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Travelling Doctor’s Shop
John Connell
Miltown Malbay
Recorded in Marrinan's Bar, Miltown Malbay August 1975

Carroll Mackenzie Collection


[I want to] tell you of a pal of mine ?,
Who always thought he had a sort of serious complaint.
Whatever the remedy was he always took the dose.
To cure his ills he bought some pills - import them by the gross.

He thought he had the measles bad, the staggers and the aches,
Viraculous veins and transfer stains and likewise cattle pains.
Shivers and shakes and various aches and likewise dippedye dal,
I never saw such a man before for taking chemical.

He wore the belt, whenever he felt, a pain in his did-il-dy push.
A comical vest to save his chest the common-a or the cush.
He drank quinine and spirits and wine, to cure the pip-i-dy pop,
Until he became - a what's the name - the travelling doctor's shop.

The ague he had, the cholera came, he thought he’d capture that.
He bought some vaccinating tools and practiced in t’auld cat
To keep the influenza off, the hair he ?,
He bathed his feet in turpentine and oil of eucalyptus.

He found a watch, a curious sort, ?? to sit him down,
He bathed his hair and tended a mare and wore a battle gown
I entered once and saw his puss and ? ?
He told the quack he had an attack of aurora borealis.

He wore the belt whenever he felt a pain in his did-il-dy push,
A comical vest to save his chest the common-a or the cush.
He drank quinine and spirits and wine, to cure the pip-i-dy pop,
Until he became- a what's the name - the travelling doctor's shop.

He used to wear a nose machine whenever he went to bed;
He nailed it well to the window-sill in case they'd find him dead.
He drank a blend of treacle just to purify his blood,
He never reached a bed in case he perished in the mud.

One day he struck a pip-i-la-la, the poor auld fellow was taken,
Off they went, the doctor was sent for medicine to be taken.
The servant girl, she could not spell, for she’d been in the booze-up;
Shook her up and gave her the stuff and now she’s in Jerusalem

She wore the belt whenever she felt a pain in her did-il-dy push
A comical vest to save her chest the common-a or the cush
She drank quinine and spirits and wine, to cure the pip-i-dy pop,
Until she became- a what's the name - the travelling doctor's shop.


“We have been unable to find any trace of this song elsewhere but the following announcement of a recent sale of sheet music is an indication of the popularity of these compositions:

‘Celebrating a new collection of recently donated medically themed sheet music, this exhibit highlights music on medical providers, purveyors of remedies, ailments both real and imagined, cures for all purposes (especially for lovesickness), health songs for children, and music advertising patent medicines. Most of the music was written for public entertainment, whether in London music halls, Parisian theaters, or American vaudeville and early musicals. Later songs in the collection were aired on the radio, featured in movies, recorded on record labels, or served as themes for TV shows on doctors and hospitals. Songs range from ‘The Cork Leg’, a traditional Irish song about a self-propelling prosthetic cork leg, to Loretta Lynn singing about the advantages of ‘The Pill’. The engraved and lithographed covers of the music provide striking images of medicine and popular culture. The collection with over 1,000 items was donated to the Medical Historical Library by William H. Helfand.

TITLE: Sheet music collection on medical themes
DATES 1762-1989
BULK DATES 1890-1940
SUMMARY: Most items are in English. Some sheet music in French, Spanish, German, and Dutch. Sheet music on medical themes including songs and piano compositions about medical providers, ailments, remedies, health for children, and advertisements for medical products. Much of the music was performed in music halls or as part of musicals, or later, performed on radio, television, and on records.’”
Jim Carroll

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