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Tune Req: Susan Reed: Cockles & Mussels?

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MOLLY MALONE
MOLLY MALONE (2)


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Desert Dancer 27 Feb 03 - 02:30 PM
TIA 27 Feb 03 - 02:36 PM
Desert Dancer 27 Feb 03 - 02:42 PM
GUEST,Bill Kennedy 27 Feb 03 - 02:52 PM
Doug Chadwick 27 Feb 03 - 03:03 PM
Desert Dancer 27 Feb 03 - 03:14 PM
Malcolm Douglas 27 Feb 03 - 03:56 PM
mg 27 Feb 03 - 04:03 PM
Doug Chadwick 27 Feb 03 - 04:09 PM
Brían 27 Feb 03 - 04:46 PM
Desert Dancer 27 Feb 03 - 05:08 PM
Desert Dancer 27 Feb 03 - 05:44 PM
Brían 27 Feb 03 - 05:46 PM
Doug Chadwick 27 Feb 03 - 06:04 PM
GUEST,leeneia 28 Feb 03 - 12:12 AM
Desert Dancer 28 Feb 03 - 11:56 AM
Declan 28 Feb 03 - 12:06 PM
gnomad 01 Mar 03 - 08:26 AM
GUEST,leeneia 01 Mar 03 - 10:51 AM
mg 01 Mar 03 - 01:48 PM
Desert Dancer 01 Mar 03 - 03:11 PM
Willa 01 Mar 03 - 03:14 PM
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Subject: Tune Req: Susan Reed: Cockles & Mussels?
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 27 Feb 03 - 02:30 PM

I discovered recently (in preparing for St. Pat's, don't y'know) that I sing Molly Malone / Cockles and Mussels slightly differently than most. I recall it from my youth, and I checked with Burl Ives and the Fireside Book of Folksongs and can't lay the blame there. My parents visited recently, and I found I can't blame them, either.

Here's the thing: for the words "cockles" and "mussels" I sing ascending notes, everyone else sings descending notes. My one other thought for where I could have picked that up is the old Susan Reed LP that I loved: the one with the pink cover with the photo of her and the harp. I've got a copy, but no turntable. Anyone got both and can do a quick check??

~ Becky in Tucson


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Susan Reed: Cockles & Mussels?
From: TIA
Date: 27 Feb 03 - 02:36 PM

Gerry O'Connor plays it your way in his Irish Tenor Banjo tutor.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Susan Reed: Cockles & Mussels?
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 27 Feb 03 - 02:42 PM

Aha, so it's not just me. That's a relief.

~ Becky


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Susan Reed: Cockles & Mussels?
From: GUEST,Bill Kennedy
Date: 27 Feb 03 - 02:52 PM

Susan Reed sang it descending, but long and drawn out, "Cooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo-ckles
Muuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu-ssels..

etc.

a variation I sing, and can't remember where I heard it is 'Alive all alive' instead of 'alive-o'


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Susan Reed: Cockles & Mussels?
From: Doug Chadwick
Date: 27 Feb 03 - 03:03 PM

I've never heard it with descending notes as you describe. We are obviously right and everyone else is wrong.

Doug C


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Susan Reed: Cockles & Mussels?
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 27 Feb 03 - 03:14 PM

Bill, that was the last verse, where her ghost wheels the wheelbarrow...

Thanks for the support, Doug!

~ Becky


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Susan Reed: Cockles & Mussels?
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 27 Feb 03 - 03:56 PM

I've heard it sung with descending notes, but I suspect that's a relatively recent innovation. The only notation I seem to have is in a songbook of 1931, where the notes ascend as I, too, remember.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Susan Reed: Cockles & Mussels?
From: mg
Date: 27 Feb 03 - 04:03 PM

ah but does her ghost wheel the barrow or does her ghost drive the barrow. I am pretty sure I learned drives the barrow. mg


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Susan Reed: Cockles & Mussels?
From: Doug Chadwick
Date: 27 Feb 03 - 04:09 PM

"wheels"

Definitely "wheels" !


Doug C


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Susan Reed: Cockles & Mussels?
From: Brían
Date: 27 Feb 03 - 04:46 PM

am hardly an expert on this song, but I wonder if anyone cares to comment on a recording of Frank Harte singing this song here on The Prarie Home Companion where he is definitly singing it with descending notes?

Brían


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Susan Reed: Cockles & Mussels?
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 27 Feb 03 - 05:08 PM

Gosh, Frank doesn't even wait until she dies to sing in the ghostly fashion...

Does it count that he ascends and descends on "cockles"? (I know, I know, it's an ornamental slide...) :-)

~ Becky


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Susan Reed: Cockles & Mussels?
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 27 Feb 03 - 05:44 PM

Oh, jeez. Now I read my original post and I see I wrote it backwards, which is to say, I sing "cockles" descending rather than ascending, which means I'm with Frank Harte and not with Gerry O'Connor or Doug.

I'm still wondering what Susan Reed did...

~ Becky


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Susan Reed: Cockles & Mussels?
From: Brían
Date: 27 Feb 03 - 05:46 PM

All I know is I couldn't sing it any other way after hearing Frank sing it that way.

Brían


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Susan Reed: Cockles & Mussels?
From: Doug Chadwick
Date: 27 Feb 03 - 06:04 PM

I'm still right !

Doug C


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Susan Reed: Cockles & Mussels?
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 28 Feb 03 - 12:12 AM

My father (born 1916) sang it around the house with the notes descending on "cockles" and on "mussels"

In O'Neill's Music of Ireland (c. 1895), the notes ascend.

I find it interesting that Americans sing "She died of a fever, and no one could save her," which doesn't rhyme. However, I believe that not so long ago, "fever" was pronounced "favor."

In a songbook I bought in Ireland recently, the words are "she died of a fever, and none could relieve her." How nice to get rid of that awkward spot after all these years!


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Susan Reed: Cockles & Mussels?
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 28 Feb 03 - 11:56 AM

Leenia, which side of the pond was your father born on & singing on?

Given the song's undoubted music hall origins, I have no problem with the "faver" - "save her" rhyme. "Relieve her" sounds like unwarrented prettying up, to me.

~ Becky


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Susan Reed: Cockles & Mussels?
From: Declan
Date: 28 Feb 03 - 12:06 PM

Frank Harte sings it way he does to immitate the sound of the old Dublin Street sellers who would have used that sort of sing song lilt to advertise their goods, which is presumably what Molly would have been doing, although there's some that say she sold other things as well. Her Dublin statue has been christened the Tart with the Cart by local wits. As to the other points she definitely Wheeled her wheelbarrow and she died of a faver (local pronunciation).

I'm singing the song in a ballad group competition tomorrow, although it wouldn't have been my choice.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Susan Reed: Cockles & Mussels?
From: gnomad
Date: 01 Mar 03 - 08:26 AM

Ascending is how I know it, & as sung by my Grandma who claimed to be three quarters English, half Irish and part Flemish (she was a large lady).

FWIW the 1951 Penguin Songbook also shows ascending notes, but gives no source information.

I've not heard of anyone driving a barrow before, might it not fall over?


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Susan Reed: Cockles & Mussels?
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 01 Mar 03 - 10:51 AM

Desert Dancer: "Leenia, which side of the pond was your father born on & singing on?"

A: the left side, if you're looking north. born in Colorado, grew up in Chicagoland. He probably learned the song in school there.

Declan: "sellers would have used that sort of sing song lilt to advertise their goods"

A: Try singing it with the ascending notes and then insert a small rest afters the l in "mussels" It sounds more like a street cry.

as for "although there's some that say she sold other things as well. Her Dublin statue has been christened the Tart with the Cart by local wits."

Since Molly Malone was a fictional character, she couldn't ever have done anything not ascribed to her in the song. "Local half-wits" would be more like it -- the kind of people who think words have particular validity if they rhyme.

Everyone: Now for the sermon. There's no law that says every refrain has to be identical. Sing it one way one time, another way the other time. Let her father&mother have one version, Molly herself the other. Sing one refrain loud and another soft. Have her ghost sing a refrain that's barely audible, lost in the traffic sounds of modern Dublin.

Try not to create the impression that a sound engineer simply pressed a repeat button to produce an unvarying refrain. Leave unvarying refrains to the big recording stars who can't get through a whole song without help.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Susan Reed: Cockles & Mussels?
From: mg
Date: 01 Mar 03 - 01:48 PM

I heard she was a real person. I was so glad to hear that after believing in Betty Crocker and Aunt Jemima and others and finding out they weren't real.

mg


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Susan Reed: Cockles & Mussels?
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 01 Mar 03 - 03:11 PM

As to the authenticity of the story, check out this site, which was referred to in one of the numerous previous threads of the song.

~ Becky


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Susan Reed: Cockles & Mussels?
From: Willa
Date: 01 Mar 03 - 03:14 PM

Thanks for the link Brian. If you listen to the clip from 12.48 you hear Frank explaining that he sings the song as a street cry rather than a prettied up version, and it's very effective. I've only heard /sung the ascending notes before.


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