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Lyr Add: The Twang Man

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TWANGMAN


MartinRyan 21 Aug 03 - 02:19 PM
Kevin Sheils 21 Aug 03 - 11:47 AM
GUEST,Matthew Edwards 21 Aug 03 - 11:38 AM
Snuffy 21 Aug 03 - 08:48 AM
Charley Noble 21 Aug 03 - 08:29 AM
GUEST,Martin Ryan 21 Aug 03 - 08:10 AM
Kevin Sheils 21 Aug 03 - 07:54 AM
GUEST,Matthew Edwards 21 Aug 03 - 07:47 AM
OldPossum 21 Aug 03 - 07:25 AM
Kevin Sheils 21 Aug 03 - 05:57 AM
GUEST,Matthew Edwards 20 Aug 03 - 01:31 PM
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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Twang Man
From: MartinRyan
Date: 21 Aug 03 - 02:19 PM

I hadn't read the set carefully:

"midge" is usual
"treacle billy depot" instead of "treacle depot"
"James's Gate" is the site of Guinness' Brewery, of course.
"When the milita wasn't wantin', he dealt..." is usual. The sense is "wasn't needed.."

The last line is usually:
"And you'll wind up in the gutter there, like poor ould Mickey Bags."

To the best of my knowledge, there is no evidence for the Zosimus ascription.

Regards


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Twang Man
From: Kevin Sheils
Date: 21 Aug 03 - 11:47 AM

The song makes perfect sense to me (even if some of the slang is vague). Boy courts girl, 3rd party joins the triangle, seduces her in Sandymount, First party gets upset and kills the third.

Still we'll always have "parrots" as Kryten would have said.

And I think that "midge" is more than likely original and "image" is the mondegreen, but each to their own.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Twang Man
From: GUEST,Matthew Edwards
Date: 21 Aug 03 - 11:38 AM

Thanks to all suggestions so far, although as Charley Noble said this could be one of those songs that is all the more interesting just because it doesn't make sense!!

If Snuffy is right then the transformation of "as fair as an image" into "as fair as any midge" would have to rank as one of the best mondegreens of all time, and the ghost of old Zozimus must be roaring with laughter!!!

As Kevin rightly says there isn't any sense in looking for a "definitive" version here, as the variations help keep this song alive, but it is intriguing to find out what other people think is going on in the song.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Twang Man
From: Snuffy
Date: 21 Aug 03 - 08:48 AM

I only know the Dubliner's version, but I'd always thought they sang "as fair as an image"


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Twang Man
From: Charley Noble
Date: 21 Aug 03 - 08:29 AM

Nice to have some suggested lyrics, although I've enjoyed the mystery of this song for years after first hearing it on a Dubliners' recording. What could it all mean? Who was doing what with what to whom? Any someone surely came to a sorry end...

I also enjoyed how the phrase "the poor old gather-em-up" managed to get compressed into one final gasp.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Twang Man
From: GUEST,Martin Ryan
Date: 21 Aug 03 - 08:10 AM

Odd that we haven't looked at this one before, alright.

There's more to it than meets the eye. I suspect "treacle billy" is the toffee - "twang" is another matter!


Regards


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Twang Man
From: Kevin Sheils
Date: 21 Aug 03 - 07:54 AM

I guess "midge" is a term a bit like "mott" in the later verse.

Yes the addition of "other" helps the scan, I usually sing that. There are a few minor differences like that but I highlighted the miss/midge difference as it was fairly relevant to the rhyme, but things don't always have to rhyme exactly.

I guess it's best to sing what makes sense and comfort to the singer. If that didn't happen then there'd be no variations to songs generally.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Twang Man
From: GUEST,Matthew Edwards
Date: 21 Aug 03 - 07:47 AM

Ok "midge" it is then, and does that have any meaning in Dublin slang? By the way I should have written that Ronnie Drew sings the second line of the fourth verse as:-
"And not go chasing a twang man's mot or any other old hen,"
This scans better than as I gave it above.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Twang Man
From: OldPossum
Date: 21 Aug 03 - 07:25 AM

The Dubliners Songbook 1974 has "midge" as well.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Twang Man
From: Kevin Sheils
Date: 21 Aug 03 - 05:57 AM

I've always heard (and sing) the line in the first verse as

"He loved a lovely maiden, as fair as any midge" (or occasionally "old midge")


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Subject: Lyr Add: The Twang Man
From: GUEST,Matthew Edwards
Date: 20 Aug 03 - 01:31 PM

After recently hearing somebody sing one of blind Zozimus' songs The Finding of Moses (The singer was Norman at the Open Door who had learned it from Frank Harte), I thought I might retaliate another night with The Twang Man. However the necessary accent is only achievable by those who grew up in a smoky pub down by the Liffeyside so I may pass on this one.
Surprisingly the lyrics aren't in the DT although Aidan Crossey (né Derrymacash) has posted a useful précis here Story behind 'The Twang Man' . After listening to recordings of Dominic Behan and of Ronnie Drew this effort is the best I can come up with, but any corrections are welcome. Ronnie Drew sings a fourth verse to Dominic Behan's three but otherwise the versions are similar. I'll leave the full explanation of the words to better qualified experts, apart from noting that Seamus Ennis (I think it was him) said that in all his life he'd only once been asked the meaning of the phrase "playing billy in the bowl" by a sweet young American lassie to whom he'd suggested it had something to do with beachcombing.

The Twang Man

Composed by Zozimus (Michael Moran) 1794-1846

Come listen to my story, its about a nice young man,
When the militia wasn't wanting him he dealt in hawking twang,
He loved a lovely maiden, as fair as any miss,
She kept a treacle depot on one side of the Carlisle Bridge.

Another one came courting her; his name it was Mickey Baggs,
He was a commercial traveller, he dealt in bones and rags.
He took her out to Sandymount for to see the waters roll,
He won the heart of the twang man's girl playing billy in the bowl.

But when the twang man heard of this he flew into a terrible rage,
He swore by the contents of his twang cart on him he'd have revenge,
He lay in wait by James Gate and when poor Baggs came up
With his twang knife he took the life of the poor old gather-em-up.

Now you'll have heard my story and I hope youse 'll be good men,
And not go chasing a twang man's mot or any old hen,
For she'll leave you without a brass farthing not even an old pack of rags,
And that's the end of the story and poor old Mickey Baggs.

Notes
twang - a hard toffee
mot - sweetheart or girlfriend


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