Hot Asphalt

Hot Asphalt

Vocals: The late Irish singer, folk musician and actor Luke Kelly (1940–1984) & Irish folk band The Dubliners.
Lyrics: The late folk singer, songwriter, folk song collector, labour activist and actor, James Henry Miller (Stage name Ewan Maccoll, 1915–1989).

Hot Asphalt

Ah good evening, all my jolly lads, I’m glad to find you well.
If you’ll gather all around me, now, the story I will tell,
For I’ve got a situation and begorrah and begob,
I can whisper I’ve the weekly wage of nineteen bob.
‘Tis twelve months come October since I left me native home,
After helping them Killarney boys to bring the harvest down,
But now I wear the gansey and around me waist a belt,
I’m the gaffer of the squad that makes the hot asphalt.

Well, we laid it in the hollows and we laid it in the flat,
And if it doesn’t last forever, sure I swear, I’ll eat me hat.
Well, I’ve wandered up and down the world but sure I never felt,
Any surface that was equal to the hot asphalt.

The other night a copper comes and he says to me, “McGuire,
Would you kindly let me light me pipe down at your boiler fire?”
And he planks himself right down in front, with hobnails up, till late,
And says I, me decent man, you’d better go and find your bait.
He ups and yells, “I’m down on you, I’m up to all yer pranks,
Don’t I know you for a traitor from the Tipperary ranks?”
Boys, I hit straight from the shoulder and I gave him such a belt,
That I knocked him into the boiler full of hot asphalt.

Repeat Chorus

We quickly dragged him out again and we threw him in the tub,
And with soap and warm water we began to rub and scrub,
But devil the thing, it hardened and it turned him hard as stone,
And with every other rub, sure you could hear the copper groan.
“I’m thinking”, says O’Reilly, “that he’s lookin’ like old Nick,
And burn me if I am not inclined to claim him with me pick”.
“Now”, says I, “it would be easier to boil him till he melts,
And to stir him nice and easy in the hot asphalt

Repeat Chorus

You may talk about yer sailor lads, ballad singers and the rest,
Your shoemakers and your tailors, but we please the ladies best.
The only ones who know the way their flinty hearts to melt,
Are the lads around the boiler making hot asphalt.
With rubbing and with scrubbing, sure I caught me death of cold.
For scientific purposes, me body it was sold.
In the Kelvin grove museum, me boys, I’m hangin’ in me pelt,
As a monument to the Irish, making hot asphalt.

Repeat Chorus



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