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Origin: Kerry Recruit (nonsense chorus)

DigiTrad:
KERRY RECRUIT


Related threads:
Lyr Req: Kerry Recruit / Congo Recruit (17)
Tune Add: Kerry Recruit (4)


Leeder 27 Feb 02 - 01:24 PM
MartinRyan 27 Feb 02 - 02:45 PM
MartinRyan 27 Feb 02 - 02:56 PM
MartinRyan 27 Feb 02 - 03:05 PM
breezy 27 Feb 02 - 04:25 PM
Leeder 28 Feb 02 - 01:51 PM
mack/misophist 01 Mar 02 - 10:51 AM
GUEST,Philippa 01 Mar 02 - 11:04 AM
Paddy Plastique 01 Mar 02 - 11:14 AM
GUEST,Philippa 04 Mar 02 - 07:22 PM
Teribus 05 Mar 02 - 11:11 AM
GUEST,^&* 01 Oct 10 - 12:25 PM
Jim Dixon 30 Oct 10 - 10:53 AM
Lighter 15 May 16 - 09:44 AM
Steve Gardham 15 May 16 - 02:28 PM
Steve Gardham 16 May 16 - 10:01 AM
Lighter 16 May 16 - 03:58 PM
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Subject: Kerry Recruit Chorus
From: Leeder
Date: 27 Feb 02 - 01:24 PM

The other night I sang "The Kerry Recruit" (a version based on The Dubliners' version) at a singers' circle. Someone asked me what the chorus meant, and I told her it was nonsense, possibly decayed Gaelic, more likely (since it's a stage-Irish song) nonsense meant to sound like Gaelic.

Then I started wondering: could the stage-Irish "Kerry Recruit" be based on an older traditional song (not much older, since it's about the Crimean War -- unless it's a reworking of an older song about a different war)? If so, is the "nonsense" chorus based on an actual, meaningful Gaelic chorus?

Does anyone know about this?


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Subject: RE: BS: Kerry Recruit Chorus
From: MartinRyan
Date: 27 Feb 02 - 02:45 PM

I know of no reason to think it's other than non-sense, and have never seen anything that looks like a predecessor. There are a few broadsheet versions in the Bodleian collection, including a nice one on a page with Arthur McBride.

Regards


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Subject: RE: BS: Kerry Recruit Chorus
From: MartinRyan
Date: 27 Feb 02 - 02:56 PM

In fact, none of the Bodleian broadside versions have a chorus - wonder when it got attached? Also, they include a quite different song to the air of "An Spailpín Fánach" and called "The Kerry Recruit or The Spalpeen Fawnagh" or similar. I've never heard it sung.

Regards


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Subject: RE: BS: Kerry Recruit Chorus
From: MartinRyan
Date: 27 Feb 02 - 03:05 PM

Still looking....

James N Healy in one of his books gives a chorus as:

With me Kerry-I-Oh-Whack fol di dol day
Kerr-i-Oh-Whack fol di dol day

He doesn't give a source - but was usually working from broadsheets. Which reminds me - not a ll the Bodleian ones are on-site at the moment so there may yet be a chorus among them.

Regards


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Subject: RE: BS: Kerry Recruit Chorus
From: breezy
Date: 27 Feb 02 - 04:25 PM

To which chorus are you referring please, is it
with me too ra man ya, with me too ra man ya, with me too ra man oora man oora man ya?
does not this reflect the underfoot ground conditions found on most farms? and on battlefields?


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Subject: RE: BS: Kerry Recruit Chorus
From: Leeder
Date: 28 Feb 02 - 01:51 PM

The "toorin man yah" chorus is the one I, and The Dubliners, use.

It gave Matt McGinn the base for a good parody.

Thanks, both.


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Subject: RE: BS: Kerry Recruit Chorus
From: mack/misophist
Date: 01 Mar 02 - 10:51 AM

Nonsense choruses are so common in Irish music they've been given a special name, the 'burden'.


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Subject: RE: BS: Kerry Recruit Chorus
From: GUEST,Philippa
Date: 01 Mar 02 - 11:04 AM

see also whack-fol-the-diddle
meaning - musha ring dum...
diddle-e-di
an Spailp~{(*~}n Fanach [is it just on the server/computer I'm using that the diacritical marks are turning the letters oriental?
< href=http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?ThreadID=23696>Whistling Gypsy
Wandering Spalpeen
(I'm sure Martin Ryan would be familiar with the songs called an Spailp~{(*~}n Fanach in these threads).


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Subject: RE: BS: Kerry Recruit Chorus
From: Paddy Plastique
Date: 01 Mar 02 - 11:14 AM

Nope, Philippa, yer diacriticals are oriental all over.
Lemme see 'An Spailpín Fánach', nach ea ?
Is it just because I've heard a Seamus Ennis (sung) version or does anyone else think the
'nonsense' bits sound a bit like pipes. I don't know if there were even separate Irish
regiments at the time of the Crimean War or whether the practice of playing the pipes
in front of those about to become cannon fodder had established itself at the time


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Subject: RE: BS: Kerry Recruit Chorus
From: GUEST,Philippa
Date: 04 Mar 02 - 07:22 PM

well today on a different machine I'm seeing an asterisk, round brackets (parentheses) and a squiggle ~
It's safest to use the numerical codes with ampersand; see the chart at http://www.bbsinc.com/symbol.html, see Mudcat discussion on fada
Yes,Paddy Plastique, the nonsense vocables could be related to the cantaireachd mnenomics for learning pipe tunes -- there's some discussion on same in some of the threads I gave links to earlier.


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Subject: RE: BS: Kerry Recruit Chorus
From: Teribus
Date: 05 Mar 02 - 11:11 AM

Hi Paddy Plastique,

"...the practice of playing the pipes in front of those about to become cannon fodder had established itself at the time." (Re Crimean War)

A wee snippet for you. During the Battle of Waterloo at one stage French artillery fire was so intense that Wellington ordered his troops to retire behind a small ridge. Marshall Ney was convinced they were retreating and ordered a massed cavalry attack. Wellington's Army formed squares as the only form of defence and the square formed by 79th (Cameron Highlanders)was formed with their piper marching round the outside of it. The cavalry charges were repeated and still he continued to play. The story that one of the guys kneeling down on the side of the square facing these charges shouted to piper MacKay on his third time round, "For fuck's sake Mackay play them something they like!!" has never been established - but the piper amazingly enough survioved the day and was presented with a set of silver pipes for his troubles.

The chorus I know for the Kerry Recruit comes from the Corries and is a bit simpler than those given above:

Kerry-I-a-ah-fal-dal-der-I-day.

There were certainly seperate Irish regiments during the Napoleonic Wars (Irish Fusiliers, Connaught Rangers, Irish Dragoon Guards and Enniskillen Dragoons, etc)

During the Napoleonic Wars around forty Scottish regiments were raised (Line regiments, militia, etc) but during the Crimean War there were only three Scottish regiments of foot. This prompted the question, "Where are the Highlanders?" and it was this that brought to general public notice what a devastating effect the Highland Clearances had had on the Highlands and Islands of Scotland. By the time of the Crimean War (mid-1800's?) the clearances had been going on for about 150 years.

Cheers,

Bill.


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Subject: RE: Origin: Kerry Recruit (nonsense chorus)
From: GUEST,^&*
Date: 01 Oct 10 - 12:25 PM

Click here for Roly Brown's aricle on the origins of this song, on the Musical Traditions website.


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE KERRY RECRUIT
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 30 Oct 10 - 10:53 AM

Here's the oldest version I can find with Google Books. Note that it does not have a nonsense refrain.

From Songs of Irish Wit and Humour by Alfred Perceval Graves (London: Chatto & Windus, 1884), page 161:


THE KERRY RECRUIT.

1. Just nine years ago and me diggin' some land,
Two brogues on my feet and a spade in my hand,
Says I to myself, "'Tis a pity to see
Such a dashing young blade diggin' turf in Tralee."

CHORUS; Wid my brogues so well greased and
My face 'twas so dirty.

2. So I butthered my brogues and shook hands wid my spade,
And I off to the fair, like a dashing young blade;
I there met a sergeant, who axed me to list.
"Arrah, sergeant," says I, "will ye tip me the fist."

3. He gave me a shillin', he said he'd no more;
When I'd get to Head Quarters I'd get half a score.
"Head Quarters," says I, "arrah, sergeant, good-bye;
I'm not going to be quartered—I'm in dread I might die."

4. "Arrah, Paddy, be aisy, why can't you abide;
Head Quarters is the place where we all do reside."
I soon found his meaning and went wid good grace
To take up my quarters in that royal place.

5. Then up comes the Captain, a man of great fame,
He axed me my county, I told him my name;
Then up wid my story and told him agin
That my father and mother were two Kerry men.

6. Then up comes the Colonel to give me his thanks,
He bade me take arms and fall into the ranks.
"Arrah, Colonel, achree, won't you lave me alone,
Don't you see that I've arms and legs of my own?"

7. The first thing they gave me it was a red coat,
Wid a great strap of leather to tie up my throat;
They gave me a quare thing, I axed 'em "What's that?"
And they told me it was a cockade for my hat.

8. The next thing they gave me it was a great gun,
Wid powder and trigger and on her my thumb;
An' first she spit fire and then she spit smoke,
Wid a noise then like thunder my shoulder she broke.

9. The first place they sent me was ever so far
In a quare thing they said was the King's Man o' War;
Three sticks in the middle, and on her a sheet,
And she walked on the water widout any feet.

10. We fought many battles wid pretty good luck
At Vinegar Hill and at Ballinamuck,
The balls and the powder they all were so hot
I sneaked round behind them in dread of bein' shot.

11. Now war is all over and peace is come in,
I'm paid all my wages, and God save the King!
I'm nine years in glory, and glad it's not ten,
And now I am back diggin' praties agin.

CHORUS: Wid my brogues so well greased and
My face just as dirty.


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Subject: RE: Origin: Kerry Recruit (nonsense chorus)
From: Lighter
Date: 15 May 16 - 09:44 AM

Albert Tracy (1818-1893), an American who grew up in Canada, noted the following stanza in his journal in the Black Hills in 1860. He recalled it from his "'prentice days," presumably about 1830-35:


O, I kicked off my brogues, and shook hands with my spade,
And off to the fair, like a dashing young blade;
I met with the Sergeant, he asked me to 'list,
With yer grammachree, cushmalee – lend us yer fist.
        'Mush-a-too, mush-a-too,' etc.

The next line was "The first thing they gave me, it was a long gun." That was all he could remember.


Irish speakers: What, if anything, might "grammachree, cushmalee" mean?


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Subject: RE: Origin: Kerry Recruit (nonsense chorus)
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 15 May 16 - 02:28 PM

The Crimea version is a remake of a much earlier version, late 18thc. The song was in print on broadsides throughout the 19thc. The fact that the above version (Graves) even though it was printed late in the century refers twice to the King it must predate Victoria's reign.


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Subject: RE: Origin: Kerry Recruit (nonsense chorus)
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 16 May 16 - 10:01 AM

Hi Jon,
Many thanks for the Morren copy. Whereabouts on the NLS site did you find it?


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Subject: RE: Origin: Kerry Recruit (nonsense chorus)
From: Lighter
Date: 16 May 16 - 03:58 PM

Steve, all I did was Google for "gave me it was a long gun."

This Mudcat thread includes some relevant material, including an 1802 version in which the recruit is a marine:

http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=86890

ECCO dates the "marine" piece to "ca1795." The broadsheet title is "The Irish Blunder; or, Paddy's Lamentation." That text is virtually word-for-word identical to the one given on the thread mentioned.


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