I'll Tell My Ma (I)
DESCRIPTION: "I'll tell my my when I go home, The boys won't leave the girls alone; Pulling their hair and breaking their combs...." In some texts, the story ends there; in others, the girl says, "But that's all right till I go home"; we are told of her true love
EARLIEST DATE: 1907 (Jekyll); 1885 (parody, according to Opie-Game)
KEYWORDS: courting hair fight
FOUND IN: Ireland Australia Britain(England(North)) Canada(Mar) West Indies(Jamaica)
REFERENCES (4 citations):
SHenry H48e, p. 11, "I'll Tell My Ma" (1 fragment, consisting solely of the "I'll Tell My Ma" stanza, 2 tunes)
Meredith/Covell/Brown, p. 146, "(Polka)" (1 fragment, consisting solely of the "I'll Tell My Ma" stanza, 1 tune)
Jekyll 117, "(When I go home I will tell me mumma)" (1 text, 1 tune)
Opie-Game 95, "I'll Tell Mother" (4 texts, 1 tune)
Em Elliott, "I'll Tell My Ma When I Get Home" (on Elliotts01)
cf. "The Wind (Rain, Rain, the Wind Does Blow)" (lyrics)
NOTES [140 words]: The Clancy Brothers version of this involves a girl, "the belle of Belfast city," setting her heart on a man. This doesn't seem to happen in the other versions I've seen, which are just the complaints about the boys teasing the girl.
The question is, is this a conflate of "I'll Tell My Ma" with some other song (presumably "The Wind (Rain, Rain, the Wind Does Blow)," or is the Clancy version the original which broke in half? Roud lumps them, but I'm not sure that means much.
I eventually ended up splitting them, but I'm none too happy about the situation. - RBW
Opie-Game: "A ditty that was the rage in late Victorian times.... Two of the earliest recordings are parodies ... 1885 ... and ... c. 1900...."
Jekyll's text makes a different point: "When I go home I will tell me mumma That the girls in Jamaica won't leave me alone." - BS
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