When They Ask You What Your Name Is (Tell ’Em It’s Molloy)

 

 

Listen to a
1912 recording
by Stanley Kirkby.


Harry Castling & Fred Godfrey — London: Francis, Day & Hunter; Melbourne: Allan’s, 1908.

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The earliest of Fred Godfrey’s “Irish” songs, When They Ask You What Your Name Is (Tell ’Em It‘s Molloy), like so many of its kind, urges the bearer of the surname not to be ashamed of his heritage but to be proud of it. At a time when being Irish was still considered déclassé in much of the English-speaking world, such songs appealed to the huge number of Irish who flocked to Britain in search of work. Though neither Harry Castling nor Fred Godfrey was of Irish extraction, the two canny songwriters knew what would go over in the Music Halls. The song is still remembered with fondness more than a century later, especially by the Molloys. It seems to have been a particular specialty of Irish tenor Dave Carter, who sang it, among other places, at the Hippodrome, Peckham, London (May 1910). He revived it at the Vaudeville Club, London (April 1916). The published Australian sheet music suggests it was also sung (in that country) by Irene Beaumont, Mark Phillips, Jessie Lee, and Rupert Cuthbert, among others.

 

Recordings

Stanley Kirkby (Columbia-Rena 2001, 1912; Dacapo 296, [1912?])

Harry Cove, as “B. Garland” (Clarion 572 [cylinder])