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Paddy’s Panacea
(Roud 3079)
Tom Lenihan
Knockbrack, Miltown Malbay
Recorded 1976

Carroll Mackenzie Collection

 

Tom Lenihan

Let your quacks and newspapers be cutting their capers
‘Bout curing the vapor, the scratch or the gout.
With their powders and potions, their salves and lotions,
Ochón! In their notions they’re mighty put out.
Would you know the true physic to bother pathetic
And pitch to the devil cramp, colic, and spleen?
You will find it, I think, if you take a big drink,
With your mouth to the brink of a glass of whiskeen.

Chorus:
Then stick to the craytur, the best thing in nature,
For sinking your sorrows and raising your joys.
Oh, whack, botheration, no dose in the nation
Can give consolation like whiskey, me boys.

No liquid cosmetic for lovers athletic
Or ladies pathetic can give such a bloom.
As for sweet, by the powers, a whole garden of flowers
Never gave their own bowers such a darling perfume.
Then the liquor so rare, if you’re wishing to share,
To be turning your hair when it’s grizzled or red.
Sure the sod has the merit to make the true spirit
So strong it will turn the hair in your head.

Chorus:
Then stick to the craytur, the best thing in nature
For sinking your sorrows and raising your joys.
Oh, since ‘tis perfection, no doctor’s direction
Can guard the complexion like whiskey me boys.

While a child in the cradle, my nurse, with a ladle,
Was filling my mouth with a notion of pep,
When a drop from her bottle slipped into my throttle,
I capered and wraggled clean out of her lap.
On the floor I lay sprawling, kicking and bawling,
Till father and mother was both to the fore:
All sobbing and sighing, conceived I was dying,
But soon found I only was screeching for more.

Chorus:
Then stick to the craytur, the best thing in nature,
For sinking your sorrows and raising your joys
Oh Lord, how they’d chuckle, if babes in their truckle
They only could suckle with whiskey, me boys.

Through my youthful ingression of years of depression
My childhood’s impression still clung to my mind.
For at school or at college the bolus of knowledge
I never could gulp till with whiskey combined.
And as older I’m growing, time’s ever bestowing
On Erin’s potation a flavour so fine.
And how e’er they may lecture 'bout Jove and his nectar
Itself is the only true liquor divine.

Chorus:
Then stick to the craytur, the best thing in nature
For sinking your sorrows and raising your joys.
Oh Lord, ‘tis delighting for courting or fighting,
There’s naught so exciting as whiskey, me boys.

Come guess me this riddle: What beat pipe and fiddles?
What’s stronger than mustard or milder than cream?
What best wets your whistle? What’s clearer than crystal?
Sweeter than honey and stronger than steam?
What will make the dumb talk? What will make the lame walk?
What’s the elixter of life and philosopher’s stone?
And what helped Mister Brunel to dig the Thames tunnel?
Sure wasn’t it whiskey from ould Inishowen?

Chorus:
Then stick to the craytur, the best thing in nature
For sinking your sorrows and raising your joys.
Oh Lord, I’d not wonder if lightning and thunder
Was made from the plunder of whiskey, me boys.


“Tom learned this from an American songbook entitled ‘617 Irish Songs and Ballads’, (circa 1900); he set it to an air he was familiar with which O’Neill called ‘Larry O’Gaff’. Tom Munnelly discovered a text of it in ‘The Emerald Isle Song Book’ (Dublin 1899) where it is credited to Joseph Lunn, and the tune given is ‘In Ireland So Frisky’. Despite being a lifelong teetotaller, Tom Lenihan said the song took his fancy the first time he came across it. In spite of the song’s popularity, Tom seems to be its sole source of it in Ireland.”
Jim Carroll


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