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Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive

Big Mick 24 Jun 07 - 05:17 PM
Big Al Whittle 24 Jun 07 - 05:06 PM
Jim Lad 24 Jun 07 - 04:07 AM
Big Al Whittle 24 Jun 07 - 03:48 AM
Jim Lad 24 Jun 07 - 03:43 AM
GUEST,Jim Carroll 24 Jun 07 - 02:59 AM
Jim Lad 23 Jun 07 - 09:47 PM
Greg B 23 Jun 07 - 06:46 PM
Big Al Whittle 23 Jun 07 - 11:04 AM
goatfell 23 Jun 07 - 05:52 AM
Jim Lad 23 Jun 07 - 03:18 AM
Jim Lad 22 Jun 07 - 04:10 PM
PoppaGator 22 Jun 07 - 03:30 PM
Jim Lad 22 Jun 07 - 02:30 PM
Big Al Whittle 22 Jun 07 - 01:51 PM
Jim Lad 22 Jun 07 - 12:58 PM
DannyC 22 Jun 07 - 12:55 PM
The Sandman 22 Jun 07 - 12:41 PM
Greg B 22 Jun 07 - 12:20 PM
DannyC 22 Jun 07 - 10:47 AM
GUEST 22 Jun 07 - 02:41 AM
Tim theTwangler 21 Jun 07 - 07:40 PM
Jim Lad 21 Jun 07 - 06:41 PM
Greg B 21 Jun 07 - 06:27 PM
GUEST,foxyloxy 21 Jun 07 - 06:11 PM
Jim Lad 21 Jun 07 - 06:09 PM
Greg B 21 Jun 07 - 05:08 PM
Tim theTwangler 21 Jun 07 - 12:48 PM
guitar 21 Jun 07 - 04:14 AM
Jim Lad 21 Jun 07 - 03:53 AM
GUEST,Jim Carroll 21 Jun 07 - 03:06 AM
GUEST,Big Mick 20 Jun 07 - 04:45 PM
GUEST,p 20 Jun 07 - 04:35 PM
GUEST,Big Mick 20 Jun 07 - 04:07 PM
Greg B 20 Jun 07 - 04:03 PM
GUEST,Jim Carroll 20 Jun 07 - 03:03 PM
GUEST,Martin Ryan 20 Jun 07 - 05:19 AM
Big Al Whittle 19 Jun 07 - 09:44 PM
Greg B 19 Jun 07 - 09:28 PM
EBarnacle 19 Jun 07 - 09:22 PM
Jim Lad 19 Jun 07 - 09:21 PM
Big Mick 19 Jun 07 - 08:50 PM
Jim Lad 19 Jun 07 - 07:34 PM
GUEST,Jim P 19 Jun 07 - 06:01 PM
JedMarum 19 Jun 07 - 05:57 PM
JedMarum 19 Jun 07 - 05:54 PM
Phil Cooper 19 Jun 07 - 03:21 PM
Big Al Whittle 19 Jun 07 - 02:42 PM
GUEST,Young Buchan 19 Jun 07 - 06:39 AM
GUEST,meself 18 Jun 07 - 09:40 PM
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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Big Mick
Date: 24 Jun 07 - 05:17 PM

And why shouldn't it be, WLD? We have seen generalizations of the first order, patronizing comments about Irish Americans, and the English suggesting that our songs are something to be ashamed of, never mind that they sing plenty of songs that are just as offensive to the Irish, and then your last comment was about as bad as it gets. You speak of "that class of humanity" as if that selfsame characterization couldn't be applied to about any ethnic group of performers.

Hang in there, Jim. I think you are dead on the mark.

All the best,

Mick


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 24 Jun 07 - 05:06 PM

To be fair Jim, theres Irish singers, then theres the Irish singers you seem to know.

there is a degree of diversity in that class of humanity.


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Jim Lad
Date: 24 Jun 07 - 04:07 AM

A wee bit!
Add to the list ... Any song written or sung by Stan Rogers.


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 24 Jun 07 - 03:48 AM

sounds to me as though your dander is semi erect Jim, as we speak.


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Jim Lad
Date: 24 Jun 07 - 03:43 AM

I've just read about the first quarter of this thread and gave up.
This is, without a doubt, the stupidest thread I have ever laid eyes on.
They were even talking about Stan Rogers, up there. Seems the man had some pontificating to do on that subject too!
Jeeeeesh!


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: GUEST,Jim Carroll
Date: 24 Jun 07 - 02:59 AM

Greg,
You obviously haven't spent a great deal of time in Ireland, or in the company of Irish singers or listeners
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Jim Lad
Date: 23 Jun 07 - 09:47 PM

I've never felt Fedora. Does she have a sister, Nora?


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Greg B
Date: 23 Jun 07 - 06:46 PM

I don't find my generalization about 'drunken Irish Americans'
being the biggest fans of rebel songs to be invalidated by the single
anecdotal counter-example above.

Since my 'anecdotes' consist of spending quite a few Saturday
nights in the O'Something Irish Pub with a cabaret license in a good
dozen or so American cities, a plate of doubtful Irish stew (why
is the stew always doubtful in such places?) in front of me and
four or five guys, sometimes with the requisite Aran sweaters (even
in summer, in Washington DC) up on stage doing the standards.

So I stand by my assertion: as often as not the songs are used to
pander to ill-educated and badly misplaced feelings of loyalty to
something which isn't even properly known to the audiences before
which they're most often played.

Now where did I leave my green felt fedora?


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 23 Jun 07 - 11:04 AM

I wrote a variant of Delaney's Donkey. So far I have not spied an erect dander in my audience when performing it - and I look out for that sort of thing.

Its on the website.


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: goatfell
Date: 23 Jun 07 - 05:52 AM

I'm a Christian that was brought up in the protestant faith, and when I sing fields of athenry at the folk club or a session there are people at the folk club where I play think that I'm a catholic and I support Celtic I am neither.

But there you go

Tom


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Jim Lad
Date: 23 Jun 07 - 03:18 AM

"Delaney's Donkey" is another that gets my dander up.


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Jim Lad
Date: 22 Jun 07 - 04:10 PM

So, nice guys really do finish last.


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: PoppaGator
Date: 22 Jun 07 - 03:30 PM

This discussion reminds me of a story (true) about a drink, not a song, which created a great deal of controversy along these very lines.

In pre-Katrina New Orleans, there were two Irish pubs in the French Quarter featuring live music:

O'Flaherty's Irish Channel Pub (no longer in existence) was owned and operated by Danny O'Flaherty, balladeer and entrepreneur from the Galway gaeltacht by way of Westport, County Mayo. Danny enforced a fairly strict Irish-traditional-only music policy, and brought in touring acts whenever possible, sometimes commanding pricey cover charges.

The Kerry Irish Pub (still alive and well) has American owners and a less self-consciously Irish identity. Live music seven nights a week, never a cover charge, usually acoustic (or "acoustic-electric") and very often featuring vocal harmonies, but not necessarily Irish or even "folk" music. I like to think that the informal atmosphere and eclectic musical standard of the Kerry is actually quite representative of actual venues in contemporary Ireland, where not everyone, after all, wants to hear the same traditional music every night.

Both these pubs featured the popular imported products of all your favorite Irish distilleries and breweries, and both employed recent immigrants from Ireland behind their bars. Both quite pleasant and convival. Let me observe, however, that while I often enjoyed an afternoon or evening at O'F's to hear a particular act (and, on occasion, to perform with a particular group), Peggy and I have always favored the scruffier, less-expensive, more-inclusive Kerry as our favorite watering hole, regardless of what musicians might be on the bill.

Anyway:

We're sitting in the Kerry one evening two or three years ago when a loud and rowdy bunch of tourists made an entrance, young twenty-something guys and a few girls ~ Irish-American fraternity-boy types, at least a dozen of them. They proceed to order a round of "IRA Car Bombs."

This was the first I had ever heard of such a drink; the bartender was not so naive, however, and he proceeded to line up two rows of plastic cups on the bar: A big pint cup 3/4 full of Guinness for each customer, and a small cup (4-6 ounces, maybe?), filled with a shot of Jameson and a shot of Bailey's.

The gang lined up, each with a small cup in one hand and a large one in the other, and on the count of three each dumped the contents of the little cup into the big cup of stout and immediately upended the concoction down his/her throat in one long chug.

I'm not absolutely sure, but I think you have to chug this drink down quickly, or else it will foam up uncontrollably, expanding far beyond the capacity of the pint-size cup or glass as soon as the dairy content of the Bailey's starts to interact with the stout.

In any event, it provides a sure-fire way to get good and drunk very quickly, and probaly extra-flatulent as well, creating a perfect cariacature of the drunken Irish-American. Plus which, the very name of the drink could hardly be more offensive.

As the group finsihed their first of several rounds, they began to discuss (loudly, of course) how glad they were to find an Irish pub in New Orleans that would serve them their libation of choice. They had just been kicked out of another establishment immeidately upon mentioning the words "IRA Car Bomb," sent on their way with a severe admonition that "we don't find that very amusing at all around here."

It was easily established that it had been O'Flaherty's from which they had been given the bum's rush. I'll never know if it was Danny himself or one of his bartenders who showed them the door, but I'm sure it was a native Irishman who (quite understandably) took offense. Whoever was behind the stick at the Kerry that night, on the other hand, was glad enough to take their money and laugh it off as all in good fun.


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Jim Lad
Date: 22 Jun 07 - 02:30 PM

WLD: You get the "Wooden Spoon" award.
Grin!
Jim


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 22 Jun 07 - 01:51 PM

Its stirring stuff allright.


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Jim Lad
Date: 22 Jun 07 - 12:58 PM

Dick: Chill out & tell me where I can hear your version of "The Bold Fenian Men" please & thank you.
Jim


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: DannyC
Date: 22 Jun 07 - 12:55 PM

Greg,

You ran the risk of being misunderstood when you stated "the biggest fans of 'rebel songs' are in fact drunken Irish Americans".   

On the first Sunday of November in 2004 my wife and I did a little opening set for Derek Warfield who was travelling thru Kentucky (yes, the pub is called O'Neill's) with a bunch of young musicians performing the repertoire from his "Wolfe Tones" days.

There were no less than eight dozen native-Irish out for the show. There were good few stable hands and backstretch workers but also a significant representation of gentry bloodstock agents, farm managers and owners. I was thinking that Warfield would be facing an uphill struggle with this demographic.

When the songs hit the air, the place went bonkers. In fact, I have never witnessed the rebel repertoire embraced with such enthusiasm. I'd say Warfield was a bit stunned himself. The scene clearly invalidates the generalization that you asserted in your posting of a few days ago (quoted above).

On a side note, that scene from a few years ago recently caused me to reflect on some of the themes that Paul Laverty explores in his screenplay for the film, "The Wind That Shakes the Barley" - but that might be better explored in some other thread on some other forum.

All the Best,

Dan Cummins
Sober
Irish American


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: The Sandman
Date: 22 Jun 07 - 12:41 PM

Jim Carroll,I thought you had given up singing.
I sing what I want to sing,the only fenian song I have ever bothered to learn is The Bold Fenian Men[abeautiful song].
I dont find any fenian songs offensive,what I do FIND offensive is being told what I should or should not sing.
I was brought up to refuse to stand for God Save The Queen,now there is a song I find offensive,but as Jim Carroll said im only a philistine.


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Greg B
Date: 22 Jun 07 - 12:20 PM

"banned?" "eradicated?" "cultural coercion?"

Absolutely not! In fact, they ought to be carefully collected and
preserved, from primary sources where possible. No excuse for not
doing it, as we actually know how to collect and have the resources
to do so.

Performance by 'folk artists' is another thing entirely, though.
Context and culture needs to be carefully considered.

Folk musicians have traditionally prided themselves on being a
bit more 'enlightened' about their role in the larger scheme of
things.

I'm suggesting that, at least in America, certain Irish music
has been rather offhandedly been presented in ways which have
contributed to 'The Troubles' and hindered the causes of peace
and reconciliation.

That's the beginning and the end of what I'm saying; attempting
to attribute any more are someone else's words and thoughts, not
mine.


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: DannyC
Date: 22 Jun 07 - 10:47 AM

I heard this'un yesterday on YouTube. An Octogenarian from Toome, Co Antrim (my mother's people are from that region) recites the piece and attributed it to a local man there by the name of James O'Donnell. (The subject of the piece is a Larry Devlin who served in the RUC). It prolly doesn't meet GregB's strict timeline standards for validity, but I am glad I got to hear (and subsequently post it) it nonetheless:

Tory Larry - Never Marry
for one generation of you is enough
in Londonderry you didn't tarry
they hunted you like Harvey Duff

You've heard of Harvey - that base deceiver
who banished Fenians from Erin's shore
but Larry, sure now, we forgive him
for you done that an' even more

you hunted beggars
picked their pockets and what was worse
you sent widows sighin' and orphans cryin'
on bended knees to you they curse

But now you're home among your neighbors
with a bunch o' hair on your upper lip
and your arms are squeeverin'
an' your legs are waverin'
an' you've a humpty back
an' you've narra hips

Is GregB making the point that this sort of local piece be banished or eradicated by some form of cultural Coercion?


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: GUEST
Date: 22 Jun 07 - 02:41 AM

"It's up to those who're pointing the guns--- and the songs---
to see to it that they're responsible about taking aim".
Or maybe don't point the guns in the first place, but rather, seek solutions to problems by other means.
At the height of the "troubles" an archivist friend had the job of collecting locally made albums of songs of the events in the North of Ireland; he found plenty of examples from both sides, including one called 'The Pope's a Darkie'.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Tim theTwangler
Date: 21 Jun 07 - 07:40 PM

Ursophaelia?


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Jim Lad
Date: 21 Jun 07 - 06:41 PM

Jed: You're on my list!

"Waltzing with Bears" is another example. I just find the whole "Dancing Bear" thing, absolutely insulting.


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Greg B
Date: 21 Jun 07 - 06:27 PM

Tommy Makem has a way with humorous songs--- 'The Auld Orange Flute'
being one, and nicely self-deprecating at that. Same with 'Lord
Nelson' which feted an IRA act of 'terrorism' which was wonderfully
symbolic and relatively harmless at the same time.


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: GUEST,foxyloxy
Date: 21 Jun 07 - 06:11 PM

I agree that performers need to know their audience before singing songs which may offend. I used to sing both "The bloody Orangeman" and "The old Orange flute " in an attempt at balance. I don't think a bit of bile is always out of place, I like to hear songs of love and hate. I'm surprised at the comments about "The sash my father wore " as the song had versions to suit both orange & green audiences, and in my time in Ireland I never knew it to give offence. It has a good tune, and good tunes will always cross over religious and political divides, which is one of the great things about music.


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Jim Lad
Date: 21 Jun 07 - 06:09 PM

Pointless.
I rest my case.


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Greg B
Date: 21 Jun 07 - 05:08 PM

See, when I say 'The Catholic Cause' what I'm pointing out is that
IS the way a lot of Irish Americans see it. Hell it's the way
I saw it as a good little Catholic boy who's got about 12.5 to
25% Irish blood in his veins. I think very FEW of the folks
calling 'sing us a rebel song!' to the fellows wearing Aran
sweaters up on stage at any one of the many 'Irish' pubs in
America think of it any deeper than that. Indeed in the
American media 'Catholic' and 'Protestant' were always the
terms used to name the two sides.

And the reason I mention Harrod's and Mountbatten were because
the issue at hand is the funding of that one particular side by
by Irish Americans--- these folks generally aren't seen dressed
in Orange. I've yet to wander into a pub and heard 'Boyne Water'
sung and seen a jar for donations to the Orange side of thigns
up on the bar.

I guess what it comes down to is songs are like guns--- they
can be used for good and for bad, and both are quite powerful.

It's up to those who're pointing the guns--- and the songs---
to see to it that they're responsible about taking aim.


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Tim theTwangler
Date: 21 Jun 07 - 12:48 PM

All of them are offensive to someone mate.
Sam missils in the sky is one of the subtleist and a favourite of mine
F**K the British army is also a witty ditty.
I guess you just have to play 'em an see what happens.


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: guitar
Date: 21 Jun 07 - 04:14 AM

I know quite a few Catholic/prtestant songs however whenever there is any irish folk around I just don't sing in case it upset either side.

However if I'm in the house I'll sing them but not out in public no


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Jim Lad
Date: 21 Jun 07 - 03:53 AM

"in spite of this, they've had great fun beating the drum (or
bodhran) for 'The Catholic Cause' in the North," ........

'The Catholic Cause'?

Debate is pointless!

"Five Little Ducks" ...Again, I know it's not Irish but I really do find it offensive.

Hope this is what you were looking for, Jed.


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: GUEST,Jim Carroll
Date: 21 Jun 07 - 03:06 AM

The rights and wrongs of the recent troubles in Ireland are a matter of opinion and, for me, boil down to (a) whether it is right or wrong for one country to rule another - be it 6 or 32 counties, and (b) If it is wrong, to what lengths it is acceptable to go to right that wrong.
It seems to me that both sides were prepared to go to unacceptable lengths to either maintain or change the situation, and to quote Harrods and Mountbatten, while ignoring the Dublin bombings and Bloody Sunday is a clear sign of support of one set of atrocities over another. I assume you would not oppose the singing of 'God save the Queen' on the basis that it gives comfort to one of those sides - or would you?
Throughout history, ballads and songs have been made and used for or against one or another cause; as early as opposition to a Catholic Monarchy with Lillibulero, or the seventeenth century Jacobite campaign with The Haughs of Cromdale. In 1704, Andrew Fletcher of Saltoun wrote 'If a man were permitted to make all the ballads, he need not care who should make that laws of a nation' - things haven't changed that much.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: GUEST,Big Mick
Date: 20 Jun 07 - 04:45 PM

GregB, we cross posted. While I don't agree completely with your summation, it is on whole a very good summation of your position.

The support for the Republican cause, or the Fenian Cause, in this country goes back over the generations. The culture of the Irish American was formed by those that were forced to leave Ireland, and who were committed to freedom for that land. I am not afraid to admit that there are a great many Irish Americans who do not take the time to understand their heritage and the political situation. But it is not as much as you generalize about. There are any number of Irish newspapers, and many of the community invest a great deal of time and study to understand.

And as to the effect of the Irish American on the landscape, it is fair to say that the support they lent also contributed to bringing us to the point where we are at today. Their support in publicizing the collaboration of the RUC with the paramilitaries, such as in the Pat Finucane case, very likely hastened the peace process. There are many other examples.

I guess what I really want to say is this. The time of the gun is past. The time of bitterness is on the wane, replaced with the beacon of hope. If the we all can quit pounding our respective drums (I'll lay off the bodhran, youse lay off the lambeg) and let these folks continue with crafting the peace for the children of the North, this beautiful land will be all the better for it.

I still sing the songs, they represent a small part of our show, but the context is different. I hope it stays that way.

All the best,

Mick


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: GUEST,p
Date: 20 Jun 07 - 04:35 PM

Sadly I to go to a funeral 25 years ago..On the way home via the bus to Dublin..a freinf of the family gave me somewhee to sleep for the night..We went into a Dublin pub [ back streets somewhere]..A band was playing and they were great.....The band made an announcment for any requests..I said I would like to here ''When Irish eyes are smiling''..I was asked to leave............and strange'ly I never ever got to know why


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: GUEST,Big Mick
Date: 20 Jun 07 - 04:07 PM

Well said, Jim Carroll. I was pondering how to say that without being called a "drunken Irish American".

GregB, I suppose it would be OK to go ahead and make such a general statement about you and your people, eh?

The songs are an important part of the history of the land of my Grandparents. There is absolutely no reason to be ashamed of them.

I remember going to my first Getaway, years ago. I was sitting in the main hall, trying to relax and singing a few songs. Mudcatter Bert (one of my very favorite 'Catters) came up and sat down. Bert is a Brit(I believe he is English) so I decided not to do any rebel songs. So I worked my way around the other parts of my repertoire. Finally, Bert asked to borrow my guitar and ripped out a wonderful rebel song. I chuckled and proceeded to do The Foggy Dew.

I still laugh about that today.

All the best,

Mick


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Greg B
Date: 20 Jun 07 - 04:03 PM

Jim--- you mis-quote me. I didn't say the performers were 'drunken
Americans.' I said the fans were. Those who call for them the most.
Some performers do, however, choose to cater to that lowest common
denominator.

The songs do have valid historical value--- and there is no question
at least in my mind, that the cause of Irish Republicans prior to
and during the start of the 20th century was just. Those songs are,
as such, Irish patriotic songs.

But this thread is about 'Irish Troubles' songs, and that is
where the distinction comes in. 'Kevin Barry' and 'Roddy McCorley'
and even 'The Foggy Dew' are all well and good when sung in
remembrance of patriots who suffered in the cause of formation
of what is now the Republic of Ireland.

On the other hand, these songs have (or at least until fairly
recent memory, had) currency in relation NOT to the Irish fight
for independence in what is now the Republic, but rather in
relation to what's been come to be known as 'The Troubles' in
Ulster.

In North America in particular, these patriotic songs have been
used as a rallying point to whip up North American Irish Catholic
support for the part in The Troubles which has been played by the
Provisional arm of the IRA. Keep in mind that many of these 'Irish'
are third, fourth, and more in 'Amerikay' and have about as much
sense of the real issues in Ulster as they have of the animosity
between Sunnis and Shiites in Iraq. On top of that, the degree to
which The Troubles put them and their children at personal peril
was about the same as the troubles between Sunnis and Shiites.

In spite of this, they've had great fun beating the drum (or
bodhran) for 'The Catholic Cause' in the North, even to the
extent of donating for munitions to arm the Provos. I have no
hard evidence, but I quite get the impression that a good portion
of the guns, bullets, and explosives in the hands of the Provos
over the past several decades were bought with Irish-American
money.

Some great singers have succeeded in making 'Roddy McCorley' about
today's Provos, rather than about the late Mr. McCorley.

Perhaps it's understandable; one can argue that it was the British
who set up the conditions in Ireland that drove Irish-Americans'
ancestors out of Ireland. So it's perhaps an 'old family feud.'
But when they cross the line and send money to murderous bastards
on either side of 'The Troubles' because they distantly identify
with the so-called 'Catholic' side, then some line has been crossed.

And I submit that, more than anything else, more than rhetoric or
news reports, that the disingenuous equation of songs about a
fight a century ago with the activities of the Provos and their ilk
in recent decades have led to some very ill-advised facilitation from
this side of the pond.

Make no mistake; I like 'rebel songs,' too. There are some real
rousers in there, great for getting people singing and bring a
tear to the eye and a tip to the jar in a pub that trades in
Guinness and Jameson's.

I'd like to hear a lot more Irish and pseudo-Irish performers
get up and say "I'm going to sing a song about an Irish patriot. Now,
contrary to what some people think, it hasn't a bloody thing to do
with some who came after who saw fit to foul their own nests or
bloody their neighbor's noses. It's about a patriot who did his
part to bring about the independence of the Republic of Ireland,
and that's it. It hasn't anything to do with bombs going of in
Harrods, the killing of Lord Mountbatten, knee-capping of young
men, nor the throwing of Molotov cocktails. None of those things
would have existed at the time, and I don't know that he would
have approved. Anyway, I don't approve of that stuff and I'm
asking you not to support it either."

It's a tough pill to swallow, the idea that folk music may have
contributed to things that enabled blood-shed in and around
the Irish troubles.

It's not usually how folk singers think of themselves.

But I'd say those who've made some coin in the singing of
rebel songs and swaggering about the more recent cause need
to examine their consciences rather carefully.


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: GUEST,Jim Carroll
Date: 20 Jun 07 - 03:03 PM

'Rebel' songs are as much a part of the Irish repertoire as songs about Waterloo and Trafalgar are of the English repertoire and they will be singing about Kevin Barry as long as we are singing about Nelson.
Far from them being sung by "drunken Irish Americans", most traditional singers I have met have had a number of them in their repertoire, though often they have declined to sing them to us for fear of giving offence.
Apart from the nationally known ones, many areas of Ireland have not so well known local songs documenting the events of 1798, 1867, Easter Week and the War of Independence et al.
Any doubts of their importance as social or historical documents can easily be dispelled by a quick flick through Georges Denis Zimmerman's 'Songs of Irish Rebellion'.
If they give offence - tough - they are as much a part of our (British) history as they are of theirs, and if they make us uncomfortable - long may they continue to do so.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: GUEST,Martin Ryan
Date: 20 Jun 07 - 05:19 AM

I'm sorry - I can't resist it! The Irish rebel songs are amongst the most beautiful in the CANNON of folksongs anywhere. . Brilliant!

Regards


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 19 Jun 07 - 09:44 PM

The Irish rebel songs are amongst the most beautiful in the cannon of folksongs anywhere. However as one Irish folksinger friend said to me, I couldn't live with myself if I knew I'd been instrumental in stirring up that shit.

If you do the Irish gigs, you will get that music requested. Many venues will say straight out to you - no rebel songs. Some will spell it out to you exactly why. One landlady said to me - if you do those songs, there might well be a fight, and its always those who can least take care of themselves that get hurt.

I way I think its easier for Irish singers to refuse to do them, than non Irish. Because the aficianados of rebel songs assume either you don't know them, or you are agin them on idealistic grounds.

I think you would be a bit dumb - to start out on a career singing Irish music and NOT knowing them. But try and be sensitive to your listeners.


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Greg B
Date: 19 Jun 07 - 09:28 PM

It often seems that the biggest fans of 'rebel songs' are in
fact drunken Irish Americans. I suppose it's a bit more amusing
when it isn't your kids getting shot and blown up.

There are 'Irish' music groups (usually patterned after the
Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem) who've done quite a good trade
in this, usually in city pubs with names like 'The Shamrock' and
'O'Neills' etc. where they serve up stews and fish and chips
and 'Irish Coffee' with some sort of green syrup on top of the
whipped cream.

Unfortunately, they sometimes also seem to have a bumper sticker
reading "26 + 6 = 1" and were given to respond with bank notes
when asked to donate money to provide weapons and explosives to
the Provos.

I believe there is truly a connection between 'happy war songs
and sad love songs,' when the former are given without explanation
or any sense of just how terrible 'The Troubles' were and are.
'Roddy McCorley' and 'The Foggy Dew' are all well and good, but
they all too often inspired the sending of blood money over to
perpetuate terrible violence.

Like a rifle, a song must be used very carefully.


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: EBarnacle
Date: 19 Jun 07 - 09:22 PM

A few years ago, I lost a friend who showed me a collection of Irish songs when I told her I really did not want to look at a book extolling how great it is to die for the cause.
The same issue applies to all radicals and bomb throwers, be it Irish, Muslim, Catholic, etc.
There are too many people out there extolling martyrdom and all that goes with it.


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Jim Lad
Date: 19 Jun 07 - 09:21 PM

Heh, heh!


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Big Mick
Date: 19 Jun 07 - 08:50 PM

hahahahahahaha ....... I loved that, Jim. I remember when Jed started the thread, and I remember thinking, "Is he ever going to get his Irish ass kicked on this one...." In looking back, I am shocked that I never posted to this thread.

The best advice given here is simply to know your audience.

...... and Jim ...we are all musicians here.... this is in 4/4........ count it off with me......

1....

2....

3....

4....

...............

BITE ME!!!



LOL.

All the best,

Mick


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Jim Lad
Date: 19 Jun 07 - 07:34 PM

I thought the question was a little out of character for you. That's fine but Big Mick is still on my list.


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: GUEST,Jim P
Date: 19 Jun 07 - 06:01 PM

"I hope Neil Young will remember:
A southern man don't need him 'round, anyhow!
Sweet home, Alabama . . ."


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: JedMarum
Date: 19 Jun 07 - 05:57 PM

now - let's let my silly question that titles this thread die a quiet non posting Mudcat death!

;-)


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: JedMarum
Date: 19 Jun 07 - 05:54 PM

I winced when I saw this thread reappear; what the hell was I thinking when I started this?

I don't fret over such stuff now-a-days. I don't sing the highly offensive stuff anyway - and it is clear that, for the most part it is your intention that is or is not offensive, as a few have pointed out so well here in this thread.

Actually the incident that inspired me to start the thread was a bit more peppery then I posted above - the Irish tourist lady who had just told me she knew and sang back home, so many of the songs in my show ... said, when I asked her if she'd heard Come Out You Black and Tans "Oh, yes, but we don't sing that in polite places."

I took her to mean; it might OK to sing among friendly company, but not in public.

Speaking of Tommy Makem, one of the boys told me he no longer sings Four Green Fields. I believe he felt it had served its purpose and he had moved on ... I sing when asked. It's a lovely song - but for me it serves no political cause - I often change the last line to say "my four green fields will bloom once again, said she." That is making no comment comment on the flag/s, under which each of the four blooms.


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Phil Cooper
Date: 19 Jun 07 - 03:21 PM

The band Lynyrd Skynyrd wrote the song "Sweet Home Alabama" and there is, indeed, a line to the effect (don't know the exact wording, sorry) "Hope Neil Young remembers, We don't need his kind around." The right words should be easy to find on the web. Or I'm sure someone else here would know the precise wording better than I.


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 19 Jun 07 - 02:42 PM

There was this youg pastor at our local church last year doing a year's placement from Texas.

As he was a guitarist without a car, my friends and I used to take him round to the local folk clubs round Nottingham - England that is.

Anyway at one of the local joints there was this floorsinger who never felt the night was quite complete without his rendition of Neil Young's Southern Man.

I'm not the most sensitive of guys (as many here will attest) but after about six months I said to the young clergyman - don't you find that song offensive? You're a Southern Man, and you don't hit people with bullwhips, or lynch anybody...Its a bit like someone keep singing at me, you stupid fenian Bastard. I probably would react, if I were you....

The young guy smiled and said, there was no offence intended - not here tonight. And anyway have you not heard the rebuttal of Neil Young in the first verse of Sweet Home Alabama?

I've got to admit I hadn't heard the rebuttal - still haven't. Could any American friends clarify what he was talking about?


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: GUEST,Young Buchan
Date: 19 Jun 07 - 06:39 AM

I don't believe there is an answer to the question of what songs are offensive, in isolation from the singer's relationship with the audience. If you have served your time with an audience and they trust you, you can sing anything you want. I have sung Trelawney in an Irish Nationalist pub, and I've heard someone else there do The Sash. But if they don't know you, you can cause as much, if not more, offense, by singing even a song they DO agree with the content of. Anyone who walks in off the street and starts singing controversial songs deserves what they get.


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Subject: RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive
From: GUEST,meself
Date: 18 Jun 07 - 09:40 PM

Yeah, I know what you mean - it promotes this stereotype of sheep being extremely passive. And good to eat.


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