The Longest Song Wiki

A traditional song that appears under a lot of names, but most prominently My Son John, My Son Tim, and its original title Mrs. McGrath. Though it originates during the Napoleonic Wars, it surged in popularity during World War I as a popular march for the Irish Volunteers.

It has been performed by countless folk musicians, and is widely considered a standard in the folk community. The earliest noted variant of Mrs. McGrath as My Son John occurs in a 1961 anthology assembled by Cyril Tawney (Chicken on a Raft, Grey Funnel Line etc.) titled A Soldiers Life for Me.

It appeared as a bonus track only on the physical release copy of Bones in the Ocean, and was one of the earliest youtube videos released by the band, filmed outside the Thornbury Library. The Longest Johns perform a version that most closely resembles the one performed by Smokey Bastard.

Lyrics

These lyrics are based on the version performed by the Longest Johns in their Youtube video, the original lyrics can be found here.

{Andy}
Oh my son John was tall an' slim
An' he had a leg for ev’ry limb.
(But now he’s got no legs at all
For he ran a race with a cannonball)

{Chorus}
T'me-roo dun da, falee riddle da
Whack fo’ the riddle t'me roo dun da.

Oh were ye drunk or were ye blind
When ye left yer two fine legs behind,
(Or was it sailin’ on the sea
Ground yer two fine legs right down to the knee)

{Chorus}

No I was not drunk, I was not blind
When I left my two fine legs behind.
(Nor was it sailing on the sea
Ground m' two fine legs right down to the knee)

{Chorus}

Every foreign war I’ll now denounce
‘tween the King of England an' a King of France.
(For I’d rather my legs as they used to be
Than the King of Spain an' his whole navy)

{Chorus}

Oh I was tall an' I was slim
An' I had a leg for ev’ry limb.
(But now I’ve got no legs at all
For you can't win a race with a cannonball)

{Chorus}

Oh I was tall an' I was slim
An' I had a leg for ev’ry limb.
(But now I’ve got no legs at all
They've done come off on a cannonball)

{Chorus til Finish}