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Origins: Arthur McBride - What's the background?

DigiTrad:
ARTHUR McBRIDE
ARTHUR McBRIDE AND THE SERGEANT


Related threads:
Paul Brady's version of Arthur McBride (144)
Lyr Req: Arthur McBride (Planxty) (26)
Lyr/Chords Req: Arthur McBride (from Paul Brady) (46)
Lyr Req: Arthur McBride (33)
Guitar Tab for Arthur McBride (15)
Lyr Req: Parody of Arthur McBride (15)
Lyr Req: To the tune of Arthur McBride (2)
Help: 4-1-1 on 'Arthur McBride??? (8)


In Mudcat MIDIs:
Art Mac Bride ( midi made from notation in the Petrie Collection [Stanford-Petrie (1902-05) number 846]. )
Arthur Le Bride ( from Samuel Fone of Blackdown, Mary Tavy, Devon; noted by Mr Bussell in 1892. Midi made from notation Sabine Baring Gould's Songs of the West (1905). )


Lighter 01 Apr 14 - 11:47 AM
GUEST,Out Ó'Toon 31 Mar 14 - 11:45 PM
GUEST,Out Ó'Toon 31 Mar 14 - 01:19 AM
Jimmy Twitcher 10 Jan 05 - 02:29 PM
Big Al Whittle 10 Jan 05 - 11:20 AM
Malcolm Douglas 09 Jan 05 - 05:00 PM
Big Al Whittle 09 Jan 05 - 04:41 PM
Susanne (skw) 08 Jan 05 - 06:47 PM
GUEST,muaz 08 Jan 05 - 01:44 PM
Mr Red 06 Mar 02 - 03:45 PM
Gareth 06 Mar 02 - 02:45 PM
IanC 06 Mar 02 - 08:03 AM
Mr Red 05 Mar 02 - 09:13 PM
IanC 05 Mar 02 - 12:08 PM
Murray MacLeod 05 Mar 02 - 11:53 AM
Malcolm Douglas 04 Mar 02 - 11:06 PM
GUEST,Arturius 30 Jun 01 - 10:27 PM
Den 29 Jun 01 - 11:07 PM
Art Thieme 29 Jun 01 - 10:46 PM
The Walrus at work 29 Jun 01 - 01:06 PM
McGrath of Harlow 29 Jun 01 - 12:44 PM
English Jon 29 Jun 01 - 10:43 AM
GeorgeH 29 Jun 01 - 08:57 AM
Les from Hull 29 Jun 01 - 08:20 AM
The Walrus at work 29 Jun 01 - 08:15 AM
Jim Cheydi 29 Jun 01 - 08:05 AM
English Jon 29 Jun 01 - 07:00 AM
Paddy Plastique 29 Jun 01 - 06:40 AM
English Jon 29 Jun 01 - 06:27 AM
ard mhacha 29 Jun 01 - 05:57 AM
Frank McGrath 28 Jun 01 - 09:17 PM
Frank McGrath 28 Jun 01 - 09:08 PM
Malcolm Douglas 28 Jun 01 - 08:46 PM
McGrath of Harlow 28 Jun 01 - 05:33 PM
ard mhacha 28 Jun 01 - 05:05 PM
GUEST 28 Jun 01 - 04:46 PM
ard mhacha 28 Jun 01 - 01:36 PM
Liam's Brother 28 Jun 01 - 12:23 PM
English Jon 28 Jun 01 - 11:17 AM
IanC 28 Jun 01 - 10:50 AM
Malcolm Douglas 28 Jun 01 - 10:42 AM
Ella who is Sooze 28 Jun 01 - 10:37 AM
IanC 28 Jun 01 - 10:20 AM
Les from Hull 28 Jun 01 - 10:09 AM
paddymac 28 Jun 01 - 10:05 AM
Malcolm Douglas 28 Jun 01 - 09:45 AM
Noreen 28 Jun 01 - 09:28 AM
Wolfgang 28 Jun 01 - 09:16 AM
Wolfgang 28 Jun 01 - 09:15 AM
IanC 28 Jun 01 - 09:12 AM
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Subject: RE: Origins: Arthur McBride
From: Lighter
Date: 01 Apr 14 - 11:47 AM

The OED can't find "shillelagh" before the 1770s, which makes an 18th century date for the broadside a little less likely. Nor so the 180,000 books and pamphlets of "Eighteenth Century Collections Online" yield any text or reference to the song.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Arthur McBride
From: GUEST,Out Ó'Toon
Date: 31 Mar 14 - 11:45 PM

I missed the glaringly obvious.... had the author made him(her)self known; undoubtedly no different to today they would have been butchered by the powers that be for speaking out , one way or another... so it it entirely sensible to share their song & name withheld :)

Shame they couldn't have stuck a note in a time capsule

Further thoughts to the above, i realise in hindsight that both conscription and recruitment could be concurrent or subsequent actions to each other. Well oversights aplenty when u type quicker than u think


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Subject: RE: Origins: Arthur McBride
From: GUEST,Out Ó'Toon
Date: 31 Mar 14 - 01:19 AM

some uneducated commentary

I have nothing factual to add to this conversation, all of the following is merely opinion and conjecture

(1) The scene of the song appears to be a place where conscription is not in place.
(2) The writer may well be more eduacted than the broader audience it was written for
(3) Much harvest migration between the North of Ireland and Scotland would have given shared lingo, Even Donegal Irish dialect is quite a bit different to the rest of the country. Come to think of it the textbook crap now taught is more like English every year.
(4) It may well have been written in England or Scotland by an Irish immigrant and even if so; who knows what they thought of their primary nationality after migration (if its written by an Irish man while in Scotland, is it an Irish song or a Scottish song?...very subjective and i dont think we will ever know. though seems more logical (to me)to think it was written in an area where conscription did not occur & for this reason, I feel Donegal or Scotland (migrant entertainment) are the most likely origin.
(5) my perception of this is that it is not an anti war song, if written (or set) in Ireland, it would be more an affront to the arrogance of British recruiting Irish under the carrot and stick of pay lure and economic suppression. The distain for the uniform would suggest to me a nationalistic element to the affront rather than just the socialist element of the military taking advantage of the poor.
The author may well not have been anti war or anti recruitment...if it was for the right cause; either a social cause or a national one.
(6) Harvest migration may also explain how the song may have travelled quickly across the isles.

My conclusions are that it is likely written by an Irish person or by an artist appealing to that community, the location of its writing being the least important element to understanding the meaning of the the original author.

I have thoroughly enjoyed the reading in this thread and thank all the contributers. It has added an extra level of romanticism to the song with the mystery surrounding its origins, and may do the song better service to remain that way. I am delighted to have learned through all the links you have given that the lyrics by and large are completely unchanged over nearly two centuries. Which makes this song even more of an absolute gem.

before I die i would dearly love to be able to play the guitar like Paul Brady, and the outstanding tone in his voice early in his career, He cannot even match the beauty of his late 70's recording himself later on, let alone anyone else do a better job. And he makes the entire playing and singing look so unbelievably effortless. the song the man and the age he did it at are a match made in heaven that i cannot ever see being bettered. But beauty is in the ear of the beholder, so I'm not asking anyone to agree with me.


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Subject: RE: Arthur McBride- What's the background?
From: Jimmy Twitcher
Date: 10 Jan 05 - 02:29 PM

Well, to put a further slant on it, does anyone think that Eric Bogel chose the name "Willie McBride" for "No Man's Land" in reference to this song?

I'm probably reaching.


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Subject: RE: Arthur McBride- What's the background?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 10 Jan 05 - 11:20 AM

Thankyou Malcolm - Aberdeen - Glasgow, how many miles was I out? Such a big country for somewhere with reputation of being a small country! I remember thinking at the time of reading, how romantic that people like this should be the ones responsible for Planxty's set list.


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Subject: RE: Arthur McBride- What's the background?
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 09 Jan 05 - 05:00 PM

Alexander Robb (school caretaker) of New Deer, Aberdeenshire; noted by Gavin Greig in 1908. Mr Robb's set appears, with others, in The Greig-Duncan Folk Song Collection, vol I pp 180-182. The text Lloyd printed wasn't from Robb but from an unnamed singer "from Walberswick, Suffolk, recorded ... [by] the BBC early in 1939".


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Subject: RE: Arthur McBride- What's the background?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 09 Jan 05 - 04:41 PM

I don't have my AL Lloyds Folk Song in England readily to hand ( got the decorators in - everywheres upside down) but I'm pretty sure there is mention in there of it being sung by a Glasgow school caretaker - when discussing its origins.

Anybody out there who could clear up that vague memory?


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Subject: RE: Arthur McBride- What's the background?
From: Susanne (skw)
Date: 08 Jan 05 - 06:47 PM

Was Arthur MacBride in that film?


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Subject: RE: Arthur McBride- What's the background?
From: GUEST,muaz
Date: 08 Jan 05 - 01:44 PM

hey
i want the arabic background music of the mummy the return
can you help me that .plz send me the lnk at choudrymuaz@hotmail.com


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Subject: RE: Arthur McBride- What's the background?
From: Mr Red
Date: 06 Mar 02 - 03:45 PM

IanC I will follow the blickie. I heard it on Radio 4 which is quite erudite at times.
If I surf at the library I don't have the benefit of searching the whole thread for things and I only get an hour (buy it is free). I go blickie now..........


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Subject: RE: Arthur McBride- What's the background?
From: Gareth
Date: 06 Mar 02 - 02:45 PM

Without being Dogmatic on the subject of a Soldiers pay during the Napoleonic Wars. A shilling a day equated to £18.00 near enuf - After deductions for Neccessaries, The Chelsea fund (Hospital support), Laundry etc Bernard Cornwell puts the actual pay of a private Solidier in a line regiment at £7. 7/7d per year ( or £7.38p) in New money.

I believe bounties were paid to encourage recruitment. Wether Money was recieved and not defrauded is another matter.

For those who are to young to remember pre decimalisation money in the UK. 12 pennies (d) = 1 Shilling (1/). 20 shillings = £1.

Oh my God - Youve reminded me of the days when you could buy a pint of beer for less than 2 shillings (2/-) or 10p in decimalised funny money.

A very depressed Gareth


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Subject: RE: Arthur McBride- What's the background?
From: IanC
Date: 06 Mar 02 - 08:03 AM

Mr Red

re: Molly Malone

If you had read the original thread more thoroughly (as you admitted in it that you didn't), you would have found out that there is very little "most probably" about it. Here's my reference from the British Library.

"Cockles and Mussels" Comic Song. (Written and composed by J. Yorkston, arranged by E. Forman.) Yorkston. James 1884."

The original article's here>/a>, and very well researched.

Cheers!
Ian


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Subject: RE: Arthur McBride- What's the background?
From: Mr Red
Date: 05 Mar 02 - 09:13 PM

POW
Just a thought but we had a "Dainty Davey" thread where "curly pow" was a point of discussion and the pow wow centred on the meaning of pow which seemed to be hair or forehead. My point is it was a Scots dielect discussion.
Is "pow" a good Irish dielect word too? Is is particularly a Donegal word?
Don't wish to create a POWer struggle mind!!!

of course the folk process and plagiarism, and the lottery that is folk collecting rather diffuses any definitive discussion.

I have heard a very learned musical historian state that "Molly Malone" was not a 15th c Dub, so she wasn't. The author was reckoned Scottish (Glasga) and even given name. With the usual caveat - "most probably"

ard mhacha
A far more contentious subject but relevant to some points above.


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Subject: RE: Arthur McBride- What's the background?
From: IanC
Date: 05 Mar 02 - 12:08 PM

Murray

Eighteen Pence a Day, I think, up until WW1. (half a guinea a week). I don't think they'd pay 20 weeks in advance up front, but they probably got an advance of some sort. Just poetic license, no doubt (and maybe exaggeration on the part of the Sergeant).

Cheers!
Ian


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Subject: RE: Arthur McBride- What's the background?
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 05 Mar 02 - 11:53 AM

I have always bbeen skeptical about the "ten guineas in gold ye shall have in your fist, and a crown in the bargain to kick up the dust".

Ten guineas was a sizeable fortune to a working class lad in the nineteenth century, and my gut feeling is that the real bounty offered to a potential soldier would be nearer to "a guinea in gold" with possibly a "shilling to kick up the dust".

I am, however, as always, open to correction.

Murray


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Subject: RE: Arthur McBride- What's the background?
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 04 Mar 02 - 11:06 PM

Since the subject has come again elsewhere, perhaps I should post the Devon set referred to earlier.

ARTHUR LE BRIDE

(Samuel Fone of Blackdown, Mary Tavy, Devon; noted by Mr Bussell in 1892)

I once had a cousin called Arthur Le Bride,
And he and I wandered adown the sea side,
For our pleasure and pastime a watching the tide;
O the weather was pleasant and charming.
O the weather was pleasant and charming.

So gaily and gallant we went on a tramp,
We met Sergeant Napier and Corp'ral Demant,
And the neat little drummer that tended the camp,
To beat the row-dow in the morning.
To beat the row-dow in the morning.

Good morning young fellows, the sergeant did cry,
And the same to you sergeant we made a reply,
There was nothing more spoken, we made to pass by.
'Twas all on a Christmas day morning.
Twas all on a Christmas day morning.

Come! come my young fellows, I pray you enlist,
Ten guineas in gold I will slap in your fist,
And a crown in the bargain to kick up a dust,
For to drink the king's health in the morning.
For to drink the king's health in the morning.

O, no! Mr. Sergeant, we are not for sale
We make no such bargain - your bribe won't avail,
Not tired of our country we care not to sail,
Tho' your offers look pleasant and charming.
Tho' your offers look pleasant and charming.

Hah! if you insult me, without other words
I swear by the king we will draw out our swords,
And thrust thro' your bodies, as strength us affords,
And leave you without further warning.
And leave you without further warning.

We beat the bold drummer as flat as his shoe,
We made a football of his row-de-dow-do,
And the sergeant and corporal, knocked down the two,
O we were the boys in the morning.
O we were the boys in the morning.

The two little weapons that hung at their side,
As we trotted away we threw into the tide,
May old Harry be with you, said Arthur Le Bride
For staying our walk in the morning.
For staying our walk in the morning.

This set appeared in Sabine Baring Gould's Songs of the West (1905).  "Sam told us that this was his father's favourite song.  He had learned it from his father when he was quite a child.  There was one more verse in the original, omitted to reduce the lengthy ballad to singable length."

No indication was given, unfortunately, as to what the other verse might have been.  Reference has been made earlier to broadside texts at the Bodleian, and a number of versions were noted in the Northeast of Scotland in the first decade of the 20th. century (Greig-Duncan Folk Song Collection)

Sam Fone's tune can be heard, for now, via the  South Riding Folk Network  site:

Arthur Le Bride (midi)

I may as well add the tune from the Petrie collection, which I assume was first published c.1855, though in this case noted in Donegal (no text or date given, but there seems a decent chance that it may pre-date Sam Fone's father's set ); Stanford-Petrie (1902-05) number 846; it is quite close to the tunes well-known today from revival performers.

Art Mac Bride (midi)


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Subject: RE: Arthur McBride- What's the background?
From: GUEST,Arturius
Date: 30 Jun 01 - 10:27 PM

Anglicised as "Arthur", the Latin is a Romanised form of the Celtic name based on the word "art" meaning "a bear". The famous Ulster king, Cormac Mac Airt, kidnapper of Deirdre and murderer of the Sons of Uisneach testifies to the age of the name in Ireland. It continues in use to the present day in both its original Irish form and the Anglicised form "Arthur".
Arturius


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Subject: RE: Arthur McBride- What's the background?
From: Den
Date: 29 Jun 01 - 11:07 PM

I don't know Art...I think you would have arguements from the Paul Brady camp. It never ceases to amaze me how trible we are...its a great song , a brilliant song where-ever it came from. Den


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Subject: RE: Arthur McBride- What's the background?
From: Art Thieme
Date: 29 Jun 01 - 10:46 PM

Folks, my friend, Britisher David Jones does a definitive version of this song. I do hope you'll get to hear him do it. David is in New York now and a mainstay of the New York Pinewoods folk organization.

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: Arthur McBride- What's the background?
From: The Walrus at work
Date: 29 Jun 01 - 01:06 PM

Les,

>Fourpence a day full pay must've been yonks ago.

No, fourpence a day wasn't full pay, it was the "reserve allowance", the daily ammount paid to a reservist while he was "on reserve" but not active, for example, Frank Richards joined the Royal Welch Fusiliers in 1902 with the standard terms of 6 years "With the Colours"(as an active soldier) and six years "in the reserve" when he worked as a miner. During this period, he was paid 4d per day and was expected to return to his regiment for a fixed time each year (one or two weeks, I believe) or if called upon in time of national emergency (as in August 1914). When a reservist rejoined the colours, he came back with full rank and seniority and on full pay.

Regards

Walrus


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Subject: RE: Arthur McBride- What's the background?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 29 Jun 01 - 12:44 PM

The Harp that once in Tara's halls...


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Subject: RE: Arthur McBride- What's the background?
From: English Jon
Date: 29 Jun 01 - 10:43 AM

Oi, you lookin at me? Got a problem, mate? Right. Come and have a go if you think you're hard enough. Burp.

Englngisgshj Jhjonn.

(back from the pub)


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Subject: RE: Arthur McBride- What's the background?
From: GeorgeH
Date: 29 Jun 01 - 08:57 AM

And if (as I believe but I'm too lazy to check) the song was popular in the ranks of the army then that would hardly have hindered its distribution . . .

(Some of the songs Sharpe collected, even within the UK, SEEM to have been found "a long way from home" . . )

Fascinating discussions, nevertheless . .

G.


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Subject: RE: Arthur McBride- What's the background?
From: Les from Hull
Date: 29 Jun 01 - 08:20 AM

Yes, the pension makes more sense. Fourpence a day full pay must've been yonks ago. Ta!

Les


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Subject: RE: Arthur McBride- What's the background?
From: The Walrus at work
Date: 29 Jun 01 - 08:15 AM

Les,

Fourpence a day was the rate of pay for a (not embodied)reservist after Cardwll ( circa 1881) and, I believe was the pension for a discharged private soldier.

Hope this is of use Walrus


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Subject: RE: Arthur McBride- What's the background?
From: Jim Cheydi
Date: 29 Jun 01 - 08:05 AM

Mmmm....suddenly thirsty


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Subject: RE: Arthur McBride- What's the background?
From: English Jon
Date: 29 Jun 01 - 07:00 AM

Oh bugger it. I'm off for a pint of Harp.

EJ


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Subject: RE: Arthur McBride- What's the background?
From: Paddy Plastique
Date: 29 Jun 01 - 06:40 AM

English Jon, Why of course Henry Martin is French.... :-] just need to get rid of that 'y' and slap in an 'i' instead... and isn't Ireland's other patron saint an Arthur ? St. Arthur of James's Gate, that is or Uncle Arthur as we know him in Dublin... or no, actually, now that I think of it e's English too... bleddy 'ell it's confusing all this border-hopping...


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Subject: RE: Arthur McBride- What's the background?
From: English Jon
Date: 29 Jun 01 - 06:27 AM

I know a few English Kevins (and the odd Brian), Ard Mhacha. I think you've missed the irony! My point is that just because someone's name is "Arthur MacBride" it doesn't follow that automatically they are Irish. My family name is French, but I'm not. etc etc. A shallow argument indeed. There's a lot of McBrides in Cambridge.

With reqard to the text of the song, Donegal seems very likely for all sorts of linguistic reasons, syntax conventions of hiberno-english etc. But the earliest written source we have is English. But then again, is it really necessary to identify "authorship" of "traditional" material?

I reckon it doesn't matter. If it's a good song sing it, but why call the folk police over it?

Cheers

EJ


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Subject: RE: Arthur McBride- What's the background?
From: ard mhacha
Date: 29 Jun 01 - 05:57 AM

Hello All, According to Frank McGrath "such language was not of the people", Well Frank and Malcolm, look up "The Blarismoor Tragedy",. YoU will find it on the list of songs on this site. The words are by a hedge school poet James Garland of Lurgan Co Armagh. James also wrote songs on "The Market Cross of Armagh", "Dobbins flowery vale" etc. And come back to me and tell me the dialect used in this song "is of the people". And Malcolm more power to you I appreciate your contribution and all the rest of the helpful people on this site. Slan agus Beannacht Ard Mhacha.


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Subject: RE: Arthur McBride- What's the background?
From: Frank McGrath
Date: 28 Jun 01 - 09:17 PM

Thanks for the backup Malcom and I take your point on the style of print.

Frank


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Subject: RE: Arthur McBride- What's the background?
From: Frank McGrath
Date: 28 Jun 01 - 09:08 PM

My cookie expired, hence the "Guest" tag. Refreshed since though.
Ard Mhacha, my great, great grand father was a well read man thanks to the hedge schools. And thankfully the love of the written and spoken word has been passed on through the generations since.

However, my great, great grand daddy would not have written or spoken lines such as, "We made them smell timmer when they were in town" or "The saucy wee drummer, we level'd his pow". Such dialect in the English language was not "of the people". Certainly not in Munster or Connaught. The person who wrote such words was probably in the habit of speaking words like these also. This is not the style of language of the majority of Irish people of the time. It would have been the dialect of the privileged few.

Frank


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Subject: RE: Arthur McBride- What's the background?
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 28 Jun 01 - 08:46 PM

I would imagine that Frank knows about the hedge schools, and he certainly made no reference to ignorance.  The style of print in the broadside he refers to (which Ian C also linked to earlier on; I do wish that I'd got back here sooner so that all the references could have been in one place) in itself proves nothing, as broadside printers continued to use old type long after more upmarket printers had abandoned it.  As has already been said, the earliest attested reference we have to the song dates it to the 1830s (in England) and to the 1840s (in Ireland): it seems perfectly reasonable to place the song's origins in Ireland, but there is no point at all in getting worked up about it unless we have specific evidence.  Which, at present, we do not.

Malcolm


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Subject: RE: Arthur McBride- What's the background?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 28 Jun 01 - 05:33 PM

The thing is, they never managed to introduce conscription into Ireland, and moves made to introduce it in the latter stages of the Great War led to an energetic, and in the event, a successful, movement against that happening - which provided a chance for republicans and others to get back into organised campaigning in the wake of the Easter Rising.

This song became extremely popular around that time, understandably.


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Subject: RE: Arthur McBride- What's the background?
From: ard mhacha
Date: 28 Jun 01 - 05:05 PM

Hello Guest, You may be ignorant of the fact that from irish Hedge Schools came great poets and writers. So writing an anti-recruiting song was not beyond the"ignorant irish" Slan Ard Mhacha.


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Subject: RE: Arthur McBride- What's the background?
From: GUEST
Date: 28 Jun 01 - 04:46 PM

I have posted two links below to the oldest text I can find for Arthur Macbride.

Bodleian Library Link to Arthur Macbride
The Bodleian Library Home Page

While the text has not yet been dated, from the style of print it can safely be estimated that this version is , at the latest, very early 19th C. in origin. The lyrics ares lightly different to that commonly known today but there is no doubting the link.

The style of the language used is certainly not that of the common labouring classes of Ireland at that time and it was surely written by one who was blessed with an education. The use of the word "shelals" would imply that the main characters were of Irish origin but does not neccessarily mean that the author was Irish.

I have emailed the researcher in charge of the project for extra information but in the meantime I will be facinated to hear your views and comments.

Frank


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Subject: RE: Arthur McBride- What's the background?
From: ard mhacha
Date: 28 Jun 01 - 01:36 PM

Hello English Jon, In Ireland it is by no means unusual to hear a person called Arthur, I couldnt believe the many people in England I heard called Brian and Kevin. Very shallow argument, take it from me ArthurMcBride is a Donegal song. Slan agus Beannacht Ard Mhacha.


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Subject: RE: Arthur McBride- What's the background?
From: Liam's Brother
Date: 28 Jun 01 - 12:23 PM

Comments by IanC and Malcolm Douglas above are very valuable in terms of viewing folk song in general.

One other point I's like to make is that it should never be a mystery when there are indications that a song which appears to be Irish may have been written in Scotland, England or anywhere else outside of Ireland. One possible explanation always is that it may have been written by an Irish person living there.


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Subject: RE: Arthur McBride- What's the background?
From: English Jon
Date: 28 Jun 01 - 11:17 AM

Ard Mhacha, I never knew Arthur was an Irish name ;)

Kind of like suggesting that Henry Martin is French.

EJ


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Subject: RE: Arthur McBride- What's the background?
From: IanC
Date: 28 Jun 01 - 10:50 AM

Thanks, Malcolm. That about sews that one up!


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Subject: RE: Arthur McBride- What's the background?
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 28 Jun 01 - 10:42 AM

There are two issues by Harding; the other gives We made him smell timber.  That would probably be because he had just been hit over the head with a large lump of it.


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Subject: RE: Arthur McBride- What's the background?
From: Ella who is Sooze
Date: 28 Jun 01 - 10:37 AM

Great stuff folks...

Think I've got me answers now!

Thanks Noreen, I'm terrible at remembering the search thing u mummy...

E


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Subject: RE: Arthur McBride- What's the background?
From: IanC
Date: 28 Jun 01 - 10:20 AM

TIMMER

Timber \Tim"ber\, n. [Probably the same word as timber sort of wood; cf. Sw. timber, LG. timmer, MHG. zimber, G. zimmer, F. timbre, LL. timbrium. Cf. Timmer.] (Com.) A certain quantity of fur skins, as of martens, ermines, sables, etc., packed between boards; being in some cases forty skins, in others one hundred and twenty; -- called also timmer. [Written also timbre.]

Source: Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary, © 1996, 1998 MICRA, Inc. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

timmer \Tim"mer\, n. Same as 1st Timber. [Scot.]

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This doesn't look very good in the context unless it means they were bludgeoned with something made of wood. From the context, I would have guessed it meant something like "smell fear".

Cheers!
Ian


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Subject: RE: Arthur McBride- What's the background?
From: Les from Hull
Date: 28 Jun 01 - 10:09 AM

The Harding broadside mentions 'fourpence a day'. Even during the Napoleonic Wars a private soldier got a shilling a day. Perhaps it was fourpence after deducions for 'necessaries'. Any ideas?

Also there's the phrase 'smell timmer'. I can't trace that in a slang dictionary. Someone?

Ta! Les


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Subject: RE: Arthur McBride- What's the background?
From: paddymac
Date: 28 Jun 01 - 10:05 AM

Mention of the miserable wages paid to soldiers in the service of the crown has many implications, one of my favorites being that it was those low wages, and the consequent need to find outside employment, that led to the famous (if not entirely accurate) "Boston Massacre". Starving British soldiers tried to get jobs at a "rope-walk", where they were run off by colonists already employed there. The "incident" degenerated as tempers flared, and one result can fairly be said to be added fervor to the cause of American independance. Christopher Hibbert tells the story in his "Redcoats and Rebels: The American Revolution Through British Eyes". A good read.


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Subject: RE: Arthur McBride- What's the background?
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 28 Jun 01 - 09:45 AM

While I've been off checking references, most of the material I had intended to point to has been covered.  It remains only to mention a few small points:

The use of Irish names, locale and words such as shillelah (however spelt) are not in themselves indicators of Irish origins in a song.  "Stage Irish" songs, largely written in London, were popular from at least the 18th. century.  Some used existing melodies, others had new tunes made in an "Irish style".  By the 19th. century, the USA was also a major source of "Stage Irish" songs.

The earliest known examples of this song appear to have been found in England.  That doesn't necessarily mean that it didn't originate in Ireland, just that we don't have evidence going back that far as yet.

Malcolm


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Subject: RE: Arthur McBride- What's the background?
From: Noreen
Date: 28 Jun 01 - 09:28 AM

:0)


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Subject: RE: Arthur McBride- What's the background?
From: Wolfgang
Date: 28 Jun 01 - 09:16 AM

easier still, read Ian's post.

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: Arthur McBride- What's the background?
From: Wolfgang
Date: 28 Jun 01 - 09:15 AM

Read Susanne's notes to Arthur McBride and you'll get opinions on this question from Lloyd, Palmer, M. Carthy, Frank Harte, Andy Irvine with as many possibilities left as have already been mentioned here.

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: Arthur McBride- What's the background?
From: IanC
Date: 28 Jun 01 - 09:12 AM

Here's more detail, but mainly smoke.

Susannes´s Folksong-Notizen [1967:] By no means all country workers were credulous bumpkins, as Arthur McBride shows, that most good-natured, mettlesome, and un-pacifistic of anti-militarist songs. It has been a remarkably widespread and well-favoured piece. Patrick Joyce learnt it in Limerick during his boyhood in the early 1840s, and around the same time George Petrie received a version from a Donegal correspondent. Sam Fone [...] remembered it as his father's favourite in Devon in the 1830s, and he sang a good set of it to Baring-Gould in 1893. The song had made its way to the Scottish north-east during the latter half of the century, and Gavin Greig recorded a version, 'Scotticized to some extent', from Alexander Robb, his school caretaker at New Deer, Aberdeenshire. More recently, a singer from Walberswick, Suffolk, recorded it for the BBC early in 1939. [...]

Throughout the whole period from the Restoration to the accession of Victoria - that is, during the liveliest time of folk song creation - the discipline of army and navy was brutal and callous, ruled by the lash. [...]

Desperate recruitment, barbarous treatment, low pay (fixed after the Restoration at eightpence a day for foot soldiers, and so it remained for 123 years regardless of the raised cost of living). [...] (Lloyd, England 239ff)

[1969:] I have always assumed that this highly subversive song was from East Anglia, but in fact I don't know. It is probably 18th century in origin and I learned it from Redd Sullivan. (Notes Martin Carthy, 'Prince Heathen')

[1976:] After the landlord's agent, probably one of the most hated persons in Ireland was the recruiting sergeant. The Irish peasant, destitute of worldly possessions and ground down by poverty, was forced of necessity to fight for a power which he despised. The balladmaker, being aware of this, was not slow to express his feelings in some of his most vicious ballads, always with a sarcastic edge. The earlier ballads such as this one, Mrs McGrath, The Kerry Recruit and Johnny I Hardly Knew Ye, set the tone for the later anti-recruiting songs such as Sergeant William Bailey and The Tipperary Recruiting Sergeant, written during the 1914-18 war, when England was attempting to enforce conscription in Ireland. The sarcasm of the song cannot hide the terrible conditions under which soldiers were forced to serve after they had accepted the shilling, and Arthur's words "I would not be proud of your clothes ...", are only too true, when one considers that twenty-five lashes with the cat-o'-nine-tails was the minimum punishment and a staggering 1500, the legal maximum. All this for eightpence a day. The song was collected in Limerick by P.W. Joyce about 1840. On account of its phraseology, he was disposed to think that it came from Donegal. The version sung here by Paul is one which he heard in America. (Frank Harte, notes 'Andy Irvine & Paul Brady')

[1977:] The reference to 'a shilling a day' [not in the above versions] must date the song to the nineteenth century, but it has all the economy and directness of the older traditional ballads. [...] The song presumably originated in Ireland, but it was also known in England and Scotland. Our version [close to all the above, but with Arthur McBride the name of the recruiting sergeant] is from the north-east of Scotland, where it was taken by migrant harvesters from Ireland, and became a favourite in the farm bothies. (Palmer, Soldier 56f)

[1988:] This famous song would appear to me to have originated in Donegal or in Scotland. Its popularity was such that it travelled to England and America [...]. The recruiting sergeant and his party must have been a curse to the common people of Ireland at the time of the Napoleonic Wars, especially as most of them would have had more sympathy with Napoleon than with the British. (Andy Irvine, Aiming for the Heart 13)


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