Bankers and Gangsters

Complete Lyrics

by Larry Kirwan


The girls in their summer dresses

Ah they’re looking so divine

As they stroll along the avenue

Don’t they know they’re running out of time

The cop fingers his holster

The leather shiny and new

He may be just a year on the job

But he knows exactly what to do

Now the carnival is over - the real deal has begun

Better hold on to the things you love

Long hot summer’s comin’ on

Danny says “I’m dyin’ out on old SI

I keep prayin’ for redemption

But it’s all just pie in the sky”

The Fire Brass are nervous

But the Ladder’s in control

Waitin’ for Gasoline Gomez

They got kerosene in their souls

Now the Go-Go days are over, the Iceman’s on the run

Better hold on to the one you love

Long hot summer’s comin’ on

And oh you’re dying now – and oh you’re crying now

Nothing left to hang your hopes on

Strummer’s gone - left you alone

Feel the panic comin’ on

The ghosts out on the Bowery

In their leather and their lace

Led by Captain Kristal

Want Television back on the stage

Then Lester runs out screamin’

“I just escaped from their museum

I need a drink not a curator

But I’m still trapped in their rock & roll dream”

Now the Stratocaster’s silent, the countdown has begun

Better hold on to the dreams you had

Long hot summer’s comin’ on


She fell hard for a Celtic Rocker

Turned her whole life upside down

Her Old Man don’t know what to do with her

Out drinkin’ Guinness, buyin’ her own round

She tossed her J. Crew in the garbage

She sportin’ tartan, Doc Marten boots

She wear her Scally, oh so stylish

Told her Old Man she’s discoverin’ her roots

She know the songs and the bands that sing ‘em

The Murphs, the Mollies, 47, the Dubs

She readin’ Tim Pat Coogan biographies

Showin’ off her tattoos down the pub

She moshin’ hard at all the concerts

Know the names of all the boys in the band

The rhythm section dreams about her

Lady fiddle player wants to hold her hand

Someday she goin’ back to Ireland

Scotland, Wales, the Isle of Man

Find out exactly where she come’s from

At least when she’s drinkin’ that’s the plan

She got her eyes on the Uilleann Pipes player

Meet him later at the hotel bar

They’re gonna do some serious drinkin’

Like all them Celtic rock & roll stars

She’s rockin’ hard at all the festivals

Dublin, Milwaukee, Chicago too

From New York City to San Francisco

She’s a part of the Celtic Who’s who

She takin’ lessons on the guitar

She can dance the Walls of Limerick too

Someday she be on stage here with us

She be a Celtic Rocker too

She know the songs and the bands that sing ‘em

The Murphs, the Mollies, 47, the Clash

So don’t go messin’ with the lady

beidh a leithéad ann arís

Oh yeah, little Celtic Rocker

Meet me backstage at the van

C’mon little Celtic Rocker

Gonna show you what it’s like in a rock & roll band


Johnnie’s on a hot ledge

Just out of college

He owe fifty grand to the banking industry

But the dude’s on a slow burn

Another unpaid intern

Four years just bought him some credit history with them

Bankers and gangsters, soldiers and dancers

All locked together in default harmony

With the financial chancers, and all manner of high rolling romancers

Livin’ out this American tragedy

Mary got a problem

20 years workin’

Gave her a pink slip - ain’t talkin’ lingerie

Closed down her cubicle

Hey it ain’t economical

You wanta move to South East Asia

Eddie back from Baghdad

Head it hurt so bad

Left a piece of it with the Jihadi

Buggin’ out at the VA

Mortgage late, benefits delayed

Go wave your yellow ribbons for the military

And all of our saints go marching through

Waving their red, white and their blue

Patriots and presidents say I got to live on less

But less for me means a whole lot more for you

Annie on the cell-phone

To her son in Dayton

It breask her heart to beg for sympathy

But she’s seventy and on her own

Gotta bum a short-term loan

You ever tried livin’ on social security


Izzy was a tailor down the Lower East Side)

The very man to top you off with dignity and pride

His mother wanted him to marry a Katz from Houston Street

A great big strapping lump of a girl with two big awkward feet

But Izzy was a cantor in the Synagogue

He kept the laws of Israel with the greatest of resolve

He didn’t fancy Esther Katz, her pastrami left him cold

He wanted a taste of Irish love before he grew too old

He was looking for Rosemary, Eileen, Statia, Ann McKnowles

Ever after to be known as Izzy’s Irish Rose

Forever and ever and ever young Rosie Ann McKnowles

Will be the queen of Orchard Street, Izzy’s Irish rose

So, he went to Rabbi Hershowitz and he said “oh me oh my

I want a wife back home in bed who’ll keep me satisfied”

The Rabbi nodded wisely, “I understand my son

I have an auld one home in the bed – she’s a menace to God and man

For she never shuts up talking, morning noon til night

I have to go to the Irish pub to get some peace and quiet

So they sped off to the shebeen down Delancy Street

The Lord works in mysterious ways but he’s usually discreet

For there they met Rosemary, Eileen, Statia, Ann McKnowles

Ever after to be known as Izzy’s Irish Rose

Forever and ever and ever young Rosie Ann McKnowles

Will be the queen of Orchard street, Izzy’s Irish rose

Now Rosie was the finest girl out of Sligo town

She had a head of red hair that stretched all of the way down

Past her lovely derriere to her gorgeous thighs

But her crownin’ jewels were her smoldering opalescent eyes

Which she cast up at our hero sippin’ his watery wine

Sent the power of Abraham coursin’ down his spine

The Rabbi nodded, “Oh I understand my son

The Lord provideth many paths and yours has just begun”

So he ordered up two pints of Ireland’s finest beer

With a couple of shots to wash ‘em down and he said “I do declare

I hear the bells of heaven aringin’ in me head

That goy would be a joy in any son of Israel’s bed”

Izzy’s sacred mother was beside herself with grief

‘Til the Rabbi took her to the pub down on Delancey Street

Her eyes lit up when she heard the till go clangalang

Oy veh, that Irish shiksa could use an honest man!”

So if you’re down on Orchard Street and see some red haired men

They’re all the seed of Izzy, sons of Israel to the end

But each and everyone of them’ll drink you out of house and home

For they’re sprung from the womb of Rosie, Eileen, Statia, Ann McKnowles

Oh you’re lookin’ at Rosemary, Eileen, Statia, Ann McKnowles

Ever after to be known as Izzy’s Irish Rose

Forever and ever and ever young Rosie Ann McKnowles

Will be the queen of Orchard street, Izzy’s Irish rose


Word on the street - Rosie gonna fry

Big Man say she got it comin’, girl gonna die

Too much hangin’ out all in the wrong places

Runnin’ with the hard men got that girl in a crisis

Watch your step, Rosie, you know what the price is

You got a young family and we’re not Mister Nice Guys

You’re one step beyond the pale, look out, you hear me

Gonna end up dead, oh yeah, Rosemary

You’re so far ahead of them, they’re so far behind

Oh-oh-oh you’ve already crossed the line

You’re so far ahead of all the hatred that they carry

Talkin’ ‘bout a lady they call Rosemary

We know all about you, Rosie McGee

You don’t want our brothers marchin’ in Drumcree

Don’t know you’re place, just another Fenian

So don’t give me no lectures ‘bout the fire of freedom

Look at Robbie Hamill, you know what the price is

Billy Wright took a bullet from a bloody papist

Red Hand got your number, just a formality

Stay out of Portadown, oh yeah, Rosemary

Scars on your face, fire in your eyes

Get out of Lurgan - hear them choppers in the sky

Goin’ to America – such a no-brainer

Testifyin’ to the Yanks won’t make you any safer

Watch your step, Rosie, voice of the voiceless

Remember Pat Finnucane – he thought he was Jesus

Time is tight, look out you hear me

Don’t put your foot on that brake, bye bye, Rosemary


I don’t know why it all fell apart

I was too young, you were too smart

I guess you knew it was goin’ nowhere right from the start

But your memory brings a smile

And every once in a little old while

I remember your sheer craziness electrifying my heart

That summer dress and your kiss of fire at my door

That summer dress, it spent most of August on my floor

That summer dress and your spark of desire - at my door

That summer dress, it spent most of August on my floor

I know your sensibility

You always wanted to be free

No one was gonna change you baby

I wasn’t gonna be the one to try

But I think of you now and then

Wonder if you ever found the one

Who could satisfy your electrifying desire

All that long July,

I watched you smile as you passed by

I knew what you were thinkin’

Especially when you were drinkin’

Come the heat of August

You and your new summer dress

Did you wear it just for me

Don’t matter, it came off reasonably easily


Another sleepless night

On a foreign shore

Candle flickers by my bed

Locks bolt my door

I drink too much wine

But it gives my brain relief

Stops the meanderings

That root me from my sleep

I stare out at the night

From a sweat-soaked bed

The Queen lays plots in London

But she won’t have my head

The candle gutters

The smell sweeps me back

To the icy fields of Kinsale

The bodies burning black

Fire and lightning protect Tirconaill

Fire and brimstone rain down on London

They’ll long remember Red Hugh O’Donnell

I could not join that battle

I gave orders from my horse

Wicklow snows had withered

The toes inside my boots

Still a fever of anxiety

Racks my bones

All my friends dead

On Kinsale’s icy roads

Oh were I back in Ulster

I’d dive in Swilly’s foam

Her crystal waters

Would soothe my soul

Dispatches from O’Neill

He grows old and cautious

Our allies are deserting

My blade would rip their stomachs

If Philip won’t help

I’ll return alone

O’Neill longs for an armistice

What profit in a peace

With a queen who’ll break her word

I swear to God

That bitch will taste my sword

I’ll drag her red wig from her head

Pull out her poisoned tongue

I must get back to Ulster

The candle is dead

There’s footsteps at my door

They halt

I’m tormented by that whore

Who waits at court in London

For word of my demise

Her agents hunt me everywhere

But I will not be taken

By any of her men

My head will not grace London’s spike

I’ll fight her to the end

Tonight I sup with James Blake

An honest man is he

He’s promised me three ships of war

We’ll sweep Lizzie from her throne

I will take my place

High King of the Irish

Defender of my Faith

With O’Neill as my adviser

O’Byrne at my side

I’ll rule with justice

But now the dawn is breaking

On this foreign shore

I will arise and say my prayers

Tomorrow I’ll go home


Oh I see you lookin’ from the corner of your eye

As I put on me make-up, hoist me skirt up high

I won’t be comin’ home tonight, just so as you know

Lock up your door, boy, as you watch me go

I bet you didn’t notice the highlights in me hair

They weren’t put in for you to pay attention anyway

I had just about enough of you and your auld line of chat

I’m history ‘round here, buachaillín – go chew on that

Go and watch your Late Late show, sip upon your pint

I warned you, now check out how you’ll feel

The day you see me dressed in white

Steppin’ out to me wedding reel

Off with you so, see if I care

You’ve been nothin’ but trouble since you came sniffin’ round here

A bit of peace and quiet wouldn’t go astray

Give my head a break, woman, for at least a couple of days

You never left well enough alone, “do this or bloody that!”

Drove me to distraction, that’s a given fact

I may not be the greatest but I’m a far cry from the worst

You’ll soon miss my steady hand and know I was the best

Damn right I’ll watch me Late Late show, sip upon me pint

For I know I’m the only man who’d be

Mad enough to spend all my life

Steppin’ out to your wedding reel

Will you listen to the auld prate of him, he should have been a priest

Him up on the altar and me down on me knees

As stingy as the day is long, think only of himself

Never dream a woman might take care of herself

I’ll find meself a young fellah to keep me occupied

Someone I can turn to in the middle of the night

See you later, Alligator, I’m off to check the form

If I don’t score at the disco, you can keep the bed warm

Go and watch your Late Late show, sip upon your pint

I warned you, now check out how you’ll feel

The day you see me dressed in white

Steppin’ out to the wedding reel


One starry night as I lay sleepin’

One starry night as I lay in bed

Dreamed I heard wagon wheels a’creakin’

When I awoke, love, found you had fled

I’ll search the highways, likewise the byways

I’ll search the boreens, the camping places too

I will inquire of all our people

Have they tide or tidings or sight of you

For it’s many’s the mile, love, with you I’ve traveled

Many’s the hour, love, with you I’ve spent

Dreamed you were my love forever

But now I find, love, you were only lent

I’ll go across the seas to England

To London or to Birmingham

And in some public house I’ll find you

Lamenting your lost love back home

I’m drunk today, I’m seldom sober

A handsome rover from town to town

When I am dead, my story ended

Molly Bán a stoirín, come lay me down

One starry night as I lay sleepin’

One starry night as I lay in bed

Dreamed I heard wagon wheels a’creakin’

Now that you’re gone, love, I might as well be dead

                                      THE LONG LOST TAPES OF HENDRIX

One evening while out strollin’ a friend I chanced to see

He was begging behind a bottle on Spring and Bowery

He said “I got some news for you, only cost a couple of bob

About a buried treasure back home in Ballydehob

Well I gave him all the bucks I had and he took me by the hand

“I know you love musicians - I’ve got news to beat the band

For back there in me native town in the Allied Irish Bank

The long lost tapes of Hendrix are hidden in the vault”

You can talk about your pyramids and your pints of Guinness stout

But the long lost tapes of Hendrix will leave them in the dirt

So I stole me boss’s credit card, to the airport I did jog

Very soon thereafter I arrived in Ballydehob

When I hit the Allied Irish me fatigue turned to desire

I beheld two hundred pounds of sweet Maggie McGuire

She cast her eyes upon me, “what are you doin’ in me bank?”

“I’m here on a secret mission, doll,”

“Oh no not another Yank

I hate the very sight of yez, apart from your president

That man can stimulate me any way he wants”

“What are you doin’ later?” 

“Yerra, I’m not up to much”

“Would you care for a pint of Guinness?

“I never touch the stuff.”

But one pint led to two or three, six to seven or eight

Until I was shakin’ hands with meself and that girl was feelin’ no pain

She was startin’ to look beautiful, though there was three of her in sight

Six hundred pounds of lovin’,

“What do you have in mind?”

“Oh, sweet Maggie Magurie, there’s one thing I’d adore

To go down to the vault of your bank and do it on the floor.”

“No bother, a stór….that’s easily arranged”

So we stole into the bank and down the creaky stairs

Soon we were inside the vault and dentin’ the very floor

I could see the tapes of Hendrix and they hidden behind the door

I never had such a night of love, she knew every trick in the book

Over, under, sideways, by the mornin’ I was shook

When she finally keeled over, I gently moved her weight

With her snores wakin’ the very dead, I headed for the tapes

Then all at once, a big white flash took me by surprise

An apparition in tie-dye arose before me eyes

A curly headed black man exploded in the light

T’was the ghost of Jimi Hendrix and him playin’ the Uilleann pipes

I woke up in the hospital a weddin’ ring on me hand

Two hundred pounds of Maggie McGuire smilin’ to beat the band

“Oh, you’re so romantic, no engagement did I need

Just one mad night of blisterin’ sex brought me to my knees”

So now I live in Ballydehob where the rain pours down all week

I’m nearly faded away from tendin’ to Maggie McGuire’s needs

The moral of this story is “don’t ever find your dreams”

                       And keep away from Hendrix and his goddamn bloody tapes.

You can talk about your pyramids and your pints of Guinness stout

But the long lost tapes of Hendrix will leave them in the dirt


Oh the lights shone down on Broadway

They lit up old Times Square

When we waltzed like Fred and Ginger

All along the great White Way

But you never said that ultimately

There would be a choice

When we tripped the light fantastic

And dreamed of Yeats and Joyce

How do you measure a heartache

How do you hold on to a dream

How do you tally the worth of a life

When you’re comin’ apart at the seams

Maybe it’s all in the books that we read

Or the music that we make

Or maybe it all comes back to

Your particular smile on that day

Oh how you loved the poetry

And the secret words we shared

You wondered when you were old and grey

If I would continue to care

But time hasn’t made any difference

You’re as lovely as ever, my dear

So I’ll just go right on lovin’ you

Down all the days and the years

This city keeps on changing

But you haunt me everywhere

From the lions at the Library

To the skells at the Terminal

If only I could remember how not to care


If it’s all so far behind me why does it seem like yesterday

The lark in the morning, your auld lad tossin’ hay

The ferry in the harbor dancing jigs upon the waves

The day I turned my back on you and the islands

Seven years I stayed away though I wrote from time to time

Down all those dancing days your eyes haunted me

But Bainbridge was the sweetest whore, took care of my demands

Bade me turn my back on you and the islands

I brought you petticoats of silk, a diamond from the Deuce

No price too steep to pay for your commitment

To lie once more beside you and to roll you in my arms

That’s why I came back home to you and the islands

No smoke from your chimney

Your yard was choked with grass

They said you’d upped and gone to the mainland

One mentioned that you’d met someone

Now lived in Dublin town

Grown tired of haunting dreams on the islands

Now it’s all so far behind me but it seems like yesterday

The lark has quit the heavens, no one bothers savin’ hay

I am a tourist in my hometown, an acquaintance once a friend

Since I turned my back on you and the islands

BAS IN ERIN (Death in Ireland)

I stole some butter to put on my bread

A crime against God, King and Parliament

No fancy lawyer to defend my case

So I was sentenced at the Mayo Assizes

Seven long years transportation

To Botany Bay in Australia

Is this the justice whereof you speak

Ten crucifying years ahead of me

And all that I asked for, all that I need

Is to live my life in my own country

All that I wanted or dear to me

Is bas in Erin, a chiusla geal mo chroí

I hid my brother to protect his life

He shot a man for collecting tithes

To support the rites of the English Church

A faith that meant not a damn to us

They hung my brother in Wexford town

And when they cut his body down

The hangman turned and called my way

“You’ll long for me in Australia.”

I should have known what would become of me

The future’s always been there for all the world to see

The Black Death is approaching

I can see it on the way

Oh, I’m better off in hell or Australia