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Old Grinding Young LP Project

As well as a printed collection of children’s songs and rhymes, Hugh also envisaged a published sound recording. In 1975 he rearranged his own recordings in a form suitable for a long-playing vinyl record, with the title The old grinding young. This would have sections sung or spoken by children and adults, interspersed with a few new instrumental tracks.

The British publisher Bill Leader (Leader Records) had previously published two records for Hugh— Shamrock, rose and thistleEddie Butcher (1970) and Folk ballads of Derry and Donegal (1972).  

Hugh submitted a large reel-to-reel tape to Leader along with a typescript of sleeve notes and sample illustrations.


Extract from original typescript The old grinding young: generations of song play and word play in Ireland (c.1975

View the full typescript.

Unfortunately the record industry was badly affected by the oil crisis of the moment. Leader Records ceased publishing and Hugh's reel-to-reel and typescript were not returned.

However by a fortuitous twist of fate the long-lost items came into the possession of Reg Hall, the expert on the London-Irish folk scene. They were returned by Reg to ITMA in 2015. 

ITMA digitised and catalogued the Old Grinding Young reel-to-reel in 2016. View the catalogue record.




Notes on the term Old Grinding Young

The illustration shown above is a large broadside engraving by the Belfast printer Alexander Mayne, dating from about 1820. It is preserved in the library of Queen’s University, Belfast.  

“The Old Grinding Young” was the name of a Dublin pub until about 1960.

If you would like to read more information on the motif of a rejuvenating mill please consult Alan Gailey in Ulster folklife, XVII (1971) pp. 95–97.