From the recording One For the Road

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Mark Clavey: lead vocals, guitar
Mary Hanover: vocals, hammered dulcimer
Rachel Bowerman: vocals, bodhrán
Tara McCullough: fiddle

A nineteenth-century Irish music-hall song, Mark learned (nipped) this song, twenty years ago, from the singing of folksinger and songwriter Stephen Lauterbach. The song hails from a long line of rowdy, rambunctious, unashamedly sentimental songs whose plots could best be described as "a social affair gone awry". Like it's better-known cousin "Finnegan's Wake", the song tells the story of a wake that begins, ostensibly, and innocently enough, with the death of a uniquely-named Irishman - Pat Murphy. Well one thing leads to another, and the instructions get all fouled up there, and they end up... well… somewhere between a big commotion and outright pandemonium. It is worth noting that while, in this song, the guest of honor stays dead, the procession makes it all the way to the grave without him. And as for our performance, the tempo can be attributed to a long day and an excess of caffeine.


Well the night Pat Murphy died was a night I'll never forget. Everyone got roaring drunk -- some not sober yet. As long as a bottle was passed around and everyone feeling gay, 'til O'Leary came with bagpipes and music for to play. Well Mrs Murphy sat in the corner pouring out her grief, well Kelly and his friends (them dirty robbing thieves) they crept into the anteroom and a bottle of whiskey stole. Now they placed the bottle on the corpse to keep that liquor cold.

And that's how they showed their respect for Paddy Murphy, that's how they showed their honor and their pride. They said it was a sin and a shame and they winked at one another. Now every drink in the wake-house went the night Pat Murphy died.

At three o'clock in the morning some dirty blue-eyed scamp, well he wrote upon the coffin-lid, "Herein lies a tramp." They stopped the clock so Mrs Murphy couldn't tell the time, and at a quarter after three they told her it was nine. Now the whole damned gang got merry, they didn't care for prayer. So Mrs Murphy said she'd wait 'til all the gang were there. And of all the sights I've ever seen that made me shiver with fear - well they took the ice right off the corpse and they placed it on the beer.

And that's how they showed their respect for Paddy Murphy, &c

Now everything was going fine and there was no ill at all 'til Finnegan told Flanagan, "Why you got an awful gall." I thought that this might start a row and, sure enough, it did. And Callahan - he'd carved his name upon the coffin-lid. And then a fight got fierce and strong and everybody in, then someone knocked the whiskers off of poor old Darby Flynn. And dirty Andy Burke was there... now what do you think he done? Well he stood old Pat right on his head on the corner just for fun.

And that's how they showed their respect for Paddy Murphy, &c

Well someone hollered for the cops - they busted down the door, they jumped upon old Paddy's back and they laid him on the floor, they knocked him twice behind the ears and they knocked him on the head. But when they got up off his back, sure, they found out he was dead. Then Mrs Murphy started in, did battle with them cops. She licked them, every one of them, and she chased them several blocks. Well a lovely time was had by all - eighteen in courts were tried for having caused a riot on the night Pat Murphy died.

And that's how they showed their respect for Paddy Murphy, &c

At eight o'clock in the morning the funeral left the house. Everyone but poor old Mrs Murphy was out soused. We stopped on the way to the graveyard at the old Red Door saloon - we went in there at nine o'clock, but we didn't come out 'til noon. Oh, someone asked Lou Milligan if anyone had died. Lou, says he, "Well I'm not quite sure, I just came for the ride." Well we started out for the churchyard all in a very straight line, but when we got to the grave we found we'd left old Pat behind.

And that's how they showed their respect for Paddy Murphy, &c