1901 – Edward M. Favor And Mrs. Murphy’s Chowder

Long forgotten by a lot of people in a world of compact discs and the other high-tech gizmos of the day, are the earliest formats of recorded music. We’re going to pass on an entire overview until another day, but in the early 20th century, people were ecstatic over something called an "Edison" which played wax cylinders of 2 and 4 minutes with the music broadcast through a large, tin horn.

We’ve always loved the machines, basically because they don’t require Mrs. Huntington spending an hour figuring out which buttons to push to make them play music. As an added bonus, there’s no clocks to reset either.

Consequently, we’ve acquired a large collection of early, cylinder records over the years and we’re planning on sharing some of the public domain material on occassion.

Which brings us to Mr. Edward M. Favor and his 1901 recording of "Who Put The Overalls In Mrs. Murphy’s Chowder". Sure, it’s silly, but in it’s day it was a very popular song.

The song had been penned by George L. Giefer in 1898 and is considered a classic Irish folk song due, in large part, to this early recording by Edward M. Favor.

So, for your listening pleasure, is this February, 1901, release by the Edison Record Company. And, we’re adding the lyrics so you can sing along to this early, catchy, tune.

Now, keep in mind that this is from 1901 and these are what would be considered today as the politically incorrect "ethnic" lyrics.

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Mrs. Murphy gave a party just about a week a-go,
Everything was plentiful the Murphy’s they’re not slow,
They treated us like gentlemen we tried to act the same,
Only for what happened well it was an awful shame..

When Mrs. Murphy dished the chowder out she fainted on the spot.
She found a pair of overalls in the bottom of the pot.
Tim Nolan, he got rippin’ mad. His eyes were bulging out.
He jumped up on the piano and loudly he did shout…….


Who threw the overalls in Mrs. Murphy’s chowder?
Nobody spoke so he shouted all the louder,
It’s an Irish trick that’s true,
I can lick the “mick” that threw
The overalls in Mrs. Murphy’s chowder.

They dragged the pants from out the soup and laid them on the floor.
Each man swore upon his life, he’d ne’er seen them before.
They were plastered up with mortar and were worn out at the knee,
They’d had their many ups and downs as we could plainly see.

And when Mrs. Murphy, she came to, she b’gan to cry and pout,
She’d had them in the wash that day and forgot to take them out.
Tim Nolan, he excused himself for what he said that night,
So we put music to the words and sang with all our might….


Who threw the overalls in Mrs. Murphy’s chowder?
Nobody spoke so he shouted all the louder,
It’s an Irish trick that’s true,
I can lick the “mick” that threw
The overalls in Mrs. Murphy’s chowder.

Now wasn’t that nice?  We’re looking forward to Kid Rock reviving it some day.

We don’t know much about George L. Giefer, or Edward M. Favor, so if you have any knowlege of either gentlemen feel free to pass it along. As for Mrs. Murphy, we know enough to pass on the chowder and that’s plenty enough.

Phineous Zivick Huntington
May 5, 2007

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3 Responses to “1901 – Edward M. Favor And Mrs. Murphy’s Chowder”

  1. joyce Says:

    Thanks for the words to this song. My 92 year old aunt has been singing a couple lines of this for years, and mentioned to me again when she was telling me about the sing along at the apartments on St. Patrick’s Day. Now I can send her the words.

  2. Matt Says:

    Every Saint Patrick’s Day, my mom hides little doll overalls in the bottom of her big pot of corn chowder. She usually has guests, so she makes a big deal about the guest of honor serving the first spoon. The guest is always dumbfounded when they pull up a big laddle-full of overalls. That’s when my mom bursts into the song “Who Threw the Overalls in Mrs. Murphey’s Chowder”.

    Does anybody know if this is an Irish song or was it written in the U.S.? Did George L. Griefer write it or was he just the first to write it down?

  3. third world county » Oh, No I Didn’t! Says:

    [...] And, from a 1901 (hence really, really public domain) wax cylinder recording found reproduced here: [...]

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