Designed & produced by Éric Mac Lewis
© ericdentinger.com
2008-2020

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The Rakes Of Mallow
(Edward Lysaght & traditional)

Beauing, belleing, dancing, drinking
Breaking windows, cursing, sinking
Ever raking, never thinking
Live the Rakes of Mallow
Spending faster than it comes
Beating waiters bailiffs, duns
Bacchus' true begotten sons
Live the Rakes of Mallow

One time naught but claret drinking
Then like politicians, thinking
To raise the « sinking funds » when sinking
Live the Rakes of Mallow
When at home, with da-da dying
Still for mellow water crying
But where there's good claret plying
Live the Rakes of Mallow
Racking tenants, stewards teasing
Swiftly spending, slowly raising
Wishing to spend all their days in
Raking as at Mallow
Then to end this raking life
They get sober, take a wife
Ever after live in strife
And wish again for Mallow


The Rakes Of Mallow has uncertain origins : it was published in London in 1742 with the name The Rigs Of Marlowe, played for a polka. The tune became then very popular in Scotland (published there in the 1780's) : it was also used for a song called Sandy He Belangs Tae The Mill.
In Ireland, the air was used for a drinking song with the current name : Mallow is in fact an Irish town, county Cork.
A rake in old-fashioned English is a man who's life is full of debauchery.
Other lyrics have been written with this melody, as The Galway Piper (Piping Tim).
As the tune is essentially used for dancing one can also find it under the title An Rince Mór that means The Great Dance.

The Reel is a Scottish and Irish dance but also the music that goes with it. It is often played after a strathspey, offering a release of the rhythmic tension of that one.

The score is in 2/2 with a variable tempo, depending on the air, the background and the piper or even on the instrument :
- pipe bands play generally at 83-88 during Championships (even until 96); apart from that, the beat is often higher, near 100.
- soloists play within a range of 89-122; Gordon Duncan also displays many various tempi depending on the air : he's of course one of the fastest (up to 122).
- in Scottish Country Dance (Dashing White Sergeant), the tempi are frequently higher, between 120 and 128. The Rakes Of Mallow is played with a beat ranged from 120 to 126 : a tempo of 120 BPM seems comfortable for piping.

The Rakes Of Mallow

- score written by Éric Mac Lewis with CelticPipes

Scottish bagpipe tunes

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