I’ll Take You Home Again Kathleen


Jon says, “The fabulous Irish singer Mick Henry has been going on at me for years to learn this one. It’s a tricky little number and so sentimental that it’s difficult to know how to pitch it. I’m really enjoying singing it though.”

Here’s another that’s confounded me. I was quite prepared not to like this at all, but I find Jon’s reading of it strangely moving. I guess I have this pegged as one of those syrupy, MOR mainstays, but in fact it’s rather sad. The author for this is well known, an American of German ancestry Thomas Westendorf and this Mudcat thread is genuinely fascinating. His wife’s name was Jenny and whether this was a simple bit of commercial opportunism aimed at the Irish market, or otherwise gained association with the Irish community because it was generally performed by tenors on the Vaudeville circuit and all tenors were labelled Irish, is moot. I’m even more intrigued that the author’s full name is Thomas Paine Westendorf, although that revolutionary thinker was as hugely important in America as he was unwelcome here. What went wrong?
You can buy the January digital album now from all good download stores.


35 Responses to “I’ll Take You Home Again Kathleen”

  1. muzza(s.e.England) says:

    Loved it…wish I could sing it in that key!

  2. John says:

    I have a vague memory that my father used to sing this in the bath many years ago. Never expected to hear it again in this context. Jon has done a great job with this…and with Anachie Gordon yesterday too.

  3. SRD says:

    Sorry, not my thing at all, sentimental claptrap from where I am. And I think Jon strays dangerously close to the Irish tenor, of which I have the same opinion as Spike Milligan.

    Not on topic but Fay was superb at the Forge, Basingstoke last night, she kept plugging the work of her boyfriend, someone or other called John, who won’t marry her despite fathering her children. 😉

  4. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Jon Boden, Lynne Sanders. Lynne Sanders said: I’ll Take You Home Again Kathleen http://j.mp/eM8LYH via @AddToAny […]

  5. Neil says:

    I must confess, I am only familiar with this song through the episode of ‘The Royle Family’ where they all end up singing it to the accompaniment of Jim’s banjo.

  6. Nick Passmore says:

    I’d say Jon has pitched this one just right: not too exaggeratedly sentimental; and a lovely concertina accompaniment..

  7. Maria says:

    Lovely version. My mum always used to sing this to me when I was young…I’d forgotten the second verse…It is an emotional song for me, as mum (her name is Kathleen) had a hard time bringing us up, and sadly we’re not as close now as we were then…it is sort of her anthem, and I hope she will be happy when she eventually finds her fresh green fields…

  8. Kathleen says:

    Many thanks for this – it instantly took me back 60 years, and I could hear my grandmother singing it to me

  9. MarlboroughMelodeon says:

    If you want to hear a great version, you’ll do well to find better than Brendan Shine’s drummer Johnny Dawson. It really is sublime.

  10. Jane Ramsden says:

    Am I older than everyone else or just come from a background coloured with working class sentimental drinking songs? Hahahaha! I absolutely was not going to listen to this song, which I view on a par with ‘Irene, Goodnight’ and ‘C’mon Eileen’ in my all-time don’t like songs!

    Having said that, curiosity got the better of me and I am a Completer-Finisher. If Jon can sing it with conviction, I can at least listen to it… this once… hahahaha!

    Jon, you sang it really well and the sad sentiment of the song conveyed even to me. Of my 3 don’t likes, this is now the least don’t like! Tone is everything. You got it right. So I listened.

  11. Len says:

    Josef Locke…Hear My Song…***** 10/10

  12. John Biggs (Welsh Marches) says:

    Call me a sentimental old fool (and many do !!), but this really did it for me. As you say Simon, not too much syrup and just enough sadness, I think Jon pitched this just right.
    Yes Len, I too enjoyed the film ‘Hear My Song’ about Josef Locke, (must get the D.V.D.) and I also seem to remember from childhood, a scratchy old 78 recording by Count John McCormack.
    Can we have ‘The Star Of The County Down’ next please ?

  13. Diana says:

    Beautifully sung. Another sentimental and rather sad song. It seems to me that it suggests that Kathleen in dying. That sounds morbid!

    Pewter I am eagerly awaiting TLOTMS here. How is it at work? I don’t want to think of you clearing the car park again. The sun (that bright thing sometimes seen in the sky) has dissipated some of the white stuff but not all. The hills are still white.

  14. Tedd O'Ramsden says:

    It still isn’t ever gonna be in my top ten… not ever… hahahahahaha!

  15. Diana says:

    Tedd here you are in broad daylight yet again. Did you manage to get that female cat that you were after to neuter? Did you get away unhurt if you did?

  16. Tedd O'Ramsden says:

    @ Diana: My FB status says it all:

    I despair… 6 unneutered toms, at least half of them owned, hounding 1 unneutered feral female up and down my road, day and night. How am I gonna sort that lot out? *Sighs* *Descends into Slough of D… yet again…*

    Not got her yet. 2 close but failed attempts. Cat trap on way from Amazon, after 3 frozen nights trying to catch any one of them! One tom bit me last night… just a warning nip, but enough to make me wait on the trap!

  17. Diana says:

    Tedd you are having a rotten time of it. Cats can give you a nasty nip if inclined. Hope the trap comes quickly although I always find Amazon very good at deliveries. I keep them busy enough and I seem to get things within a couple of days if in stock. Anyway do take care of yourself and don’t get too despondent.

  18. Shrinag Ramsden says:

    Thanks, Diana. It is easy to get despondent when one encounters a situation that can undo all one has tried to achieve over a long period of time at some considerable sacrifice. *Sighs* This is in addition to the normal going-wrong-frustrating stuff of life, of course (not to mention Seasonally AffecTed Disorder in these cold dark days! See next song!) If I can just trap the feral female, I will feel more on top of things (but I have to accept, I may not win them all. This does not sit well with Ted!) I am also suffering from jaunt & gig deprivation! (Trying to do) Spring-cleaning does not hack it!

  19. Mole(wind-in-willows top meadow) says:

    Spring cleaning..I know all about that young Tedd!!!!!
    The Mole had been working very hard all the morning, spring- cleaning his little home. First with brooms, then with dusters; then on ladders and steps and chairs, with a brush and a pail of whitewash; till he had dust in his throat and eyes, and splashes of whitewash all over his black fur, and an aching back and weary arms.
    Spring was moving in the air above and in the earth below and around him, penetrating even his dark and lowly little house with its spirit of divine discontent and longing. It was small wonder, then, that he suddenly flung down his brush on the floor, said `Bother!’ and `O blow!’ and also `Hang spring-cleaning!’ and bolted out of the house without even waiting to put on his coat. Something up above was calling him imperiously, and he made for the steep little tunnel which answered in his case to the gravelled carriage-drive owned by animals whose residences are nearer to the sun and air.
    So he scraped and scratched and scrabbled and scrooged and then he scrooged again and scrabbled and scratched and scraped, working busily with his little paws and muttering to himself, `Up we go! Up we go!’ till at last, pop! his snout came out into the sunlight, and he found himself rolling in the warm grass of a great meadow.
    `This is fine!’ he said to himself. `This is better than whitewashing!’ The sunshine struck hot on his fur, soft breezes caressed his heated brow, and after the seclusion of the cellarage he had lived in so long the carol of happy birds fell on his dulled hearing almost like a shout. Jumping off all his four legs at once, in the joy of living and the delight of spring without its cleaning, he pursued his way across the meadow till he reached the hedge on the further side.

  20. Muzza(NW Surrey.UK) says:

    @Mole……What a coincidence……….I have put that bit above to be read out at my memorial service…………that’ll please the family!

  21. Shrinag Ramsden says:

    @ Mole: Come and do mine, please.
    @ Muzza: Too soon for that, young man!

  22. Skippy says:

    Come back Tedd all is forgiven! Don’t like your new name – still it could have been worse. You could have made it shinrag. When Mole has finished jobs above send him or her here.

  23. Roo Ramsden says:

    @ Skippy: ‘Shrinag’ was just a joke at Muzza from Bungay ROGER, see back, Daina. Normal name service will be resumed shortly!

  24. skippy says:

    @Roo: well welcome Roo – we should get along fine being related. I did see Muzzla’s comments about “Shrinag” but thought it was a good anagram. Shinrag and sharing.

  25. Kay says:

    Sung by a tenor at the new England graveside of my dear friend (and boss) Kathleen, a remarkable, inspiring woman who died of cancer at 45. Sentimental, but a great song. Thank you. Kay

  26. Barrett says:

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    Extremely useful information particularly the closing
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  27. Muzza (NW Surrey-UK) says:

    Mine Gott…I reckon Barrett has an ancestry link with old Thomas Paine Westendorf….
    glad to hear the song again…..It’s a bit like a cd collection….you listen a couple of times and then it gathers dust up on the shelf (a bit like me!)…
    AFSAD takes the songs down from the shelf for us

  28. Jan says:

    Jane, I don’t know how you cope with all those cats, not to mention keeping the feral population under control. It takes me all my time to manage my one Abyssinian, who can be nice and friendly one minute, then turn round and swat me for no apparent reason!

  29. Linda says:

    Yeah best album, congrats to Bellowhead. Really would have liked Sam to get best musician it would have been well deserved.

  30. Muzza (NW Surrey-UK) says:

    @Jan…serves you right for marrying a foreign fellow!..you should have bought a cat!

  31. Jan says:

    Muzza – I did, at great expense to the management, and with little thanks for it – buy a cat, that is!

  32. Diana says:

    Like this one very much sentimental as it is.

  33. Old Muzza(NW Surrey.UK says:

    Mole and Me looking forward to Spring and sunshine and buttercup filled meadows!

  34. Old Muzza (NW Surrey UK) says:

    This song always gets to me……….lovely words and tune

  35. OldMuzza(NWSurrey UK) says:

    Ohhhhhh….thank you AFSAD for taking this down off the shelf, yet again, for me…so sad but soooo lovely.

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