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Origins: What Will We Do? (Silly Sisters)

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WHAT WILL WE DO?


Related threads:
Lyr Add: Adding verses to 'What will we do?' (1)
Lyr Req: What Will We Do? (3) (closed)


michaelr 11 May 17 - 07:35 PM
michaelr 11 May 17 - 07:38 PM
RTim 11 May 17 - 07:39 PM
Reinhard 11 May 17 - 11:16 PM
michaelr 12 May 17 - 03:19 PM
michaelr 13 May 17 - 02:38 PM
GUEST,henryp 14 May 17 - 05:33 AM
Reinhard 14 May 17 - 08:05 AM
GUEST,Peta Webb 14 May 17 - 05:37 PM
GUEST,GUEST Texas Jodler 14 May 17 - 08:13 PM
michaelr 15 May 17 - 01:46 AM
GeoffLawes 15 May 17 - 02:57 AM
Jim Carroll 15 May 17 - 03:45 AM
Mo the caller 15 May 17 - 04:52 AM
Jim Carroll 15 May 17 - 05:09 AM
Herga Kitty 15 May 17 - 05:44 AM
GUEST,RA 15 May 17 - 05:48 AM
GUEST,Martin Ryan 15 May 17 - 07:15 AM
michaelr 15 May 17 - 08:26 PM
GUEST,Texas Jodler 16 May 17 - 12:15 AM
Mo the caller 17 May 17 - 04:11 PM
GUEST,Texas Jodler 20 May 17 - 12:25 AM
rich-joy 20 May 17 - 12:49 AM
Jim Carroll 20 May 17 - 03:18 AM
michaelr 20 May 17 - 01:22 PM
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Subject: Origins: What Will We Do? (Silly Sisters)
From: michaelr
Date: 11 May 17 - 07:35 PM

The Silly Sisters records are among my favorites, and I've long wondered about this song. I found this bit (scroll to bottom) about traveler singer Mary Delaney, whose recording (by our own Jim Carroll) may have been the source for SS.

What doesn't compute is the phrase "we'll yodel it over again", which seems very unusual usage for an Irish song. Any clues?


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Subject: RE: Origins: What Will We Do? (Silly Sisters)
From: michaelr
Date: 11 May 17 - 07:38 PM

Oops - just noticed that that recording, From Puck to Appleby, came out in 2003, long after the Silly Sisters record, so it can't very well have been their source.

But the question remains.


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Subject: RE: Origins: What Will We Do? (Silly Sisters)
From: RTim
Date: 11 May 17 - 07:39 PM

Here is another version from some friends............

Tim Radford

https://thevoxhunters.com/track/968596/what-will-we-do-if-we-have-no-money?feature_id=215461


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Subject: RE: Origins: What Will We Do? (Silly Sisters)
From: Reinhard
Date: 11 May 17 - 11:16 PM

Michael, Mary Delaney's song was first released in 1986 on the VWML cassette "Early in the Month of Spring", well before the Silly Sister's album "No More to the Dance".   And both June Tabor and Peta Webb credit Mary Delaney as their source for this song - June wrote:

"This little piece that Maddy and I sang, collected by [Jim Carroll and Pat Mackenzie] from the singing of Mary Delaney, is quite light, quite insubstantial in a way, but it's very real. It's talking about begging, keeping on the road, keeping going no matter what happens. It's a lovely piece of Silly Sisterness."


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Subject: RE: Origins: What Will We Do? (Silly Sisters)
From: michaelr
Date: 12 May 17 - 03:19 PM

Thanks for that info, Reinhard.

I'd really like to know how "yodel" got into an Irish song. Ireland is not one of the countries known for their yodeling traditions.


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Subject: RE: Origins: What Will We Do? (Silly Sisters)
From: michaelr
Date: 13 May 17 - 02:38 PM

bump


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Subject: RE: Origins: What Will We Do? (Silly Sisters)
From: GUEST,henryp
Date: 14 May 17 - 05:33 AM

Inevitably from Mainly Norfolk - thank you, Reinhard!¬

From Puck to Appleby. Jim Carroll and Pat Mackenzie commented in the latter's booklet:

"We have not found this song elsewhere, either in print or in a recording, but it bears such a striking resemblance to Mrs Elizabeth Cronin's What Would You Do If You Married a Soldier (Roud 3051) that it is probably a traveller's remake of the same song.

"Mary has a number of similar pieces: I've Buried Three Husbands Already and If Ever You Go to Kilkenny, etc., and, despite the fact that her speciality is the long, free ballad, she takes great pleasure in singing these made-up snatches and often is not able to finish them for laughing."

Personally, I wouldn't analyse the words too deeply.


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Subject: RE: Origins: What Will We Do? (Silly Sisters)
From: Reinhard
Date: 14 May 17 - 08:05 AM

Henry, thanks for your praise ;-) Michael did refer to Jim Carroll's comment in his first posting already.

I understand the "yodel it over again" phrase as "we keep on going anyway", but I also have no idea where it is from.


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Subject: RE: Origins: What Will We Do? (Silly Sisters)
From: GUEST,Peta Webb
Date: 14 May 17 - 05:37 PM

Mary Delaney's 'What will we do when we'll have no money', Roud 16879, as above, on Early, Early in the Spring cassette, 1986 , recorded by Jim Carroll & Pat MacKenzie, repeated on MT Puck to Appleby .Ken Hall & I sang this as a duet on our Fellside CD, 2000 under the title "Yodel it over Again", picking up on this jaunty refrain, thinking of a carefree Traveller couple walking down the road singing. Mary Delaney lived for some years under Hammersmith Flyover, London, could well have heard recordings of yodellers such as Jimmie Rodgers. Have met several Travellers who love American country music. Don't find any problem with this phrase, enjoy singing it !


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Subject: RE: Origins: What Will We Do? (Silly Sisters)
From: GUEST,GUEST Texas Jodler
Date: 14 May 17 - 08:13 PM

Yup Peta Webb you have the truth there. We do have Irish Travellers here but mostly on the E Coast, have not seen any here in the west. But there are lots of Americans living like travellers who follow the festival circuit. Jodling is very nice if you practice a bit. Absolutely love Peta's singing, thanks a million for that.


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Subject: RE: Origins: What Will We Do? (Silly Sisters)
From: michaelr
Date: 15 May 17 - 01:46 AM

Thank you all for pitching in. It appears that the song may have been at least in part made up by Mary Delaney, no?


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Subject: RE: Origins: What Will We Do? (Silly Sisters)
From: GeoffLawes
Date: 15 May 17 - 02:57 AM

https://mainlynorfolk.info/june.tabor/songs/whatwillwedo.html


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Subject: RE: Origins: What Will We Do? (Silly Sisters)
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 15 May 17 - 03:45 AM

Sorry - I missed this earlier
"It appears that the song may have been at least in part made up by Mary Delaney, no?"
I doubt it - it is typical of many 'makkie-ups" that Travels sing
As far as we could find, there are no other recorded version of it, but we were dealing with only a small number and their tradition is very much ignored except by a very few
Tom Munnelly, who recorded them in Ireland for the Folklore Department never came across it either.
I would guess that it is based on Elizabeth Cronin's, "What would you do if you marry a soldier", but I can't confirm that.
She learned it from her father - interestingly (to me at least) she referred to all her Traditional songs as "Me daddie's songs", but when we recorded him, compared to Mary's huge repertoire, he could only remember six.
Mary appeared to be using the term as a description of her estimation of the type of song rather than their actual source
She had twice as many pop and country and western songs which she refused to sing because "they're not the ones you want - I only sing them because that's what the lads ask for down in the pub"
She defined her songs if many revivalists don't (as did Walter Pardon BTW)
To understand the personal significance of What Will You do, you need to know a little about Mary's situation.
She had a life that would have made a great Dostoevsky novel.
Blind from birth, mother of sixteen children, she was abandoned by her husband and left to fend for herself - when we met her, she had a child-in arms.
The authorities, in their wisdom, decided she was unable to cope, so they took all her young children into care - the last time we saw her she had got them all back, one way and another!
She was one of the most self-possessed yet gregarious people we ever met - she loved company and was fiercely proud of her songs - yet willing to sing them for anybody who asked.
When she started to get her children back, she decided to get them educated, so she got the council to find her a flat in Bethnal Green - a somewhat squalid, sparsely furnished echoey cave of a dwelling in which she sat alone each day until the children came home from school at night
We would visit her when we could and she would drag us in - for the company - it was the only time we ever saw her depressed.
We recorded some of her most intense singing at that time - particularly her version of 'Buried in Kilkenny' (Lord Randall) into which she poured all her misery.
That version is available on 'Voice of the People' - her brother can be heard singing it on 'Puck'
I've always looked on 'What Will You Do' as Mary's wry scream of defiance at a life that hadn't treated her too well
She was an uttery amazing and memorable lady - a dear friend who is still sorely missed and fondly remembered - and we never managed to get all her songs.
Some years ago, our friend, radio producer Paula Carroll (no relation) put together three somwehat magnificent radio programmes on our work with Travellers - both Mary and the amazing Mikeen McCarthy from Kerry feature largely on them
If anybody would like a copy I'm happy to Dropbox it to whoever PMs me an e-mail address (but it will have to wait until we return from a family funeral in Liverpool at the end of the week)
Sorry to bang on at such length - nice to know Mary's songs are still remembered - she would have loved that
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: What Will We Do? (Silly Sisters)
From: Mo the caller
Date: 15 May 17 - 04:52 AM

Is it this tune - The Frost is all Over
I was told that the first line 'What would we do if the kettle boiled over' referred to an illegal still which would be noticed if it boiled over.


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Subject: RE: Origins: What Will We Do? (Silly Sisters)
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 15 May 17 - 05:09 AM

Same tune as Mrs Cronin's Mo - nad her song follws the same poetic pattern as Mary's
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: What Will We Do? (Silly Sisters)
From: Herga Kitty
Date: 15 May 17 - 05:44 AM

It's the final and title track of a collection of songs from the South Roscommon Singers Circle, sung by Declan Coyne....

Kitty


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Subject: RE: Origins: What Will We Do? (Silly Sisters)
From: GUEST,RA
Date: 15 May 17 - 05:48 AM

The Dublin group Lankum (formerly Lynched) have been doing this song recently, sung by Radie Peat.


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Subject: RE: Origins: What Will We Do? (Silly Sisters)
From: GUEST,Martin Ryan
Date: 15 May 17 - 07:15 AM

It's the final and title track of a collection of songs from the South Roscommon Singers Circle, sung by Declan Coyne....

... with yours truly singing harmony, along with Johnny Johnston. I remember it well.

Regards


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Subject: RE: Origins: What Will We Do? (Silly Sisters)
From: michaelr
Date: 15 May 17 - 08:26 PM

Jim, thanks for the background on Mary Delaney. Fascinating stuff!

Is that CD still available?


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Subject: RE: Origins: What Will We Do? (Silly Sisters)
From: GUEST,Texas Jodler
Date: 16 May 17 - 12:15 AM

"Is it this tune - The Frost is all Over
I was told that the first line 'What would we do if the kettle boiled over' referred to an illegal still which would be noticed if it boiled over. "

Never heard this way of doing 'Paddy's Return' before, and it most certainly isn't "The Frost Is All Over"; which is a seasonal carant about an unfortunate cheeky fox!.


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Subject: RE: Origins: What Will We Do? (Silly Sisters)
From: Mo the caller
Date: 17 May 17 - 04:11 PM

from this thread

The Frost is all Over.


Oh, what would you do if you married a soldier?
"What would you if he followed his gun?"
And what would you do if he died on the ocean?
"What would you do, would you marry again?"

And what would you do if the kettle boiled over?
"What would I do but to fill it again?"
And what would you do if the cow ate the clover?
"What would I do but to set it again?"

The praties are dug and the frost is all over
Kitty lie over, next to the wall,
The summer is come and we're all in the clover
Kitty lie over, next to the wall.

The herrings are roasting, the frost is all over
Kitty lie over, close to the wall,
How would you like to be married to a soldier?
Kitty lie over, close to the wall

Nothing about a fox. What is your version?


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Subject: RE: Origins: What Will We Do? (Silly Sisters)
From: GUEST,Texas Jodler
Date: 20 May 17 - 12:25 AM

Thanks for posting such and imaginative cobbling together of various bits of songs I recall from the 1950s etc, Irish local carants, if you happen to know what I am talking about.

There used be loads of those back in the pre-recording era when house dancing was popular in Ireland, and it appears little of that survived, as the above mixup clearly shows.

For example, of several there are two carants, equally collectable if I publish, of note. The first goes with the Irish Jig 'The Connaughtman's Rambles', a farmer family ditty about a house dance in an Irish townland of the early 1900s; the other one is an Irish Tinker's lament about being moved on by the Police, or the Guards as they have it, appearing to be from the post WW2 era.

To be perfectly honest, and out of respect for the good native Irish people that shared these, and the carant ' The Frost Is All Over' I do not think it right to publish. Perfectly in line with native Irish today closing the door to outsiders to their folk tradition because of downright theft of tunes/songs/ etc etc.

But thanks for asking.


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Subject: RE: Origins: What Will We Do? (Silly Sisters)
From: rich-joy
Date: 20 May 17 - 12:49 AM

Radie Peat and Lynched, 2016 :
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EbKs2UUXjiA

Mary Delaney :
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JlTxNgdFhiY

Cheers,
R-J


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Subject: RE: Origins: What Will We Do? (Silly Sisters)
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 20 May 17 - 03:18 AM

"Is that CD still available?"
It is Micheal - it's on the Msical Traditions website, but you might try contacting me.
Back again - I'll get down to responding to requests for the programmes
I have to say that the "native Irish today closing the door to outsiders to their folk tradition because of downright theft of tunes/songs/ etc etc." is a total new one on me.
I've never com across a people more generous and proud of their tradition and more willing to share it - that comes from an Englishman whe has worked with the Irish for nearly half a century and has spent thirty years recording their songs, music stories and traditions.
You learn something every day!!
I remember first being introduced to Mary (by Mikeen McCarthy) in the middle of a field in West Drayton, west of London.
There was a railway track serving the West of England a couple of hundred yards away and she had demanded I started recording her songs immediately (while we were walking back to her caravan) - I recorded three songs before we goth there to the accompaniment of the three trains that had passed in that short period.
Mary's sons once told us of a late singing session in a pub in East London when Mary had had to be pulled back into her chair at one o-clock in the morning when she had decided to "phone Jimmy and Pat" because she had remembered some songs she had not yet sung to us.
We have just been recorded for a programme due to be broadcast in the next few weeks on Irish Radio's 'Newsround' - the producer, J J O'Shea took down quite a lot of information on Mary.
Our collection is to be deposited in Limerick University soon (we hope) and there is talk about concentrating on the Traveller material that has yet to be broadcast - a website has been mooted
L.U. had done some magnificent work in researching Traveller culture, particularly with the Dunne Family - they have been instrumental (pun intended) in helping revive the piping tradition among Travellers
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: What Will We Do? (Silly Sisters)
From: michaelr
Date: 20 May 17 - 01:22 PM

Texas Jodler: I do not know what you are talking about, being unable to find "carant" in a dictionary.

Furthermore, if you "do not think it right to publish" traditional material you've received, then you are most definitely in the wrong place here on Mudcat. This site is dedicated to sharing knowledge.


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