Salonika

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about

A Cork street-song expressing the point of view of the ‘Sepera’ i.e. a woman who was paid separation money when her husband went to fight with the British Army, in this case, during the First World War. ‘Salonika’ is the Greek city of Thessaloniki, home to a British military base at the time. The song was made famous by Cork native Jimmy Crowley, who noted down most of the verses from a Mrs Ronayne. Men in Cork who avoided joining the army were known as ‘Slackers’. A slight re-working of the text simultaneously resets the scene in Dublin, and alienates any potential fan-base in Cork that we might have enjoyed.

lyrics

My husband's in Salonika, I wonder if he's dead,
I wonder if he knows he has a kid with a poxy head?
So write away, so write away, so write away Salonika, write away my soldier boy

And when the war is over, what will the soldiers do?
They'll be hopping around with a leg and a half but the slackers, we'll have two
So write away, so write away, so write away Salonika, write away my soldier boy

And when the war is over, what will the slackers do?
We'll be all around the soldiers for the loan of a bob or two
So write away, so write away, so write away Salonika, write away my soldier boy

Well at first they tax the sugar, and the they tax the tea,
And then they brought conscription and took my man away
So write away, so write away, so write away Salonika, write away my soldier boy

They tax the pound of butter, they tax the ha'penny bun,
But still with all their taxes they can't beat the bleeding hun.
So write away, so write away, so write away Salonika, write away my soldier boy

And when the war is over, what will the slackers do?
For every kid in America in Dublin there’ll be two.
So write away, so write away, so write away Salonika, write away my soldier boy

For they takes us up the Phoeno, and lays us on the grass,
They puts us in the family way then leaves us on our ass
So write away, so write away, so write away Salonika, write away my soldier boy

Well there's lino in the parlour and in the kitchen too
A glass back chiffonier that we got from Dicky Glue
So write away, so write away, so write away Salonika, write away my soldier boy

Oh and never marry a copper, a soldier or a marine,
Politician, or a banker, ladies, keep your conscience clean
So write away, so write away, so write away Salonika, write away my soldier boy

My husband's in Salonika, I wonder if he's dead,
I wonder if he knows he has a kid with a poxy head?
So write away, so write away, so write away Salonika, write away my soldier boy.

credits

from Cold Old Fire, released May 25, 2014
Trad. arr. Lynched

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Lynched Dublin, Ireland

Gritty folksongs from the heart of Dublin city.

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