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Matthew Edwards Lyr Add: Songs by Sylvester Gaffney (18) RE: Lyr Add: Songs by Sylvester Gaffney 30 Jul 12


Now that the Irish Traditional Music Archive (ITMA) has put a lot more online I've been able to discover a bit more about Sylvester Gaffney. The ITMA catalogue lists six song sheets published by Walton's in the early 1950's which name Sylvester Gaffney as the author, plus another two crediting S Gaffney:-

The Battle of Baltinglass, by Sylvester Gaffney. 1950.
What the Doctor Ordered, or, Everything Done Browne, by Sylvester Gaffney. 1951.
The Burning of the Abbey Theatre, or, The Lament for the Queen's, by Sylvester Gaffney. 1951.
The Dutch in Derry, or, Arnhem on the Foyle, by Sylvester Gaffney. 1951.
The Poor Old Woman, or, God Save Ireland From the Heroes, by Sylvester Gaffney. 1951.
If You'll Only Come Across the Sea to Ireland, by Sylvester Gaffney. 1952.
The Irish Soldier Boy, adapted by S Gaffney. 1952.
The Little Old Mud Cabin on the Hill, by S Gaffney. 1952.

At around the same period, Walton's began a sponsored weekly broadcast on Radio Eireann, presented by Leo Maguire, and they also started issuing 10" 78rpm black shellac discs featuring the songs published by Walton's. The first such disc (W 101) seems to have been The Battle of Baltinglass/Twenty Men From Dublin, sung by Leo Maguire. The recording was reissued on 45rpm in the 1960's, and a copy of this can be seen on the 45cat database. Among Walton's other early 78s are recordings of Joe Lynch singing The Little Old Mud Cabin, and If You'll Only Come Across the Sea to Ireland, and Noel Purcell songing What the Doctor Ordered.

The booklet of 14 songs by Sylvester Gaffney which was posted above by Fergie has the same contents as a booklet issued by Walton's sometime in the 1960's Sing an Irish Song. Book 8. Popular parodies for platforms and parties as one of a series of 11 booklets. The title of the series comes of course from Leo Maguire's broadcasts which always ended with him saying, "If you feel like singing, do sing an Irish song."

So while it seems that Sylvester Gaffney and Leo Maguire were both closely linked to Walton's businesses there is nothing here to prove that they are the same person. However a website dedicated to memories of the days when Radio Eireann broadcast from the Dublin GPO does contain a statement by a sound engineer, PGR, that Leo Maguire did use the alias of 'Sylvester Gaffney':- The Waltons Programme at the GPO. If this is the case then perhaps it was something once so well known amongst a small number of people that they didn't think it worth mentioning, but I'd still like to see some more conclusive evidence.


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