I’ll Tell Me Ma polka

Also known as Come To The Show, Heel And Toe, The Heel And Toe, Heel Toe, Heel Toe Polks, I’ Tell Me Ma, I’ll Tell My Ma, My Aunt Jane.

There are 50 recordings of this tune.

This tune has been recorded together with

I’ll Tell Me Ma appears in 1 other tune collection.

I’ll Tell Me Ma has been added to 56 tune sets.

I'll Tell Me Ma has been added to 513 tunebooks.

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Six settings

X: 1
T: I'll Tell Me Ma
R: polka
M: 2/4
L: 1/8
K: Dmaj
A|"D"Ad f>f|gf f>g|"A7"fe e>f|"D"ed d>d|
Ad f>f|gf f>g|"A7"fe e>f|"D"ed d2|
aa a<f|"G"gg g<e|"D"f>f fd|"A7"ec B<A|
"D"aa a<f|"G"gg g2|"D"ff "A7"ef|"D"ed d2|
X: 2
T: I'll Tell Me Ma
R: polka
M: 2/4
L: 1/8
K: Dmaj
Ad f2|ge f2|fe ed/e/|fe ed/B/|
Ad fd/f/|ga/g/ f2|fe ac|d2- d:|
aa/a/ af|gg/g/ ge|ff/f/ fd|e/f/e/c/ BA|
a>a af|g>g ge|fd e/f/e/c/|ed d:|
X: 3
T: I'll Tell Me Ma
R: polka
M: 2/4
L: 1/8
K: Gmaj
X: 4
T: I'll Tell Me Ma
R: polka
M: 2/4
L: 1/8
K: Gmaj
DG B3/2B/|cB B3/2B/|BA A3/2B/|1 AG G3/2E/:|2 AG G3/2B/||
dd dB|cc cA|BB/B/ BG|AF ED|
dd dB|cc cd/c/|BG/G/ AF|AG G2||
X: 5
T: I'll Tell Me Ma
R: polka
M: 2/4
L: 1/8
K: Dmaj
A|"D"Ad f2|gf f>g|"A7"fe e>f|"D"ed d2|
Ad f2|gf f>g|"A7"fe e>f|"D"ed d2|
a2 a>f|"G"g2 g>e|"D"f2 fd|"A7"ec BA|
"D"a2 a>f|"G"gg g2|"D"fd "A7"ec|"D"dd d2|
# Added by JACKB .
X: 6
T: I'll Tell Me Ma
R: polka
M: 2/4
L: 1/8
K: Ador
|:DG B>B|cB B>B|BA A>B|1 AG G>E:|2 AG G>B||
d>d dB|c>c cA|BB/B/ BG|AF ED|
d>d dB|c>c cd/c/|BG/G/ AF|AG G2||

Twelve comments

I’ll Tell Me Ma

I heard this song growing up in Belfast, but it is a popular song elsewhere. The first verse goes something like -
I’ll tell me ma when I go home
The boys won’t leave the girls alone
They pull my hair, they steal my comb
But that’s alright when I get home
She is handsome, she is pretty
She’s the belle of Belfast city
She is courtin’, one, two, three
Please won’t you tell me, who is she

More of a polka than a reel.

Actually that’s the chorus

Here are the verses the pattern goes chorus verse chorus verse chorus.

Verse one-

Albert Mooney says he loves her
All the boys are fightin’ for her
They rap at the door and they ring the bell
Sayin’ oh, my true love are you well
Out she comes as white as snow
Rings on her fingers, bells on her toes
Old Jenny Murray says she’ll die
If she doesn’t get the fellow with the roving eye

Verse Two-
Let the wind and the rain and the hail go high
and the snow come tumbling from the sky
she’s as sweet as apple pie
And she’ll get her own love by and by
when she gets a love of her own
She won’t tell her ma til she comes home
Let them all come as they will
For its Albert Mooney she loves still

There are many variations on the words but these are the ones I sing. It’s a good song to liven up a crowd.


I’ll Tell My Ma

When I was a kid in Glasgow we used to sing this as the first verse.
When I was young,I had no sense
I bought me a fiddle for eighteen pence
the only tune that it would play
was over the hills and far away
she is handsome…..etc.

I’ll Tell Me Ma

This is a great song. It’s on of those tunes that riles up even the saddest of souls. I first heard it a few years ago in high school in my Irish history class. It helped kindle my passion for ITM. The recording the Chieftains did with Van Morrison is a great rendition of this tune.

I first heard this sung by Ronnie Drew on the Memorial concert the Chieftains did for Derek Bell…

wa hoo

As an instrumental piece, this polka is usually played with a slightly different second part: |aA A>A|BA A2|fe e>f|ed d2|

Slainte, you are right about the second part. In spite of the song’s eternal popularity, usually as a children’s song, I have never heard any one play it as a polka at a session except very occasionally myself. I learned it off an ancient ceili band recording with the second part as you have it. The title given was “Come to the Show”.

Harry Bradley recently recorded this polka as “My Aunt Jane” on The Tap Room Trio album. He cites the Flanagan Brothers as the source of the tune.

“I’ll Tell Me Ma” ~ another take on it

K: D Major
|: c/B/ |
Ad f2 | ge f2 | fe ed/e/ | fe ed/B/ |
Ad fd/f/ | ga/g/ f2 | fe ac | d2- d :|
|: f/g/ |
aa/a/ af | gg/g/ ge | ff/f/ fd | e/f/e/c/ BA |
a>a af | g>g ge | fd e/f/e/c/ | ed d :|

Alternate for the last two bars: ~ | fd e>f | ed- d :|

You have the option to repeat or not repeat the parts…

I’ll Tell Me Ma

Matt Cunningham plays this tune as the 3rd polka in a set of three on the 23rd track of Volume 12 of his CD series Dance Music of Ireland. There’s a bit of variation in the B-part.