Mudcat Café message #736546 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #48898   Message #736546
Posted By: masato sakurai
25-Jun-02 - 11:31 AM
Thread Name: I'll Take You Home Again Kathleen
Subject: RE: I'll take you home again Kathleen
"In 1875 George W. Persley, a successful songwriter, wrote a song entitled "Barney, Take Me Home Again" and dedicated it to his friend Thomas P. Westendorf. The words of "Barney, Take Me Home Again," sung by Barney's (unnamed) wife, tell of her longing to return to her home beyond the sea. Westendorf was taken enough by the song to write a song imagining Barney's response, "I'll Take You Home Again, Kathleen." Westendorf was a beginner as a songwriter, while Persley was an old pro, but it was "Kathleen" which became the successful song. It inspired several answer songs during the period, and is still well known today. (Indeed, if we can trust one episode of Star Trek, it will continue to be sung well into the future.) "Kathleen" launched Westendorf on a career as a successful songwriter, though he never produced another song with the poignancy and melodic charm of his first major song. "Barney, Take Me Home Again" and "I'll Take You Home Again, Kathleen" illustrate a problem with discussing ethnic typing in American songs of the 1870s. There is no specific reference to Ireland in either of these songs, nor is there a trace of Irish accent in the lyrics. Yet "Barney" and "Kathleen" are both names used regularly for Irish characters, and the tradition of Irish singers longing for the homeland was strong. It is hard not to see the two songs as "Irish" songs, but the Irishness is downplayed: the songwriters portray Barney and Kathleen as people, not Irish stereotypes." (From: HERE, with audio version & link to sheet music)

~Masato