St Paddy's Day 2012 remembers 1916 and 1917
March 17, 2012 5:58 PM   Subscribe

O'Brien is tryin' to learn to talk Hawai'ian / To his Honolulu Lou / He's sighin' and cryin' / And all the time he's tryin' / Just to say "I love you true" / He's sighin' and lyin' in Irish and Hawai'ian / To his wife and Lulu, too . . Meanwhile, another gent from the Emerald Isle was indulging in blissful fantasy: Sure the shamrocks were growing on Broadway / Every girl was an Irish colleen / And the town of New York was the county of Cork / All the buildings were painted green / 'twas only an Irishman's dream. Happy St. Patrick's Day!

The composer and lyricist for both of these tunes were (respectively) Rennie Cormack and Al Dubin. Singer Ada Jones also had a hit in 1917 with the O'brien/Hawaiian tune, and here it is.
posted by flapjax at midnite (3 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
When I saw O'Brien and Hawaiian together, I feared it would be a piece of music that utilized both bagpipes and ukelele... whew.
posted by oneswellfoop at 6:36 PM on March 17, 2012

What's wrong with ukelele and bagpipes? Bring on Weird Al and his accordion as well!

These sorts of "stage Irish" vaudeville songs were in some ways the equivalent of what minstrel shows were to African-Americans, laughing at the lower class. It was interesting to hear in the NYC parade commentary that the Fighting 69th regiment who always lead the parade were originally there to see that the Know-Nothings anti-immigrant group in the 19th century did not cause trouble. Our local parade when my Dad was kid was protected from the Klan by tough Irish miners who came down from the hills for the day.

Of course, many of us laughed along, especially to the bar songs like the more current "Finnegan's Wake". The Irish do have a sense of humor, which had helped us get through many hard times.
posted by mermayd at 4:12 AM on March 18, 2012

Hmmm, wonder if Lola O'Brien the Irish Hawaiian was one of his progeny?
posted by madamjujujive at 8:58 AM on March 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

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