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Rocky Road to Dublin question

DigiTrad:
THE ROCKY ROAD TO DUBLIN


Related threads:
Tune Req: Love/Hate version Rocky Road to Dublin (9)
Lyr Req: An Bairille / Rocky Road to Dublin (5)
Lyr Add: Along the Rocky Road to Dublin (4)
(origins) Origins: Rocky Road to Dublin (34)
Tune Req: The Rocky Road to Dublin (10)
Lyr Req: Rocky Road to Dublin & Dear Old Ireland (15)
Rocky road to Dublin - mp3 (15)
Help: Rocky Road to Dublin: Fiddle part (8)


GUEST,Reiver 2 07 Apr 04 - 05:29 PM
s&r 07 Apr 04 - 05:37 PM
McGrath of Harlow 07 Apr 04 - 06:40 PM
GUEST,Hrothgar in Canberra 07 Apr 04 - 07:18 PM
Leadfingers 07 Apr 04 - 07:20 PM
GUEST,Reiver 2 07 Apr 04 - 08:44 PM
GUEST,Reiver 2 07 Apr 04 - 08:51 PM
McGrath of Harlow 08 Apr 04 - 07:32 AM
Pied Piper 08 Apr 04 - 07:43 AM
pavane 08 Apr 04 - 07:53 AM
Steve Parkes 08 Apr 04 - 12:31 PM
Reiver 2 09 Apr 04 - 12:56 PM
Reiver 2 09 Apr 04 - 01:53 PM
McGrath of Harlow 09 Apr 04 - 02:53 PM
Ferrara 09 Apr 04 - 03:30 PM
Folkiedave 09 Apr 04 - 03:48 PM
McGrath of Harlow 09 Apr 04 - 04:34 PM
GeoffLawes 09 Apr 04 - 05:31 PM
GUEST,An Púca 09 Apr 04 - 05:55 PM
Mrrzy 09 Apr 04 - 06:01 PM
Reiver 2 09 Apr 04 - 09:29 PM
GUEST,Billy 10 Apr 04 - 12:09 AM
Fear Faire 10 Apr 04 - 02:14 AM
Fear Faire 10 Apr 04 - 02:22 AM
Fear Faire 10 Apr 04 - 10:41 AM
Reiver 2 10 Apr 04 - 09:38 PM
McGrath of Harlow 10 Apr 04 - 09:47 PM
GUEST,Malcolm Douglas in Darkest Norfolk 11 Apr 04 - 08:51 PM
Les from Hull 12 Apr 04 - 10:40 AM
GUEST,Billy 13 Apr 04 - 03:48 AM
GUEST,Margaret 24 Jul 21 - 02:52 PM
Steve Gardham 24 Jul 21 - 04:10 PM
Mrrzy 25 Jul 21 - 11:20 PM
Mo the caller 26 Jul 21 - 03:17 AM
GUEST,Mark 26 Jul 21 - 04:32 AM
Steve Gardham 26 Jul 21 - 04:56 PM
Mrrzy 26 Jul 21 - 05:15 PM
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Subject: Rocky Road to Dublin question
From: GUEST,Reiver 2
Date: 07 Apr 04 - 05:29 PM

I've been away from the Mudcat for months... much too long... a few things have intervened including a heart attack before Christmas and starting a blog site (http://news-opinion.blog-city.com if anyone's interested) in an effort to do what little I can to outsource the jobs of those God-awful Bushies and send them packing out of Washington in November.

Anyway, I get a weekly email newsletter from the Arizona Irish Music Society and in today's issue a lady asked a couple of questions. I was tempted to just email her and refer her to the Mudcat, but then thought "I haven't been there in a long while, so I'll just ask her questions myself.

She wrote: "In the song 'Rocky Road to Dublin'
-Down among the pigs
-I played some funny rigs
-Danced some hearty jigs
-The water round me bubblin'

I know that jigs are lively dances or music in triple time but what is a rig?"

Also, "-"Hurrah my soul," sez I
-My shillelagh I let fly

The word shellelagh -- how do you pronounce it? sha-lay-lah or sha-lay-lee ?"

I've always said "sha-lay-lee", but I feel safer in relying on someone from the Mudcat to answer that as well as defining "rigs". I remember a thread several months ago where that word was discussed in the context of a stack of grain, ("Corn Rigs are bonnie", etc.) but that doesn't seem to fit in this context. Any help will be appreciated, and then I'll give the lady definitive answers, making sure to give full credit (along with a link) to the Mudcat Cafe!

Reiver 2


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Subject: RE: Rocky Road to Dublin question
From: s&r
Date: 07 Apr 04 - 05:37 PM

rigs - musical tricks is my understanding; similar to riffs and licks.
Shillelagh - accent on the middle syllable shu -lay- li

Stu


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Subject: RE: Rocky Road to Dublin question
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 07 Apr 04 - 06:40 PM

"rigs" just means tricks - he's just saying, it was a funny old time stuck there in the pigpen, jumping out of the way of the teeth and the trotters.

In the English language the "li" or "lee" pronunciation is the normal one, and that's the language the song is in.


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Subject: RE: Rocky Road to Dublin question
From: GUEST,Hrothgar in Canberra
Date: 07 Apr 04 - 07:18 PM

Thread drift- I thought a rig was a strip of farmland under the old feudal allotment scheme, as in "The Rigs of Rye."

A rod by a furlong seems to stick in my mind as the standard measure.

Obviously not the "rigs" referred to in "Rocky Road".


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Subject: RE: Rocky Road to Dublin question
From: Leadfingers
Date: 07 Apr 04 - 07:20 PM

A Rig is a trick- As in The Rigs of London Town,


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Subject: RE: Rocky Road to Dublin question
From: GUEST,Reiver 2
Date: 07 Apr 04 - 08:44 PM


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Subject: RE: Rocky Road to Dublin question
From: GUEST,Reiver 2
Date: 07 Apr 04 - 08:51 PM

Whoops, I don't know why that got sent before I typed ther message. Anyway, many thanks for the replies. (I knew I'd get the answers here. It's never failed.) I'll pass them on to AIMS newsletter.
Thanks again. I'll try to start checking in at the Mudcat more regularly -- actually, one reason I don't is that whenever I DO, I'm most likely going to spend most of the day here! (Every time I'm away for an extended time, they go back to calling me a "guest", so that's another good reason I should come here more often.

Reiver 2


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Subject: RE: Rocky Road to Dublin question
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 08 Apr 04 - 07:32 AM

What you do is, click on "membership" up the top of the page and follow instructions, and your cookie gets magically restored and your a card-carrying catter once more.

Mind, you're right about the addictive qualities of the Mudcat.


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Subject: RE: Rocky Road to Dublin question
From: Pied Piper
Date: 08 Apr 04 - 07:43 AM

The tune is very similar to "Cam ye o'er frae France" only in 9/8 instead of 3/2.
Quite a few tunes exist as both 3/2 Hornpipes and Slipjigs, and I suspect that there was a drift of melodic ideas away from 3/2 to 9/8 in the late 18th century.
PP


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Subject: RE: Rocky Road to Dublin question
From: pavane
Date: 08 Apr 04 - 07:53 AM

Old words because it is on old song!. Here is a link to a copy in the Bodleian Ballad library (Undated, but 1860's or earlier I think)

One or two misspellings, like LAVE for LEAVE, or maybe it was deliberate.

Rocky Road to Dublin


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Subject: RE: Rocky Road to Dublin question
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 08 Apr 04 - 12:31 PM

Might be an interperetation of the accent (as in "ould" for old later),or just a typo, like "was'nt" (misplaced apostrophe). We shall never know!


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Subject: RE: Rocky Road to Dublin question
From: Reiver 2
Date: 09 Apr 04 - 12:56 PM

Thanks, McG of H. I think I've taken care of it. I should have realized that a cookie had crumbled!

Thread creep: I'd always understood that rig was a Scottish dialect word referring to a stack of grain (corn, barley, etc) rather than a "strip of farmland" although I can see how some confusion might arise. I'm, just listening to Alex Beaton (a Scots singer now transplanted to Arizona) singing the song variously titled as "Corn Rigs" and "The Rigs o' Barley." It has the line "When corn rigs are bonnie-o" (the verse indicates that they are bonnie on "a Lammas night" (Lammas referring to the harvest festival) under an "unclouded moon"). Also lines like "I kissed her owre and owre again, amang the rigs of barley-o." Both of these lines suggest a reference to stacks of corn or barley rather than to a strip of farmland. BUT, with the CD is a small glossary which says, "Rig - measure of land." Now I'm really confused. I checked the Scottish Glossary here on the Mudcat and found: "Rig - ridge+back", also: "rig-bane - backbone", and also" "rigs o' rye - haystacks." Now I'm really, really confused. Any 'Catters want to try to clarify all this?

(Should there be a new thread called Rigs?)

Reiver 2


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Subject: RE: Rocky Road to Dublin question
From: Reiver 2
Date: 09 Apr 04 - 01:53 PM

Also, it occurs to me that all my references to "rig" relate to Scottish dialect. Yet, "Rocky Road to Dublin" is an Irish song. Maybe the term has different meanings in Scotland and Ireland. That might explain the definition of a musical "trick" -- as an Irish term. Is that possible?

Reiver 2


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Subject: RE: Rocky Road to Dublin question
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 09 Apr 04 - 02:53 PM

"Rig" for "trick" is a longstanding English expression - it might even just be another way of saying the same word, though I can't think of any other cases where "tr" gets turned inro "r".

"Rigs of corn" is really the same word as "ricks of corn", and I dpoubt if its got any connection with the other meaning. The rig meaning a measure (of land etc) might I suppose be related to that.

Short little words like "rig" tend to be used in several unrelated ways - the same is true of "jig" for example, as any craftsman who also plays folk music will be well aware (particularly if they also indulge in the odd bit of criminality, of the sort which might provoke them - being old fashioned sorts - to exclaim "the jig is up", when it seems their plans have gone awry.)


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Subject: RE: Rocky Road to Dublin question
From: Ferrara
Date: 09 Apr 04 - 03:30 PM

There was an expression, "Up to any rig and row in town" to mean a lively young man. In this case it meant tricks, high jinks, pranks. Like "boxing the watch," where the young fellows would overturn the watchman's box with the poor old guy in it.... That sort of pranks.

The expression was used in England with this meaning, probably Ireland & Scotland as well.


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Subject: RE: Rocky Road to Dublin question
From: Folkiedave
Date: 09 Apr 04 - 03:48 PM

Interestingly the well-known version by the Dubliners seems to follow the broadside version (almost)

However I did have a book with another verse ( a new 2 or 3 cannot exaclty remember which:

the Steam coach was at hand the driver said he'd cheap ones,
But the luggage van was too much for me ha'pence,
For England I was bound, 't would never do to balk it
for every step of the road bedad says I, I'll walk it,
I did not sigh or moan until I reached Athlone,
A pain in my shinbone.........................
..................................................

And there my memories fail me I am afraid.

So where did that come from?

I also remembering reading somewhere that this song used to send babies asleep..........(!!) and that an=one applying for a job as a nannyu needed to know this song.


Regards,

Dave
www.collectorsfolk.co.uk


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Subject: RE: Rocky Road to Dublin question
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 09 Apr 04 - 04:34 PM

Interesting new verse there, Dave. I wonder if it might come one of from James N Healy's collections? I've got his Second Book of Irish Ballads here, and though that hasn't got this song, the man's got a knack of having versions of songs like that with extra verses you've never comes across.

It'd fit in as third verse, after the one with Mullingar and before nthe Dublin one, since Athlone is between Mullingar and Dublin.


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Subject: RE: Rocky Road to Dublin question
From: GeoffLawes
Date: 09 Apr 04 - 05:31 PM

There is discussion above about the possible Scots and Irish origins of words in the song and also the assertion that it is an old Irish song but according to Kilgarriff's authoritive SING US ONE OF THE OLD SONGS A Guide to Popular Song 1860-1920 the song was written by the prolific Victorian music hall writer and performer Harry Clifton who was I believe English. Clifton clearly had one ear listening out for good traditional tunes as is evidenced by his choice of The traditional tune Nightingales Sing for his song PRETTY POLLY PERKINS OF PADDINGTON GREEN and perhaps there was a pre-existing Irish song on which he based Rocky Road. If anyone has evidence for this I would like to know.Other songs by Clifton can be heard in the clubs such as THE CALICO PRINTERS CLERK , MY RATTLING MARE MARE AND I and ON BOARD OF THE KANGEROO which are regarded by many to be traditional.


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Subject: RE: Rocky Road to Dublin question
From: GUEST,An Púca
Date: 09 Apr 04 - 05:55 PM


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Subject: RE: Rocky Road to Dublin question
From: Mrrzy
Date: 09 Apr 04 - 06:01 PM

When we were honeymooning in Ireland, trying to get people to sing Clancy Brothers songs and getting positively laughed at, the one thing we requested that the musicians were willing to sing was The Rocky Road to Dublin. We forgot to buy them the obligatory pint afterwards, so I'm afraid we can never go back to The Molly Malone in Dublin... sorry, Ragamuffins!


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Subject: RE: Rocky Road to Dublin question
From: Reiver 2
Date: 09 Apr 04 - 09:29 PM

GeoffLawes, just to clarify, I didn't refer to it as "an old Irish song" but only as "an Irish song." (In reference to the Scottish dialect words.) When I was doing the Ring of Kerry in 2001 I bought a set of 4 small books called "Folksongs and Ballads Popular in Ireland." Rocky Road to Dublin is in Vol. 3 with this notation: "The air is made out of a slip-jig (See R.M. Levey's "Collection of the Dance Music of Ireland"), also in O'Neill's "Dance Music of Ireland" (no. 411). The words appeared first on an anonymous broadsheet in the 19th century." For what that's worth.

McG of H, Yes, I was aware that the terms "rig" and "rick" are used almost interchangeably in regard to stacks of grain. I remember a long thread back in the fall of '03, I think, where there was a long discussion of these and similar short words -- but I can't recall the thread name.

Another similar word is "rickle"... as in the line in my favorite lullaby, Coulter's Candy where wee Huey is described as looking like "a rickle of banes". Which according to the Mudcat's Scottish Glossary is a "loose pile of bones or skeleton" if I remember correctly.

Reiver 2


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Subject: RE: Rocky Road to Dublin question
From: GUEST,Billy
Date: 10 Apr 04 - 12:09 AM

Not to do with the Irish "Rocky Road" song, but "Rigs of Barley".
I've always understood the terms "Rigs of corn" and "Rigs of barley" as used in Scottish dialect to refer to the stacks of grain in the field that look like small tents or "ridges". "Corn" refered to oats and "baer" was barley. Since different crops were grown in the fields each year a "rig of corn" would be unlikely to be applied to an actual piece of land.
The method used to reap grain in Burns' time was to scythe the plant near the bottom of the stalk and gather the stalks together into sheaves ("thraves") tied with a couple of the stalks. Because of the general dampness in the Scottish climate, 8 to 10 sheaves were stacked together in a tent-like formation to be left to dry before "thrashing" the grains out.
Trying to make love in a field full of corn stubble was a bit chancy (even worse than on a "Rocky Road"), so a few sheaves could be laid down to make a bed upon which the young lovers could make merry. Hence the song's celebration of the "rigs".
This same method of harvesting grain on Scottish farms continued well into the 1970's (using tractor-drawn "binders" - reapers which cut the stalks and bundled them into sheaves tied with twine. "Binder Twine" was the farmers' answer to almost anything that needed repair - kinda like Duct Tape these days!) The stacking of the sheaves into "stooks" was still manual labor. As in Burns' time the field was ploughed over in the "Back-end" (Autumn) turning the stubble and roots of the plant back into the soil.
Modern combine harvesters have done away with the "Rigs of Barley".


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Subject: RE: Rocky Road to Dublin question
From: Fear Faire
Date: 10 Apr 04 - 02:14 AM

As to Geoff Lawes question regarding any Irish precedents:

The English words of Rocky Road to Dublin are totally unrelated to the Irish words I've heard to the tune It begins "D'éirigh Tadhg aréir" and speaks of a man Tadhg hunting hares or rabbits. It has most recently been printed in N.J.A. Williams: Cniogaide Cnagaide, An Clóchomhar, Dublin 1998. He gives his previous printed source as a newspaper/periodical in 1912. His book is a compilation of traditional rhymes for children from various sources. He quotes five verses and a chorus/refrain for the turn.

Unfortunately, it seems to me to be a garbled version where only the first two verses could be sung to the tune. The other verses and indeed the refrain are more in line with a double jig and show signs of being from some version of Whiskey O Roudelum or one of its inbred cousins.

D'éirigh Tadhg aréir has been parodied and it is very unusual to hear more than the first verse now as the singer and audience break down during the turn. A case of pornography blocking transmission of folklore!


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Subject: RE: Rocky Road to Dublin question
From: Fear Faire
Date: 10 Apr 04 - 02:22 AM

Breandán Breatnach also quotes a little of D'éirigh Tadhg aréir. I'll look up the reference and return to this.


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Subject: RE: Rocky Road to Dublin question
From: Fear Faire
Date: 10 Apr 04 - 10:41 AM

Breandán Breathnach's quoted version of the words along with translation:


65. Óró, a Thaidhg, a Ghrá ["Oro, Tim, my love"]: On a stray page from a music book apparently published in America I found two settings of this jig called The Peeler Jig and Barney's Goat. Goodman's title for it is Skin the Peeler (G i, 34). Late Home at Night is another name for it in Kerry. Here is a verse of a song sung to it in Connemara:

's óró, a Thaidhg, a ghrá,

's óró a Thaidhg, a chumainnín,

's óró a Thaidhg, a Thaidhg,

's óró a Thaidhg, a chumainnín.

D'éirigh Tadhg aréir;

Chuaigh sé ag fiach na ngirríacha;

D'éirigh Máire ina dhéigh,

's lean sí é sna bonnachaí.

[Literally:        And oro, Tim, my love

and oro Tim, my little darling,

and oro Tim, Tim,

and oro Tim, my little darling.

Tim got up last night;

he went hunting the hares;

Mary got up after him,

and she followed in his footsteps.]

I got this song, and Cailleach an Airgid as well, from Máire Áine Ní Dhonnchadha from Knock.

[from John Potts, pipes]

This available on the net at (and pasted from):

http://users.argonet.co.uk/users/gatherer/books/CRE/cre1.html

Breathnach may not be talking about the tune of Rocky Road to Dublin here (maybe someone can confirm), but the words are definitely a version of those I heard to the tune.

FF


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Subject: RE: Rocky Road to Dublin question
From: Reiver 2
Date: 10 Apr 04 - 09:38 PM

Thanks to GUEST Billy for the explanations of harvesting grain in Scotland. I'd wondered about the level of comfort during lovemaking in a field full of stubble. When I was a boy a common expression for somthing patched or repaired temporarily and in a hurry was that it was done with "binder twine and baleing wire." It was at the time (in the U.S. midwest) when the balers that used twine were being replaces with those that used wire.

Reiver 2


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Subject: RE: Rocky Road to Dublin question
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 10 Apr 04 - 09:47 PM

I think 1861 counts as old in 2004. And the fact that a song was written by an English man back then doesn't mean it hasn't acquired residential qualifications to count as Irish by now.


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Subject: RE: Rocky Road to Dublin question
From: GUEST,Malcolm Douglas in Darkest Norfolk
Date: 11 Apr 04 - 08:51 PM

This is one occasion where a "stage Irish" song was actually written by a real Irishman; it was popularised by the English performer for whom it was written. Clifton wrote a lot of his own material (sometimes using traditional tunes or themes) but he also commissioned songs from others, and this is one such. I'm away from home just now and can't quote details, but will come back to it in a few days: though I suspect that some details at least are in one of the threads that deal with Clifton and his songs.


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Subject: RE: Rocky Road to Dublin question
From: Les from Hull
Date: 12 Apr 04 - 10:40 AM

this one?


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Subject: RE: Rocky Road to Dublin question
From: GUEST,Billy
Date: 13 Apr 04 - 03:48 AM

Riever, thanks for your observations. I spoke of harvesting and open-air "hoochmagandie" in the Scottish countryside from some personal experience.
A major problem in making a "bed" of straw was the existence of a small (0.25" length but very narrow) black insect (probably of the beetle family) we called "corn lice" which lived in the grain end of the stalks. You had to make sure you didn't disturb them too much.
And I'll tell you why...
On the farm, when the grain was dry enough, the "Thrashing Mill" (a big, 12' high, boxy machine hooked up to a tractor via an unguarded 6" drive belt) was set up in the farm yard and fired up. The sheaves were brought in from the fields, pitchforked from the lorry (a flat-bed cart) up to the top of the thrasher. The twine was cut and the grain stalks were fed into the machine which was basically a huge vibrator to shake the grain out of the plants. The empty stalks (straw) came out of one end (to be used for animal bedding and manure production). At the other end a blower separated the grain and the husks. The grain piled into a hopper where burlap bags were filled and the husks ("chaff") were blown out into a big pile.
This was a horrible job. As well as all the dust and pollen released during the thrashing process, all the "corn lice" got shaken out as well. Dust and bugs were all over you, in your clothes, mouth, nose and ears! The "corn lice" didn't bite, but were very itchy and really difficult to get out of the ears!
Which is why lovemaking could be hazardous in a Scottish farm field!


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Subject: RE: Rocky Road to Dublin question
From: GUEST,Margaret
Date: 24 Jul 21 - 02:52 PM

Listening to the London Folk Song Cellar on BFN back in the day, I heard Shirley Collins sang "Rigs o'the times", (Roud 876, mostly Norfolk, evidently dating to the Napoleonic Wars) where "rigs" are "swindles". Plenty others have sung that one too including Maddy Prior, and Martin Carthy.


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Subject: RE: Rocky Road to Dublin question
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 24 Jul 21 - 04:10 PM

What Malcolm didn't manage to finish is that the words were written for Clifton by the Galway poet, D K Gavan, as with other of Clifton's Irish repertoire. Clifton was partial to using existing folk tunes. There are plenty of threads on Clifton's songs.


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Subject: RE: Rocky Road to Dublin question
From: Mrrzy
Date: 25 Jul 21 - 11:20 PM

The chorus of this song now makes sense, who knew?


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Subject: RE: Rocky Road to Dublin question
From: Mo the caller
Date: 26 Jul 21 - 03:17 AM

Never make love in a corn field - remember corn has ears.


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Subject: RE: Rocky Road to Dublin question
From: GUEST,Mark
Date: 26 Jul 21 - 04:32 AM

Mo - you reminded me of the late great Rambling Syd Rumpo introducing a song:
"This tells the tale of a young loomer who wurdled a fair maid in a corn field, but had to stop as he felt it was going against the grain".


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Subject: RE: Rocky Road to Dublin question
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 26 Jul 21 - 04:56 PM

It was actually because he felt he was being stalked.


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Subject: RE: Rocky Road to Dublin question
From: Mrrzy
Date: 26 Jul 21 - 05:15 PM

Handsome Harry, Handsome Harry Thomas,
He was sued, yes, sued for breach of promise,
He took Mary walking through the dell,
And Mary promised not to tell, but
Mary went right home and told her mother,
Ma told Pa and Pa then told her brother,
Brother told the preacher and the preacher tolled the wedding bells.
So:
Never take a walk with Mary,
Never take a walk with Sue
Never take a walk with Maud or Carrie,
That's the kind of girl you'll have to marry,
If you take a girl out walking,
Strolling through the shady dell,
Always take a girl named Daisy
'Cause daisies don't tell.


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