MacEdward Leach and the Songs of Atlantic Canada
Kelligrew's Soiree
Performed by Clare O'Driscoll Accession # 78-054 NFLD 1 Tape 3 Track 5
Community: Tors Cove Audio:
Genre: Newfoundland comic song  

You may talk of Clara Nolan's ball or anything you choose
But it wouldn't hold a snuff-box to the spree at Kelligrew's
If you want your eyeballs straightened just come out next week with me
And you'll have to wear your glasses at the Kelligrew's soiree

There was birch rinds, tar twines, cherry wine and turpentine
Jowls and calavances, ginger beer and tea
Pigs' feet, cats' meat, dumpling's boiled in a sheet
Dandelion and crackies' teeth at the Kelligrew's soiree

Oh I borrowed Cluny 's beaver as I squared me yards to sail
And a swallowtail from Hogan that was foxy on the tail
Bill Kewly's old working pants and Patsy Nolan's shoes
And an old white vest from Fogarty to sport at the Kelligrews

There was Dan Milley, Joe Lilly, Tartan, and Mrs. Tilley
Dancing like a little filly t'would raise your heart to see
Jim Bryan, Dan Ryan, Flipper Smith and Caroline
I tell you boys we had a time at the Kelligrew's soiree

Oh when I arrived at Betsy Snook's that night at half-past eight
The place was blocked with carriages stood waiting at the gate
With Cluny 's funnel on my pate the first words Betsy said
"Here come the local preacher with a pulpit on his head!"

Dere was Bill Mews, Dan Hughes, Wilson Tapp and Teddy Rews
While Briant he sat in the blues and looking hard at me
Jim Flynn,Tom King and Johnson's champion of the ring
Of all the boxers I could bring at the Kelligrew's soiree

"The Saratoga Lancers first!" Miss Betsy's kindly said
Sure I danced wit Nancy Cronan and her granny on the head
And Hogan danced with Betsy oh you should have seen his shoes
As he lashed old muskets from the rack that night at Kelligrews

There were boiled Guineas, cold Guiness, bullock's head and piccaninnies
Everything to catch a penny t'would break your sides to see
Boiled duff, cold duff, apple jam was in a cuff
I tell you boys we had enough at the Kelligrew's soiree

Crooked Flavin struck the fiddler a hand I then took in
You should see George Cluny's beaver and it flattened to the brim
And Hogan's coat was like a vest the tails were gone you see
"Oh," says I, "the Devil haul ye and your Killigrews soiree!"


Sources: Mercer 141;Burke 1960: 22; Doyle 1927: 67 and later editions; Fowke 1954: 116 and 1973: 90; West 1:20; For recordings by the CJON Glee Club, Harry Hibbs, Dick Nolan, Gerry Reeves, St. John's Extension Glee Club, A.R. Scammell, Terra Novans, Omar Blondahl, Burl Ives, Alan Mills, Tom Jim & Garth, Travellers, see Taft 86. Roud 4430.

History: comic song, located in a town near St. John's,   composed by Johnny Burke, a resident of St. John's from 1851 to 1930. First published in 1904 and reprinted in various songsters including all editions of Gerald S. Doyle's.

Text notes: A fancy ball ends in a brawl "in the fashion of Irish/American popular songs of the era" (Rosenberg in West 1:55).   American presidential candidates in 1912 are named in the second verse of a recomposed version.

Tune notes: A binary tune with line repetitions a b a b'. Conjunct motion and many tone reiterations are appropriate for the text heavy verses, with much internal rhyme.

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