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Songs illegal to sing in Ireland

Gudrun Miller 28 Sep 07 - 04:22 AM
Big Al Whittle 28 Sep 07 - 04:49 AM
Dead Horse 28 Sep 07 - 05:00 AM
Malcolm Douglas 28 Sep 07 - 05:07 AM
PMB 28 Sep 07 - 05:13 AM
Wolfgang 28 Sep 07 - 05:27 AM
Wolfgang 28 Sep 07 - 05:33 AM
Liz the Squeak 28 Sep 07 - 05:37 AM
John MacKenzie 28 Sep 07 - 05:47 AM
Mr Happy 28 Sep 07 - 05:48 AM
Big Al Whittle 28 Sep 07 - 05:50 AM
Mr Happy 28 Sep 07 - 05:52 AM
Mr Happy 28 Sep 07 - 05:55 AM
Mr Happy 28 Sep 07 - 05:57 AM
Liz the Squeak 28 Sep 07 - 06:01 AM
Mr Happy 28 Sep 07 - 06:05 AM
McGrath of Harlow 28 Sep 07 - 06:10 AM
Ruth Archer 28 Sep 07 - 06:16 AM
JulieF 28 Sep 07 - 06:50 AM
Ruth Archer 28 Sep 07 - 07:20 AM
Emma B 28 Sep 07 - 07:26 AM
kendall 28 Sep 07 - 07:40 AM
Grab 28 Sep 07 - 08:46 AM
Leadfingers 28 Sep 07 - 09:37 AM
John MacKenzie 28 Sep 07 - 09:38 AM
Big Al Whittle 28 Sep 07 - 10:57 AM
Ruth Archer 28 Sep 07 - 11:03 AM
GUEST 28 Sep 07 - 11:05 AM
Big Al Whittle 28 Sep 07 - 11:12 AM
Emma B 28 Sep 07 - 11:35 AM
Ruth Archer 28 Sep 07 - 12:37 PM
The Sandman 28 Sep 07 - 12:44 PM
greg stephens 28 Sep 07 - 12:47 PM
Geoff Wallis 28 Sep 07 - 12:58 PM
JohnInKansas 28 Sep 07 - 01:30 PM
GUEST 28 Sep 07 - 02:56 PM
GUEST,Jim Carroll 28 Sep 07 - 03:05 PM
Mr Red 28 Sep 07 - 03:23 PM
Declan 28 Sep 07 - 03:31 PM
Liz the Squeak 28 Sep 07 - 06:35 PM
David Ingerson 28 Sep 07 - 09:52 PM
Canberra Chris 28 Sep 07 - 10:10 PM
Rapparee 28 Sep 07 - 10:32 PM
Mike Miller 28 Sep 07 - 10:39 PM
Big Al Whittle 28 Sep 07 - 11:05 PM
the button 28 Sep 07 - 11:38 PM
Liz the Squeak 29 Sep 07 - 01:49 AM
GUEST,Jim Carroll 29 Sep 07 - 02:43 AM
Liz the Squeak 29 Sep 07 - 02:50 AM
Malcolm Douglas 29 Sep 07 - 03:49 AM
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Subject: Songs illegal to sing in Ireland
From: Gudrun Miller
Date: 28 Sep 07 - 04:22 AM

Hello all--
I read in the reissue of the Clancy bros first album that for many years it was illegal to sing most of the material in Ireland. What other songs are illegal in Ireland?


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Subject: RE: Songs illegal to sing in Ireland
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 28 Sep 07 - 04:49 AM

Agadoo, The Birdie Song.....


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Subject: RE: Songs illegal to sing in Ireland
From: Dead Horse
Date: 28 Sep 07 - 05:00 AM

rofl Good answer :-)


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Subject: RE: Songs illegal to sing in Ireland
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 28 Sep 07 - 05:07 AM

Those two songs ought to be illegal everywhere. So far as the original question is concerned, beware of believing everything you read on a Clancy Brothers record sleeve.

Were any specific songs mentioned? Although many songs are widely believed to have been 'banned' at various times and in various countries, the people who believe such things rarely seem to be able to provide evidence beyond hearsay and old wives' tales; and they are rarely quite sure by whom such songs were 'banned', or when, or why, or how; they just feel sure that they were.

Real evidence, of course, is always welcome.


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Subject: RE: Songs illegal to sing in Ireland
From: PMB
Date: 28 Sep 07 - 05:13 AM

I suspect that the Horst Wessel Lied is illegal in Germany.


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Subject: RE: Songs illegal to sing in Ireland
From: Wolfgang
Date: 28 Sep 07 - 05:27 AM

You made me curious, wld, and I did google and now I know: My God, you also have that dance! Ducks' Dance is what we call it.

I doubt that recently many songs have actually been illegal in Ireland though some songs were(are) not played by RTE which is something different. Due to threat of legal action Christy Moore was forced to take one song off the tracklist of one of his recordings.

But it is easy to fill a whole double CD with songs that (if you go far enough back in time, let's say roughly a century or more) have been illegal in Ireland. There are reports that people have been sentenced to spend time in jail for even whistling the tune of illegal songs. That may be what the text on the record sleeve means.

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: Songs illegal to sing in Ireland
From: Wolfgang
Date: 28 Sep 07 - 05:33 AM

PMB,

you're right. That and (I think) several others. Exception: Historical films, theaters etc.

Playing the Horst Wessel tune only could be a very difficult case for the state attorney, if one (correctly) claims that one was playing the older (very unknown) folktune from which the Horst Wessel tune was taken.

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: Songs illegal to sing in Ireland
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 28 Sep 07 - 05:37 AM

Now if it were Irish songs it should be illegal to sing....



The list would run to thousands!

LTS


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Subject: RE: Songs illegal to sing in Ireland
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 28 Sep 07 - 05:47 AM

Oh no! Not the Fields of Athenry !
G.


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Subject: RE: Songs illegal to sing in Ireland
From: Mr Happy
Date: 28 Sep 07 - 05:48 AM

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Birdie_Song


http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=1PgL0DjqjgU


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Subject: RE: Songs illegal to sing in Ireland
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 28 Sep 07 - 05:50 AM

That was the Christy Moore song about the fire in the night club, a wasn't it? I think the night club owbers took out an injunction - but that's not exactly illegal.

there are lots of cases where legal action has been used to muzzle an artist (in very country)- but that's not like the executive of the country banning something.

there was some kerfuffle in Ireland about the Python's song Every Sperm is Sacred.........I'm not sure what that was.


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Subject: RE: Songs illegal to sing in Ireland
From: Mr Happy
Date: 28 Sep 07 - 05:52 AM

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=bU6p0m0E0LM

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agadoo


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Subject: RE: Songs illegal to sing in Ireland
From: Mr Happy
Date: 28 Sep 07 - 05:55 AM

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=9DkqU-uWojc


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Subject: RE: Songs illegal to sing in Ireland
From: Mr Happy
Date: 28 Sep 07 - 05:57 AM

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Every_Sperm_Is_Sacred


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Subject: RE: Songs illegal to sing in Ireland
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 28 Sep 07 - 06:01 AM

'Every Sperm is Sacred' wasn't exactly banned, but as the scene immediately following in 'The Meaning of Life' talked about contraception, it was frowned upon by the Catholic Church in many countries.

'Life of Brian' on the other hand WAS banned with many cinemas refusing to show it in the Republic. I have a southern Irish friend who took a trip north over the border risking all manner of indignities, just to see the film.

LTS


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Subject: RE: Songs illegal to sing in Ireland
From: Mr Happy
Date: 28 Sep 07 - 06:05 AM

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=jHPOzQzk9Qo


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Subject: RE: Songs illegal to sing in Ireland
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 28 Sep 07 - 06:10 AM

"Many cinemas refusing to show it" isn't quite the same as being banned.


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Subject: RE: Songs illegal to sing in Ireland
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 28 Sep 07 - 06:16 AM

Does anyone remember the Father Ted episode that spoofed rural cinemas banning films? Hilarious.


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Subject: RE: Songs illegal to sing in Ireland
From: JulieF
Date: 28 Sep 07 - 06:50 AM

down with that sort of thing


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Subject: RE: Songs illegal to sing in Ireland
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 28 Sep 07 - 07:20 AM

Exactly.


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Subject: RE: Songs illegal to sing in Ireland
From: Emma B
Date: 28 Sep 07 - 07:26 AM

Quite a lot of international literature was banned in Ireland in the mid 20thC including books by -                               Beckett
Joyce
Brendan Behan
Austin Clarke
J.P. Donleavy
John B. Keane
Walter Macken
John McGahern
Brian Moore
Edna O'Brien
Kate O'Brien
Sean O'Casey
Frank O'Connor
Sean O'Faolain
Liam O'Flaherty

"References to records or songs being "banned" in Ireland refer to one or more radio stations refusing to play the songs rather than any legislative ban although prior to 1989 it may have been a moot point given the only legal broadcasting stations in Ireland were those operated by state broadcaster RTÉ." - Wikipedia


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Subject: RE: Songs illegal to sing in Ireland
From: kendall
Date: 28 Sep 07 - 07:40 AM

Down with everything that I don't like.


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Subject: RE: Songs illegal to sing in Ireland
From: Grab
Date: 28 Sep 07 - 08:46 AM

Easy now.


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Subject: RE: Songs illegal to sing in Ireland
From: Leadfingers
Date: 28 Sep 07 - 09:37 AM

Bearing in mind that The I.R.A is still an illegal organisation in Eire , following them declaring war in The Irish Free State after partition , it is quite possible that singing any song that glorified what the I.R.A. did would be at least frowned on !


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Subject: RE: Songs illegal to sing in Ireland
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 28 Sep 07 - 09:38 AM

I think it's just the way you sing them Terry ;-)
G.


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Subject: RE: Songs illegal to sing in Ireland
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 28 Sep 07 - 10:57 AM

In actual fact there are still some extremist cells operating in remote parts of Ireland where Agadoo, The Birdie Song, Una Paloma Blanca and Viva Espana are routinely sung.


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Subject: RE: Songs illegal to sing in Ireland
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 28 Sep 07 - 11:03 AM

"Bearing in mind that The I.R.A is still an illegal organisation in Eire , following them declaring war in The Irish Free State after partition , it is quite possible that singing any song that glorified what the I.R.A. did would be at least frowned on !"

You're joking, right?


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Subject: RE: Songs illegal to sing in Ireland
From: GUEST
Date: 28 Sep 07 - 11:05 AM

Just a point of clarification, but James Joyce's works were never banned in Ireland, though copies of 'Ulysses' were hard to come by until it was published in the UK. Extracts from the novel were banned for some fifteen years in the US - see http://www.jamesjoyce.ie/detail.asp?ID=19 .


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Subject: RE: Songs illegal to sing in Ireland
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 28 Sep 07 - 11:12 AM

They would have banned Joyce if they got their hands on his books, but the English impounded all the copies bound for Ireland. see how we look out for you - your reputation for doing something mean like that is unsullied.


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Subject: RE: Songs illegal to sing in Ireland
From: Emma B
Date: 28 Sep 07 - 11:35 AM

ooops! sorry, it was the film version of Ulysses that was banned in Ireland for over 30 years since being filmed in Dublin in 1967.

The book was never actually "legally" banned in Ireland but as it was only published in Paris and banned in both the UK and the US copies were not widely available.

I don't think that any of the pubs that I've joined in singing sessions in Ireland in the last 30 years frowned upon IRA songs - they were usually sung with great gusto!


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Subject: RE: Songs illegal to sing in Ireland
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 28 Sep 07 - 12:37 PM

that's what I meant too, Emma, re the IRA songs...


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Subject: RE: Songs illegal to sing in Ireland
From: The Sandman
Date: 28 Sep 07 - 12:44 PM

It may not be illegal,but it would be very unwise to sing [o for the orange and the lily o],in the republic.


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Subject: RE: Songs illegal to sing in Ireland
From: greg stephens
Date: 28 Sep 07 - 12:47 PM

There certainly have been many places where it would have been inadvisable to whisle Lilliburlero, The Sash, or Croppies Lie Down.And other places where the Wearing of the Green, St Patrick's Day or the Shan van Vocht would have been similarly contra-indicated.


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Subject: RE: Songs illegal to sing in Ireland
From: Geoff Wallis
Date: 28 Sep 07 - 12:58 PM

The 1967 film of 'Ulysses' was not given a certificate for general release in Ireland until 2000, but it was available for private showing in Irish film clubs before then. I don't think that the novel was ever actually banned in the UK, but just took a hell of a long time to get published there.


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Subject: RE: Songs illegal to sing in Ireland
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 28 Sep 07 - 01:30 PM

Ulysses was banned in the US by order of the Postmaster General. One report (Petersen) asserts that in the court decision that ordered the PG to lift the ban the judge stated that it "is not obscene, just incredibly boring."

John


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Subject: RE: Songs illegal to sing in Ireland
From: GUEST
Date: 28 Sep 07 - 02:56 PM

RE: Horst Wessel Lied

http://www.google.de - with the restriction to only return pages written in German.

RETURNS and many of them MP3

HORST is alive and well in the Brave New World.

Sincerely,


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Subject: RE: Songs illegal to sing in Ireland
From: GUEST,Jim Carroll
Date: 28 Sep 07 - 03:05 PM

One of the books on the Church's notorious index was the Irish classic 'The Tailor and Ansty' by Eric Cross.
It's a while since I've read it and it may seem fairly innocuous now but it is superb and deserves to be read by everybody.
Of course one of the urban (do I mean urbane?) legends was that the song McCaffery carried a threat of imprisonment if sung by a serviceman in the British Army - totally untrue .
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Songs illegal to sing in Ireland
From: Mr Red
Date: 28 Sep 07 - 03:23 PM

I have heard it said that whistling the tune was eventually made illegal , because songs known to be nationalistic were given innocent lyrics but some contained loade words like linnet as in "She sang each note like an Irish linnet". and linnet was a naughty word. Well code for feinian supporter. Jim Maggean said it. I am sure there was a regular lexicon associated therefore. Consequently those songs were considered contentious and thereby the tune was a code to say "up yours".

Set dancing was similalry frowned on. The way I heard it was that it was danced at cross roads with musicians mouthing the music so that if the police arrived they could only cathc 1/4 of the dancers - but what if four officers arrived? A tall tale maybe.


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Subject: RE: Songs illegal to sing in Ireland
From: Declan
Date: 28 Sep 07 - 03:31 PM

There is no legal mechanism for banning songs in Ireland.

Section 31 of the Braodcasting act was used to prohibit the braodcast of material which supported the activity of illegal organisations on the national broadcaster RTE. I'm not sure if this ever extended to pro-Republican songs, but it may have done. Sinn Féin leaders were banned from appearing on RTE in much the same way as actors were used to voice statements from them on British TV channels. Section 31 is still in force but the relevant orders have not been active for a number of years. Sinn Féin is legal political party in the Republic and many of their members, who have admitted to IRA activity in the past often feature on RTE policial programs.

There was heavy censorship of most literary and film material in Ireland up to the 1960s and the Catholic Church had a big say in what was banned. I would think that more material was banned because of alleged sexual content than to do with political content - unless of course it was deemed pro Communist. Thankfully Ireland is a very different place these days. Even "The Life of Brian" is freely available here nowadays. I still remember the night in about 1982 when we got a bootleg copy (on Betamax) of TLoB and laughed ourselves silly when we heard that Biggus Dickus ranked with the highest in Wome.

There was a very interesting interview with a member of the censorship board (around 1967) in Peter Lennon's file "The Rocky Road to Dublin" which was re-released a couple of years back after having been banned for nearly 30 years. The film was shown on RTE last Christmas. Some of the younger members of our family could not believe that Ireland had been like that less than forty years ago.


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Subject: RE: Songs illegal to sing in Ireland
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 28 Sep 07 - 06:35 PM

Interesting that 'linnet' was considered a naughty word. A linnet is green finch, and it was also the nickname of the Dorset Regiment, from their old style red jackets with bright green facings.

Curious how these things come about.

LTS


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Subject: RE: Songs illegal to sing in Ireland
From: David Ingerson
Date: 28 Sep 07 - 09:52 PM

Just out of curiosity, I read all the indexed references to "music" (there were none for "song") in Seumas MacManus' The Story of the Irish Race. There is no mention of any banned or illegal songs or music. Of course that does not prove anything, but I picked that history off my shelf because of its slant: "to put some of the necessary knowledge and pride in the minds and hearts of his people." And also because of its emphasis on the cultural aspects of Irish history. I figured that if songs had indeed been banned, an author like MacManus would be most likely to mention it. No mention.

I also just finished reading Georoid O hAllmhurain's A Pocket History of Irish Traditional Music. Unfortunately, the book has no index, but I don't remember anything about banned songs. (Again, that doesn't prove anything--just an indication.)

It seems to me that the times most likely to have songs made illegal might have been during the Elizabethan reign, when, if I'm remembering correctly, Irish harps were systematically destroyed. Or possibly during the period of the Penal Laws with the songs of the Jacobites. But is there any evidence?

My guess is that rather than specific songs being made illegal, it was probably risky to sing or whistle certain songs because you might get beaten by a Peeler, say, or some other enforcing authority. That's not really the same as being illegal.

Cheers,

David


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Subject: RE: Songs illegal to sing in Ireland
From: Canberra Chris
Date: 28 Sep 07 - 10:10 PM

I think there is rather more to this from a longer historical perspective.

Patrick Galvin's 'Irish Songs of Resistance' Oak Publications, 1962, starts with the introductory paragraph:

"The Irish are famed as a nation of singers: not choral singers like the Welsh, but soloists - for folk-memories are long, and there was a time when for Irishmen to meet together, and to attract attention to themselves by singing their national songs in chorus, was to court imprisonment or death. For that matter, solo singing, or even whistling, of certain Irish airs has been a punishable offence within living memory."

Tantalisingly, he makes no specific reference to songs or laws, except to lyrics being presented in court as evidence of sedition. For example in 1844

(Daniel) "O'Connell, Gavan Duffy and others were arrested and charged with forty-seven different seditious acts, six of which were publications in The Nation, one of these being John Kells Ingram's poem The Memory of the Dead (''Who Fears to Speak of Ninety-Eight'). All were fined and sentenced to six months imprisonment, but the sentences were quashed by the House of Lords."

These are then high profile events with discoverable historical documentation. The Memory of the Dead is also sung, as are many of the poems first so published: "Above all, it (The Nation) published innumerable poems, all of which could be and were sung."

Patrick Galvin's book certainly appears to be detailed and scholarly, setting the songs in the historical context - it is in effect a history of political conflict in Ireland illustrated by the songs of the period.

Less directly he refers to the practice of disguising nationalistic songs as love-songs to a 'woman' (Dark Rosaleen etc) who is code for Ireland. He also refers generally to the wholesale banning in Ireland of virtually everything Irish under the Penal Laws, it is hard to imagine that song would have been excluded.

The first body of songs I sang at 12 or 13 was from that Clancy Brothers' early album referred to at the start of this thread, then just bought by a schoolfriend's parents. The first song I sang in public performance was The Rising of the Moon, at a folk concert in Skopje Macedonia televised across the Balkans (it's a long story!). They loved it.

The only songs I have ever been asked not to sing, ("We're not having those songs sung here") were Irish rebel songs, once in a pub in Manchester, and once in a private home. Who fears to hear of the Ninety-Eight?

Cheers,
Chris


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Subject: RE: Songs illegal to sing in Ireland
From: Rapparee
Date: 28 Sep 07 - 10:32 PM

Here's a link to the Index Librorum Prohibitorum (1948 edition, and the last) of the Catholic Church.

Eric Cross isn't listed, but an awful lot of stuff is. Most of it I wouldn't read for love nor money.


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Subject: RE: Songs illegal to sing in Ireland
From: Mike Miller
Date: 28 Sep 07 - 10:39 PM

I had some hassle singing "Take It Down From The Mast, Irish Traitor", a republican song that condemns the Free State. If you listen to the words, you will understand why it made some folks nervous. It was a favorite number among the Provisional IRA members.
Another incendiary song was the republican version of "Let Him Go, Let Him Tarry" Here's the first verse and chorus.

Jack Lynch come up from Dublin with his band of merry men.
He marched 'em up to the border, then, he marched them back again.
Ah, such an armored column, boys, the like you've never seen.
Five hundred mounted bicycles, all wearin' of the green.

Let him go, let him tarry. Let him sink or let him swim.
He don't give a damn for us so, why should we, for him.
He sits on his ass in Dublin and I hope he does enjoy
Selling out his country for he's England's little boy.


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Subject: RE: Songs illegal to sing in Ireland
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 28 Sep 07 - 11:05 PM

If you've only been asked not to sing rebel songs once or twice - you've not done many gigs.

The whole Irish Independence question is not one that is as supremely simplistic as sloganeering songs pretend. All kinds and conditions of honourable men and women have occupied all sorts of opinions.

To have the part one's parents, grandparents or oneself has played dismissed (albeit in song) as acts of black hearted villainy can really upset people. And these songs have been known to cause fights - fights in which (as one landlady put it to me) somehow the people who are least capable of taking care of themselves, can get hurt.

Showing a decent respect for the sensitivities of others is not really in the same ball park as Hitler burning the books. Would you say...?


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Subject: RE: Songs illegal to sing in Ireland
From: the button
Date: 28 Sep 07 - 11:38 PM

I certainly wouldn't want to sing a song celebrating the achievements of a set of sectarian gangsters in their struggle against another set of sectarian gangsters. But I wouldn't want them banned, either.


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Subject: RE: Songs illegal to sing in Ireland
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 29 Sep 07 - 01:49 AM

I think we've all seen instances where banning something makes it more popular (Jasper Carrott and his 'Funky Moped' record and the BBC for one), so making it 'illegal' is not the answer.

These inflammatory songs and music should be allowed to fade away until all memory of their meanings and the reason for their writing is lost.

LTS


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Subject: RE: Songs illegal to sing in Ireland
From: GUEST,Jim Carroll
Date: 29 Sep 07 - 02:43 AM

There is no evidence whatever that McCaffery was ever illegal.
Paul Smith wrote an excellent long article on it in the 'sadly defunct' folklore magazine from Leeds University (Folk Notes?) where he discusses the issue and said he could find no evidence whatever.
I don't know how accurate it is, but Lomax claimed that the Genoese form of choral singing Tralaleri developed from the time of the Garabaldi uprisings when it was illegal to sing revolutionary songs.
Genoese dockers would sit in groups outside coffee houses and la-la the tunes in defiance of the ban. Eventually, like mouth-music, it became an art form in itself.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Songs illegal to sing in Ireland
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 29 Sep 07 - 02:50 AM

Garibalid uprisings? Is that what you get after eating too many squashed fly biscuits?

LTS


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Subject: RE: Songs illegal to sing in Ireland
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 29 Sep 07 - 03:49 AM

Re Galvin's comments quoted above.

There is a big difference between committing an act of sedition that may include music, and that music in and of itself being illegal; the context and the intent are the significant factors, I would think, in any prosecution for sedition. It may be significant that, while Galvin makes broad, generalised claims, he avoids specifics. Surely if he knew a piece of music or song to have been proscribed by law at some point, he would have given details? I suspect that folklore rather than history may just perhaps have provided his 'living memory', though of course specific examples, if such exist, would be welcome.

'McCaffery' isn't the only song about which such rumours have circulated. As chance would have it, I picked up some old copies of English Dance and Song the other day. In the edition for Autumn 1972, Sam Richards was quoted as saying that 'a Devon singer' who sang him a version of 'The Young Sailor Cut Down in his Prime' told him not to say where he had heard it, 'in case the police traced him'.


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