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Downfall Of Many Men – “Slow Horses & Fast Women”.

The song sung hereunder, is about the Irish boxer, of the 1930s. Mr Jack Doyle latter who was known as ‘The Gorgeous Gael’.
Born into a working-class family on August 31st, 1913 in Cobh, Co. Cork; he would pass away on December 13th, 1978 in Paddington, London, England.

Jack was tall (six feet five inches), good-looking and a multi-talented individual. He was a contender for the British Boxing Championship; a Hollywood actor, and an accomplished Tenor (between baritone and alto), however his often generous nature and love of drink was to be his eventual downfall.

Doyle became involved with the actress Movita Castaneda. Following a celebrity wedding, in Dublin’s Westland Row Church, (Jack’s second wedding; he was previously married, in 1935, to Judith Allen), after which the couple toured both sides of the Irish Sea, selling out Music Halls and Opera houses.

About this time, Jack fought his last professional fight, against a journeyman named Chris Cole. Same took place in front of some 23,000 fans, in Dalymount Park, Dublin. He arrived for the event late, having stopped at The Clarence Hotel for refreshments. The bout saw an inebriated Doyle, go down in the first round.
Soon afterwards, having had enough, Movita packed up and moved back to Hollywood, where she would go on to marry film star Marlon Brando.

Doyle, shortly afterwards, found himself in Mountjoy Jail, Dublin, having assaulted and knocked out a Garda Detective, in a Dublin pub. Having moved to England he spiralled downwards into alcoholism and bankruptcy and found his friends had deserted him, as fast as his bank balance, latter spent in his own words on “slow horses and fast women”.

I had the privilege of meeting Jack on several occasions, in the early 1970’s, walking on the sea front in Bray, Co. Wicklow, where he had a flat for a short time. His only source of income during this time was an allowance he continued to receive, by agreement, from former wife Movita.

Sadly, Jack died in 1978, aged just 65 years, at St. Mary’s Hospital, Paddington, in the City of Westminster, Central London; his death caused by cirrhosis of the liver. He is interned in the Old Church Cemetery, on the outskirts of Cobh town, Co. Cork, Ireland, his grave today visited by thousands of people annually.

The Contender.

Singer: Irish (Co. Kildare) Folk Musician, Dan McCabe, [latter who is expected to tour in Co. Tipperary shortly].
Original Lyrics: (Shown Hereunder), From the pen of Cork born Irish singer and songwriter Jimmy MacCarthy.

The Contender. [Original Lyrics]

When I was young and I was in my day,
Sure I’d steal what woman’s heart there was, away,
And I’d sing into the dawning,
Saw a blaze into the morning,
Long before I was the man you see today.

I was born beneath the star that promised all.
I could have lived my life without Cassandra’s* call,
But the wheel of fortune took me,
From the highest point she shook me,
By the bottle live by the bottle I shall fall.

There in the mirror on the wall,
I see the dream is fading,
From the contender to the brawl,
The ring, the rose, the matador, raving.

And when I die, I’ll die a drunk down on the street.
He will count me out to ten in clear defeat.
Wrap the Starry Plough* around me,
Let the piper’s air resound me,
There I’ll rest until the Lord of Love I’ll meet.

There in the mirror on the wall,
I see the dream is fading.
From the contender to the brawl,
The ring, the rose, the matador, raving.

* In Greek Classical Legend, Cassandra was the daughter of Priam and Hecuba, endowed with the gift of prophecy.
* Starry Plough, a banner, a socialist symbol, the significance of which it was declared, that a free Ireland would control its own destiny, “from the plough to the stars”.

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