FRENCH, Percy. Are Ye Right There, Michael ? Words W.P. French. Music by W.H. Collisson [CONSTANCE MARKIEVICZ COPY – A LAY OF THE WILD WEST CLARE]
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Dublin: Pigott & Co., 112 Grafton Street, . Folio. pp. 4. White pictorial wrappers, printed in brown. Constance Markievicz copy with her signature on upper cover. Some fraying at edges. A very good copy. Rare in this condition with a magnificent provenance. Are Ye Right There Michael is a song by the Irish composer and musician Percy French, parodying the state of the West Clare Railway system in rural County Clare. It was inspired by an actual train journey in 1896. Because of a slow train and the decision of the driver to stop for no apparent reason. French, though having left Sligo in the early morning, arrived so late for an 8pm recital that the audience had left. The ballad caused considerable embarrassment for the railway company, which was mocked in music halls throughout Ireland and Britain because of the song. It led to an unsuccessful libel action against French. It is said that when French arrived late for the libel hearing, the judge chided him on his lateness. French reportedly responded “Your honour, I travelled by the West Clare Railway”, resulting in the case being thrown out.
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