The great Frank Harte sings this song with great gusto. And the Mudcat Café yields this background about this song:
…Don Meade traces the history of the song from its origins: it was written by Edward Harrigan and its first performance was probably in March, 1874, in conjunction with a variety sketch called “Who Owns the [Clothes] Line.” It became very popular and was covered by many other performers. It is alluded to in a short story by Rudyard Kipling and in James Joyce’s Finnegan Wake. It probably was spread to Ireland itself through the music-hall singing of William J. Ashcroft. A 78-rpm recording by Sam Carson also helped to spread the song through Ireland. The tune is probably traditional Irish; an 1874 songster directs that it be sung to the tune of Colleen Rhue (Red-haired girl). Other similar melodies include “Youghal Harbour,” “Boulavogue,” “Omagh Town,” and perhaps some three percent of all Irish folk songs.
Muldoon, the Solid Man
I am a man of great influence, and educated to a high degree
I came when small from Donegal and my cousin Jimmy came along with me
On the city road I was situated in a lodging house with me brother Dan
Till by perseverance I elevated, and I went to the front like a solid man.
So come with me, and I will treat you decent
I’ll sit you down and I will fill your can
And along the street all the friends I meet
Say “There goes Muldoon, he’s a solid man.”
At any party or at a raffle, I always go as an invited guest
As conspicuous as the great Lord Mayor, boys, I wear a nosegay upon me chest
And when called upon for to address the meeting, with no regard for clique or clan
I read the Constitution with great elocution, because you see, I am a solid man.
Frank Harte singing in a casual setting.According to the Digital Tradition The song appears on 19th century broadsides; first in England and later in Ireland (though without Sam Henry’s Nationalist spin). It appeared in print in America as early as 1835 (The Forget Me Not Songster). It has been found in tradition in England, Scotland, Ireland, the USA and Canada.
Oh woeful was the day when I was pressed to sail afar
And leave behind the girl I loved in the town of Ballinagard.
The shady groves were my delight till I was forced to sail.
You all may guess at my distress lying in the Nightingale.
Oh, grief and woe that I must go and fight for England’s King.
I do not know his friends or foe and war’s a cruel thing.
The Nightingale lies near at hand, my time alas is brief.
From pearling streams and mountain rills I part with bitter grief.
No more I’ll walk the golden hills with Nancy by my side
Or stroll along the sun-bright rills or view my land with pride.
We sail away at dawn of day. Our sails are ready set.
When Old Ireland’s shore I see no more, I will sigh with deep regret.
The great Frank Harte relates the story behind Dunlavin Green and sings the ballad. The singing begins at 2:42 into the video.
In the year one thousand seven hundred and ninety eight
A sorrowful tale the truth unto you I’ll relate
Of thirty-six heroes to the world were left to be seen
By a false information were shot on Dunlavin Green.
Bad luck to you Saunders, for you did their lives betray.
You said a parade would be held on that very day.
Our drums they did rattle – our fifes they did sweetly play.
Surrounded we were and privately marched away
Quite easy they led us like prisoners through the town
To be shot on the plain, we first were forced to kneel down.
Such grief and such sorrow were never before there seen
When the blood ran in streams down the dykes of Dunlavin Green