EMAIL THE BEEKEEPER
Q&A November 2011, Part II
12/5/2011 (updated 12/5/2011)

Drawing an analogy between music and religious experience, Karen Armstrong has written that, "a late Beethoven quartet does not represent sorrow but elicits it in hearer and player alike, and yet it is emphatically not a sad experience. Like tragedy, it brings intense pleasure and insight. We seem to experience sadness directly in a way that transcends ego...." This, to me, articulates the experience of your "dark" songs, which yet shine with the beauty of the human experience. Your performance of "Woods of Darney" on Halloween in Portland is a perfect example; it moved me to tears. My profound thanks for a pair of deeply stirring shows at the Aladdin.

My question (at last!) Would you kindly repeat the name of that bawdy Scottish song you played a verse or two of when introducing "Nobody's Wedding" on Nov 1 (during the Henry the Human Fly segment)? Something like "McGillicuddy's ____"

Thanks again, and know that I assisted the spike in Hokey Pokey sales the next day - love it, and loved that segment on Halloween (especially Smiffy)! Blessings, Tony Favazza - Portland, OR - USA

Thanks for the spike in sales! The song I quoted from was 'McGinty's Meal and Ale', a famous Bothy Ballad from North East Scotland, written, I think, in the 1920s by Willie Kemp and George Bruce Thomson. Not so much bawdy as slapstick. Thomson wrote the lyrics, and seems to have been experimenting with an early form of psychedelics. If you can plough through the dialect, you'll be rewarded with a hilarious song.

McGinty's Meal and Ale
Words by George Bruce Thomson; Music by Willie Kemp

1. This is nae a sang o' love na', nor yet a sang o' money,
Faith it's naethin' verra peetifu', it's naethin' verra funny;
But there's hielan' Scotch, Lowland Scotch, Butter Scotch an' honey,
If there's nane o' them for a' there's a mixture o' the three.
An' there's nae a word o' beef, brose, sowens, sauty bannocks na'
Nor pancakes, paes eggs for them wi' dainty stammicks;
But it's a' aboot a meal and ale that happened at Balmannocks,
McGinty's meal and ale, whaur the pig ga'ed on the spree.

CHORUS:
They were howlin' in the kitchen like a caravan o' Tinkies, aye,
And some were playin' ping-pong, and tiddely widdely winkies;
For up the howe and doon the howe ye niver saw such jinkies,
As McGinty's meal and ale, whaur the pig ga'ed on the spree.

2. Noo McGinty's pig had broken lowse, an wannert tae the lobby,
Whaur he opened shived the pantry door, an' cam' upon the toddy;
And he took kindly tae the stuff like ony human boddy,
At McGinty's meal and ale, whaur the pig ga'ed on the spree.
Miss McGinty she ran, but the hoose th'wey was dark an' crookit,
She ga'ed heelster gowdie ower the pig, for it she never lookit;
And she lat oot a skirl was hae paralysed a teuchit,
At McGinty's meal and ale, whaur the pig ga'ed on the spree.

CHORUS

3. Johnnie Murphy he ran efter her, and ower the pig was leapin'
Whan he trampit on an ashet that was sittin' fu' o' dreepin'
An' he fell doon and peel't his croon, an' quidna' haud frae greetin'
At McGinty's meal and ale, whaur the pig ga'ed on the spree.
And the pantry shelf cam' ricklin' doon and he was lyin' kirnin'
Amang saft soap, pease meal, corn flour and yirnin'
Like a gollach amang trickle but McGinty's wife was girnin'
At McGinty's meal and ale, whaur the pig ga'ed on the spree.

CHORUS

4. Sybe they a' ran skirlin' tae the door but fan' that it was tuggit,
For aye it held the feester, aye the mair they ruggit;
Till McGinty roared tae bring an axe, he wadna' be humbuggit,
Na' nor lockit in his ain hoose, and that he'd lat them see.
Sae the wife cam' trailin' wi' an axe, an' through the bar was hacket,
And open flew the door at aince, sae ticht as they were packet,
And a' the crew cam rummlin' oot like tatties frae a backet,
At McGinty's meal and ale, whaur the pig ga'ed on the spree.

CHORUS

5. They had spurtles, they had tattie chappers, faith they werena' jokin'
And they swore they'd gar the pig claw whaur he was never yokin'
But by this time the lad was fou' and didna' care a dockin'
At McGinty's meal and ale, whaur the pig ga'ed on the spree.
Oh! there's eelie pigs an' jeelie pigs, an' pigs for haudin' butter,
Aye but this pig was greetin' fou' and rowin' in the gutter,
Till McGinty and his foreman trailed him oot upon a shutter,
Frae McGinty's meal and ale, whaur the pig ga'ed on the spree.

CHORUS

6. Miss McGinty took the thing tae heart, an' hidit in her closet,
An' they rubbit Johnnie Murphy's head wi' turpentine an' rosit;
Syne they harl't him wi' meal and ale, ye really was supposit
He has sleepit in a mason's trough and risen tae the spree.
Oh! weary on the barley bree, an' weary fa' the weather,
For it's keetcherin' 'mang dubs an' drink, they gangna' weel thegither;
But there's little doot McGinty's pig is wishin' for anither
O' McGinty's meal and ale, whaur the pig ga'ed on the spree.

CHORUS

If this gives you a taste for more, check out 'McFarlane O' The Sprots O'Burnieboozie'.

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