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Lyr Req: Sicknote

DigiTrad:
WHY PADDY'S NOT AT WORK TODAY (Excuse Note)


Related threads:
Sick note / Paddy's not at work today (38)
the sick note (11)
The Bricklayer's Lament (The Sick Note)-on BBC (7)
(origins) Origins: the sick note/ murphy and the bricks (103)
Lyr Req: Fränkische Krankmeldung (The Sick Note) (6)
Review: The Sick Note, Bricklayers Song, et al, (24)
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Folklore: Murphy and the Bricks by Noel Murphy. (9) (closed)
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GUEST,bridtrad@hotmail.com (aka Dave) 25 Apr 00 - 03:53 AM
Bob Bolton 25 Apr 00 - 03:59 AM
Joe Offer 25 Apr 00 - 04:08 AM
GUEST,Mrr 25 Apr 00 - 12:05 PM
zander (inactive) 25 Apr 00 - 02:48 PM
McGrath of Harlow 25 Apr 00 - 05:57 PM
GUEST,Jcushnan@home.com 26 Apr 00 - 06:02 PM
Mrrzy 26 Apr 00 - 08:43 PM
Joe Offer 29 May 00 - 06:28 PM
keltcgrasshoppper 29 May 00 - 06:56 PM
NSC 28 Dec 00 - 04:34 PM
George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca 28 Dec 00 - 04:43 PM
NSC 28 Dec 00 - 05:15 PM
Whitcher 28 Dec 00 - 05:19 PM
GUEST,shesha 22 Jul 03 - 11:17 AM
Willa 22 Jul 03 - 03:29 PM
GUEST,sam Taylormade 07 Oct 03 - 05:18 AM
McGrath of Harlow 07 Oct 03 - 06:53 AM
Noreen 07 Oct 03 - 07:11 AM
ossonflags 08 Oct 03 - 02:58 AM
Jim Dixon 10 Oct 03 - 08:55 AM
Pat Cooksey 10 Oct 03 - 09:22 PM
Wolfgang 28 Oct 03 - 03:17 PM
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Subject: Sicknote
From: GUEST,bridtrad@hotmail.com (aka Dave)
Date: 25 Apr 00 - 03:53 AM

Words please for the song The Sicknote.

Dear sir I write this note to you to tell you of me plight etc.


Click for related thread


Thread #47508   Message #708772
Posted By: GUEST,Pat Cooksey.
11-May-02 - 08:16 AM
Thread Name: the sick note/ murphy and the bricks.
Subject: Origins: the sick note/ murphy and the bricks.

Over a long number of years there has been much speculation concerning this song. I wrote this song under it's original title Paddy and the Barrell in 1969, and first performed it in The Dyers Arms in Coventry at this time, and in 1972 Sean Cannon, later to become a member of the Dubliners began to perform it in the folk clubs under the title The Sick Note. The song was based on Gerard Hoffnung's wonderful address to the Oxford Union, but the story in a more simple form dates back to the English music halls in the 1920's and appeared in the Readers Digest in 1937. I personally gave the words of this song to Noel Murphy in a night club in Coventry in the early seventies and his only contribution to this song was to change the title to Murphy and the Bricks, and when this song was recorded Noel Murphy was obliged to remove his name from the writers credits, I still have a letter from Misty River Music to this effect. The song under more than 20 alternative titles has since been recorded more than 100 times worldwide, and in every version the words are identical. This song under all alternative titles has always been the exclusive copywright of myself, Pat Cooksey, and is registered with The Performing Rights Society in London. This includes Dear Boss by The Clancy brothers, The Bricklayers Song by The Corries and Ray Stevens, The Sick Note by The Dubliners, etc,etc, and also Murphy and the Bricks. No other artist had any input into this song nor is any claim for arrangement valid. Pat Cooksey, Nuremberg, Germany.
Click for lyrics in the Digital Tradition


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Sicknote
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 25 Apr 00 - 03:59 AM

G'day Dave,

Look in the Digital Tradition, under W for:
WHY PADDY'S NOT AT WORK TODAY (Excuse Note) (Pat Cooksey)

Regards,

Bob Bolton


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Sicknote
From: Joe Offer
Date: 25 Apr 00 - 04:08 AM

Say, Dave, several people answered your request when you asked earlier today. No need to post this new thread - you can use our filter or Forum Search to find old threads. I tried to e-mail the lyrics to you, but Hotmail bounced my message back and said your account was not active. Better check it.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Sicknote
From: GUEST,Mrr
Date: 25 Apr 00 - 12:05 PM

In Rise Up Singing, or somewhere, I also found an additional 2 half-verses, so that he hits some thing twice more on his way down - the verse that goes:
Now when those bricks had falledn from the barrel to the floor
Sure, I then outweighed the barrel so I started down once more
Still clinging tightly to the rope I headed for the ground
And I fell among the broken bricks that were all scattered 'round.
Apparently between starting down and hitting the floor, he hits the barrel AGAIN. I'll look up the extra stuff and post when I can find it. Basically the first and second halves of the quoted verse are really the first half of one and the second half of the next. However, whenever I've heard this performed, live or on records, it's never had the extra verse portions I saw somewhere. And poor Paddy's already plenty sick...


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Sicknote
From: zander (inactive)
Date: 25 Apr 00 - 02:48 PM

Full words and music are in the Furey's songbook. Regards, Dave


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Sicknote
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 25 Apr 00 - 05:57 PM

Here is a prose version of the story, from a speech made to the Oxford Union by the late Gerald Hoffnung, musician, cartoonist and humourist:

It is supposed to be a letter to an insurance comopany asking for more information about an accident. The record of Gerald Hoffnung telling it is hilarious - superb timing. (This comes from this website, which is worth visiting.)

"I am writing in response to your request for additional information, for block number 3 of the accident reporting form. I put 'poor planning' as the cause of my accident. You said in your letter that I should explain more fully and I trust the following detail will be sufficient.

I am an amateur radio operator and on the day of the accident, I was working alone on the top section of my new 80-foot tower.

When I had completed my work, I discovered that I had, over the course of several trips up the tower, brought up about 300 pounds of tools and spare hardware.

Rather than carry the now unneeded tools and material down by hand, I decided to lower the items down in a small barrel by using the pulley attached to the gin pole at the top of the tower.

Securing the rope at ground level, I went to the top of the tower and loaded the tools and material into the barrel. Then I went back to the ground and untied the rope, holding it tightly to ensure a slow decent of the 300 pounds of tools."

"You will note in block number 11 of the accident reporting form that I weigh only 155 pounds. Due to my surprise of being jerked off the ground so suddenly, I lost my presence of mind and forgot to let go of the rope. Needless to say, I proceeded at a rather rapid rate of speed up the side of the tower.

In the vicinity of the 40-foot level, I met the barrel coming down. This explains my fractured skull and broken collarbone.

Slowed only slightly, I continued my rapid ascent, not stopping until the fingers of my right hand were two knuckles deep into the pulley. Fortunately, by this time, I had regained my presence of mind and was able to hold onto the rope in spite of my pain. At approximately the same time, however, the barrel of tools hit the ground and the bottom fell out of the barrel."

"Devoid of the weight of the tools, the barrel now weighed approximately 20 pounds. I refer you again to my weight in block number 11. As you might imagine, I began a rapid descent down the side of the tower.

In the vicinity of the 40-foot level, I met the barrel coming up. This accounts for the two fractured ankles, and the lacerations of my legs and lower body. The encounter with the barrel slowed me enough to lessen my injuries when I fell onto the pile of tools and, fortunately, only three vertebrae were cracked.

I am sorry to report, however, that as I lay there on the tools, in pain, unable to stand and watching the empty barrel 80 feet above me, I again lost my presence of mind. I let go of the rope..."


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Subject: Lyr Add: WHY PADDY'S NOT AT WORK TODAY^^^
From: GUEST,Jcushnan@home.com
Date: 26 Apr 00 - 06:02 PM

Dave - here you go - enjoy

THE SICK NOTE

Dear Sir I write this note to inform you of my plight
And at the time of writing I am not a pretty sight
My body is all black and blue, my face a deathly gray
I write this note to tell why Paddy's not at work today

While working on the fourteenth floor, some bricks I had to clear
And to throw them down from off the top seemed quite a good idea
But the gaffer wasn't very pleased, he was an awful sod
He said I had to cart them down the ladder in me hod.

Well clearing all those bricks by hand, it seemed so very slow
So I hoisted up a barrel and secured the rope below
But in my haste to do the job, I was too blind to see
That a barrel full of building bricks is heavier than me.

So when I had untied the rope, the barrel fell like lead
And clinging tightly to the rope I started up instead
I took off like a rocket and to my dismay I found
That half way up I met the bloody barrel coming down.

Well the barrel broke my shoulder as on to the ground it sped
And when I reached the top I banged the pulley with me head
I held on tight, though numb with shock from this almighty blow
And the barrel spilled out half its load fourteen floors below

Now when those building bricks fell from the barrel to the floor
I then outweighed the barrel so I started down once more
I held on tightly to the rope as I flew to the ground
And I landed on those building bricks that were scattered all around.

Now as I lay there on the deck I thought I'd passed the worst
But when the barrel reached the top, that's when the bottom burst
A shower of bricks came down on me, I knew I had no hope
In all of this confusion, I let go the bloody rope.

The barrel being heavier, it started down once more
And landed right on top of me as I lay on the floor
It broke three ribs and my left arm, and I can only say
That I hope you'll understand why Paddy's not at work today.

HTML line breaks added. --JoeClone, 10-Feb-02.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Sicknote
From: Mrrzy
Date: 26 Apr 00 - 08:43 PM

aHA - those missing verse halves? They were in Rise Up Singing, which I will paraphrase here:

Now when the bricks had fallen from the barrel to the floor
Sure, I then outweighed the barrel and I started down once more
Still clinging tightly to the rope, my body wracked with pain
And halfway up I met that bloody barrel once again!
The force of this collision, halfway up the office block
Caused multiple abrasions and a nasty state of shock
Still clinging tightly to the rope, I headed for the ground
And I fell among the broken bricks that were all scattered round.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Sicknote
From: Joe Offer
Date: 29 May 00 - 06:28 PM

At the bottom of the lyrics posted in the Digital Tradition WHY PADDY'S NOT AT WORK TODAY (click here), there's a link to the tune I've usually heard for this song - same tune as "The Garden Where the Praties Grow." If you have problems understanding MIDI, there's a link on our "links" page to a site called "Yet Another Digital Tradition," which has our tunes in various formats. Click here for their rendition of the tune.

Anybody know of other tunes used for this song?
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Sicknote
From: keltcgrasshoppper
Date: 29 May 00 - 06:56 PM

Thanks so much...KGH


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Sicknote
From: NSC
Date: 28 Dec 00 - 04:34 PM

While cataloguing some of my recordings I came across a recording of Pat Cooksey singing this song which he wrote for Sean Cannon of the Dubliners.

There are a lot of differences between his writing and the version in the DT including the missing verses outlined above. I will transcribe the entire recording and post as soon as possible, perhaps later tonight.

It was great to come across the original.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Sicknote
From: George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca
Date: 28 Dec 00 - 04:43 PM

That's great! Thanks, NSC.


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE SICK NOTE (Pat Cooksey)
From: NSC
Date: 28 Dec 00 - 05:15 PM

On 9th February 1996, Pat Cooksey visited the Nenagh Singers Circle. One of his contributions on the night was a rendition of his own song which he titles "THE SICK NOTE".

He introduce it as follows Quote, I wrote this song back in 1969 for a friend of mine, Sean Cannon, who was working on a building site and Sean was getting a bit of a name for himself as a singer. The first gig he ever got was in the singers club in Birmingham. Sean was really excited about getting this gig and got himself all cleaned up ready for the gig. I accompanied him to the gig for moral support. When we arrived at the club we did not realise that Neil Armstrong had chosen that precise moment to take his first steps on the moon and nobody turned up at the club at all. Sean did not sing this song that night but has sung it many, many times since.

Dear Sir I write this note to you to tell you of my plight
And at the time of writing I am not a pretty sight.
My body is all black and blue, my face a deathly grey,
I write this note to say why Paddy's not at work today.

Whilst working on the fourteenth floor, some bricks I had to clear
And to throw them down from such a height was not a good idea
The foreman wasn't very pleased, The bloody awkward sod
He said I had to cart them down the ladders in me hod.

Well clearing all those bricks by hand, it was so very slow
So I hoisted up a barrel and secured the rope below
But in my haste to do the job, I was too blind to see
That a barrel full of building bricks was heavier than me.

So when I had untied the rope, the barrel fell like lead
And clinging tightly to the rope I started up instead
Well I shot up like a rocket 'til to my dismay I found
That half way up I met the bloody barrel coming down.

Well the barrel broke my shoulder as to the ground it sped
And when I reached the top I banged the pulley with me head.
Well I clung on tightly, numb with shock, from this almighty blow
And the barrel spilled out half the bricks fourteen floors below.

Now when those bricks had fallen from the barrel to the floor
I then outweighed the barrel so I started down once more
Still clinging tightly to the rope me body racked with pain
When half ways down I met the bloody barrel once again

The force of this collision halfway up the office block
Caused multiple abrasions and a nasty state of shock
Still clinging tightly to the rope I fell towards the ground
And I landed on the broken bricks the barrel scattered round.

As I lay there groaning on the ground I thought I'd passed the worst
But the barrel hit the pulley wheel and then the bottom burst
Well a shower of bricks rained down on me, I hadn't got a hope
As I lay there bleeding on the ground I let go the bloody rope.

The barrel then being heavier, it started down once more
And it landed right across me as I lay upon the floor
It broke three ribs and my left arm, and I can only say
That I hope you'll understand why Paddy's not at work today.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Sicknote
From: Whitcher
Date: 28 Dec 00 - 05:19 PM

Spooky....

I played the Hoffnung @ the Oxford Union version to a Christmas guest, late 27 December 2000. Utterly brilliant timing and delivery.

Harry


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Sicknote
From: GUEST,shesha
Date: 22 Jul 03 - 11:17 AM

Thanks to you all i have been looking for these lyrics for years


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Sicknote
From: Willa
Date: 22 Jul 03 - 03:29 PM

Osson flags sings this.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Sicknote
From: GUEST,sam Taylormade
Date: 07 Oct 03 - 05:18 AM

I sing this loved it from the moment I heard it 30yrs ago


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Sicknote
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 07 Oct 03 - 06:53 AM

It seems fairly clear that the Gerard Hoffnung version, from his Oxford Union speech, made in 1958, preceeded Pat Cooksey's song by some years.

However what is not so clear is whether the song was based on the speech (which was frequently broadcast, and issued as a record, now available on CD), or whether both were based on an earlier version in oral circulation. Or whether the song was based on the speech, but the speech was based on an earlier version.

Anybody know anything to throw light on this?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Sicknote
From: Noreen
Date: 07 Oct 03 - 07:11 AM

Pat Cooksey himself says, in the addition below the initial posting to this thread:

The song was based on Gerard Hoffnung's wonderful address to the Oxford Union, but the story in a more simple form dates back to the English music halls in the 1920's and appeared in the Readers Digest in 1937

Seems pretty clear to me.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Sicknote
From: ossonflags
Date: 08 Oct 03 - 02:58 AM

I do indeed, Willa.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Sicknote
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 10 Oct 03 - 08:55 AM

Back in the days before the Internet, there was a thriving genre of folklore propagated by Xerox machine. It consisted mainly of cartoons—often well drawn but too obscene to appear in mainstream magazines—and comedy pieces that were too long and complicated to be considered mere "jokes"—at least too long for the average person to try to memorize and repeat orally.

What you saw was often a copy of a copy of a copy...the process having been repeated until the copies were nearly illegible. Then someone would retype or redraw it, thereby introducing mistakes, and sometimes making "improvements."

The "sick note" story was perfectly suited to this genre. I remember seeing some version of the story being passed around an office where I worked sometime in (I think) the 1970's. I don't remember many details, but I'm sure it was in prose, not verse, so it couldn't have been Cooksey's version exactly, and it concerned a bricklayer and a barrel of bricks, not miscellaneous tools as in Hoffnung's version.

So it could have been a prose adaptation of Cooksey's song. But why would anyone deliberately discard the meter and rhyme? Possibly to make it look more like a "real" sick note. Or could it have been some intermediate version between Hoffnung's and Cooksey's? Cooksey seems to imply that he based his version directly on Hoffnung's version, but maybe that was just his way of giving Hoffnung credit. (The photocopied folklore usually didn't credit anyone.)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Sicknote
From: Pat Cooksey
Date: 10 Oct 03 - 09:22 PM

Well done Jim Dixon, you have finally hit the nail on the head
regarding my criditing Gerard Hoffnung as the inspiration of my
song.
I was aware of the story before I heard Hoffnung's version but
it was his impeccable timing that suggested to me that a song could
be created using this idea, Hoffnung never claimed to have written
the story, he says this on his recording, and this accident report
appeared in print many years before his recording of it.
I have been told that a sketch based on this story was used in the
English music Halls in the early part of the last century by Stan
Laurel amongst others, it was certainly used in Laurel and Hardy's
film Way Out West from 1937, directed by Laurel.
In truth however I think it will never be establised how far back
some form of this tale goes, my name will suggest who the Paddy in
question was.

All the best,

Pat.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Sicknote
From: Wolfgang
Date: 28 Oct 03 - 03:17 PM

I don't know whether this has been mentioned in one of the many other threads for this song:

Snopes has an entry on this story and dates it back to at least 1918:
The barrel of bricks. Snopes also cites a couple of other 'sightings' (variants) of the story.

The truly first to tell this story may have been Leonardo da Vinci who when experimenting with lifting weights at the tower of Pisa (why did he all his experiments only on that one side?) experienced a painful double encounter with a barrel of bricks and exclaimed 'Heureka, eppur si muove' for in that very moment he had the idea for the law of gravitation.

Wolfgang


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