Mudcat Café message #3242894 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #312   Message #3242894
Posted By: Jim Carroll
22-Oct-11 - 03:18 AM
Thread Name: Lyr Req: Roaches and Bedbugs?
One from wonderful Traveller singer Mary Delaney, along with the note to the CD of Travellers songs 'From Puck to Appleby
Jim Carroll

13 - THE KILKENNY LOUSE HOUSE (Roud 12933) Mary Delaney

Oh the first of my downfall I closed out the door,
And I then made my way on to Carrick-on-Suir,
Then when I got there it was late in the night,
I went down the Gas Road for to view the gas light.

Raddly fol the diddle ar ol,
Ti arol ty ay.

I met this blooming old man and I call him a tramp.
"Could you direct me any place I'd get a stall? "
For he brought me along 'til we came to Coke Lane,
There's an old woman here keeps a slumbering kean.

For we knocks on the door, the old lady comes out.
"If you give me two shillings I'll show you the bed."
For she brought me upstairs and quenched out the light,
Oh then, less than ten minutes I had to show fight.

"If you give me the daylight I'll fight my own way."
For the bugs and the lice they were beat me each way.
There were lumps on my bones and my back and my legs.
"Lay me out", says the poor man, "I'm nearly dead."

Oh the lady came in and she put on the light.
Oh then, less than five minutes your man got outside.
"If you give me fair play I can fight my own way,
But if you give me sore sides I'll give ye broken bones."

As popular as this song was, it has seldom appeared in print; we could trace only one published version in a collection entitled BalČlads From the Jails and Streets of Ireland. A recording of it from two County Waterford singers in 1965 was included in the Voice of the People series, Vol 7, oddly entitled Burke's Engine due to a mishearing on the editors' part of the name Buck St John who, in that version, is given as proprietor of the lodging-house. We have been unable to establish whether he or the Louse House ever existed.
The term 'slumbering kean' at the end of the second verse comes from Travellers language, Gammon or Cant, kean being a house or asylum.
We had great trouble recording this from Mary as, on most occasions, she sang it for us she was unable to reach the end for laughter. An additional verse she sang in one of these part-renditions was:

If you give me fair play I will fight my own way,
Between the bugs and the lice they will eat me away,
For a box of TD (DDT) I will shake here today,
And if I get the daylight I'll run mad away.

Ref: Ballads from the Jails and Streets of Ireland, Martin Shannon, Red Hand Books, 1966.
Other CDs: Tommy McGrath - Topic TSCD557