A Bit Like You And Me Radio

February 05, 2013

Thin Lizzy - Whiskey in the Jar (1972)

Formed in Dublin, Ireland in December 1969, this band’s birth began when Phil Lynott and Brian Downey, who had met while still in high school, were playing a gig at a local pub. Attending the gig were two ex-members of Van Morrison’s Them, Eric Bell and Eric Wrixon. After the show, Bell and Wrixon asked Lynott and Downey if they’d like to come together as a group, and they agreed after Lynott was assured he would get to play bass and that they would record some of his original songs. Although Wrixon and Bell would eventually part ways with the group before they had released their first single and after unsuccessful records, respectively, the band would go on to great success in the early-to-mid ‘70s with songs like “The Boys Are Back in Town,” “Jailbreak,” and their first successful single heard below. They opened for many famous groups while touring, such as Queen, Aerosmith, REO Speedwagon, and Rush, all while recording new albums and having their lineup constantly rotate through new members. Finally, amid bickering and declining sales, the band called it quits in 1983. After their breakup, Lynott experienced a constantly mild solo career which was cut short after he was hospitalized for abscesses, pneumonia, and septicaemia in 1986. Caused by his drug dependency over the years, the illnesses resulted in Lynott’s death on January 4th, 1986. He was thirty-six years old.

With roots dating back to the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, this traditional Irish folk song had been recorded by many artists, such as Burl Ives, The Seekers, Peter, Paul and Mary, The Dubliners, and others, before being recorded by this band. This version of the song, however, was immensely popular in Ireland when released in late 1972, staying at the top of the Irish charts for seventeen weeks. It also peaked at number six in in February 1973 in the UK and charted in many other countries around Europe. Released while the group was away on tour, the band had been angry that the song was released without their knowledge, feeling that it didn’t accurately represent a sound or image they wanted to be associated with. Soon after its immense success, they were happily performing it live at each of their shows.

album art

Thin Lizzy - Whiskey in the Jar (1972)

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Lyrics:

As I was going over
The Cork and Kerry mountains
I saw Captain Farrell
And his money he was countin’
I first produced my pistol
And then produced my rapier
I said, “Stand o’er and deliver
or the Devil he may take ya”

Musha ring dum a do dum a da
Whack for my daddy, oh
Whack for my daddy, oh
There's whiskey in the jar, oh

I took all of his money
And it was a pretty penny
I took all of his money
And I brought it home to Molly
She swore that she loved me
Never would she leave me
But, the devil take that woman
For you know she tricked me easy

Musha ring dum a do dum a da
Whack for my daddy, oh
Whack for my daddy, oh
There's whiskey in the jar, oh

Bein’ drunk and weary
I went to Molly’s chamber
Takin’ my Molly with me
And I never knew the danger
For about six or maybe seven
In walked Captain Farrell
I jumped up, fired off my pistols
And I shot him with both barrels

Musha ring dum a do dum a da
Whack for my daddy, oh
Whack for my daddy, oh
There's whiskey in the jar, oh

Now some men like the fishin’
And some men like the fowlin'
And some men like to hear
The cannonball a’roarin'
Me, I like sleepin'
Especially in my Molly's chamber
But here I am in prison
Here I am with a ball and chain, yeah

Musha ring dum a do dum a da
Whack for my daddy, oh
Whack for my daddy, oh
There's whiskey in the jar, oh

I got drunk on whiskey, oh
And I loved, I loved, I loved, I loved, I loved, I loved my Molly, oh
And she’ll know we’ll never do that old dirty town
That dirty old town…

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