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Lyr Add: The Free State Farmer

Thompson 22 Sep 18 - 05:19 AM
Joe Offer 22 Sep 18 - 03:29 PM
Jim Dixon 25 Sep 18 - 09:48 AM
Keith A of Hertford 25 Sep 18 - 11:42 PM
Joe Offer 26 Sep 18 - 12:42 AM
Jim Carroll 26 Sep 18 - 04:35 AM
Thompson 26 Sep 18 - 09:25 AM
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Subject: Lyr Add: The Free State Farmer
From: Thompson
Date: 22 Sep 18 - 05:19 AM

From the Irish Traditional Music Archive sung by Owen Kelly

THE FREE STATE FARMER
(as sung by Owen Kelly)

I am a free state farmer and I live in Inishowen
My farm is not so very big for bank books I have none.
Derry is my market place it’s there I get my meat
My tea my sugar and my eggs my parings and pigs feet.

My clothes being badly torn one day I went to town
And left my measure for a suit the tailor took it down.
He said call back in three weeks time and ready it will be
I travelled back to Inishowen quite happy and care free.

My wife and I we talked things o’er at last without delay
I’d smuggle out the suit of clothes no duty for to pay.
The day came round I went to town the tailor for to see
He said the suit is finished and he wrapped it up for me.

And when I got it parcelled up I then headed for home
Going at sixty miles an hour to dear old Inishowen.
When the train came in at Pennyburn I started to undress
My coat went out the window likewise my pants and vest.

I then opened up the parcel my horror for to find
The tailor he had made a mistake the pants they were left behind
Here I am a sight to see there naked all alone
Going at sixty miles an hour towards old Inishowen.

The train came into Gallagh Road to my surprise I find
A pair of ladies knickers – they were hanging on a line.
I jumped out I pulled them on they suited me to a tee
Says I to myself a plus four suit would make a man of me.

A customs man awaited me me he said I was a swell
My wife she nearly murdered me before I had time to tell.
Never again while I’m alive will I go out alone
To smuggle out a suit of clothes to dear old Inishowen.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Free State Farmer
From: Joe Offer
Date: 22 Sep 18 - 03:29 PM

What a funny song! I get most of it, but could probably use some explanation of the historical and cultural context. What's a Free State Farmer? Here's the Wikipedia summary of the Irish Free State article:
    The Irish Free State (Irish: Saorstát Éireann) was the name of Ireland from 1922 to 1937. It replaced both the Irish Republic and Southern Ireland. ... The constitution of 1937 changed the name of the country to Irish: Éire, or English: Ireland, but the King stayed head of state until 1948.
So, what border is being crossed, and who's collecting the tariff that the poor man is trying to evade?

Here's an example of the term "Free State Farmer" being used in South Africa: What's the name of the melody? It sounds familiar, but I can't come up with its name.

-Joe-


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE FREE STATE FARMER
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 25 Sep 18 - 09:48 AM

The displayed text at the ITMA website, copied above, does not match the audio. No explanation is given. Below is my transcription. I inserted stanza breaks where I thought appropriate based on the tune. Doubtful words are enclosed in brackets. I boldfaced words that are different from the text given above:


THE FREE STATE FARMER
Transcribed from the audio at the above web page.

I am a Free-State farmer; I live in Inishowen.
My farm it’s not so very big, for bank books I have none.
I toil about from day to day; I do the best I can.
I sell my butter and my eggs just like an honest man.


Derry, it’s my market place [and] there I get my meat,
My tea, my sugar, and my eggs, [my] parin’s and pigs’ feet.
The other day, my suit being torn, I went to Derry town,
I left my measure for a suit and the tailor took it down.

He said: “Call back in three weeks’ time, and it then will ready be,”
So I set off another day from the State they say is Free.

The wife and I we talked things o’er trying to find a way
To get out past the custom man
no duty for to pay.
The day came round when into town I went to get my clothes.
Says I: “I’ll do those custom men; I’ll do them to the nose.”

When I received my parcel, to the station I set off.
“I’ll throw these old torn rags away and I’ll dress up like a toff.”
I felt a little nervous as I walked down the strand.
I thought the boys were watchin’ me ‘cause I looked a guilty man.

I found an empty carriage for I had to be alone
To smuggle out my suit of clothes
to dear old Inishowen.

The train pulled out past Pennyburn; I started to undress.
My coat went through the window, likewise my pants and vest.
When I opened up my parcel, to my horror I did find
The tailor had made some mistake and the pants were left behind.

Now there was I, a picture, struck naked and alone,
Goin’ fifty miles an hour into dear old Inishowen.

The train pulled up at Gallagh Road; a clothesline hung nearby.
A pair of ladies’ bloomers, they quickly caught my eye.
I soon hopped out and I pulled them on; they fitted me to a tee.
Says I to myself: “A plus-four suit just makes a man of me.”

The custom man saluted me; he thought I was a swell,
But the wife, she’d a’most to murder me before I [had] time to tell.
Oh, never again, oh, never again, will I go out alone
To smuggle out a suit of clothes to dear old Inishowen.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Free State Farmer
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 25 Sep 18 - 11:42 PM

Joe, Derry is outside the Free State, so he was crossing the border to the British part and the Free State was imposing import duty.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Free State Farmer
From: Joe Offer
Date: 26 Sep 18 - 12:42 AM

Thanks, Keith. Thanks also to Jim. I meant to transcribe those differences, but then didn't get a round tuit.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Free State Farmer
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 26 Sep 18 - 04:35 AM

"and the Free State was imposing import duty."
Not quite as simple as that - is it ever!!
Jim Carroll

Economic development
The Government did not implement the pre-independence policies of protection and self-sufficiency. It set up the Fiscal Inquiry Committee in 1923, a committee comprised of civil servants and academics who were biased in favour of free trade. Its report opposed tariffs and met with opposition. McElligott argued that protection once granted could never be reversed and would inevitably entail further tariffs. The 1924 budget imposed duties on a range of goods but pressure mounted for more tariffs from the Labour Party, business interests and Postmaster-General J. J. Walsh, who openly criticized government trade policy. Minister for Trade and Commerce Joe McGrath resigned over the army mutiny in 1924 and was replaced by Patrick McGilligan. Gordon Campbell, Secretary of Industry and Commerce, argued for a more balanced approach combining free trade with selective tariffs.
Minister for Agriculture Patrick Hogan set up the Commission on Agriculture in 1924. Its report covered tillage, marketing, transport, off-farm employment, education and credit. It recommended individual and collective voluntary effort rather than grants, subsidies and guaranteed prices. Hogan dismissed the argument that money would solve all the farmers’ problems, arguing that they had to find their own salvation. The commission report provided a blueprint for 1920s agricultural policy.
The Irish Free State achieved political, financial and military independence in 1922 but economic independence did not follow as the British and Irish economies remained interdependent. Ireland was Britain’s fifth biggest customer while the UK was in effect Ireland’s only customer and the world’s largest food importer. The Irish needed new duty-free outlets but European countries, hit hard by the post World War I economic depression, protected their home markets by raising tariffs (Lynch, 1959).


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Free State Farmer
From: Thompson
Date: 26 Sep 18 - 09:25 AM

It's a song that's interesting in view of the Good Friday Agreement having ended the policing of the border between the six counties of Ireland still ruled by Britain (Down, Antrim, Derry, Armagh, Fermanagh and Tyrone, or Dada Ft, as the mnemonic goes) and the 26 countries that comprise the Republic of Ireland.

Here's the Shadow Foreign Minister in Britain talking about the border problem.

In the song, the Free State farmer (which is to say a farmer living in the independent Irish Free State that existed before Ireland became a Republic) is determined not to pay tax for buying his suit 'abroad' - on the Derry side of the border - and so disrobes himself on the train home to Inishowen in Monaghan (in the Irish Free State then; in the Republic of Ireland now) and dresses in his new suit…

It's kind of like the people who get around Ryanair's ridiculous luggage rules by dressing in five layers of clothes, waddling on to the plane and then disrobing down to T-shirt and shorts.


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Mudcat time: 18 October 5:15 AM EDT

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