“I'll Tell My Ma (I)”


"I'll tell my my when I go home, The boys won't leave the girls alone; Pulling their hair and breaking their combs...." In some texts, the story ends there; in others, the girl says, "But that's all right till I go home"; we are told of her true love


The Clancy Brothers version of this involves a girl, "the belle of Belfast city," setting her heart on a man. This doesn't seem to happen in the other versions I've seen, which are just the complaints about the boys teasing the girl.

The question is, is this a conflate of "I'll Tell My Ma" with some other song (presumably "The Wind (Rain, Rain, the Wind Does Blow)," or is the Clancy version the original which broke in half? Roud lumps them, but I'm not sure that means much.

I eventually ended up splitting them, but I'm none too happy about the situation. - RBW

Cross references


  • Em Elliott, "I'll Tell My Ma When I Get Home" (on Elliotts01)


  1. SHenry H48e, p. 11, "I'll Tell My Ma" (1 text, 2 tunes)
  2. Meredith/Covell/Brown, p. 146, "(Polka)" (1 fragment, consisting solely of the "I'll Tell My Ma" stanza, 1 tune)
  3. Roud #2649
  4. BI, MCB146


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1924 (Sam Henry)
Keywords: courting hair fight
Found in: Ireland Australia Britain(England(North)) Canada(Mar)