Lyrics & Knowledge Personal Pages Record Shop Auction Links Radio & Media Kids Membership Help
The Mudcat Cafemuddy

Post to this Thread - Sort Descending - Printer Friendly - Home


Help: Info on Dicey Reilly

DigiTrad:
DICEY REILLY


Related thread:
ADD: Willy Reilly (MacColl) [Dicey Reilly version] (4)


Mary Dailey 11 Nov 00 - 03:30 PM
old head 11 Nov 00 - 04:41 PM
CarolC 11 Nov 00 - 04:47 PM
CarolC 11 Nov 00 - 04:50 PM
Susanne (skw) 11 Nov 00 - 04:51 PM
GUEST,Martin Ryan 11 Nov 00 - 08:31 PM
GUEST,CraigS 11 Nov 00 - 08:56 PM
Robo 11 Nov 00 - 09:17 PM
Snuffy 12 Nov 00 - 10:28 AM
JTT 12 Nov 00 - 11:23 AM
Peter K (Fionn) 12 Nov 00 - 11:42 AM
Ferrara 12 Nov 00 - 12:39 PM
Snuffy 12 Nov 00 - 01:41 PM
Peter K (Fionn) 12 Nov 00 - 07:50 PM
Peter K (Fionn) 12 Nov 00 - 07:59 PM
GUEST,Paddy(1) 12 Nov 00 - 08:04 PM
CarolC 13 Nov 00 - 02:42 AM
MartinRyan 13 Nov 00 - 10:26 AM
Mrrzy 13 Nov 00 - 11:06 AM
MartinRyan 13 Nov 00 - 12:06 PM
Steve Parkes 13 Nov 00 - 12:27 PM
Steve Parkes 13 Nov 00 - 12:29 PM
GUEST,JTT 13 Nov 00 - 12:33 PM
Peter K (Fionn) 13 Nov 00 - 06:54 PM
GUEST,mary dailey 13 Nov 00 - 07:28 PM
GUEST 14 Nov 00 - 03:37 AM
GUEST,Reta Fain 14 Nov 00 - 03:39 AM
GUEST,Martin Ryan 14 Nov 00 - 04:30 AM
Steve Parkes 14 Nov 00 - 06:30 AM
MartinRyan 14 Nov 00 - 06:33 AM
paddymac 14 Nov 00 - 09:30 AM
GUEST,Reta Fain 14 Nov 00 - 11:24 AM
GUEST,Reta Fain 14 Nov 00 - 11:36 AM
CarolC 15 Nov 00 - 12:31 AM
Bat Goddess 15 Nov 00 - 12:10 PM
Bat Goddess 15 Nov 00 - 12:15 PM
GUEST 15 Nov 00 - 07:40 PM
GUEST 16 Nov 00 - 04:55 AM
Steve Parkes 16 Nov 00 - 05:20 AM
GUEST,JTT 16 Nov 00 - 12:20 PM
GUEST,CraigS 17 Nov 00 - 09:28 AM
GUEST,JTT 17 Nov 00 - 04:09 PM
Jim Dixon 21 Aug 03 - 12:44 AM
Celtaddict 21 Aug 03 - 02:05 AM
GUEST,Matthew Edwards 21 Aug 03 - 05:04 AM
Jim McLean 21 Aug 03 - 01:40 PM
Reiver 2 21 Aug 03 - 04:37 PM
Dita 21 Aug 03 - 05:04 PM
Susanne (skw) 21 Aug 03 - 06:56 PM
GUEST,Deskjet 21 Aug 03 - 07:10 PM
Reiver 2 22 Aug 03 - 01:05 PM
Reiver 2 22 Aug 03 - 02:17 PM
Reiver 2 22 Aug 03 - 02:21 PM
Deskjet 22 Aug 03 - 03:04 PM
Gurney 22 Aug 03 - 10:51 PM
Reiver 2 23 Aug 03 - 01:42 PM
GUEST,(Guest) Carl Ellis 19 May 11 - 12:39 PM
Share Thread
more
Lyrics & Knowledge Search [Advanced]
DT  Forum
Sort (Forum) by:relevance date
DT Lyrics:









Subject: Help: Info on Dicey Reilly
From: Mary Dailey
Date: 11 Nov 00 - 03:30 PM

CarolC here. This is my friend Mary Dailey's cookie. Mary is a new member, and a very talented singer/songwriter. She has a CD out called "Beginning". This is her very first post. Welcome to the Mudcat, Mary!

Mary Daily here, I'm wondering about the meaning of a phrase in the song Dicey Reilly, "the heart of the rowl" - anyone know?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: Info on Dicey Reilly
From: old head
Date: 11 Nov 00 - 04:41 PM

hi mary, off the top of my head,i'd say that it was to do with the street/localty they were all living in and the person they're extolling the virtues of is obviously highly regarded by the local community for his compassion,understanding and his hands on approach to local issues. i'd like to see more of the preceding lyrics. all the best in your search, old head.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: Lyr Add: DICEY REILLY
From: CarolC
Date: 11 Nov 00 - 04:47 PM

This is from the DT:

DICEY REILLY

Oh, poor old Dicey Reilly, she has taken to the sup,
And poor old Dicey Reilly, she will never give it up.
It's off each morning to the pop
That she goes in for another little drop,
But the heart of the rowl is Dicey Reilly.

She will walk along Fitzgibbon Street with an independent air,
And then its down by Summerhill, and as the people stare,
She'll say, "It's nearly half past one.
Time I went in for another little one."
But the heart of the rowl is Dicey Reilly.

Now at two, pubs close and out she goes as happy as a lark.
She'll find a bench to sleep it off at St. Patrick's Park.
She'll wake at five feeling in the pink,
And say, " 'Tis time for another drink."
But the heart of the rowl is Dicey Reilly

Now she'll travel far to a dockside bar to have another round,
And after one or two or three, she doesn't feel quite so sound.
After four, she's a bit unstable.
After five, underneath the table.
But the heart of the rowl is Dicey Reilly.

Oh, they carry her home at twelve o'clock as they do every night,
Bring her inside, put her on the bed, and then turn out the light.
Next morning, she'll get out of bed
And look for a cure for her head.
But the heart of the rowl is Dicey Reilly.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: Info on Dicey Reilly
From: CarolC
Date: 11 Nov 00 - 04:50 PM

Sorry about the lack of line breaks. That's the first time I've tried cutting and pasting something from the DT.

Carol


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: Info on Dicey Reilly
From: Susanne (skw)
Date: 11 Nov 00 - 04:51 PM

This is what I found:
[1979:] The heart of the 'rowl' (roll) is more than likely referring to a roll of tobacco which Dicey chewed. (Loesberg III, 74)
Reiver2 confirms this - and, indeed, oldhead's interpretation - in another thread (whose address I've lost so I just post what I've kept):
[1999:] The tobacco used was "packaged" by rolling up the tobacco leaves. The best were in the middle, or heart, of the roll, with the lower quality leaves on the outside. Hence, Dicey Riley, is regarded as a person of high quality in spite of having "... taken to the slop." (Reiver2, 20 Apr)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: Info on Dicey Reilly
From: GUEST,Martin Ryan
Date: 11 Nov 00 - 08:31 PM

Probably refers to pipe tobacco sold in a tarry roll. the core of which stayed moist. "taken to the sup" is more usual inthe chorus.

Regards


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: Info on Dicey Reilly
From: GUEST,CraigS
Date: 11 Nov 00 - 08:56 PM

It's down to the intonation - whether you sing "row", referring to a street of terraced houses, or "roll", meaning whatever the above think. Me myself I think the word is "row" , and refers to a row of terraced houses. As far as I can distinguish, this is what Mr Kelly was singing on the Dubliner's record I've got, so I can only imagine that "rowl" is Brooklyn Irish.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: Info on Dicey Reilly
From: Robo
Date: 11 Nov 00 - 09:17 PM

Great thread, as I've wondered about the 'rowl' business since first hearing the song. Thanks, Suzanne!

Rob-o


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: Info on Dicey Reilly
From: Snuffy
Date: 12 Nov 00 - 10:28 AM

Just to confuse things further, it's "heart of the rule" in my songbook - but I don't know what that means either!

Wassail! V


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: Info on Dicey Reilly
From: JTT
Date: 12 Nov 00 - 11:23 AM

To say someone's the heart of the roll means they're a great person, genuine and straight, in Dublin.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: Info on Dicey Reilly
From: Peter K (Fionn)
Date: 12 Nov 00 - 11:42 AM

CraigS, the Dubliners 2nd Song Album has "roll." I think it's just Kelly's accent/diction or whatever that renders it into "row." And maybe that's what led some versions - including the Digital Tradition - to give "rowl".

I've often seen this listed as "anon" in collections, and I don't think the DT credits it to anyone. According to the Dubliners, the song (words and music presumably) is by Dominic Behan - in which case I'd guess that their songbook is close to definitive (as they were in such close contact with him over many years).

Incidentally the Dubliners book is the only version I've seen to give "Riley" instead of "Reilly."

Susanne, I think Martin's right (is he ever wrong?). All the versions I've seen/heard have "sup" rather than "slop." The latter would be unlikely if only because it gives a poor rhyme.

Thanks for explaining "roll/rowl" folks, but can anyone explain "pop" in the first verse? A corruption of "pub" to rhyme with "drop," or is it a term in its own right?

Oh, and welcome, Mary! Thanks for kicking this one off. I squabble with your pal Carol now and then, but don't let that put you off!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: Info on Dicey Reilly
From: Ferrara
Date: 12 Nov 00 - 12:39 PM

The 'pop' is the local pawnshop. She 'pops' her watch, best coat, or anything she can find, to get money to buy herself a drink.

To Pop, taken in that context, means to pawn. I think it goes back to about the 1800's.

This last could be wrong, I just inferred that because the expression is used in Regency period romance novels, for which I have an addiction even worse than my chocolate addiction....


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: Info on Dicey Reilly
From: Snuffy
Date: 12 Nov 00 - 01:41 PM

Fionn

"A Collection of Irish Ballads" (John Ellison, Carballis, Rathdrum, Co. Wicklow, 1993)has not only "heart of the rule", as mentioned above, it also spells the name as Riley, and gives that line as "It's off each morning she will hop"

Wassail! V


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: Info on Dicey Reilly
From: Peter K (Fionn)
Date: 12 Nov 00 - 07:50 PM

Thanks Snuffy. Does it credit Dominic Behan?

And Ferrara - of course!! As in "pop goes the weasil" which was some leather-trade tool that got pawned in the song, I believe. Thanks for pointing it out. I would never have made the connection.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: Info on Dicey Reilly
From: Peter K (Fionn)
Date: 12 Nov 00 - 07:59 PM

Sorry, I meant to give a date for the Dubliners song album - 1967. Since posting last, I've just noticed that the book was "produced by" (whatever that means)...... Dominic Behan. Must surely be the definitive version!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: Info on Dicey Reilly
From: GUEST,Paddy(1)
Date: 12 Nov 00 - 08:04 PM

Always thought it was "hock" (rather than "pop") myself which is an irishism for pawn shop.

Could be wrong . . . .

{Also, that's "Corballis" rather than "Carballis" in John's address}

Paddy(1)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: Info on Dicey Reilly
From: CarolC
Date: 13 Nov 00 - 02:42 AM

(refreshing this so Mary can find it Monday evening)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: Info on Dicey Reilly
From: MartinRyan
Date: 13 Nov 00 - 10:26 AM

I've never really stopped to think about this one. All teh versions I can find have the eponymous "chorus" and the "Fitzwilliam Street" in ocmmon. They then divide into three strands:

(1) Dominic Behan's published version, with a few verses about famous Dublin "Madams". These are in his "Ireland Sings" book (1965?) with the following tag: "Street song adapted with new music and words by Dominic Behan". I don't think I've ever actually heard those verses sung.

(2) Verses about the wanderings of an alcoholic woman through Dublin (DT version some of them). These are in Frank Harte's "Songs of Dublin" (1978) where he says Tom Munnelly claimed to have written them. Are you listening, Liam's Brother? That wouild again be early 1960-s at a guess. The "chorus" is here used as first verse, repeated as final verse. My favourite version.

(3)Odd verses resembling children's songs e.g. "She owns a little sweetshop..." Often seem to be mainly an excuse for another rowdy chorus.

My guess is that Behan collected the common verses and wrote some more - which didn't really take, with all the others comoing from around the same time.

I've never seen the song or anything resembling it in anything pre-1965.

Regards


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: Info on Dicey Reilly
From: Mrrzy
Date: 13 Nov 00 - 11:06 AM

I saw these words written down in an Irish songbook somewhere in Ireland as Heart of the Rowl. No explanation, but it wasn't Row or Roll. If I can find the songbook, I'll annotate.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: Info on Dicey Reilly
From: MartinRyan
Date: 13 Nov 00 - 12:06 PM

Mrrzy

Yes -its pronounced rowl, alright - but then you should hear some of the other strange sounds we Dubs make!

Regards


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: Info on Dicey Reilly
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 13 Nov 00 - 12:27 PM

I saw it about twentyfive years ago in a book of street songs compiled (and probably much edited) by Dominic Behan. Iseem to remember that it was "roll" in there. I've always taken it to mean the sexual act, as they call it in Solihull -- as in "a roll in the hay". I may be wrong ...

Some more verses from DB:
In days of old when men were bold and fancied May Oblong,
Or pretty Beckie Carter, or Maggie Mary Wong,
One woman put them all to shame, just one was worthy of the name,
And the name of the same was Dicey Riley.

But time went catching up with her, like every pretty whore,
It's after you along the street before you're out the door.
But out of all that great brigade, just one was worthy of her trade,
And the name of that jade was Dicey Riley

Rather a sad story ... sounds as if it's written with a real woman in mind. It always reminds me of "nobody loves fairy when she's forty"!

Steve


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: Info on Dicey Reilly
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 13 Nov 00 - 12:29 PM

Oops! I just noticed I spelt "Becky" the way my daughter Beckie spells her name -- and after I spelt it wrong on her birthday card last week!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: Info on Dicey Reilly
From: GUEST,JTT
Date: 13 Nov 00 - 12:33 PM

Incidentally, Bernard Share's "Slanguage", better on northern speech than Dublinisms, but still... gives the definition as possibly from the sweet, juicy centre of a roll of Goodbody's tobacco called Irish Roll.

The word dicey, of course, means chancy in Dublin; it would not be unknown for one Dub to shake the head doubtfully at another and say "would you go in that car? I'd say it's a bit dicey." To which the other might well reply: "Dicey? I'd say it's bunched."


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: Info on Dicey Reilly
From: Peter K (Fionn)
Date: 13 Nov 00 - 06:54 PM

JTT, brilliant! You've just taken me back to O'Donoghue's at nil cost. The next pint's on me. And thanks for expounding Martin. If you come back to the thread, what spelling of "Reilly/Riley" predominates? (These things can be crucial when copyright writs start flying around!)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: Info on Dicey Reilly
From: GUEST,mary dailey
Date: 13 Nov 00 - 07:28 PM

Since I do not have a computer at home I rely on my trips to the library to check such things as this thread. I am amazed at the response! Unfortunately I don't have time to read all the threads (I'll be late for music practice), but I'll be back at the library on Wednesday and can't wait to read all that has been contributed. Thanks so much!!!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: Info on Dicey Reilly
From: GUEST
Date: 14 Nov 00 - 03:37 AM

Dicey Riley was Dublin's most famous 'lady of the night' at the turn of the century. She was an alcoholic and her mind became unbalanced as a result, hence the nickname, "Dicey".
In Ireland Sings, published by Essex Music, Ltd., in 1965 it is given like this;

DICEY RILEY
Music and words by Dominic Behan

Poor oul Dicey Riley she has taken to the sup,
Poor oul Dicey Riley she will never give it up,
It's off each morning to the pop, then she goes in for a little drop,
For the heart of the roll is Dicey Riley.

She'll walk along Fitzgibbon St. with an independent air,
Then it's down by Summerhill and see the people stare,
She'll say it's nearly half past one, so I'll go in for another one,
For the heart of the roll is Dicey Riley.

Long years ago when men were men and fancied May Oblong,
Or lovely Becky Cooper or Maggie Mary Wong,
One woman put them all to shame, just one was worthy of the name,
And the name of that same was Dicey Riley.

But time went catchin' up on her like many pretty whores,
It's after yeh along the street before yer out the door,
The balance weighed their looks all fade, but out of all that great brigade,
Still the heart of the roll is Dicey Riley.

*Pop; slang for pawn office
copyright 1965, CODA MUSIC LIMITED, 4, Denmark St. London W.C.2

I have always used the following:
2nd verse; And then it's down by Summerhill, at her the people stare.
3rd verse; And the name of that dame is Dicey Riley.
4th verse: But time went catchin' up on her like many pretty girls.

,


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: Info on Dicey Reilly
From: GUEST,Reta Fain
Date: 14 Nov 00 - 03:39 AM

Sorry, I meant to put my name in but forgot. I hope the above is of use. Blessings, Reta


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: Info on Dicey Reilly
From: GUEST,Martin Ryan
Date: 14 Nov 00 - 04:30 AM

Reta

The names Behan uses in verse 3 are quite authentic, alright. It's just that there's no other trace of those verses - and they are rarely sung. I think reading Dicey Riley/Reilly as a whore may be stretching things.

Fionn: In general Reilly is much more common than Riley in Ireland. As far as published versions of the song are concerned, - I'll need to check.

Regards


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: Info on Dicey Reilly
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 14 Nov 00 - 06:30 AM

Interesting, Martin -- I've always sung the third verse, but then I sing it as I learned it, and I only ever heard one person sing it. Maybe it got cleaned up, like Maggie May did from time to time.

Steve


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: Info on Dicey Reilly
From: MartinRyan
Date: 14 Nov 00 - 06:33 AM

Fionn

Interestingly, a check on indexes of songbooks shows only a minor preponderance of REILLY over RILEY for the title.

Regards


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: Info on Dicey Reilly
From: paddymac
Date: 14 Nov 00 - 09:30 AM

I've heard it said that Dear Ole Dicey is credited as being the woman that broke the "men only" rule in Dublin pubs. I don't know the truth of it, but it does offer an explanation of the "heart of the rowl" phrasing if "rowl" is the Dub pronunciation for "row", as in "a row and a ruction". A lady of the street, fronting for her genteel sisters, could be expected to cause a bit of a stir. Whatever the "correct" answer might be, it's a great song that even audiences not well versed in Dublin lore seem to thoroughly enjoy.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: Info on Dicey Reilly
From: GUEST,Reta Fain
Date: 14 Nov 00 - 11:24 AM


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: Info on Dicey Reilly
From: GUEST,Reta Fain
Date: 14 Nov 00 - 11:36 AM

Hi Martin; I gave the song just as it is written in the book. I have always sung the 3rd verse, (learned it from a Dubliners album), but use 'girls' instead of whores.

Paddymac; I have heard that story also. She must have been a right handful.

blessings :o)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: Info on Dicey Reilly
From: CarolC
Date: 15 Nov 00 - 12:31 AM

(Refreshing, so Mary can find this on Wednesday)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: Info on Dicey Reilly
From: Bat Goddess
Date: 15 Nov 00 - 12:10 PM

I sing the song. I got it from a 1970s (I think) recording by Debbie McClatchy. I asked her once for some help on a couple words and she sent me hers, which are the Dominic Behan words. So there's at least one recording of the Behan version.

Bat Goddess


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: Info on Dicey Reilly
From: Bat Goddess
Date: 15 Nov 00 - 12:15 PM

Oops, and I should have mentioned that Debbie sings the line:

"It's after you're along the street before you're off the door."

to which she appended the note, "? never did understand this line"

If I recall correctly, she said she actually learned it from a woman in Ireland, but the words she sent me were noted "as arranged by dominic Behan."

Bat Goddess


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: Info on Dicey Reilly
From: GUEST
Date: 15 Nov 00 - 07:40 PM

It's Wednesday evening at the library and I have just read all the input on this thread. Not only has my original question been answered, but I have a much fuller sense of the feeling of this song. There is an expression that I have grown up with, "the cream of the crop", which came to mind as I read the input about "heart of the rowl". I learned the song from a recording by Patrick Hart, but it was taken from the radio so I had no other info. I love all of his pronunciations so will sing it as he does and now more enthusiastically than ever. Thanks all!!! Mary Dailey


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: Info on Dicey Reilly
From: GUEST
Date: 16 Nov 00 - 04:55 AM

"It's after you along the street before you're out the door": this is a woman dedicated to her craft - a possible customer is scarcely out the door before she's importuning him to do a little business for a short time. Clear now?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: Info on Dicey Reilly
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 16 Nov 00 - 05:20 AM

No, no, no! It's time that's after you -- poor old Dicey is getting old, like the rest of us, but it's bad for business in her line of work, so she's going downhill now. See?

Steve


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: Info on Dicey Reilly
From: GUEST,JTT
Date: 16 Nov 00 - 12:20 PM

I suppose you *could* interpret it that way; but it's a normal enough Dublin usage to say "it's" when referring to a kind of generalised action while still meaning a specific actor; comes from the briathar saor, I suppose. (Or "it might be supposed".)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: Info on Dicey Reilly
From: GUEST,CraigS
Date: 17 Nov 00 - 09:28 AM

Well, if the general concensus is that the word is "rowl", I'll go for the argument that "heart of the rowl" means "middle of the ruckus" - makes more sense to me than tobacco.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: Info on Dicey Reilly
From: GUEST,JTT
Date: 17 Nov 00 - 04:09 PM

No, it really doesn't mean that. It's a phrase which is in common use in Dublin today, and if you say someone's the heart of the rowl you mean s/he is a really nice, genuine, good person.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: Info on Dicey Reilly
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 21 Aug 03 - 12:44 AM

According to AMG - All Music Guide, the title is spelled as

DICEY RILEY on recordings by Tom Donovan, Tom Kilpatrick, Charlie King, Sweeney's Men, and the Tossers;

DICEY REILY on a recording by Shanachie; and

DICEY REILLY on recordings by Dublin City Rambler, The Dubliners, Five Alive 'O, and Reel Feelings.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: Info on Dicey Reilly
From: Celtaddict
Date: 21 Aug 03 - 02:05 AM

Danny Doyle, a true Dubliner (who knew and knows most of these folks, DB included) and more scholarly in his approach to the story behind the songs than many, is quite positive that the "heart of the roll" (or "rowl" not unlike "ould") is the center of the roll of tobacco, and that then and now the heart of the roll was the best, the cream of the crop if you will.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: Info on Dicey Reilly
From: GUEST,Matthew Edwards
Date: 21 Aug 03 - 05:04 AM

I've just been listening to a 1960 LP of Dominic Behan ( Topic 12T35 Down by the Liffeyside Dominic Behan, accompanied by Peggy Seeger, Leon Rosselson and Ralph Rinzler). On it he sings just the first two verses noted above. In the notes to the LP Behan, perhaps rather disingenuously, says "Let's say Zozimus wrote this one as well." By the way he spells the name as 'Dicey Riley'!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: Info on Dicey Reilly
From: Jim McLean
Date: 21 Aug 03 - 01:40 PM

I worked with Dominic and The Dubliners in the early/mid sixties. It was common practice then to claim songs as 'trad arranged' by altering a few words here and there which meant you got 50% from the publisher, otherwise the songs were published as trad and the publisher kept 100% Major Minor had their own various publishing houses and it 'saved' money to publish the songs on their own label. People like Dominic had a vast store of original and trad material so there always was a bit of 'mixing'.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: Info on Dicey Reilly
From: Reiver 2
Date: 21 Aug 03 - 04:37 PM

Interesting to revisit a discussion of Dicey Riley (or Reilly) after several years. (Also interesting that Susanne came up with my post from 1999!) (Hi Susanne! Nice to know you're still here.) (Have I been away THAT long?)

I remain convinced that "heart of the roll (rowl)" a reference to the heart of a roll of tobacco being the finest quality (tobacco was packaged in rolls in those times and the leaves in the center - heart - were of the best quality) is the most meaningful (correct?) phrase. To speak of Dicey as being "the heart of the row", meaning a row of homes or apartments, is rather meaningless, as is using the word "rule". I think the use of "rowl" or roll, is pretty obvious and have no doubt that this was the original reference. As JTT says, "To say someone's the heart of the roll means they're a great person, genuine and straight, in Dublin." -- a person to be admired even though she's taken to the "slop".

I learned "taken to the slop" (meaning she's taken to drinking heavily) which also makes sense in the context of the song. "Sup" rhymes a little better, but when do folk songs worry about exact rhymes? And what would it mean? She's suddenly taken up eating? Unless someone more familiar with Dublinese slang comes up with an appropriate slang meaning of "sup", I'll stick to "slop".

On the other hand, The Reivers always sang, "It's off each morning to the Hop" which we interpreted as the name of a pub. Ferrara has convinced me that the correct word should be "pop" since it was Dublinese for pawn shop. That makes complete sense. She goes to pawn something to get money to "go in for another little drop." So I'll use "pop" from now on.

We sang "She walks along Fitzgibbon Street" -- not "Fitzwilliam Street, as someone had it earlier in this thread. (I think we got this from a Dubliner's recording.) Does anyone know the streets of Dublin well enough to know if there is, in fact, a Fitzgibbon Street? I know there is a Fitzwilliam St., and wonder if that might be correct. Anybody know? Also is there a "Summerhill" Street in the same vicinity? I learned the line as "Up along by Summerhill", but the only print copy I have says "Then it's down to Summerhill."
Someone help here. Would Summerhill be "up" or "down" from Fitzgibbon St. (if, in fact, either exists) or from Fitzwilliam St.?

When I was in Ireland in 2001 (yes, arriving there on Sept. 11 - honest to God), I bought a set of 4 songbooks, "Folksongs & Ballads Popular in Ireland." Vol. III has Dicey Riley, but give no name for an author. A note in the back says only, "A good example of how Dublin wit and subtlety can turn the usually touchy subject of female alcoholics into an acceptable folksong. The heart of the 'rowl' (roll), more than likely refers to a roll of tobacco which Dicey chewed."

We only sang two verses and repeated the first (always sang it as the second part of a medley along with "All For Me Grog", which I think we learned from the Dubliners), but the book includes a third:

She owns a little sweetshop at the corner of the street.
And every evening after school I go to wash her feet.
She leaves me there to mind the shop,
While she nips in for another little drop,
Ah, the heart of the rowl is Dicey Riley.

I kind of like the extra verses Carol C. posted, which are new to me.
I think I'll add them to my Reivers collection in case we ever get together again! (Hope springs eternal!)

Reiver 2


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: Info on Dicey Reilly
From: Dita
Date: 21 Aug 03 - 05:04 PM

On ths slop/sup question, either works in a sense for me.

Slop - the overspill drink in the tray beneath the pump.
Dicey will drink anything, regardlesss of quality.
As in "She'd drink beer through a shitty clout"

Sup - this can mean to drink, usualy in conjunction with "up", as in "sup up your beer, we're for the off".

I tend to favour slop, sup being to my mind a more anglisised term although heard in Scottish and Irish pubs.

Cheers, John


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: Info on Dicey Reilly
From: Susanne (skw)
Date: 21 Aug 03 - 06:56 PM

Hi Reiver, 'fraid you have! WHERE've you been? Surely there can't be a better place than Mudcat!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: Info on Dicey Reilly
From: GUEST,Deskjet
Date: 21 Aug 03 - 07:10 PM

There is a Fitzgibbon street, which is a stones-throw from Summerhill,(where my good father was born and raised).But it is not known as Summerhill "street".


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: Info on Dicey Reilly
From: Reiver 2
Date: 22 Aug 03 - 01:05 PM

Just got caught up in too many other things, Susanne. No good excuse. I'll try to hang our here more now as I'm retired and should have more time.

John, I'd never heard "sup" used as you suggest with a drink. I wonder if it's used in Ireland like we use "sip" here in the U.S.? Anyway, like you, I still prefer "slop" (in my mind just a euphemism for any alcoholic drink).

Thanks, Deskjet! I'll go with Fitzgibbon Street, then, with no qualms. Actually, the song just says "Summerhill" with no "street" attached, so that's fine, too. Now, the remaining question: is Summerhill above or below Fitzgibbon St.? Since it's SummerHILL, I'd tend to assume it's at a higher elevation, and be inclined to prefer "UP along by Summerhill" to "Then it's DOWN to Summerhill. In what part of Dublin are these places located? I'll check my map again if I can find it.

Reiver 2


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: Info on Dicey Reilly
From: Reiver 2
Date: 22 Aug 03 - 02:17 PM

I found it! The version we learned was not from the Dubliners but from a group called "The Jolly Beggarmen" on an album called "Irish Drinking Songs," recorded in 1978. Is anyone familiar with this group? I don't recall seeing them mentioned here. The jacket has this notation: "This record is the product of diligent research by teams of unpaid volunteers who, without thought to their moral or physical welfare, toured the pubs of Ireland to find out what songs were lifting the roofs at closing time. Although many of these brave researchers were never seen again, enough information reached us to enable us to produce this, the definitive Irish drinking record.... The Jolly Beggarmen... are already deservedly famous for their rousing on-stage performance, a performance which is successfully captured on this record."

Reiver 2


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: Info on Dicey Reilly
From: Reiver 2
Date: 22 Aug 03 - 02:21 PM

Whoops! The "I found it!" was in reference to the record... not to my map.

Reiver 2


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: Info on Dicey Reilly
From: Deskjet
Date: 22 Aug 03 - 03:04 PM

Reiver 2. Look up Mountjoy Square in the north inner city. Each location is off it. Fitz. st. is perpendicular to the east side, and Summ. parallel to the south side.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: Info on Dicey Reilly
From: Gurney
Date: 22 Aug 03 - 10:51 PM

I have heard it sung as "a whore of the road is..." but I like JTT's better.
To add to any confusion: A Rowl is an old Exmoor word for a wake or fair. 'Dictionary of Archaic Words.'


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: Info on Dicey Reilly
From: Reiver 2
Date: 23 Aug 03 - 01:42 PM

Found my map. It's a "tourist map" and doesn't cover the entire city. It does show "Summerhill" as an extension of Parnell Street and just south of Mountjoy Square. Unfortunately, Mountjoy Square is at the very top of my map. It does show a road perpendicular to the square on the east that is without a name on my map. It runs north from Summerhill. Perhaps that is Fitzgibbon St. Doesn't indicate which one is higher or lower in elevation. No topography shown. Thanks for the tip, Deskjet.

Reiver 2


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Help: Info on Dicey Reilly
From: GUEST,(Guest) Carl Ellis
Date: 19 May 11 - 12:39 PM

This is a place I can immerse myself for hours & love it, but it's playing hell with the old folk process of singing things as you've mis-heard them, and passing them on altered. ;) From the Dubliners, after straining my ears, I took the third verse as:

Long years ago, when men were men, and fancied Maeve Long,
Or lovely Becky Cooper, or Maggie's merry one...

But since it's mentioned that these other girls were real people, I suppose I have to straighten out & sing right...

Always did wonder about the "heart of the roll" tho, nice to finally understand that.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate
  Share Thread:
More...

Reply to Thread
Subject:  Help
From:
Preview   Automatic Linebreaks   Make a link ("blue clicky")


Mudcat time: 25 April 5:47 PM EDT

[ Home ]

All original material is copyright © 1998 by the Mudcat Café Music Foundation, Inc. All photos, music, images, etc. are copyright © by their rightful owners. Every effort is taken to attribute appropriate copyright to images, content, music, etc. We are not a copyright resource.