Re: Home is where the heart is (PM Mailbag Friday, 21 February 2014) – Bill, I also have memories that will bring a tear to my eye I remember when my mother laid me down to sleep she crooned Irish lullabies to me. One of my favorites was “I’ll take you home again Kathleen”. A 100% Irish folk song”? The Irish immigrating to America had never heard the song in their native country but adopted it as their own.
It turns out that the song was written by T P Westerford, an American of German decent, working at an Indiana reform school and dedicated to his wife whose name was Jenny, and promising to take her back to the green fields of Boston. It was written in response to a tune also written by an American called “Barney take me home again”.
None of this ever dampened my love of this classic.
Not to be left alone with my memories, “I now must rain on your parade” – the story goes that Banjo Paterson was visiting a Squatters homsteag in outback Qld (Winton) when the farmers daughter returned home humming a tune Banjo had never heard. Being an accomplished pianist she played the tune & Banjo wrote some lyrics, “Waltz in Matilda was borne”.
The catchy tune turned out to be a Celtic folk song called, “The Craigielea March” also known as “Down the woods of Craigielea”.
The German element again surfaced as the tramps Bed Roll is called a Matilda as it is a German expression for a de-facto wife and as the tramp lived & slept with his Matilda it caught on.
Even with these revelations I think we will still proud when we hear our National Anthem.