DESCRIPTION: "She walks along Fitzgibbon street with an independent air," but Dicey Riley is headed to the pawnshop to pay for her drinking: "Poor oul Dicey Reilly, she has taken to the sup, Poor oul Dicey Reilly, she will never give it up...."
EARLIEST DATE: 1973 (Behan)
KEYWORDS: drink hardtimes
FOUND IN: Ireland
REFERENCES (3 citations):
Behan, #23, "Dicey Riley" (1 text, 1 tune, modified)
ADDITIONAL: Frank Harte _Songs of Dublin_, second edition, Ossian, 1993, pp. 18-19, "Dicey Reilly" (1 text, 1 tune)
NOTES: I have encountered four independent versions of this. One has only two verses, and approximates the description above. The other three are longer, and agree only on the material given in the description, with the rest being entirely independent. It's possible that we have three fragments of a longer piece -- but my guess is that the only truly traditional material is the two verses, and the tune is so strong that people have been patching on additional material when they record it.
Example: Robert Gogan, 130 Great Irish Ballads (third edition, Music Ireland, 2004), p. 66, has a version in which Dicey is a shopowner. He explains that "Heart of the rowl," a phrase which occurs at the end of the chorus, refers to a coiled roll of tobacco, in which the "heart of the rowl" is the best tobacco, found at the center of the spiral. The problem with this is, of course, that the material common to all the verses makes Dicey a drunk who is selling her possessions to buy more booze. Unless the term is applied satirically, she is hardly the heart of the rowl. - RBW
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