Dublin Bill

A song about my grandad William (1919–2007).


Dublin Bill

Shall we begin back in County Kildare, Dublin Bill?
Would it be fair to say you weren’t a one for school?
All your bridges swiftly burnt
And your letters left unlearnt,
Just a tearaway, but you could charm them all,
Nobody’s fool,
Sooner use your wits than follow any rule.

You took a girl for a romp in the hay, Dublin Bill,
At the farm down the lane, in a shed.
Found some guns in the straw,
Told your dad what you saw.
“Breathe one word of this and we’ll all be dead,”
Father said,
“Here’s a clip round the ear, now off to bed.”

The next morning you’re put on the boat, Dublin Bill,
Bound for London to live with Auntie May.
When you find out she ain’t real
You don’t know what to think or feel,
Then two ladies of the night kindly say
“It’s okay,
If you want you are welcome to stay.”

And they taught you to read and to write, Dublin Bill,
Slowly taught you to write and to read.
Then the press-gang hit town,
Combed the streets all around,
They said “Paddy boy, you’re just the kind we need,
Yes indeed
You’ll be better off in khaki than in tweed.”

It’s the bomb disposal unit for you, Dublin Bill,
Bomb disposal will suit your steely eye.
Soon you’re shaken to the core,
Can’t do the job no more
When you see your new best mate blown sky high,
God, you cry,
Jesus Christ that ain’t no bleedin way to die.

Well you’re settled down in Ashford, so it seems, Dublin Bill,
And showing fillums at The Flea Pit keeps you calm.
You’ve wed your Chislet girl,
Got one young Patrick, one young Pearl,
But you’re a tearaway so now your winning charm
(Or is it smarm?)
Don’t belong at home but down the Denmark Arms.

Click here for a version on SoundCloud

Click here for a live version at The Anchor in Wingham, June 2017

Click here for a version performed by Cookie, May 2017

Published by

Paul Carbuncle

“Excellent!”, “Immaculate!”, “Wonderful views!”, “We had to ask for more towels!”. These are just some of the comments made by lovers of folk music who have stayed in bed-and-breakfast accommodation in Paul Carbuncle’s home county of Kent. Now living in Nottingham, Paul has been playing scores of gigs to relatively ruly crowds at pubs and folk clubs in Notts and Derbyshire, on evenings which have been described enthusiastically as “Saturday” and “Wednesday” and sometimes “Friday”. The Midlands magazine “Folk Monthly” labelled him “bourgeoning”, back in the days before spell-check (2015). Since winning the Gate To Southwell Folk Festival Open Mic Competition this summer, Paul has spent much of his spare time sitting next to the telephone ready for stardom to call. When the call finally arrived, at tea-time yesterday, it came as a great joy to learn that he may have been mis-sold Payment Protection Insurance. In a recent interview with a lady who said she was from off of the telly, Paul deftly cleared up once and for all any mystery surrounding his chosen musical genre. “Some call it folk-punk,” he explained, “while others call it punk-folk. Either is acceptable. But over-blend it and you’ll end up with funk or polk, and I’m sure none of us wants that. It’s rather like mixing the grape and the grain... you’ve got to be careful not to end up with muesli.” Paul Carbuncle uses Jim Dunlop 1mm plectrums.

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