> Folk Music > Songs > Johnny Gallagher / Pat Reilly

Johnny Gallagher / Pat Reilly

[ Roud 920 ; Master title: Johnny Gallagher ; G/D 1:80 ; Henry H574 ; Ballad Index Pea469 ; Bodleian Roud 920 ; trad.]

Alan Helsdon: Vaughan Williams in Norfolk Gale Huntington: Sam Henry’s Songs of the People Frank Purslow: The Foggy Dew

Planxty sang Pat Reilly in 1973 on their Polydor album The Well Below the Valley. They noted:

Silver-tongued recruiting sergeant meets callow youth, inveigles him into public house and offers him the King’s shilling. Youth awakes next day on the parade ground—bemoans lot and blames all on feckless father. We learned this one—Pat Reilly—from Sam Henry’s fine North of Ireland collection Songs of the People.

Mary Duffy of Stockton, Durham, sang Johnnie Gallagher in a July 1968 field recording made by Fred Hamer. It was included in 1989 on the VWML cassette The Leaves of Life.

Tom Spiers sang Johnnie Gallacher in 1990 on The Gaugers’ album The Fighting Scot. and in 2012 on Shepheard, Spiers & Watson’s Springthyme album Over the High Hills. They noted on the latter album:

This song was collected from Jessie MacDonald of Macduff in 1966 by Peter Hall. Jessie was a traveller, born in the mid 1870s and learned most of her songs before 1900. Her version didn’t have the chorus—that’s an addition we made recently—it just happened when we were singing it at a practice—yes, we do sometimes practice! The song was obtained by Gavin Greig in 1908 from Sam Davidson, a farm servant, who had the text in his manuscript book of songs—with the location as Urie rather than Ugie. Versions have also been collected in England, Ireland and in Newfoundland with variation in names and places.

Kevin Mitchell sang Johnnie Gallagher in 1996 on his Greentrax album I Sang That Sweet Refrain. Adam McNaughtan noted:

Tom Spiers, who used to sing with Kevin in Stramash, sang a version of this set in Ugie in Scotland’s North-East. Kevin put an Irish text to Tom’s tune.

Ian Bruce sang Johnnie Gallacher in 1998 on his Greentrax album Hodden Grey.


Tom Spiers sings Johnnie Gallacher

As I was a-walkin by Ugie one day,
I met Sergeant Kelly by chance on my way;
Says he, “Johnnie Gallacher, you’re a handsome young man,
Wid ye come doon tae Ugie wi me for a dram?
    Wi me for a dram, wi me for a dram,
Wid ye come doon tae Ugie wi me for a dram?”

We sat in the ale hoose jist takin oor dram,
Fan he says, “Johnnie Gallacher, wid ye prove ye’re a man?
Wid ye list and tak the bounty and come awa wi me,
Far ower the ocean strange places tae see?
    Strange places tae see, strange places tae see,
Far ower the ocean strange places tae see?”

He pit his hand in his pocket and the shillin he drew,
“Tak this my brave laddie and ye will never rue.”
‘Tis then I was listed and the bargain it was made,
The ribbons they were brocht and pit on my cockade.
    Pit on my cockade, pit on my cockade,
The ribbons they were brocht and pit on my cockade.

Well a curse on that sergeant and his lyin tongue,
A curse on the day that I follaed the drum;
One nicht in the guard room and the next in the jile,
Wi nae topcoat nor blanket tae wrap mysel in.
    Tae wrap mysel in, tae wrap mysel in,
Nae topcoat nor blanket tae wrap mysel in.

Bad luck tae my uncle farivver he be,
For he was the first man that his ruined me;
Gin he had been an honest man and learnt me a trade,
Then I never wid hae listed nor wore the cockade.
    Nor wore the cockade, nor wore the cockade,
No I never wid hae listed nor wore the cockade.

Kevin Mitchell sings Johnnie Gallagher

As I was a-walking to Newry one day
I met Sergeant Curtis a-going my way
Says he, “Johnnie Gallagher, will you come along
To the sweet town of Newry for to take a dram?”

While sitting at the table a-drinking my dram
Says he, “Johnnie Gallagher, you’re a handsome young man.
Will you list, take the shilling and come along with me
To the sweet County Antrim strange faces to see?”

I may go where I will, I have no one to mourn.
My mother is dead and she’ll never return,
My father’s twice married, brought a stepmother home.
To me she does prove cruel and does me disown.

He put his hand in his pocket and a shilling he withdrew.
“Take this, Johnnie Gallagher, and I know you won’t rue.”
I took the shilling and the bargain it was made;
The ribbons they were brought to pin on my cockade.

“When you go down to Waterford it’s there you will stand
Before the noble colonel with your hat in your hand.
Mackay and John Riley are a little too low
So to some other regiment from us they must go.”

It’s not in the morning that I sing my song
But in the cold evening when I walk my lone.
With my gun on my shoulder I bitterly weep
And think on the loved one that’s now fast asleep.

Oh, pity the mother who rears a bad son
For it’s little she knows the dangers they run:
One night in the guardroom, the next in the jail,
Neither blanket or cover to roll themselves in.

Bad luck to my uncle wherever he be
For he was the first man that ever ruined me.
For if he had been a prudent man and learned me a trade
I never would have listed and worn a cockade.