“Babies on Our Block”

Author: Words: Edward Harrigan / Music: David Braham
Earliest date: 1879 (original publication)
Keywords: baby family
Found in: US(MW)

Description

"If you long for information or in need of merriment, Come over with me socially to Murphy?s tenement." The singer catalogs all the myriad Irish babies living in the area, who join in singing "Little Sally Waters"

Notes

According to Sigmund Spaeth, _A History of Popular Music in America_ Random House, 1948, pp. 186-187, the late 1870s saw a series of musical skits called the Mulligan series. "January 13, 1879, was the historic date of the opening of the full-sized _Mulligan Guard Ball,_which ran right on to the end of that season.... [T]he _Mulligan Guard Bal_ maybe considered the real revelation of what was thereafter known as the Harrigan and Hart style...."

"Harrigan himself represented thebrains and energyof thetroup, writing dialogue and the song lyrics, casting and directing every production, acting and singing the leading roles and often also serving as manager. Braham composed all themusic and conucted the orchestra in the pit. Tony Hart continued to be the foil to Harrigan's characterizations and was particularly good as a female impersonator...."

"The _Mulligan Guard Ball_ contained, in addition to its parent song, such musical hits as _The Skidmore Fancy Ball_ (a satirical treatment of a colored company), _We're all Young Fellows Bran New,_ _Singing at the Hallway Door,_ and _The Babies on Our Block._ The latter was the definitive forerunner of _The Sidewalks of New York,_ giving a detailed picture of life in the humbler sections of the metropolis,with actual quotations from old Irish song scattered throughout the music."

I read somewhere that Braham (1838-1905) was the father-in-law of Harrigan. - RBW

References

  1. Dean, pp. 91-92, "Babies on Our Block" (1 text)
  2. Roud #9572
  3. BI, Dean091