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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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Jim Dixon 22 Sep 11 - 08:34 AM
GUEST,Eamon Reid. 25 Oct 04 - 08:42 PM
Gurney 25 Oct 04 - 05:57 AM
Leadfingers 24 Oct 04 - 02:02 PM
Leadfingers 24 Oct 04 - 02:01 PM
GUEST,Anne Croucher 24 Oct 04 - 10:48 AM
GUEST,Ian Sinclair, Gasgow. 23 Oct 04 - 08:25 PM
Ragman 23 Oct 04 - 04:13 PM
GUEST 23 Oct 04 - 06:10 AM
JennyO 22 Oct 04 - 11:15 PM
GUEST,John Dowd. 22 Oct 04 - 07:59 PM
Mark Cohen 22 Oct 04 - 04:38 AM
Sandy Mc Lean 29 Jun 04 - 12:50 AM
Clinton Hammond 28 Jun 04 - 09:59 AM
s&r 28 Jun 04 - 04:38 AM
s&r 28 Jun 04 - 04:31 AM
Clinton Hammond 27 Jun 04 - 10:36 AM
Pat Cooksey 27 Jun 04 - 07:48 AM
Herga Kitty 26 Jun 04 - 02:19 PM
GUEST,Michael 26 Jun 04 - 02:08 AM
GUEST,Michael 26 Jun 04 - 01:59 AM
boglion 02 Mar 03 - 06:51 PM
Ralphie 01 Mar 03 - 08:11 AM
Gurney 01 Mar 03 - 05:40 AM
GUEST,Pat Cooksey. 01 Mar 03 - 04:50 AM
GUEST,Pat Cooksey. 28 Feb 03 - 08:47 PM
alanabit 28 Feb 03 - 07:00 PM
David Ingerson 28 Feb 03 - 06:55 PM
GUEST,sorefingers 28 Feb 03 - 05:45 PM
pict 28 Feb 03 - 05:28 PM
Sandy Mc Lean 28 Feb 03 - 04:09 PM
GUEST,NSC George Henderson 05 Sep 02 - 05:30 AM
GUEST,Jed. 22 May 02 - 04:57 AM
GUEST,Pat cooksey. Germany. 21 May 02 - 08:09 AM
GUEST,Pat Cooksey, Germany. 20 May 02 - 04:13 PM
GUEST,Pat cooksey. Germany. 20 May 02 - 03:59 PM
GUEST,jenny. Devon. 20 May 02 - 03:07 PM
katlaughing 19 May 02 - 10:51 AM
GUEST,Gerry. 19 May 02 - 08:48 AM
GUEST,Gerry. 19 May 02 - 08:46 AM
Bob Bolton 19 May 02 - 06:06 AM
GUEST,Pat. 19 May 02 - 05:08 AM
brioc 19 May 02 - 03:46 AM
GUEST,Patsy. 19 May 02 - 02:23 AM
katlaughing 18 May 02 - 11:06 PM
GUEST,Pat cooksey, nuremberg. 18 May 02 - 02:18 PM
Ebbie 18 May 02 - 12:55 PM
Pat Cooksey 18 May 02 - 05:59 AM
GUEST,Pat Cooksey, Germany. 17 May 02 - 07:42 PM
Joe Offer 17 May 02 - 11:52 AM
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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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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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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
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: 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,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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: GUEST,Michael
Date: 26 Jun 04 - 01:59 AM


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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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: GUEST,Jed.
Date: 22 May 02 - 04:57 AM


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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,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: 20 May 02 - 03:59 PM


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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: 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,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: GUEST,Gerry.
Date: 19 May 02 - 08:46 AM


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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,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: 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,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: 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,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: 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: 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: 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: 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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Mudcat time: 21 June 3:14 AM EDT

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