Green Badge

Dustin Welch, Super Rooster Music (SESAC); Mark Germino, Black Rhapsody Music (ASCAP)

My name is Egan Reilly, I was born in county Clare
I married in the spring of ’39 a lass so fair
We moved to London at her wish, we dwelled in Camden homes
But the Irish Guard they sought to make a soldier of me bones
We kissed goodbye at Euston Square, we swore upon the cross
Should I return alive in spring, we’d celebrate till frost
We vowed should I set foot back on the soil I would defend
We’d go back to our dear Ireland and never leave again

Hell’s bells, slosh the county ale
The rats are in the grain and I can hear the nightingale
Hell’s bells, sing O’Carolan’s dirge
For Ireland I shall try to win the Green Badge of Courage

We set about for Norway as our ladies left to mourn
The mighty 24th brigade, we dressed in British warms
We pushed the Nazi’s back, we let them know we were in town
While Battalion Two went sailing through the Hook o’ Holland Sound
In March of ’43 to northern Africa we sailed
‘Twas there inside Tunisia pints of Irish blood was spilled
But Corporeal John Keneally fired his bren gun from his hip
And as the Germans broke and ran we watched his leg begin to drip

Hell’s Bells, slosh the county ale…
…For Ireland I resolve to win the Green Badge of Courage

Took Anzio in ’44, then we were homeward bound
Our families walked to Camden Loch and met us at the Crown
My wife was there with open arms, so glad to have me home
But she had gained 300 pounds, now she weighed twenty-seven stone
After say a pint or two she took me by the hand
Marched us to our bedroom where so naked she would stand
I kissed her and I told her she looked lovely as the frost
Then she picked me up and hauled me off to win the Victory Cross

Hell’s bells, slosh the county ale…
….By morning’s turn I will have earned the Green Badge of Courage

Dustin Welch: banjo, vocals; Drew Smith: acoustic guitar, vocals; Kyle Ellison: electric guitar; Trisha Keefer: violin; Joe Beckham: electric bass; Joe Humel: drums

I had this traditional Irish banjo melody and took it over to Germino. He listened to it, agreed to write it, and said “Gimme two weeks.” I thought he just wasn’t in the mood to do anything with it at the time. Turns out, he spent the next two weeks extensively researching the Irish Guard. He handed me a lyric sheet and I don’t think I even changed one damn word. He decided it it needed some kinda humorous twist at the end, like all good Irish ballads. The only thing he could figure was when the guy got home from the war, his bride had become extremely overweight, and the way that he finally wins the ‘Green Badge of Courage’ is by allowing her to take him to bed the night of his return. I wholeheartedly agreed, and thusly, the song was born.