(The Puppet Song) WHISKEY ON A SUNDAY
When a wee horse, with a horn on its head, came prancing into our lives, we began to believe in magical things…ike unicorns! Well, we discovered a song about an old puppeteer and his singing wooden dolls. And long after old Seth Davey had passed on, their ghosts could still be heard on the lonely street corner. We know there is some magic here, as well. We hope you are able to find a bit of it.
COLD WINTER SHADOWS
Memories of lost love in winter, weary towns in Canada's west. We spent a hard winter in Alberta. Our first piece of life in the new land. And, by God, it was a long way from Antrim's blazing firesides.
When the spuds gave out, they left by the thousands. To brave the hardships of a long ocean voyage. And a not too friendly welcome on the shores of Amerikay. But they stuck it out. And became presidents and recording artists and things.
MY LITTLE MAUREEN
We think this song is the most tenderest of all love songshellip; "My love is as soft as the down on the breast of a swan." We had only two verses for this beautiful air. So we wrote the last verse. Just to make the melody last longer.
BARE LEGGED JOE
You'd see them on a spring morning, passing the windows of your school. Or camped in coloured caravans, as you walked to Sunday devotions. The tinkers! Horses and runny-nosed, dirty-faced children. Pots boiling on an open fire and a fiddle squealing somewhere. Oh, you'd have loved to join them. Strangely enough, you don't see them much any more. Sad, to see these travelling people go.
I suppose its an American song. Mind you, the story is universal enough. I learned "The Wild Colonial Boy" at ten years old. And "Irene" when I was eleven. So who's to complain? It's a great sentimental old song, when it's done softly. Will you sing it with us?
DOES YOUR CHEWING GUM LOSE ITS FLAVOR ON THE BEDPOST OVER NIGHT?
Oh, but we had great fun with this one. A kind of Charleston, shades of bathtub gin, speakeasies, Bonnie and Clyde. And the immortal question: "Does your chewing gum lose its flavor on the bedpost over night?" George speaks Spanish at the end of this one!
What is she like? Maybe some young girl caught up in 'Beatlepool' life. But tied down to some Irish man's dreary one-room flat existence. Surviving on a 'shovel brigade' salary. God help them, anyway.
UP AMONG THE HEATHER
A bit of a carry-on in the Highlands of Scotland. Roguish Irish men an maidens. Not a bad plot, eh?
HENRY JOY McCRACKEN
Most Americans seem to imagine that Ireland's patriots came from the South. The North can boast a few brave boys too, you know. There was Roddy McCoriey, and Roger Casement Henry Joy McCracken was hanged on High St. in Belfast for his part in the rising of '98.
Wilcil won the all-Ireland festival in the accordion class at Mullingar, County West Meath. in 1963. And, God knows, if we hadn't let him play a couple, he would probably play "Carnival of Venice" till we all went off our bonkers. George plays twelve-string, Will is on banjo. Your man, of course, is on the squeezebox. And Jimmy plays the "eejit" on this one.
The Atlantic hissed and booed beneath the Aer Lingus jet, as the big bright pleasure machine that was Ireland faded away behind us. A priest beside us had just asked a pretty young thing for a large whiskey, when a Trinity College voice said, "We are now flying at a height of thirty-five thousand feet." "Ye better make it a small one," he whispered to her. "we're getting too close to headquarters." My brother George whistled a few choruses of "The High And The Mighty," And was quick to ask, "Is it quicker to New York or carry a lunch?" Whistle MacDog, whose mother knows him better as Wilcil McDowell, broke into "Carnival of Venice" on Puff, the Magic Dragon. (Puff is really only a plastic Melodica that looks like a magic dragon.) And Jimmy begged him to be quiet, as he ratherly rudely and violently broke Puff's mouthpiece neck. "Why is a duck?" was his startling question. But I was too involved with more pressing themes to answer.
Mr. and Mrs. Donut Hole
Mr. and Mrs. Donut Hole wen tout to the fair
They spent all their money.
But, he said, "Don't worry, honey,
We're surrounded by dough everywhere."
"The Unicorn" was kicking up its heels in every popular music chart across America. And we were in a magic bubble. And a long-distance operator from California heard my voice and said, "Are you the boy that sings 'The Unicorn,' by any chance?" And we bought new green sweaters in Montreal, and Jimmy went up the Amazon for five days on a date. And George shaved his beard off. And "Whistle" met Dick Contino and grew long sideburns. And Les Weinstein, our manager, got to like Irish potato scones better than "knishes." And me? I just kept at those things…
If a cricket doesn't cricket
And a beetle has no beat
If a ladybird is not a female fowl
If a mantis doesn't pray
What's left for us to say
Except who's left for us to trust
On such a day.