rest is usual 3 verses and chorus.
NB. pages 3 & 5 (chorus) are identical.

Back page has 8 more polkas/waltzes etc snapshots.

From this I would guess that the Musical Treasury version might prove useful with dating. There is no date given on this sheet and not even an embossed stamp which sometimes contains a date.


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Subject: RE: Origins: J B Geoghegan and 'Cockles and Mussels'
From: RoyH (Burl)
Date: 13 Feb 12 - 10:26 AM

We had a comic version of 'Cockles & Mussels' in our family. The opening lines were sung straight, 'She wheeled her wheelbarrow, etc
then came 'Crying, deaf and dumb bloaters, cross eyed winkles, paralysd shrimps, All fresh today Ma!' from 'deaf and dumb' onwards the words were sung at top speed. Idon't know where this came from but everyone in the family knew it. No family party was complete without it, along with My Brother Sylvest, A Soldier Coming Home on Leave, and The Old Sow.


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Subject: RE: Origins: J B Geoghegan and 'Cockles and Mussels'
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 13 Feb 12 - 10:26 AM

Sean,
I've been having a browse through Kilgarriff and his entries are somewhat inconsistent. In the core song list (p17) he gives...
Cockles and Mussels (Yorkston, based on trad?) 1882.

In the Lyricist and Composer section it is given as Yorkston's only entry but dated 1884, likewise Forman's entry as arranger.

Then in the date list at the end it is given again under 1882.

Could the 1882 date be for the Musical Treasury publication perhaps?

Where Kilgarriff gets his 'based on trad?' query from you'd have to ask him, but it may well be he had access to the earlier version you mention.


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Subject: RE: Origins: J B Geoghegan and 'Cockles and Mussels'
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 13 Feb 12 - 10:42 AM

Hi Burl
My Brudda Sylvest is 1908, the Old Sow no doubt stems from the Albert Richardson 1920s recording, but is your version of 'A Soldier' recorded anywhere? How far back can you trace it in your family? I have seen no British versions that can be dated to earlier than the interwar period. My theory is that it evolved from American versions and was brought over by American troops in WWI.

Any chance you could post at least the words for us here please?

And while you're on why not post your version of C&M? It would also be helpful to give a few background details for future researchers.


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Subject: RE: Origins: J B Geoghegan and 'Cockles and Mussels'
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 13 Feb 12 - 04:58 PM

Re: The Dundee Poets Box version, Google books has a copy Cockles and mussels aliv, O, which gives the date as 1880, rather than the range quoted earlier. Unfortunately there's no preview for it, so it's not possible to see if that date is actually on the document or was inferred by google.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Origins: J B Geoghegan and 'Cockles and Mussels'
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 13 Feb 12 - 05:26 PM

Mick,
I might be wrong in this case, but the Poet's Box broadsides usually have the full date printed on them, or at least the Glasgow ones do.


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Subject: RE: Origins: J B Geoghegan and 'Cockles and Mussels'
From: MartinRyan
Date: 13 Feb 12 - 05:31 PM

Posted this a few minutes ago but it never "tuk"....
Dundee Poets Box version at the National Library of Scotland.

Regards


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Subject: RE: Origins: J B Geoghegan and 'Cockles and Mussels'
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 13 Feb 12 - 05:34 PM

Martin

That link was posted by Sean above: 18 Nov 11 - 05:42 PM

Mick


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Subject: RE: Origins: J B Geoghegan and 'Cockles and Mussels'
From: MartinRyan
Date: 13 Feb 12 - 05:41 PM

Ooops... My first post acknowledged that I hadn't gone back over the thread and was posting "just in case". By the time I reposted, I'd forgotten! Sorry for the confusion.

Regards
p.s. As a Dub(liner), one of whose Grandparents was Scottish, I should have been more careful!


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Subject: RE: Origins: J B Geoghegan and 'Cockles and Mussels'
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 13 Feb 12 - 05:42 PM

Ah right! The date was often printed at the bottom of the sheet and could have been cut off here. Pity the Glasgow PB didn't print it. They printed the Geoghegan song in 1875.


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Subject: RE: Origins: J B Geoghegan and 'Cockles and Mussels'
From: michaelr
Date: 13 Feb 12 - 07:53 PM

How is the gentleman's name pronounced? Is it "Googan"?


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Subject: RE: Origins: J B Geoghegan and 'Cockles and Mussels'
From: MartinRyan
Date: 14 Feb 12 - 03:25 AM

How is the gentleman's name pronounced? Is it "Googan"?

In Ireland, it is usually pronounced as gay-gin , with the first syllable stressed. and both 'g's' hard as in gun.

Regards


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Subject: RE: Origins: J B Geoghegan and 'Cockles and Mussels'
From: GUEST,Mike Mandaville
Date: 14 Feb 12 - 04:24 AM

According to the evidence, Molly Malone wheeled her wheelbarrow through the streets broad and narrow. Nevertheless, I have it on good authority that the streets themselves were always narrow.


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Subject: RE: Origins: J B Geoghegan and 'Cockles and Mussels'
From: MartinRyan
Date: 14 Feb 12 - 05:26 AM

According to the evidence, Molly Malone wheeled her wheelbarrow through the streets broad and narrow. Nevertheless, I have it on good authority that the streets themselves were always narrow.


Not really! ;>)>

Dublin's Wide Street Commissioners - second item.

Regards


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Subject: RE: Origins: J B Geoghegan and 'Cockles and Mussels'
From: GUEST,Mike Mandaville
Date: 14 Feb 12 - 08:16 AM

On the issue of the broad and the narrow, perhaps this will help us to contemplate the matter:

Molly "Big Bazookas" Malone


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Subject: RE: Origins: J B Geoghegan and 'Cockles and Mussels'
From: GUEST, Sminky
Date: 14 Feb 12 - 09:02 AM

This may be nothing, but:

Canterbury Music Hall

Mr J.G. Laurence sang very cleverly a capital song, "Is it so?" and "Mussels alive O!".


Era, Sunday, August 30, 1868


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Subject: RE: Origins: J B Geoghegan and 'Cockles and Mussels'
From: GUEST,Sean Murphy
Date: 16 Feb 12 - 05:34 AM

Thanks for those latest comments and information. At this point a chronology of the Molly Malone version of 'Cockles and Mussels' set in Dublin might be in order:

1871 First sighting of lyrics of two verses of Molly version in 'gagbook' of the clown Thomas Lawrence, no author's name.

1876 Earliest discovered words and music of Molly version, published in Boston, Mass, in the students' songbook 'Carmina Collegensia', no author's name.

1876 Sheet music edition of version starring Jim the Mussel Man and set in London, author J B Geoghegan, air and lyrics different but chorus very similar to Molly version.

1880-1900 (or earlier?) Dundee Poet's Box edition of lyrics of Molly version, no author's name.

1882 'Ladies Treasury' magazine stated that 'Mr Geoghegan' composed
the Dublin version of the song, but admittedly could have confused it with the London version.

1884 Sheet music edition of the Molly version stating that James Yorkston was the composer and that it was reprinted from 'Musical Treasury' number 35 [about March 1882, not traced], published by Kohler & Sons of Edinburgh. (Yorkston was primarily an arranger with no track record of composing popular songs, and there was at this time in Edinburgh another and 'respectable' James Geoghegan, choirmaster of the Old Greyfriars Kirk, which might have rendered use of J B's name problematic.)

Again, case not at all proven, but J B Geoghegan's name remains in contention for authorship of the classic Molly Malone version of 'Cockles and Mussels'.


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Subject: Lyr Add: COCKLES AND MUSSELS (J. B. Geoghegan)
From: Fergie
Date: 04 Jun 12 - 08:04 PM

Here are the lyrics as I transcribed them:

COCKLES AND MUSSELS ALIVE ALIVE O!

Of all merry blades that ply merry trades,
Or win the affections of pretty young maids;
There is no one so trim or supple of limb
As light-hearted, ruddy-faced mussel man, Jim.
My musical sounds enliven my rounds,
I'm known the world over, from Stepney to Bow;
While singing aloud to a wondering crowd,
Fresh Cockles and Mussels alive, alive O!

ad lib: -         Alive, O! alive O!
Chorus. -        Alive, alive O! I call as I go,
Fresh Cockles and Mussels alive, alive O!

The fish that I sell are sound in the shell,
More luscious than oysters and feed you as well;
Fresh gather'd and good, they're excellent food,
To strengthen the nerves and replenish the blood;
They're just the right sort, a penny a quart,
On rocks where the mermaid sits singing, they grow,
No flounder or dab, periwinkle or crab,
Can equal my mussels alive, alive O!                Chorus.

There's young Polly Payne, tho' handsome, not vain,
She sells baked potatoes in Rosemary Lane;
And people do say, if fate has its way,
That we shall be married next Michaelmas Day,
And when she is mine, oh, won't it be fine
With two little stalls standing all of a row,
While folks passing by, will laugh as we cry-
Hot taters and mussels alive, alive O!                Chorus.

And if we contrive in business to thrive,
Which we shall most certainly do, if we strive,
My Polly and me as happy will be -
As two little birds on the boughs of a tree.
With something to spend, to give and to lend,
And little ones round us to chuckle and crow,
Those artful young imps who bawl out their shrimps
Will wish they sold mussels alive, alive O!        Chorus.

And nobody knows, the way the world goes,
What sort of good fortune there is in these clothes.
And some lucky year, I perhaps may appear,
As beadle churchwarden, or great overseer;
Or maybe sit down in an alderman's gown,
And wear a large belly as round as a bow;
And won't you all stare when I'm made a Lord Mayor,
From cockles and mussels alive, alive O!        Chorus.


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Subject: RE: Origins: J B Geoghegan and 'Cockles and Mussels'
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 17 Aug 17 - 04:10 PM

The sheet music for COCKLES & MUSSELS, by J. B. Geoghegan, published in London in 1876, can be seen at The British Library's Online Gallery of Victorian Popular Music.

The lyrics are those that were posted above, by Fergie on 04 Jun 12 - 08:04 PM.

Who knew that this resource existed? Not I, until recently. It seems to contain around 200 pieces of music, both songs and tunes, with quadrilles making up most of the latter. Very few of them are familiar enough for me to even recognize the titles. I will be posting links to the ones that seem relevant to this forum.


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Mudcat time: 17 November 3:53 AM EST

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