Banter I Songs and Tunes

A bit of Banter: 4- Johnny I Hardly Knew Ye

a-muso-imageThere’s no fool like an old fool, they say, so what happens when a bunch of oul’ coots gather together to make music? The next 20 posts may enlighten you as to the question just posed and may also, perhaps, enrage or entertain. Anything’s better than a yawn, I guess. These songs were the result of a few sessions around a table laden with alcoholic beverages of various kinds. Plonked in the centre of the table was a laptop with built-in mic that somehow survived the knocks and spillages that were part and parcel of the sessions. 

Song 4: Johnny I Hardly Knew Ye– I first heard this sung by Tommy Maken and I took it up as part of my repertoire when I was still young and green. Written by English songwriter, Joseph Geoghagen and published in 1867, the anti-war sentiment seemingly  embodied in the song may be an aretfact of 20th Century readings of it as some evidence suggests that the song was sung for comic effect in music halls in the 19th Century!   But in Ireland itjihky was sung, like Arthur McBride, as a cautionary tale about joining the British army. In any case, these anti-militaristic views were quite widespread, especially among women.


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