The Night Before Larry Was Stretched

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Oh, the night before Larry was stretched
Well the boys they all paid him a visit
A bit in their sacks too they fetched
For they sweated their duds till they ris' it
For Larry was always the lad
When a boy was condemned to the Squeezer
Would fence all the duds that he had
For to help his poor friend to a sneezer
And warm his ol' gob 'fore he died

Well the boys they came crowding in fast
And they threw all their stools 'round about him
Six glims round his trap-case was placed
For he couldn't be well-waked without them
When one of them asked, "Could he die
Without having duly repented?"
Said Larry, "That's all in me eye
And first by the clergy invented
For to get a fat bit for themselves"

"Oh and I'll be cut up like a pie:
And me nob from me body be parted
You're in the wrong box, then, says I,
For blast me if they're so hard-hearted
A chalk on the back of your neck
Is all that Jack Catch dares to give you
Then mind not such trifle's affect
Oh why should the likes of them grieve you?
And now boys, come tip us the deck."

Well the cards being called for they played
Until Larry found one of them cheated
A point in his napper was made
For the boy he'd been easily heated
"Oh, hold me the hokey, you thief
I'll scuttle your knob with me dodle!
You cheat me because I'm in grief
Ah, but soon I'll demolish your noddle
And leave you your claret to drink"

Then the clergy came in with his book
And he spoke him so smooth and so civil
Larry tipped him kill-sour look
And he pitched his big wig to the devil
Then sighing he threw back his head
For to get a sweet drop of the bottle
And dutiful sighing he said,
"Oh the hempt 'twill be soon 'round me throttle
And choke me poor windpipe to death"

"Oh then sure it's the best way to die
Oh the dead are no better the living
For now when the gallows is high
Our journey is shorter to heaven"
But what harasses Larry the most
And makes his soul poor melancholy
Is he thinks of the time when his ghost
It will come in a sheet to Sweet Molly
"Oh sure, it'll kill her alive"

So moving, these last words he spoke
We all vented our tears in a shower
For me own part I thought me heart broke
For to see him cut down like a flower
On his travels we watched him next day
The throttler I thought I could kill him
But Larry not one word did say
Nor change did he come to King William
And then did his color grow white

When he came to the old Dublin Chit
He was tucked up so neat and so pretty
The rumbler jugged off from his feet
And he died with his face to the city
He kicked too, but that was all pride
For soon you might see 'twas all over
Soon after the noose was untied
In darkness we waked him in clover
And sent him to take his ground sweat

Oh, the night before Larry was stretched
Well the boys they all paid him a visit
A bit in their sacks too they fetched
For they sweated their duds till they ris' it
For Larry was always the lad
When a boy was condemned to the Squeezer
Would fence all the duds that he had
For to help his poor friend to a sneezer
And warm his ol' gob 'fore he died
And warm his ol' gob 'fore he died

The Night Before Larry Was Stretched
Written byTraditional
Performed byElvis Costello
Produced byDónal Lunny
Arranged byElvis Costello, Ray Fean, David Hayes, Dónal Lunny, Eoghan O'Neill
MusiciansElvis Costello - vocals
Dónal Lunny - bouzouki, harmonium
Barney McKenna - banjo
Martin O'Connor - button accordion
Eoghan O'Neill - guitar bass
Ray Fean - drums
Noel Eccles - percussion
RecordedAutumn 1995, Bunk, Junk & Genius, London
possible additional recording at Windmill Lane Studios, Dublin
ReleasedMay 20, 1996
AlbumsKojak Variety (Rhino/Edsel edition), 2004
Various Artists collectionsCommon Ground: Voices Of Modern Irish Music, 1996
Celtica Vol. 2: Magie des ballades celtes, 2000
Best Of Ireland, 2000
Length5:07

First known performance:
     (0 known performances)


Common Ground: Voices Of Modern Irish MusicCommon Ground album cover.jpg

Kojak VarietyKV album cover large.jpg


Chords

Bm A Bm F#m

         Bm                       A
Oh, the night before Larry was stretched 
          Bm                       D
Well the boys they all paid him a visit 
   Bm                          A
A bit in their sacks too they fetched
           Bm           A              E 
For they sweated their duds till they ris' it 
     Bm                   A
For Larry was always the lad 
        Bm         A               D   A
When a boy was condemned to the Squeezer 
       Bm                     A
Would fence all the duds that he had 
        Bm             A           F#m
For to help his poor friend to a sneezer--
        A                         F#m 
-- And warm his ol' gob 'fore he died

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