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The Boy in the Boat

Monday, 20 February, 2017

The excellent fiddler Fergal Scahill, who plays with We Banjo 3, decided he’d record a tune a day for the whole of 2017. Last week in Reykjavik, on Day 46 of the project, he played a reel titled The Boy in the Boat, also known as An Buachaill Sa Mbád.

A blues song with the title The Boy in the Boat was recorded in 1930 by George Hannah, who has been honoured for his contribution to “queer music” by The Pop-Up Museum of Queer History. The title of the tune/song is an anatomical allusion with sexual connotations and the lyrics go like this:

Now, did you ever hear the story ’bout that boy in a boat,
Don’t wear no shoes or no overcoat.
Broad told me that it happened like this.
He love to dive and also to fish.
He went roaming in that shallow boat.
With his head hardly rising and his eyes hard to cope.
Face is all wrinkled and his breath smells like soap.
Talking about that boy in the boat.


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