Paddy On The Road

Dominic Behan

I’ve won a heroes name with McAlpine and Costain
With Fitzpatrick, Murphy, Ashe and Wimpey’s gang
I’ve been often on the road on my way to draw the dole
When there’s nothing left to do for Sir John Laing
I used to think that God made the mixer pick and hod
So that Paddy might know hell above the ground
I’ve had gangers big and tough tell me tear it all out rough
When you’re building up and tearing England down

In a tunnel underground a young Limerick man was found
He was built into the new Victoria Line
When the pouring gang had past sticking through the concrete cast
Was the face of little Charlie Joe Devine
And the ganger man McGurk big Paddy ate the work
When the gas main burst and he flew off the ground
Oh they swear he said “Don’t slack, I’ll not be here until I’m back”
Keep on building up and tearing England down

I remember Carrier Jack with his hod upon his back
How he swore he’d one day set the world on fire
But his face they’ve never seen since his shovel it cut clean
Through the middle of a big high tension wire
I saw auld Bald McGann from the big flyover fall
Into a concrete mixer spinning round
Although his life was spent he got a fine head of cement
As he was building up and tearing England down

I was on the hydro dam the day that Pat McCann
Got the better of his stammer in a week
He fell from the shuttering jam and that poor auld stuttering man
He was never ever more inclined to speak
No more like Robin Hood will he roam through Cricklewood
Or dance around the pubs of Camden Town
But let no man complain Paddy does not die in vain
When he’s building up and tearing England down

So come all you navvies bold who think that English gold
Is just waiting to be taken from each sod
Or that the likes of you and me could ever get an OBE
Or an knighthood for good service to the hod
They’ve the concrete master race to keep you in your place
The ganger man to kick you to the ground
If you ever try to take part of what the bosses make
When they’re building up and tearing England down