Do you know Liverpool Lou or Maggie May?

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Written by and performed by Dominic Behan Liverpool Lou is part of the connection between Ireland and Liverpool. That connection, cultural and physical is the sea. Our ancestors came in from the sea and went out back out on it. My grandfather came in through Garston docks from Wicklow, and went down with his ship as a Merchant sailor in the last days of the war. That ebb and flow has brought not only people but the sounds that accompany them. Together with Johnny Todd, The Leaving of Liverpool, and Maggie May, among others. Songs followed the migration of people from the farms and fields of the South through Liverpool and on to the USA. Ireland, the sea, and music, are part of the lifeblood of Liverpool. Westward facing Liverpool took in the influence of Ireland, and sailors from the world over were among the first to import American Blues and Rock and Roll. Music and culture that influenced the Beatles

Johnny Todd the theme tune for Everton football club.

and by Bob Dylan

The Leaving of Liverpool has been performed by many bands over the years including the Dubliners, The Scaffold, and here The Pogues

I remember watching Rod Stewart’s Maggie May on Top of The Pops in 1971 and my mother saying it was based on an old Liverpool song, here are the Beatles with the original lyrics which relate the story of a prostitute robbing a sailor.

Oh dirty Maggie Mae they have taken her away
And she never walk down Lime Street any more
Oh the judge he guilty found her
For robbing a homeward bounder
That dirty no good robbin’ Maggie Mae…

I have always found the slogan ‘The World in One City’ used to celebrate the capital of culture annoying. The difference between the slogan and reality has been stark. It would be fine if Irish, African, Chinese culture were celebrated when they arrived on our shores, or since. The reality however has been far from this. Irish culture was suppressed in favour of Catholicism, the African social clubs of Liverpool Eight were closed one by one during the nineties as a prelude to gentrification, and the Chinese community was devastated by deportations following the Second World War.

The World does in exist in one city in Liverpool, it exists in it’s people, but like most things in life it is contested, and if we can’t speak the truth about it, and we can’t live up to it we shouldn’t use the slogan ‘World in One City’.

4 responses to “Do you know Liverpool Lou or Maggie May?”

  1. We aren’t known as “The Singing City” for nothing! A vast “pool” of talent.

  2. Darrell Brady Avatar
    Darrell Brady

    Agree about the “world in one city” critique. After growing up in 1970s L9 I can tell you it was no party for this son of Monaghan parents.
    Not in north Liverpool anyway
    I remember being racially abused by young and old alike

    Luckily my father, Sailor Brady was the toughest of the toughest
    He soon got me boxing and ‘strangely’ the bigotry faded as I learnt to use my fists.
    I also had to ride a bus along Netherfield road in the 1970s to get to school. And the graffiti was very sobering.

    NB.I was fortunate to attend a very multicultural secondary school. I can remember the stick my Black friends took from ignorant idiots (from north Liverpool especially).
    I do hope these white former classmates have seen the light

    I may add that it is very likely that your father would of known my Dad, (and/or my Dads brother) both lifelong seafarers

    Blessings Darrell

    1. jackbyrnewriter Avatar

      Good to hear from you Darrell – i think you will like Under The Bridge- did you leave your email? I will try and check –
      I wouldnt mind sending you a pre publication copy see what you think. Jack

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About Me

Thanks for visiting my page. The aim of this page is to let you know what I am working on and allow you to tell me what you think.

I was born and raised in Speke Liverpool, although my parents first lived ‘Under The Bridge’ in Garston, and all my family goes back to Wicklow in Ireland.

The Liverpool Mystery series will be four novels, three books; Under The Bridge, The Morning After, and Fire Next Time are finished. Under The Bridge will be published in Feb 2021 and I hope at least one more will follow later in the year. I am writing The Wicklow Boys now, and I hope to finish it next year.

My writing like my blog is about the lives of working people and how they relate to society as a whole.

My collection of short stories The One Road is available below click to see details.

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