Mountain Dew/I’ll Tell Me Ma

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Mountain Dew/I’ll Tell Me Ma (WORD)
Mountain Dew/I’ll Tell Me Ma (PDF)

"Mountain Dew" is an Irish folk song dating from 1882. It was printed in "Irish street Ballads", 1916. It was later recorded under the title The Rare Old Mountain Dew. It is about the intoxicating properties of Irish moonshine, or Poitín. The earliest recording is by John Griffin, 1927 on the Columbia label, New York, under its original title.

It is sung to the traditional air "The Girl I Left Behind" (also known as "Brighton Camp").

The song is referenced in The Pogues' song "Fairytale of New York":

And then he sang a song
The Rare Auld Mountain Dew
I turned my face away
And dreamed about you.

"I'll Tell Me Ma" (also called "The Wind") is a well-known children's song. It was collected in various parts of England in the 19th century and again appears in collections from shortly after the turn of the 20th century. In Ireland the chorus usually refers to Belfast city and is known colloquially as "The Belle of Belfast City", although it is also adapted to other Irish cities, such as Dublin. English versions refer to the "Golden City" or "London City".

The song accompanies a children's game. A ring is formed by the children joining hands, one player standing in the centre. When asked, "Please tell me who they be," the girl in the middle gives the name or initials of a boy in the ring (or vice versa). The ring then sings the rest of the words, and the boy who was named goes into the centre.

****REVISED May 8, 2020 - SR****

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