The Wild Colonial Boy

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Something for the weekend.  A very spirited rendition of The Wild Colonial Boy by the Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem on the Ed Sullivan Show on March 13, 1965.  to those of you who were not alive then, it is hard to convey the cultural impact of the Ed Sullivan Show in the America of that time.   Suffice it to say that until the late Sixties, Sullivan was the cultural gatekeeper of America.  Until a new entertainer appeared on Sullivan’s show, he or she had not yet achieved mainstream acceptance.  Today a show having that type of influence would be impossible. 

There was a wild colonial boy,
Jack Duggan was his name
He was born and raised in Ireland,
in a place called Castlemaine
He was his father’s only son,
his mother’s pride and joy
And dearly did his parents love
the wild colonial boy.

 
At the early age of sixteen years,
he left his native home
And to Australia’s sunny shore,
he was inclined to roam
He robbed the rich, he helped the poor,
he shot James MacEvoy
A terror to Australia was
the wild colonial boy.

 
One morning on the prairie,
as Jack he rode along
A-listening to the mocking bird,
a-singing a cheerful song
Up stepped a band of troopers:
Kelly, Davis and Fitzroy
They all set out to capture him,
the wild colonial boy.
 

Surrender now, Jack Duggan,
for you see we’re three to one
Surrender in the Queen’s high name,
you are a plundering son
Jack drew two pistols from his belt,
he proudly waved them high
I’ll fight, but not surrender,
said the wild colonial boy

He fired a shot at Kelly,
which brought him to the ground
And turning round to Davis,
he received a fatal wound
A bullet pierced his proud young heart,
from the pistol of Fitzroy
And that was how they captured him,
the wild colonial boy.

5 Responses to The Wild Colonial Boy

  • Not a lot of Black Bluesmen on that show or Commie folk singers like Woody Guthrie. There weren’t even a lot of Holy Roller gospel singers.

    The Clancy Brothers pretended it was all about carousing and drink and not dead serious revolution. Then they let them on Ed Sullivan. Shame on them.

  • Sullivan rightly despised Communism and the dopes in this country who supported it. He was a pioneer in making his show a nationwide forum for black entertainers to appear before a largely white audience. The Clancy Brothers were appearing on Ed Sullivan as entertainers and not as Irish revolutionaries.

  • I recall this song from my childhood. My Cornish grandfather had a great affinity with the Irish – celtic origins I guess – and would sing it to us, along with other Irish songs.

    In 1961 our Parish Priest (an Irishman) was away on sabatical for 6 months, and another Irish priest, Frank McHale came as relief. He was a republican through and through (but didn’t like the IRA :-) ). He and his brother Vince were members of the Irish Club from Auckland, and on many ocassions the Irish would come down from Auckland to Te Puke for a hooley. What great nights they were, and an Irish band would come with them and we would hire out the town hall for an Irish night – 3 or 4 times in the 6 months Fr. McHale was here. Te Puke in those days was a town of about 4,000 people. The whole town really got to know about the Irish and the Catholics in that time. There were quite a number of townsfolk with Irish ancestry in the town anyway, and the memory of Fr. Frank and the Irish form Auckland lingered for many years.
    Point of interest – Te Puke is the Kiwifruit capital of the world – my dad’s close friend Jim McLoughlin started up the industry around that time, and it has
    grown to a world wide industry today.

  • Fascinating Don. My sainted mother was pure Newfoundland Irish, so I grew up hearing all the old Irish songs with a Newfie lilt!

  • The strongest association I have with this song is one of my favorite movies, The Quiet Man … especially the scene almost at the end when John Wayne and Victor McLaglen stumble into the Thorton house, drunkenly bellowing the song all the way.

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