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The Clockmaker
(Roud 241)
Mikey Kelleher
Quilty and Depford, London

Recorded in London, 1977
Carroll Mackenzie Collection

 

Mikey Kelleher

There was a clockmaker New York he once came,
Billy O’Brien was the clockmaker’s name.
Out every morning ringing a bell,
Shouting out loud, ‘Any clock for to sell!’

With my tomma lumma lumma toora lumma lumma tomma loura lumma lay,
Toora li addy i oora li ay.
T omma lumma lumma toora lumma lumma tomma loura lumma lay,
With my toora li addy i oora li ay.

There was an auld girl in Washington Square,
She told me her clock it was out of repair.
She invited me in, it was my heart’s delight,
In less than five minutes, I put her clock right.

With my tomma lumma lumma toora lumma lumma tomma loura lumma lay,
Toora li addy i oora li ay.
With my tomma lumma lumma toora lumma lumma tomma loura lumma lay,
Toora li addy i oora li ay.

Her husband came in and he says, ‘Mary Ann,
I found your old clock wound with every young man.
Your clock it is wound up by night on the shelf.
If your clock want winding, I’ll wind it myself.’

With my tomma lumma lumma toora lumma lumma tomma loura lumma lay,
Toora li addy i oora li ay.
Tomma lumma lumma toora lumma lumma tomma loura lumma lay,
Toora li addy, oora li ay.


“This is part of a song made popular in the music halls in Britain in the first half of the twentieth century; it is based entirely on double-entendre. It has been suggested that it was a version of the song current among English country singers, ‘The German Musicianer’, though there are important differences and they have been given different Roud numbers. It was said to have been a favourite of some prisoners-of-war during WW2, especially those imprisoned by the Germans, though it was pointed out by one researcher that the theme of marital infidelity and cuckoldry might not have gone down well with men separated from their wives and families for great lengths of time - maybe the seducer having firmly received his come-uppance did the trick.”

Reference:
What a Lovely War, Roy Palmer, London 1990.
Jim Carroll


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