Oct 27, 2021
Jim McKenna shares a lament for Irish famine victims and his relatives. Bugs Bunny gets chased by Witch Hazel in a song by Marc Gunn.
It’s Pub Songs & Stories #242.
Welcome to Pub Songs & Stories. This is the Virtual Public House for musicians to share the stories and inspiration behind their music with your host Marc Gunn. Subscribe to the podcast and download free music at PubSong.com.
0:23 - WHAT’S NEW?
3:34 - UPCOMING SHOWS
4:10 - STORY OF A FAMINE VICTIM
Jim McKenna is a Boston piper and composer. Members of his family emigrated to Boston during the Irish Famine. Daniel, and his brother Neil, were two of the six founding members of the American Society of Hibernians (later merging with the Ancient Order of Hibernians) in Boston on March 17, 1857. This organization was formed "for the purpose of rendering assistance to the sick and disabled members of their society, and also of providing for the decent burial of the dead". Jim's great-great uncle from Drumkeeran Ireland, Thomas McPartlin, performed traditional music on the banjo in Boston during the late 1800's.
In November 2017, Jim's performance of his composition "Lament for Bridget O'Donnel: A Victim of Famine" was included in the soundtrack of the Kilkenny Famine Experience Memorial audio visual tour.
8:27 - “Lament For The Forgotten Irish Of Catholic Mt. Auburn Cemetery” by Jim McKenna
12:37 - SUPPORT WHAT YOU LOVE
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12:51 - NEXT TIME
The next episode of the podcasts is scheduled to come out on November 9. That’s because next week, I will record my monthly update for Celtfather Music & Travel. You definitely want to stick around. I’ll tell you the story of my recording of Mingulay Boat Song. Plus, Vicki Swan & Jonny Dyer want you to dance.
13:19 - STORY OF BUGS BUNNY and HALLOWEEN
I loved Bugs Bunny growing up. Who didn’t. The show was packed with incredible comedy that was pretty appealing to most people, a little slapstick, a little satirical. A lot of classic fun.
Back in 2006, Halloween was approaching. Charlie Brown might’ve had the Great Pumpkin. But I never found near as much fun as Bugs Bunny and Witch Hazel. I decided to write a song.
The original story starts with Witch Hazel brewing a potion on Halloween. As she collects an ingredient, she stops to ask her Magic Mirror, “Who is the ugliest one of all.” The Genie declares it is Witch Hazel.
The doorbell rings. Bugs Bunny is out trick or treating dressed as a witch. Witch Hazel worries that she’s not as ugly as the Bugs Bunny Witch. Her mirror confirms that Bugs is uglier. So Witch Hazel invites Bugs in to drink tea under the pretense to learn all of Bugs’ ugly secrets. The tea is actually a potion that’ll turn Witch Bugs pretty.
Bugs Bunny removes his mask to drink. Witch Hazel remembers a recipe that needs a “rabbit’s clavicle”. And the chase begins. They race around the house until Witch Hazel catches Bugs.
She catches Bugs, ties him up and goes to sharpen her knife. But Bugs looks at her with those big eyes and Witch Hazel breaks down in tears. Bugs reminds her of Paul, her pet tarantula.
Still tied up in rope, Bugs hops over to and brings Witch Hazel some comforting tea… the same tea that is actually a beauty potion. Witch Hazel turns into a knockout redhead. She ask the Genie in the Magic Mirror who is the ugliest. The Genie boards his magic carpet and chases after Witch Hazel into the night’s sky.
My story isn’t at all different from the original. In fact, it’s basically a retelling of the story in poetical song form. I’ll be honest. I love the rhythm and music of the song. It’s fun. But if I were writing it today, I would’ve done it quite differently. I’m not entirely sure how I would change it. But as it is I still love it.
Let me know what you think...
Pub Songs & Stories was produced by Marc Gunn. The show is edited by Mitchell Petersen with graphics by Miranda Nelson Designs. You can subscribe and listen wherever you find podcasts. You can also subscribe to my mailing list. You will get regular updates of new music, podcasts, special offers, and you’ll get 21 songs for free. Welcome to the pub at www.pubsong.com!