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Early version of Paul's classic . . .
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"Arthur McBride" is an Irish folk song. It was first collected around 1840 in Limerick, Ireland by Patrick Weston Joyce; also in Donegal by George Petrie. Several versions are found in Scotland, Suffolk and Devon - the tunes differing slightly. The song can be narrowly categorized as an "anti-recruiting" song and more broadly as a protest song.
In the song, the narrator and his cousin, Arthur McBride were taking a walk when they were approached by three British military recruiters, a recruiting sergeant, a Corporal and a young drummer. The recruiters attempt to induce the narrator and Arthur McBride into military service, extolling the virtues of serving the King of the United Kingdom, having money to spend, and wearing nice clothes. Arthur McBride tells the recruiter, if they joined, the clothes would merely be loaned to them and that they would be made to go to war in France where they would certainly be killed. The recruiter, taking offense to Arthur's disrespect of the King, becomes angry at Arthur and the narrator, and threatens to use his sword on them. Then, Arthur and the narrator use their shillelaghs to hit the recruiters and the drummer over their heads, and after doing so, take their pouch of money, and throw their swords and the drummer's drum into the ocean.
"Arthur MacBride" has been sung by numerous performers, including Bob Dylan (on his album Good as I Been to You ), Planxty, Martin Carthy and Paul Brady. Paul Brady's Rendition, widely regarded as the definitive performance, varies somewhat from the lyrics below and includes several other verses.
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Created by Link Jan 18, 2011 at 10:17am. Last updated by Gumbo123 Jan 6, 2016.
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