Tune of the Day: Rakes of Mallow
This well-known drinking song is generally accepted as an Irish tune, since Mallow is a town in County Cork, Ireland. However, there have been early versions of this tune with the title “The Rigs of Marlowe”, leading to speculation that this was an English tune to begin with. Whatever its origin, this polka has long been popular in Scotland, and it was there that it was first published in the 1780s.
For those of you who are not used to this kind of historic terms, a rake (short for rakehell) was a fashionable youth who led a somewhat dissolute life, frequently a heartless womanizer, so this tune celebrates such young men from the town of Mallow.
In recent times, a version of the tune was included by American composer Leroy Anderson in his Irish Suite for orchestra. The song is also a fight song for Notre Dame Fighting Irish fans.