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The Coleraine Regatta / The Musical Priest (Reel)

[Familiar Brew]

Lyrics: James McCurry, Music: Traditional

I first heard this sung by Gerry O'Kane from Belfast. He was playing in a duo called 'Rakish Paddy' back in '79 when I first came to Canada. There is also a version to be found in Sam Henry's 'Songs of The People.' However, it is not as extensive as the one given here. The reel referred to in the 6th verse of the song as "Bobby's Fancy" is actually called 'The Musical Priest' and is from Bobby's personal repertoire. It helps to give a bit of a breather during the story. In some of the original words to the song it is referred to as a different tune, a Strathspey, as I recall.

Good folks, I'll tell you true and now me song commences
In the year of '72, one day of my adventures
The Derry Standard came to us and bore a special notice
That on July the 21st comes up Coleraince Regatta

Chorus (sung after each verse):
Whack fol ol di da
Whack fol ol di daddy
Whack fol ol di da
Right toor a loora laddy

The morning it was fine as we prepared for startin'
I was led along the line by a man whose name was Martin
In coming to the junction I heard two engines whistle
And the points were drawn together by your man named Frank McCrystal

The ladies shook their dress and sat there with compunction
Till I heard the guard express, "Take seats at Newtown Junction"
Many's the rosy cheek was there and many's the ugly bundle
And many's the lad received a smack as the train roared through the

Near Coleraine we drew, it was there me journey ended
Sweet Portrush to view each lad and lass intended
I stood on the platform amidst the whole narration
But soon the din began to cease, the Portrush train left the station

Crowd by crowd did strive for to pass one another
Husbands lost their wives and mothers lost their daughters
And lads they lost their lasses, while pushing through they missed them
Then I hear one fella calling out, "Dear God, I've lost me sister!"

I thought the time was long, that every hour at seven
When the band began to play and the clock it struck eleven
One of the band-boys passed me by and I heard his name called Lowry
When the fife and drums struck the tune that we call, "Bobby's Fancy!"

Some were selling matches there and others fine boot laces
And some were calling, "Who will buy a true list of the races."
There were lumps and groups of lads and such as we call ladies
Bu me heart it soon made me rejoice when I took me up to Fadie's

They conveyed me to the train although me coat was grubby
There was whiskey in me brain and it made me senses muddy
And when we came to Castlerock the room began to caper
And I was locked and being mocked by a smart bird there for waiter

The short time I was there me conduct wasn't civil
The station prayed and wished me to the divil
He sat me in a seat where I sat with compunction
And from the carriage I was hauled like a wet sack at the junction

Well now yis have heard me song, which I have sung to please ye
The more I've kept yis long, sure I didn't mean to tease ye
But boys and girls just be aware and keep it as your motto
Never try to mix the run and beer that they sell at Coleraine Regatta