Travelling Candyman, The
DESCRIPTION: Singer Pat O'Flanagan sails to Glasgow, can't find work, so becomes a "candyman" -- a rag dealer. A woman accuses him of stealing her frock from the line; he denies it, and she hits him. Chorus: "For I take in old iron/I take in old bones and rags..."
EARLIEST DATE: 1954 (recorded from Jennie Davison)
LONG DESCRIPTION: Singer, Pat O'Flanagan, sails from Belfast to Glasgow, can't find work, so as a last resort becomes a "candyman" -- a rag dealer. A woman accuses him of stealing her frock from the line; he denies it, and she hits him. Chorus: "For I take in old iron/I take in old bones and rags...My name is Pat O'Flanagan/I'm a travelling candyman"
KEYWORDS: poverty accusation violence rambling travel theft clothes commerce work worker Gypsy migrant
FOUND IN: Ireland
REFERENCES (1 citation):
Kennedy 359, "The Travelling Candyman" (1 text, 1 tune)
"Rich" Johnny Connors, "Rambling Candyman" (on IRTravellers01)
NOTES [88 words]: Not to be confused with the American blues song "Candy Man." While ragpicking was usually considered to be a last resort among Travellers, in fact several seem to have made considerable fortunes at the trade. - PJS
The version on IRTravellers01, "made and sung by 'Rich' Johnny Connors," describes an event that happened to the singer. Instead of the frock episode, his episode is about an old man who tried to sell him a sack weighted with "bricks you could plainly see" with which he could not fool "any rambling candy man." - BS
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The Ballad Index Copyright 2018 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.