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'Willie Gannon' - Ronnie Drew, Dubliners

GUEST,LittleWarrior 06 Mar 13 - 10:43 AM
OldPossum 06 Mar 13 - 12:36 PM
Elmore 06 Mar 13 - 01:36 PM
GUEST,LittleWarrior 06 Mar 13 - 05:00 PM
GUEST,Graham Pallot 30 Oct 13 - 11:55 AM
MartinRyan 30 Oct 13 - 04:30 PM
MartinRyan 30 Oct 13 - 04:40 PM
MartinRyan 30 Oct 13 - 05:35 PM
Snuffy 02 Nov 13 - 06:55 AM
GUEST 02 Nov 13 - 07:17 AM
GUEST,MartinRyan 02 Nov 13 - 07:20 AM
GUEST,LittleWarrior 21 Mar 17 - 05:42 PM
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Subject: 'Willie Gannon' - Ronnie Drew, Dubliners
From: GUEST,LittleWarrior
Date: 06 Mar 13 - 10:43 AM

Hello everybody,

I'm trying to find out any background to the song "Willie Gannon" sung by Ronnie Drew with the Dubliners (probably in the 1960s). I've only come across it on youtube - it seems like a live performance, and there is no more information about it.

Was it written by the Dubs? Or if anyone has the original LP, is anyone else credited as the writer? Is it based on a true story? It sounds like it could be true, but likewise I can't find anything on the 'net. I'd really appreciate any information anyone can give me, as I'd like to sing it for an Italian audience on 14 March (its tune is the same as "The Old Main Drag" by the Pogues, and the Modena City Ramblers borrowed it for their version of an Italian classic, "Contessa" - the MCR version has now become the "classic"!).

I'd like to cite it as an example of how music never dies - it passes from generation to generation, and from country to country (in much the same way as the Behan brothers - don't want to offend either, RIP - were inspired by the tune of a Polish whaling song for "The Ould Triangle"!) I'd be really grateful for any help anyone can give...

Many Thanks, Ray


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Subject: lyr add: Willie Gannon
From: OldPossum
Date: 06 Mar 13 - 12:36 PM

WILLIE GANNON
(Traditional, arranged by the Dubliners)
Copyright 1964 Heathside Music Ltd.

Come all you young fellows and listen to my song,
It's all about a young man and he did a great wrong.
His name was Willie Gannon and he lived down in Bray,
Well he killed a policeman and the law made him pay.

The law watched young Gannon, each turn that he made,
When he broke one bylaw with a belt of his spade.
He struck the death blow when he turned his broad back,
And he left him there lying where the Dargle runs black.

Willie Gannon was convicted and sentenced to die,
Now his enemies couldn't laugh but his friends couldn't cry.
When he brought down the uniform on that bright summer day,
Farewell Willie Gannon, now you sleep 'neath the clay.


Source: The Dubliners' Song Book 1974.


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Subject: RE: 'Willie Gannon' - Ronnie Drew, Dubliners
From: Elmore
Date: 06 Mar 13 - 01:36 PM

ON You Tube


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Subject: RE: 'Willie Gannon' - Ronnie Drew, Dubliners
From: GUEST,LittleWarrior
Date: 06 Mar 13 - 05:00 PM

Wow, that was quick! Thanks a million, OldPossum :-) Ray


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Subject: RE: 'Willie Gannon' - Ronnie Drew, Dubliners
From: GUEST,Graham Pallot
Date: 30 Oct 13 - 11:55 AM

The only recording of the song is by Ronnie Drew on a 1965 EP "The Dubliners In Person Featuring Ronnie Drew". I have a copy, and have just put it up for sale on ebay !!!!
If you get this in the next few days reply to me on here before it goes !!!! I have researches the song ad nauseum, including on two trips to Dublin, and can't find out a thing


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Subject: RE: 'Willie Gannon' - Ronnie Drew, Dubliners
From: MartinRyan
Date: 30 Oct 13 - 04:30 PM

Missed this thread first time round. Fascinated by the "Polish whaling song" reference to the Ould Triangle - anyone know what was meant?

I'll check into WIllie Gannon later.


Regards


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Subject: RE: 'Willie Gannon' - Ronnie Drew, Dubliners
From: MartinRyan
Date: 30 Oct 13 - 04:40 PM

Very interesting! There are two recordings of Ronnie singing it on Youtube. The more interesting one is in the context of an interview by Ciaran MacMathuna when Ronnie was in his late twenties:

Click here

The air is basically that of "The Lakes of Coolfin", which usually involves a Willie Reynolds - there are several other hints of it in the song so it may well have been a model, so to speak.

Don't think I've ever heard the song or seen it in print.

Regards.


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Subject: RE: 'Willie Gannon' - Ronnie Drew, Dubliners
From: MartinRyan
Date: 30 Oct 13 - 05:35 PM

A first look at the ITMA database shows only references to the Ronnie Drew recording and interview as above, and the Dubliners songbook.

Regards


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Subject: RE: 'Willie Gannon' - Ronnie Drew, Dubliners
From: Snuffy
Date: 02 Nov 13 - 06:55 AM

the words posted above by Old Possum are apparently from The Dubliners' Song Book 1974, but listening to the recording, I hear the second line of Verse 2 quite differently. Instead of:
When he broke one bylaw with a belt of his spade.
I hear
When he brought one boy low with a belt of his spade.


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Subject: RE: 'Willie Gannon' - Ronnie Drew, Dubliners
From: GUEST
Date: 02 Nov 13 - 07:17 AM

Seems more likely, Snuffy. Not a song that's heard much - and little sign of it in print. May well be on broadsheet somewhere.

Regards


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Subject: RE: 'Willie Gannon' - Ronnie Drew, Dubliners
From: GUEST,MartinRyan
Date: 02 Nov 13 - 07:20 AM

That was me, sans cookie!


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Subject: RE: 'Willie Gannon' - Ronnie Drew, Dubliners
From: GUEST,LittleWarrior
Date: 21 Mar 17 - 05:42 PM

I was curious to see if there were any developments on this thread since my first post 4 years ago... Thanks for all the contributions.

I wish to apologise for my earlier half-baked "Polish Whaling Song" reference, and correct my assertion that the Behan brothers were inspired by the tune of a Polish whaling song for "The Ould Triangle". Here is the source of my confusion:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0mEoMCp-o1g

However, as can be seen from the comment by William Strauss, the lyrics were actually written in recent times by Bogdan Kuśka (of the Polish group, "Ryczące Dwudziestki"); it is probably safer to assume (until someone with better Polish than mine can confirm otherwise!) that the Dubliners' performance of "The Ould Triangle" probably inspired the performers in the Youtube video ("Mlynn"), but that's only conjecture.

Nevertheless, although we can probably safely dismiss the idea of Polish inspiration, Tom Neary elsewhere on Mudcat ( thread.cfm?threadid=22222#2905615 )
gives us good reason to believe that Brendan Behan's friend, Dicky Shannon in fact wrote The Old/Ould/Auld Triangle. (Based on the air of "The Galway Shawl".)

Sorry for any confusion and thanks again to everyone for their help with "Willie Gannon".

Ray


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