I was at a session in Ennis, Ireland in October. While we were listening, the group broke into a song known in bluegrass circles as ‘Bill Cheatham’. I asked my Irish cousin, “what is that song?” knowing there are a number of shared songs, Red Haired Boy/Little Beggarman coming to mind although I think they are played in different keys. She didn’t know, but asked one of the players and he said it was the “Donegal Lads”. I have tried to find the tune under that name without success. Is anyone familiar with it, or did I get the name wrong?
Unfortunely I’m not familiar with that tune yet. But your topic was so interesting.
Recently I realized that the
Irish washerwoman is also a song Burl Ives sang called Greer County Bachelor.
It’s such a treat to find all the interconnectiveness.
I first head The Little Beggarman played by Ian & Sylvia with John Herald in the sixties folk boom. They sang words to it, but Ian and John played a great solo.
I later heard it as a bluegrassy fiddle tune in the early seventies under the name The Red Haired Boy.
A friend told me that his dad used to sing it under the name The Old Soldier With The Wooden Leg.
"There was an old soldier and he had a wooden leg
And he had no tobbaco so tobbaco he would beg. . ."
In Newfoundland I've heard it called The Old Ragadoo.
"I'm a hearty Newfoundlander, Michael Chaser is my name
I was born on Green Island, I'm a fisherman by trade
I was born on Green Island 'bout a quarter after two
With my hands in the pockets of my old ragadoo... "
I've also heard it called Gilderoy when played as an instrumental.
Wow Jim that was wonderful. Thank you for providing the lyrics. It’s amazing how connected it all is.
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