Cylinder of the Month

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From 1902, the classic descriptive comic song – Drill, Ye Tarriers, Drill – recounting the days of Irish workers drilling and blasting for the railways.

Drill, Ye Tarriers, Drill

Company Edison's National Phonograph Company
Cylinder # 1020 (5" diameter)
Category Song
Title Drill, Ye Tarriers, Drill
Performed by Arthur Collins
Circa 1902
Announcement "Drill, Ye Tarriers, Drill, sung by Arthur Collins.  Edison record."
Arthur Collins (photo: 'Edison Re-creations 1922')

Written in 1888 by Thomas Casey, this popular railroad-themed comic song brings well to the imagination of freewheeling & wild days, and this well-recorded 5-inch diameter "concert" cylinder includes many sound effects lending life to the expression "railroad boom".

I'm guessing at a couple of terms in the lyrics: "Tarrier" is likely slang for the immigrated Irish perhaps woven with joshing along the lines of a slacking worker, and "tay" ("sugar in your tay"), I'm assuming means tea.

Oh, ev'ry morn' at seven o'clock 
There are twenty tarriers on the rock,
The boss comes along and says "be still
And put all your power in the cast-steel drill:"

Then drill, ye tarriers drill, 
Drill, ye tarriers, drill.
Oh it's work all day without sugar in your tay
when ye work be-yant on the rail-way, 
And drill, ye tarriers, drill.

The boss was a fine man all around
But he married a great, big, fat far-down,
She baked good bread and baked it well, 
And baked it hard as the bobs of H—l ...

See the sheet music (courtesy of The Lester S. Levy Collection) for two additional amusing verses along with suggested humorous spoken bits.

To hear Drill, Ye Tarriers, Drill   —

For help playing these sounds, click here.

Interested in hearing other 5-inch diameter wax cylinder recordings?

Key Title Category Performed by Circa
08/2001 The Absent-Minded Beggar Standard poem Harry Spencer 1900
05/1997 All the Silver in the Silvery Moon Comic song Billy Williams 1911
12/2007 The story of Cinderella Talking William Jefferson (Len Spencer) 1899
01/1999 Everybody Works But Father Song Bob Roberts 1905
07/2000 Glorious Beer Tenor solo Dan W. Quinn 1899
03/1997 The Grand March from Tannhauser Band Edison Grand Concert Band 1899
07/2003 In the Good Old Summer Time Song William Redmond 1902
07/2016 The Lime-Kiln Club Descriptive selection Columbia Orchestra 1899
08/2006 Second Connecticut March Band Edison Concert Band 1899
07/2002 Stars and Stripes Forever March Band Sousa's Band 1901
12/2019 Those dirty dogs: Men with their Nicotine, Tobacco and Alcohol Speech John Alexander Dowie 1901
12/2001 When the Birds Go North Again Song Silas Leachman 1900


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