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Origins: the sick note/ murphy and the bricks

DigiTrad:
WHY PADDY'S NOT AT WORK TODAY (Excuse Note)


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GUEST,Pat Cooksey. 11 May 02 - 08:16 AM
Susanne (skw) 11 May 02 - 08:33 AM
Jon Freeman 11 May 02 - 08:48 AM
Paul from Hull 11 May 02 - 08:48 AM
GUEST,Martin Ryan 11 May 02 - 09:09 AM
Malcolm Douglas 11 May 02 - 09:22 AM
Abby Sale 11 May 02 - 10:31 AM
Celtic Soul 11 May 02 - 11:21 AM
GUEST,Pat Cooksey. Germany. 11 May 02 - 11:54 AM
Mr Red 11 May 02 - 12:41 PM
GUEST,dave4guild 11 May 02 - 01:04 PM
C-flat 11 May 02 - 01:07 PM
Herga Kitty 11 May 02 - 01:51 PM
Uncle_DaveO 11 May 02 - 03:01 PM
michaelr 11 May 02 - 03:15 PM
Noreen 11 May 02 - 03:21 PM
GUEST,Hannes. Germany. 11 May 02 - 06:00 PM
paddymac 12 May 02 - 03:51 AM
C-flat 12 May 02 - 04:43 AM
GUEST,Harold Evers. 12 May 02 - 07:58 AM
GUEST,Gerard. 12 May 02 - 12:49 PM
Herga Kitty 12 May 02 - 02:05 PM
GUEST,Pat Cooksey. Germany. 12 May 02 - 03:44 PM
Herga Kitty 12 May 02 - 05:12 PM
Seamus Kennedy 13 May 02 - 01:55 AM
Jon Freeman 13 May 02 - 02:44 AM
GUEST,macca 13 May 02 - 03:06 AM
GUEST,Pat Cooksey, Nuremberg, Germany. 13 May 02 - 04:31 AM
Jon Freeman 13 May 02 - 05:28 AM
Mr Red 13 May 02 - 05:39 AM
GUEST,Donal. 13 May 02 - 06:41 AM
GUEST,Geoff hart. 13 May 02 - 07:46 AM
GUEST,Pat cooksey. Germany. 13 May 02 - 06:10 PM
Seamus Kennedy 14 May 02 - 02:10 AM
GUEST 15 May 02 - 06:14 PM
Joe Offer 15 May 02 - 06:54 PM
GUEST,Pat Cooksey, Germany. 16 May 02 - 06:01 AM
Noreen 16 May 02 - 09:02 AM
GUEST,Pat cooksey, Germany. 16 May 02 - 12:08 PM
Jon Freeman 16 May 02 - 12:37 PM
DADGBE 16 May 02 - 01:19 PM
GUEST,Genevieve 16 May 02 - 01:38 PM
waterdragon 16 May 02 - 04:46 PM
GUEST,Al Boyce 16 May 02 - 06:12 PM
GUEST,Pat cooksey. Germany. 16 May 02 - 06:59 PM
paddymac 16 May 02 - 10:25 PM
michaelr 17 May 02 - 01:40 AM
GUEST,Pat Cooksey, Germany. 17 May 02 - 06:33 AM
GUEST,Pat Cooksey, Germany. 17 May 02 - 06:43 AM
Malcolm Douglas 17 May 02 - 06:45 AM
GUEST,Pat Cooksey, Germany. 17 May 02 - 10:53 AM
Jon Freeman 17 May 02 - 11:29 AM
GUEST,Ernie (passing by) 17 May 02 - 11:46 AM
Joe Offer 17 May 02 - 11:52 AM
GUEST,Pat Cooksey, Germany. 17 May 02 - 07:42 PM
Pat Cooksey 18 May 02 - 05:59 AM
Ebbie 18 May 02 - 12:55 PM
GUEST,Pat cooksey, nuremberg. 18 May 02 - 02:18 PM
katlaughing 18 May 02 - 11:06 PM
GUEST,Patsy. 19 May 02 - 02:23 AM
brioc 19 May 02 - 03:46 AM
GUEST,Pat. 19 May 02 - 05:08 AM
Bob Bolton 19 May 02 - 06:06 AM
GUEST,Gerry. 19 May 02 - 08:46 AM
GUEST,Gerry. 19 May 02 - 08:48 AM
katlaughing 19 May 02 - 10:51 AM
GUEST,jenny. Devon. 20 May 02 - 03:07 PM
GUEST,Pat cooksey. Germany. 20 May 02 - 03:59 PM
GUEST,Pat Cooksey, Germany. 20 May 02 - 04:13 PM
GUEST,Pat cooksey. Germany. 21 May 02 - 08:09 AM
GUEST,Jed. 22 May 02 - 04:57 AM
GUEST,NSC George Henderson 05 Sep 02 - 05:30 AM
Sandy Mc Lean 28 Feb 03 - 04:09 PM
pict 28 Feb 03 - 05:28 PM
GUEST,sorefingers 28 Feb 03 - 05:45 PM
David Ingerson 28 Feb 03 - 06:55 PM
alanabit 28 Feb 03 - 07:00 PM
GUEST,Pat Cooksey. 28 Feb 03 - 08:47 PM
GUEST,Pat Cooksey. 01 Mar 03 - 04:50 AM
Gurney 01 Mar 03 - 05:40 AM
Ralphie 01 Mar 03 - 08:11 AM
boglion 02 Mar 03 - 06:51 PM
GUEST,Michael 26 Jun 04 - 01:59 AM
GUEST,Michael 26 Jun 04 - 02:08 AM
Herga Kitty 26 Jun 04 - 02:19 PM
Pat Cooksey 27 Jun 04 - 07:48 AM
Clinton Hammond 27 Jun 04 - 10:36 AM
s&r 28 Jun 04 - 04:31 AM
s&r 28 Jun 04 - 04:38 AM
Clinton Hammond 28 Jun 04 - 09:59 AM
Sandy Mc Lean 29 Jun 04 - 12:50 AM
Mark Cohen 22 Oct 04 - 04:38 AM
GUEST,John Dowd. 22 Oct 04 - 07:59 PM
JennyO 22 Oct 04 - 11:15 PM
GUEST 23 Oct 04 - 06:10 AM
Ragman 23 Oct 04 - 04:13 PM
GUEST,Ian Sinclair, Gasgow. 23 Oct 04 - 08:25 PM
GUEST,Anne Croucher 24 Oct 04 - 10:48 AM
Leadfingers 24 Oct 04 - 02:01 PM
Leadfingers 24 Oct 04 - 02:02 PM
Gurney 25 Oct 04 - 05:57 AM
GUEST,Eamon Reid. 25 Oct 04 - 08:42 PM
Jim Dixon 22 Sep 11 - 08:34 AM
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Subject: Origins: the sick note/ murphy and the bricks.
From: GUEST,Pat Cooksey.
Date: 11 May 02 - 08:16 AM

Over a long number of years there has been much speculation concerning this song. I wrote this song under it's original title Paddy and the Barrell in 1969, and first performed it in The Dyers Arms in Coventry at this time, and in 1972 Sean Cannon, later to become a member of the Dubliners began to perform it in the folk clubs under the title The Sick Note. The song was based on Gerard Hoffnung's wonderful address to the Oxford Union, but the story in a more simple form dates back to the English music halls in the 1920's and appeared in the Readers Digest in 1937. I personally gave the words of this song to Noel Murphy in a night club in Coventry in the early seventies and his only contribution to this song was to change the title to Murphy and the Bricks, and when this song was recorded Noel Murphy was obliged to remove his name from the writers credits, I still have a letter from Misty River Music to this effect. The song under more than 20 alternative titles has since been recorded more than 100 times worldwide, and in every version the words are identical. This song under all alternative titles has always been the exclusive copywright of myself, Pat Cooksey, and is registered with The Performing Rights Society in London. This includes Dear Boss by The Clancy brothers, The Bricklayers Song by The Corries and Ray Stevens, The Sick Note by The Dubliners, etc,etc, and also Murphy and the Bricks. No other artist had any input into this song nor is any claim for arrangement valid. Pat Cooksey, Nuremberg, Germany.

Click for lyrics in the Digital Tradition


The Digital Tradition attributes the song to Pat Cooksey.
-Joe Offer, October 2002-


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Subject: RE: the sick note/ murphy and the bricks.
From: Susanne (skw)
Date: 11 May 02 - 08:33 AM

Pat, thank you for your statement, and welcome to the Mudcat. Hope you'll stay around! It's a great song, and - not having heard your own version - I think Noel Murphy does it best of the ten or so versions I've heard.


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Subject: RE: the sick note/ murphy and the bricks.
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 11 May 02 - 08:48 AM

Have you any more details on the music hall songs and the Readers Digest article. I had been under the impression that Hoffnung had got the idea from an article in a newspaper - Mancheter Guardian???

Love the song BTW.

Jon


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Subject: RE: the sick note/ murphy and the bricks.
From: Paul from Hull
Date: 11 May 02 - 08:48 AM

Well, from one who has been known to sing it (though I'll NEVER be competent enough as a Singer to record it - or anything else!) I say a big 'thanks', Pat, for a great song!

& yes, please stick around!


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Subject: RE: the sick note/ murphy and the bricks.
From: GUEST,Martin Ryan
Date: 11 May 02 - 09:09 AM

There's a song called "When Paddy Stole the Rope" which has some of the same ides - that may be the musichall one in question

Regards

p.s. Pat - been back to Ennis lately? Plenty of singing there still.


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Subject: RE: the sick note/ murphy and the bricks.
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 11 May 02 - 09:22 AM

See this earlier discussion for  How Paddy Stole The Rope.  There are also links to a broadside example at the Bodleian and to sheet music of 1885, credited to Fred Albert and Frank Egerton, at the Library of Congress.


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Subject: RE: the sick note/ murphy and the bricks.
From: Abby Sale
Date: 11 May 02 - 10:31 AM

Pat: Thank you for your post and setting the record straight of it. This is one of the few great classic modern songs that have certainly gone into tradition. (No dis. to your copyright.)

The other remarkable thing about the song is that it it one of the most-titled songs in the world. You mention: Paddy and the Barrell (original), The Sick Note, Murphy and the Bricks, Dear Boss, The Bricklayers Song. I also have: The Sick Letter; The Barrel Song; Why Paddy's Not at Work Today; Why Yassir's Not at Work Today; The Excuse Note; Paddy's Excuse; A letter from a bricklayer in Golders Green to the firm for whom he worked; Bricklayer's Accident Report

Any more? You mention some knowledge of over 20 titles-- perhaps some others can list a few.

=============

Then we have the following item which you may wish to verify:

On 9th February 1996, Pat Cooksey ...introduced it as follows: Quote, I wrote this song back in 1969 for a friend of mine, Sean Cannon, who was working on a building site and Sean was getting a bit of a name for himself as a singer... When we arrived at the club we did not realise that Neil Armstrong had chosen that precise moment to take his first steps on the moon and nobody turned up at the club at all. Sean did not sing this song that night but has sung it many, many times since.

===============================

Last (and, again, just for the nitpicking of it to better understand this great song) Sam Hinton writes that "It was generally cited as an actual letter that had been received by some government agency, and I remember reading it somewhere around 1937. In 1940 it appeared in READER'S DIGEST as an actual letter supposed to have been received by a naval officer from an enlisted man who was explaining why he had overstayed his leave;. this story had the victim working on a silo on his parents' farm."

Sam then credits both you and Hoffnung for reducing the story to its essential brilliance. I agree. It even goes over in Orlando, Florida and little else I sing does.


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Subject: RE: the sick note/ murphy and the bricks.
From: Celtic Soul
Date: 11 May 02 - 11:21 AM

Regardless of history, this one has got to be the funniest folk song I know. Thanks for writing it!!


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Subject: Origins: the sick note/ murphy and the bricks.
From: GUEST,Pat Cooksey. Germany.
Date: 11 May 02 - 11:54 AM

Forgot to mention my new website is under construction at the moment, my biography is available at www.patcooksey.com This gives a bit more information about the early days of the song.
The letter in the readers digest was indeed from a naval officer telling a similar story, I don't have the music hall details to hand but I have seen it mentioned as far back as 1917.
The song PADDY STOLE THE ROPE is not the same song as mine, but tells of similar misfortune.
The quote from me in 1996 is correct, but it was me who tried to compete with Neil Armstrong in the Skillet Pot folk club in Birmingham.
When my website is complete all other known titles will be listed, I cannot remember them all at the moment, but some others are Paddys Lamentation, The Excuse Letter, Paddy and the Rope, Paddy and the Bricks, Brendan and the Bricks, and Paddys Calamity, there are also two versions in German as the Dubliners have made the song very famous here, in my own concerts in Germany the audiences love the song although they must know it backwards by now.
I hope finally to visit the U.S.A. later in the year and sing the song myself.


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Subject: RE: the sick note/ murphy and the bricks.
From: Mr Red
Date: 11 May 02 - 12:41 PM

Thanks for correcting my misconception. I was told Noel Murphy was the "composer" though I arrived at it in full knowledge of the "Debate at the Oxford Union" LP too.
I would love to know what inspired Gerrad Hoffnung too.


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Subject: RE: the sick note/ murphy and the bricks.
From: GUEST,dave4guild
Date: 11 May 02 - 01:04 PM

It was great to hear from Pat Cooksey after a gap of some years.I used to play in the Dyer's Arms in the 70's with Pat and lots of other musicians including Sean Cannon and The Furies and know that Pat has written lots of other songs, all of them excellent, many of them very funny. We had a re-union of the Dyer's Crowd in Coventry in March, where the music & ale flowed,just like old times! All my best wishes to them and the folks at Upton, particularly in the Muggery. Dave Bennett


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Subject: RE: the sick note/ murphy and the bricks.
From: C-flat
Date: 11 May 02 - 01:07 PM

Can anyone tell me where I can hear "the sick note"? I'm familiar with the lyrics but not the tune.


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Subject: RE: the sick note/ murphy and the bricks.
From: Herga Kitty
Date: 11 May 02 - 01:51 PM

Packie Byrne sang it at the (English) National Folk Festival last month, to a very appreciative audience.

Kitty


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Subject: RE: the sick note/ murphy and the bricks.
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 11 May 02 - 03:01 PM

The Sick Note is in the DT, and the tune is there too.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: the sick note/ murphy and the bricks.
From: michaelr
Date: 11 May 02 - 03:15 PM

Wow - it's great to hear from the author of this very funny song, which I have been singing every St Patrick's Day for years!

I first heard it on the Shanachie video "Kevin Burke & Michael O'Domhnaill In Concert", where it's listed as "Barrel of Bricks".

Thanks, Pat, for contributing to this forum. I've always had you listed as the author.

Cheers,
Michael


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Subject: RE: the sick note/ murphy and the bricks.
From: Noreen
Date: 11 May 02 - 03:21 PM

C-flat, go to the version of the lyrics in the DT: WHY PADDY'S NOT AT WORK TODAY (Excuse Note) (Pat Cooksey) and at the bottom you will find click to play.


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Subject: RE: the sick note/ murphy and the bricks.
From: GUEST,Hannes. Germany.
Date: 11 May 02 - 06:00 PM

The dubliners made this song popular in Germany and I heard them sing it first in Munich nearly twenty years ago, they always credit pat as the writer.Pat Cooksey is very popular in my region and I saw him play two years ago at the Bardentreffen in Nurnberg with Sean Cannon in front of many thousands of people, it was one of the best concerts I ever heard, Pats a great singer and songwriter.


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Subject: RE: the sick note/ murphy and the bricks.
From: paddymac
Date: 12 May 02 - 03:51 AM

I have found this song to be a fun audience participation number. I get the audience clapping to establish a tempo, and then do it a capella. Just getting the tempo going can be fun, and funny. Our crowds always seem to enjoy it. During a benefit show last summer, I got the crowd to tap quarters on the table instead of clapping, then "passed the plate" to pick up the quarters. I try to pick a time when there are several folks who are neither sober nor drunk, but in that fun place inbetween, and I always dedicate it to "everyone who has ever had to earn their living by the sweat of their brow."

Thanks, Pat, for a great contribution to the betterment of liffe.


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Subject: RE: the sick note/ murphy and the bricks.
From: C-flat
Date: 12 May 02 - 04:43 AM

Thankyou Noreen!


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Subject: RE: the sick note/ murphy and the bricks.
From: GUEST,Harold Evers.
Date: 12 May 02 - 07:58 AM

Gerard Hoffnung's Oxford Union address was based on an article from the Manchester Guardian, the story was told by an American naval officer to his crew as an example of one of his men returning late from leave. This story in turn was taken from the Readers Digest in 1940, in 1937 Laurel and Hardy used the idea in the film Way out West. The story with illustration appeared in an English joke book dated 1918, and was known in the english music halls from this time. Pat Cooksey's song Paddy and the barrell, the Sick Note, etc, dates from 1969, and is known worldwide, under all recorded titles I have heard the words are Cooksey's original, based on this old story, but introducing the Irish element, a superb example of songwriting. Stan Laurel appeared in the english music halls before emigrating to America, perhaps this is where the sketch began.


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Subject: RE: the sick note/ murphy and the bricks.
From: GUEST,Gerard.
Date: 12 May 02 - 12:49 PM

Pat sang this song regularly when he lived in Dunmore East in Waterford, great to hear he's still around. His Rally Song is still popular here.


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Subject: RE: the sick note/ murphy and the bricks.
From: Herga Kitty
Date: 12 May 02 - 02:05 PM

We've just had an excerpt from the Hoffnung rendition on BBC Radio 4's Pick of the Week - it seems there was an appreciation of the Tales of Gerard Hoffnung on Radio 3 last Monday night. Harry Enfield was saying that he didn't think the Barrel of Bricks was very funny when he first heard it, but Hoffnung grew on him later.


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Subject: RE: the sick note/ murphy and the bricks.
From: GUEST,Pat Cooksey. Germany.
Date: 12 May 02 - 03:44 PM

Thanks from you all, it's amazing how far a simple song can travel.


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Subject: RE: the sick note/ murphy and the bricks.
From: Herga Kitty
Date: 12 May 02 - 05:12 PM

Simple song?????


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Subject: RE: the sick note/ murphy and the bricks.
From: Seamus Kennedy
Date: 13 May 02 - 01:55 AM

Pat, great song, which I have recorded with full attribution to yourself. Please e-mail me at gransharecords@excite.com to discuss royalties.

Yours gratefully,

Seamus Kennedy


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Subject: RE: the sick note/ murphy and the bricks.
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 13 May 02 - 02:44 AM

I was wondering about "simple song" too... The song has gone horribly wrong on me on the odd occassion and poor old Paddy's been left stranded in mid air...

Jon


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Subject: RE: the sick note/ murphy and the bricks.
From: GUEST,macca
Date: 13 May 02 - 03:06 AM

At the same Oxford Union dinner, Hoffnung related a terrific tale about the answers to enquiries regarding holidays in the Dolomites. I recall the "... regret that I cannot abide your auto.." and "... a French widow in every room". How about it.... has anybody ever tried to work those into a song? And if so, where is it?


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Subject: RE: the sick note/ murphy and the bricks.
From: GUEST,Pat Cooksey, Nuremberg, Germany.
Date: 13 May 02 - 04:31 AM

Seamus Kennedy. Thanks for your note, will be in touch. As I was unaware of the titles under which my song has been recorded untill recently these titles were not registered with ASCAP in the U.S.A. they are now. You at least credited me as the writer, unlike the numerous other American, and American based artists who did not, thanks again.

To Jon Freeman. Five years ago I was invited on stage in the Meistersingerhalle, in Nuremberg, by the Dubliners to sing the song in duet with Sean Cannon, as I could't hear my monitor I had no idea which verses Sean was singing, and Paddy met the barrell many more times than usual, it was probably the longest version of The Sick Note ever heard, you are not alone.


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Subject: RE: the sick note/ murphy and the bricks.
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 13 May 02 - 05:28 AM

Thanks Pat! I'm just a mere floor singer and a very occasional one at that (instrumental sessions are my first love) but your song has been one of my "party pieces" for I don't know how long. It's pleasing to know that even the author can get it wrong (with mitigating circumstances).

Jon


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Subject: RE: the sick note/ murphy and the bricks.
From: Mr Red
Date: 13 May 02 - 05:39 AM

Pat - did you have a sick note for getting it wrong? -
Barrel of laughs couldn't be more appropriate!
I suspect even the genesis of the story is "experience" and many of them, by more than one person and more than one decade!


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Subject: RE: the sick note/ murphy and the bricks.
From: GUEST,Donal.
Date: 13 May 02 - 06:41 AM

Have heard many versions of this song and it seems Noel Murphy's only contribution was to replace the name PADDY with MURPHY. As far as I know Noel Murphy has never mentioned that he got the song from the writer Pat Cooksey although those of us still around from the Rocky Road folk club in Coventry know this to be the case.


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Subject: RE: the sick note/ murphy and the bricks.
From: GUEST,Geoff hart.
Date: 13 May 02 - 07:46 AM

The Clancy Brothers also recorded this with Robbie O'Connell titled DEAR BOSS.


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Subject: RE: the sick note/ murphy and the bricks.
From: GUEST,Pat cooksey. Germany.
Date: 13 May 02 - 06:10 PM

Dave Bennett, Coventry.

Nice to hear from you Dave, greetings from Innsbruck, in Austria, just finished a concert, the beer is also flowing here, best wishes to all my friends in Coventry. Hope to see you all in June, if you see Eddie Mac, say hello from me.


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Subject: RE: the sick note/ murphy and the bricks.
From: Seamus Kennedy
Date: 14 May 02 - 02:10 AM

Pat, I got the song from Robbie O' Connell as Dear Boss, and he gave me your name, and until now, efforts to track you down were fruitless. Thanks for getting in touch here on the Mudcat, and I look forward to hearing from you privately.

Seamus


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Subject: DEAR BOSS,BRICKLAYERS SONG,WRITER.
From: GUEST
Date: 15 May 02 - 06:14 PM

To those of you particularly in the U.S.A. who do not recognise the original titles of this song, or those who have recorded or performed it under any of it's alternative titles. The original title of the song is Paddy and the Barrell or The Sick Note, composed by me in 1969 in Coventry. No other writer or artist had any part in the writing of this song and the song under all known titles is the exclusive copywright of Pat Cooksey. This song has been registered with the Performing Rights Society in London for nearly 30 years. Although I always give credit to Gerard Hoffnung as my inspiration the story dates back to the English music halls, and appeared in several joke books and other publications long before Hoffnung's version in 1958, Gerard Hoffnung credits the Manchester Guardian as his source. There are worldwide more than 100 recordings of my song under various titles, more details can be found on my biography at www.patcooksey.com Any further licencing requests should be addressed to me at cooksey.welle@gmx.net Best wishes and thanks to those who responded to the previous thread.
(transferred from another thread)


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Subject: ADD: Bricklayer's Story / Sick Note (originals)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 15 May 02 - 06:54 PM

Hi, Pat - You'll note that the song is attributed to you in the Digital Tradition. I'll make sure links to a copy of your message get posted in other threads on the song, but there's probably no need to start threads for each of the titles of the song. Most people use our Digitrad and Forum Search and our Forum Search to find songs.
-Joe Offer-

Here are the lyrics from Pat Cooksey's Website:

THE SICK NOTE

It is generally assumed that I based this song on Gerard Hoffnung's wonderful address to THE OXFORD UNION in 1958. This is not correct. The recitation in a more simple form dates back to the English Music Hall's of the 1920's and was printed in the Readers Digest in 1937 in the form of a story. The fine Scottish singer and songwriter Dick Gaughan details some of the above on his Homepage together with comments by Sam Hinton. The song is unique in as much as it appears under such a galaxy of titles but is always the same song. Its worldwide popularity, with over 100 recordings to date, is indeed a wonder to me when I think back to it's humble beginnings in The Dyer's Arms, in Coventry. I am naturally delighted that so many wonderful artists have recorded and performed my song over the years and I am proud that the song has given so much pleasure to so many people. Long may it continue to do so. Below you will find the original text of THE SICK NOTE.

Dear Sir I write this note to you to tell you of my plight
For at the time of writing I am not a pretty sight
My body is all black and blue, my face a deathly grey
And I write this note to say why Paddy's not at work today.

Whilst working on the fourteenth floor,some bricks I had to clear
To throw them down from such a height was not a good idea
The foreman wasn't very pleased, the bloody awkward sod
He said I had to cart them down the ladders in my hod.

Now clearing all these bricks by hand, it was so very slow
So I hoisted up a barrel and secured the rope below
But in my haste to do the job, I was too blind to see
That a barrel full of building bricks was heavier than me.

And so when I untied the rope, the barrel fell like lead
And clinging tightly to the rope I started up instead
I shot up like a rocket till to my dismay I found
That half way up I met the bloody barrel coming down.

Well the barrel broke my shoulder, as to the ground it sped
And when I reached the top I banged the pulley with my head
I clung on tightly, numb with shock, from this almighty blow
And the barrel spilled out half the bricks, fourteen floors below.

Now when these bricks had fallen from the barrel to the floor
I then outweighed the barrel and so started down once more
Still clinging tightly to the rope, my body racked with pain
When half way down, I met the bloody barrel once again.

The force of this collision, half way up the office block
Caused multiple abrasions and a nasty state of shock
Still clinging tightly to the rope I fell towards the ground
And I landed on the broken bricks the barrel scattered round.

I lay there groaning on the ground I thought I'd passed the worst
But the barrel hit the pulley wheel, and then the bottom burst
A shower of bricks rained down on me, I hadn't got a hope
As I lay there bleeding on the ground, I let go the bloody rope.

The barrel then being heavier then started down once more
And landed right across me as I lay upon the floor
It broke three ribs, and my left arm, and I can only say
That I hope you'll understand why Paddy's not at work today.


The song is sung to the tune of THE GARDEN WHERE THE PRATIES GROW.

Alternative Titles:

WHY PADDY'S NOT AT WORK TODAY
THE BRICKLAYERS SONG
DEAR BOSS
PADDY AND THE BARRELL
MURPHY AND THE BRICKS


Copyright Notice. Please read.

The above song under all alternative titles has always been and remains the sole copyright of the original writer, PAT COOKSEY. The song was composed and first performed by me in Coventry in 1969 and is registered with THE PERFORMING RIGHTS SOCIETY in London under it's orginal title THE SICK NOTE and all the above alternative titles. No other Artist or Writer had any part in the writing of this song nor may any claim be made for arrangement, the song under all the above titles is performed in it's original form, only the Title has been changed.



http://monologues.co.uk has what appears to be the monologue from Gerard Hoffnung

THE BRICKLAYER'S STORY
by Gerard Hoffnung
I've got this thing here that I must read to you.
Now, this is a very tragic thing... I shouldn't, really, read it out.
A striking lesson in keeping the upper lip stiff is given in a recent number of the weekly bulletin of 'The Federation of Civil Engineering Contractors' that prints the following letter from a bricklayer in Golders Green to the firm for whom he works
.

Respected sir,

when I got to the top of the building, I found that the hurricane had knocked down some bricks off the top. So I rigged up a beam, with a pulley, at the top of the building and hoisted up a couple of barrels of bricks.
When I had fixed the building, there was a lot of bricks left over.
I hoisted the barrel back up again and secured the line at the bottom and then went up and filled the barrel with the extra bricks.
Then, I went to the bottom and cast off the rope.
Unfortunately, the barrel of bricks was heavier than I was and before I knew what was happening, the barrel started down, jerking me off the ground.
I decided to hang on!
Halfway up, I met the barrel coming down... and received a severe blow on the shoulder.
I then continued to the top, banging my head against the beam and getting my fingers jammed in the pulley!
When the barrel hit the ground, it burst it's bottom... allowing all the bricks to spill out.
I was now heavier than the barrel and so started down again at high speed!
Halfway down... I met the barrel coming up and received severe injury to my shins!
When I hit the ground... I landed on the bricks, getting several painful cuts from the sharp edges!
At this point... I must have lost my presence of mind... because I let go of the line!
The barrel then came down... giving me a very heavy blow and putting me in hospital!

I respectfully request 'sick leave'.


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Subject: RE: the sick note/ murphy and the bricks.
From: GUEST,Pat Cooksey, Germany.
Date: 16 May 02 - 06:01 AM

To Joe offer. Thanks for your note, sorry but I'm a late starter in the world of technology and only recently got a computer, I started the new thread because most people in the U.S.A. do not recognise the original titles of this song, I have details of many recordings from the US where the credits state TRADITIONAL, or PUBLIC DOMAIN, or ARRANGED BY, etc. The reason I started the original thread was that I recently regained the publishing rights of this song after years of mismanagement and fraud by the original publisher, and before I re-assign the song I need to have as much information as possible regarding it's use. I was recomended to try your site and have found it a super source, congratulations, I will be sending a donation. In answer to your question, yes I am Irish, I live in Germany at the moment because I tour here and other parts of Europe regularly, and my songs are also well known here. I also go home to play a couple of times a year. Best wishes and thanks again for Mudcat.


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Subject: RE: the sick note/ murphy and the bricks.
From: Noreen
Date: 16 May 02 - 09:02 AM

Verry interresting, Pat- I see from the DT that Celtic Music held the copyright. I am sure that many people here would like to know how you regained the publishing rights of this song after years of mismanagement and fraud by the original publisher (you may have seen the threads running here about Mr Bulmer and Celtic Music? Click here for the latest.

Regards,

Noreen


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Subject: RE: the sick note/ murphy and the bricks.
From: GUEST,Pat cooksey, Germany.
Date: 16 May 02 - 12:08 PM

I have read the threads you directed me to, thanks. Legal action is the only way to deal with these matters, this is the course I have taken. Having said that I would like this site to remain on the topic of my song, although naturally I would like to see justice done with regard to fellow musicians. I will post further details soon.

Best wishes, Pat.


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Subject: RE: the sick note/ murphy and the bricks.
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 16 May 02 - 12:37 PM

Well Pat, if you are looking for "as much information as possible", I would suggest you consider posting to the rec.music.celtic and rec.music.folk newsgroups as well as here. As you might expect, there is some crossover of people between these newsgroups and between Mudcat but each has it's own readership too.

Jon


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Subject: RE: the sick note/ murphy and the bricks.
From: DADGBE
Date: 16 May 02 - 01:19 PM

Hi Pat. I hope that your travels in the US will take you to northern California. An evening of your songs must be a delight. Thanks for writing one (possibly more?) of the great modern songs now in the tradition.


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Subject: RE: the sick note/ murphy and the bricks.
From: GUEST,Genevieve
Date: 16 May 02 - 01:38 PM

Good lord! Pat Cooksey! I remember you at the Dyers. I used to drop in there for a drink and a song years ago. Bet it's all tarted up now. Anyone else go there?


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Subject: RE: the sick note/ murphy and the bricks.
From: waterdragon
Date: 16 May 02 - 04:46 PM

Is this the same Pat Cooksey who teamed up with Brian Patten,Fiddle player.I too visited the Dyers along with mates from Leeds including Dave Priestley and his brother Graham.I think Finbar and Eddie Furey also used to live around there at the time.This must be nearer thirty than twenty years ago!


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Subject: RE: the sick note/ murphy and the bricks.
From: GUEST,Al Boyce
Date: 16 May 02 - 06:12 PM

Thanks for the song Pat - I've sung it for years around campfires and gatherings in my travels in the US.

I've also seen the tune assigned to The Sick Note as being "Traditional: Down Where the Praties Grow". I'm not familiar with that tune, but is that indeed the inspiration for the music?

- Al


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Subject: RE: the sick note/ murphy and the bricks.
From: GUEST,Pat cooksey. Germany.
Date: 16 May 02 - 06:59 PM

I have just returned from a cultural reception to celebrate the 10000 years of the city of Erlangen,in Bavaria, I sang a few songs and the champaigne flowed like water. I was amazed to hear of the cultural links between this city and Ireland, and the Burgermeister, Lord Mayor, Of the city of Erlangen, joined me in a rendition of the Sick Note. Yes indeed, I am the same Pat Cooksey who played with Brian Patten, a fiddler supreme, if you are still around Brian I salute you. Graham and Dave Priestley were, and I hope still are great friends of mine, although if I remember correctly I still owe Dave 40 pounds, I have't forgotten Dave. I hope to be in the U.S.A. in October, and if it can be arranged I would love to sing The Sick Note and many others for you. I thank you all. Love and best wishes, Pat.


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Subject: RE: the sick note/ murphy and the bricks.
From: paddymac
Date: 16 May 02 - 10:25 PM

Pat Cooksey - any chance you might include Florida on your itinery ? I'd be happy to help arrange some gigs for you. I suggest that you establish a membership here at the mudcat. It doesn't cost anything, and your "details" are secure. Just click on "membership" at the top of the page and follow the steps. Easy. Then, send me a PM (personal message) [a benefit of membership] and we can talk about your plans in more detail. I offer an anticipatory "Welcome to the family!"


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Subject: RE: the sick note/ murphy and the bricks.
From: michaelr
Date: 17 May 02 - 01:40 AM

Mr Cooksey - or may we call you Pat? I second paddymac's and DADGBE's posts and hope you will a) become a member here and b) come play in Northern California. I can hook you up with two promoters in the area if you so desire. As paddymac said, just get yer cookie and send me a message!

I would also invite you to chime in on the "Celtic Music/Dave Bulmer" thread. A number of people there would be interested to hear more.

Cheers,

Michael


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Subject: RE: the sick note/ murphy and the bricks.
From: GUEST,Pat Cooksey, Germany.
Date: 17 May 02 - 06:33 AM

Paddymac. I am trying to join mudcat, what's with the password, everything I put in comes up already taken, help. My e.mail no, and website no is already on this thread. regards Pat.


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Subject: RE: the sick note/ murphy and the bricks.
From: GUEST,Pat Cooksey, Germany.
Date: 17 May 02 - 06:43 AM

Paddymac. I am trying to join mudcat, what's with the password, everything I put in comes up already taken, help. My e.mail no, and website no is already on this thread. regards Pat.


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Subject: RE: the sick note/ murphy and the bricks.
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 17 May 02 - 06:45 AM

If you're having trouble of that sort, you want the Mudcat Help & Trouble Forum; describe your problem and they'll sort it for you.


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Subject: RE: the sick note/ murphy and the bricks.
From: GUEST,Pat Cooksey, Germany.
Date: 17 May 02 - 10:53 AM

What kind of password do I need to join Mudcat,can't I just use my own name. Off to do a sound check, Cheers Pat.


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Subject: RE: the sick note/ murphy and the bricks.
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 17 May 02 - 11:29 AM

Pat, Maclolm Douglass suggested the help forum. That is the place for this sort of query. That said.

1. I see there is already a member Pat Cooksey and it looks fairly new to me. I suspect you succeded in creating your membership but have problems with cookies. Further attempts to join under the name Pat Cooksey will provide duplicate errors.

2. Unless things have changed, there has often been confusion between the terms used on the membership system. One I remember was it could tell you your "code name" was taken - code name referred to your user name not your password.

Jon


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Subject: RE: the sick note/ murphy and the bricks.
From: GUEST,Ernie (passing by)
Date: 17 May 02 - 11:46 AM

Dear mr. Pat Cooksey

Thank you so very, very much for this song!!!!!!!!!!!

It was the very first 'Dubliners' song I learned by heart (And so I stand corrected) because every time when I listened to it I ended up choking with laughter Hahahahahahahahahahahaha!

Merely thinking about it still brings a grinn to my face.

Many 's the time that I wanted to play a trick on my boss and come up with a really good sick note, but(un)fortunately I never had never anything to do with hauling bricks :)

Your fan Ernie.


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Subject: RE: the sick note/ murphy and the bricks.
From: Joe Offer
Date: 17 May 02 - 11:52 AM

Yes, Pat, you're already registered. Watch your e-mail for instructions.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: the sick note/ murphy and the bricks.
From: GUEST,Pat Cooksey, Germany.
Date: 17 May 02 - 07:42 PM

Before I retire thanks again for the nice comments. I met a man tonight who tells me he heard the sick note on the radio in Sydney, in Australia last week. He thinks it was called WHY PADDYS NOT AT WORK TODAY. If there are any Mudcatters down under perhaps you could enlighten me. I know the song was popular under the title MURPHY AND THE BRICKS, some years ago in Australia. Best wishes to all, Pat.


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Subject: RE: the sick note/ murphy and the bricks.
From: Pat Cooksey
Date: 18 May 02 - 05:59 AM

I just had a phone call from the folk music club in Nuremberg, The MaCalmans sang my song there last week and they were amazed to hear that the writer also lives in Nuremberg, small world.


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Subject: RE: the sick note/ murphy and the bricks.
From: Ebbie
Date: 18 May 02 - 12:55 PM

I first heard this brilliant song done by Mick Moloney- and he attributed it to Pat Cooksey. Mick always articulates his words- and he had the audience hanging on every word. Great fun.

I had no idea that Mr. Cooksey was still amongst us, so to speak. Welcome, Pat Cooksey!

Ebbie


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Subject: RE: the sick note/ murphy and the bricks.
From: GUEST,Pat cooksey, nuremberg.
Date: 18 May 02 - 02:18 PM

As a result of this thread several artists have contacted me direct regarding royalties on their recordings of my song, thanks to them, and Mudcat.


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Subject: RE: the sick note/ murphy and the bricks.
From: katlaughing
Date: 18 May 02 - 11:06 PM

I've always heard it as WHY PADDY'S NOT AT WORK TODAY, out in the Rocky Mountain region, on the radio...sorry, do not remember by what artists.

I posted on your welcome thread, but would like to say, again, it is a pleasure to have you join us!

kat


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Subject: RE: the sick note/ murphy and the bricks.
From: GUEST,Patsy.
Date: 19 May 02 - 02:23 AM

Heard this song in New Orleans many times, thought it was an old Irish. Would love to hear the writer sing it any cd.


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Subject: RE: the sick note/ murphy and the bricks.
From: brioc
Date: 19 May 02 - 03:46 AM

Yes this is a great song:! Well done. I have an uncle, Irish living in Oxford. And at a family party, he did a rendition. It was not sung but told as a story. In his very mildly Oxford-ised accent it was absolutely terrific. I wonder where he got "his" version. Must ask him the next time I see him. Brigid


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Subject: RE: the sick note/ murphy and the bricks.
From: GUEST,Pat.
Date: 19 May 02 - 05:08 AM

The complete history of this song may be found on this thread,I think your uncle's version was from Gerrard Hoffnung.


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Subject: RE: the sick note/ murphy and the bricks.
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 19 May 02 - 06:06 AM

G'day Pat,

I live in Sydney and have heard various versions on the radio (usually ... nay, invariably ... the ABC, our national broadcaster, not the commercial reptiles) - and, sadly, not at folk clubs.

The name Why Paddy's Not at Work Today is one with which I am familiar ... I seem to remember it as attached to one Irish version - but that almost goes without saying ... Sorry I can't be more specific but I can confirm the prevalence of that particular name.

Regards,

Bob Bolton


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Subject: RE: the sick note/ murphy and the bricks.
From: GUEST,Gerry.
Date: 19 May 02 - 08:46 AM


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Subject: RE: the sick note/ murphy and the bricks.
From: GUEST,Gerry.
Date: 19 May 02 - 08:48 AM

I have this on a cd Creme De La Creme by Mike Cross its called Dear Boss.


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Subject: RE: the sick note/ murphy and the bricks.
From: katlaughing
Date: 19 May 02 - 10:51 AM

Pat, I have added a link to this thread in the alphabetised Song Origins Permathread©. As you can see we have had several other threads on this song, so it is really great to be able to add the definitive one to the list. Thanks, again, for joining us!


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Subject: RE: the sick note/ murphy and the bricks.
From: GUEST,jenny. Devon.
Date: 20 May 02 - 03:07 PM


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Subject: RE: the sick note/ murphy and the bricks.
From: GUEST,Pat cooksey. Germany.
Date: 20 May 02 - 03:59 PM


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Subject: RE: the sick note/ murphy and the bricks.
From: GUEST,Pat Cooksey, Germany.
Date: 20 May 02 - 04:13 PM

Thanks to you all for your help, I'm afraid I still am unable to follow Joe's instructions, My computer is in German and although I speak the language, I don't understand the technical language, I will summon help tomorrow, in the meantime please feel free to contact me at e.mail, cooksey.welle@gmx.net I am trying to contact Mick Maloney, does anyone have his e.mail no. it's not on his homepage.

Best Wishes, Pat.


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Subject: RE: the sick note/ murphy and the bricks.
From: GUEST,Pat cooksey. Germany.
Date: 21 May 02 - 08:09 AM

My version of this song features on my c.d.'s WORDS and LIVE IN NUREMBERG. these are only available in Germany at the moment but I am seeking a distributor in the USA.


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Subject: RE: the sick note/ murphy and the bricks.
From: GUEST,Jed.
Date: 22 May 02 - 04:57 AM


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Subject: RE: the sick note/ murphy and the bricks.
From: GUEST,NSC George Henderson
Date: 05 Sep 02 - 05:30 AM

I was with Pat last night in Ennis at the Ennis Singers Club, Co, Clare Ireland. Pat is a founder member of the club and he put on a magnificent show last night in a very intimate acoustic setting.

Guess what - He missed out a verse in the Sick Note.- I did not let him know that i had noticed and nobody else seemed to notice either.

Also in attendance was Deirdre Scanlan of Solas who, I believe, is emigrating to New York in a couple of weeks time. We will miss her at Nenagh Singers Circle although I'm sure she will be back from time to time.

George


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Subject: RE: the sick note/ murphy and the bricks.
From: Sandy Mc Lean
Date: 28 Feb 03 - 04:09 PM

Hey Pat,
If you're still watching this thread, this story may interest you. It sure looks like your theme in another form.
I love your song!
       Sandy


Possibly the funniest story in a long while. This is a bricklayer's
>accident report, which was printed in the newsletter of the Australian
>equivalent of the Workers' Compensation board. This is a true story.
>
>
> Had this guy died, he'd have received a Darwin Award for sure....
>
> Dear Sir,
>
> "I am writing in response to your request for additional information
>in Block 3 of the accident report form. I put "poor planning" as the
>cause of my accident. You asked for a fuller explanation and I trust the
>following details will be sufficient.
>
> I am a bricklayer by trade. On the day of the accident, I was working
>alone on the roof of a new six story building. When I completed my work,
>I found that I had some bricks left over which, when weighed later were
>found to be slightly in excess of 500 lbs. Rather than carry the bricks
>down by hand, I decided to lower them in a barrel by using a pulley,
>which was attached to the side of the building on the sixth floor.
> Securing the rope at ground level, I went up to the roof, swung the
>barrel out and loaded the bricks into it. Then I went down and untied
>the rope, holding it tightly to ensure a slow descent of the bricks. You
>will note in Block 11 of the accident report form that I weigh 135 lbs.
>Due to my surprise at being jerked off the ground so suddenly, I lost my
>presence of mind and forgot to let go of the rope. Needless to say, I
>proceeded at a rapid rate up the side of the building. In the vicinity
>of the third floor, I met the barrel which was now proceeding downward
>at an equal, impressive speed. This explained the fractured skull, minor
>abrasions and the broken collar bone, as listed in section 3 of the
>accident report form.
>
>
> Slowed only slightly, I continued my rapid ascent, not stopping until
>the fingers of my right hand were two knuckles deep into the pulley.
>Fortunately by this time I had regained my presence of mind and was able
>to hold tightly to the rope, in spite of beginning to experience pain.
>At approximately the same time, however, the barrel of bricks hit the
>ground and the bottom fell out of the barrel. Now devoid of the weight
>of the bricks, that barrel weighed approximately 50 lbs. I
> refer you again to my weight.
>
> As you can imagine, I began a rapid descent, down the side of the
>building. In the vicinity of the third floor, I met the barrel coming
>up. This accounts for the two fractured ankles, broken tooth and several
>lacerations of my legs and lower body.
>
> Here my luck began to change slightly. The encounter with the barrel
>seemed to slow me enough to lessen my injuries when I fell into the pile
>of bricks and fortunately only three vertebrae were cracked.
>
> I am sorry to report, however, as I lay there on the pile of bricks,
>in pain, unable to move, I again lost my composure and presence of mind
>and let go of the rope and I lay there watching the empty barrel begin
>its journey back down onto me. This explains the two broken legs.
>
> I hope this answers your inquiry."
>
>
>
>


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Subject: RE: the sick note/ murphy and the bricks.
From: pict
Date: 28 Feb 03 - 05:28 PM

There was also a short TV film in Norway that duplicated the events of the song but I noticed that some Norwegian had claimed copyright on it what is the legal situation in such a case where a film has been made of a song.

In Denmark some guy has copyrighted the tune to ally bally bee a famous traditional song from Scotland and set Danish words to it.Most Danes believe that is a Danish tune.There's a lot of thievery going on.


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Subject: RE: the sick note/ murphy and the bricks.
From: GUEST,sorefingers
Date: 28 Feb 03 - 05:45 PM

I hear it was translated into Chinese and some Wag or should I say Wang immediately claime he wrote it and got copyright. Oh well I though maybe I could make a few dollars.


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Subject: RE: the sick note/ murphy and the bricks.
From: David Ingerson
Date: 28 Feb 03 - 06:55 PM

Thanks, Pat, for a great song. I had no idea who the author was--didn't even think about that. I got it orally from Seamus MacMathuna in about 1983. He called it "The Bricklayer's Sad Lamentation" and used the name Johnny instead of Paddy or Murphy. The tune he used is "The Garden Where the Praties Grow" which can be found in most of your garden variety "Favorite Irish Songs (of the Danny Boy sort)" books. But it can have great dramatic impact if you depart from the normal steady rhythm of the tune and stretch and condense (as in sean nós) it to better fit the cadence of the words, especially with a pause just before the final phrase of each verse.

I will sing it at our upcoming song circle and from now on properly credit it.

Thanks again,

David


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Subject: RE: the sick note/ murphy and the bricks.
From: alanabit
Date: 28 Feb 03 - 07:00 PM

Sandy, I think your version is actually Gerard Hoffnung's sketch "The Bricklayer", which Pat credited earlier in this thread.


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Subject: RE: the sick note/ murphy and the bricks.
From: GUEST,Pat Cooksey.
Date: 28 Feb 03 - 08:47 PM

I wrote the bloody thing, I am sick of academics and historians
writing endless nonsence about this song.
The song is THE SICK NOTE.WHY PADDYS NOT AT WORK TODAY, DEAR BOSS,
and a thousand other titles.
I wrote it, no other claim is valid, check PRS, GEMA, ASCAP, BMI,
MCPS. etc, etc.

Pat Cooksey.


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Subject: RE: the sick note/ murphy and the bricks.
From: GUEST,Pat Cooksey.
Date: 01 Mar 03 - 04:50 AM

Humble apologies for my drunken rant last night, I had just returned from a great concert and consumed the better part of a bottle of Jameson in the dressing room with the sound engineer afterwards. It is no secret however that my song under it's myriad titles has been ripped off many times by others and it's costing me a fortune to put this to rights, the song has been translated into many languages, I know about China, Norway, Denmark, Holland, and four dialect versions here in Germany. RALPHIE.... I sent you an e.mail but it bounced, can you check the number you gave me.

Best wishes to all at Mudcat.

Pat.


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Subject: RE: the sick note/ murphy and the bricks.
From: Gurney
Date: 01 Mar 03 - 05:40 AM

Hey Pat, I think you are deleting your 'Cookie.' Maybe you have the computer or a program set to delete cookies automatically, which is why you are 'GUEST, Pat Cooksey.' The cookie allows the Mudcat to recognise you as a member. I learned the hard way, too.
I'll confirm that Pat wrote the song, he did it when he lodged with me.
Chris Marden.


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Subject: RE: the sick note/ murphy and the bricks.
From: Ralphie
Date: 01 Mar 03 - 08:11 AM

OK Pat...
I'll try again !!
Ralphie


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Subject: RE: the sick note/ murphy and the bricks.
From: boglion
Date: 02 Mar 03 - 06:51 PM

I learnt the song from Sean Cannon and have sung it many times over in County Kerry when I can escape there from London. I once bumped into Sean and his family in Dingle when he was touring with the Dubs and coaxed them back to my village for the night.

The song never got sung that evening because I refused the numerous requests to sing it on the basis that Sean was singing with us and was singing what he wanted to sing. I certainly didn't request him to sing it as my version would have paled alongside his.

He's a great man and so are you Pat for giving us the song.

Slainte

Terry


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Subject: RE: the sick note/ murphy and the bricks.
From: GUEST,Michael
Date: 26 Jun 04 - 01:59 AM


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Subject: RE: the sick note/ murphy and the bricks.
From: GUEST,Michael
Date: 26 Jun 04 - 02:08 AM

i'm afraid to say that the origins of this story as stated above are quite incorrect.

The facts are that the Head Office of Cable and Wireless received an accident report from one of its branches in south or central America in the late 50's or early 60's. The report was sent by someone to the Daily Mirror newspaper in London, which published it, and the story was subsequently related by Gerald Hoffnung at the Oxford Union, a recording being put on disc.

I know because I was working in the Personnel Department of that company at the time that the report was received.

I happened to see the same or similar accident report printed in a recent copy of the tourist magazine for Hua Hin, Thailand, hence the interest.

The accident was to a member of the company's local staff.


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Subject: RE: the sick note/ murphy and the bricks.
From: Herga Kitty
Date: 26 Jun 04 - 02:19 PM

I heard Sean Cannon sing this at the Alcester and Arden festival last weekend - as you'd expect of Sean, he made a point of saying that Pat Cooksey wrote it.

Kitty


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Subject: RE: the sick note/ murphy and the bricks.
From: Pat Cooksey
Date: 27 Jun 04 - 07:48 AM

Sorry Guest Michael, the story goes back a lot further than that.


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Subject: RE: the sick note/ murphy and the bricks.
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 27 Jun 04 - 10:36 AM

Tangentially...

I see flipping through the guide on my TV that on The Discovery Channel tonight at 10 o'clock, the episode of "Mythbusters" that's airing is called "Barrel Of Bricks"....

I wonder... could it be related?


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Subject: RE: the sick note/ murphy and the bricks.
From: s&r
Date: 28 Jun 04 - 04:31 AM

was it related? I missed it

Stu


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Subject: RE: the sick note/ murphy and the bricks.
From: s&r
Date: 28 Jun 04 - 04:38 AM

this site claims that the story is published in a 1918 joke book Barrel of Bricks


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Subject: RE: the sick note/ murphy and the bricks.
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 28 Jun 04 - 09:59 AM

As did Mythbusters...

They had a lot of trouble making the barrel break when it hit the ground... So they said, it's possible that maybe it did happen, but it's unlikely...

It was neat to watch the physics play out though!


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Subject: RE: Origins: the sick note/ murphy and the bricks
From: Sandy Mc Lean
Date: 29 Jun 04 - 12:50 AM

The debate seems forever ongoing. I think we have to seperate the song from the story. Cooksey dosen't claim to have invented the story, which goes back many years and was perhaps based on a true incident, that had been exagerated. He did write a great song , and lets give credit where it is due.
Goos stuff Pat!!!


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Subject: RE: Origins: the sick note/ murphy and the bricks
From: Mark Cohen
Date: 22 Oct 04 - 04:38 AM

I was about to add to your list of titles for the song by including the title "The Bricklayer's Sad Lamentation," which was how I learned it from David Ingerson in Portland in 1983; he'd learned it in Ireland from Seamus McMathuna. Then in going through this thread (in response to yet another inquiry about the song), I see that David already posted that information last year. Time, it is a precious thing...

Aloha,
Mark


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Subject: RE: Origins: the sick note/ murphy and the bricks
From: GUEST,John Dowd.
Date: 22 Oct 04 - 07:59 PM

Pat Cooksey, the author of this song has a very interesting new
website www.patcooksey.com
Which includes this song and it's history, together with a download
of him singing it, sorry I can't do the blue clicky thing, but his site is well worth a look.


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Subject: RE: Origins: the sick note/ murphy and the bricks
From: JennyO
Date: 22 Oct 04 - 11:15 PM

Here ya go:

http://www.patcooksey.com


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Subject: RE: Origins: the sick note/ murphy and the bricks
From: GUEST
Date: 23 Oct 04 - 06:10 AM

Nice website, in German as well as English.


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Subject: RE: Origins: the sick note/ murphy and the bricks
From: Ragman
Date: 23 Oct 04 - 04:13 PM

I'm so glad that Pat Cooksey immediately attributed his excellent song to Gerald Hoffnung. For the record, Gerald Hoffnung performed the story abour the bricklayer "respectfully requesting sick leave" in the Oxford Union on Dec 4 1958. If you look up "Hoffnung bricklayer" in Google, you can easily find a transcript of the story, and you will also find that a CD is available with, amongst other treasures, many of his wonderful funny anecdotes, and this one is included.


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Subject: RE: Origins: the sick note/ murphy and the bricks
From: GUEST,Ian Sinclair, Gasgow.
Date: 23 Oct 04 - 08:25 PM

I am of the opinion that where it not for Cooksey's song, this story
would have long ogo been forgotten, the Hoffnung trustees should
be ever gratefull to Pat, who has immortalised this tale.


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Subject: RE: Origins: the sick note/ murphy and the bricks
From: GUEST,Anne Croucher
Date: 24 Oct 04 - 10:48 AM

I still remember the Hoffnung record, I heard it at an aunt's house, in the 60's I think, as we did not have a record player at home.

I avoid it now as it still makes me laugh just to remember it. There is such a thing as dying laughing.

I did risk the song - it is very good, and I am still chuckling.

The story is funnier for the pauses, I think.

Anne


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Subject: RE: Origins: the sick note/ murphy and the bricks
From: Leadfingers
Date: 24 Oct 04 - 02:01 PM

I am glad to see the info that a C D of Hoffnungs address is still available - I remember it on a Ten inch LP back in the Bad Old Days .


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Subject: RE: Origins: the sick note/ murphy and the bricks
From: Leadfingers
Date: 24 Oct 04 - 02:02 PM

And I was sorely tempted to leave this for Ted , but then thought better of it .


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Subject: RE: Origins: the sick note/ murphy and the bricks
From: Gurney
Date: 25 Oct 04 - 05:57 AM

I'm happy to report that Radio NZ play Hoffnung's recitation a couple of times a year still.
Pat Cooksey and I were flatmates when he wrote his song, and I still remember it hitting the Coventry scene. Pat always has given Hoffnung as his primary, but not only, source of inspiration, but the recitation and the song are very different, and both great.


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Subject: RE: Origins: the sick note/ murphy and the bricks
From: GUEST,Eamon Reid.
Date: 25 Oct 04 - 08:42 PM

I heard this song from the horses mouth at they say, last night
in Franfurt. Pat was brilliant and has many other great songs in
his progamme.


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Subject: RE: Origins: the sick note/ murphy and the bricks
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 22 Sep 11 - 08:34 AM

From Saturday Review, Volume 32, 1949, page 6:

PIETRO Dl DONATO. author of "Christ in Concrete" and an expert bricklayer by trade, treasures an old clipping from Tide that is highly amusing if not entirely believable. It concerns an over-zealous foreman who spotted a pile of bricks on the third floor of an uncompleted building. The bricks didn't belong there, and, the day shift having gone home, he decided to remove them himself. In the shaft there was a barrel slung to a pulley. The foreman hoisted this barrel to the third floor, tied the rope to the ground, and climbed upstairs to pile the bricks into the barrel. This job completed, he descended and untied the rope. His intention was to lower the barrel gently to the ground, but his plan was frustrated by the following rapid-fire sequence of events: 1. The loaded barrel, which weighed a great deal more than the foreman, plunged down the shaft, while the flabbergasted foreman froze to the rope and shot up like a rocket. 2. When the barrel hit the ground the bottom fell out. This made the foreman heavier than the barrel and he crashed down on the bricks while the barrel flew up. 3. Understandably dazed, the foreman let go of the rope, so the barrel came down again — right on the foreman's noggin. "Knocked him out cold," concludes Di Donato happily. — Bennett Cerf.


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