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Lyr Add: The Gull Decoy by Larry Gorman

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Lyr Add: Dame Bruin by Larry Gorman (8)


GUEST,M Dixon 05 Apr 21 - 08:42 PM
GUEST,# 05 Apr 21 - 09:06 PM
GUEST 05 Apr 21 - 09:23 PM
cnd 07 Apr 21 - 01:53 PM
GUEST,MDixon 07 Apr 21 - 02:52 PM
GUEST,# 07 Apr 21 - 02:54 PM
meself 07 Apr 21 - 03:33 PM
GUEST 07 Apr 21 - 04:13 PM
GUEST 07 Apr 21 - 04:26 PM
meself 07 Apr 21 - 06:55 PM
Joe Offer 10 Apr 21 - 02:59 AM
Joe Offer 10 Apr 21 - 03:05 AM
GUEST,M Dixon 10 Apr 21 - 09:15 AM
GUEST 10 Apr 21 - 09:27 AM
meself 10 Apr 21 - 02:13 PM
GUEST 10 Apr 21 - 02:38 PM
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Subject: Lyr Add: The Gull Decoy by Larry Gorman
From: GUEST,M Dixon
Date: 05 Apr 21 - 08:42 PM

This is a composite version of this rare song by Northeast NA songwriter Larry Gorman, written in the 1870s-'80s. Here are my sources:

1947 - John B. Stymiest - New Brunswick - The Louise Manny Collection
    [124-15] - 9 stanzas
1951 - Herbert Hinchey - William Doerflinger's "Shantymen and Shantyboys" pgs. 255-256
    - 3 stanzas [with tune]
1957 - J. Spurgeon Allaby - New Brunswick - Ives [ATL 2149.1]
    [Tune #1] - 15 1/2 st.
1957 - James Pendergast - PEI - Ives [ATL 2155.2] [Tune #2] - 3 stanzas
1957 - Steve Murphy - PEI - Ives [2157.4] [Tune #3] - 7 stanzas
1958 - Frank O'Holleran - PEI - Ives - 13 stanzas [no tune]

The Gull Decoy by Larry Gorman

Verses and lines chosen by Mike Dixon from 6 sources

THE GULL DECOY
(Larry Gorman)

I'm an Irishman from the County Kerry
Oh and Patrick Riley it is my name
I was bred and born in that land so merry
I was noted for many's the deed of fame

When I first came out land was of little value
Two hundred acres I did procure
And to West Point I went a-courtin'
And fell in love with one Peggy Stewart

I being so neat, so genteel in acting
and in my head such a piercing eye
Oh her old parents were so delighted
She fell in love with the Gull Decoy

At that time I was much respected
by every man, woman, girl or boy
But it is of late I've been much dejected
To hear them call me the Gull Decoy

I raised my children to my own notions
My eldest son, I called him Ike
I have been careful to give him tuition
To drink and swear and to kick and fight

Until one day we got in a tussle
'Twas then his mettle I meant to try
But he knocked me down and he did me guzzle
He chewed the thumb of the Gull Decoy

I have no books or I have no papers
I have no money to win or lose
But every Sunday when I get up
I run about for to hear the news

On Sunday morning I get my breakfast
I then run up to my son Pat's
I stay with him 'til I get my dinner
And then go down to my nephew Matt's

His aged uncle, he does me honour
The very moment he does me espy
He goes in the room and brings out the papers
And reads the news to the Gull Decoy

He then commences his Evening's Progress
The "Miscellaneous" which I love the best
He reads The Journal, The Herald and Progress
The Island Argus and all the rest

I then run home fully delighted
Fully determined to win my post
I fear I never will be benighted
And in the bush might meet a ghost

There's things on Earth if I should meet them
My heart and conscience would terrify
Revenge they'd have and I could not beat them
Perhaps they'd murder the Gull Decoy

My oldest brother I did him torture
I tortured him till he had to fly
All on account of the girl he married
And still in anger I did rage
To the place where his child was buried
I went by night and dug up the grave

Of all my actions and my bad doings
I set a dog on an orphan boy
And many the other cruel and dirty action
Which adds more grief to the Gull Decoy

Since that time I am much rejected
Sometimes I'm sorry for leaving my home
I have by some been accused of murder
And was expelled from the Church of Rome

From her Communion I am restricted
I think of it every time I pass
From all her rites I'm interdicted
It's been forty years since I went to Mass

When I stand up and begin to whistle
You see all the gulls around me fly
And at my feet they seem to nestle
That's why they call me the Gull Decoy

When I am dead and my friends all 'round me
There'll be no tears but a sob and sigh
But all their tears will be unavailing
For none can pray for the Gull Decoy

Like a horse they bury the Gull Decoy


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Gull Decoy by Larry Gorman
From: GUEST,#
Date: 05 Apr 21 - 09:06 PM

http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/gorman_lawrence_14E.html

Some biographical info at that link.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Gull Decoy by Larry Gorman
From: GUEST
Date: 05 Apr 21 - 09:23 PM

Here's a version I recorded

https://youtu.be/09IJeJiDtvI


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Gull Decoy by Larry Gorman
From: cnd
Date: 07 Apr 21 - 01:53 PM

Thanks for sharing, M Dixon. Where do you find all these?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Gull Decoy by Larry Gorman
From: GUEST,MDixon
Date: 07 Apr 21 - 02:52 PM

Thank you cnd. My sources are partially at the top of the post, the main source of info about Gorman being Edward D. Sandy Ives' 1964 book "The Man Who Made The Songs." Folklorists Helen Creighton, Louise Manny and Edward Ives recorded East Coast Canadian folk music in the 1940s-60s and some of these are available by request from Universities who hold the original research documents. A few are online. I'm from the same region as Gorman; he is our most important and well-known historical folk songwriter but his songs have almost completely fallen out of the culture: I am the only person who is singing a few of these tunes. One of the issues of doing Gorman tunes, even some 150 years after they were written, is that they contain so many criticisms, personality and personal attacks and this is such a small region you run the risk of offending ancestors by performing them live locally ha ha. So I think more a recording project where Gorman's PEI songs (he later lived in New Brunswick and Maine and many of his most famous songs were written in those places) are committed to "tape" for the first time.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Gull Decoy by Larry Gorman
From: GUEST,#
Date: 07 Apr 21 - 02:54 PM

Valuable work, Mike.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Gull Decoy by Larry Gorman
From: meself
Date: 07 Apr 21 - 03:33 PM

Let us not forget John Cousins, who did some excellent recordings ca 1970 of PEI songs (album: 'When Johnny went ploughing for Kieran'), some of them Gorman songs - don't know if he's still on the go. Don't know if Wendall Boyle left anything much behind in the way of recordings, but he must have had Gorman songs in his repertoire.

Ryan's Fancy doing one of Gorman's less-unpleasant songs: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9VRzIAT8UHA


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Gull Decoy by Larry Gorman
From: GUEST
Date: 07 Apr 21 - 04:13 PM

Hello meself, right you are, John recorded 3 of Gorman's pieces and a fragment for the 1976 album you mentioned. And yes he is still living, I hope to meet him someday. John hasn't performed in public for years as far as I know and didn't perform some of the Gorman songs, like "The Gull Decoy" and "the Horse's Confession" and "Bachelor's Hall", as far as I know. Again, some of these songs deal directly with local folk's ancestors so they are not performance-friendly ha ha.

I am uploading some of John's song's from the 1976 LP at my youTube.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCHkoxlmPkYSJpDBnKTmTHKw/videos


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Gull Decoy by Larry Gorman
From: GUEST
Date: 07 Apr 21 - 04:26 PM

My oldest brother I did him torture
I tortured him till he had to fly
All on account of the girl he married
And still in anger I did rage
To the place where his child was buried
I went by night and dug up the grave

This rather lurid verse from the song is supported by local history. The Riley family had a Catholic plot. When the Gull Decoy died he was buried in his own plot away from his family's. In this song and in one about Riley's son he is described as a heretic and restricted from communion and the rites of the church. Sandy Ives doesn't mention any info beyond the rumoured stories of his informants [there is a rare book of a descendent who writes about the Riley family that I need to get] so the reason for the Decoy's ex-communication is not stated. I began checking old land maps and census and found Riley and many of the people and local references in the songs. The 1881 census says Riley was 76 years old. His Religious identification is . . . "Infidell"!
Here is a Government historic monument page for the Riley family plot that provides more of the shocking details of the Gull Decoy's actions against a brother who married a Protestant

https://www.historicplaces.ca/en/rep-reg/place-lieu.aspx?id=13052


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Gull Decoy by Larry Gorman
From: meself
Date: 07 Apr 21 - 06:55 PM

Yikes - what a horrifying story .... Sounds like Patrick Reilly, unlike some unfortunate souls, deserved the treatment he got from Gorman ... !


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Gull Decoy by Larry Gorman
From: Joe Offer
Date: 10 Apr 21 - 02:59 AM

Here's the Traditional Ballad Index entry on this song.

Gull Decoy, The

DESCRIPTION: The singer reports, "I take no books, nor I read no papers, I have no money to spend or lose." He reads other people's newspapers, sets his dogs on orphans, and has no company but the gulls he whistles to, hence the name "the Gull Decoy."
AUTHOR: Larry Gorman
EARLIEST DATE: 1947 (Manny/Wilson-SongsOfMiramichi)
KEYWORDS: hardheartedness dog bird money
FOUND IN: Canada(Mar)
REFERENCES (3 citations):
Doerflinger-SongsOfTheSailorAndLumberman, pp. 255-256, "The Gull Decoy" (1 text, 1 tune)
Ives-DriveDullCareAway-PrinceEdwardIsland, pp. 85-86,246, "The Gull Decoy" (1 text, 1 tune)
Manny/Wilson-SongsOfMiramichi 19, "The Gull Decoy" (1 text plus some fragments, 1 tune)

ST Doe255 (Partial)
Roud #9193
CROSS-REFERENCES:
cf. "Mick Riley" (characters)
NOTES [174 words]: Manny and Wilson state that "This song was made up by Larry Gorman before he left Prince Edward Island in 1873.... Tradition says that the ballad was a satire on Larry's own uncle, and that Larry was 'run off the Island' for it." It is also said that later Larry was 'run out of Miramichi' for the mostly unprintable Donahue's Spree, so he went to Maine. These are only two of the many fables that cluster round the memory of that imp, Larry, the terror and delight of the logging camps for over fifty years." - RBW
Ives-DriveDullCareAway-PrinceEdwardIsland: There is a discussion alleging that "Gorman was convinced Riley [the subject of the song names himself Patrick Riley] had cheated him out of some wages, but whatever he may have done, that poet dug up all the dirt he could find on him, and (according to some people I've talked to) what he couldn't find he invented.... [We] have enough here to show the kind of character assassination local satire could involve, and few employed it with more zest or skill than Larry Gorman." - BS
File: Doe255

Go to the Ballad Search form
Go to the Ballad Index Song List

Go to the Ballad Index Instructions
Go to the Ballad Index Bibliography or Discography

The Ballad Index Copyright 2021 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Gull Decoy by Larry Gorman
From: Joe Offer
Date: 10 Apr 21 - 03:05 AM

More!!! More!!!

The melody is reminiscent of "The Galway Shawl," but not exactly the same.


Thread #169660   Message #4102317
Posted By: Joe Offer
15-Apr-21 - 05:35 PM
Thread Name: Lyr Add: Dame Bruin by Larry Gorman
Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Dame Bruin by Larry Gorman

The University of Maine has a fascinating page titled The Life and Songs of Larry Gorman. Be sure to take a look.
-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Gull Decoy by Larry Gorman
From: GUEST,M Dixon
Date: 10 Apr 21 - 09:15 AM

Thank you, Joe. It's a fascinating song. I'm sure it hasn't even been sung in public on Prince Edward Island since the 1800s??? Gorman's songs have barely even been recorded. It almost doesn't make sense as there was a "Larry Gorman Festival" here for many years. I performed a few back in the 2000s and even met "Sandy" Ives at one. But the songs are odd and long and rely on local reference for their full impact so they're just not performance friendly at all.

The melody I'm using is from the 1947 John B. Stymiest recording made by Louise Manny in New Brunswick. When Ives collected the song in 1957 he got THREE DIFFERENT tunes to the lyrics. I have yet to hear those three melodies.

I have transcribed and posted here another very rare PEI Gorman tune, DAME BRUIN, which was only remembered and found in manuscript form in 1957. No tune was remembered so I am writing my own music for a few of these Gorman songs.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Gull Decoy by Larry Gorman
From: GUEST
Date: 10 Apr 21 - 09:27 AM

https://www.vwml.org/search?q=the%20gull%20decoy&collectionfilter=RoudFS;RoudBS&is=1


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Gull Decoy by Larry Gorman
From: meself
Date: 10 Apr 21 - 02:13 PM

The "DESCRIPTION" from the Trad. Ballad Index is confused and confusing:

DESCRIPTION: The singer reports, "I take no books, nor I read no papers, I have no money to spend or lose." He reads other people's newspapers, sets his dogs on orphans, and has no company but the gulls he whistles to, hence the name "the Gull Decoy."

Apparently 'The singer' above refers to the 'speaker' or the first-person narrator of the song.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Gull Decoy by Larry Gorman
From: GUEST
Date: 10 Apr 21 - 02:38 PM

I should correct something I said, above. "The Gull Decoy" would have been sung on PEI at least up to the 1950s-60 when Ives collected it from three-four different people. The singers would not have many other opportunities to sing a song like "The Gull Decoy" and the song certainly wasn't a part of the mid century folk music revival songbook. Several informants admitted to Ives that the last time they had sung some of these old songs was as long as forty years prior! Certainly no one has recorded or performed some of these tunes in over fifty years.
M Dixon


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