Music of the day: Whiskey in the jar

Whiskey in the jar – Grateful Dead

Whiskey in the Jar” is a famous Irish traditional song, set in the southern mountains of Ireland, with specific mention of counties Cork and Kerry, as well as Fenit, a village in county Kerry. It is about a Rapparee (Highwayman), who is betrayed by his wife or lover, and is one of the most widely performed traditional Irish songs.

It has been recorded by numerous professional artists since the 1950s. 

Whiskey in the Jar is sung with many variants on locations and names — In typical song book fashion, the Grateful Dead version:

As I was a-goin’ over Gilgarra mountains
I met Colonel Pepper and his money he was counting
I drew forth my pistol and I rattled my sabre
Saying “stand and deliver, for I am a bold deceiver”

Musha ringum duram da
Whack fol de daddy-o
Whack fol de daddy-o
There’s whiskey in the jar

The shining yellow coins did sure look bright and jolly
I took the money home and I gave it to my Molly
She promised and she vowed that she never would deceive me
But the devil’s in the women for they never can be easy

When I awoke between the hours of six and seven
Guards were standing ‘round me in numbers odd and even
I flew to my pistols, but alas I was mistaken
I fired off my pistols and a prisoner was taken

They put me in jail without a judge or jury
For robbing Colonel Pepper in the morning so early
They didn’t take my fist so I knocked down the sentry
And I bid a long farewell to that cold penitentiary

Some take delight in fishing and bowling
Others take delight in carriage a-rollin’
I take delight in the juice of the barley
Courting pretty women in the morning so early

Here is another version of “whiskey in the jar” performed in 1972 by Thin Lizzy:


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