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Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive

JedMarum 14 Nov 01 - 11:52 PM
tremodt 15 Nov 01 - 12:06 AM
alison 15 Nov 01 - 12:15 AM
paddymac 15 Nov 01 - 01:09 AM
GUEST,BigDaddy 15 Nov 01 - 02:12 AM
Blackcatter 15 Nov 01 - 02:29 AM
GUEST,Stavanger Bill 15 Nov 01 - 05:22 AM
Fibula Mattock 15 Nov 01 - 05:45 AM
Dave the Gnome 15 Nov 01 - 05:59 AM
JedMarum 15 Nov 01 - 09:23 AM
Midchuck 15 Nov 01 - 10:04 AM
Jack the Sailor 15 Nov 01 - 10:07 AM
Fibula Mattock 15 Nov 01 - 10:12 AM
GUEST,Marc Gunn, Bard 15 Nov 01 - 10:53 AM
Jack the Sailor 15 Nov 01 - 11:12 AM
JedMarum 15 Nov 01 - 11:25 AM
GUEST,Tom 15 Nov 01 - 11:41 AM
Jon Freeman 15 Nov 01 - 12:07 PM
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Clinton Hammond 15 Nov 01 - 12:18 PM
GUEST,Stavanger Bill 15 Nov 01 - 12:30 PM
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Jeri 16 Nov 01 - 09:35 AM
Clinton Hammond 16 Nov 01 - 09:44 AM
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Keith A of Hertford 25 Jun 07 - 03:10 PM
Mike Miller 25 Jun 07 - 03:11 PM
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Big Mick 25 Jun 07 - 03:44 PM
Jim Lad 25 Jun 07 - 04:50 PM
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Jim Lad 26 Jun 07 - 03:14 AM
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Dave the Gnome 26 Jun 07 - 11:21 AM
Big Mick 26 Jun 07 - 01:19 PM
Keith A of Hertford 26 Jun 07 - 02:05 PM
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Big Mick 26 Jun 07 - 02:47 PM
Big Mick 26 Jun 07 - 02:52 PM
GUEST 26 Jun 07 - 02:57 PM
Keith A of Hertford 26 Jun 07 - 03:02 PM
Greg B 26 Jun 07 - 03:16 PM
Big Mick 26 Jun 07 - 04:35 PM
Jim Lad 26 Jun 07 - 04:55 PM
Stu 27 Jun 07 - 06:53 AM
Dave the Gnome 27 Jun 07 - 07:36 AM
Big Mick 27 Jun 07 - 07:54 AM
The Sandman 27 Jun 07 - 08:09 AM
Keith A of Hertford 27 Jun 07 - 08:15 AM
Jim Lad 27 Jun 07 - 11:14 AM
Stu 27 Jun 07 - 12:35 PM
GUEST,Jim Carroll 27 Jun 07 - 01:14 PM
GUEST,Jim Carroll 27 Jun 07 - 02:58 PM
GUEST,Big Mick 27 Jun 07 - 05:38 PM
Greg B 27 Jun 07 - 06:18 PM
Stu 28 Jun 07 - 05:09 AM
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Jim Lad 28 Jun 07 - 11:28 AM
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Jim Lad 28 Jun 07 - 02:29 PM
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Subject: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: JedMarum
Date: 14 Nov 01 - 11:52 PM

I play at a great pub in Dallas called Trinity Hall and one of the young Irish bartenders asked if I knew "Come You Black and Tans" - I did, I played it, and continue to play it there occasionally. One night some Irish Tourists were there, and stopped to chat after the show. They loved "Spancil Hill," "Garden Where the Praities Grow," "Phil the Fluter's Ball" and many others - I asked if them if they heard these songs at home - they did. I asked about "Come You Black and Tans" and they said they knew it, but it was not considered a polite song. They didn't seem bothered by it, especially being played in the US by a dumb Yank (me) ... but casually dismissed it as inappropriate for general use.

Well we've had some discussion on specific songs, from time to time, here at Mudcat - and I am not trying to start a politcal discussion, but which songs listed here will many people in Ireland find offensive - or in poor taste?

Come Out You Black and Tans
Young Ned of the Hill
Roddy McCorely
Bold Fenien Men (Glory OH to the Bold Fenien Men)
other popular in US that might be offensive in Ireland?


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: tremodt
Date: 15 Nov 01 - 12:06 AM

irish people in the USA would find some offence in the Orange songs or any songs t6hat put down catholics


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: alison
Date: 15 Nov 01 - 12:15 AM

depends on where you go in Ireland Jed.... personally I wouldn't be game to sing any of the above in a predominantly Protestant setting... and therein lies the problem... a lot of the time you don't know who is in your audience.... although you can take your lead from what the others are singing.....

certainly if you are in a republican / unionist club... you will have a good idea of what "side" (I hate that term) you are playing to.. but in a "mixed" audience you will upset someone......

but you can sometimes get away with things..... I remember being in an Irish session over here.. complete with Irish tricolour flag on the wall... and a bagpiper stood up and started to play "the sash" (famous orange marching tune)...... but he got away with it because he played "the rising of the moon" straight afterwards!!

personally ... I tend to stay away from any of the more blatant "rebel" songs........

slainte

alison


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: paddymac
Date: 15 Nov 01 - 01:09 AM

I have noticed what I guess is a local form of "political correctness" in some areas of Ireland, wherein what some might consider "factional songs" generally aren't performed in public. However, they are standard fare in various "after hours" and other non-public gatherings. I've learned as a matter of courtesy to follow local custom. The sad thing is to look at it as a kind of free speech issue. Most Americans usually feel pretty free to say most anything that's on their minds, while people who have to live in areas of conflict tend to be far more guarded or circumspect in that regard. A perhaps necessary survival skill.


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: GUEST,BigDaddy
Date: 15 Nov 01 - 02:12 AM

Play what you believe in. Or play what is safe. Or play what you know. If you are neutral on the question of Irish independence, there's no reason to perform Irish rebel songs unless you want to introduce them as bits of past history (assuming you know the history of the "Black and Tans"). I have a friend in Michigan who actually makes a decent living as an Irish folksinger who refuses to do anything political. Be ready to defend what you perform, if you choose the political route. It's hard, at best, to claim a neutral stance if you are lambasting the British in every other song. There are a number of Brits and Irish who have had and do have very firm opinions about a number of U.S.A. issues (civil rights, Vietnam, etc.) Do they have a right to voice these opinions in song? As far as I'm concerned, they do. By the same token, I will do the same. As with so many other questions, you have to do what is right for you. The tricky part, of course, is making an informed decision on what that is.


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Blackcatter
Date: 15 Nov 01 - 02:29 AM

I agree with Big Daddy - sharing a bit of the history behind a song goes a long way of making it appropriate. Also, I've had to do a bit of history with nearly everyone of my songs because so few people know anything about Irish music - at least the lyrics.

The songs I think are bad are simple - those the performer sings poorly.

pax yall


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: GUEST,Stavanger Bill
Date: 15 Nov 01 - 05:22 AM

Hi Jed,

Good question and reading through the input you've received, I'd agree with everything said so far. The band that plays here in Stavanger do "rebel songs" but mostly from 1916 Easter Week Rising and before. A good song is a good song irrespective. There is a song called "Irish Molly" (totally a-political re text)which although a Dublin song, uses the same tune as the "Sash". One night the band started playing it and there was a group of about seven in from Ireland and before a word was sung they were up and off.

Matt McGinn used to get requests for "The Sash" and "Kevin Barry" at the same venue - he kept both quiet by singing "Kevin Barry" to the tune of "The Sash".

The funny thing about "Rebel" songs is that there only appears to be "sensitivity" in relation to Irish rebel songs. Some of the titles you list date back to the 1798 rebellion and I cannot for the life of me see how anyone could object to those and at the same time applaud Scottish songs relating to the Jacobite rebellions of 1715 and 1745. To me they are historical and generally uncensored glimpses of the times and events to which they refer.

One interesting example of how one of the "other sides" songs are adopted, is a Boer folk song called "Sarie Marais", this was a song that came to notice during the Boer War, as it was sung by Boer prisoners of war. Text was non-political the British in latter years not only stole the song but also the collective name of the people who sang it. "Sarie Marais" is the "regimental" march of the "Royal Marines Commando" (i.e. if you can have a regimental march without being a regiment??) "Life on the Ocean Wave" is the march of the Royal Marine Corps.

Ask the guy you are arranging the gig through if there are any prevailing sensitivities, what sort of material is normally played, then on the night just weigh up the audience and go for it.

Good luck and best wishes.

Bill.


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Fibula Mattock
Date: 15 Nov 01 - 05:45 AM

I'm with Stavenger Bill on the 1798 songs - the United Irishmen uprising of that time was not a blatantly sectarian movement, and people of different religious denominations fought alongside each other. Some of the songs about that time can be quite heavy-handed, but most are interesting, although I wouldn't class them as historically accurate - even if they do deal with events that happened, we're still getting propaganda and bias, as we do in every song.
On the other hand, I am not at all comfortable hearing songs that are either deliberately sectarian and provocative (from whatever group), or songs that promote or glorify terrorism, or those that make murderers into martyrs. But then, I supppose I don't have to listen if I don't want to...


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 15 Nov 01 - 05:59 AM

After many a bout of discussion on the same point I have reached the conclusion that most songs in themselves are not offensive. It is the intention of the singer, or the interpretation of the listener, that can cause problems. It's just like a gun on it's own does no harm but used incorrectly it can be devastating!

I don't know how to get round it really. Avoid blatant generalisations and stereotypes? Use only songs that have good tunes and clever lyrics? I dunno so I tend to avoid the situation. Guess I am a bit of a wimp!

Out of interest I am English, brought up Catholic, with a Polish father and English mother. One of my Grandfathers was a Russian orthodox priest and one was, allegedly, in the Black and Tans.

I was on holiday in Ireland and went to a couple of gigs where 'Rebel' songs were sung and stories told. I did not find them offensive at all and to be honest did not even think about it until later.

The 'later' occured when, of all things, the Listowel branch of the Chelsea supporters club came into the pub about 12 strong. Chelsea had just lost to Manchester United (Soccer for anyone who did not know!) and when one of these guys started chatting to me I felt more threatened than I had all night. I am from Manchester and although not a football fan at all I was really worried!

I need not have as it turned out - we all had a good laugh - but it just shows how different sensibilities work.

Point of the story? God only knows, but I'm sure someone will find a moral somewhere!

Good luck anyway, Jed. Remember Ricky Nelson - 'You can't please everyone so you've got to please yourself.'

Cheers

Dave the Gnome


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: JedMarum
Date: 15 Nov 01 - 09:23 AM

Good thoughts here, all. Thanks.

I guess it really is an issue of using common sense. I was a bit surprised to see the Ireland radio play lists showed that my recording of Grace was one of the most frequently played (of songs from my CD) on the air over there ... maybe just a curiosity about an American singing this popular song from the aftermath of the 1916 Uprising.

I do know a bit of the history behind these songs, and sometimes explain it to the audience, sometimes not. In the US they are pretty much songs from a historical perspective - I sing songs from the US Civil War, from both sides, and they are likewise received as songs from a period in history - and even ones that talk of "catching and hanging the rebels," or "sending Abe Lincoln to hell" are heard with a bit of humor (and truthfully, that is typically the way in which those phrases were written).

The Black and Tan era is one of geat interest to me. My great-grandfather took care to pass on to his children, and grandchildren, stories about the era. He didn't hate the English, he didn't pass on rage against the British - but he was incensed by the way his people were treated during the era, and wanted his progeny to know about it. So for me, I see some level of personal history in the song ... but I know there are two sides to this story.

Likewise with songs from the US Civil War. I actually had a table of people stand up and leave when I played in Phoenix. I sang a US Civil War song about an Irish Regiment fighting for the Confederacy. The song called them heroes. I played song that same night about the heroes from the Union - but apparently it was not OK to see anything heroic about the other side (even 150 years later).

I think many of these types of songs can have important historical perspective, often from a personal point-of-view. I realize one must be sensitive about where they are sung, and to whom - and maybe some explanation is required when introducing the song - but there is value in this music.


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Midchuck
Date: 15 Nov 01 - 10:04 AM

Over here, Stan Rogers' The House of Orange can be a problem in an Irish bar - if anyone's actually listening to the lyrics.

Re the American Civil War, Steve Earle's Dixieland (not the old Confederate anthem, a new song of his own, which has a pro-Union slant even though Earle's a Texan), which he recorded with Del McCoury and that gang, got a lot of Bluegrass people very angry. Evidently a Bluegrass song about the Civil War must be slanted in favor of the Confederacy.

Peter.


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Jack the Sailor
Date: 15 Nov 01 - 10:07 AM

Hi folks, very interesting discussion. For more perspective, I would be very interested in seeing the lyrics to "Come Out You Black and Tans" could someone please post them here, PM me or point me to them. Thanks.


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Fibula Mattock
Date: 15 Nov 01 - 10:12 AM

The lyrics can be found here. Spelling's a bit off in some parts though.


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: GUEST,Marc Gunn, Bard
Date: 15 Nov 01 - 10:53 AM

Another interesting note, a couple weeks back my group, the Brobdingnagian Bards, were berated for performing "Patriot Game" while wandering the Austin Celtic Festival. The reason given was that they didn't want to have any such political songs to keep from offending as many people as possible.

My partner and I were offended by that, especially considering the nature of the song, since it is somewhat of an anti-IRA song by the lyrics. Don't get sucked into the "Patriot Game". But just the mention of the IRA in a song seems offensive.

Personally, I love the passion in the rebel songs, but don't share the philosophy behind them. But we have had a few English come up and say they love our music, just don't like the rebel songs. I think the key really is to educate the audience with the history when possible, especially now with all the anti-terrorist sentiments that are rising around the world.

But I do believe it would be shame to not be able sing some of these great rebel songs.

-Marc


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Jack the Sailor
Date: 15 Nov 01 - 11:12 AM

I have to say I can see where someone could find "Come all ye Black and Tans" offensive. It is quite insulting to the English. I see the historical perspective and perhaps the tendency to want to demonize the enemy to prepare to fight. I can also see that it may not be the best sentiment to project toward a current friendly neighbour.

I think those Irish Tourists were right. "Come all ye Balck and Tans" is not a polite song. Not so much I think because of the politics but because the language is rude and insulting.


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: JedMarum
Date: 15 Nov 01 - 11:25 AM

agreed, Jack. And Marc - good points about educating the audience re: the song, historical context etc ... it can make the difference.


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: GUEST,Tom
Date: 15 Nov 01 - 11:41 AM

As an Irishman from Belfast all I can say is you would be very careful where and when you sang or played your songs. To understand quite what I mean you need to visit Ireland. In Ireland most Irishmen fight like hell, but out of Ireland for some strange reason we unite and God help the bugger that comes between us. I am an Orange Man (at heart)but manys the good rebel song I've joined in, but not (by god's teeth) in Ireland.


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE PATRIOT GAME (Dominic Behan)
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 15 Nov 01 - 12:07 PM

I have just noticed quite a few differences between the dt version and the one in "Ireland Sings" by Dominic Behan. The differences include the order of verses and the "I don't mind at all if I shoot down police" verse is missing from the dt. I would assume Ireland Sings is the correct version.

Jon


PATRIOT GAME
(Dominic Behan)

Come all you young rebels, and list while I sing,
For the love of one's land is a terrible thing.
It banishes fear with the speed of a flame,
And makes us all part of the patriot game.

My name is O'Hanlon, and I've just gone sixteen.
My home is in Monaghan, there I was weaned
I learned all my life cruel England to blame
And so I'm a part of the patriot game.

It's barely a year since I wandered away
With the local battalions of the bold IRA,
For I read of our heroes, and wanted the same
To play up my part in the patriot game.

They told me how Connolly was shot in a chair,
His wounds from the fighting all bloody and bare.
His fine body twisted, all battered and lame
They soon made me part of the patriot game.

This Ireland of ours has too long been half-free.
Six counties are under John Bull's Monarchy.
But still De Valera is greatly to blame
For shirking his part in the Patriot game.

I don't mind a bit if I shoot down police
They are lackeys for war never guardians of peace,
But at deserters I'm never let aim
The rebels who sold out the Patriot Game

And now as I lie with my body all holes
I think of those traitors who bargained in souls
I'm sorry my rifle has not done the same
For the Quislings who sold out the Patriot Game.


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: GUEST
Date: 15 Nov 01 - 12:14 PM

I'm always amazed at the forebearance and tolerance of English audiences when listening to songs that hammer their history(of which they have had no part)and their race. I recall Lonnie Donegan having a top 10 hit British with "The battle of New Orleans" the chorus of which was; We fired our guns and the British kept a'comin'
But there was nigh as many as there was a while ago
We fired once more and they began a runnin
All down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico
We all sang it as teenagers and didn't bat an eyelid because it was history. It's when the history repeats itself that the historical ballad becomes a weapon again, ie when the IRA began bombing the mainland in the 70's the Rebel songs disappeared from the folk clubs overnight. It will be interesting to see which songs are re-discovered or discarded from the general repertoire in America in response to the new reality of Sept 11th.


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 15 Nov 01 - 12:18 PM

Midchuck Et al.

House of Orange is the ONLY song about the troubles I will play! Being proudly Canadian affords me the ability of turning to both sides of the issue and telling them in no uncertain terms to take their bigotry and their equally bloody hands and get stuffed!


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: GUEST,Stavanger Bill
Date: 15 Nov 01 - 12:30 PM

Couldn't agree more Clinton, I think the song you quote is terrific - only wish I could sing it!!!!


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Subject:
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 15 Nov 01 - 12:35 PM

Guest, re Sept 11th...

When Stephen Fearing played here last month he mentioned that he and other folkies had discussed it, and no one was even talking about sept 11th in their shows... it just wasn't relevant to what they were doing...

And well, letting terrorisits dictate your musical choices to you is to let them win...


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: GUEST,JohnB
Date: 15 Nov 01 - 12:41 PM

I learned all sorts of Irish songs as a teenager, never bothered which side they came from. So I don't sing any of them now, because I don't know whether I would get cheered or kneecapped from either side. I stick to the Trad "English" stuff, so now EVERYONE knows they can hate me, just for being English. JohnB


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 15 Nov 01 - 12:45 PM

O.k. JohnB... I'll hate ya.. but while I'm at it, do John Barleycorn for me k!

:-)


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Dead Horse
Date: 15 Nov 01 - 02:17 PM

All of them, if sung to the wrong crowd or in the wrong pub. Know your audience. While serving in the army (British, dammit) our little group of piss heads used to love to hear Kevin Barry sung by our own Pte Kevin Carson, who was a protestant and hated the song. Oh, how we cheered at the line: English soldiers tortured Barry, cos the names he would not tell........ Which either goes to show that we could take a joke, OR We were completely bi-partisan OR We were too thick/pissed to care;-)


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Mrrzy
Date: 15 Nov 01 - 02:56 PM

Um - what's wrong with Come Out Ye Black And Tans? It's about an old drunk haranguing his neighbors... doesn't seem offensive to me, but rather pathetic..? I always took it as rather anti the person who is still anti the black and tans after all this time?


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Gary T
Date: 15 Nov 01 - 03:34 PM

That's one perspective, Mrrzy. However, I believe most folks find the focus of the song to be not the introductory character, but all the haranguing he does--which essentially calls the British brutal, cowardly, and murderous.


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: alanabit
Date: 15 Nov 01 - 03:46 PM

A lot of good sense has appeared here on a thread that could easily have become destructively emotive. I always saw "Roddy McCorley" as a lament first and foremost, for instance. So some of its sentiments are universal and timeless. Indeed a few years have passed since that particular tragedy, which means nobody is around who was directly affected by it. I really do take exception however to the songs which glorify violence or bigotry in any form. Of course, Clinton Hammond is right to say that you don't let terrorists dictate your choices - couldn't agree more. Trouble is, they are part of the world as it really is (a small one thank God), so our choice of material is likely to reflect the world which they belong to...


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: GUEST,Den
Date: 15 Nov 01 - 04:00 PM

So Stan Rogers has forgiven the whole House of Orange. Lets all climb on board 'cause Stan says so. Another example of someone thousands of miles away and safe getting fat on the backs of others' misery. The guy couldn't even take the time to get his facts straight. What is, or was the UDI? Well I for one am not ready to forgive the House of Orange and I can speak from experience as opposed to Mr. Rogers. Anyway what has this song got to do with Rebel songs? Den


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Jack the Sailor
Date: 15 Nov 01 - 05:10 PM

Mrrzy

The person who wrote the wprds for "Come out ye Balck and Tans" is certianly anti English, I'm not sure why he chose his father to voice the hatred but it is pretty clear that the song exists to voice those sentiments. Do you know of a version where the father's words are condemned or ridiculed?

GUEST,Den,

I think Stan Rogers' facts were straight enough for the puspose of the song. I remember news storys about the UDL I believe it stood for Ulster Defence League. (I think you misread UDI, check the DT again)

I am not going to climb aboard anything myself. But if you were to ask me for money to buy bombs and other terrorist weapons for either side of that conflict (That's how people thousands of miles away have been asked to contribute to the "troubles"), The answer you would get from me wouldn't be nearly as polite and reasoned as Stan's was.

It really doesn't have much to do with rebel songs. It does seem to be a sincere North American describing his feelings about the conflict in Northern Ireland.


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 15 Nov 01 - 06:18 PM

Well, Den, Stan is certainly a long way away. But I do not know if he is getting fat or not. Bit difficult to determine the state of health of someone who has been dead as long as him!

I would like to think that you will, eventualy, forgive what my ancestors did to yours and we will all be able to get on together. Until then I hope you do not meet Mr Rogers too soon. But when you do I hope you can forgive him for writing a song that has obviously upset you so much! In the meanwhile listen to his song 'Mary Helen Carter' and hope that the peace process can also rise again in spite of the ones who want to keep it down.

Cheers and genuinely hoping for a brighter future

Dave the Gnome


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Gary T
Date: 15 Nov 01 - 06:30 PM

Jack--the inspiration for "Come Out Ye Black and Tans" was the author's father coming home from an evening at the pub and calling some of his neighbors, who were retired British Army people, out to fight. In a way, that is pathetic, as Mrrzy opined. However, as you suggest, the song is not really about his father--that's just part of the setting. It's about the things his father (and he) were upset over.


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 15 Nov 01 - 07:08 PM

Lonnie Donegan also put out a version of the Battle of New Orleaqns with the line "We fired our gins and the Rebels kept a coming" - but audiences in Britain preferred the version where it's the British.


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 15 Nov 01 - 08:02 PM

That should have been "fired our guns and the Rebels kept a-coming"! One letter wrong can make an awful lot of difference.


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: GUEST,BigDaddy
Date: 15 Nov 01 - 08:42 PM

Take the time to talk to any Irish Catholics old enough to remember the "Black and Tans," and you get a perspective on "terrorism" you're probably not going to get from Tony Blair. These particular British Troops weren't singled out for verbal abuse because they were English.


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: GUEST,Boab
Date: 16 Nov 01 - 04:16 AM

I'll be in an "Orange " club with many old friends at the new year----and keeping quiet about the fact that I've just helped to put "Roddy McCorley" on a c.d.! Ochone, ochone!


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: GUEST,chrisj
Date: 16 Nov 01 - 05:09 AM

One might as well ask 'how do you square the circle?' 'Orange' or 'Loyalist' or 'Unionist' songs were made for the same purpose as 'Rebel' or 'Republican' or 'Nationalist' songs - to make 'us' feel good about ourselves and to stick it up 'them'. Some handle it better than others so if you drop into a pub and object to the music - just leave! Presumably the patrons stay because they like it. Those most likely to be moved (one way or another) by a song are those who regard the 'troubles' as unfinished business (and I include the American Civil War).


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Aidan Crossey
Date: 16 Nov 01 - 05:47 AM

I think there's a more interesting question here ... which is why would anyone who's not from Ireland (and particularly Northern Ireland) want to sing these songs in the first place? What's the relevance? Using "Come Out ..." as an example, what could a non-Irish person singing this song to a non-Irish audience possibly say?

There are some who would say that unless a person's shared some of the experience that gave rise to the need to write and sing these particular songs, then they've no call to sing them ... (The same's not true of all folk music ... but rebel songs and Orange songs are preaching to the converted ... I wouldn't look to them for insights into history ... but some of them very well illustrate how imagery, pathos and sentimentality among other things can be used to perpetuate a mindset.)

Back in County Armagh, people don't need to the ask the question ...


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: nutty
Date: 16 Nov 01 - 05:57 AM

History is normally written by the victor so reality tends to be distorted .....In Ireland reality is still an infected open wound so any song written for one side is bound to hurt the other. Unless you are Irish - stay neutral - there are thousands of other good songs you can sing


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: GUEST,Den
Date: 16 Nov 01 - 08:44 AM

Jack the Sailor I think if you check Stan Rogers lyric sites other than the DT you will find that he wrote UDI. Anyway even if it was UDL there was never such an active organisation in NI. Protestant organizations of the time the song was written were UVF and UDA later came splinter groups LVF and UFF who are another story entirely.

Dave the Gnome sarcasm aside I am very aware of Stan Rogers' "current state of health" having lived in Canada for many years myself. I have admired the man in the past there are few folk singers with the quality he had in his voice. I just think that he should have stuck to subject matter that he at least new a little about.

Another line from the song goes "home rule and Republic is all of it shame". What is shameful about the right of a people to self determination. Canada was once governed by the British is it shameful that the people of Canada won the right to self government? Isn't this what the new assembly of N.Ireland is about? The situation in N.Ireland has been fueled for years on ignorance. I believe songs like this fuel ignorance everywhere else. Den


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Jeri
Date: 16 Nov 01 - 09:35 AM

From the lyrics at the Stan Rogers Page:

All rights and all wrongs have long since blown away,
For causes are ashes where children lie slain.
Yet the damned U.D.I and the cruel I.R.A.
Will tomorrow go murdering again.
But no penny of mine will I add to the fray.
"Remember the Boyne!" they will cry out in vain,
For I've given my heart to the place I was born
And forgiven the whole House of Orange
King Billy and the whole House of Orange.

It's been a while since I listened to the tape, but I swear he was singing "UDL." Could be I misheard or misremember.

The subject matter is the involvement of immigrants to other countries in the fights back in the country they left. The shame is the murdering - not the rights and wrongs of the causes, but the killing of innocents by both sides - THAT is what the song is against. As to forgiveness, I believe he simply let go of the justification for hate.

For most of us in the US who don't have recent family who immigrated from the UK, aren't recent immigrants ourselves, or don't identify strongly with Irish politics in other ways, the songs won't inspire the same types of emotional reactions they can in someone whose lives have been touched by the troubles. Frankly, it's hard to tell who's in your audience. US Civil War songs from both sides seem to go over well in the northeast, where I live, because it's history to us. Folks in the south may still be offended because it's a live issue for them - their families may have kept the resentment alive and passed it down the generations. You take a chance with any political song, and it comes down to how important it is to you to sing it...and maybe how good your introductions are


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 16 Nov 01 - 09:44 AM

I am 100% certain that UDI is a typo... Stan knew better than to make a mistake like that... Also Jeri is correct... how can anyone mistake what he is singing *yet the dmn U.D.L.* for U.D.I.??

"What is shameful about the right of a people to self determination."

You're missing THE most important line in the song... "For causes are ashes where children lie slain"... Both sides have committed so many atrocities that neither can be let off...

I'll have no truck with either side of that bullshit! You wanna? Take it over there, where it belongs...


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 16 Nov 01 - 10:18 AM

But who are the UDL? I get confused with the names of the groups in NI but I can't find anything about them on Google (or the UDI for that matter).

Jon


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Gary T
Date: 16 Nov 01 - 10:30 AM

derrymacash--my answer to your question.

While you ask ...why would anyone who's not from Ireland...want to sing these songs in the first place? What's the relevance?, I found myself asking, "Why is that an issue with anyone? Why does there have to be relevance?"

I sing "Come Out Ye Black and Tans" mainly because I like it. It's very appealing musically, with an engaging melody and nice punch in the rhythm. I find the story behind the song intriguing (Stephen Behan coming home drunk and calling out his neighbors), and the message in the song a good illustration of certain people's feelings. I don't feel any compulsion to take that message to heart, nor to have a firm opinion on one side or the other of the issue involved. It's a well-crafted piece that stands on its own merits as a SONG, and it doesn't have to be judged or regarded as nothing more than a political statement.

It occurs to me that in your experience, such songs have strong emotional import, and are perhaps taken rather seriously in context of the situation in Northern Ireland. In my experience (as a "non-Irish person singing this song to a [largely] non-Irish audience") it's more of an academic interest that's being expressed.

Now, I can understand that it would be in exceedingly poor taste and poor judgment for me to sing this song to a Unionist audience. But I bristle at the thought that I've "no call to sing [it]." I'll be the judge of that, thank you.

I actually feel that it does give some insight into history. There's some value in getting an understanding of how some folks view certain events, and even in observing "how imagery, pathos and sentimentality among other things can be used to perpetuate a mindset."

To sum up, though it appears you and I have quite different perspectives on this song, I don't believe that mine is an invalid perspective any more than yours is. I hope this post is helpful in providing you with some insight into that perspective.


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 16 Nov 01 - 10:30 AM

UDL.. As mentioned above.. Ulster Defence League...


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Jeri
Date: 16 Nov 01 - 10:30 AM

Jon, it's "Ulster Defence League." I found hits on AltaVista.


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Brían
Date: 16 Nov 01 - 11:12 AM

Although there are songs I don't sing because they might be offensive, one would be throwing out an awful lot of good songs if one were trying not to offend someone when singing an Irish song. In fact, one would be left with the sort of sentimental drivel that has driven me away from popular music long ago. Almost all the songs I sing seem to mention inequality and past wrongs.

Brían


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Aidan Crossey
Date: 16 Nov 01 - 11:16 AM

Gary T

Thank you ... you have answered why YOU choose to sing certain songs. You say "In my experience (as a "non-Irish person singing this song to a [largely] non-Irish audience") it's more of an academic interest that's being expressed. "

No problem with people who have a real academic interest in the trappings of the troubles. You may be aware of the Linen Hall Library, a highly respected academic institution, one of whose specialities is collecting, cataloguing and making available to academic researchers material on the Northern Ireland "troubles".

The bit below is reprinted from their website www.linenhall.com

"Sometime in 1968, Jimmy Vitty, then Librarian of the Linen Hall Library, was handed a civil rights leaflet in a Belfast city centre bar. He kept it. Since then the Library has sought to collect all printed material relating to the "troubles". In the intervening three decades, we have amassed over a quarter of a million items.

The Northern Ireland Political Collection is a unique resource. No other institution in a localised conflict has systematically collected material from all sides. Much less has it been done in the field, and often literally across the barricades.

The Collection documents the activities and views of all parties to the conflict, from paramilitaries to government. It covers publications by organisations on the margins of the direct political process as well as by those chiefly concerned with social issues. A large proportion of these items is held by the NIPC alone.

The literature ranges from the most ephemeral—stickers, leaflets, posters and Christmas cards—to more substantial collections of books, pamphlets, manifestos, photographs and audio-visual items. The enormous range of periodicals includes both single issues and complete runs of enduring journals of record. This material is complemented by a complete press cuttings service spanning the entire period of the "troubles".


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Wolfgang
Date: 16 Nov 01 - 11:16 AM

Not that it would matter for my love of a beautiful song if Stan Rogers had actually made a mistake, but I am curious now. 'Ulster defence (also: defense) league' and UDL can be found by a websearch as Jeri has said, but they are neither found on the exhaustive Cain websites on Northern Ireland nor in the online archive of the Irish Times. Furthermore, 'UDL' is not found in any of several acronym dictionaries about Northern Ireland.

Could it be that 'Ulster Defence league' is a loyalist support organisation only found in North America and not in Ulster? Then on the one hand Stan would be right and on the other hand the puzzlement of those posters from or closer to Ulster could be understood easily.

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Jack the Sailor
Date: 16 Nov 01 - 11:28 AM

GUEST,Den

I urge you to take a deep breath, sit back and read Stan's lyrics again. Half my mother's family was Irish about 4 geneerations back all my Father's was English. The people of Newfoundland people have a great affinity for both cultures.

My grandfather on my father's side born around 1910 was afraid to walk through certian Newfoundland communities at night because Catholics (Irish descent) and Prodestants (English) were litterally beating each other to death when he was a young man. I heard a lot of bigotry coming out of our local orange lodges.

I've given a lot more thought to the troubles than many North Americans. I would say that Stan's song comes very close to expressing my thoughts on the issue.


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 16 Nov 01 - 11:36 AM

Thanks, I just gone back and tried "Ulster Defence League" as a phrase search on Goolge and achieved 5 hits none of which help me much. There are 17 more using "defense".

Using the same technique, "Ulster Freedom Fighters" gets me 2850 hits, "Ulster Defence Association" - 3520, "Ulster Volunteer Force" - 4050, "Loyalist Volunteer Force" - 3270 hits. Assuming those 5 hits are right in using "UDL" and that the Google search could be used to indicate how well the various groups are, UDL would seem to me a strange choice for Stan Rogers.

Jon


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Dead Horse
Date: 16 Nov 01 - 02:32 PM

Relevance schmelevance. Stay neutral and sing songs from both sides if they are good songs/tunes. Same goes for any song themes. As an example I usually try to sing the Blackball version of Blow The Man Down (warns against Blackball ships) together with Hoorah For The Blackball Line, (very *pro*) or Rochester Recruiting Sergeant/other recruiting songs,together with anti war songs in the same evening set, lest anyone should accuse me of bias. This makes me a middle of the road singer;-)


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Jack the Sailor
Date: 16 Nov 01 - 02:43 PM

Hi Jon, I remember the UDL in the Canadian news twenty years ago. I'm sure that when Stan Rogers wrote the song, they weren't such a strange choice.


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 16 Nov 01 - 02:44 PM

"if they are good songs/tunes."

even better, sing/play what ya want and sod the rest!

;-)


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: GUEST,Claymore
Date: 16 Nov 01 - 02:53 PM

I tend to suspect the point that Stan was trying to make should not hang or fall on an acronym, as it appears clear that he was voicing disapproval about both sides of "the troubles," no matter what their current monicker was.

Another song which is in much the same vein, Tommy Sands' "There were Roses," deals less with the political realm and more with the effects on the victims and relatives. I've played that song several times in Ireland with no problem north or south.

At home, we play at a local jam which has three Irish flags hanging in the center of the room, the Republic tricolor on one side, the Northern Irish flag on the other, and dividing them is the Irish Brigade Battle Flag from Antietim, (which was fought just across the river, and whose Confederate dead are buried in the town cemetary). It's our way of saying that it doesn't matter if it's Kelley or Kelly, More or Moore, you're welcome to sing anything you want as long as you're in tune, and up with the beat, (but hold your cussing, curb your children, and don't step on the cat...)


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 16 Nov 01 - 02:58 PM

Religious prejudice and the Orange Lodge/ Knights of St Columba type of sectarian organisations are not confined to Ireland north and south, they also exist in Canada, and I would presume that Stan Rogers's song was based on things from his end of the spectrum. Myself as a Glaswegian, and brought up as a protestant in that area, now have no time at all for this idiotic type of blind prejudice. When I was a child it was not uncommon to be accosted by strangers and asked,"What team do you support Rangers or Celtic", and it didn't seem to matter what you answered, you still got a kicking. So I now hate football and religious intolerance with a passion. Regarding the surprise expressed regarding the tolerance of the English, with regard to Irish rebel songs, I find them for the most part totally unaware of the colonial oppression carried out by their forefathers over the last 500 years in Ireland. I don't think we have the time or the space to go into the other countries that they also did it to. Sorry if I've got onto my high horse on this one, but I've cried many bitter tears over Ireland. Jock


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: ollaimh
Date: 16 Nov 01 - 07:46 PM

the house of orange is pretty in offensive to be shot at. afterall he's just forgiving the wrongs of the past. it is a bit stupid but franly english canadians and folkies of that ilk can be stupid over ethnic issues.

as a backdrop i would recomend that any one read the tripartite commission report on northern ireland, excerpt of which were reprinted in that revolutionary rag "the economist". the commission made up of memebrs of the european high court of justice , the united nations commission on human rights and the european commission on human rights found that there had never been a democratic election in northern ireland, that the british government had directly armed the UDL (which has now changed it's name) and in fact the UDL were off duty british soldiers largely. they were from the ulster only regiments that are unique in the british army in that they are requited locally and serve in a local battle zone.

the commission also found that the british government had used the services of MI5&6 to establish and arm hit squads that killed about 2500 catholic union leaders, daycare organizers and the like, without actually finding very many IRA. the report is damning and was largely conceded by the british governement and the "economist" alterd it's position to pull out(at least that was the editorial.

the level of abuse in northern ireland hadsn't changed, and it's time the english speaking world recognized that. europeand are not naive about the british conduct in the north.

now personally i have found englisg canadian folkies to be quite bigoted against native canadian gaels on occasion--too often for comfort. i remember being told not to sing a song in gaelic i worked on for weeks(i'm not very good at gaelic) becauce as they said"we sing canadian music here". well i guess we capr bretoners aren't quite canadian--well we aren;tand it is traceable to the same imperial bigotry that has led to the long standing abuse in ireland.

i'm old enough to remember how nova scotians were treated in ontario when we came up to look for work in the tobacco fields. the locals would gang up on us twenty to one and spit on us when we came to town, shouting "dirty nova scotians". we weren't all that clean and were looking for a shower and to clean clothes. we had to go every where in groups. when a big group of us fought back and put the boots to the bastards the cops chashed us and left the poor english victums alone. sounding a little too faniliar to other gaels in the north and south of ireland. the law doesn't protect some people--right now it's poor people in toronto.

now i admit most of this bigotry has subsided, but i'm a little jaded when the nice english people all together protest their pureity and innocence. these kind of abusses do not occur unless there is widespread complicity--and the nazi lament--we didn't know doesn't wash.

i'd like to forgive the whole house of orange and the shits who kicked me out of a vancouver folk club, or spit on me in tillsonburg, but it would be a lot easlier if they would stop doing it, and apoligized


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: GUEST,Guest
Date: 16 Nov 01 - 08:11 PM

. Regarding the surprise expressed regarding the tolerance of the English, with regard to Irish rebel songs, I find them for the most part totally unaware of the colonial oppression carried out by their forefathers over the last 500 years in Ireland. I don't think we have the time or the space to go into the other countries that they also did it to. Sorry if I've got onto my high horse on this one, but I've cried many bitter tears over Ireland. Jock

Ah well,there we go, the same old bullshit.Run up the flags, get the guns, lets have a fight. You're wrong I'm right..I don't believe you..you're white. you're black, you're Taliban, you're Alliance, you're a Brit, history, history, history..I can't hear you..history...when will we ever learn??????????????


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Kaleea
Date: 17 Nov 01 - 01:57 AM

We must, MUST learn to be more tolerant of each other! We must learn not to inflame or incite the ire of others through our own thoughtlessness. There are a few thousand marvelous jigs, reels, hornpipes, airs & polkas, etc. we can play which will not cause others to misunderstand our intent. And if all else fails, when in doubt, I side with Homer & Jethro. Instead of the "Battle of New Orleans", sing the following: We're the boys from camp Kookamunga Our mothers sent us here fer ta learn of nature's ways We learn to make fire by rubbin' sticks together And if we catch some girls then we'll set the woods ablaze!


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 17 Nov 01 - 06:35 AM

The "Armalite" thread from 99 has some discussion, lyrics and links that were pure vitrol at the time. The pusillanimous pussy began to show her true colors.

http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=12267


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Midchuck
Date: 17 Nov 01 - 09:30 AM

...pusillanimous pussy...

YEEHAW!!!!! Git me one! Git me a bunch of 'em! I'll give 'Spaw two! Pass 'em around!

P.


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: GUEST,Brian Clancy
Date: 17 Nov 01 - 10:36 AM

I play about twenty Irish pub gigs a month in and around Colorado. I ask an audience what they want to hear and play it. Last Wednesday it was Fado in LODO Denver and the seven fellas at the table in front of the stage were drinking Budweiser...

Who comes into an Irish Pub and unabashedly drinks Budweiser???? REAL IRISHMEN...in town for a wedding. They asked for Wolftones and I gave them "Come Out ye Black and Tans" and they sang along lustily.

They really liked to hear an American singing Desi O'Halloran's "Say You Love Me" as well. I've had English skiers DEMAND to hear "The Merry Plowboy"--proving what an Irish owner of a pub once told me:

"Go ahead and play anything you want, it won't offend them...the English don't GET IT." And I think that point was made earlier by another writer...they don't see themselves as the subject matter when oppression and hangings and fighting is sung of...and perhaps they shouldn't. I am singing and entertaining--I have no "agenda" nor would it be appropriate.

But just try to sing "God Bless England" and some plastic Paddy will thunder "HERESY!!!!" from the back of the room...that twit doesn't get it either.

Now, I'm so sick of "Whiskey in the Jar", I think it should be banned and Green Fields of France along with it!!!

Brian Clancy http://irishrow.com


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 17 Nov 01 - 12:54 PM

Spring 2000, across the F&D infected country side of Ireland, Budweiser was a common, (tall, 16 oz cans,) regular drink for the locals. The three of us, a Yank and two Dutchys were suprised. It is brewed and marketed under lisense by Guinness.


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Art Thieme
Date: 17 Nov 01 - 08:33 PM

When in my teens I bought the Clancy Brothers LP THE RISING OF THE MOON on Tradition Records in the U.S. I was soaking up everything remotely "folk" that told good stories about real topics about which people felt passionately. These topical songs were so very real to me. They took far away struggles and places and made them vicariously accessable. But this was a larger world then---when far away lands were truly more remote--unlike today in so many ways. I can talk here at Mudcat to Bob Bolton in Australia, swap music with him and feel we're really friends. I never realized how separated I was from those places and those peoople UNTIL...

...until I went to a Clancy Brothers concert on St. Patrick's Day in Chicago's HUGE Opera House.

Folks, all those people wanted to hear were the REBEL SONGS. It was like we were seated in the middle of the Roman Coliseum. GREAT SINGING--but oh, so much hateful vehimence. I was truly relieved to have the concert end---but I still loved the music.

The only other time I felt that way was one night at the old Chicago Stadium when the Chicago Blackhawks were playing the U.S.S.R. national team. The Russian team just being there represented the very first thawings of relations between the two nations. I was so excited that things might be getting better between my own country and the ideals of the Soviets which I truly admired--while hating totalitarianism. I was a 1960s guy in his early 20s who thought that, just maybe, more of the aspects of Socialism I admired would make more headway against the rampant excesses (as I saw it) of Capitalism and corporate greed in the U.S.
Well, imagine the sadness and embarrassment and anger I felt after that game was over and the ice was covered with eggs and tomatoes that the good people of my home town had thrown at the Russian players. ----- From where I stand now, I see that both of these events probably opened my eyes to some basic realities of this best of all possible worlds. Eventually, most of the youngsters of the 60s generation came to realize that this old world and it's "precious" institutions were not as maleable as we had hoped. Nothing surprises me any more. And I think that really is sad.

You kids out there, cherish your illusions---and then, a few years from now, read an amazing book by Vladimer Pozner (former spokesman for the Soviet Union on ABC--American television). His good book is called Parting With Illusions --The Atlantic Monthly Press--1990.

Thereafter I rarely, if ever, did the songs with the strident lyrics---but I did put together a mostly instrumental medley that I introduced as a protest.

Valley Of Jarama--sung (from the Spanish Civil War)
I Hate War And So Does Eleanor-sung (from Pete Seeger and the Almanac Singers)
Meadowlands--guitar instrumental (from Russia-learned from Pete Seeger and Frank Hamilton's LP called NONESUCH on Folkways Records)
Stars And Stripes Forever-guitar (instrumental-a march by John Phillip Sousa)

and I'd end with"
God Rest Ye Merry Gentleman-guitar instrumental

And I wish the same for the combatants in Afghanistan in this season of Thanksgiving and Ramadan.

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Blackcatter
Date: 18 Nov 01 - 01:34 AM

I am English and German by heritage and From the United States for at least 8 generations on both sides of my family. I sing primarily Irish songs - also English, Scottish, Australian, American, Canadian and others probably.

But I mostly sing Irish songs. I sing rebel songs - most of the ones listed here included and I usually share some of the history of the song before I sing it because I sing mostly to non-Irish people who know little of the music.

Why do I sing Irish songs? Because I fell in love with Irish music 15 years ago and found that it tended to suit my personality, my sensibility, my voice and the fact that I suck at playing instruments and much of Irish music works fine without accompiment.

As an individual of English descent, I do not have issues with the anti-English songs because I do not have any responsibility for the actions that illicited those songs. It's as simple as that.

I've never had anyone tell me the rebel songs I sing are inappropriate including several English people I know. Frankly, I think they understand the historical context and accept the fact that England did some nasty things. As an American, I'm not offended by Blacks and American Indians telling me about the horrible things my country did to their ancestors either.

The only time that anyone has somewhat objected to my choice of song is a couple people in recovery for alcoholism have suggested that the songs I sing about the joys of alcohol might be inappropriate. I accept their opinions and continue singing the songs - my singing a song such as "Beer, Beer, Beer" is hardly an effective inducement to drinking and then alcoholism. Plus, I also sing songs such as "Nancy Whiskey" and "The Juice of the Barley" which are either warnings or at least cautionary tales about the dangers of drinking too much.

pax yall


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 18 Nov 01 - 06:12 AM

Like they say, just because you don't read the posting properly,it doesn't mean you can't criticise it!!
Jock


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: GUEST
Date: 18 Nov 01 - 10:08 AM

As an individual of English descent, I do not have issues with the anti-English songs because I do not have any responsibility for the actions that illicited those songs. It's as simple as that.

I've never had anyone tell me the rebel songs I sing are inappropriate including several English people I know. Frankly, I think they understand the historical context and accept the fact that England did some nasty things. As an American, I'm not offended by Blacks and American Indians telling me about the horrible things my country did to their ancestors either.

You (and I) have no responsibility for the actions of the past, but I (as opposed to you) am a target for indiscriminate bombing because of those past actions. If American Indians and Blacks were bombing indiscriminately in America I think your attitude would be very different.


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: JedMarum
Date: 18 Nov 01 - 10:17 AM

Blackcatter - well said!


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 18 Nov 01 - 01:03 PM

People on the UK mainland have been subjected to indisciminate bombings for at least 20 years, and it is all as a consequence or the actions of our forefathers.
So it is no good shrugging your shoulders and saying it wasn't me, it is the sins of the fathers, being visited on the sons.However, just because no one's getting at you doesn't mean you shouldn't feel paranoid. Jock


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Blackcatter
Date: 18 Nov 01 - 01:41 PM

GUEST,

The bombing I assume you mention is that of the IRA and others that have issues in Northern Ireland.

I am not one to advocate terrorism as a way to solve "troubles" no matter if their Irish/English or not, but there are enough people who do and if the U.K. and the Rep. of Ireland cannot figure out away to solve the troubles, those bombings will continue.

The case is the same with the acts of terrorism of September 11th in the U.S. - The attecks were an inappropriate response to very real injustice the U.S. is very much involved with.

Now, I work very hard to avoid political discussion here and elsewhere in my life, but I have to say that since I have never supported the way the U.S. government has treated the Israeli/Palestinian issue (Mostly be giving Israel $3 billion a year plus another $1+ biilion in military support and on the other side mostly ignoring the plight of Palestinians), and I have actively voted for candidates who at least come close to my opinions - I do think it is unfair to be a target for Muslin terrorists. - And today, everyone in the U.S. is a target. I live just 25 miles from Walt Disney World and there are many of us who are just waitng for Disney to be attacked because of the symbol of Americanism it is.

pax yall


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: GUEST
Date: 18 Nov 01 - 07:31 PM

I just wonder how it would be if the American indians demanded their homeland back and then took terrorist action to get it. Would you be paying for the sins, lies and genocide of your forefathers?


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Blackcatter
Date: 19 Nov 01 - 01:10 AM

Yes, I would but that wouldn't change my position on the songs of American Indians and their fights with the white oppressors.

See, I don't know you - maybe you are just angry at the terrorists (definatly a good position) and support the concept that the Irish Catholics in Northern Ireland deserve the same rights as the Protestants.

If you do, then we see eye to eye when it comes to our respective countries and "troubles."

I personally AGREE that the people who attempted genocide on the American Indians for over 100 years were wrong, and that the American Indians have as much a right to the land as anyone. I do not think that terrorism is an appropriate response in most cases. Actually, I think the work that the American Indian Movement, as well as individual tribes, is doing is working to resolve their very reasonable greivances.

And to be honest, the concept of property is an anethma to me - whoever came up with the idea that any one has a complete right to a plot of land should be considered worse than Hitler.

I have to admit that if you take a look at the plight of Catholic Northern Irish compared to the way Protestant Northern Irish live you have to be blind to not understand that they are an underclass with poorer health, less jobs, less opportunity and live under the threat of attack just as much as you do - if not more.

If people cannot move beyond petty hatred, they deserve the Sh*t they get.

Yes, it's true I have not (as far as I know) been in danger of a terrorist attack, but I live in a city where terrorism could occur (Orlando) and I also live in a country that lets anyone carry a loaded gun. My life is in danger every day.

pax yall


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Fibula Mattock
Date: 19 Nov 01 - 05:02 AM

"if you take a look at the plight of Catholic Northern Irish compared to the way Protestant Northern Irish live you have to be blind to not understand that they are an underclass with poorer health, less jobs, less opportunity and live under the threat of attack just as much as you do - if not more"

In the past, yes - a clear religious divide - but now? Oh yes, there's an underclass - but not exclusively aligned to any church. This is a socio-economic matter. The people who aren't getting jobs, and who aren't getting decent medical care and who don't have opportunities are the poorer people, not just one particular religion. Yes, Northern Ireland is undoubtedly divided on religion and politics (or at least in their name), but it's also a class divide. Poverty isn't discrimnating on the grounds of religious worship. I hope that one of the reasons that three quarters of the population voted in favour of the Peace Process - beyond the fact that we were sick of the shit that's gone on for years - is that finally, just maybe, our politicians can deal with matters other than terrorism, such as health, education and employment, and all at a local level.


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 19 Nov 01 - 12:41 PM

I'm really pleased that the majority of the people voted for the Peace Proces. I only hope and pray that the present government under President Blah, take more notice of the democratic will of the people than did the government in power at the time of the referendum in 1918 ( I think it was )

Jock


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: GUEST,Annraoi
Date: 19 Nov 01 - 08:17 PM

Alison
Your old email address appears not to be working
Could you contact me at mine, please?
Sorry to the Mudcat for the personal message, but I could not contact Alison any other way.
Annraoi


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: alison
Date: 19 Nov 01 - 11:05 PM

(sorry aanaroi I've lost yours... and I can't PM you as a guest alison@easy-pulse.com)

well said Fibula BTW

slainte

alison


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: GUEST,Ned Botwood
Date: 20 Nov 01 - 11:23 AM

For ollaimh,

I am absolutey amazed!! I really must get a copy of this tripartite report and a pint of whatever the journalist, from the referred to rag, was drinking while he paraphrased it for his article.

Quote from your posting above covering recent history:

"...there had never been a democratic election in northern ireland," -

Really????? In my own lifetime I can remember several.

"....that the british government had directly armed the UDL (which has now changed it's name) and in fact the UDL were off duty british soldiers largely. they were from the ulster only regiments that are unique in the british army in that they are requited locally and serve in a local battle zone." -

Utter Bullshit, and I make that comment based on close personal experience.

"...the commission also found that the british government had used the services of MI5&6 to establish and arm hit squads that killed about 2500 catholic union leaders, daycare organizers and the like, without actually finding very many IRA." -

I believe that the total number of fatalities in Northern Ireland is around the 3500 mark. The vast majority of that number were victims of PIRA / INLA bombs planted indiscriminately in bars and shopping centres with the intent to maximise civilian casualties (example: 26 bombs in planted in one day in Belfast).

"...the report is damning and was largely conceded by the british governement". -

Exactly when? and in what context? (again I'd love to read this report).

"...and the "economist" alterd it's position to pull out(at least that was the editorial)."

I take it that the "Economist" editorial altered it's position on whether or not the British should pull out of Northern Ireland. There was once an extremely eminent historian, A. J. P. Taylor, who very early on stated that the "troubles" in Northern Ireland were not worth the life of a single British soldier - on reflection maybe he was right - maybe we should have pulled out and let them get on with it - The death toll would have been a great deal higher and the situation a lot clearer - it would have been an all Ireland affair and they'd have nobody to blame for it bar themselves. During Harold Wilson's term in office he offered to replace British troops with an international peace-keeping force made up of Canadians and Americans - both countries quite sensibly declined.

"...the level of abuse in northern ireland hadsn't changed," -

Oh yes it has and it started changing from the minute British troops went in to disband the B Specials and has continued right up to this day. If the population of Northern Ireland were canvassed for their opinion and asked if things are better now, you would get a very clear answer - Yes. If you asked them if they wanted to go back to the situation pre-GFA, you would get an equally clear answer that No They Would Not.

"...and it's time the english speaking world recognized that."

That things have improved greatly has been recognised world-wide but most markedly by the USA.

"...europeand are not naive about the british conduct in the north."

But they are naive enough to classify snails as fish and carrots as fruit when it comes to handing out subsidies to French farmers (the handiwork of another European Commission).

And finally to come to the most astonishing statement of all:

"now personally i have found englisg canadian folkies to be quite bigoted against native canadian gaels on occasion--too often for comfort. i remember being told not to sing a song in gaelic i worked on for weeks(i'm not very good at gaelic) becauce as they said"we sing canadian music here"."

I am rather amused at your categorisations, "english canadian folkies" and "native canadian gaels". I've got news for you pal, both those groups are interlopers. There is no such thing as a native Canadian Gael - they were French settlers from Brittany in France just as much as the other crowd you mention were British settlers, oddly enough, the majority of whom came from Scotland (many of whom were also gaelic speaking).

"... well i guess we capr bretoners aren't quite canadian--well we aren;tand it is traceable to the same imperial bigotry that has led to the long standing abuse in ireland."

How you manage to say that you are native Canadians in one sentence and categorically deny it in the next seems to lack logic. France under a Bourbon King surrendered French interests in Canada to the British at the end of the Seven Years War. While French signatories at the treaty negotiations were arguing about a few acres here and there in Europe to define the borders of France, they threw away the best part of a continent out of complete and utter indifference. Britain having ousted the French from Canada then proceeded to defend it on at least two occasions from attempted invasion from America. Canada was also the first colony to be granted self governing dominion status. During the great famine in Ireland in the mid 1800's the vast bulk of Irish emigration was to Canada onboard British ships. Many stayed and many travelled on to Chicago. What they succeded in escaping from were absentee land-lords (incidently not all English by any streach of the imagination), grasping factors and "gombeen men". They could have found little, or none of the imperial bigotry you claim in Canada, otherwise they would have all kept moving - they didn't.

You seem to be an extremely well balanced person - a chip on each shoulder. If you are going to sing do what you do well, don't bother doing something badly just to try and score a point.

On the apology front I see little or no use in the present generation apologising for what has gone before. The deeds of the fathers visited on the sons is a load of hogwash - if that were true the German nation would be in sack-cloth and ashes for eternity. "Britain, by and large, on balance has generally been a force for the good." The quote comes from another eminent historian - An American who died about two years ago. I happen to agree with his comment and tend to react on reading complete and utter drivell such as that submitted by yourself.


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: ollaimh
Date: 20 Nov 01 - 02:30 PM

well mr botswood learn to read. it's in the report and extensive exserpts were published in the economist bak in the late eightires, you can get the whole thing at any major canadian library. for canadians extensive excerpts were published in the globe and mail

ignorance is really no excuse after 900 years of war on foreign soil.

all the germans used to say "but we didn't know what was going on" after the second world war and no one with half a brain believes them.

and yes the elections in northern ireland have been jurry ridded as far as international standards are concerned. the editorilists at the time from the economist was willing to accept this at least partially.

for thos enot reading it the economist is the right wing british magizine sort of like time magizine but much more conservative . and in canada the globe and mail id also a conservative magazine


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: PeteBoom
Date: 20 Nov 01 - 03:42 PM

Not to annoy anyone, but to get back to the original question....

Nearly ANY "Irish" song can be offensive to someone. Just as I would not sing Roddy McCorley to a group of Unionists, I wouldn't sing The Sash to a group of Republicans. Well... maybe. Once - just for the craic...

At the same time, some totally innocent songs get categorized as "Catholic" or "Protestant" by certain segments society - particularly in Belfast or South Armagh.

For that reason, my band tends to limit the number of "rebel" songs we do to a handfull - and then typically those of sufficient age or quality where they are simply good songs to do. As a general rule, we try and avoid the "another martyr for Ireland" songs along the lines of Kevin Barry or Boulavogue unless we are playing to a closed audience whose composition we are fairly familiar with. Just as we would probably not mix "Ye Jacobites By Name" with "Hey, Johnnie Cope" when playing to a Scottish audience, unless we knew the audience expectations.


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE SONG OF COLOURS (Ron Baxter)
From: GUEST,fleetwood
Date: 20 Nov 01 - 08:42 PM

One song that is sung locally speaks for itself: THE SONG OF COLOURS
or A PLAGUE ON BOTH YOUR HOUSES

Now I used to sing your rebel songs
When I were just a lad
For the tunes were gay and lively
And the stories were not bad
But then lovely Ulster was at peace
And I couldn't see owt wrong
Ah but I was young and couldn't see
The hate inside your songs

For in your minds these songs arn't old
No matter what you say
For "Young Roddie McCauley goes to die
On the Bridge of Toom" today
And to your mind "Father Murphy"
Died but hours ago
Times have changed, you have not
The truth you refuse to know

And you Orangemen of Ulster
Who stand loyal to the flag
Do not puff yourselves with pride
For you are just as bad
You taunt your fellow Ulstermen
With your "Battle of the Boyne"
You are just the otherside of
That blood stained Irish coin

Now Jesus died for all mankind
Not for Orange or Green
Yet to you He's Protestant
To you Papish he be
And if He came back today
His fate would be the same
By you so called Christians -
Be crucified again

Now you sing the "Rising of the Moon"
And you the "Protestant Boys"
You sing of the "Foggy Dew"
And you of "Derry's Walls"
But with you I'll sing none at all
For they just stoke your bloody war
So to hell with the "Wearing of the Green"
And the "Sash your Father Wore"

(Tune: The Sash my Father Wore)
Copyright Ron Baxter of Fleetwood

(line breaks added by a Joeclone)


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Blackcatter
Date: 20 Nov 01 - 09:58 PM

Ollaimh, I've never heard that the accusations you state were from some commission. Could you please find an on-line source or give us the actual full name of the report so that I can take a look at it? From what you say, it appears to be rather extremist and more damning than I thought possible from a "tripartate commission." Until you can give your direct source for such detailed information, please excuse us for not believing your statements.

Ned, thank you for your reasoned and controlled response. While I am of the opinion that things are probably less fair for Catholics that Protestants in N.I., I am certainly aware that there are a lot of issues on both sides.

pax yall


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Wolfgang
Date: 21 Nov 01 - 04:34 AM

well mr botswood learn to read. (ollaimh)

In one short sentence you have urged Ned Botwood to learn to read and misprinted his name. I know I shouldn't but I had a big laugh.

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: GUEST
Date: 21 Nov 01 - 07:05 AM

And while you sing and you fight and you rant and you chant, for the real truth try www.ardoyne.com


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Mary in Kentucky
Date: 21 Nov 01 - 10:34 AM

I've always been more sensitive to instrumentals than words. To me, one of the lovliest tunes I've ever heard is Boulavogue. PeteBoom, I noticed that you mentioned one of my favorites as one that could offend some audiences. I'm glad you told me that, but for me the song will always be a heart-wrenching, melancholy tune that I can "wallow" in. To me the words detract from the emotion of the tune.

The DT version is here. But I know the version in the Clancy Bros. Songbook which is the same as Lesley's version here.


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: MartinRyan
Date: 21 Nov 01 - 08:03 PM

Mary from Kentucky

If, like me, you like the tune used for "Boolavogue" but not the words - try some of the sets used for the tune before those words were written! The Aussie convict song "Moreton Bay" is particularly good, I reckon.

Regards

p.s. As far as the story of Father Murphy is concerned, BTW, there ARE some very good songs!


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: GUEST,micksas
Date: 21 Nov 01 - 08:16 PM

We used to sing this song At Partick Thistle Football ground in Glasgow. Glasgow has A catholic team Celtic who wear green and a Protestant team Rangers who wear blue.


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: GUEST,Malkie
Date: 21 Nov 01 - 08:20 PM

We used to sing this song At Partick Thistle Football ground in Glasgow. Glasgow has A catholic team Celtic who wear green and a Protestant team Rangers who wear blue. Hullo Hullo How do you do We hate the boys in Royal Blue We hate the boys in Emerald Green F*** the Pope and F*** the Queen.


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: musicmick
Date: 22 Nov 01 - 03:48 AM

What a bunch of pantywaist Johnny-come-latelys you guys are. Irish rebel songs were and are relevent to their time. Domenic Behan, like his more celebrated brother, was a commited, active participant in the activities of the I.R.A. When he wrote a song like "Come Out, You Black and Tan" or "Patriot Game", he wasn't retelling tales like Stan Rogers did. Domenic wrote and sang about the war that raged in his own time. When he sang,"Come all you young rebels, and list' while I sing" he was talking to his comrades, not his ancesters. If you are not involved in the movement, these songs must seem archaic but to Irish patriots, they are the anthems of an occupied land and the people who still live under an alian flag. If some Brits are offended by the sentiments expressed in these songs, I have a solution. When England gets the hell out of Ireland, I will stop singing them. Actually, those songs are pretty mild. Try listening to gems like "One Sunday Morning, While On My Way to Mass" or my personal favorite,"Take It Down From the Mast, Irish Traitors" (I got booted out of O'Doneghue's on Merion Row for singing that one) Tragicly, these songs are seminal to Irish tradition. In that beautiful land that has known so little freedom, cultural survival has been allied to resistance and rebelion for centuries. Poetry, stories and songs have been the manna for an impoverished, unarmed peasent army, whose perserverence has delived twenty-six of the enslaved thirty-two counties thus far. In a nutshell, if you can relate to an oppressed people, you need feel no embaressment about singing the songs that chronicle that oppression. As for yor audience's sensibilities, I suppose one should be circumspect. After all, you wouldn't want to distress a Klansman by singing "We Shall Overcome" Mike Miller


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: catspaw49
Date: 22 Nov 01 - 04:11 AM

Fibula Mattock said:

On the other hand, I am not at all comfortable hearing songs that are either deliberately sectarian and provocative (from whatever group), or songs that promote or glorify terrorism, or those that make murderers into martyrs. But then, I supppose I don't have to listen if I don't want to...

And later said:

Oh yes, there's an underclass - but not exclusively aligned to any church. This is a socio-economic matter. The people who aren't getting jobs, and who aren't getting decent medical care and who don't have opportunities are the poorer people, not just one particular religion. Yes, Northern Ireland is undoubtedly divided on religion and politics (or at least in their name), but it's also a class divide. Poverty isn't discrimnating on the grounds of religious worship. I hope that one of the reasons that three quarters of the population voted in favour of the Peace Process - beyond the fact that we were sick of the shit that's gone on for years - is that finally, just maybe, our politicians can deal with matters other than terrorism, such as health, education and employment, and all at a local level.

The most true assessment that could be made in the most elegant way. The have nots have the most in common and yet often have the hardest time seeing the common enemy. Civil Rights in the United States, Apartheid in South Africa, or freedom in Northern Ireland.........The opponent is the same.........and yet the very people who share the worst, who sacrifice the most, who are divided the most, need to see the enemy is no respecter of religion or race.

Beautiful posts Fib..........

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: GUEST,ktlndavis@AOL.COM
Date: 09 Oct 03 - 01:48 PM

When my father Danny O'Connor passed away we had the ullian pipes play boolavogue, very apt as he was born to a very proud wexford family, at his funeral a women said to my amazement " that was a lovelly Danny Boy!"
comming from a musical family myself, sing the songs you are passionate about and you will sing them well, and if you don't please the audience after that, to hell with them
All the Best
Kathleen


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: ollaimh
Date: 18 Jun 07 - 05:57 PM

i wasa just looking on line and surprise surprise all the united nations reports on human rights are available on line just google the tripartite commission on human rights , there are reports every year so go back to the eighties for the northern ireland report for those who can read there it all is


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: GUEST,TJ in San Diego
Date: 18 Jun 07 - 07:23 PM

The Clancys and Tommy Makem performed a song called, "God Bless England," which was an ironic commentary on the Irish Question. They claimed that beer mugs had been thrown at them by those who failed to get the humor or the point.

"I'll sing you a song of peace and love.
Whack fol the diddle o the di dol day.
Of the land that rules all lands above.
Whack fol the diddle o the di dol day.
May peace and plenty be her share,
Who kept our homes from want and care.
Oh, God bless England is our prayer!
Whack fol the diddle o the di dol day."

Oh, when we were savage, fierce and wild,
Whack.............
She came as a mother to her child.
Whack.............
She gently raised us from the slime,
And kept our hands from hellish crime;
And she sent us to heaven in her own good time!
Whack.........." Etc...

"The Old Orange Flute" would be another I'd suspect might be geographically challenging.


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Jim Lad
Date: 18 Jun 07 - 07:29 PM

I've always found "Paddy McGinty's Goat" to be overly stereotypical and for this reason, somewhat offensive. "Aunt Martha's Sheep" although not Irish, comes a close second.


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: GUEST,meself
Date: 18 Jun 07 - 09:40 PM

Yeah, I know what you mean - it promotes this stereotype of sheep being extremely passive. And good to eat.


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: GUEST,Young Buchan
Date: 19 Jun 07 - 06:39 AM

I don't believe there is an answer to the question of what songs are offensive, in isolation from the singer's relationship with the audience. If you have served your time with an audience and they trust you, you can sing anything you want. I have sung Trelawney in an Irish Nationalist pub, and I've heard someone else there do The Sash. But if they don't know you, you can cause as much, if not more, offense, by singing even a song they DO agree with the content of. Anyone who walks in off the street and starts singing controversial songs deserves what they get.


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 19 Jun 07 - 02:42 PM

There was this youg pastor at our local church last year doing a year's placement from Texas.

As he was a guitarist without a car, my friends and I used to take him round to the local folk clubs round Nottingham - England that is.

Anyway at one of the local joints there was this floorsinger who never felt the night was quite complete without his rendition of Neil Young's Southern Man.

I'm not the most sensitive of guys (as many here will attest) but after about six months I said to the young clergyman - don't you find that song offensive? You're a Southern Man, and you don't hit people with bullwhips, or lynch anybody...Its a bit like someone keep singing at me, you stupid fenian Bastard. I probably would react, if I were you....

The young guy smiled and said, there was no offence intended - not here tonight. And anyway have you not heard the rebuttal of Neil Young in the first verse of Sweet Home Alabama?

I've got to admit I hadn't heard the rebuttal - still haven't. Could any American friends clarify what he was talking about?


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Phil Cooper
Date: 19 Jun 07 - 03:21 PM

The band Lynyrd Skynyrd wrote the song "Sweet Home Alabama" and there is, indeed, a line to the effect (don't know the exact wording, sorry) "Hope Neil Young remembers, We don't need his kind around." The right words should be easy to find on the web. Or I'm sure someone else here would know the precise wording better than I.


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: JedMarum
Date: 19 Jun 07 - 05:54 PM

I winced when I saw this thread reappear; what the hell was I thinking when I started this?

I don't fret over such stuff now-a-days. I don't sing the highly offensive stuff anyway - and it is clear that, for the most part it is your intention that is or is not offensive, as a few have pointed out so well here in this thread.

Actually the incident that inspired me to start the thread was a bit more peppery then I posted above - the Irish tourist lady who had just told me she knew and sang back home, so many of the songs in my show ... said, when I asked her if she'd heard Come Out You Black and Tans "Oh, yes, but we don't sing that in polite places."

I took her to mean; it might OK to sing among friendly company, but not in public.

Speaking of Tommy Makem, one of the boys told me he no longer sings Four Green Fields. I believe he felt it had served its purpose and he had moved on ... I sing when asked. It's a lovely song - but for me it serves no political cause - I often change the last line to say "my four green fields will bloom once again, said she." That is making no comment comment on the flag/s, under which each of the four blooms.


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: JedMarum
Date: 19 Jun 07 - 05:57 PM

now - let's let my silly question that titles this thread die a quiet non posting Mudcat death!

;-)


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: GUEST,Jim P
Date: 19 Jun 07 - 06:01 PM

"I hope Neil Young will remember:
A southern man don't need him 'round, anyhow!
Sweet home, Alabama . . ."


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Jim Lad
Date: 19 Jun 07 - 07:34 PM

I thought the question was a little out of character for you. That's fine but Big Mick is still on my list.


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Big Mick
Date: 19 Jun 07 - 08:50 PM

hahahahahahaha ....... I loved that, Jim. I remember when Jed started the thread, and I remember thinking, "Is he ever going to get his Irish ass kicked on this one...." In looking back, I am shocked that I never posted to this thread.

The best advice given here is simply to know your audience.

...... and Jim ...we are all musicians here.... this is in 4/4........ count it off with me......

1....

2....

3....

4....

...............

BITE ME!!!



LOL.

All the best,

Mick


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Jim Lad
Date: 19 Jun 07 - 09:21 PM

Heh, heh!


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: EBarnacle
Date: 19 Jun 07 - 09:22 PM

A few years ago, I lost a friend who showed me a collection of Irish songs when I told her I really did not want to look at a book extolling how great it is to die for the cause.
The same issue applies to all radicals and bomb throwers, be it Irish, Muslim, Catholic, etc.
There are too many people out there extolling martyrdom and all that goes with it.


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Greg B
Date: 19 Jun 07 - 09:28 PM

It often seems that the biggest fans of 'rebel songs' are in
fact drunken Irish Americans. I suppose it's a bit more amusing
when it isn't your kids getting shot and blown up.

There are 'Irish' music groups (usually patterned after the
Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem) who've done quite a good trade
in this, usually in city pubs with names like 'The Shamrock' and
'O'Neills' etc. where they serve up stews and fish and chips
and 'Irish Coffee' with some sort of green syrup on top of the
whipped cream.

Unfortunately, they sometimes also seem to have a bumper sticker
reading "26 + 6 = 1" and were given to respond with bank notes
when asked to donate money to provide weapons and explosives to
the Provos.

I believe there is truly a connection between 'happy war songs
and sad love songs,' when the former are given without explanation
or any sense of just how terrible 'The Troubles' were and are.
'Roddy McCorley' and 'The Foggy Dew' are all well and good, but
they all too often inspired the sending of blood money over to
perpetuate terrible violence.

Like a rifle, a song must be used very carefully.


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 19 Jun 07 - 09:44 PM

The Irish rebel songs are amongst the most beautiful in the cannon of folksongs anywhere. However as one Irish folksinger friend said to me, I couldn't live with myself if I knew I'd been instrumental in stirring up that shit.

If you do the Irish gigs, you will get that music requested. Many venues will say straight out to you - no rebel songs. Some will spell it out to you exactly why. One landlady said to me - if you do those songs, there might well be a fight, and its always those who can least take care of themselves that get hurt.

I way I think its easier for Irish singers to refuse to do them, than non Irish. Because the aficianados of rebel songs assume either you don't know them, or you are agin them on idealistic grounds.

I think you would be a bit dumb - to start out on a career singing Irish music and NOT knowing them. But try and be sensitive to your listeners.


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: GUEST,Martin Ryan
Date: 20 Jun 07 - 05:19 AM

I'm sorry - I can't resist it! The Irish rebel songs are amongst the most beautiful in the CANNON of folksongs anywhere. . Brilliant!

Regards


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: GUEST,Jim Carroll
Date: 20 Jun 07 - 03:03 PM

'Rebel' songs are as much a part of the Irish repertoire as songs about Waterloo and Trafalgar are of the English repertoire and they will be singing about Kevin Barry as long as we are singing about Nelson.
Far from them being sung by "drunken Irish Americans", most traditional singers I have met have had a number of them in their repertoire, though often they have declined to sing them to us for fear of giving offence.
Apart from the nationally known ones, many areas of Ireland have not so well known local songs documenting the events of 1798, 1867, Easter Week and the War of Independence et al.
Any doubts of their importance as social or historical documents can easily be dispelled by a quick flick through Georges Denis Zimmerman's 'Songs of Irish Rebellion'.
If they give offence - tough - they are as much a part of our (British) history as they are of theirs, and if they make us uncomfortable - long may they continue to do so.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Greg B
Date: 20 Jun 07 - 04:03 PM

Jim--- you mis-quote me. I didn't say the performers were 'drunken
Americans.' I said the fans were. Those who call for them the most.
Some performers do, however, choose to cater to that lowest common
denominator.

The songs do have valid historical value--- and there is no question
at least in my mind, that the cause of Irish Republicans prior to
and during the start of the 20th century was just. Those songs are,
as such, Irish patriotic songs.

But this thread is about 'Irish Troubles' songs, and that is
where the distinction comes in. 'Kevin Barry' and 'Roddy McCorley'
and even 'The Foggy Dew' are all well and good when sung in
remembrance of patriots who suffered in the cause of formation
of what is now the Republic of Ireland.

On the other hand, these songs have (or at least until fairly
recent memory, had) currency in relation NOT to the Irish fight
for independence in what is now the Republic, but rather in
relation to what's been come to be known as 'The Troubles' in
Ulster.

In North America in particular, these patriotic songs have been
used as a rallying point to whip up North American Irish Catholic
support for the part in The Troubles which has been played by the
Provisional arm of the IRA. Keep in mind that many of these 'Irish'
are third, fourth, and more in 'Amerikay' and have about as much
sense of the real issues in Ulster as they have of the animosity
between Sunnis and Shiites in Iraq. On top of that, the degree to
which The Troubles put them and their children at personal peril
was about the same as the troubles between Sunnis and Shiites.

In spite of this, they've had great fun beating the drum (or
bodhran) for 'The Catholic Cause' in the North, even to the
extent of donating for munitions to arm the Provos. I have no
hard evidence, but I quite get the impression that a good portion
of the guns, bullets, and explosives in the hands of the Provos
over the past several decades were bought with Irish-American
money.

Some great singers have succeeded in making 'Roddy McCorley' about
today's Provos, rather than about the late Mr. McCorley.

Perhaps it's understandable; one can argue that it was the British
who set up the conditions in Ireland that drove Irish-Americans'
ancestors out of Ireland. So it's perhaps an 'old family feud.'
But when they cross the line and send money to murderous bastards
on either side of 'The Troubles' because they distantly identify
with the so-called 'Catholic' side, then some line has been crossed.

And I submit that, more than anything else, more than rhetoric or
news reports, that the disingenuous equation of songs about a
fight a century ago with the activities of the Provos and their ilk
in recent decades have led to some very ill-advised facilitation from
this side of the pond.

Make no mistake; I like 'rebel songs,' too. There are some real
rousers in there, great for getting people singing and bring a
tear to the eye and a tip to the jar in a pub that trades in
Guinness and Jameson's.

I'd like to hear a lot more Irish and pseudo-Irish performers
get up and say "I'm going to sing a song about an Irish patriot. Now,
contrary to what some people think, it hasn't a bloody thing to do
with some who came after who saw fit to foul their own nests or
bloody their neighbor's noses. It's about a patriot who did his
part to bring about the independence of the Republic of Ireland,
and that's it. It hasn't anything to do with bombs going of in
Harrods, the killing of Lord Mountbatten, knee-capping of young
men, nor the throwing of Molotov cocktails. None of those things
would have existed at the time, and I don't know that he would
have approved. Anyway, I don't approve of that stuff and I'm
asking you not to support it either."

It's a tough pill to swallow, the idea that folk music may have
contributed to things that enabled blood-shed in and around
the Irish troubles.

It's not usually how folk singers think of themselves.

But I'd say those who've made some coin in the singing of
rebel songs and swaggering about the more recent cause need
to examine their consciences rather carefully.


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: GUEST,Big Mick
Date: 20 Jun 07 - 04:07 PM

Well said, Jim Carroll. I was pondering how to say that without being called a "drunken Irish American".

GregB, I suppose it would be OK to go ahead and make such a general statement about you and your people, eh?

The songs are an important part of the history of the land of my Grandparents. There is absolutely no reason to be ashamed of them.

I remember going to my first Getaway, years ago. I was sitting in the main hall, trying to relax and singing a few songs. Mudcatter Bert (one of my very favorite 'Catters) came up and sat down. Bert is a Brit(I believe he is English) so I decided not to do any rebel songs. So I worked my way around the other parts of my repertoire. Finally, Bert asked to borrow my guitar and ripped out a wonderful rebel song. I chuckled and proceeded to do The Foggy Dew.

I still laugh about that today.

All the best,

Mick


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: GUEST,p
Date: 20 Jun 07 - 04:35 PM

Sadly I to go to a funeral 25 years ago..On the way home via the bus to Dublin..a freinf of the family gave me somewhee to sleep for the night..We went into a Dublin pub [ back streets somewhere]..A band was playing and they were great.....The band made an announcment for any requests..I said I would like to here ''When Irish eyes are smiling''..I was asked to leave............and strange'ly I never ever got to know why


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: GUEST,Big Mick
Date: 20 Jun 07 - 04:45 PM

GregB, we cross posted. While I don't agree completely with your summation, it is on whole a very good summation of your position.

The support for the Republican cause, or the Fenian Cause, in this country goes back over the generations. The culture of the Irish American was formed by those that were forced to leave Ireland, and who were committed to freedom for that land. I am not afraid to admit that there are a great many Irish Americans who do not take the time to understand their heritage and the political situation. But it is not as much as you generalize about. There are any number of Irish newspapers, and many of the community invest a great deal of time and study to understand.

And as to the effect of the Irish American on the landscape, it is fair to say that the support they lent also contributed to bringing us to the point where we are at today. Their support in publicizing the collaboration of the RUC with the paramilitaries, such as in the Pat Finucane case, very likely hastened the peace process. There are many other examples.

I guess what I really want to say is this. The time of the gun is past. The time of bitterness is on the wane, replaced with the beacon of hope. If the we all can quit pounding our respective drums (I'll lay off the bodhran, youse lay off the lambeg) and let these folks continue with crafting the peace for the children of the North, this beautiful land will be all the better for it.

I still sing the songs, they represent a small part of our show, but the context is different. I hope it stays that way.

All the best,

Mick


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: GUEST,Jim Carroll
Date: 21 Jun 07 - 03:06 AM

The rights and wrongs of the recent troubles in Ireland are a matter of opinion and, for me, boil down to (a) whether it is right or wrong for one country to rule another - be it 6 or 32 counties, and (b) If it is wrong, to what lengths it is acceptable to go to right that wrong.
It seems to me that both sides were prepared to go to unacceptable lengths to either maintain or change the situation, and to quote Harrods and Mountbatten, while ignoring the Dublin bombings and Bloody Sunday is a clear sign of support of one set of atrocities over another. I assume you would not oppose the singing of 'God save the Queen' on the basis that it gives comfort to one of those sides - or would you?
Throughout history, ballads and songs have been made and used for or against one or another cause; as early as opposition to a Catholic Monarchy with Lillibulero, or the seventeenth century Jacobite campaign with The Haughs of Cromdale. In 1704, Andrew Fletcher of Saltoun wrote 'If a man were permitted to make all the ballads, he need not care who should make that laws of a nation' - things haven't changed that much.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Jim Lad
Date: 21 Jun 07 - 03:53 AM

"in spite of this, they've had great fun beating the drum (or
bodhran) for 'The Catholic Cause' in the North," ........

'The Catholic Cause'?

Debate is pointless!

"Five Little Ducks" ...Again, I know it's not Irish but I really do find it offensive.

Hope this is what you were looking for, Jed.


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: guitar
Date: 21 Jun 07 - 04:14 AM

I know quite a few Catholic/prtestant songs however whenever there is any irish folk around I just don't sing in case it upset either side.

However if I'm in the house I'll sing them but not out in public no


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Tim theTwangler
Date: 21 Jun 07 - 12:48 PM

All of them are offensive to someone mate.
Sam missils in the sky is one of the subtleist and a favourite of mine
F**K the British army is also a witty ditty.
I guess you just have to play 'em an see what happens.


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Greg B
Date: 21 Jun 07 - 05:08 PM

See, when I say 'The Catholic Cause' what I'm pointing out is that
IS the way a lot of Irish Americans see it. Hell it's the way
I saw it as a good little Catholic boy who's got about 12.5 to
25% Irish blood in his veins. I think very FEW of the folks
calling 'sing us a rebel song!' to the fellows wearing Aran
sweaters up on stage at any one of the many 'Irish' pubs in
America think of it any deeper than that. Indeed in the
American media 'Catholic' and 'Protestant' were always the
terms used to name the two sides.

And the reason I mention Harrod's and Mountbatten were because
the issue at hand is the funding of that one particular side by
by Irish Americans--- these folks generally aren't seen dressed
in Orange. I've yet to wander into a pub and heard 'Boyne Water'
sung and seen a jar for donations to the Orange side of thigns
up on the bar.

I guess what it comes down to is songs are like guns--- they
can be used for good and for bad, and both are quite powerful.

It's up to those who're pointing the guns--- and the songs---
to see to it that they're responsible about taking aim.


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Jim Lad
Date: 21 Jun 07 - 06:09 PM

Pointless.
I rest my case.


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: GUEST,foxyloxy
Date: 21 Jun 07 - 06:11 PM

I agree that performers need to know their audience before singing songs which may offend. I used to sing both "The bloody Orangeman" and "The old Orange flute " in an attempt at balance. I don't think a bit of bile is always out of place, I like to hear songs of love and hate. I'm surprised at the comments about "The sash my father wore " as the song had versions to suit both orange & green audiences, and in my time in Ireland I never knew it to give offence. It has a good tune, and good tunes will always cross over religious and political divides, which is one of the great things about music.


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Greg B
Date: 21 Jun 07 - 06:27 PM

Tommy Makem has a way with humorous songs--- 'The Auld Orange Flute'
being one, and nicely self-deprecating at that. Same with 'Lord
Nelson' which feted an IRA act of 'terrorism' which was wonderfully
symbolic and relatively harmless at the same time.


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Jim Lad
Date: 21 Jun 07 - 06:41 PM

Jed: You're on my list!

"Waltzing with Bears" is another example. I just find the whole "Dancing Bear" thing, absolutely insulting.


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Tim theTwangler
Date: 21 Jun 07 - 07:40 PM

Ursophaelia?


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: GUEST
Date: 22 Jun 07 - 02:41 AM

"It's up to those who're pointing the guns--- and the songs---
to see to it that they're responsible about taking aim".
Or maybe don't point the guns in the first place, but rather, seek solutions to problems by other means.
At the height of the "troubles" an archivist friend had the job of collecting locally made albums of songs of the events in the North of Ireland; he found plenty of examples from both sides, including one called 'The Pope's a Darkie'.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: DannyC
Date: 22 Jun 07 - 10:47 AM

I heard this'un yesterday on YouTube. An Octogenarian from Toome, Co Antrim (my mother's people are from that region) recites the piece and attributed it to a local man there by the name of James O'Donnell. (The subject of the piece is a Larry Devlin who served in the RUC). It prolly doesn't meet GregB's strict timeline standards for validity, but I am glad I got to hear (and subsequently post it) it nonetheless:

Tory Larry - Never Marry
for one generation of you is enough
in Londonderry you didn't tarry
they hunted you like Harvey Duff

You've heard of Harvey - that base deceiver
who banished Fenians from Erin's shore
but Larry, sure now, we forgive him
for you done that an' even more

you hunted beggars
picked their pockets and what was worse
you sent widows sighin' and orphans cryin'
on bended knees to you they curse

But now you're home among your neighbors
with a bunch o' hair on your upper lip
and your arms are squeeverin'
an' your legs are waverin'
an' you've a humpty back
an' you've narra hips

Is GregB making the point that this sort of local piece be banished or eradicated by some form of cultural Coercion?


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Greg B
Date: 22 Jun 07 - 12:20 PM

"banned?" "eradicated?" "cultural coercion?"

Absolutely not! In fact, they ought to be carefully collected and
preserved, from primary sources where possible. No excuse for not
doing it, as we actually know how to collect and have the resources
to do so.

Performance by 'folk artists' is another thing entirely, though.
Context and culture needs to be carefully considered.

Folk musicians have traditionally prided themselves on being a
bit more 'enlightened' about their role in the larger scheme of
things.

I'm suggesting that, at least in America, certain Irish music
has been rather offhandedly been presented in ways which have
contributed to 'The Troubles' and hindered the causes of peace
and reconciliation.

That's the beginning and the end of what I'm saying; attempting
to attribute any more are someone else's words and thoughts, not
mine.


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: The Sandman
Date: 22 Jun 07 - 12:41 PM

Jim Carroll,I thought you had given up singing.
I sing what I want to sing,the only fenian song I have ever bothered to learn is The Bold Fenian Men[abeautiful song].
I dont find any fenian songs offensive,what I do FIND offensive is being told what I should or should not sing.
I was brought up to refuse to stand for God Save The Queen,now there is a song I find offensive,but as Jim Carroll said im only a philistine.


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: DannyC
Date: 22 Jun 07 - 12:55 PM

Greg,

You ran the risk of being misunderstood when you stated "the biggest fans of 'rebel songs' are in fact drunken Irish Americans".   

On the first Sunday of November in 2004 my wife and I did a little opening set for Derek Warfield who was travelling thru Kentucky (yes, the pub is called O'Neill's) with a bunch of young musicians performing the repertoire from his "Wolfe Tones" days.

There were no less than eight dozen native-Irish out for the show. There were good few stable hands and backstretch workers but also a significant representation of gentry bloodstock agents, farm managers and owners. I was thinking that Warfield would be facing an uphill struggle with this demographic.

When the songs hit the air, the place went bonkers. In fact, I have never witnessed the rebel repertoire embraced with such enthusiasm. I'd say Warfield was a bit stunned himself. The scene clearly invalidates the generalization that you asserted in your posting of a few days ago (quoted above).

On a side note, that scene from a few years ago recently caused me to reflect on some of the themes that Paul Laverty explores in his screenplay for the film, "The Wind That Shakes the Barley" - but that might be better explored in some other thread on some other forum.

All the Best,

Dan Cummins
Sober
Irish American


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Jim Lad
Date: 22 Jun 07 - 12:58 PM

Dick: Chill out & tell me where I can hear your version of "The Bold Fenian Men" please & thank you.
Jim


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 22 Jun 07 - 01:51 PM

Its stirring stuff allright.


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Jim Lad
Date: 22 Jun 07 - 02:30 PM

WLD: You get the "Wooden Spoon" award.
Grin!
Jim


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: PoppaGator
Date: 22 Jun 07 - 03:30 PM

This discussion reminds me of a story (true) about a drink, not a song, which created a great deal of controversy along these very lines.

In pre-Katrina New Orleans, there were two Irish pubs in the French Quarter featuring live music:

O'Flaherty's Irish Channel Pub (no longer in existence) was owned and operated by Danny O'Flaherty, balladeer and entrepreneur from the Galway gaeltacht by way of Westport, County Mayo. Danny enforced a fairly strict Irish-traditional-only music policy, and brought in touring acts whenever possible, sometimes commanding pricey cover charges.

The Kerry Irish Pub (still alive and well) has American owners and a less self-consciously Irish identity. Live music seven nights a week, never a cover charge, usually acoustic (or "acoustic-electric") and very often featuring vocal harmonies, but not necessarily Irish or even "folk" music. I like to think that the informal atmosphere and eclectic musical standard of the Kerry is actually quite representative of actual venues in contemporary Ireland, where not everyone, after all, wants to hear the same traditional music every night.

Both these pubs featured the popular imported products of all your favorite Irish distilleries and breweries, and both employed recent immigrants from Ireland behind their bars. Both quite pleasant and convival. Let me observe, however, that while I often enjoyed an afternoon or evening at O'F's to hear a particular act (and, on occasion, to perform with a particular group), Peggy and I have always favored the scruffier, less-expensive, more-inclusive Kerry as our favorite watering hole, regardless of what musicians might be on the bill.

Anyway:

We're sitting in the Kerry one evening two or three years ago when a loud and rowdy bunch of tourists made an entrance, young twenty-something guys and a few girls ~ Irish-American fraternity-boy types, at least a dozen of them. They proceed to order a round of "IRA Car Bombs."

This was the first I had ever heard of such a drink; the bartender was not so naive, however, and he proceeded to line up two rows of plastic cups on the bar: A big pint cup 3/4 full of Guinness for each customer, and a small cup (4-6 ounces, maybe?), filled with a shot of Jameson and a shot of Bailey's.

The gang lined up, each with a small cup in one hand and a large one in the other, and on the count of three each dumped the contents of the little cup into the big cup of stout and immediately upended the concoction down his/her throat in one long chug.

I'm not absolutely sure, but I think you have to chug this drink down quickly, or else it will foam up uncontrollably, expanding far beyond the capacity of the pint-size cup or glass as soon as the dairy content of the Bailey's starts to interact with the stout.

In any event, it provides a sure-fire way to get good and drunk very quickly, and probaly extra-flatulent as well, creating a perfect cariacature of the drunken Irish-American. Plus which, the very name of the drink could hardly be more offensive.

As the group finsihed their first of several rounds, they began to discuss (loudly, of course) how glad they were to find an Irish pub in New Orleans that would serve them their libation of choice. They had just been kicked out of another establishment immeidately upon mentioning the words "IRA Car Bomb," sent on their way with a severe admonition that "we don't find that very amusing at all around here."

It was easily established that it had been O'Flaherty's from which they had been given the bum's rush. I'll never know if it was Danny himself or one of his bartenders who showed them the door, but I'm sure it was a native Irishman who (quite understandably) took offense. Whoever was behind the stick at the Kerry that night, on the other hand, was glad enough to take their money and laugh it off as all in good fun.


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Jim Lad
Date: 22 Jun 07 - 04:10 PM

So, nice guys really do finish last.


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Jim Lad
Date: 23 Jun 07 - 03:18 AM

"Delaney's Donkey" is another that gets my dander up.


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: goatfell
Date: 23 Jun 07 - 05:52 AM

I'm a Christian that was brought up in the protestant faith, and when I sing fields of athenry at the folk club or a session there are people at the folk club where I play think that I'm a catholic and I support Celtic I am neither.

But there you go

Tom


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 23 Jun 07 - 11:04 AM

I wrote a variant of Delaney's Donkey. So far I have not spied an erect dander in my audience when performing it - and I look out for that sort of thing.

Its on the website.


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Greg B
Date: 23 Jun 07 - 06:46 PM

I don't find my generalization about 'drunken Irish Americans'
being the biggest fans of rebel songs to be invalidated by the single
anecdotal counter-example above.

Since my 'anecdotes' consist of spending quite a few Saturday
nights in the O'Something Irish Pub with a cabaret license in a good
dozen or so American cities, a plate of doubtful Irish stew (why
is the stew always doubtful in such places?) in front of me and
four or five guys, sometimes with the requisite Aran sweaters (even
in summer, in Washington DC) up on stage doing the standards.

So I stand by my assertion: as often as not the songs are used to
pander to ill-educated and badly misplaced feelings of loyalty to
something which isn't even properly known to the audiences before
which they're most often played.

Now where did I leave my green felt fedora?


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Jim Lad
Date: 23 Jun 07 - 09:47 PM

I've never felt Fedora. Does she have a sister, Nora?


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: GUEST,Jim Carroll
Date: 24 Jun 07 - 02:59 AM

Greg,
You obviously haven't spent a great deal of time in Ireland, or in the company of Irish singers or listeners
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Jim Lad
Date: 24 Jun 07 - 03:43 AM

I've just read about the first quarter of this thread and gave up.
This is, without a doubt, the stupidest thread I have ever laid eyes on.
They were even talking about Stan Rogers, up there. Seems the man had some pontificating to do on that subject too!
Jeeeeesh!


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 24 Jun 07 - 03:48 AM

sounds to me as though your dander is semi erect Jim, as we speak.


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Jim Lad
Date: 24 Jun 07 - 04:07 AM

A wee bit!
Add to the list ... Any song written or sung by Stan Rogers.


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 24 Jun 07 - 05:06 PM

To be fair Jim, theres Irish singers, then theres the Irish singers you seem to know.

there is a degree of diversity in that class of humanity.


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Big Mick
Date: 24 Jun 07 - 05:17 PM

And why shouldn't it be, WLD? We have seen generalizations of the first order, patronizing comments about Irish Americans, and the English suggesting that our songs are something to be ashamed of, never mind that they sing plenty of songs that are just as offensive to the Irish, and then your last comment was about as bad as it gets. You speak of "that class of humanity" as if that selfsame characterization couldn't be applied to about any ethnic group of performers.

Hang in there, Jim. I think you are dead on the mark.

All the best,

Mick


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: GUEST,meself
Date: 24 Jun 07 - 05:21 PM

(I wonder how many years he's had the gag about the 'felt fedora' on the back burner, just waiting for the right moment to produce it ... !).


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Big Mick
Date: 24 Jun 07 - 05:37 PM

******RFLMAO******. I thought the same thing, meself. And then I tucked it away, and am very happy to wait a few years until I get the chance.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 24 Jun 07 - 06:35 PM

well yes any class of performers, that was the point I was trying to make....whats so bad about that?

you could start an argument in an empty house, mate.

as for all that crap about drunken Americans. I call that a racist generalisation. scarcely worthy of a response.

Of course your songs aren't anything to be ashamed of. Some of them are of great beauty and lyricism.

However maybe if you'd been living in Birmingham or Warrington, you would as wary as some Irish landlords still are about where and when the rebel ballads get sung.


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Big Mick
Date: 24 Jun 07 - 07:02 PM

Typical response. I didn't start an argument. I simply responded to what you posted.

As to your foolish Birmingham/Warrington response, I guess I could say the same thing for any number of generations of Irish Catholics living along the Falls Road.

One more thing about me starting the argument. I refer to your own words:

To be fair Jim, theres Irish singers, then theres the Irish singers you seem to know.

there is a degree of diversity in that class of humanity.


Now is I misunderstood that statement, then please accept my apologies. But it clearly seems to be a statement about Irish singers, the type casually tossed about.

Quite frankly, wld, I am not trying to start a fight here. And you are among the posters whose posts I generally enjoy and appreciate. But the comment seemed to indicate something very troublesome to me.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Jim Lad
Date: 24 Jun 07 - 08:01 PM

I wouldn't worry about it. Whatever WLD was trying to say, I didn't get it. I enjoy what the wee drummer has to say too.
My only point in participating in this thread has been to add a little humour.
It's a stupid thread and Jed (whose name is right below Big Mick's on the list) had the decency to come back and apologize for it.
On one of the earlier posts, I noted that Marc Gunn was asked to stop singing "The Patriot Game" while walking around at the Austin Irish Festival.
Several things amazed me about this, the main one being that Brobdingnagian Barbs were hired for the festival but to the credit of the organizers I would have to say.... "Marc: It wasn't the song that they found offensive".

"Stewballs" is another.


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: GUEST,meself
Date: 24 Jun 07 - 09:44 PM

Okay - is the Peace Process back on track then?


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: LukeKellylives (Chris)
Date: 24 Jun 07 - 10:16 PM

"Another interesting note, a couple weeks back my group, the Brobdingnagian Bards, were berated for performing "Patriot Game" while wandering the Austin Celtic Festival. The reason given was that they didn't want to have any such political songs to keep from offending as many people as possible.

My partner and I were offended by that, especially considering the nature of the song, since it is somewhat of an anti-IRA song by the lyrics. Don't get sucked into the "Patriot Game". But just the mention of the IRA in a song seems offensive.

Personally, I love the passion in the rebel songs, but don't share the philosophy behind them. But we have had a few English come up and say they love our music, just don't like the rebel songs. I think the key really is to educate the audience with the history when possible, especially now with all the anti-terrorist sentiments that are rising around the world.

But I do believe it would be shame to not be able sing some of these great rebel songs.

-Marc"



Good point, Marc. That's basically about how I feel. I play them whether people like it or not. I have no strong feelings for one side or the other, I just like the song.

By the way, I love The Brobdingnagian Bards! Have you on my iPod.


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: gnu
Date: 24 Jun 07 - 10:31 PM

When we were savage, fierce and wild....

Oh my. I haven't read this thread, but I will.


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Jim Lad
Date: 24 Jun 07 - 11:50 PM

What's an iPod?


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: GUEST,Jim Carroll
Date: 25 Jun 07 - 02:32 AM

I am often astounded at how ignorant many of us Brits are regarding Irish history and our part in it.
There is enough evidence, both documentary and anecdotal, to indicate how various British Governments have reacted to calls for Irish independence, and as for the behaviour of 'The Tans' during their brief holiday over here....!!
Very little of this seems to have penetrated the buckets of sand that many people seem to have buried their heads in.
Perhaps it might help if they treated these songs as part of the learning curve; then maybe we wouldn't get 'academics' like Jeremy Paxman accusing Ken Loach of "treason" when he told it like it was in 'The Wind That Shakes The Barley'.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 25 Jun 07 - 03:31 AM

Big Mick,
" never mind that they (English) sing plenty of songs that are just as offensive to the Irish"

Please tell us what these are so that we can avoid them in future.


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Jim Lad
Date: 25 Jun 07 - 03:34 AM

"God Save The Queen"


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 25 Jun 07 - 03:40 AM

"There is enough evidence, both documentary and anecdotal, to indicate how various British Governments have reacted to calls for Irish independence,"

Any evidence of an Irish majority for independence pre 1916?
What percentage of rebel songs were written pre 1920?


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Stu
Date: 25 Jun 07 - 05:27 AM

"God Save The Queen"

I find that crap offensive (along with Rule Britannia and Land of Hope and Glory etc) and I'm what many would call a Brit.

"As to your foolish Birmingham/Warrington response . . ."

Perhaps it sounds foolish to you over there on the other side of the pond Mick, but I lived on the outskirts of Brum in the 70s and WLD is correct - the bombing of the Talk of The Town at the bottom of the Rotunda scared the living shite out of Brummies. I can remember an Irish family near us being talked about with mild suspicion at the time by some of the locals - singing rebel songs in a pub in the city might well have made landlords wary. They were less enlightened times in those days, unfortunately for everyone involved.

Imagine this in the America of the future - they have two types of public bars. The dyed-in-the-wool red-white-and-blue places where they serve great suds and grits and corn dogs etc and everyone stands up at the end of the night, sings 'God Bless America' and waves Old Glory. On the other side of town is an Iraq theme pub. This is full of people singing songs about how they kicked the invaders out of their country after it was occupied, songs mourning the deaths of their women and children, and singing the praises of those martyrs that died for their cause - even by flying planes into skyscrapers and murdering innocents, or planting IEDs to kill American soldiers.

Would these songs seem so harmless now? They're just songs after all. Ask yourself if you would still feel so tolerant?

It doesn't matter which 'side' you're on, these songs can evoke offence and very strong feelings - especially if people are directly involved in a conflict, and that means you do need to think where and when you sing them.

stigWeard
Welsh Englishman, for those who can't see beyond race.


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: MartinRyan
Date: 25 Jun 07 - 05:42 AM

Keith

The one interesting point in this thread so far:

"What percentage of rebel songs were written pre-1920?"

Probably higher than you might think. Quite a few were were written around the centenary of the 1798 rebellion, and there was a strong movement towards patriotic poetry and song in the early part of the 20th. C. Earlier, of course, Thomas Davis's The Nation newspaper and associated books had helped popularise many nationalist songs - of which some survive.

Regards

p.s. As to the thread's mainline: Whatever about GIVING offence, we Irish, in all our scattered components, are champion at TAKING it!


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 25 Jun 07 - 06:23 AM

Thanks Martin.
I doubt many would find a '98 song offensive anyway.
Of the few hundred rebel songs doing the rounds, is it not true that the overwhelming majority are post 1916, and few pre 1920?
How many exceptions can you think of?


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: DannyC
Date: 25 Jun 07 - 07:05 AM

For the record:
September 1913

From a memorandum to George V from his Prime Minister, Herbert Henry Asquith entitled "The Irish Situation; The Constitutional Position of the Sovereign"

"The attainment of Home Rule has for more than 30 years been the political (as distinguished from agrarian) ideal for four-fifths of the Irish people. Whatever happens in other parts of the United Kingdom, at successive general elections, the Irish representation in Parliament never varies. For the last eight years they have had with them a substantial majority of the elected representatives of Great Britain..." (NOTE: Home Rule had just been affirmed in the Commons by a majority of 109, but suffered a Lords' rejection by 326 to 69.)

Asquith continued: "If the ship," (Home Rule) "after so many stormy voyages, were to be wrecked in sight of port, it is difficult to overrate the shock, or its consequences. They would extend into every department of political, social, agrarian and domestic life. It is not too much to say that Ireland would become ungovernable - unless by application of forces and methods which would offend the conscience of Great Britain, and arouse the deepest resentment in all the self-governing Dominions of the Crown."


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 25 Jun 07 - 07:23 AM

For the record.
Home Rule is not the same as Independence.
Sinn Fein at this time was strongly anti Home Rule but for independence.
http://www.wesleyjohnston.com/users/ireland/past/history/18931914.html


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: DannyC
Date: 25 Jun 07 - 07:52 AM

Thank you for that link, Keith.

It brings to mid some notes from Asquith's papers regarding the last meeting involving Carson and Craig with Redmond and John Dillon:

"Redmond assured us that when he said good-bye to Carson the latter was in tears, and that Captain Craig who has never spoken to Dillon in his life came up to him and said" 'Mr. Dillon, will you shake my hand? I should be glad to think that I had been able to give as many years to Ulster as you have to the service of Ireland.' Aren't they a remarkable people? And the folly of thinking that we can ever understand, let alone govern them!"

Asquith's notes are likely describing the scene of the last parting of empowered political leadership prior to the wonderful developments for peace in that region that we have seen in our own times.


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: GUEST
Date: 25 Jun 07 - 11:03 AM

Flower of Scotland. I always sing that when I meet Scottish people but I believe that "Unionist" scots find it distasteful.


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Jim Lad
Date: 25 Jun 07 - 11:44 AM

Stigweard: Thank you for that most excellent demonstration of the mental acrobatics which one must no doubt, be capable of in order to justify the wrongs perpetrated by one's own country.

I'm adding"English, Welsh" songs to my list now and giving full consideration to "Phil the Fluter's Balls".

Good morning all, from the calm, sunny Highlands.
Jim


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: GUEST
Date: 25 Jun 07 - 02:33 PM

"Any evidence of an Irish majority for independence pre 1916?"
Since when did we get a vote on which particular country "owns" our country?
Originally it was proposed that 9 counties should remain under British rule, but it was realised that this would give the Catholics a majority, so they quietly dropped that one!.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 25 Jun 07 - 03:10 PM

Are you saying that it would have been preferrable to partition off 9 counties instead of just 6??


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Mike Miller
Date: 25 Jun 07 - 03:11 PM

Jeb,

   I have found that the resentment level of a song is almost entirely based on time passed. Ireland is a country whose history has been a continuing struggle against British rule. To be a singer of Irish songs, and to omit politics, is like describing Martin Luther King by his facial hair. Besides, your list lacks the really offensive songs like "One Sunday Morning, While On My Way To Mass" or "Take It Down From The Mast, Irish Traitor", a song that offends almost everyone.
A song is just a song. Catholic singers have been doing "The Old Orange Flute" for years because it is funny and it is a swell song.
Obviously, if you are performing in England, you will be considerate of your audience, unless you want to make a political statement. Your
visiting Brits will have to understand that "You do the crime, you hear the rhyme" It is tough to have to deal with criticism of one's homeland but tougher when it comes from a third party. Here, at home, you know that Americans are a lot less offended by by protests from an enemy than protests from Europe, our traditional allies.
So, sing 'em if you've got 'em. You can, always, claim "reasearch".

                            Mike


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 25 Jun 07 - 03:25 PM

Jim C,
"Since when did we get a vote on which particular country "owns" our country? "
Sinn Fein was formed in 1905, but did not get much support until after the events of 1916.


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Big Mick
Date: 25 Jun 07 - 03:44 PM

Actually, Keith, as I understand it, the Republicans would have preferred 9 counties as it would have given the Catholics the majority. But the negotiators for the Brits insisted on the 6 in order to maintain a Unionist/Loyalist majority. And they have built their phony "high road" on this bit of gerrymandering ever since.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Jim Lad
Date: 25 Jun 07 - 04:50 PM

Had to tinker a wee bit with the borders on some of the six remaining counties to maintain the Unionist majority too. Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to conceive!

Tinker songs are okay but that could change on a whim.


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 26 Jun 07 - 02:02 AM

I just do not get your your complaint.
If there was going to be a partition, surely it was right to only separate those counties, and parts thereof, where there was an overwhelming majority who wanted to remain British.
To force in unwilling people would be undemocratic and cruel.
Is that what you are?

Also Mick, as you could not produce any examples, do you withdraw your comment about plenty of English songs offending Irish people?


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Jim Lad
Date: 26 Jun 07 - 03:14 AM

Let me explain it to you just once but if you show any indication that you can't rise above the Catholic Protestant thing.... I'm outa here.

It was common practice for the British (English really) to invade foreign lands using various strategies, form Governments and claim them as part of the British Empire. In order to maintain control over such places, far from home and with only wooden boats to get you there, it was imperative that a large number and not usually the majority were onside with you. In order to make this a reality, this would mean that those whom you had chosen must be given some kind of unfair advantage over the majority. Land, wealth & the power to police and otherwise control the population.
Once this has been established the Invaders are now free to sit back and strip the country of whatever riches it can provide.
When the majority revolt and they always do, whom do you suppose is their target? Not the well armed, occupying forces but their own countrymen who have profited so much by their allegiance with the foe.
Britain, in the meantime, sits back and says to the world "Look! It's not our fault. Those Sikhs & Muslims just can't get along."
Now Ireland is fairly unique and most unfortunate in that it is fairly close to England. Thus the tactics were changed a little. Ireland was a Catholic country but more than that IT WAS IRISH! Being so close to home it was no problem recruiting as many armed forces as it took to maintain control. Added to that it was even more practical to encourage those recruits to stay by offering them land, wealth and power over the Irish. The unfair advantage.
And there you have it. Yes, the Irish are Catholic and Yes, the invaders were Protestant but more importantly, they were mostly Scots & English.
And what does the British Government do? It sits back and says to the world "Look it's not our fault. Catholic and Protestant just can't get along"
Now Keith: I'll give you one small example of how the unfair advantage worked and this one was the trigger for the troubles that go on to this very day.
In 1969 there were several marches, led by an extremely charismatic individual by the name of Bernadette Devlin. Her arch rival was none other than the Reverend Ian Paisley.
The slogan was "One Man, One Vote".
You see Keith, at that time, the vote was assigned to the household, not the individual. What this meant was that if you rented your house then the vote belonged to the landlord. And who owned the land. The privileged few. The sons and grandsons and great grandsons of the invaders. A simple law (And there are/were many more) that kept them at each others throats for centuries because once they owned the land and the people on it, there was no way for the unfortunate Irish to get it back.
Now today there may be a slim "Protestant" majority in Northern Ireland and you ask ... "If there was going to be a partition, surely it was right to only separate those counties, and parts thereof, where there was an overwhelming majority who wanted to remain British?" and I would have to say to you that those people of Northern Ireland whose forefathers invaded that country and who refuse to be loyal to what is the land of their birth, owe their very existence to THE UNFAIR ADVANTAGE!


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: GUEST,Jim Carroll
Date: 26 Jun 07 - 03:15 AM

"Are you saying that it would have been preferrable to partition off 9 counties instead of just 6??"
No; I am saying that no country should have domain over another.
The internal politics of a country are its own concern and should be decided by its own people, not by (self-interested) outsiders.
Every bomb exploded and every shot fired since 1922 in Ireland is directly linked to the fact that, in practical terms, part of that countries policies are decided elsewhere other than Ireland.
Why should any Irish person be asked or be allowed to 'vote' that part of their country remain British any more than any Brit be asked to vote to be American, or German, or Russian? The day of Empire is over, and good riddance.
As far as the songs are concerned, it is not necessarily what songs are sung, but rather how, why and where they are sung.
I was an apprentice electrician on the docks in Liverpool up to the early sixties and I can still remember the fear that mobs of marching Orangemen inspired in me every twelfth of July singing 'Ee aye, Paddy is a bastard' or 'We are the sons of Billy and to hell with Popery'.
Songs are songs and can entertain, inspire, inform, move... and a whole host of other things; the problems arise when they are deliberately used to incite; ('Land of Hope and Glory' sung at the Proms in the middle of the Falklands War springs to mind - as do many of the football chants).
As an atheist I hold no brief for either Catholicism or Protestantism and as an Internationalist I find national barriers, at the very least, an inconvenience, but I have come to realise that, as Conolly wrote, "no people can ever be free while it holds sway over another".
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Jim Lad
Date: 26 Jun 07 - 03:43 AM

Jim: I suspect that we posted simultaneously. However, I will add to your submission that Downing Street's answer to the international Community is as follows. "Northern Ireland is part of Great Britain and as such, the Irish Question is an internal matter and not subject to intervention by any international body"
It is on this premise that they have set themselves up as "Peace Brokers"
Ironical, ain't it?


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: goatfell
Date: 26 Jun 07 - 04:14 AM

God Save the Queen is a racists song because it is all about the English beating the Rebel Scots during the 1745 rebellion,

That's whay it is very popular up here


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: MartinRyan
Date: 26 Jun 07 - 04:23 AM

Can't see a song coming out of all this.....

Regards


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Jim Lad
Date: 26 Jun 07 - 04:28 AM

You're right Martin: What song were you going to suggest?


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Stu
Date: 26 Jun 07 - 04:28 AM

"Thank you for that most excellent demonstration of the mental acrobatics which one must no doubt, be capable of in order to justify the wrongs perpetrated by one's own country."

Er, is this taking the piss?


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 26 Jun 07 - 04:37 AM

Jim C
You would deny the people of the North the right to choose their government?
Nothing to do with Empire. The rest of Britain would be delighted if those people of the North would only choose someone else.

Jim Lad,
I remember the Civil Rights campaign, and like every other British person I ever met, I supported them.
The government had all our support when it met all the demands of that movement.


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Jim Lad
Date: 26 Jun 07 - 04:46 AM

Not at all. It's a response to your evaluation that bombs were going off in England because some eejit was singing Irish songs. You'd have to do somersaults to jump to that conclusion. I have no doubt that it was an awful experience for you but surely you must be asking yourself why.
Then there's your assertion that Iraqis were flying planes into American buildings...?
They were Saudis, Bud.


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Jim Lad
Date: 26 Jun 07 - 04:50 AM

Keith: I'm sure you're a nice guy but that was fluff.
Why not go back and read it through this time.


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Stu
Date: 26 Jun 07 - 05:07 AM

"It's a response to your evaluation that bombs were going off in England because some eejit was singing Irish songs"

No, you misunderstand. I was agreeing with WLD that after the bombs some may have found the singing of these song a little insensitive - I wasn't making a statement on why they happened - I was too young a the time to understand what was actually happening, let alone why. Whether you were in Birmingham or on the Bogside, my point was some songs are offensive to someone and perhaps as musicians and singers we should understand that.

Don't fall into the old trap of believing because of someone's place of birth or their race you have a handle on their political viewpoint - you don't - that's an arrogance that's cause way too many problems over the years. I've made my views on the injustices visited on the Irish by 'my' country over the years clear in many posts on this forum over the years, and I'm not about to justify them to you or anyone else - it's all here somewhere.

"They were Saudis, Bud."

Fair enough - but it was simply a demosntration these song subjects are touchy to people wherever they are, whatever side of the argument you stand on, and I was using the US's current Imperial ambitions as an example of people not learning from the mistakes of the past. Bud.


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: MartinRyan
Date: 26 Jun 07 - 06:08 AM

"When Irish songs offend me,
I go roarin', on the binge.
Through the clinking of the glasses,
You can hear the Paddies whinge."

I'll collect me caubeen at the door...

Regards

p.s.
To get back to what the thread is supposed to be about: the term "rebel songs" covers a multitude of sub-genres whose impact varies enormously with circumstances. The scope of "offence" ranges from cases where it is quite deliberately intended as the outcome to those where its occurrence is the result of irrational hypersensitivity on the part of the offended. In a sense, asking "Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive?" is misleading - the songs are blameless!


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 26 Jun 07 - 09:51 AM

Thanks Jim Lad, I try to be nice.
I read through as asked.
Fluff?
Which bit is wrong?


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Jim Lad
Date: 26 Jun 07 - 10:58 AM

Keith: I just find it hard to believe that you already had a handle on it before you asked your previous questions. Thank you for reading it though. It took me half an hour to type.

Martin: You're right. This whole thing is Jed's fault.

Stigweard: I think you're mostly right in what you say. I don't know where you're from though I'm presuming England but I'm sure I don't judge you by your location.

It can be really tough to keep your eye on the ball when those in charge are so adept at distracting us. There are many, many people who now believe that Iraq is in the midst of a civil war, of their own making.
The Americans it seems have learned much from their British cousins. No?


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 26 Jun 07 - 11:21 AM

One of the Jims (C I think) said "As far as the songs are concerned, it is not necessarily what songs are sung, but rather how, why and where they are sung."

I said that in the first few posts way back when I was a Gnome!:-)

I heard from a friend of mine a very disturbing story the other day. I must say I have never encountered such a thing but I have no reason to disbelieve him. He was on holiday in the south of Ireland, Cork to be precise. He went into a bar where there was a music session on and when he went to the bar and spoke in an obviously English accent he was insulted and told to 'f*** off' back to England by the local drunkard. The barman, in all fairness, apologied and served my mate, ushering the drunk out of the way.

The session musicians seeing this happen welcomed my mate and his wife by changing the music to a set of Irish rebel songs. He commented that he did not feel particularly threatened but it was made very clear he was not very welcome and left without finishing his beer. For the record he is a fine guitarist, a very quietly spoken and polite man and an excelent luthier!

Anyhow, point is that songs can become a weapon and if they do they instantly become offensive. In a different context the self same songs would have done mo harm at all.

In fact some songs about the 'troubles' do the exact opposite. Just look up Anthony John Clarkes website to see some examples of songs from the North of Ireland that help and heal:-)

Cheers

Dave


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Big Mick
Date: 26 Jun 07 - 01:19 PM

And just so you don't get to full of yourself, Keith, the reason I didn't answer your question as to which songs the Irish don't like, it is for two reasons. 1) I think it is more appropriate for the Falls Road Catholics to address that issue, as they live there. I would bet the songs sung in the Orange Halls and during the Orange parades through Catholic areas, are just as detested, probably more so, as the Irish Rebel Songs. But with one big difference; the Orange songs are about keeping the Croppies down, about preserving the discriminatory status quo, and the prejudicial generalizations. The offshoot of this is that little Catholic schoolgirls going to school are taunted and scared in horrific ways. 2) I am not going to rise to your bait. Your favorite tactic is to bog down the legitimate discussion with minutia in order to get around the very legitimate grievances of the Irish Catholic. A perfect example is your defense of the poor Unionists. You said:

If there was going to be a partition, surely it was right to only separate those counties, and parts thereof, where there was an overwhelming majority who wanted to remain British.
To force in unwilling people would be undemocratic and cruel.
Is that what you are?


Now, Keithy boy, you know full well that isn't what I said. It is your attempt to force debate on a phoney premise. In fact, several of them. The partition had almost nothing to do with the democratic rights of the Unionists. It had much more to do with holding onto the shipyards, and the Loyalist MP seats. But that is even a misdirection. Because to debate that, I would have to acknowledge that the English had a right to the six counties. Sorry, boyo, but they didn't. They gerrymandered an area for their benefit, they encouraged the discriminatory laws against the native peoples, and later in the process they abetted terrorist acts against Catholics that wanted their own country back. Amnesty International said in their 2007 report:

The government continued to erode fundamental human rights, the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary, including by persisting with attempts to undermine the ban on torture at home and abroad, and by seeking to enact legislation inconsistent with fundamental human rights.

You can read the rest of their report on Great Britain HERE. The US is not free of guilt either. But I am not making apologies for my country's actions. But you are.

Doesn't matter. The way of the pen has arrived, and all we say or don't say won't matter a tuppence. The way ahead is clear. In the future I will be singing these songs from an entirely different perspective, and I am thankful for that.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 26 Jun 07 - 02:05 PM

Mick,
Your comment was about songs the English sing.
We never sing Orange songs.
I sing many Irish songs, but I do not even know any Orange songs.
Any English Mudcatter will confirm that you never hear Orange songs in England.
West of Scotland maybe, and possibly parts of Liverpool, but even there never in folk venues.
You were wrong about the English singing plenty of songs offensive to Irish people.
They do not sing any such.


" Because to debate that, I would have to acknowledge that the English had a right to the six counties."
I would never acknowledge that either Mick.
England neither has nor had any such right.
As soon as they stop voting for British rule we are out, and that day can not come soon enough for us.

Nowhere in my posts was I defending Unionists.
I am not part of the Irish sectarian divide.
I am neutral.


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 26 Jun 07 - 02:08 PM

And Mick, thanks for the Amnesty link.
UK's report compares with that for Ireland, and is much better than yours.


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Big Mick
Date: 26 Jun 07 - 02:47 PM

I knew you would respond that way about the US. That's why I told you that I am not an apologist for my country's actions.

Fair enough on the English distinction. I actually thought about that while I was composing my post. But I don't accept, and I acknowledge not having first hand knowledge here, that there are no English songs sung in those halls, nor do I accept the following premise:

They do not sing any such.

Your post, while we will have to disagree, is a fair description of your view. I appreciate the even tone of it.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Big Mick
Date: 26 Jun 07 - 02:52 PM

Boy, I shouldn't write off the cuff. I just went back and read my post to you, Keith. While I stand by what I said, the way I said it was in a tone that is uncalled for. I considered deleting it, but that would not be right. I apologize for the tone of that, to Keith of Hertford. While we disagree mightily on this issue, and probably always will, there is no need for the rancor in the post. I hope you will accept my apologies for that.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: GUEST
Date: 26 Jun 07 - 02:57 PM

"You would deny the people of the North the right to choose their government?"
Yes, just as I would deny the people of Birmingham to choose "their" government - councils maybe, or parliamentary representatives, but the British system is that governments are elected nationally - unless I have been getting it wrong for most of my life.
The "North" - as you put it, (wonder what happened to Donegal, which is the most northerly point of Ireland) is, or should be part of Ireland, and as such, should be entitled to elect representatives on an IRISH government. Until it does there will continue to be unrest, just as there would be if, say the US discovered there was oil in Rutland (as was) and decided to annex it.
Dave, sorry to hear of your mate's experience in Cork - he must have gone into the local 'Langers' pub. I have to say that in all the time we have been visiting Ireland we have never been met with hostility or unfriendliness; that is why we chose to spend the rest of our lives here.
The only time we ever thought we might not be welcome was when the hunger strikers were dying and the street of Miltown Malbay was bedecked with black flags, but even then we were greeted with the usual friendliness.
One experience we did have was in Baltimore, in West Cork when we were invited to a party after a local point-to-point.
One of the singers launched into a set of rebel songs wheich got more and more vehement as the evening wore on. At one point we were drinking at the bar when the singer came over to buy a drink. He overheard us talking and leaned over (somewhat agressivly, I thought) and said, "are ye English", to which she, somewhat nervously replied "yes".
"You don't live anywhere near Manchester, do you", he asked, "my brother's a postman there" - and bought us drinks for the rest of the night.
Jim Lad, yes, our posts did cross and I missed yours. A brilliant summing up.
Jim Carroll
PS You will hear Orange Lodge songs wherever there are branches of the Orange Lodge.


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 26 Jun 07 - 03:02 PM

Thanks Mick.
I was a bit taken aback by your post. Glad we sorted it out.
Good man.
I stand by my statement that the English do not sing songs offensive to Irish people.
You have English friends. They will confirm the truth of it.
Keith.


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Greg B
Date: 26 Jun 07 - 03:16 PM

You put your finger on it, Mick, when you said 'native peoples.'

The Battle of the Boyne was in 1690.

Now, I've heard a couple of Irish singers who I think were probably
around back then, and qualify as 'native peoples.' But not
many others.

I happen to live on a piece of land that was stolen from the 'native
peoples' of Pennsylvania in 1737, via the 'Walking Purchase' (look
it up).

But if a Lenape Indian comes and knocks on my door and demands his
land back, I'm just as likely to point out that I bought this place
from a lady named Anne R. just about two years ago, and she bought
it in 1975 from a real estate developer, who bought it from a farmer
a couple of years before that.

It's rather hard for someone living on stolen land, 300-odd years
later, to rationalize the idea that we need to yield our way of life
to the descendants of someone whom our ancestors conquered three
centuries ago.

And, well, I guess the joke's on Britain, for 'the shipyard slips
are lying empty' but the problem remains.


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Big Mick
Date: 26 Jun 07 - 04:35 PM

Agreed, Greg B. I have always said that where one says there prayers has nothing to do with their Irishness. And I agree with the example you used. Where I suspect we disagree is on the resolution of the issue. One cannot deny the Irish their bitterness anymore than one cannot deny the Lenape theirs. And one cannot expect the descendants of the Plantation to give up their land. But that seems like a dodge to me, Greg, because no one on the Republican side is asking for that. What they have been asking for is a set of laws free of prejudice. What they have been asking for is to be able to raise their children in an environment free of horrid harassment, including having garbage thrown at them on their way to school. What they are asking for is a society in which their churches are not routinely defaced, and their neighborhoods forced to endure inflammatory parades designed to ridicule and jeer. And due to the committment of these folks, the process is now at a point where the force of the pen, and the rule of law has a chance to blossom. Ian Paisley, for chrissakes, sits in a government with Martin McGuinness. The Republicans stood firm, in the face of almost continual provocation, and the rule of law and politics, replaced the way of the gun.

So I will continue to sing songs about the Troubles, but unlike the Orange marchers, I certainly won't be doing it where it isn't appropriate. But if you are English, and you don't want to hear these songs, don't come into an Irish pub where they are sung. That would be like going to an Orange Hall and being pissed because they sang The Sash.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Jim Lad
Date: 26 Jun 07 - 04:55 PM

To your credit Keith: I don't believe that Orange songs are sung in England either (Outside of Liverpool) and yes, they are sung in the West of Scotland though not necessary in the North where Catholicism was all but wiped out. I do believe that most English are largely ignorant of the facts. Hence, the condensed history lesson further up.


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Stu
Date: 27 Jun 07 - 06:53 AM

"I do believe that most English are largely ignorant of the facts"

I would say that was a complete understatement - add the Welsh and Scottish to that list too (it was a British Army occupation). The real problem is the media has never given a truly balanced view of the situation in the North, and there was zero education in school when I was growing up in the 1970's to place any of the events that were occuring at the time in any sort of context.

This reassesment has been far too long coming, and I believe the process is starting now. Films such as 'The Wind That Shakes The Barley' are welcome because they stimulate debate and present a side of the story many people have never seen (btw, did Paxman really call Loach a traitor on Newsnight? If he did, what a twat). I sincerely hope one day we might see trials in the Hague for those in the British Establishment who colluded with loyalist paramilitaries in murder - they can serve their time in the same cell as the maggot who planted the Omagh bomb.

While I understand your belligerence Big Mick, it doesn't reflect how many in the UK and the Republic feel about the situation in the North. Most people on these islands are weary of the fighting and now only want peace - remember the troubles had effected every man, woman and child in all the nations of the Isles and these are difficult memories to erase.

The antagonists you talk about harassing school kids are a bunch of contemptible miscreants, but they are a minority even in their own community. I suppose the good thing is Mick, if you come over here you're likely to be welcomed in may places to sing your songs - Irish pubs here are places of enjoyment and music rather than a place of overt political comment which might explain why some people might be offended by an American singing songs about events 3000 miles away when these people may have lived through the troubles every day.

Sing your songs (heck - I love them and sing them too) - but perhaps try to be a little more conciliatory to those who don't share your viewpoint. It'll more accurately reflect many of the hopes of the people of the North, a new spirit of optimism than reinforcing old divides.


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 27 Jun 07 - 07:36 AM

I agree, Jim (C). I have only been to the south a couple of times and to the north once but I have never had any such hostility. Much earlier in the thread I commented that even though 'rebel' songs and stories were prolific in the Seam McCarthy memorial weekend we attended I was never insecure about being there. On my first evening in Listowel a local staggered up to us and said "Are you f***ing English?". I was a little taken aback but answered in the affirmative, "Then come and have a f***ing drink with me..." was his response:-) Only when the Listowel branch of the Chelsea supporters club enetered the bar, having just lost to Manchester United, did I have to deny I was from Manchester. Seeing as I live west of there I was nearly telling the truth when I said I was from Bolton, and no-one can take exception at that club;-)

The bar my mate went to was on of the 4 on the Cork quayside apparantly - He had gone looking for Hank Wedel and Roy Barron but did not find them. He didn't mention which bar it was but if I see him on Friday I will ask.

Cheers

Dave


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Big Mick
Date: 27 Jun 07 - 07:54 AM

Stig ....... thanks for your comments. I guess I should make it very clear that my comments are directed at those that were responsible for the policies. These are the people that tried to control what you learned or heard over there. Now that it is coming to light, they are not being seen in a good light. I know I get passionate, but I am deeply troubled by apologists for this stuff. Just as I am troubled and angry by those that try and whitewash the activities of Bush/Cheney in my own country.

I want to make one thing very clear. The British folks I have met, many of them English, are among the best of the Mudcat, and have become my friends. Valued and cherished friends. While I am passionate about what I think should happen and who I think is responsible in the land of my grandparents, I mean no personal attack on the average English person. Those that I have met are wonderful, and I am anxious to get over to England and meet many more. If those that are my friends now are any example, then I will have many more friends when I do.

As to these songs, some of them are just damn fine songs. There are a many I won't sing because they seem to celebrate war instead of the struggle.

Thanks for reminding of some things I need to keep in mind, Stig. The pints are on me when we meet.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: The Sandman
Date: 27 Jun 07 - 08:09 AM

Iam at this moment reading a fascinating book Tom Barry by Meda Ryan,anyone intersted in the irish civil war,and the fight against the Black AN Tans should read this.Tom Barry was a stickler for accurate facts,this is nearer the truth than the wind that shakes the barley.200


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 27 Jun 07 - 08:15 AM

Stig, I agree that school curricula in Britain never covered Irish history, but I can not agree that the media failed to give balanced coverage.
Certainly the broadcast media did and refused to be restricted by the idiotic and short lived ban on reporting Sinn Fein members' words.


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Jim Lad
Date: 27 Jun 07 - 11:14 AM

So we're all agreed then.


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Stu
Date: 27 Jun 07 - 12:35 PM

Agreed.


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: GUEST,Jim Carroll
Date: 27 Jun 07 - 01:14 PM

Stigweard
Don't think it was Newsnight, rather it was a debate on the film after it was released.
Jim Carroll
PS Everybody should read Jim Lad's thumbnail analysis


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: GUEST,Jim Carroll
Date: 27 Jun 07 - 02:58 PM

Back to the songs,
As far as our work was concerned, it was sometimes difficult to remember that some of the singers we were recording in West Clare were singing about incidents that had taken place in their lifetimes. A number of them would have been in their twenties at the time that the burning and looting of Miltown Malbay, Lahinch and Ennistymon by the Black and Tans took place. This included the murder of several townspeople. Several people we knew witnessed the incident on St. John's Eve when the locals of Miltown were machine-gunned by 'Tans' when they lit the traditional bonfire in the main street. We recorded a singer who knew Micho MacNamara (of Mac and Shanahan fame) who was arrested, tortured and beaten to death by Black and Tans along with his neighbour Michael Shanahan.
We recorded the story from a man who told us of how he was stopped, and searched by two 'Tans' in Miltown, and when they failed to find anything incriminating, they released him. As he was walking away they shot him, wounding him in the side of the head - he still had the scar.
The elderly lady who ran the bar in Kilshanny where we recorded a storyteller, was a nurse in Dublin in 1916 and a witness to the Easter Week Uprising.
It is often quite easy to mistake passion in singing (a commodity found in abundance in traditional singers, but alas, very rare in revival singers) with vindictiveness.
We met a fine example of this when we were recording two elderly brothers in North Clare. To put it in context, this was the time when Catholics refrained from eating meat on a Friday.
We had been welcomed into their home, sung to, fed and watered (or whiskyed) by them, and were preparing to leave when one of them sang us a lovely version of The Manchester Martyrs (which we had not come across before).
At the end of the song he launched into a diatribe about the English; how, when you saluted them on the road, they didn't salute back - he finished off by declaring "They'd eat a horse on a Friday!"
He than sat down and insisted we had another glass of whisky - which, of course, we did.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: GUEST,Big Mick
Date: 27 Jun 07 - 05:38 PM

That is a phenomenal bit of tellin', Jim. I am so glad you preserved it on the Mudcat, that is the essence of what it is about.

I am a labor organizer/singer. As I read your tellin' of that, it reminded me of the time I sat with a gathering of old men and women, all retired United Auto Workers, who were there at the Battle of the Overpass and the Buick sit-in. I remember being absolutely enthralled at the passion in which they told the stories, and sang the songs.

Thanks for a wonderful bit of history. One of Mudcat's best.

All the best,

Mick


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Greg B
Date: 27 Jun 07 - 06:18 PM

Big Mick, I suspect we may not disagree on the solution nearly so
much as you might think.

It's in the young people.

In the Republic, they seem finally to have shaken off the stranglehold
the Church of Rome has so long held on their identity. The youth of
the North must do the same, whether Protestant or Catholic.

In the Republic, an unprecedented effectiveness and affluence has
taken hold, simultaneous with the forgoing.

I don't think it's a coincidence at all.

The young Ulster-folk need to look south, say 'we want some of
that' and decide that their fathers' and grandfathers' grievances
are evidences of their fathers' and grandfathers' shortcomings,
which they aren't required to inherit.

I wonder if Gerry and Ian haven't come into their proper youth
in their respective dotages. Let's hope so.

And to get back to the theme, once THAT happens then either side
can sing the 'Troubles' songs of the other, if they still want to
or feel the need.


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Stu
Date: 28 Jun 07 - 05:09 AM

Fascinating stuff Jim - you should be telling these stories in schools across the UK.


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 28 Jun 07 - 08:29 AM

You should also share with them the testimony of surviving IRA man Dan Keating.
"Dan's recall of the various engagements during the fight against Britain is astonishing in the amount of detail he has at his fingertips. Instantly he can reel off dates, participants, casualties inflicted, arms and equipment captured and losses suffered by the IRA.

He fought against the Black And Tans, and in the civil war against the Free Staters.
Of the Free Staters he said
"these men showed no mercy in their dealings with anti-treaty forces. "They were far worse than the Black and Tans" asserts Dan. "They murdered nineteen republican prisoners at Ballyseedy Cross, Countess's Bridge and elsewhere in Kerry in three days. The Tans never did anything as bad as that",
http://www.irishfreedom.net/Misc.%20news%20items/Dan%20Keating%20interview.htm


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 28 Jun 07 - 11:26 AM

Any rebel songs about the nasty Free Staters?


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Jim Lad
Date: 28 Jun 07 - 11:28 AM

Any free songs about nasty rebels.


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: MartinRyan
Date: 28 Jun 07 - 11:41 AM

To answer Keith's last question:
Yes - "The Galtee Mountain Boy" being the best known.

Regards


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Jim Lad
Date: 28 Jun 07 - 02:29 PM

Froggy went a courting


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: GUEST,Jim Carroll
Date: 28 Jun 07 - 02:34 PM

"Any rebel songs about the nasty Free Staters?"

How about the one that begins:
"Take it down from the mast, Irish traitors,
The flag we Republicans claim,
It can never belong to Free Staters,
You brought on it nothing but shame"

And there's more....

Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 28 Jun 07 - 05:34 PM

Galtee Mountain Boy
Take it Down from The Mast

Thanks, I was not aware of these.
Are they heard often when rebel songs are sung?


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Gulliver
Date: 28 Jun 07 - 10:11 PM

I've only ever heard Take it Down from the Mast sung at meetings/sessions of Sinn Féin or related political parties. You can hear Galtee Mountain Boy all over the place.


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: GUEST
Date: 29 Jun 07 - 12:52 AM

It is not difficult to hear "Take It Down...." in the pubs in NYC area, and Boston. Especially if Shay Walker of The Battering Ram happens to be around. Galtee Mountain Boy is also commonly sung in these pubs.


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: GUEST,Jim Carroll
Date: 29 Jun 07 - 03:22 AM

'Take It Down',
I have to say the only singer I have heard sing this was Dominic Behan, who tended to wear his heart on his sleeve.
To address Big Mick's point; I was an apprentice on the docks in Liverpool and it struck me as early as that how rich the use of language was among the people I was working with; the nicknames, the trade names for tools, and the ready, creative humour.
Writers like George Ewart Evans in the UK and Studs Terkel in the States went some way towards drawing attention to our oral history, but even they only scratched the surface.
My first experience in recording anybody was in the late sixties when I was asked to interview a friend's grandfather, an elderly Liverpool docker who had fought in the trenches in W.W.1. I was extremely nervous, but totally without need. The minute we arrived, before we had even switched the recorder on, your man Tommy began talking, and over the weekend gave us four or five hours of his experiences.
One of the most moving pieces of recording I have ever done was when he started to talk about 'deserters - men who simply walked away from the noise of the guns in the trenches. It appeared that Tommy had virtually forgotten we were there and had begun to re-live his youth (he had lied about his age to enlist in the army).
He told us how the military police would pick these 'deserters' up and take them back to base, where they would automatically tried, sentenced to death and imprisoned, awaiting execution.
But if there was a 'push' on, they would be taken out and placed in the front line to fight; when the worst was over, they would be returned to base and executed.
He said, "One minute you were fighting next to a man, the next you were reading a note posted on the side of the billet saying that he had been shot by a firing squad".
At this point he burst into tears - and we had some difficulty talking due to the lumps in our throats.
I've always believed that one of the great values of our traditional songs is the experiences of 'ordinary' people (are there such things; aren't all people extraordinary) that went into their making.
If I wanted to find out the whys and wherefores of, say the Battle of Trafalgar, I could go to the history books and get the dates, the politics behind it, the officers - I may even be able to find how many ordinary seamen were killed and wounded in the engagement.
But if I wanted to get some idea of the experiences of those 'ordinary' seamen, what it felt like for, say a miner, or a millworker, or a farm labourer who had been pressed into the navy, or in a drunken moment, had signed up by a recruiting officer, then I would have to go to the songs.
As I said before, many of the songs we sing are vital parts of our history containing information that can be found nowhere else.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: GUEST,Alan Whittle
Date: 11 May 11 - 12:09 PM

Very interesting Jim. Which dock did you work on? My uncle was a lorry driver taking stuff into the docks for Metropolitan Vickers. Sometimes he used to let me go with him.

Our favouite was Victoria. Most places there they wouldn't let me out of the driver's cab, because I was little and there were guys with cranes with big chains swinging down from them, which they used to fasten round the big machine parts on the back of the lorry.

But on Victoria we used to get out and feed the pigeons. I remember a big black one - we called it Mosley.


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: SuperDave
Date: 02 Nov 18 - 11:57 AM

I have always thought of The Patriot Game as an anti-war song more than an Irish Rebel song. The singer lies dying because of the urgings of others to believe in the "Patriot Game", which they don't believe in themselves.

I have therefore taken liberties with Mr. Behan's lyrics to make this more in line with my interpretation:

Come all ye young soldiers, and list while I sing,
For the love of one's country is a terrible thing.
It banishes fear with the speed of a flame,
And it makes us all part of the Patriot Game.

My name is O'Hanlon, and I've just gone sixteen.
My home is in Monaghan, and where I was weaned
I learned all my life other people to blame,
And so I'm a part of the Patriot Game.

This country of ours has long claimed to be free.
While most other nations bleed from tyranny.
So we gave up our boyhood to drill and to train
To play our own part in the Patriot Game.

It's nearly two years since I wandered away
With the local battalion, all men who obey,
For I read of our heroes, and I wanted the same;
To play out my part in the Patriot Game.

And now as I lie here, my body all holes
I think of the leaders who bargained in souls
And I wish that my rifle had given the same
To those traitors who sold out the Patriot Game.


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 02 Nov 18 - 04:56 PM

lovely reading this old thread. so many cyber pals we no longer hear from.

I'm sorry I can't see how The Patriot Game is made to say anything different. Perhaps you could explain why you felt it needed changing.


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Mr Red
Date: 03 Nov 18 - 11:05 AM

Would the "Galway Shawl" be considered a rebel song?

"She sang each note like an Irish Linnet"

linnet was a code worded name given to "patriots".

Discuss...........


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 05 Nov 18 - 04:33 AM

Well I never decoded it.


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 05 Nov 18 - 04:46 AM

Me neither.


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Thompson
Date: 05 Nov 18 - 05:07 AM

Linnet? Really? Citation, please - I've never heard that.

Perhaps the most tactful thing for any foreigner singing the native songs of another country is either to explain that s/he doesn't know which of the following songs may be sensitive, or else to avoid political songs altogether?


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 05 Nov 18 - 05:14 AM

The Green Linnet is a beautiful Irish Napoleonic ballads - one of the best IMO - Napoleon became a grat inspiration for Irish rebellion
FULLER INFORMATION HERE Many of these songs were intended to give offence, quite of =ten humorously; they are part of Irish history and should be treated in that light
Jim


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: SuperDave
Date: 05 Nov 18 - 10:53 AM

Big Al:
I think I explained it in my OP: I have always thought of this as an anti-war song, rather than an Irish Troubles song. I altered the lyrics to make this more about how young men are lured into going to war for concepts like "patriotism" as espoused by politicians and military leaders. My hope is that this lovely song will thereby reach a wider audience, beyond the "Sing an Irish Rebel Song" crowd.


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: meself
Date: 05 Nov 18 - 12:36 PM

So The Galway Shawl is secretly in praise of Napoleon? Well, well .....


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 05 Nov 18 - 01:46 PM

'And I wish that my rifle had given the same
To those traitors who sold out the Patriot Game.'

I always took it to refer to wanting to shoot the Michael Collins contingent, who made the peace 'selling out' the six counties. This point of view of course would (presumably) get the approval of the IRA.

However, I don't pretend to have a deep knowledge of this complex subject, and from experience of Mudcat, I know any expression of opinion on this subject is bound to enrage someone.

so, whoever I may have offended, I apologise in advance.


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 05 Nov 18 - 01:52 PM

"I always took it to refer to wanting to shoot the Michael Collins contingent,"
It does - it's a civil war song - one of the few
Jim


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 05 Nov 18 - 02:39 PM

Thinking about it, I can only think of one song to give more or less universal offence, the aptly named 'Boys of Kilmichael'
I've seen the words in a book, but I've never heard it sung - I understand The Wolfe Tones recorded it before they were decommissioned
Jim


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 05 Nov 18 - 02:55 PM

Thinking further
The BBC recorded 'Lord Leitrim' from Leitrim singer Thomas Moran
When it was sent to the BBC headquarters, the archivist gave it an 'S' number (presumably standing for 'Secret) - there is only one other song in the BBC catalogue with this distinction - 'When St Peter's Day Was Dawning'
'Leitrim' tells of the assassination of one of the most hated Landlord in Ireland, William Sidney Clements   - there are at least ten other songs celebrating this event

Memories are certainly long in Clements's part of the world.
Tom Munnelly told the story of going to hear two Donegal fiddle players at a Dublin club in the 1960s
Leaving the club, he found himself walking behind the two musicians who, on reaching a graveyard at the side of the road, climbed over the fence
Tom walked past, but was shortly overtaken by the two musicians who told him proudly, "We always make a point of pissing on Lord Leitrim's Mausoleum whenever we come to Dublin"
Jim


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: GUEST,Martin Ryan
Date: 05 Nov 18 - 03:15 PM

“The Patriot Game” is not a Civil War Song - it refers to the IRA campaign of 1957-8.

Regards

P.S. Mind you ... At a recent local social event, I sang Crawford Howard’s great anti-Willie Mc Bride satire - and got roundly abused for mocking “a great republican ballad”! Ye can’t win.


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 05 Nov 18 - 03:30 PM

"The Patriot Game” is not a Civil War Song"
Sorry Martin - you're right of course
Didn't rea th posting properly - I thought Al was referring to ' Take it Down from the Mast'

I once sang 'Coronation Coronach' (For Scotland Hasna' Got a King' at a Trades Union do and was roundly abused by an Orangeman for denigrating one of his tunes (The Sash)
Jim


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: GUEST,Martin Ryan
Date: 05 Nov 18 - 04:09 PM

As for the origins of "The Sash" - this is the best bet:

https://www.itma.ie/goilin/song/irish_molly_o_martin_ryan

regards


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: GUEST,Martin Ryan
Date: 05 Nov 18 - 04:15 PM

Oops! Forgot to enter the HTML! Apologies.

Regards


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: medievallassie
Date: 05 Nov 18 - 04:38 PM

Not to seque the thread but I looked at this thread mainly because it was started by good friend and amazing man, Jed Marum. To affirm what someone above mentioned about how great it was to see this old thread with many names we no longer hear from, some may not be aware that Jed passed away quite unexpectedly on May 2nd, 2018. He is missed but also well remembered. We should all be so blessed to have made this world better for having been a part of it.

Also, I often worry about singing the Fields of Athenrye. Although not a heavy hitter in the political no-no list, it can often generate a loud pro-republic chant at the end of every line in the chorus. I've never understood why this song in particular became an IRA anthem of sorts. It can be heard in the Dubliners video seen here. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KtzEaWc36lw


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 05 Nov 18 - 06:09 PM

I'm reminded of WH Auden's poem Spain, which he later renounced.

There was this line about how after the conflict, there would be time for 'young poets exploding like bombs'.

Orwell said, this is a poem written by someone who doesn't know that bombs kill people.
Quite a sage remark!

The IRA chant is just the booze talking.

I know we move in different circles musically Jim, but I do know several Irish singers, who whilst acknowledging the beauty of many pf the rebel songs, just totally refuse to sing them. Just a fear of what they might unleash, I suppose.
Certainly I was stopped one day in pub in Nottingham for singing On the One Road, by the landlady. This is a pub where I was getting requests for Sean South, from one faction. I wouldn't have minded singing it, but the landlady was quite adamant.

Like I say, its not what you find offensive, someone with different experiences (like Orwell had to Auden) might have a different view.


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 06 Nov 18 - 03:01 AM

Liverpool was teeming with 'antidotes' to 'The Sash' when I lived there
Most of tthe time it was a fairly friendly place to live, (football excluded), but on the 'Glorious Twelfth' it became a city divided
Where I worked, the lodge wold march down The Dock Road, and men who worked with each other throughout the year would fight
When the Sash was played, as each verse reached an end onlookers would sing out:
"And we'll hang John Knox on the barren rocks
With the sash his father wore".

A favorite joke was:
"Two flies crawling up a window frame; how do you tell which one was the Catholic?
The one who shit on the sash".

Back to normal next day, of course
Jim


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Mr Red
Date: 06 Nov 18 - 03:49 AM

Linnet? Really? Citation, please - I've never heard that.

my source was Jim Magean. A more knowledgeable Folkie than I.

And with that in mind, you could ask why linnet, and not nightingale, thrush or skylark? It does strike a note (pun intended, I could have said chord).


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 06 Nov 18 - 05:48 AM

I don't believe there to be any significance to the type of birrd used in these songs
The linnet appears in several songs, including 'Mountain Streams here the Moorcocks Crow', with no political significance whatever
Due to the political situation in Ireland under British rule, coded symbolism occurred in many songs - Charles, 'The Young Pretender', was represented as 'The Royal Blackbird.
An interesting body of political songs are 'the aíslings', where Ireland is represents by a beautiful mysterious woman who either meets a man or appears in his dream, and tells him her troubles (the troubles odf Ireland)   
Michael Hayes, the farmer/land agent who kills the landlord and is chased around Ireland, before escaping to America, is represented as a fox and the epic ballad describing the event often appears as 'The Fox Chase'
Fascinating stuff, in my opinion
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: GUEST,Martin Ryan
Date: 06 Nov 18 - 12:24 PM

Incidentally....

The "green linnet" may be green - but it's not a linnet! It refers to the species generally called "greenfinch"

Regards


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 09 Nov 18 - 05:16 AM

In the song My Old Man said Follow the Van(and don't dilly dally on the way.

The narrator of the tale is carrying (by her own admission!) a cock linnet.

Was Florrie Ford a Provo on the quiet?

As Derek Brimstone used to say...never ignore an omen. Never walk across the M1 with your eyes closed....Never kick a dog in the knackers when your hand's in its mouth


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