The Wild Rover

The Wild Rover

This is what I sing when someone asks for The Wild Rover at a session.It’s got me into trouble once or twice,but I refuse to sing the Wild Rover!

And it’s no, nay, never, no, nay, never, no more
Will I play the Wild Rover, no, never, no more

I’ve been a folksinger for twenty-five years
We will sing half the night for the fun and free beers
But now that we’re older we both know the score
And I never will play the Wild Rover no more

I know it’s a song one that pleases the folk
But I have to admit that it just makes me choke
A night with a sore tooth is more fun to me
Than to sing even one verse, never mind two or three

It’s a song that’s requested again and again
If I hear it once more it’ll drive me insane
The words all sound stupid it just makes me wild
And the tune could be learnt by a two-year old child

I’ll go to a folk club, take a shotgun along
And I’ll shoot the first bastard who asks for that song
And the hangman will say as I fall through the floor
Now you never will play the Wild Rover no more

Words by Hamish Imlach

Re: The Wild Rover

I love this version of Galway Bay (the late John Isherwood used to sing it in the folk clubs of Portsmouth many years ago) -

Maybe someday I’ll go back again to Ireland,
If only my ex-wife would pass away,
Sure, she has me poor heart broke with all her naggin’
And she has a mouth as big as Galway Bay.

See her drinking sixteen pints of Arthur Guiness,
And when the barman says, “It’s time to go.”,
Sure, she wouldn’t answer him in Gaelic,
But in a language that the clergy do not know.

See her drinking sixteen pints of finest Guiness,
And then her walking home without a sway,
If the sea were beer instead of salty water,
There’d be nothing left but foam by Galway Bay.

Now her face is like a pork-chop chopped in pieces,
Her hair is like a rick of last year’s hay,
And her nose is like the lighthouse out in Claddagh,
That guides the sailors in by Galway Bay.

On her back she has tattooed a map of Ireland,
And when she takes a bath on Saturday,
Sure, she scrubs the Ivory Soap around by Claddagh,
Just to watch the suds roll down by Galway Bay.
(Words by : Noel Henry’s Irish Showband )

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The p*ss take of finbar furey to the air of green fields of france is cool too.
Can’t remember all the words, but willie mcbride tells finbar he didn’t die a hero, rather he “choked on a chicken bone in the army canteen”.

"They didn’t beat the drum slowly
They didn’t play the fife lowly
They didn’t sound the death march
As they lowered me down
And the coffin was plywood and porous
And the band played football by the forest"

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I like the Wild Rover Spoof excelent dafyyd
And of course theres the good old p*ss take of:-


By a lonely prison wall I heard a young girl calling
Michael they are singing it again
If I hear it one more time, I think I’ll lose my mind
I’m so fed up with the Fields of Athenry

cho: Oh no the Fields of Athenry
If I hear it one more time I think I’ll die
It’s such a boring song it goes on and on and on
I’m so fed up with the Fields of Athenry

From within the prison wall I heard a young man calling
Mary why do you think I’m here
In here we all agree transportation’ll set us free
Free from the Fields of Athenry

By a lonely harbour wall I saw the last star falling
As the prison ship sailed out against the tide
Hold on that girl did say I’m coming with you to Botany Bay
To escape from the Fields of Athenry

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Oh the Corporation muck cart was filled up to the brim.
The driver fell in and he found he could not swim.
He sank to the bottom just like a chunk of stone
And there we heard him whistling:
“There’s no place like home!”

Home! Ho-ome! Home Sweet Home!
Wherever I wander, there’s no place like home!

(East Lancashire traditional)

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Have you heard the ould song about Willie McBride?
If I hear once more, it’ll turn me insides,
For it’s sung in the springtime and it’s sung in the fall,
But mostly by people who can’t sing at all.

You go down to the pub on a Saturday night
For a song and a pint, everything is all right,
Till some drunken punter sits down by your side
Saying, ‘Shing ush that shong about Willie McBride.’

You say you don’t know it but that will not do,
For now he’s determined to sing it to you.
Then he spills half your drink and starts off in a key
That was never invented on land or on sea.

And as time goes on, sure the whole thing gets worse,
For you soon realise that he knows every verse.
With his arm round your shoulder, ’cos now he’s your friend,
He’s determined to sing the damned thing to the end.

Did they sing the song badly? Did they sink their pints gladly?
Did the drunks fall asleep as they lowered them down?
Did the barmen shout ‘Last drinks!’ in chorus,
And did the punters say ‘Thank Christ it’s over’?

Well you go to the jacks for a quarter of an hour
And you watch the TV in the ould public bar.
Then you come back, thinking that he’d retire,
But he’s still going on about gas and barbed wire.

With his eyes tight shut, as if in a trance
While he’s up to his arse in the green fields of France.
The punters are all quiet. There’s not even a peep,
Does he not realise that they’ve all gone to sleep.

Now Willie McBride, what the hell is your game
With that ould photograph in a mouldy old frame?
That we used to think was so precious and rare
Now you can buy them in Woolworth’s for two bob a pair.

And what’s all the fuss about barbed wire and smoke?
Sure, you shouldn’t have joined if you can’t take a joke!
And who says the Germans should have all the craic,
Did nobody tell you you’re allowed to shoot back?

O Willie McBride, why did you have to die?
The trouble you’d saved had you come back alive,
And got a wee job or maybe signed on the bru,
So we wouldn’t have to listen to songs about you!

Now that I think of it, sure I’m glad that you’re dead,
With the green fields of France piled on top of your head,
All the trouble you’ve caused since the day that you died,
Sure, shooting’s too good for you, Willie McBride.

From the singing of Sean Mone of Keady, Co. Armagh. Apologies for any possible offence to anyone.

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Love these sorts of parodies. I should add that, in some cases, my affection for the original song being spoofed is undiminished -- with the exception of “Athenry” and “Rover,” that is!

I once heard Johnny Moynihan do a spin on Bill Caddick’s “John of Dreams” which for a while (don’t know if it still is) was on the pub-sing Top 40. Johnny’s version was “John O’Gods,” which is the name of a hospital in Ireland noted for treating alcoholism, so I suppose I should add the “may be offensive to some listeners” disclaimer. Don’t have the complete lyrics with me, but my (probably faulty) recollection of some include:

Across the hills and mountains, the sun has gone away
Who needs hills and mountains anyway?
Once you were flying
Now no one’s buying
It’s time you buggered off to John O’Gods

You’ve found a way to perpetuate your name
You’re in the Irish Music Hall of Fame
But the dawn of wonder
Comes up like thunder
It’s time you chundered off to John O’Gods

Hmm, may have to dig out that lyric sheet, if nothing else but to satisfy my curiosity.

Re “Wild Rover”: Anyone familiar with the “alternative” version that came from a Scots singer, Willie Beaton, with a more minorish sounding melody?

Posted by .

Re: The Wild Rover

I’v just dropped in to see you all,
It will only take a while.
To Knock down your wee white washed wall,
and change your thatch to tile.
For i have got permission from your TDs in the Dáil:
for more golf- and fishing-holiday-
Homes in Donegal

1st verse of Jimmy’s “Holiday Homes of Donegal”
Sár-mhaith-Maith thú, Jimmy!!

Re: The Wild Rover

Unfortunately (?) I can never hear “Galway Bay” without hearing the words to the Oscar Mayer wiener song:

Oh, I wish I were an Oscar Mayer wiener,
That is what I’d truly like to be,
’cause if I were an Oscar Mayer wiener,
Everyone would be in love with me.

I’m not making this up. Here’s the dots for the tune if you don’t believe me:
or download it:

Re: The Wild Rover

I know the minor version of The Wild Rover.I have it on a cassette by The House Band,with Ged Foley on vocals.I prefer that melody because it actually makes you pay attention the words for a change.

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Danny Boy is the source of all evil.

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A lot of people say that the Bible says that “Money is the Root of All Evil.” The actual quote is that “The Love of Money is the Root of All Evil.”
Similarly, I would argue that Danny Boy is not the source of all evil, instead it is poor performance of Danny Boy that is the source of all evil.
Songs don’t kill people, bad singers kill people.

By the way, these are great lyrics--using the new versions, I can’t wait to sing Wild Rover and Fields of Athenry in the pub, and I NEVER thought I would be saying that!

Re: The Wild Rover

I am certainly NOT the root of all evil….maybe the route to certain evils…
Anyway, I thought maths was the square root of all evil.

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This also from Hamish Imlach:

Jean MacPherson was a person
Wi’ lang yella hair
We went taegether doon the watter
Last Glesgae fair
The rain it did come doon in torrents
Her hair she couldnae keep dry
And a‘ the day, the steaks o’ grey
Kept comin’ thro the dye

Re: The Wild Rover

streaks, not steaks

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Wow. I’m really glad I heard the original in a pub so that now I know what the spoof should sould like. I can even sing it to my Trad deficient hubby.


Leo McGuire’s Song

Anyone remember this:

Leo McGuire’s Song

to the tune of The Road To The Isles, as sung by Billy Connolly.

Ah wis headin’ wi ma cromack up frae Gretna Green tae Skye
But ma journey has an element of farce.
‘Cos the calendar has stated - it’s the middle o’ July,
Yet here ah am wi’ snaw up tae ma arse, Oh - yo!

(chorus) Wi‘ ma pipes below ma oxter an’ ma sporran neatly pressed
Ma pockets full o’ porridge for the road.
Wi‘ some Crawford’s Tartan Shortbread an’ some tattie scones as weel
An‘ ah’m jist aboot tae paint masel’ wi’ woad. Oh - yo!

I am headin’ for sweet Afton, that’s the place that ah am daft on,
Where the smell o’ tattie bogle fills the air.
If ye poke amang the heather wi’ a feather ye will see
Where the untamed hornie-golluck has his lair. Oh - yo!

Ah remember Annie Laurie, sure, ah had her in a quarry
On the road frae Tobermory tae the sea.
Ah remember Mountain Daisy, an’ that lassie wisnae lazy,
‘Cos ah remember Daisy mountin’ me. Oh - Yo!

Ah remember gettin‘ pally wi’ a peely-wally ’tally,
In a chalet doon at Butlin’s camp at Ayr.
An‘ ah gied her a bambino as she lay an’ read “The Beano”
Then she said, well how did she know ah wis there? Oh - yo!

Ah wis jist a wee bit randy as she lay an’ read “The Dandy”
Then she went an’ put a pot upon the hob.
An’ she made me tagliatelli, which she balanced on her belly
So’s ah could eat while ah wis on the job. Oh - yo!

By the time the job wis over, she wis halfway through “The Rover”
An’ had started on that week’s “People’s Friend”
An‘ she made me veal escalope an’ we had another wallop
Before ma strong desire came to an end.

Oh the Scottish Summers have a certain lack of charm,
Due mainly to the sudden rainy squalls.
But the Scottish lassies can aye keep her laddie warm
By their tender ministration to his knees. Oh - yo!

cromack=walking stick; oxter=armpit; sporran=purse hung in front of a kilt;
porrige=oatmeal; Crawford’s Tartan Shortbread=Scotland’s favorite
cookie; tattie scones=potato scones; as weel=also; woad=blue coloring;
tattie bogle=scarecrow; hornie-golluck=euphimism for penis; wisnae=was
not; pally=friendly; peely-wally=very pale; ’tally=Italian; chalet=shack;
Butlin’s=popular British vacation camp; “The Beano”, “The Dandy”, "The
Rover“ = children’s comic books; ”People’s Friend"=weekly magazine
mainly read by old ladies;

Re: The Wild Rover

… or The Wild Mounting Time, from the Kipper Family?

Oh the Springtime that is coming,
And the girls are in a dither.
’Tis the Wild Mounting Time
And I am wondering whether

Do you go Lassie go
And will we go together
At the Wild Mounting Time
Or will I get Bloomin’ Heather
Do you go Lassie go ?

My love is like a swan
With the lightness of a feather,
But her friend is like a goose
And they call her Bloomin‘’ Heather

I will build my love a Mower
And cut down that Bloomin’ Heather
Then at the Wild Mounting Time
My love will be mine forever.

If my truelove she won’t go
Then I surely will not bother
For at the Wild Mounting Time
I could even fancy Heather !

Re: The Wild Rover

Ok, as we seem to have gotten off the subject…back to the Wild Rover

I’ve been a Wild Rover for many’s a year
And I’ve spent all my money of loose women and beer
but now I’m returning with gold in great store
and I swear I will sing the Wild Rove no more

(chorus as normal)

I went into an ale house I used to frequent
and I told the landlady her husband was bent
I asked her for credit she answered me nay (she was a horse !)
Folk singers like you I can have any day


I drew from me pocket a wee something white
and the landladys thighs opened wide with delight
she said sure I’ve whisky and wines of the best
come down ta the cellar I’ll show ye ma chest


I’ll go back to my parents confess what I’ve done (that’ll take a while)
And I’ll ask them to pardon their protestant son (who said that !)
And if they’ll forgive as oft times before
then I swear I will sing the wild rover no more

Chorus etc…..

a few subtle alterations but we were bored with the origional ! and it gets a giggle !

U frikketton’

I have written a Puglia (south Italy) dialect version of “The wild rover” titled “U frikketton’”. I can post for everyone is interested about. Someone told me there should exist a German version too. Does someone know anything about?

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A friend says it’s time tp leave a party when the Wild Rover starts up

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I remember Willie Beaten singing the slow version of this in Bells, must have been thirty years ago -
(aye Willie, you used to drop in on the way home from school, in yer short trousers!)

Chorus went something like this:

Wildrovin’ I’ll give over,
Wildrovin’ I’ll give over,
& I never will play,
the wild rover no more.

Excuse the voice, I’ve had a cold for the past few days! 🙂

Re: The Wild Rover

Bumped for freshness! Sang this alternate version in the kitchen a few moments ago for some friends.