#00043
The Kelligrews Soiree (J Burke)
score, MIDI, tabs, videos

sheet music

#1353: YouTube video by quickaccent2006
©2010 ~ Used with permission ~

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You may talk of Clara Nolan's Ball
or anything you choose,
But it couldn't hold a snuffbox to
the spree in Kelligrews;
If you want your eyeballs straightened
just come out next week with me,
You'll have to wear your glasses
at the Kelligrews Soiree.

There was birch rine, tar twine,
cherry wine and turpentine,
Jowls and cavalances, ginger beer and tea;
Pig's feet, cat's meat,
dumplings boiled up in a sheet,
Dandelion and crackie's teeth
at the Kelligrews Soiree.

Oh, I borrowed Cluney's beaver
as I squared my yards to sail,
And a swallow tail from Hogan
that was foxy on the tail;
Billy Cuddahie's old working pants
and Patsy Nolan's shoes,
And an old white vest from Fogarty
to sport at Kelligrews.

There was Dan Milley, Joe Lilly,
Tantan and Mrs Tilley,
Dancing like a little filly,
'twould raise your heart to see;
Jim Brine, Din Ryan, Flipper Smith and Caroline,
I tell you, boys, we had a time
at the Kelligrews Soiree.

Oh, when I arrived at Betsy Snook's
that night at half past eight,
The place was blocked with carriages
stood waiting at the gate;
With Cluney's funnel upon my pate,
the first words Betsy said,
"Here comes the local preacher
with the pulpit on his head".

There was Bill Mews, Dan Hughes,
Wilson, Taft and Teddy Roose,
While Bryant, he sat in the blues
and looking hard at me;
Jim Fling, Tom King, Johnson,
champion of the ring,
And all the boxers I could bring
to the Kelligrews Soiree.

"The Saratoga Lancers first,"
Miss Betsy kindly said,
I danced with Nancy Cronin and
her Granny on the Head;
And Hogan danced with Betsy,
well you should have seen his shoes,
As he lashed the muskets from the rack
that night at Kelligrews.

There was boiled guineas, cold guineas,
bullock's heads and piccaninnies,
Everything to catch the pennies
you'd break your sides to see;
Boiled duff, cold duff, apple jam was in a cuff,
I tell you, boys, we had enough
at the Kelligrews Soiree.

Crooked Flavin struck the fiddler
and a hand I then took in,
You should see George Cluney's beaver
and it flattened to the rim;
And Hogan's coat was like a vest,
the tails were gone you see,
Says I, "The Devil haul ye
and your Kelligrews Soiree".

There was birch rine, tar twine,
cherry wine and turpentine,
Jowls and cavalances, ginger beer and tea;
Pig's feet, cat's meat, dumplings
boiled up in a sheet,
Dandelion and crackie's teeth
at the Kelligrews Soiree.

There was birch rine, tar twine,
cherry wine and turpentine,
Jowls and cavalances, ginger beer and tea;
Pig's feet, cat's meat, dumplings
boiled up in a sheet,
Dandelion and crackie's teeth
at the Kelligrews Soiree.

####.... Johnny Burke [1851-1930] of St John's, NL ....####
Published in Burke's Popular Songs, page 19, 1929, Long Brothers, printers, St John's, NL.

Also published in Burke's Ballads, pp.22-23, c.1960, compiled by John White and archived at Memorial University of Newfoundland, Libraries, Centre For Newfoundland Studies - Digitized Books collection.


See more Johnny Burke songs.

This comic song was sung by Clare O'Driscoll [1899-1978] of Tors Cove, NL, and published in MacEdward Leach And The Songs Of Atlantic Canada © 2004 Memorial University of Newfoundland Folklore and Language Archive (MUNFLA).

A very similar variant was published in Gerald S Doyle's Old Time Songs and Poetry of Newfoundland: Songs Of The People From The Days Of Our Forefathers (1st Ed, p.67, 1927; 2nd Ed, pp.16-17, 1940; 3rd Ed, pp.36-37, 1955).

Doyle noted that this is the most popular of all the late Mr Burke's compositions. It has great swing and probably has brought forth more encores than any other local song. It was sung by a local man at a dinner in New York in the winter of 1938 and made such a great hit that practically all who attended requested a copy.

Also published on pages 5-6 of Songs Of Newfoundland, a complimentary booklet of lyrics to twenty-one songs distributed by the Bennett Brewing Co. Ltd., of St John's, NL, with the cooperation of the Gerald S Doyle Song Book from which these words were obtained.

The video above features a recording by Harry Hibbs (A Fifth Of Harry Hibbs, trk#2, 1971, Arc Sound Ltd, Toronto, Ontario. In 2002 a digitally remastered CD was released by Unidisc Studios, Montreal, QC, by Robert Matichak).


See more songs by Harry Hibbs.

A variant was arranged and recorded by Anchors Aweigh of Rocky Harbour, NL (Time On The Bay, trk#7, 2005, produced by Louis McDonald, Rocky Harbour, NL).

See more Anchors Aweigh.

A variant was also recorded by Anita Best on a compilation of various artists (Another Time: The Songs Of Newfoundland, trk#2, 1991, Pigeon Inlet, St John's, NL, produced by Kelly Russell and Don Walsh and recorded at Dadyeen Studios, St John's, NL).

See more songs by Anita Best.

Note: Clara Nolan's Ball was a popular parlour song written and composed by J F Mitchell (published by Alberto Himan, New York, 1885).

From the Dictionary Of Newfoundland English:
Birch Rine - bark or cortex of a birch tree, especially used in the fisheries as a covering, insulation, etc.
Cavalances - type of small bean used especially for soup (Dolichos barbadensis, D. sinensis).
Crackie - small, noisy mongrel dog; frequently in the phrase 'saucy as a cracky,' applied to a person who usually has a saucy tongue or a person who will answer back.
Cuff - thick, usually fingerless mitten, made of wool, swanskin or leather, worn in winter. In Peacock's variant of this song, the words are 'sugar boiled in a cuff'.
Duff - pudding made of flour and water, sometimes with suet and raisins added, boiled in a cloth bag; cloth pudding; figgy duff.
Foxy - faded in colour from a dark to a lighter hue.
Funnel - jocular term for a top hat.
Head - innermost part of a bay, harbour or inlet; the land adjoining the inmost part of a bay.
Jowls - meat from the jaw-bone of a pig.
Swallowtail - man's full-dressed jacket with two long tapering tails at the back, similar to an angular cut made in the tail of a cod-fish to mark ownership.
Turpentine - resin of a conifer, especially fir, used as an ingredient in pitch and for home-remedies.

The video below features a recording by Richard Woodrow of New Harbour, NL, on his third CD (Island Favourites, trk#2, 2007, recorded and mixed by Kevin Collins at Sawyer Hill Productions, Placentia, NL, and published and distributed by Richard Woodrow).


See more songs by Richard Woodrow.

#1608: YouTube video by TheNewfoundlandMusic
©2011 ~ Used with permission

The video below features an excellent cover performance by Jesse Ferguson of Cornwall, ON, Fredericton, NB and Sydney, NS.

#288: YouTube video by BardofCornwall
©2012 ~ Used with permission ~

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Notes On Tabs:
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All tabs have been contributed by visitors to this site and represent their interpretation of the tune. We are unable to verify their accuracy.

[G]You may talk of Clara Nolan's Ball
or anything you choose,
But it [C]couldn't hold a [G]snuffbox
to the [D]spree in Kelligrews.
I-[G]f you want your eyeballs straightened
just come out next week with me,
You'll [C]have to wear your [G]glasses
at the [D]Kelligrews [G]Soiree.



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