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Origins: Moses Ri-Tooral-I-Ay

DigiTrad:
MOSES RI-TOORAL-I-AY


Joe Richman 24 Jun 04 - 11:11 PM
Joe Offer 25 Jun 04 - 12:25 AM
Billy the Bus 25 Jun 04 - 12:26 AM
Joe Offer 25 Jun 04 - 12:36 AM
Joe Richman 25 Jun 04 - 12:44 AM
Joe Richman 25 Jun 04 - 12:46 AM
Billy the Bus 25 Jun 04 - 12:48 AM
Joe Richman 25 Jun 04 - 12:51 AM
Joe Offer 25 Jun 04 - 01:37 AM
Joe Richman 25 Jun 04 - 05:27 AM
Leadfingers 25 Jun 04 - 09:29 AM
John Hindsill 25 Jun 04 - 10:03 AM
GUEST,guest mick 25 Jun 04 - 10:12 AM
MartinRyan 25 Jun 04 - 03:45 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 25 Jun 04 - 04:16 PM
GUEST,Melani 25 Jun 04 - 05:45 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 25 Jun 04 - 11:43 PM
GUEST 26 Jun 04 - 12:19 AM
Joe Richman 26 Jun 04 - 12:22 AM
Joe Offer 26 Jun 04 - 12:44 AM
Brían 26 Jun 04 - 11:35 AM
RiGGy 26 Jun 04 - 12:33 PM
Brían 26 Jun 04 - 11:01 PM
LadyJean 26 Jun 04 - 11:25 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 27 Jun 04 - 12:06 AM
MartinRyan 27 Jun 04 - 06:09 AM
MartinRyan 27 Jun 04 - 07:37 AM
Backstage Manager(inactive) 27 Jun 04 - 10:17 AM
Backstage Manager(inactive) 27 Jun 04 - 10:22 AM
MartinRyan 27 Jun 04 - 01:39 PM
Rapparee 27 Jun 04 - 11:03 PM
Joe Richman 27 Jun 04 - 11:03 PM
Big Tim 28 Jun 04 - 04:55 AM
Big Tim 28 Jun 04 - 05:35 AM
greg stephens 28 Jun 04 - 05:48 AM
Big Tim 28 Jun 04 - 09:33 AM
MartinRyan 28 Jun 04 - 10:57 AM
Joe Offer 29 Jun 04 - 03:27 AM
greg stephens 29 Jun 04 - 07:50 PM
Big Tim 30 Jun 04 - 02:06 AM
MartinRyan 30 Jun 04 - 04:11 AM
Big Tim 30 Jun 04 - 04:41 AM
GUEST 30 Jun 04 - 06:23 AM
MartinRyan 30 Jun 04 - 06:44 AM
Seamus Kennedy 01 Jul 04 - 12:30 AM
MartinRyan 01 Jul 04 - 04:36 AM
Seamus Kennedy 01 Jul 04 - 12:22 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 01 Jul 04 - 01:36 PM
ard mhacha 02 Jul 04 - 12:41 PM
GUEST 09 Dec 04 - 11:36 AM
GUEST,Paul Burke 10 Dec 04 - 08:57 AM
GUEST,Ellen 27 Dec 05 - 03:27 PM
MartinRyan 27 Dec 05 - 08:46 PM
GUEST,Kathleen O'Farrell 26 Jul 08 - 05:38 PM
MartinRyan 26 Jul 08 - 07:26 PM
Fergie 26 Jul 08 - 10:42 PM
GUEST,Oz Childs 18 Jan 12 - 02:31 AM
kendall 18 Jan 12 - 12:27 PM
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Subject: Origins: Moses Ri-Tooral-I-Ay
From: Joe Richman
Date: 24 Jun 04 - 11:11 PM

I have been doing a series on songs using the tune "Villikens & His Dinah" at a mothly folk circle I attend. I found this one on the "cat", but I'm not satisfied with the explanation of what its origins are. Briscoe was Lord mayor of Dublin in the 50s and 60s, long after British suppression of Gaelic had ended. In fact there was a push in Eire to use as much Gaelic as possible in those days. The song may have some relationship to the fact that relatively few Dubliners were really fluent in Gaelic, but Gaelic isn't even mentioned once in the lyrics. Briscoe was I believe in Fianna Fail (if that was Eamon De Valera's party), and his son also became Lord Mayor. So this song may have to do with Dublin politics. An old thread on the "Cat" mentioned the possibility of anti-semitism, but I can't see it in this one at all, since the Jewish Moses Ri-Tooral-I-Ay isn't portrayed as anything but a sort of odd Irishman who turns out to be Jewish also. Plus the cop is portrayed as a jerk trying to advance at the expense of others. Briscoe was a hero of the rebellion against the British, and was associated with Michael Collins, according to my research.

Joe


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Subject: RE: Origins: Moses Ri-Tooral-I-Ay
From: Joe Offer
Date: 25 Jun 04 - 12:25 AM

Hi, Joe - The song is in The Irish Songbook by the Clancys. title shown is "Mr. Moses Ri-Tooral-i-ay." Attribution is "Adapted by Pat, Tom, and Liam Clancy, and Tommy Makem." The Harry Fox Agency's songfile.com also attributes the song to the Clancys. Note that the Digital Tradition attributes the song to "Brain O'Higgins," so I don't know it the Clancys, the DT, or both are wrong on attribution (and I imagine that's Brian O'Higgins, who wrote "The Soldiers of Cumann Na mBan" and other Irish songs). Here are the background notes from the Clancy songbook:
    At one time the Irish language, Gaelic, was forbidden by British law. This is a song about a Jewish marchant who arrived in a small town and opened a store, over which he put his name in Hebrew. A very ambitious British policeman came along, took one look at the Hebrew, assumed it was Gaelic, and dragged the Jew into court. That's the gist of it. It wasn't written so much to show the great love between the Irish and the Jews as to show the stupidity of the British.
The DT transcription of the song is very close to that in the clancy songbook - just a few typos in the last verse.
Can anybody give us solid verification of the songwriter's identity?
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Origins: Moses Ri-Tooral-I-Ay
From: Billy the Bus
Date: 25 Jun 04 - 12:26 AM

G'day Joe,

"Villikens & His Dinah" derivatives encapsulate a wealth of world-wide history. I 'tip's me lid' to someone who's getting it together!

I can't help with the 'real' history behind 'Moses', and my mate who could is dead just now.

To avoid thread creep here - Joe... Please start a "V & his D" thread - Just your song-list would do for starters. I'm sure it would lead to wonderful realms of folk-history....

Cheers - Sam - Stewart Island (NZ)

"A Digger just landed..." etc


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Subject: RE: Origins: Moses Ri-Tooral-I-Ay
From: Joe Offer
Date: 25 Jun 04 - 12:36 AM

Take a look at the Villikins threads we already have. It may be better to revive one of those for Villikins-specific information. I'd like more information on "Moses," if it's available.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Origins: Moses Ri-Tooral-I-Ay
From: Joe Richman
Date: 25 Jun 04 - 12:44 AM

Joe Offer:

The explanation you posted:

"At one time the Irish language, Gaelic, was forbidden by British law. This is a song about a Jewish merchant who arrived in a small town and opened a store, over which he put his name in Hebrew. A very ambitious British policeman came along, took one look at the Hebrew, assumed it was Gaelic, and dragged the Jew into court. That's the gist of it. It wasn't written so much to show the great love between the Irish and the Jews as to show the stupidity of the British."

This explanation falls apart under the following facts:

1) The Jew is selling on the street, and his name is on his case not his shop.

2) Briscoe was Lord mayor of Dublin, not a small town, and he is mentioned in the song.

3) Briscoe was the Jewish mayor of Dublin of Yogi Berra's famous quip "Only in America!", and was mayor during Yogi's stay with the NY Yankees. Long after British rule in Dublin had ended.

4) No mention of gaelic in the song. In fact there is a question of what exactly Moses is, and gael is never mentioned.

5) There may have been some rules REQUIRING gaelic in the 1950s, not banning it.

If that explanation is the origin of this song, then the song has drifted far off subject. I frankly don't understand the connection with the earlier incident in the 19th century (when the British laws against symbols, etc. were being enforced).

Joe


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Subject: DTCorr: Moses Ri-Tooral-I-Ay
From: Joe Richman
Date: 25 Jun 04 - 12:46 AM

To help all understand this discussion here are the words from the "Cat"

MR. MOSES RI-TOORAL-I-AY
(Brian O'Higgins)

The policeman walked out, oh, so proud on his beat
When a vision came to him of stripes on his sleeve;
"Promotion," he whispered, "I'll try for today,
So come with me Mister Ri-tooral-i-ay."

"Come tell me your name," says the limb of the law
To the little fat man selling wares on the straw.
"What's that, sir? Me name, sir? Why 'tis there on display
And it's Moses Ri-tooral-i-ooral-i-ay."

Now, the trial it came on and it lasted a week.
One judge said 'twas German; another, 'twas Greek-
"Prove you're lrish," said the policeman "and beyond it say nay;
And we'll sit on it, Moses Ri-tooral-i-ay."

Now the prisoner stepped up there as stiff as a crutch.
"Are you Irish or English or German or Dutch?"
"I'm a Jew, sir; I'm a Jew, sir," that came over to stay.
And my name it is Moses Ri-tooral-i-ay."

"We're two of a kind." said the judge to the Jew;
"You're a cousin of Briscoe and I am one too.
This numbskull has blundered and for it will pay."
"Wisha that's right," says Moses Ri-tooral-i-ay.

There's a garbage collector who works down our strset;
He once was a policeman, the pride of his beat.
And he moans all the night and he groans all the day,
Singing,"Moses Ri-tooral-i-ooral-i-ay. "


Joe
    Since the Digital Tradition has some errors, I made the corrections here, so that this is an exact copy of the lyrics in the Clancy Brothers Irish Songbook. The words are the same, but there were some typing errors in the DT.
    -Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Origins: Moses Ri-Tooral-I-Ay
From: Billy the Bus
Date: 25 Jun 04 - 12:48 AM

G'day Joe Offer,

First time I heard 'Moses' was at Wellington (NZ) Town Hall (or the 'Balladeer' coffee bar, after the Clancy show) in 1966ish.

As Tom Paley (or ????) had on his guitar case at that time "take me back to 1940 - I'm lost"

Cheers - Sam


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Subject: RE: Origins: Moses Ri-Tooral-I-Ay
From: Joe Richman
Date: 25 Jun 04 - 12:51 AM

"G'day Joe,

"Villikens & His Dinah" derivatives encapsulate a wealth of world-wide history. I 'tip's me lid' to someone who's getting it together!
To avoid thread creep here - Joe... Please start a "V & his D" thread - Just your song-list would do for starters. I'm sure it would lead to wonderful realms of folk-history....

Cheers - Sam - Stewart Island (NZ)

"A Digger just landed..." etc "

Thanks Sam, I may do that later. Right now, I'm checking out some possibilities for the July Circle. Have done a different one every month so far this year ( We missed April and May because of Easter & Mother's Day, so I've done 4 so far and I need four more for the 5 remaining dates .. V & his D will be for December and we go to a fiddler's convention in October)

Joe


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Subject: RE: Origins: Moses Ri-Tooral-I-Ay
From: Joe Offer
Date: 25 Jun 04 - 01:37 AM

Hi, Joe - I was just quoting from the Clancys. Far be it from me to accuse the Clancys of accuracy. They've become a bit more scholarly in their old age, but the songbook was published in 1979. The book's explanation of the song is almost word-for-word the same as the spoken introduction on the Clancy Luck of the Irish album. The CD has no printed notes on the song at all, and no songwriter attribution.

-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Origins: Moses Ri-Tooral-I-Ay
From: Joe Richman
Date: 25 Jun 04 - 05:27 AM

Joe Offer,

I understood that the explanation was from the source you mentioned. I'm just wondering how that explanation ( which was also summarized in brief in the DT ) can be squared with the actual words of the song. Hopefully, someone from Dublin who was there during the elder Briscoe's term as Lord Mayor may be able to shed more light on the origin of this song. I couldn't find anything in old forum posts.

Thanks for your thorough look into the Clancys' notes on the subject.

Joe


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Subject: RE: Origins: Moses Ri-Tooral-I-Ay
From: Leadfingers
Date: 25 Jun 04 - 09:29 AM

I had always thought that this was simply a contemporary song based on a historic idea . The use of Gaelic WAS banned by the British and there are a number of songs written by various Irishmen having a dig at the poor old Garda .


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Subject: RE: Origins: Moses Ri-Tooral-I-Ay
From: John Hindsill
Date: 25 Jun 04 - 10:03 AM

Perhaps the reference to Robert Briscoe is an anachronism by the author to emphasize the Jewishness of the participants in the song. It seems to me that the folkloric process often often has such allusions which approximately date the origin of the piece while referring to an earlier period. BTW, have you ever wondered why many biblical, Renaissance paintings show the participants in 15th & 16th century European garb?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Moses Ri-Tooral-I-Ay
From: GUEST,guest mick
Date: 25 Jun 04 - 10:12 AM

Sounds to me like the song was written in America. Nobody in dublin uses the word "garbage" or talks about garbage collectors. The Briscoes I think are an old Dublin Jewish family ;they would have been around when the British were here.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Moses Ri-Tooral-I-Ay
From: MartinRyan
Date: 25 Jun 04 - 03:45 PM

Written by Brian O'Higgins some time before 1907. I've just been reading the earliest copy of it in the Irish Traditional Music Archive. I'll get back with details

Regards


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Subject: RE: Origins: Moses Ri-Tooral-I-Ay
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 25 Jun 04 - 04:16 PM

Briscoe was Lord Mayor of Dublin ca. 1957. (See photo at www.life.com/Life/burrows/a4.html). Brain O'Higgins held the copyright, and was the writer as Martin Ryan notes; be glad to see the details.
Was Margaret Barry the first to record it?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Moses Ri-Tooral-I-Ay
From: GUEST,Melani
Date: 25 Jun 04 - 05:45 PM

I first heard the song from the Clancys in the early '60's. It never says they're in Dublin, just that they are "cousins" of Briscoe, apparently meaning The judge and defendant are both Jewish, and the cop is an idiot. If Briscoe is more contemporary than the time the song decribes, it may be that the Clancys (or someone else) threw that part in for fun, after the song was written.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Moses Ri-Tooral-I-Ay
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 25 Jun 04 - 11:43 PM

Peter Kennedy recorded Margaret Barry (1917-1989) singing this song in 1952. It is on Folktrax tape FTX 070, "The Blarney Shore, 1975."
Margaret Barry


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Subject: RE: Origins: Moses Ri-Tooral-I-Ay
From: GUEST
Date: 26 Jun 04 - 12:19 AM

So does someone have Margaret Barry's lyrics? (Cheapskate Joe wants it for free!)

By the way, on a website about Jews in Dublin, there was a mention that Briscoe was involved in gunrunning for the IRA during the era of the irish war of independence. It was this act that ultimately brought him to prominence. He was unknown to the British at the time or they would've hanged him.   

If there is an earlier version, it probably would be without reference to Briscoe or garbage collecting.


Joe


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Subject: RE: Origins: Moses Ri-Tooral-I-Ay
From: Joe Richman
Date: 26 Jun 04 - 12:22 AM

Oops..needed coookie reset on that last post!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Moses Ri-Tooral-I-Ay
From: Joe Offer
Date: 26 Jun 04 - 12:44 AM

It's also on the Margaret Barry recording in the Alan Lomax "Portrait" series. This cheapscate Joe copied the CD from the library, and doesn't have the booklet - and I can't make out the words well enough to post a transcription. As penance for my dubbing sins, I bought 18 Lomax CD's from Rounder, but not that one.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Origins: Moses Ri-Tooral-I-Ay
From: Brían
Date: 26 Jun 04 - 11:35 AM

I must admit I am receiving capacious cerebral satisfaction from this discourse on the epistemology of the Origins of Moses Ri-Tooral-I-Ay. :-)

Brían


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Subject: RE: Origins: Moses Ri-Tooral-I-Ay
From: RiGGy
Date: 26 Jun 04 - 12:33 PM

Good movie to see/hear related to the subject matter:
Shalom Ireland

Music by my BayAreaBud Lewis Santer !!

Riggy


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Subject: RE: Origins: Moses Ri-Tooral-I-Ay
From: Brían
Date: 26 Jun 04 - 11:01 PM

I have been tearing my house apart looking for my Margaret barry CD to no avail.

Brían


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Subject: RE: Origins: Moses Ri-Tooral-I-Ay
From: LadyJean
Date: 26 Jun 04 - 11:25 PM

My parents had a record "Songs of an Irish Tinker Lady", that included "Moses", and referred to the policeman as a "peeler". I don't remember if Briscoe was mentioned. But it ends with the peeler working as a street sweeper.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Moses Ri-Tooral-I-Ay
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 27 Jun 04 - 12:06 AM

Some people called Margaret Barry the "Queen of the Tinkers." Lady Jean, the recording probably was by her.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Moses Ri-Tooral-I-Ay
From: MartinRyan
Date: 27 Jun 04 - 06:09 AM

There's no mention of a Briscoe in the original. The version given by Joe above has been modernised somewhat - and shortened. I'll transcribe the original and put it in context later.

Regards


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Subject: Lyr Add: MOSES RITOORALALOORALALAY
From: MartinRyan
Date: 27 Jun 04 - 07:37 AM

Brian O'Higgins (who wrote under the name Brian na Banban i.e. Brian of Ireland) published a booklet of poems and songs in 1907 under the title "The Voice of Banba; Songs and Recitations for Young Ireland". In a frontispiece, he mentions that some of the pieces had been published a few years earlier in a short-run booklet (the title escapes me). I suspect that Moses Ritooralalooralalay was one of those. It was extremely popular, to the extent that O'Higgins has another song in the same book where the air is given as Moses Ritooralalooralalay.

MOSES RITOORALALOORALALAY

A skit on the absurd law relating to Irish names on carts.


The bobby marched on , he was lord of the town
But he suddenly stopped with a snort and a frown
For the name on the dray that stood over the way
Was "Moses Ritooralalooralalay!"

Chorus
Ritooralalooralalay
Ritooralalooralalay
Oh where would you find such a name on a dray
As Moses Ritooralalooralalay

The peeler grew proud, like a hen in a cleeve
And visions came on of a V on his sleeve
"Promotion", he whispered, "I'll try for today
With Moses Ritooralalooralalay"

"Come tell me your name", said the limb of the law
To the little black man settling delph in the straw
"Vat's that? My name sir? 'tis here on the dray
And it's Moses Ritooralalooralalay"

"Well it isn't a legible name, do you mind
And if it is Irish, you'll surely be fined
And then I can look for a rise in my pay
So come with me, Mishter Ritooralalooralalay"

"Oh it's all very fine" said the local J P
"But this thing is too complicated for me
We'll have to get Pether the Packer to say
What he thinks of Ritooralalooralalay"

Well the trial came on and it lasted a week
One judge said 'twas German, another 'twas Greek
"Prove it Irish," said Pether beyond yea or nea
"And we'll sit on Ritooralalooralalay"

At last he grew mad and he glared all around
He looked at the lawyers, they looked at the ground
He brow-beat the jury, but all they could say
Was "Ritooralalooralalay"

Then he turned to the prisoner, as stiff as a crutch
"Are you Irish or English or German or Dutch?"
"I'm a Jew, sir, a Jew that came over to stay
And my name is Ritooralalooralalay"

"We're two of a trade" said the Judge to the Jew
"You pack for a living, I pack for it too
This numbskull has blundered and for it he'll pay"
"Vich is right" said Ritooralalooralalay

There's a sorrowful scavenger sweeps in the street
He once was a peeler, the pride of his beat
He moans all the night and he groans all the day
"Ritooralalooralalay"

Reading the book, O'Higgins comes across as a casual racist, by modern and even not so modern standards. His songs have many unpleasant references to "Jewies" and "coons" – note that in the above, the Jew is black! His main vituperation, however, is reserved for "Shoneens" i.e. Irish people who supported or did not oppose British rule in Ireland.

1.        I know nothing about the Peter the Packer reference – presumably to some well-known judge at the time.
2.        A "cleeve" is a basket for a hatching hen.
3.        There was a significant influx of Jewish immigrants (mainly from Lithuania?) into Dublin in the 1890's, as far as I remember. Many made a living as itinerant peddlers.

As a final irony: In recent months, Irish car owners have found their cars failing the statutory roadworthiness test because the registration plate did not hold the name of the county of registration in the Irish language!

Regards


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Subject: RE: Origins: Moses Ri-Tooral-I-Ay
From: Backstage Manager(inactive)
Date: 27 Jun 04 - 10:17 AM

There is a very good documentary called "Shalom Ireland," about the Jewish community in Ireland, that is now making the film festival rounds and which, I would imagine, will eventually turn up on PBS and/or CBC. The Briscoe family history is discussed in the film.

Shalom Ireland website.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Moses Ri-Tooral-I-Ay
From: Backstage Manager(inactive)
Date: 27 Jun 04 - 10:22 AM

BTW, the soundtrack music to Shalom Ireland is by a band called Ceilizmer, which was created for the soundtrack by fusing members of a Celtic band, Driving with Fergus, and a Klezmer band, The Freilachmakers Klezmer String Band. They perform a mixture of traditional Jewish and traditional Irish music that is very effective.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Moses Ri-Tooral-I-Ay
From: MartinRyan
Date: 27 Jun 04 - 01:39 PM

Peter the Packer! .

Regards


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Subject: RE: Origins: Moses Ri-Tooral-I-Ay
From: Rapparee
Date: 27 Jun 04 - 11:03 PM

The first I heard of the song was on the Clancy's first Columbia album, the one with Pete Seeger on the banjo. The quote from the songbook Joe Offer offered is an exact quote of what was said on the album to introduce the song.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Moses Ri-Tooral-I-Ay
From: Joe Richman
Date: 27 Jun 04 - 11:03 PM

Thanks Martin... this version is free of historical inconsistencies. The reference to "black man" may be a reference to his hair (as in the black Irish) or to his clothes (blackman was used I believe to describe members of a protestant society who dressed in black). Black hair and black clothes were quite common among Jewish peddlers from eastern europe.

And the explanation of "Peter the Packer" is great! The comparison of him to a street peddler wasn't meant to be flattering, I'm sure.

My quest is finished, thanks!

Joe


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Subject: RE: Origins: Moses Ri-Tooral-I-Ay
From: Big Tim
Date: 28 Jun 04 - 04:55 AM

Brian O'Higgins (1882-1966), born Kilskeer, near Kells, Meath. Fought in 1916 Rising, TD for Clare in 1922. President of Sinn Fein 1931-33. 107 of his songs published in his Wolfe Tone Album 1950 (I have a copy).

"Moses" is probably his best known song but he also wrote hundreds of others, including:

John Mitchel,
Maurice O'Neill,
Soldiers of '22,
O'Donovan Rossa,
Victoria (recorded by Grehan Sisters).

I have Margaret Barry singing "Moses": only the words are given, there is no note on the song. (It's on "I Sang Through the Fairs" album).


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Subject: RE: Origins: Moses Ri-Tooral-I-Ay
From: Big Tim
Date: 28 Jun 04 - 05:35 AM

Robert (Bob) Briscoe (1894-1969). Dublin born Jew of Lithuanian parentage. Old IRA man. Founder member of Fianna Fail. TD for Dublin City South 1927-65. Dublin City Council member 1930. Lord Mayor 1956 and 1961. Active Zionist.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Moses Ri-Tooral-I-Ay
From: greg stephens
Date: 28 Jun 04 - 05:48 AM

yes, black doesnt always mean black. Colur words ofetn have a cultural context, and nedd examining carefully. The words red, gold, and yellow, for example, in od English, dont always mean what we think of now. I'm sure the "black" in this song just means dark-haired or dar-compexioned, nothing to with negro-type black.
   You find Kurds with the nickname "Red" in Kurdish, who certainly are not red-haired. (Not that red hair is actually red in English either. it's more orange really). Kurds called Red have brown hair, as opposed to the more common black. These things are all relative. Brian O'Higgins may well have been a racist(most people were then, and most people are now): but calling Moses "black" doesnt really imply much about racist attitudes, to my way of thinking.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Moses Ri-Tooral-I-Ay
From: Big Tim
Date: 28 Jun 04 - 09:33 AM

In Ireland "black" can also mean "orange"! That is, members of the Royal Black Preceptory, the most senior and elite Orange organisation, full name Imperial Grand Black Chapter of the British Commonwealth. They have a song too, called "The Blackman's Dream"!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Moses Ri-Tooral-I-Ay
From: MartinRyan
Date: 28 Jun 04 - 10:57 AM

Having read the book, I'm afraid I reckon "black" means "black"!

Regards


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Subject: RE: Origins: Moses Ri-Tooral-I-Ay
From: Joe Offer
Date: 29 Jun 04 - 03:27 AM

The Lomax/Margaret Barry recording is similar to the lyrics Martin Ryan posted, but there are some differences. This is a difficult one to transcribe - Here's what I hear:

Moses Ritoora-li-ay

Oh, the bobby have done like a hen on a cleeve
And visions came on of a "V" on his sleeve
"Promotion", he whispered, "I'll try for today
So, come with me, Moses Ritoorali-ooral-i-ay"

The bobby marched on, he was lord of the town
He suddenly stopped with a snort and a frown
"Promotion", he whispered, "I'll try for today
So, come with me, Moses Ritoorali-ooral-i-ay"

"Come tell me your name", said the limb of the law
To the little fat man settling delph in the straw
"What's that? My name sir? 'tis here on the dray
And it's Moses Ritoorali-ooral-i-ay"

Well the trial came on and it lasted a week
One judge said 'twas German, another 'twas Greek
"Prove her Irish," said Pether (?) beyond yea or nea (?)
"And he sees on it (?) Moses Ritoorali-ooral-i-ay"

Then he turned to the prisoner, as stiff as a crutch
"Are you Irish or English or German or Dutch?"
"I'm a Jew, sir, I'm a Jew, sir, that came over to stay
And my name it is Moses Ritoorali-oorali-ay"

There's a sorrowful scavenger sweeps on the street
He once was a peeler, the pride of his beat
He moans all the night and he groans all the day
Singing Moses Ritoorali-oorali-ay


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Subject: RE: Origins: Moses Ri-Tooral-I-Ay
From: greg stephens
Date: 29 Jun 04 - 07:50 PM

refresh


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Subject: RE: Origins: Moses Ri-Tooral-I-Ay
From: Big Tim
Date: 30 Jun 04 - 02:06 AM

Just had a thought! If the song was written in 1907, then the "Briscoe" referred to can't have been the Robert Briscoe above, born in 1894. So, who was Briscoe?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Moses Ri-Tooral-I-Ay
From: MartinRyan
Date: 30 Jun 04 - 04:11 AM

Big Tim

The version I've given is from the original book - no Briscoe. Presumbly it was introduced as the Peter the Packer reference became meaningless.

Regards.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Moses Ri-Tooral-I-Ay
From: Big Tim
Date: 30 Jun 04 - 04:41 AM

Ah! Thank you Martin.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Moses Ri-Tooral-I-Ay
From: GUEST
Date: 30 Jun 04 - 06:23 AM

who was "Peter the Packer", please make the reference relevant for me


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Subject: RE: Origins: Moses Ri-Tooral-I-Ay
From: MartinRyan
Date: 30 Jun 04 - 06:44 AM

GUEST

Check the link in my post of June 27 above (click).

Regards


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Subject: RE: Origins: Moses Ri-Tooral-I-Ay
From: Seamus Kennedy
Date: 01 Jul 04 - 12:30 AM

My feeling is that the Clancys or possibly Tommy Makem altered the words for their American audience. Hence the "garbage collector' reference, and most Irish ex-pats (no pun intended) would have understood the Briscoe reference quite readily in the early 1960's. Then when the Clancys became popular in Ireland and their albums sales grew, their songs (altered versions) also became popular at home.

Seamus


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Subject: RE: Origins: Moses Ri-Tooral-I-Ay
From: MartinRyan
Date: 01 Jul 04 - 04:36 AM

Seamus

Agreed.
It would be nice to find evidence of the song betweeen 1907 and the Clancy era. I'll see what I can find.

Regards


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Subject: RE: Origins: Moses Ri-Tooral-I-Ay
From: Seamus Kennedy
Date: 01 Jul 04 - 12:22 PM

Martin, no better man for the job! Go to it, sir.

Seamus


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Subject: RE: Origins: Moses Ri-Tooral-I-Ay
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 01 Jul 04 - 01:36 PM

Joe, thanks for your attempt at the Margaret Barry song. Perhaps MartinRyan could give it a listen and dot the i's (and thanks to him for the original).


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Subject: RE: Origins: Moses Ri-Tooral-I-Ay
From: ard mhacha
Date: 02 Jul 04 - 12:41 PM

I agree with Martin and Seamus this oul song was doing the rounds long before the Clancys and Makem arrived , and the lads doctored it to suit the US audience.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Moses Ri-Tooral-I-Ay
From: GUEST
Date: 09 Dec 04 - 11:36 AM

Black in this context probably means dark, not negro. Even Jews called other Jews 'blackies' as in insult, for example the higher-class Jews of interwar Germany despised the ones from East Europe, which they called 'blackies' or even 'nigger'.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Moses Ri-Tooral-I-Ay
From: GUEST,Paul Burke
Date: 10 Dec 04 - 08:57 AM

If it was written in 1907, it was just after the Limerick pogrom:
What was the Limerick pogrom?
Which makes the casual racism (Jews are small and fat: they can expect favours from friends in high places) just a little distasteful.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Moses Ri-Tooral-I-Ay
From: GUEST,Ellen
Date: 27 Dec 05 - 03:27 PM

Hi I know I'm late to the party. I notice references here to the "Clancy's". However there is a version of the song by Margaret Barry, a ballad singer. She was known in the 20s, 30s and 40s and earned her wages singing at fairs on the west coast of Eire -- though Alan Lomax did finally do proper recordings of her in the 50s -- they're a bit crude but nonetheless charming.   It makes me think the references to banning Irish are about the time during the elder lord major Briscoe's office. (Shorlly after 1916?). Llanguage might still have been a hot topic then.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Moses Ri-Tooral-I-Ay
From: MartinRyan
Date: 27 Dec 05 - 08:46 PM

Ellen

If you read through the thread, you'll see that Briscoe is a latecomer to the party! Language was indeed a "problem" at the time.

Regards


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Subject: RE: Origins: Moses Ri-Tooral-I-Ay
From: GUEST,Kathleen O'Farrell
Date: 26 Jul 08 - 05:38 PM

My mother (born 1890) used to sing this song in the 1930s and there was not word about Briscoe in it.
Robert Briscoe (and, I believe, also his brother) was a patriot during the struggle for freedom and a very well respected Lord Mayor of Dublin some time around the 1950s.
In my mother's version the policeman was called a "bobby", Moses' name was written on a dray (a cart) and "a little black man packing glass into straw" in those days meant a darkhaired man. The bobby ended up as a "scavenger" not a garbage collector.
Peter the Packer was a judge with a reputation for "packing" juries (by selecting only pro-Crown individuals), hence the "I pack for a living, you pack for one too".
The song was anti-British, anti-authorities but definitely not anti-Semitic. My mother would never have sung it if it had been: a devout Catholic, she admired the Jewish people in Dublin because, in her opinion, they were goodliving, hardworking, of sober habits and generous to the poor.
Regards, Kathleen


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Subject: RE: Origins: Moses Ri-Tooral-I-Ay
From: MartinRyan
Date: 26 Jul 08 - 07:26 PM

While I agree that the song is never regarded as anti-Semitic in Ireland, its author could certainly be described as such - see my earlier posting.

Regards


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Subject: RE: Origins: Moses Ri-Tooral-I-Ay
From: Fergie
Date: 26 Jul 08 - 10:42 PM

Hi Martin et al

This is facinating stuff.

Fergus


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Subject: RE: Origins: Moses Ri-Tooral-I-Ay
From: GUEST,Oz Childs
Date: 18 Jan 12 - 02:31 AM

A scavenger is a garbage collector. When I lived in San Franciso, the two garbage haulers were "scavengers" (the main one was "Sunset Scavengers" as I recall). Shouldn't be surprised if the scavengers were Irish at first, before the big wave of Italian immigration.

In that respect, the Clancy Bros. version just updated the language of the lyrics.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Moses Ri-Tooral-I-Ay
From: kendall
Date: 18 Jan 12 - 12:27 PM

Poetic license.


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