I Never Drink Behind the Bar
DESCRIPTION: "I once owned a fine saloon with mirrors on the wall... 'Good morning, Pete, they say to me... Oh, will you join?' "I must decline, For I'm behind the bar. I never drink behind the bar....'" Pete describes all the things he will do, but he won't drink
EARLIEST DATE: 1883 (McSorley's Inflation)
KEYWORDS: drink nonballad
REFERENCES (3 citations):
Finson-Edward-Harrigan-David-Braham, vol. II, #83, pp. 10-12, "I Never Drink Behind the Bar" (1 text, 1 tune)
ADDITIONAL: Richard Moody, _Ned Harrigan: From Corlear's Hook to Herald Square_, Nelson Hall, 1980, after p. 54, "I Never Drink Beind he Bar" (a copy of the sheet music)
Edward Harrigan, _The Mulligans_, G. W. Dilingham, 1901, p. 81, "(no title)" (1 fragment, of the chorus, slightly different from the published sheet music)
Mick Moloney, "I Never Drink Behind the Bad" (on HarriganBrahamMaloney)
NOTES [338 words]: For background on Harrigan and Braham, see the notes to "The Babies on Our Block."
Franceschina, p. 152: "Six new numbers were introduced in McSorley's Inflation, each receiving a 'heel and toe' accompaniment in the gallery, which indicted immediate audience approval. 'I Never Drink Behind the Bar, sung by Harrign, assisted by John Wild and James Fox (in the supporting role of Major Wabble) was a patter story song with a schottische 'echo' chorus that proved quite popular with the crowd."
The drama "dealt with Peter McSorley (Harrigan), a tenement landlord and candidate for the local coronership. Ashamed of the successful poulty-stall run in Washington Market by his wife, Bridget (Tony Hart), McSorley attempts to destroy her seller's permit. Bridget hides the document in her mattress, which is subsequently taken away by a black politician, Rufus Rhubarb (John Wild), at McSorley's request. Bridget follows the mattress robber to his home, where a group of African Americans are assembled to hear the political platforms of McSorley and his opponent, Coroner Slab (Edward Burt). Bridget, with the help of the female constituency, manages to recapture the bed, and McSorley, who has been knocked out by Tom Tough (Michael Foley), a bruiser in the employ of Coroner Slab, decides against a political career and vows never again to try to interfere with his wife's poultry business."
Moody, p. 133, explains that "Dan Mulligan [hero of a whole series of Harrigan plays; see again the notes to "Babies on Our Block"] had been rechristened Peter McSorley to honor the saloon [McSorley's Saloon, later McSorley's Old Ale House, a landmark near where the play was performed] and to take account of Yeaman's absence from the company" [Annie Yeamans played Cordelia Mulligan, wife of Dan Mulligan, and her absence was temporary -- she was still visiting Harrigan in the last days of his life]. The play premiered November 27, 1882 (Moody, p. 132).
For another song from "McSorley's Inflation, see "McNally's Row of Flats." - RBW
Last updated in version 5.2
- Franceschina: John Franceschina, David Braham: The American Offenbach, Routledge, 2003
- Moody: Richard Moody, Ned Harrigan: From Corlear's Hook to Herald Square, Nelson Hall, 1980
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