Wednesday, March 7, 2012


Too rah hoo rah hah, fiddle dee da ra,
Too rah too rah too rah hah.


Biddy McGraw is a humorous ballad 'bout the  murder (self defense) on a St. John's dock of two foreign sailors. The women, Biddy, strangled her to attackers with the strap of her bra!

This song has a special bit of nostalgia for me.  It was a staple among the repertoire of the late night parties at provincial Liberal Conventions of the late 80's and early 90's. Following the Saturday night dinner and dance, a group of us would always end up in a room with the piano, a few guitars and accordions.  Bill Rompkey who was the MP for Labrador, would play the piano and the party would go on late into the early morning hours.

They crew from Trinity- Bay de Verde would always belt out Biddy McGraw, with some one playing the accordion and Bill on the piano.  The singer would act out the  story, carrying on with a big bra in his hand. It made for a lot of laughs and comradery. 

Another staple of these times was when the late Bren Kelly would rise to his feet, a drink in his hand,  and belt out Danny Boy with so much passion that it would nearly move you to tears. My favorite version is by the Irish Tenors, but when I hear it, y memory always floats back to Bren.  I suppose you would be thrown in the dungeon for singing a song that mentions the name Danny today! 

Biddy McGraw has its origins in Ireland in the late 1960's. It is a bit of a hidden gem. The Carlton Showband picked it up and made it it very popular, at least for a time.

I can barely listen to it with out welling up from the great memories of good people, fun times, fraternity and the die hard belief in cause.

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