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The Tailor Bán
(Roud 9667)
John Lyons
Recorded in London, April 1974

Carroll Mackenzie Collection

John Lyons

My neighbours come gather around me and I’ll sing you a sporting song,
I'm not very good at composing, you’d better not wait too long.
The best of my strings they are broken, and more of them going quite wrong,
And it’s lately I've heard it outspoken that some of my notes were strong.

For twelve long years I've been shaping, making and singing rhymes,
Most of them very contrary and pulling out airy times.
Drinking in very quare places, and not coming in till the dawn,
And it’s lately I’ve heard them comparing myself and the tailor bán.

A couple of rollicking sportsmen, nearly both one size,
Both very fond of this porter, sure it’s bulging out both our eyes.
Sleeping in very quare places, and not coming home till the dawn,
And the dogs would be barking before us, and welcoming home Dan Bán.

There wasn't a tramp in the nation, ugly, quare or fine,
Or a person of very low station who was pulling out airy times.
We drank with journeymen bakers and every quare crocán [crompán?].
You would think when you looked in their faces, they were cousins of tailor bán.

Well I struck up a comical bargain, myself and Dan Bán last June,
We'd go down to old Kilawaide, 'tis there we'd be marching soon.
And it’s then we’d be picking the praties and rolling out hanks of bán,
And we'd take an odd stroll to Kilgarvan, myself and the tailor bán.

Myself I’d go into Moll Foley’s for everyone knows she's fine,
And her parents have oftentimes told me that most of her money was mine.
The tailor and Jackeen were poaching and not coming in till the dawn.
And the fish and the meat would be roasting for myself and the tailor bán.

And it’s then that I’ll have a fine farm, myself and my darlin’ wife,
And I won’t be afraid of the storm that’s been crushing me all of my life.
And if there’s a son or a daughter then fortune may favour Sean,
‘Twould be easy to know who's the father, myself or the tailor bán.


“A County Cork song, this is the note to Mrs. Elizabeth Cronin’s version from information provided by Mrs Cronin’s son Seán Ó Cróinín’s notebooks:

‘Johnny Nora Aodha (Sean Ó Tuama) composed this song. He used to be sung around Kilgarvan and I think he was one of the Donoghues — Donal O'Donoghue. He was an odd sort; he's long dead. He spent his life in the parish of Kilgarvan, but his people were from Ballyvourney. He composed a lot of songs, and they were all in English but he had Irish as well as English. Everybody knew 'The Tailor Bawn' many years ago, and any place there was a dance or a wedding, 'The Tailor Bawn' would always be sung, and people laughing heartily at it, because there's fun in it. The following Irish words occur: spréachán: a lively sort of person; creachán: lit. a small potato: clampán: perhaps the same as clampán, an antagonistic individual.”

The Songs of Elizabeth Cronin, Dáibhí Ó Cróinin (ed.), Four Courts Press, Dublin, 2000.
Jim Carroll

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