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Coochie Coochie Coo Go ‘Way
(Child 281; Roud 120)
Jamesie McCarthy
Mount Scott, Mullagh
Recorded in Conway’s Bar, Mullagh, Ju1y 1976

Carroll Mackenzie Collection

 

Jamesie McCarthy

An old man was selling fish,
And the cat was standing by,
And it’s on this old man’s daughter,
Sure he fondly cast his eye.

Playing Kitty itty anko I go panto,
Kitty itty anko mo.
Then lilly packu hi go ‘way,
And coochie coochie coo go ‘way.

“How will I get to your parlour love,
How will I get to your bed?”
“My dadda locks the door at night,
And the key lie under his head.”

Playing Kitty itty anko I go panto,
Kitty itty anko mo.
Then lilly packu hi go ‘way,
And coochie coochie coo go ‘way.

“Get a ladder tall and straight,
Thirty steps by three,
And place it up to the chimney top
And down to the room to me.”

Playing Kitty itty anko I go panto,
Kitty itty anko mo.
Then lilly packu hi go ‘way,
And coochie coochie coo go ‘way.

He got the ladder tall and straight,
Thirty steps by three,
And he placed it up to the chimney top
And down to the bed to she.

Playing Kitty itty anko I go panto,
Kitty itty anko mo.
Oh then lilly packu hi go ‘way,
And coochie coochie coo go ‘way.

No rest nor peace could this old man get,
Til he got up to see,
And he found the curtains pinned up tight,
And a man in bed with she.

Playing Kitty itty anko I go panto,
Kitty itty anko mo.
Then lilly packu hi go ‘way,
And coochie coochie coo go ‘way.

No rest nor peace could this old hag get,
Til she got up to see,
And she struck her toe against a tumbling block,
Into the creel fell she.

Playing Kitty itty anko I go panto,
Kitty itty anko mo.
Oh then lilly packu hi go ‘way,
And coochie coochie coo go ‘way.

I love the blue the bonny blue,
The blue I do love best,
And any man that begrudge me a daughter,
May be rocked in creel to hell.

Playing Kitty itty anko I go panto,
Kitty itty anko mo.
Oh then lilly packu hi go ‘way,
And coochie coochie coo go ‘way.

“First appearing in print in 1845 published by ‘a Northumbrian gentleman for private distribution’, this ballad is considerably older. Writer and poet James Telfer wrote to Sir W. Scott in 1824: ‘I have an humorous ballad sung by a few of the old people on this side of the Border entitled ‘The Keach in the Creel’ (‘The Ride in the Basket’). It begins thus:

‘A bonny may went up the street
Some whitewish (sic) for to buy,
And a bonny clerk's fa’en in love with her,
And he's followed her by and by, by,
And he's followed her by and by.’

In a ‘fabliau’ (a comic, often anonymous tale written by jongleurs in northeast France between ca. 1150 and 1400), a gentleman makes an appointment to visit a lady one night when her husband is away. He instructs a servant to lower him over the garden wall in a basket. The husband’s mother, asleep in bed next to the wife, sees the lover enter, and when he flees, gives chase into the garden, trips into the basket and is hauled over the wall by the servant. She thinks the Devil has caught her and is carrying her away. The ballad has been linked to a story of the apprentice of a renaissance painter who gets his friend to lower him down the chimney to visit the master’s daughter. He frightens the old couple into locking themselves in their bedroom while he and the girl are ‘about their business’ by making tiny candles, placing them on the backs of beetles, lighting them and releasing them in the corridor. When they see the line of lights marching towards them they think it is the Devil coming to claim their souls.”
Jim Carroll


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