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What Will We Do?

[ Roud 16879 ; Ballad Index RcWWWDNM ; trad.]

Mary Delaney sang What Will We Do When We'll Have No Money? to Jim Carroll and Pat Mackenzie in Co. Tipperary in between 1973 and 1979. This recording was included in 1986 on the VWML cassette Early in the Month of Spring and in 2003 on the Musical Tradition anthology of songs of Irish travellers in England, From Puck to Appleby. Jim Carroll and Pat Mackenzie commented in the latter's booklet:

We have not found this song elsewhere, either in print or in a recording, but it bears such a striking resemblance to Mrs Elizabeth Cronin’s What Would You Do If You Married a Soldier (Roud 3051) that it is probably a traveller’s remake of the same song. Mary has a number of similar pieces: I’ve Buried Three Husbands Already and If Ever You Go to Kilkenny, etc., and, despite the fact that her speciality is the long, free ballad, she takes great pleasure in singing these made-up snatches and often is not able to finish them for laughing.

June Tabor and Maddy Prior sang What Will We Do? in 1988 on their second Silly Sisters album, No More to the Dance. This recording was also included in the June Tabor anthologies Aspects and Always. June commented in the last album's booklet:

This little piece that Maddy and I sang, collected by [Jim Carroll and Pat Mackenzie] from the singing of Mary Delaney, is quite light, quite insubstantial in a way, but it's very real. It's talking about begging, keeping on the road, keeping going no matter what happens. It's a lovely piece of Silly Sisterness.

Peta Webb and Ken Hall sang Yodel It Over Again on their 2000 Fellside album As Close As Close Can Be. They commented in their liner notes:

Yodel It Over Again from the great traveller singer Mary Delaney (recorded by Jim Carroll and Pat Mackenzie in the 1970s) captures the romance, the happy-go-lucky attitude of the travelling life without glossing over the poverty. Some see it as a song of occupation, we see it as a love song. Thanks to Barry Gleason for the extra verse.

Ben Moss and Laurel Swift sang No Money on their 2014 EP Ben Moss & Laurel Swift.

This video shows Lankum (formerly Lynched) in a 2016 recording at Guerrilla Studios in North Strand, Dublin City:

Lyrics

Mary Delaney sing What Will We Do When We'll Have No Money?

What will we do when we’ll have no money?
All true lovers, what will we do then?
Only hawk through the town for a hungry crown,
And we’ll yodel it over again.

What will I do if I’d marry a tinker?
All true lovers, what will we do then?
Only sell a tin can and walk on with my man,
And we’ll yodel it over again.

What will we do if we marry a soldier?
All true lovers, what will we do then?
Only handle his gun and we’ll fight for the fun,
And we’ll yodel it over again.

What will we do if we have a young daughter?
All true lovers, what would we do then?
Only take it in hand and walk on with my man,
And we’ll yodel it over again.

June Tabor and Maddy Prior sing What Will We Do?

What will we do if we'll have no money?
All true lovers, what will we do then?
Only walk through the town for a hungry crown,
And we'll yodel it over again.

What will we do if we marry a tinker?
All true lovers, what will we do then?
Only sell a tin can and walk on with my man,
And we'll yodel it over again.

What will we do if we marry a soldier?
All true lovers, what will we do then?
Only handle his gun and we'll fight for the fun,
And we'll yodel it over again.

What will we do if we have a young daughter?
All true lovers, what will we do then?
Only take her in hand and we'll walk on with my man,
And we'll yodel it over again.

(repeat first verse)

Links

See also the Mudcat Café thread Lyr Req: What would you do if you had no money.