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Hello. During the next 30 minutes the songs tell some stories and some people want to join us. As I roved out with Jane Ritchie of the nation's outstanding folk art is produced by Riverside radio WRP are in New York City a grant from the National Association of educational broadcasters. You must search for the origins of the riches songs. We sang back in Kentucky. Took me one year to all of Ireland. And one misty night my husband George piccolo and I went down into County Cork into the little town of MK room. We were looking for a Mrs Krown and Elizabeth Crone and we heard that she knew more old Irish songs than anybody else almost. Then we found out we were right. We found our son John Cronan and the crew and he said she was down the country visiting her sister Mrs.
O'Connell and that even if we got there at midnight and knocked her up out of bed she would still saying she liked to sing. So that encouraged us a lot and we took out over the more than an old car got down to Miss B more and we went into a little bit down to the little cottage knocked on the door. There's a little sort of flickering light in the window so we thought maybe somebody was home. And sure enough the door flew open and. There in the doorway stood this little round apple cheeked lady with white hair piled high on her head and black dress and white apron and a kerosene lamp held up over her head. She was smiling out into the darkness and she couldn't see who we were we might have been thieves or robbers or worse and she just smiled and called out Come on in come on in now can get in out of the desperate weathers desperate out there. And we certainly agreed with her as cold and raw so we got into the cottage and took off her things and there was a big almost half the room was a fireplace which took us in there and set us down and warms up and only then did she ask us our business what we come
for. I said Well I heard you a lot of old songs and my family back in Kentucky used to sing a lot of those songs and I've come to Ireland to hear the Irish people sing and see if they sing like us and. I said Do you know Barbara Ellen. I had learned that that was a good way to offend out of people knew the kind of songs I was looking for us to ask in the new bar real now and she said I had to do and I said Would you sing it for us. And she said I I'll sing it for you if you sing me yours first. So I had to sing You're my bar Raylan first and so I did. Win the green. Horse. Green on his there. Their father was being. Sent.
Well I went on through all of 14 or 15 verses of our real unsaid story and finally she dies and he dies nobody dies may all sit around and say Mrs Krown will you sing me your Barbarella now. And she did sing me her very beautiful Irish version of Barbara Allen and you'll hear it now. This bringing her here a little lower here. Yeah yeah yeah
yeah. Oh dear the hero. To the issue you very well Mrs. Courland saying and Mrs. O'Connell wouldn't saying she's left a lot and said she couldn't sing that I knew she could and her daughter Mamie saying in her son's The OConnell voice saying. And at the beginning of the evening I had asked Mrs. Cronan if she knew any children songs you know lullabies and bouncing songs and so on and she said no. But as the evening wore on she came around to me. But towards the end of the evening and said You asked me about children songs and I don't think I knew what you meant but I've been thinking about it and I have believe now that I do remember the Jordan songs she said when we were used to rock the babies or bounce the babies or jump up and down on our
knee. We used to take the old pop tunes or people fiddle tunes and put words to them. And I'm a nice bouncy things to sing to the babies. So then she sang me this this little ditty which is to an old fiddle tune impact you and she got together your ducks M&M. Really really I think really you know I think you know I threw my darling like you know I think really reading like you know I did really well and it's very likely that it's very hard to be a duck from where you know people that we would know from well you know from my you know I'm governor and well you know we
sang far into the night. You may be sure and everybody had turns nobody had favorites and we didn't there wasn't any electricity in the cottage so we couldn't record anything that night so I made arrangements for the next day to bring a battery and the next day bright and early we came back out I guess around 10:00 o'clock and as we started to go in the door we noticed that the O'Connell boys were out in the back. Sort of wood shed or barn doing something that looked very peculiar looked like they were making a sort of a hula skirt and I wondered what the hell the skiers were doing in Ireland so we went out to see what was going on. And Jim O'Connor Diana CONNELL I was making this sort of scare he had one end of the rope hitched on to a post of the barn and he had the other in his hand knew sort of pushing long strands of straw under this thing and we asked him what it was and he said by we to go into the wooden and straw tonight. And this is a curious phrase which I hadn't heard before so we asked him further
about it and it turns out that if you're not invited to a wedding and you like to join in the fun and have a bowl of porter with the rest I'm what you do is you make a a straw disguise in the comes trubble way and you go to the wedding knock on the door with your group and you're allowed in because it's good look of course for strong boys to come to a wedding and you're part of the fun and the old days they told me that this drug was probably originated because that they were very angry they didn't get invited they wanted to crash the party. They went in and sort of stole all the liquor and ran up the hills and drank it. But now it's come down to be a much more civilized custom and much nicer one. The custom was really a quite of a wonderful disguise. The skirt comes down way almost to the ankles and the top part it's of the hood and shawl it comes down over the shoulders and we see that in the scribe has made it so the long straw is tied at the top and the ends are sort of braided into three
horns which are very scary looking. And then it comes down all around the head and shoulders and then it's tied again under the chin and around the neck so that the bunch of straw is all around your head completely disguise your hair and and your face and you can sort of peek out between the strands the straw and then what's left of the straw if you tie it around your neck falls down around your shoulders in the front your chest and around your back and makes a shawl so that just have your sort of voice line is sticking out and your legs are sticking out. And what they do there they turn their trousers inside out and they turn their coats inside out and pull the landings out so that nobody where the great game is that nobody should recognize you. And on the part of the wedding guests course the great game is to find out who you are. So it's a it's a lots of fun. You're getting these costumes ready and they're sort of we're looking at each other and sort of whispering among themselves and after lunch was over they got maybe two inside us so and they were whispering to her and she finally came to me and said. Then the boys be wondering if you would like to go along tonight and be a struggle.
They need a stranger and I guess I'm a stranger but right you need a stranger she said well we don't want to be recognized and see. Girls can go to as well as boys in the old days it was only boys but now girls go along for fun and we don't want anyone to know we are so we need a stranger. In case they ask us to entertain to sing a song or do a bit of dance or something. Well they all know us and they know our voices but if you go in if you sing a song then it'll be perfect because nobody will ever guess who we are. So this sounded like something I had in mind in this under in circumstances that said sure I'd go along the stranger and I said what kind of songs do saying that and then at Macko Cronan who was the scrums cousin and he was sort of kept in the group said well we sing any old song that we think the wedding guests might like and I said well what are you going to sing if I'm you know assume that you do. But they do recognize this and you do get to sing what are you saying and he said well as sing the song that everybody knows me for and here and that's called onboard the kangaroo
onboard the kangaroo didn't sound very Irish to me so I asked him to sing it to see what it sounded like. And here he is singing on board the kangaroo Mecca Cronan royal or who knows. Mary and I will be going to the lying like thieves. I mean they've been might alone do I do or don't call me by you then boarded the kangaroo. Oh I never thought he would be that either proven true and I fared away from the border they came to ruin all thinking me all thinking me the morning for leave it there where you are in the land than knowing where I am
never whether he would be there he the proven through and I had faded from Middle Earth Burien borders we can go to ruin our with the city was home were blown from any fire in the showroom. Many have been prayers and turn to Milo clay Bowie. I have run out of did this from teen there I even them from Timbo to chain there at dinner being glued Cattanach bombed their cooked food. Do but I never thought she would be that either proven true and a fair where from the poor Van border the kangaroo. Paired up by her life gene that in the blare of the moon. But I name ten pun note and Lane was
paining you know where is my love keys and that is the one with gold. Throughout America the only men who would tell you that I haven't heard Jeff Ruland them done before I ever thought she would be there either through and through the night there where Prime Minister referred to in order to gain the rule. Well after supper we had a bit of tea and some cakes and so on and we got all dressed up in our straw suits and I was fairly trembling with excitement. So we started across the moors it was quite dark but that time and we saw the lights of the next cottage in the distance and that's where the wedding was going to be cross the moors would climb a few fences and so on. And we're singing along and dancing along and we got within hearing distance of the house. Michael Cronin stopped us all and gathered this around and held up
his big hand and said I wish now we're almost there. And no more noise out of any of you. And don't talk don't sing Don't laugh. And so we didn't do anything hardly breathe. We crept up to the house and stood there outside the house sort of ring yourselves around the door to make a nice picture. And then Michael Cronin gave three loud raps on the door and said hi there anybody home. Of course they knew they were somebody's home and the door flew open and this man was standing there and he said the venue and we Michael sit trying to change his voice. We need a strong voice to come to the wedding. Can we come in. And the man said enter and welcome. So in we went all sort of wrestling and shaking and everybody crowded around because they'd been waiting for strawberries to come it's considered a sign of bad luck if they don't get in that part of the country. That we went on in and their body
immediately sort of said a bonus to see who we were. We fought them all off in them. Finally they said. Michael said well don't we get a little bit of a drop of something to drink good cheer to the bread and bridegroom and they said oh no first you're saying before you drink they are still trying to find out who we were so they pushed me forward and I was supposed to do the first song to be in the strangers and they would know who we were and the only thing that came to my mind rather than just saying something kind of funny. Michael had told me to keep it light as they were kind of gay at the wedding so I got the dulcimer out nice and I'm Jennifer Jenny from Kentucky that tells about the man who married my wife and wish that he hadn't and it was like there. Was an America.
Wish that that letter would you guys over the. First gentle Virgin Mary there is to have this manner in my eyes over the ring. Dan if you want any more you look at yourself as if you guys over there are green. Second gay man from the. Original burgeoning pharaohs in the. Restorer has my dinner ready to do fires over the rainbow. Get out of here you do. You wanted a dinner you can cook it yourself. There's a dude lies over there we got madder and went to the
hickory is known as buzz over there being. Gentle urging her wasn't moving. Back. To Fred Meyers over the green. My father and. Uncle. Jim. Live with them as the fires over there. You can turn your burden to her as a Marine I would too once and I was over there doing. That ward was already in there and every where it was yesterday you know was there as they do with rain.
We all had a good laugh over that. All of adding guests liked it and they were sort of all teasing the bridegroom about what he was going to get the same treatment and so on. Of course though they knew immediately as soon as I started to saying who we were. Now it's a funny thing because nobody knew me except the O'Connell's. But you know how Word spreads around the countryside even if there's no telephone or anything to seems to fly through the air in Ireland I guess it goes on the wings of the little people or something but everybody knew that there were Americans visiting the O'Connell's. And since I was an American had sung and spoke Latin American and sang like Americans they figured that well this is the people who were visiting the O'Connell's they're back. Therefore this is the O'Connell group so they knew us when we were pretty disappointed that. But we joined in the spirit of things anyway and so then. As the saying is on board the Kangaroo and I think everybody before the evening was over they were pleased that we all had a chance to sing with us. Johnny the fiddler
from that town. From that from Lisbon or. And he was a good filler but he was also good singers I found out for the wedding gifts he sang.
Where. There is.
Room. For the court to do. Who in the. Room. After John is saying then everybody felt like dancing again. And that's been started up to kill a band spill C E L I D H I believe in not k l e wise it sounds Kelly means a friendly visit our now it's come to mean sort of a party and so this is this Kelly band is playing at the wedding and everybody jumped up and started to dance now of course is supposed to be
extra good luck to get to dance with a straw boy. So since we're all supposed to be boys everybody grabbed and some some girl grabbed me and so I think the part of a boy we were dancing and I'm Amy also got a girl partner and my girl been the captain of the group as the Brad to dance because that's kind of a traditional thing to do. Then we all had a good time then to the band. Here's a band music and if you feel like join in the dance just come right along. Bush is. A lowly. Digital. Looking. Machine. Going to.
Shoot. A low. Voltage again education. Issue an issue. Loaded. Issue. Shut it.
We finally left the wedding to the strains of the regs have mal and the girls are left behind and I guess it really should be the girls I left behind. So we got outside in the in a got about a mile away from the cottage we all took off their straw suits made a big pile out of them and had a bonfire. It's customary to leave just a captain sticking up in a tree to sort of scare the birds and the strong have been abroad so the pretty tart on the way home sort of you know like we had a big night but nobody felt like sleeping because there was the pizza in there for it was some of the neighbors and come in and so we felt like just going on doing something else and people felt they were pretty and they kept wanting me to play more and more things on it. They specially like to hear the bells were just played
instrumentally with the turkey which is one of the tunes I played for them that night.
Well I do hope you've enjoyed coming along with us today and I hope you can join us again next week when we travel through the folk music of America and the British Isles. Many of the portions of this program were compiled from recordings made by Gene Ritchie and her husband while she was on the Fulbright scholarship in the British Isles. The program was produced by Isidore hoodlum and directed by Stuart silver. As I Rudolf with Jean Ritchie is a recorded production of Riverside radio WY. They are in New York City produced under a grant from the National Association of educational broadcasters.
As I roved out
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Strawboys at the Wedding
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University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Hosted by folksinger Jean Ritchie, As I Roved Out explores folk music of America and the British Isles and the people who make it.
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Chicago: “As I roved out; 3; Strawboys at the Wedding,” University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed December 2, 2021,
MLA: “As I roved out; 3; Strawboys at the Wedding.” University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. December 2, 2021. <>.
APA: As I roved out; 3; Strawboys at the Wedding. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from