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I Left My Hand
(Roud 5586)
Pat MacNamara
Kilshanny, near Ennistymon
Recorded in Kilshanny, July 1975

Carroll Mackenzie Collection

 

Pat McNamara

Ah, I left my hand on her toe, saying, “What’s that my dear?”
“That’s my toe, tippen toe; hiden go, dingle doe,
Sit by the fire and draw near.”

I left my hand on her heel, saying, “What’s that my dear?”
“That’s my heel, hollow back,
That’s my toe, tippen toe; hiden go, dingle doe,
Sit by the fire and draw near.”

I left my hand on her shin, saying, “What’s that my dear?”
“That’s my shin, shanky shank, that’s my heel hollow back,
That’s my toe, tippen toe, hiden go, dingle doe,
Sit by the fire and draw near.”

I left my hand on her thigh, saying, “What’s that my dear?”
“That’s my thigh, thicken fat, that’s my knee, nacken nack, that’s my heel, hollow back,
That’s my toe, tippen toe, hiden go, dingle doe,
Sit by the fire and draw near.”

I left my hand on her belly, saying, “What’s that my dear?”
“That’s my belly, umble gut, that’s my thigh, thicken fat, that’s my knee, nacken nack, that’s my heel, hollow back,
That’s my toe, tippen toe, hiden go, dingle doe,
Sit by the fire and draw near.”

I left my hand on her diddies, saying, “What’s that my dear”.
“Oh, that’s my milk, milky milk, that’s my belly, umble gut, that’s my thigh, thicken fat, that’s my knee, nacken nack, that’s my heel, hollow back,
That’s my toe, tippen toe, hiden go, dingle doe,
Sit by the fire and draw near.”


"This was taken down by Cecil Sharp in England and Gavin Greig in Scotland, though, from their notes, both collectors were uncomfortable with it. Sharp re-wrote it with the comment, 'The words, as I took them down, were too coarse for publication. I have, however, been able to re-write the first and third lines of each verse without, I think, sacrificing the character of the original song.' He suggested that the song is of some antiquity.
Greig's version came from Katie Steven of Pitsligo, Aberdeenshire, under the title ‘Johnny Jiggamy’. The collector wrote: '[the words] illustrate the gross note of the songs that were current enough, even among women, it seems.' The Vance Randolph Collection contains a description of a game connected with the song in which a man touches the parts of the woman's body mentioned. Here the song is stated to have been of British origin and to be 'eighteenth century at the latest'.
Ref: ‘Roll Me In Your Arms’, Vance Randolph, ed. Gershon Legman, Univ. of Arkansas Press, 1992
Other recordings: Sid Hollicks, (‘Tippertoe-Billygoe-Lairyo’), Helions Bumpstead NLCD 5"

The above commentary, lyrics and recording are taken from ‘Around the Hills of Clare: Songs and Recitations from the Jim Carroll and Pat Mackenzie Collection’ (2004) Musical Traditions Records MTCD331-2/Góilín Records 005-6.


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