"Poor Paddy Works on the Railway" is a popular Irish folk and American folk song (Roud 208). Historically, it was often sung as a sea shanty. The song portrays an Irish worker working on a railroad.
There are numerous titles of the song including, "Pat Works on the Railway" and "Paddy on the Railway" and "Fillimiooriay". "Paddy Works on the Erie" is another version of the song.
In The American Songbag, the writer Carl Sandburg claims that the song has been published in sheet music since the early 1850s. [ clarification needed ].The earliest confirmed date of publication is from 1864 from a manuscript magazine. Ernest Bourne recorded the first version, released in 1941, by Alan Lomax for the Library of Congress in 1938
"Paddy on the Railway" is attested as a chanty in the earliest known published work to use the word "chanty," G.E. Clark's Seven Years of a Sailor’s Life (1867). Clark recounted experiences fishing on the Grand Banks of Newfoundland, in a vessel out of Provincetown, Mass. ca.1865-6. At one point, the crew is getting up the anchor in a storm, by means of a pump-style windlass. One of the chanties the men sing while performing this task is mentioned by title, "Paddy on the Railway."
The song was next mentioned as a chanty in R.C. Adams' On Board the Rocket (1879), in which the sea captain tells of experiences in American vessels out of Boston in the 1860s. Adams includes an exposition on sailors' chanties, including their melodies and sample lyrics. In this discussion he quotes "Paddy, Come Work on the Railway":
Although these are among the earliest published references, there is other evidence to suggest that the chanty was sung as early as the 1850s. A reminiscence from the 1920s, for example, claims its use at the windlass of the following verse, aboard a packet ship out of Liverpool in 1857:
Several versions of this chanty were audio-recorded from the singing of veteran sailors in the 1920s–40s by folklorists like R.W. Gordon, J.M. Carpenter, and William Main Doerflinger. Capt. Mark Page, whose sea experience spanned 1849–1879, sang it for Carpenter in the late 1920s.
During the mid-19th century, Irish immigrants worked to build railways in the United States. The song reflects the work that thousands of Irish section crews did as track layers, gaugers, spikers, and bolters.The song begins in 1841, during the time of the Irish diaspora.
For a number of versions, the melody of the first lines of each stanza resembles the song "Johnny I Hardly Knew Ye" and "When Johnny Comes Marching Home". Oftentimes, the song becomes faster progressively.
This song has been performed by numerous musicians and singers, including Ewan MacColl, The Weavers, Luke Kelly with The Dubliners, The Wolfe Tones, The Tossers, The Kelly Family, Shane MacGowan with The Pogues and Ferocious Dog, and The Cottars.
In the Shining Time Station episode "Impractical Jokes," two versions of this song were sung. One was sung by Tom Callinan, Matt, and Tanya, and the other was sung by Tex and Rex.
American folklore encompasses the folklores that have evolved in the present-day United States since Europeans arrived in the 16th century. While it contains much in the way of Native American tradition, it is not wholly identical to the tribal beliefs of any community of native people.
Carl August Sandburg was an American poet, biographer, journalist, and editor. He won three Pulitzer Prizes: two for his poetry and one for his biography of Abraham Lincoln. During his lifetime, Sandburg was widely regarded as "a major figure in contemporary literature", especially for volumes of his collected verse, including Chicago Poems (1916), Cornhuskers (1918), and Smoke and Steel (1920). He enjoyed "unrivaled appeal as a poet in his day, perhaps because the breadth of his experiences connected him with so many strands of American life". When he died in 1967, President Lyndon B. Johnson observed that "Carl Sandburg was more than the voice of America, more than the poet of its strength and genius. He was America."
"St. James Infirmary Blues" is an American blues song and jazz standard of uncertain origin. Louis Armstrong made the song famous in his 1928 recording on which Don Redman was credited as composer; later releases gave the name Joe Primrose, a pseudonym of Irving Mills. The melody is 8 bars long, unlike songs in the classic blues genre, where there are 12 bars. It is in a minor key, and has a 4
4 time signature, but has also been played in 3
A sea shanty, chantey, or chanty is a genre of traditional folk song that was once commonly sung as a work song to accompany rhythmical labor aboard large merchant sailing vessels. They were found mostly on British and other European ships, and some had roots in lore and legend. The term shanty most accurately refers to a specific style of work song belonging to this historical repertoire. However, in recent, popular usage, the scope of its definition is sometimes expanded to admit a wider range of repertoire and characteristics, or to refer to a "maritime work song" in general.
"Red River Valley" is a folk song and cowboy music standard of uncertain origins that has gone by different names, depending on where it has been sung. It is listed as Roud Folk Song Index 756 and by Edith Fowke as FO 13. It is recognizable by its chorus :
"Drunken Sailor", also known as "What Shall We Do with a/the Drunken Sailor?", is a traditional sea shanty, listed as No. 322 in the Roud Folk Song Index. It was sung onboard sailing ships at least as early as the 1830s.
"She'll Be Coming 'Round the Mountain" is a traditional folk song often categorized as children's music. The song is derived from the Christian spiritual known as "When the Chariot Comes". It has been assigned the number 4204 in the Roud Folk Song Index.
"Oh Shenandoah" is a traditional folk song, sung in the Americas, of uncertain origin, dating to the early 19th century.
"Midnight Special" is a traditional folk song thought to have originated among prisoners in the American South. The song refers to the passenger train Midnight Special and its "ever-loving light".
"(The) Leaving of Liverpool", also known as "Fare Thee Well, My Own True Love", is a folk song. Folklorists classify it as a lyrical lament and it was also used as a sea shanty, especially at the capstan. It is very well known in Britain, Ireland, and America, despite the fact that it was collected only twice, from the Americans Richard Maitland and Captain Patrick Tayluer. It was collected from both singers by William Main Doerflinger, an American folk song collector particularly associated with sea songs in New York. The song's narrator laments his long sailing trip to California and the thought of leaving his loved ones, pledging to return to her one day.
"South Australia" is a sea shanty, also known under such titles as "Rolling King" and "Bound for South Australia". As an original worksong it was sung in a variety of trades, including being used by the wool and later the wheat traders who worked the clipper ships between Australian ports and London. In adapted form, it is now a very popular song among folk music performers that is recorded by many artists and is present in many of today's song books.
"Blow the Man Down" is an English sea shanty, listed as 2624 in the Roud Folk Song Index. The lyric "Blow the man down" most likely refers to a common mishap at sea during the age of sail wherein a strong, sudden gale catches a ship with its topsails fully set – the force of the wind, depending upon the load and balance of the ship's cargo, can actually "blow the man down", or blow the man-o'-war down into the water, partially capsizing it. When this occurs during a violent storm, the result is almost always a loss of the ship, however there are techniques for righting the vessel in relatively calm positions.
"The Moonshiner" is a folk song with disputed origins. It is catalogued as Roud Folk Song Index No. 4301. Some believe that the song originated in America, then later was made famous in Ireland. Others believe that it was the other way around. The Clancy Brothers stated on their recording that the song is of Irish origin, but again, this is disputed. Delia Murphy was singing it in Ireland from the late 1930s. First American appearance however is recorded in Carl Sandberg's 1927 The American Songbag which credits the Combs family of Kentucky for the collection of the song going back at least to the turn of the century. The minor key arrangement is credited therein to Alfred George Wathall.
"Keep Your Eyes on the Prize" is a folk song that became influential during the American Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s. It is based on the traditional song, "Gospel Plow," also known as "Hold On," "Keep Your Hand on the Plow," and various permutations thereof.
"Bang Bang Lulu" is a traditional American song with many variations. It derives from older songs most commonly known as "Bang Bang Rosie" in Ireland, "Bang Away Lulu" in Appalachia, and "My Lula Gal" in the West. The form "Bang Bang Lulu" became widespread in the United States from its use as a cadence during the World Wars. The song uses the tune of "Goodnight, Ladies".
"It Ain't Gonna Rain No Mo'" is a song by "The Red-Headed Music Maker", singer and instrumentalist Wendell Hall (1896–1969). Hall's 1923 recording of it was a hit in the US and also in Britain, where it was sung during the 1925 FA Cup final by Sheffield United supporters, making it a popular football song of the era.
"Bury Me Not on the Lone Prairie" is a cowboy folk song. Also known as "The Cowboy's Lament", "The Dying Cowboy", "Bury Me Out on the Lone Prairie", and "Oh, Bury Me Not", the song is described as the most famous cowboy ballad. Members of the Western Writers of America chose it as one of the Top 100 Western songs of all time. Based on a sailor's song, the song has been recorded by many artists, including Moe Bandy, Johnny Cash, Cisco Houston, Burl Ives, Bruce Molsky, The Residents, Tex Ritter, Roy Rogers, Colter Wall and William Elliott Whitmore.
"One Morning in May" is an English folk song which has been collected from traditional singers in England and the USA and has also been recorded by revival singers. Through the use of double-entendre, at least in the English versions, it tells of an encounter between a grenadier and a lady.
Laura Alexandrine Smith (1861–1902) was an English musician, ethnomusicologist and one of the earliest collectors of sea shanties. Smith’s The Music of the Waters, published in 1888, was possibly the first collection of sea shanties to include music as well as words.
"A Drop of Nelson's Blood" is a sea shanty, also known as "Roll the old chariot along" The origins are unclear but the title comes from the first line: A drop of Nelson's blood wouldn't do us any harm. Often described as a "walkaway" or "runaway chorus" or "stamp and go" sea chanty. The song features on the soundtrack of the 2019 film Fisherman's Friends. The chorus comes from the 19th century Salvation Army hymn, 'Roll the old chariot'. This song developed into a shanty.