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Origins: Jolly Beggarman (Irish)

DigiTrad:
BEGGARS OF COUDINGHAM FAIR
THE BEGGAR MAN (4)
THE BEGGARMAN (3)
THE BEGGARMAN (6)
THE BEGGARMAN'S SONG (JOHNNY DHU)
THE JOLLY BEGGAR
THE JOLLY BEGGAR (5)
THE LITTLE BEGGAR BOY


Related threads:
Help: The Beggarmen (26)
Anyone heard of The Jolly Beggarmen group? (58)
(origins) Little Beggarman Info (12)
Lyr Req: Gaberlunzie man (8)
Word meaning--rigadoo (49)
Lyr Req: Red-haired boy/little beggar boy (12)
Chord Req: The beggarmans song (Johnny Dhu)? (17)
Lyr Add: The Gaberlunzie Man (13)
Happy! - Apr 10 ('The Gaberlunyie Man') (5)
Tune Req: The little beggarman (8)
Help: Jolly Beggarman/We'll go no more a-rovin (6)
Lyr Req: Jolly Beggar (7)
Beggarman... (20)
Tune Req: The Beggarman / Johnny Dhu (4)
Lyr/Chords Req: Jolly Beggar (Planxty) (14)
Lyr Req: Go no more a roving, Late into the n (14)
Lyr Req: And we'll gang nae mair a roving (6)
Lyr Req: Jolly Beggar (6)
Tune Req: Little Beggarman (3)
Lyr Req: The Little Beggarman (answered)^^^ (3) (closed)
Lyr Req: The Gabalundi(?) Man / Gaberlunzie Man (7)


GUEST,Q 16 Dec 02 - 08:33 PM
Stewie 16 Dec 02 - 08:57 PM
Richie 16 Dec 02 - 10:02 PM
Joe Offer 16 Dec 02 - 10:23 PM
Joe Offer 16 Dec 02 - 10:39 PM
GUEST,Q 16 Dec 02 - 10:59 PM
Cluin 16 Dec 02 - 11:53 PM
Joe Offer 16 Dec 02 - 11:54 PM
Stewie 17 Dec 02 - 01:20 AM
GUEST,Q 17 Dec 02 - 03:09 AM
GUEST,MCP 17 Dec 02 - 05:27 AM
GUEST,cbryan4017@aol.com 09 Feb 04 - 01:32 PM
GUEST,guest mick 10 Feb 04 - 09:58 AM
GUEST 10 Feb 04 - 12:27 PM
s&r 11 Feb 04 - 04:20 AM
GUEST,honestfrankie 11 Feb 04 - 10:04 PM
steve mann 07 Jul 07 - 02:25 PM
GUEST,Laurentius 17 Feb 17 - 02:04 PM
Steve Shaw 17 Feb 17 - 07:58 PM
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Subject: Origins: JOLLY BEGGARMAN (Irish)
From: GUEST,Q
Date: 16 Dec 02 - 08:33 PM

The Contemplator (Barry Taylor), Jolly Beggarman has the Irish song of this title in his website. It is well-known, and can be found at many websites under that name.
In the DT, it is titled The Beggarman's Song (Johnny Dhu). Apparently it is the same as "The Oul' Rigadoo."
Is this song traditional? Not much age is attributed to it. It is quite a stretch from this song to Child 279 (click here to search), and even to the "Gaberlunzie Man" (also in Contemplator). Apparently not in the Bodleian Collection. It is entered in the Traditional Ballad Index(cufresno) as "The Little Beggarman (Johnny Dhu)."

When "The Jolly Beggarman" is entered in Search or Filter, the Scottish "The Jolly Beggar," Child 279 (or "We'll Gang Nae Mair A Roving," from the refrain sometimes found with it) comes up. Entering -beggarman- brings up three "beggar" songs, "The Jolly Beggar" and "The Beggarman(6)," both Child, and "The Beggarman's song (Johnny Dhu)." "The Beggarman(3)" is a Dyer-Bennet revision of the Child ballad.
Sorry about this eye-glazing paragraph; just trying to get the confusion out of my mind.
Here's the Ballad Index entry.
-Joe Offer-

Little Beggarman, The (Johnny Dhu)

DESCRIPTION: "I am a little beggarman, a-begging I have been, For three score years and more in this little isle of Green...." (Johnny Dhu) briefly narrates his life, including nights in barns and a "flaxy-haired girl's" attempt to court him. He sets out on his way
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1938
KEYWORDS: rambling begging gypsy courting
FOUND IN: Ireland
REFERENCES (3 citations):
Kennedy 345, "The Little Beggarman" (1 text, 1 tune)
SHenry H751, pp. 50-51, "The Oul' Rigadoo" (1 text, 1 tune)
DT, BEGGARDH*

RECORDINGS:
Paddy Doran et al, "The Little Beggarman" (on FSB3)
CROSS-REFERENCES:
cf. "The Red Haired Boy" (tune)
File: K345

Go to the Ballad Search form
Go to the Ballad Index Instructions

The Ballad Index Copyright 2002 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.



THE BEGGARMAN'S SONG (JOHNNY DHU)

I am a little beggarman, a begging I have been
For three score years in this little isle of green
I'm known along the Liffey from the Basin to the Zoo
And everybody calls me by the name of Johnny Dhu

Of all the trades a going, sure the begging is the best
For when a man is tired he can sit him down and rest
He can beg for his dinner, he has nothing else to do
But to slip around the corner with his old rigadoo

I slept in a barn one night in Currabawn
A shocking wet night it was, but I slept until the dawn
There was holes in the roof and the raindrops coming thru
And the rats and the cats were a playing peek a boo

Who did I waken but the woman of the house
With her white spotted apron and her calico blouse
She began to frighten and I said boo
Sure, don't be afraid at all, it's only Johnny Dhu

I met a little girl while a walkin out one day
Good morrow little flaxen haired girl, I did say
Good morrow little beggarman and how do you do
With your rags and your tags and your auld rigadoo

I'll buy a pair of leggins and a collar and a tie
And a nice young lady I'll go courting by and by
I'll buy a pair of goggles and I'll color them with blue
And an old fashioned lady I will make her too

So all along the high road with my bag upon my back
Over the fields with my bulging heavy sack
With holes in my shoes and my toes a peeping thru
Singing, skin a ma rink a doodle with my auld rigadoo

O I must be going to bed for it's getting late at night
The fire is all raked and now tis out of light
For now you've heard the story of my auld rigadoo
So good and God be with you, from auld Johnny Dhu

@beggar @Irish
Child #279
filename[ BEGGARDH
TUNE FILE: BEGGARDH
CLICK TO PLAY
SOF



PLEASE NOTE: Because of the volunteer nature of The Digital Tradition, it is difficult to ensure proper attribution and copyright information for every song included. Please assume that any song which lists a composer is copyrighted ©. You MUST aquire proper license before using these songs for ANY commercial purpose. If you have any additional information or corrections to the credit or copyright information included, please e-mail those additions or corrections to us (along with the song title as indexed) so that we can update the database as soon as possible. Thank You.


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Subject: RE: Origins: JOLLY BEGGARMAN (Irish)
From: Stewie
Date: 16 Dec 02 - 08:57 PM

The Contemplator text is #26 in Colm O Lochlainn's 'More Irish Street Ballads'. O Lochlainn's title for it is 'The Beggarman's Song'. His note refers to an 'older song very similar was "The Old Settoo" (Surtout - a wrapper or overcoat)'. He gives the text of 'Old Settoo' in the appendix to 'More Irish Street Ballads', but comments that he had never heard it sung.

--Stewie.


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Subject: RE: Origins: JOLLY BEGGARMAN (Irish)
From: Richie
Date: 16 Dec 02 - 10:02 PM

Here are some note from my web-site:

NOTES: "The Little Beggarman" is best known in the US as the bluegrass fiddle tune, "Red Haired Boy." A US version of the "Red Haired Boy" tune is "Old Soldier with a Wooden Leg" from the Civil War period.

From A Fiddler's Companion: The English translation of the Gaelic title "Giolla Rua" (or, Englished, "Gilderoy"), and is generally thought to commemorate a real-life rogue and bandit, however, Baring-Gould remarks that in Scotland the "Beggar" of the title is also identified with King James V. The song was quite common under the Gaelic and the alternate title "The Little Beggarman" (or "The Beggarman," "The Beggar") throughout the British Isles. For example, it appears in Baring-Gould's 1895 London publication Garland of Country Song and in The Forsaken Lover's Garland, and in the original Scots in The Scots Musical Museum.

A similarly titled song, "Beggar's Meal Poke's," was composed by James VI of Scotland (who in course became James the I of England), an ascription confused often with his ancestor James I, who was the reputed author of the verses of a song called "The Jolly Beggar." The tune is printed in Bunting's 1840 A Collection of the Ancient Music of Ireland as "An Maidrin Ruadh" (The Little Red Fox). The melody is one of the relatively few common to fiddlers throughout Scotland and Ireland, and was transferred nearly intact to the American fiddle tradition (both North and South) where it has been a favorite of bluegrass fiddlers in recent times.

Richie


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Subject: ADD Version: The Oul' Rigadoo
From: Joe Offer
Date: 16 Dec 02 - 10:23 PM

Here's the version from Sam Henry's Songs of the People. The notes say that this song, sung at the Coleraine Musical Festival by Mr. W.J. Lyons, won first prize (89 percent) out of 14 entries in the Folk Song class and gained the Cup presented by Mrs. Magee, of Dunedin Terrace, Coleraine.
The Henry book says other titles for the song are "The Beggarman's Song," "The Little Beggarman," and the Roving Journeyman."

THE OUL' RIGADOO

I am a little beggarman, a-begging I have been
For three score and more in this little isle of green;
I am known from the Liffey down to Segue,
Sure, I'm known by the name of oul' Johnny Hugh.
Of all the trades that's going, sure, begging is the best,
For when a man is tired he can sit down and rest,
He can beg for his dinner, he's got nothing else to do
But cut around the corner with his oul' rig-a-doo.

I slept in a barn down in Carrabawn,
A wet night in August, sure, I slept till the dawn,
With holes in the roof and the rain comin' through,
And the rats and the cats, they were playin' peek-a-boo;
Now whom did I waken but the woman of the house,
With her white-spotted apron and her calico blouse,
She began to frighten and I said, 'Ho,
It's don't be afraid, ma'am, it's only Johnny Hugh.'

I met a little flaxey-haired girl one day,
'Good morning, little flaxey-haired girl,' I did say;
'Good morning, little beggarman, and how do you do,
With your rags and your tags and your oul' rig-a-doo?'
'I'll buy a pair o' leggings, a collar and a tie,
And a nice young lady I'll marry by and by,
I'll buy a pair o' goggles and colour them blue,
And an old-fashioned lady I'll make her two.'

Over the road with my bag on by back,
Over the fields with my great heavy sack,
With holes in my shoes and my toes peeping through,
Singing, 'Skilly my rink a doodle, with my oul' rig-a-doo.'
I must be going to bed, it's getting late at night,
The fire's all raked and out goes the light,
So now you've heard the story of my oul' rig-a-doo,
So goodbye and good be with you, from oul' Johnny Hugh.
(16 April 1938, date of this transcription)


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Subject: ADD Version: The Little Beggarman
From: Joe Offer
Date: 16 Dec 02 - 10:39 PM

Here's the version from Peter Kennedy's Folksongs of Britain and Ireland.
-Joe Offer-


THE LITTLE BEGGARMAN

1. Well, I am a little beggarman an' beggin' I have been
Threescore years and more in this little Isle of Green
I'm known from the Liffey, way down to Killaloe
And the name that I'm known by is Old Johnny Dhu
Of all the trades an' callin's, sure, beggin' is the best
For when a man is weary, he can aye sit down and rest
He can beg for his dinner, he has nothing else to do
Only toddle around the corner with his old rigadoo
(Chorus: Mouth music improvised to tune of verse)
Dal-di-diddle-towdie-tiddle-rowdie-diddly-idle-dum (etc.)

2. Well, I slept in a barn way down by Killavone
On a dark and stormy night and sleepin' all alone
With holes in the roof and the rain a-comin' through
And the rats and mice they were playin' at peek-a-boo
O then, who did waken but the woman of the house
With her white spotty apron and her calico blouse
She began to cry and when I said: Boo
O now don't you be afraid o' me, 'tis only Johnny Dhu

3. Well, I met a little flaxen-haired girl the other day
Good morning to you, flaxen-haired girl, I did say
Good morning, Johnny Beggarman, there's how do ye do?
With your rags and your bags and your old rigadoo
Well, I'll buy ye a pair o' trousers, a collar and a tie
And a nice little lassie then I'll fetch her by an' by
I'll buy a pair of goggles and I'll paint them up so blue
And that nice little lassie, I'll be her lover too

4. Well, it's over the road, wi' me bag upon me back
It's over the fields wi' me big haver-sack
With holes in me shoes and me toes peepin' through
Singing: Tithery-ump-a-daddy, sure, I'm old Johnny Dhu
So now my song is ended and I'll bid you's all good night
The fires are all raked and it's out with the light
And now you've heard the story of the old rigadoo
It's good luck and God be wid you's and to old Johnny too



Not much to the notes on this one. Kennedy recorded it in 1952 from the singing of Paddy Doran and others in Northern Ireland. He says this ballad is sung to the tune of the Gaelic song "The Red-Haired boy," which is also played as an instrumental in reel-time. The tune is not unlike that of the Scots ballad "Gilderoy."


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Subject: RE: Origins: JOLLY BEGGARMAN (Irish)
From: GUEST,Q
Date: 16 Dec 02 - 10:59 PM

The Scottish versions of the Child 279 "The Jolly Beggar" (and other names) are old (in the Bodleian is an explicit version dated between 1774 and 1825 (Ballad Catalogue 2806 c.18(171).

The tune to the Irish Johnny Dhu-Little Beggarman I am sure is an old fiddle tune (pretty well verified by Richie, above) but I was trying to pin the Lyrics.

I am not sure that it has a relationship to the Child ballad beyond the fact that it concerns another beggarman. It does not emphasize sex with a young maid and the protagonist doesn't turn into a gentleman (with his band of knights) or the duke of Argyle, etc. Is it any older than the singing of "The Oul' Rigadoo" by Lyons at the Coleraine Music Festival (Joe Offer, above)- when was this?
Still confused.


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Subject: RE: Origins: JOLLY BEGGARMAN (Irish)
From: Cluin
Date: 16 Dec 02 - 11:53 PM

My band has been doing this one for a couple of years, singing the verses in D, breaking each one up by returning to the instrumental version "Red Haired Boy" in A each time (with fiddle, mandolin, whistle plus guitar & bass).

I'd always thought it was by Sarah Makem like it said in the Clancy Brothers songbook I got for Christmas several years ago, but I just doublechecked it and it says "Adapted by Sarah Makem"

No writing credit given though...


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Subject: ZDTStudy: The Little Beggar Boy
From: Joe Offer
Date: 16 Dec 02 - 11:54 PM

Sorry I didn't get that date in right away, Q - it was 1938. I decided to crosslink all the "Beggarman" songs, even though I'll agree with Q that the "Johnny Dhu" series of songs seems to have little connection to Child 279. I've added the Digitrad and Ballad Index entries above for easy comparison. I don't know where the Digital Tradition lyrics came from, but it reminds me of what Ian & Sylvia recorded. Could it be that Johnnyt Dhu is a product of the 20th century?

I included The Little Beggar Boy in the crosslinks, even though it seems to have no connection at all. Still, I thought somebody might more easily stumble across it if I included it with songs with similar names. For the record, I'll post the lyrics and the Traditional Ballad Index entry.
-Joe Offer-
THE LITTLE BEGGAR BOY

I am a little beggar boy,
My mother she is gone, (dead?)
My father is a drunkard,
He won't buy me no bread;

I goes up to the pantry
To get a slice of bread,
My daddy come behind me
And whip me up to bed.

I set beside the window,
To hear the organ play,
God bless my dear old mommy
Who is dead and far a way.

Ding dong my castle bell,
Farewell my mommy,
You bury me in the same churchyard,
Along the side of my mommy,

My coffin shall be black,
Six white angels at the back,
Two to pray (watch?) and two to watch (pray?)
And two to carry my soul a way.

From Travellers' Songs, MacColl & Seeger
Collected from Emily Baker

note: a curious hodge-podge. The tune drifts in and out of Home Sweet
Home, with strong suggestions of Gypsy Girl. RG
@drink @child @death @tearjerker
filename[ BEGGRBOY
TUNE FILE: BEGGRBOY
CLICK TO PLAY
RG
apr96



PLEASE NOTE: Because of the volunteer nature of The Digital Tradition, it is difficult to ensure proper attribution and copyright information for every song included. Please assume that any song which lists a composer is copyrighted ©. You MUST aquire proper license before using these songs for ANY commercial purpose. If you have any additional information or corrections to the credit or copyright information included, please e-mail those additions or corrections to us (along with the song title as indexed) so that we can update the database as soon as possible. Thank You.

Little Beggar Boy, The

DESCRIPTION: The beggar boy's mother iss gone and his father is a drunkard who beats him. He misses his mother and wishes to be buried by her. Last verse: "My coffin shall be black/Six white angels at the back/Two to watch, two to pray/Two to carry my soul away"
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1962 (collected from Emily Baker)
KEYWORDS: poverty abuse death funeral begging nonballad father mother floatingverses playparty
FOUND IN: Britain(England(South))
REFERENCES (2 citations):
MacSeegTrav 122, "The Little Beggar Boy" (1 text, 1 tune)
DT, BEGGRBOY*

CROSS-REFERENCES:
cf. "Go and Dig My Grave" (floating verses)
cf. "Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John (I)" (floating verses)
cf. "The Drunkard's Lone Child" (lyrics)
Notes: This should not be confused with "The Little Beggarman," an entirely separate song. The last verse is a floater, tacked on from elsewhere; MacColl & Seeger note that it's a children's game, found in Edinburgh. I've heard recordings of it from Americans as well. I use the keyword "playparty" for the final verse because we lack a keyword "game." - PJS
File: McCST122

Go to the Ballad Search form
Go to the Ballad Index Instructions

The Ballad Index Copyright 2002 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.


MacSeegTrav is Ewan MacColl and Peggy Seeger, Travellers' Songs From England and Scotland (1977).


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Subject: RE: Origins: JOLLY BEGGARMAN (Irish)
From: Stewie
Date: 17 Dec 02 - 01:20 AM

THE OLD SETTOO
[Air: The White Cockade (Graves)]

You gentlemen and muses around me sit
I'll sing you a song about reason and wit
I'll sing you a song as true as I say
And the air it goes by is the White Cockade
Tidle il al idle, etc

There was a rich farmer in this town did dwell
He'd a handsome daughter few could her excel
She courted a beggarman and loved him true
And the dress that he wore was an old settoo

As soon as her father came this for to hear
He said, My dear daughter, you are very queer
Believe in my words and you'll find them true
You'll yet curse the gothy with the long settoo

She says, Dear father, don't be severe
I'll follow my beggarman the world for to range
I love him in my heart you know it is true
I dote on the skirts of his old settoo

My beggarman and I for begging we did go
We begged like blazes where none of our friends knew
Saying, Do you prove constant, I'll prove true
And I'll buy for you a livery like my old settoo

Above all trades going sure begging is the best
When a man is tired he may sit down and rest
He has no care on him, has nothing to do
Says my fellow, the gothy, with his old settoo

When night comes on for lodgings we seek
They will put us in the barn us both to sleep
When I want to frighten her, I'll say, Boo
And over her I'll shake my old settoo

Now to conclude and to finish my song
These couple got married and travelled along
The cold winter she never knew
For every night I rolled her in my old settoo

Source: #26A, Appendix I, Colm O Lochlainn 'More Irish Street Ballads' Three Candles, Dublin, Second Impression 1968 pp 230-31.

--Stewie.


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Subject: RE: Origins: JOLLY BEGGARMAN (Irish)
From: GUEST,Q
Date: 17 Dec 02 - 03:09 AM

Really good to have all the threads and DT songs listed together, even though relationships might be tenuous. A lot of the confusion and searching is cleared away. If one thinks he has something new to add, he can quickly check. This effort, spearheaded by Joe Offer, deserves our praise.


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Subject: RE: Origins: JOLLY BEGGARMAN (Irish)
From: GUEST,MCP
Date: 17 Dec 02 - 05:27 AM

The Roud index has several songs with Beggarman in the title, but two numbers cover the songs above (all but one of the others are anomalous titles for other songs).


Roud 118 (134 entries) is the version from Child 279 (The As I went linking o'er the lee or It's of a ragged beggarman came tripping o'er the plain type).

Roud 900 (7 entries) is the Oul' Rigadoo/Johnny Dhu version (I am a little beggarman).

(There is also Roud 3080 - The Beggarman of County Down (It was in Ballinderry the beggarman first gathered his men)).

The Old Settoo has 4 entries in the Roud broadside index (2 in the Madden Collection #25 #s 389 and 548, one in Carnell-Ballads in the Charles Hardy Firth Collection F31, and one in Healy - Old Irish Street Ballads).

Mick


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Subject: RE: Origins: JOLLY BEGGARMAN (Irish)
From: GUEST,cbryan4017@aol.com
Date: 09 Feb 04 - 01:32 PM

I need help-what is a rigadoo?

Thanks.

CBRyan


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Subject: RE: Origins: JOLLY BEGGARMAN (Irish)
From: GUEST,guest mick
Date: 10 Feb 04 - 09:58 AM

I need help too. I've never been able to work out:
a / why the little flaxy haired girl would want to buy the beggarman a pair of goggles
b/ why she would then decide to colour them blue
c/ why the offer of the blue goggles made the little beggarman take to his heels
Anyone got any clues ?


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Subject: RE: Origins: JOLLY BEGGARMAN (Irish)
From: GUEST
Date: 10 Feb 04 - 12:27 PM

Although the melody of this song appears in America as a reel it was originally a hornpipe and appears as such both in England and Ireland.


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Subject: RE: Origins: JOLLY BEGGARMAN (Irish)
From: s&r
Date: 11 Feb 04 - 04:20 AM

Tamarack do a version called The Old Ragadoo. This is described in the sleeve notes as a sort of fisherman's mackintosh. Thhe tune is the same; the words describe the life of Michael Chaser.

stu


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Subject: RE: Origins: JOLLY BEGGARMAN (Irish)
From: GUEST,honestfrankie
Date: 11 Feb 04 - 10:04 PM

Hello All,

    I thought that "The Jolly Beggerman" was a totally different song that I know by Planxty about a king that takes advantage of country girls.(Or was that about a folkie...)


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Subject: RE: Origins: JOLLY BEGGARMAN (Irish)
From: steve mann
Date: 07 Jul 07 - 02:25 PM

A version of this is one of many fine songs in Pasolini's Canterbury Tales


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Subject: RE: Origins: Jolly Beggarman (Irish)
From: GUEST,Laurentius
Date: 17 Feb 17 - 02:04 PM

I have my own version of the song I have been singing for many years

I am a little beggarman that goes from town to town
With me bundle on me shoulder and me whistles in me hand
And whenever I get to ****** (wherever I am singing it)
I sits and plays me whistles for there's bugger all else to do.

Some treat me with the bottle, others treat me with a can, but you can give a fiver to the roving beggarman.

Now I'm not exactly begging cos that's against the law, but if you like me music throw your money on the floor
And if you have no small change, then a cheque will surely do
But don't forget to sign it so that I'll remember you

Oh Barclaycard and Visa, American express, to any kind of credit card me answer would be yes
But if you've got no bank account, your silver and your gold, your diamonds and your jewellery will keep me from the cold.

I then treat the audience to a rendition on my whistle or my flute. One of the first tunes I learned on my whistle back in 1974 or thereabouts.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Jolly Beggarman (Irish)
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 17 Feb 17 - 07:58 PM

It's a great song and a great tune. We harmonica players would use a D blues harp and play it as a hornpipe in Amix. Somewhere or other I have a crude old cassette recording of Ron Kavana singing it at the Tree Inn Folk Club in Bude on Oct 1 1993. He was there with Miriam on fiddle and Fran Byrne on button accordion. By common consent among the in-crowd, it was the greatest gig ever witnessed in our humble seaside resort!


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