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Wild Colonial Boy: any history?

DigiTrad:
WILD COLONIAL BOY
WILD COLONIAL BOY (2)


Related threads:
Lyr Req: Wild Colonial Boy (Margaret Barry) (19)
Lyr Req: A. L. Lloyd's Wild Colonial Boy (23)
new tune for wild colonial boy (12)


Margo 11 Sep 00 - 02:00 AM
GUEST,Bob Bolton (on a friend's computer) 11 Sep 00 - 02:27 AM
Amergin 11 Sep 00 - 03:06 AM
George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca 11 Sep 00 - 06:07 AM
Mrrzy 11 Sep 00 - 09:07 AM
Margo 11 Sep 00 - 01:42 PM
Bob Bolton 11 Sep 00 - 11:00 PM
Amos 12 Sep 00 - 12:03 AM
Amergin 12 Sep 00 - 01:27 AM
Bob Bolton 12 Sep 00 - 08:25 AM
Mr Happy 26 Sep 07 - 08:46 AM
Teribus 26 Sep 07 - 12:56 PM
Effsee 26 Sep 07 - 12:59 PM
Big Mick 26 Sep 07 - 02:18 PM
McGrath of Harlow 26 Sep 07 - 03:02 PM
Mr Happy 27 Sep 07 - 04:42 AM
Mr Happy 27 Sep 07 - 10:10 AM
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Subject: Wild Colonial Boy: any history?
From: Margo
Date: 11 Sep 00 - 02:00 AM

This song is in the DigiTrad here. As I understand it, there is an Irish version, an American version, and an Australian version of this song. Does anyone have any history at all for this song? I'm wondering if perhaps it was changed to fit local lore regarding people who may actually have been like the wild colonial boy. Thanks, Margo


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Subject: RE: Wild Colonial Boy: any history?
From: GUEST,Bob Bolton (on a friend's computer)
Date: 11 Sep 00 - 02:27 AM

G'day Margo,

Here in Australia, we regard The Wild Colonial Boy as descending from "Frank the poet" (Irish convict Francis McNamara)'s poem about John Donahoe, a convict who escaped and went bush in (~) 1827. A lot of versions have happened since - even just in Australia, where there are about 36 tunes!

Regards,

Bob Bolton


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Subject: RE: Wild Colonial Boy: any history?
From: Amergin
Date: 11 Sep 00 - 03:06 AM

I got the history in one of my Lomax books (I think) I'll post it once I get home tomorrow...

Amergin


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Subject: RE: Wild Colonial Boy: any history?
From: George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca
Date: 11 Sep 00 - 06:07 AM

There are numerous threads here which cover Wild Colonial Boy, along with a number of versions in the database. Here are two sites with a little information:


Wild Colonial Boy - Contemplator Site
Wild Colonial Boy - Duggan Family Site


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Subject: RE: Wild Colonial Boy: any history?
From: Mrrzy
Date: 11 Sep 00 - 09:07 AM

We spent a night in Castlemaine, drinking heavily at Jack Duggan's pub... THEY certainly treat it as historical, but then again, they would, wouldn't they? And my Tasmanian brother-in-law claims it is an Australian song originally, and historical to boot...


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Subject: RE: Wild Colonial Boy: any history?
From: Margo
Date: 11 Sep 00 - 01:42 PM

Thanks! What a link, the Duggan family site! Yes, you're right about the melodies. I haven't found two the same yet. Margo


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Subject: RE: Wild Colonial Boy: any history?
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 11 Sep 00 - 11:00 PM

G'day Margo and all,

What I was suggesting is that Frank the Poet's original, describing convict folklore of the historical John Donahue, is the original of a series of folk songs that adapt and feature new or invented characters as time goes on.

In the Bush Music Club stocks, I have publications from Australian Folklorist both on John Donahue (died ~ 1828) and Francis McNamara ("Frank the Poet served convict sentence in Australia 1832 - 1849).

Regards,

Bob Bolton


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Subject: RE: Wild Colonial Boy: any history?
From: Amos
Date: 12 Sep 00 - 12:03 AM

The tale has to be true! I've been singing it with conviction for thirty years and more! Besides, what about Kelly, Davis, and Fitzroy? Surely they were documented.

Jeeez...next thing you'll tell me is that the Easter Bunny never engaged in immaculate conception!

A.


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Subject: RE: Wild Colonial Boy: any history?
From: Amergin
Date: 12 Sep 00 - 01:27 AM

Ok in my copy of Folk Songs Of North America by Alan Lomax it says that the original name was Bold Jack Donahue....

"The Donahue story began in 1823 in Dublin, when Bold Jack was sentenced to be transported to Australia for life for 'intent to commit a felony'. Brought to Austalia in chains, Jack soom bunked out of his convict stockade and turned bushranger. His mates acted as his spies and in return Donahue kept them supplied with rum and tobacco and wrought instant retribution on any planter who oppressed his convicts. The whole colony was kept in an uproar by Donahue's daring robberies until 1830, when the bush police at last surrounded him and shot him down.

His ballad spread like wildfire through the colony-such a focus for popular discontent that soon it became a civil offence to sing it in any public place. Several variant songs thereupon appeared, with precisely the same content but different names for their heroes. One of these ballads, The Wild Colonial Boy, can be heard today in Irish pubs round the world. The original ballad, meanwhile, took refuge in America, where fishermen, lumberjacks, and cowboys kept the bold bushranger's memory green."

That was excerpted from the aforementioned book....here is the link to Bold Jack located in the Digitrad...Bold Jack Donahue

Amergin


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Subject: RE: Wild Colonial Boy: any history?
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 12 Sep 00 - 08:25 AM

G'day all,

The Bold Jack Donahoe story started out as the "true" story of a bushranger - a convict escaped and at large in the bush - the wild forests. Jack was an accomplished escapologist but eventually cornered and shot in 1830.

The later versions took on board other stories - Jack was never mounted, he went foot in the heavily forested areas around Sydney Town .. that are now outer suburbs of Sydney. A lot of later stories, particularly of the goldrush era (~ 1855 - 1880) were grafted on and the song characterised the whole bushranging ethos and the public, fairly Irish, discontent with the colonial rulers.

Certainly the core is "true", but the song has been a lot of places since then. The (mostly unofficial) bans on the song and its tune are the reason so many different tunes appeared.

I used to believe that the original tune was that of The Wearing of the Green, but this seems unlikely now I know that the Irish did not pinch this Scottish tune until 1848, so an earlier genuine Irish tune is most likely the original - and impossible to trace at this remove.

Regards,

Bob Bolton


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Subject: RE: Wild Colonial Boy: any history?
From: Mr Happy
Date: 26 Sep 07 - 08:46 AM

Its a great tune & song, & would be even better with a chorus.

Anyone know of a version + chorus?


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Subject: RE: Wild Colonial Boy: any history?
From: Teribus
Date: 26 Sep 07 - 12:56 PM

Mr Happy, a version does exist with a chorus, I'll do a bit of research and come back on it, I've got a sneaking feeling the tune was the same as or very similar to "The Rising of the Moon"

Think the Chorus ran something like this:

"And it's come away together
We'll roam the mountains high
Together we will plunder
Or together we will die
We will wander over valleys
And gallop over plains
For we scorn to live in slavery
Bound down by iron chains"

damn near forty years since I heard it. If memory serves correctly by the Ian Campbell Folk Group.


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Subject: RE: Wild Colonial Boy: any history?
From: Effsee
Date: 26 Sep 07 - 12:59 PM

Dead right Teribus! ICFG it was. The main verses of the song are to the tune of "Wearing of the Green" and the chorus is, as you say, very like "The Rising of the Moon".

But wasn't it..."And it's come away me hearties...?


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Subject: RE: Wild Colonial Boy: any history?
From: Big Mick
Date: 26 Sep 07 - 02:18 PM

Yep, "come away, me hearties" is how I remember it. Barley Bree did that version, with the chorus. I always preferred it.

All the best,

Mick


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Subject: RE: Wild Colonial Boy: any history?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 26 Sep 07 - 03:02 PM

I'm pretty sure that version Teribus gave there was the one John Manifold favoured, and very likely put together himself.


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Subject: RE: Wild Colonial Boy: any history?
From: Mr Happy
Date: 27 Sep 07 - 04:42 AM

Superb response all!

With a bit've tweaking, that chorus'll do very well, thanks!!


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Subject: RE: Wild Colonial Boy: any history?
From: Mr Happy
Date: 27 Sep 07 - 10:10 AM

Found a very similar song in the DT, WILD YOUNG IRISH BOY



@displaysong.cfm?SongID=7890


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