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Little Jimmy Murphy

DigiTrad:
JIMMY MURPHY


MartinRyan 18 Sep 00 - 06:59 AM
John Moulden 18 Sep 00 - 07:17 AM
Noreen 18 Sep 00 - 08:34 AM
MartinRyan 18 Sep 00 - 08:56 AM
Noreen 18 Sep 00 - 10:30 AM
MartinRyan 18 Sep 00 - 11:07 AM
Noreen 18 Sep 00 - 11:34 AM
MartinRyan 18 Sep 00 - 11:49 AM
GUEST,Yum Yum 18 Sep 00 - 03:12 PM
GUEST,bigJ 18 Sep 00 - 04:42 PM
MartinRyan 18 Sep 00 - 04:51 PM
MartinRyan 23 Sep 00 - 03:31 AM
John Moulden 23 Sep 00 - 11:26 AM
MartinRyan 23 Sep 00 - 12:18 PM
MartinRyan 23 Sep 00 - 12:21 PM
Liam's Brother 23 Sep 00 - 05:06 PM
John Moulden 24 Sep 00 - 08:39 AM
MartinRyan 24 Sep 00 - 12:36 PM
GUEST,Martin Ryan 24 Sep 00 - 04:44 PM
GUEST,Martin Ryan 12 Feb 07 - 11:58 AM
Liam's Brother 12 Feb 07 - 10:03 PM
GUEST 13 Feb 07 - 04:36 AM
MartinRyan 13 Feb 07 - 05:00 AM
MartinRyan 13 Feb 07 - 05:01 AM
GUEST,Martin Ryan 13 Feb 07 - 10:16 AM
MartinRyan 27 Sep 11 - 10:03 AM
MartinRyan 27 Sep 11 - 10:20 AM
MartinRyan 27 Sep 11 - 10:45 AM
MartinRyan 27 Sep 11 - 10:55 AM
MartinRyan 27 Sep 11 - 12:59 PM
GUEST,Erich 27 Sep 11 - 01:35 PM
MartinRyan 27 Sep 11 - 01:39 PM
GUEST,Bill Williams 13 Dec 11 - 01:50 PM
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Subject: Little Jimmy Murphy
From: MartinRyan
Date: 18 Sep 00 - 06:59 AM

There's a version of this strange song in the DT (I know, 'cos I put it there!). It is essentially one collected by AP Graves and published in the Journal of the Irish Folk Song Society in 1913, with two verses added recently.

While searching for something quite different on the Bodleian ballad website, I came across THIS , which I'd neither seen nor heard of before. Has anyone come across other versions - or seen reference to this one?

Regards


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Subject: RE: Little Jimmy Murphy
From: John Moulden
Date: 18 Sep 00 - 07:17 AM

Martin

I heard on the radio this morning that Britain's favourite word is "serendipity." However, as we all know, for serendipity to occur you need to be looking for *something*

More power to you.

As to the few lines - shoved in as a filler on a ballad sheet - they're only slightly "corrupt" in comparison with what we have. I think that all they show is that further search might actually bear fruit. Get looking everybody.


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Subject: RE: Little Jimmy Murphy
From: Noreen
Date: 18 Sep 00 - 08:34 AM

Thanks for bringing this up, Martin. I heard Shay Black sing this 20 years ago and had remembered only a scrap of it. I often wished I knew the rest, never thinking it would be in the DT. Printing it out now! Not come across any other versions or heard anyone else sing it so can't help there, sorry.

I'm sure you know, but for the record: Kate Whelan is Cathleen ní Houlihán, or the personification of Ireland. So Jimmy Murphy was hanged for the love of his country.

Going to sing it through now!

Noreen


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Subject: RE: Little Jimmy Murphy
From: MartinRyan
Date: 18 Sep 00 - 08:56 AM

Me? I think its a song about a man, a woman and a sheep!

Regards


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Subject: RE: Little Jimmy Murphy
From: Noreen
Date: 18 Sep 00 - 10:30 AM

Isn't the folk process wunnerful?! :0)

BTW, I don't remember hearing the verses about Wexford town and Vinegar Hill- would these be the recently-added ones, perchance? Interesting.

Noreen


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Subject: RE: Little Jimmy Murphy
From: MartinRyan
Date: 18 Sep 00 - 11:07 AM

Noreen

Yes - they are. They were written by Luke Cheevers, singer, talker and widow cleaner extraordinaire. They fit very seamlessly into the existing fragment, don't they?

Regards


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Subject: RE: Little Jimmy Murphy
From: Noreen
Date: 18 Sep 00 - 11:34 AM

Yes but.... I've been cudgelling the brain cells to try and remember any more bits, as it would be a very short song to sing without those two added bits- although the length of the chorus does tend to make up for it! I suppose you've searched for other versions at the Bodleian ballad website?

Noreen


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Subject: RE: Little Jimmy Murphy
From: MartinRyan
Date: 18 Sep 00 - 11:49 AM

That's all there is, I'm afraid. I can find nothing else in the Bodleian collection. The latter doesn't even have the chorus! The question is, of course - if we're looking at a fragment - of what is it a fragment? There must be something else out there....

Incidentally, I was glad to see that a Google search threw up Luke Cheever's recording of this on the "Croppy's Complaint" CD.

Regards


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Subject: RE: Little Jimmy Murphy
From: GUEST,Yum Yum
Date: 18 Sep 00 - 03:12 PM

Luke added the two verses for the Voice Squad, They recorded 'Jimmy Murphy'on their CD, Holly Wood. It was also recorded by John and Frances Rogers on their album, The Ould songs are the best.Though that version was made before Luke completed the song.


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Subject: RE: Little Jimmy Murphy
From: GUEST,bigJ
Date: 18 Sep 00 - 04:42 PM

BTW I think that Luke is semi retired as a 'widow cleaner'.


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Subject: RE: Little Jimmy Murphy
From: MartinRyan
Date: 18 Sep 00 - 04:51 PM

BigJ

Well spotted, BigJ - Luke and his lady wife are off on holidays next week - I won't mention his "widow-cleaning" activities to her!

Regards


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Subject: RE: Little Jimmy Murphy
From: MartinRyan
Date: 23 Sep 00 - 03:31 AM

No clues?

Regards


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Subject: RE: Little Jimmy Murphy
From: John Moulden
Date: 23 Sep 00 - 11:26 AM

Known to me are versions in Henry Belden: Ballads and Songs collected ... Missouri (P 291); one sound recording made by Peter Kennedy from Harry Scott of Eaton Bray, Bedforshire (BBC 26071); three in Cecil Sharp's Mss - Somerset (words and tune), Cumberland and Cornwall (these two apparently words only.

I have access only to the first and it adds nothing to the understanding of what we have - an even more confused chorus than the Irish version. The BBC recording can probably be listened to at Cecil Sharp House and certainly at the National Sound Archive of the British Library - I don't know whether Kennedy has issued it on one of his Folktrax cassettes but doubt it. It is possible that the Sharp versions may be in Maud Karpeles' edition of the Cecil Sharp collection but I doubt that also.

There is a strong likelihood that texts will be on ballad sheets in the Irish collections at National Library of Ireland and elsewhere, but I have not noted it. Have you asked the Irish Traditional Music Archive - they have copied fair numbers of such things - and !they have them indexed!


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Subject: RE: Little Jimmy Murphy
From: MartinRyan
Date: 23 Sep 00 - 12:18 PM

John

The ITMA prints database only gives the JIFSS reference and a recent Wexford publication which I imagine is the usual version.

Regards


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Subject: RE: Little Jimmy Murphy
From: MartinRyan
Date: 23 Sep 00 - 12:21 PM

BTW John - I'd be interested in a copy of the Belden text. I'm not primarily interested in the chorus angle, curious though it is - I just wonder what the whole thing was about!

Regards


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Subject: RE: Little Jimmy Murphy
From: Liam's Brother
Date: 23 Sep 00 - 05:06 PM

And then, Martin, John et al, there is always...

Away in South Brooklyn a big row was making
And poor Peter Murphy was the boy they were taking.

Arrah, but now he is taken and drove round the city
With his hands tied behind him, and the girls they cried pity.

Fal de diddle I do.

Oh sure he is gone to the Island but not for sheep stealing
It was was for the loving of a pretty girl that was poor Peter's failing.

This appears in an 1869 New York publication. I believe it relates to political corruption. I'm working on a couple of other mysteries at the moment but this is somthing I intend looking into when the temperature turns less hospitable.

All the best,
Dan Milner


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Subject: RE: Little Jimmy Murphy
From: John Moulden
Date: 24 Sep 00 - 08:39 AM

The Henry M Belden (ed) Ballads and Songs Collected by the Missouri Folk-Lore Society (Columbia, 2nd ed 1955) version is called Joe Jimmy Murphy and was "Communicated in 1911 to Miss Hamilton by Miss Agnes Shibley the Kirksville Teachers College who had it from her cousin, Sylvia Husted from Worthington, Putnam County [Missouri] who learned it from an old man who came from Tennessee."

On the banks of Kilcanny
Where a great row was resin
Is Joe Jimmy Murphy
Who is lost and forsaken

Then rall-a-bonely lass now
From the east to Dan Pathrow's
To entice poor Jimmy Murphy
From the green banks of the
Jam-spooder-fudle-ram-jam-fa-de-riddle-die-do,
Fa-da-riddle-die-do, tie-yi-a.

Oh, tomorrow he will ride
He will ride through the city
With his hands tied behind him
All ladies to pity

Oh, tomorrow he will hang;
But it's not for sheep stealing
But for courting a pretty girl
By the name of Moll Figen.

Now he is dead
And his troubles are over,
And the ladies and lasses
Will hold him in clover.

Belden suggests that "resin" could be raising" or "raging" and that Kilcanny is Kilkenny.

Dan's version of New York is clearly a parody and that's interesting in itself.


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Subject: RE: Little Jimmy Murphy
From: MartinRyan
Date: 24 Sep 00 - 12:36 PM

Thank you, gentlemen.

Regards


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Subject: RE: Little Jimmy Murphy
From: GUEST,Martin Ryan
Date: 24 Sep 00 - 04:44 PM

Verrry interestink! Dan - let me know if you find out any more about that version. As John Moulden remarked (elsewhere) to me - the fact that it appears to be a parody or at least strong local adaptation is interesting. It certainly suggests to me that the original was probably well known in that time/place.

Regards


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Subject: RE: Little Jimmy Murphy
From: GUEST,Martin Ryan
Date: 12 Feb 07 - 11:58 AM

Refresh.


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Subject: RE: Little Jimmy Murphy
From: Liam's Brother
Date: 12 Feb 07 - 10:03 PM

Sorry, Martin, no news. But it must be correct that the parody indicates the song was known to more than a few.
All the best,
Dan


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Subject: RE: Little Jimmy Murphy
From: GUEST
Date: 13 Feb 07 - 04:36 AM

Thanks, Dan - something started me thinking about this one again!

Regards


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Subject: RE: Little Jimmy Murphy
From: MartinRyan
Date: 13 Feb 07 - 05:00 AM

Hmmm... Something odd going on here. I appear to be logged in alright - but the Autocomplete didn't work.


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Subject: RE: Little Jimmy Murphy
From: MartinRyan
Date: 13 Feb 07 - 05:01 AM

That's better!


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Subject: RE: Little Jimmy Murphy
From: GUEST,Martin Ryan
Date: 13 Feb 07 - 10:16 AM

Roly Brown has some interesting comments on this song at the end of THIS ARTICLE in the Musical Traditions web magazine.

Regards


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Subject: RE: Little Jimmy Murphy
From: MartinRyan
Date: 27 Sep 11 - 10:03 AM

Refresh


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Subject: RE: Little Jimmy Murphy
From: MartinRyan
Date: 27 Sep 11 - 10:20 AM

Here's a link to the version collected by Graves and published in Journal of the Irish Folk Song Society:

Click here

I'd forgotten he actually mentions a second version, of which he gives nothing.

Regards


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Subject: RE: Little Jimmy Murphy
From: MartinRyan
Date: 27 Sep 11 - 10:45 AM

I've taken the liberty of "borrowing" the relevant part of Roly Brown's Musical Traditons article, omitting the references:

---------------------------------------------------------------
We come, then, to Little Jimmy Murphy. This song, in its guise in English manuscripts, is, perhaps, the most unusual of the songs with a 1798 connection that have emerged. There are three versions; from Jack Barnard and a Mr J Thomas, both noted by Cecil Sharp; and a version sent to Sharp which was supplied by a Dr John Taylor who recorded it from 'a soldier'.24 Jack Barnard's text begins as follows:

As I was a walking
There was a row making
Poor Jimmy Murphy
Was the first man was taken

The refrain sets a tone paralleled in all other examples of the song …

For he's a rare old bonny lad now
From East to Don Patherick
To entice poor Jimmy Murphy
On the green mossy banks
On the John Skipper the monkey frisky
Fair ra lu ra li do
Fair ra lu ra li do

The rest of the narrative indicates that Jimmy Murphy will 'ride through the city' with people crying 'pity' and that he will be hanged 'not for sheep stealing' but for 'kissing of the pretty girls … '. The other manuscript versions are very similar. In particular, the unusual type of refrain, which is mirrored in all versions, is worth a second glance because it must impose a peculiar musical measure in each case. Mr Thomas' refrain is:

? any bonny lassie from the east of Dun-patrick
Right down to the green mossy banks
Of Saint Mary Ward ?
Save poor Jimmy Skiddymouth
Ri fal the diddle I-do
Ri titty-fal Lie
Ri fal the diddle I-do
Ri titty-fal di

The Taylor version has:

For 'tis a harrow bonny lassie
From the east to Don Patrick
Enticed poor Jimmy Murphy
From the green mossy banks
Jimminy don dimminy
Monkey whisky bull the rainstorm ? …

but here, Sharp's notation of the tune-line gave out at 'Enticed'. In this version the pretty girl is named as 'Miss Dealing'.
The necessity for tune and text to preserve the nonsense syllables has led to the suggestion that the piece may even have been used for a children's game and because these nonsense lines appear in all known versions, outright dismissal of such a notion is not an option. The verse-texts are very similar where the narrative is concerned.

At the same time, although the action is merely designated as a 'row' in the Barnard version, there are more Irish specifics in both the Thomas version - where the row takes place in Killarney - and in the Taylor version - where Kilkenny is cited.

The final stanza in the Thomas version is:

Jimmy Murphy is hung
And his troubles are over
And all the pretty lasses
They covered him with clover

There might just be a reference here to the practice at the funerals of prominent or notorious persons such as the Tyburn hanged where young girls dressed in white handed flowers to the condemned.25 How notorious, then, was 'Jimmy Murphy'? Is this figure meant to be a reference to Father Murphy (below)?

A fourth version of the song, this time from A P Graves in Ireland, also has Kilkenny as reference (and a separate broadside on the career of Father Murphy, the leader of the Wexford insurgents, has a line, 'We lost our lives in Kilkenny'). The 'crime' is still to do with kissing a pretty girl, named here as 'Kate Wheelan'. Graves has 'We're far upon the last now' and adds, in brackets, as an alternative to 'now', the word, 'rowt?' - presumably, 'rout'. Graves tells us that his version was obtained from the Town Crier in Harlech, Wales, though he, in turn, had got it from a ballad-seller in Liverpool in 1840: this the earliest date known for the appearance of a text and indicating that whatever the predominantly sung legacy as discussed here the piece did at one time exist as a printing (see also below).26

A further clue to transmission is given in a part-version communicated to a Vera Chapman in London 'in her very early childhood, about 1904/5, by an Irish maid, who said that her father, who used to sing this song, had once been asked by a gentleman to sing it into a machine … '. The fragments of text include the refrain:

Is there anybody last heard
From the hills of Dun Path'lick
For Willie ties (dies?) for Jimmy Murphy
From the green mossy banks
Of the Skinamalinktma - hickta - picta - foltheroo …
Down fola - a doodle - di - do
Down fol - la - la - day (Repeat).

No tune is given. We should not, incidentally, overlook the idea in this version that it is somebody else, 'Willie', not the leader of the insurrection, who died; but this is perhaps just an example of how text may have wavered during transmission.27
There is a stanza and chorus from Harry Scott (Bedfordshire) where the nonsense lines are maintained and although this gives us a notion of a continued interest does not otherwise advance our knowledge of the song and its genesis.28 Similarly, there is a version from Yorkshire where the setting is Kilkenny, the crime one of kissing all the 'bonny little lasses' and the nonsense lines are preserved.29

In view of these half dozen examples, the song can be seen to have achieved a certain popularity in England, however obscure its origins may have been for English singers.

In Ireland again, the late Frank Harte recorded a version and he expanded the 1798 connection …

… it has been suggested to me that the reference in the last verse to Kate Whelan:

"Now Jimmy Murphy was hanged not for sheep stealing
But for courting a pretty girl and her name was Kate Whelan"
could be interpreted as a reference to Ireland as Cathleen ni Houlihan.30

One might add that although tunes vary in certain measures, there is something of a similarity amongst the English manuscript versions and those from Graves and from Frank Harte where the respective main stanzas are concerned, but that it is well to re-emphasise that the differing choruses do impose their own needs.

American references are to two versions in the Helen Harkness Flanders collection, discovered through title only; to one - again named through the title only - in the Library of Congress collections; and to one fuller version entitled Joe Johnny Murphy as found in Missouri. Here the known pattern survives, the setting being Kilkenny, the crime one of 'courting a pretty girl' whose name was 'Moll Figen", the end of Joe Johnny Murphy mourned by 'ladies and lasses' who 'held' him - presumably surrounded and buried him - in clover. Nonsense lines are prominent.31

The song versions as a whole have a consistency in narrative; always include the nonsense lines; and the same crime.

In no case except the Harlech text are broadsides cited but there is one broadside example, without imprint, extant. It consists of two stanzas only which are commensurate with the sung versions noted above except that the opening lines set the scene as follows:

It was down in the Curragh,
      They a great row was makink … (sic)

And 'Tomorrow' Jimmy Murphy will be hung, as is consistently emphasised in sung versions, not for sheep-stealing 'But for the kissing of a pretty girl'. The lines are mostly reminiscent of the Sharp Barnard version especially in the second stanza:
Oh! Tomorrow he will ride.

      He will ride through the city,
The drums they will beat:
      And the people cry pity
And now he is dead.
      All his troubles are over,
And all the pretty lady [maids?]
      Are now in the clover.
The punctuation is especially loose here and the last two lines appear to muddle the known narrative.32
Finally, the Roud database lists the title if the song as it appeared in a Sanderson (Edinburgh) catalogue - a late addition to the corpus.

On this combined evidence, the appearance and reappearance of Little Jimmy Murphy ought, principally, to be a case of oral transmission and recreation.

Most remarkable of all, though, where textual evidence is available, is, surely, that element of rarity attendant on the song in its being couched in such clearly metaphorical terms: there are, of course, songs with eagles and blackbirds used to represent characters in order for the songs to escape censure - and if, in the case of Little Jimmy Murphy, a contemporary or near-contemporary Irish genesis is a possible factor, the form of the song may have been a way to avoid a charge of sedition.33 The song is thus outstanding in its whole cast, however transformed in the imagination from actuality, and in the preservation of its form.

Here, too, if the significant allusion is to Ireland itself - 'Miss Dealing', 'Kate Wheelan', 'Cathleen ni Houlihan' - it might be reasonable to suggest that no English singer would normally find a need to put together a song in the fashion indicated about a subject as remote as it was; but yet we find all those versions cited above. As in The Croppy Boy, The Rambler from Clare and General Munroe it seems that the narrative element, at least, provided an interest even if the whole experience of the '98 insurrection might well have been minimal in the lives of the singers who entertained the songs.

In broadside form the appearance of text scarce makes a ripple.

Roly Brown - 25.1.06
-----------------------------------------------------------

FWIW I remain sceptical of any 1798 connection. It is unclear, even, when the association was first made. Certainly Graves doesn't appear to have made the connection. Any ideas?

Regards


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Subject: RE: Little Jimmy Murphy
From: MartinRyan
Date: 27 Sep 11 - 10:55 AM

Click here for a Youtube video of Fionnuala Mac Lochlainn singing the three verse version on Irish Television in 1973.

Regards


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Subject: RE: Little Jimmy Murphy
From: MartinRyan
Date: 27 Sep 11 - 12:59 PM

Click here for the version I posted in the DT a long time ago!

Regards


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Subject: RE: Little Jimmy Murphy
From: GUEST,Erich
Date: 27 Sep 11 - 01:35 PM

These are the two versions that I have in my collection

JIMMY MURPHY (Trad.) (Frank Harte)

'twas down in Kilkenny where the great row was makin'
And poor little Jimmy Murphy was the lad to be taken
We are far from the last road from the east to Downpatrick
Where lies poor little Jimmy Murphy on the sweet green mossy banks
Killy ma lin killy ma jo whiskey friskey doodle o
Wank a doodle die do ding doodle I o

We marched through the town and we marched through the city
Our hands were tied behind us and the ladies cried pity
We are far from the last road from the east to Downpatrick
Where lies poor little Jimmy Murphy on the sweet green mossy banks
Killy ma lin killy ma jo whiskey friskey doodle o
Wank a doodle die do ding doodle I o

Now Jimmy Murphy was hanged not for sheep-stealing
But for courting a pretty girl and her name was Kate Whelan
We are far from the last road from the east to Downpatrick
Where lies poor little Jimmy Murphy on the sweet green mossy banks
Killy ma lin killy ma jo whiskey friskey doodle o
Wank a doodle die do ding doodle I o



JIMMY MURPHY (Trad.) (Voice Squad)

It was in Kilkenny the great row was making
And poor little Jimmy Murphy was the last to be taken
We are far from the last road from the east to Downpatrick
Where lies poor little Jimmy Murphy on the sweet green mossy banks
Killy ma lin killy ma jo whiskey friskey toora loo
Rang a doodle i do ding toora li o

We gathered our pikes and flint locks and green branches
And into old Wexford we soon were advancing
We are far from the last road from the east to Downpatrick
Where lies poor little Jimmy Murphy on the sweet green mossy banks
Killy ma lin killy ma jo whiskey friskey toora loo
Rang a doodle i do ding toora li o

We fought through New Ross, Vinegar Hill and through Gorey
But 'twas the boys of the Cork Militia that deprived us the glory
We are far from the last road from the east to Downpatrick
Where lies poor little Jimmy Murphy on the sweet green mossy banks
Killy ma lin killy ma jo whiskey friskey toora loo
Rang a doodle i do ding toora li o
We marched through the town and we marched through the city
With our hands tied behind us and the ladies cried pity
We are far from the last road from the east to Downpatrick
Where lies poor little Jimmy Murphy on the sweet green mossy banks
Killy ma lin killy ma jo whiskey friskey toora loo
Rang a doodle die do ding toora li o

Now Jimmy Murphy wasn't hanged for sheep-stealing
But he courted a pretty maiden and her name was Kate Whelan
We are far from the last road from the east to Downpatrick
Where lies poor little Jimmy Murphy on the sweet green mossy banks
Killy ma lin killy ma jo whiskey friskey toora loo
Rang a doodle i do ding toora li o


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Subject: RE: Little Jimmy Murphy
From: MartinRyan
Date: 27 Sep 11 - 01:39 PM

Hi Erich

Thanks for that. As mentioned earlier, the two extra verses in the Voice Squad version were written by Dublin singer, Luke Cheevers around the time of the bicentenary of the 1798 Irish rebellion. They fit beautifully and turn the song into an (almost) coherent narrative.

Regards


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Subject: RE: Little Jimmy Murphy
From: GUEST,Bill Williams
Date: 13 Dec 11 - 01:50 PM

I learned this song back in the 1960s from Finnuala MacLochlainn, then of Dublin, now of Galway. She is a wonderful singer in English and Gaelic. I forget where she got "Jimmy Murphy" from but back then the song was considered quite rare. The context in which she underestood the song was that of the old tradition of the rape "courtship." The girl, kidnapped and raped, would usually be forced into marriage with her abductor, who got her and her dowery. It was a way for half-mounted gentlemen to get a leg up in the world. (There are Scottish border balleds on this theme, such as "Eppie Morry.") As I found out in my own researchs, in the late eighteenth-century Kilkenny incidents such as these were all too common. So they began hanging the perpetrators, at which point the rape courtship began to go out of fashion. Sadly, it is all too common in some parts of the world today.


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