September 1st, 2009
“Drill, Ye Tarriers, Drill” is an American folk song first published in 1888 and attributed to Thomas Casey (words) and much later Charles Connolly (music). The song is a work song, and makes references to the construction of the American railroads in the mid-19th century. The tarriers of the title refers to Irish workers, drilling holes in rock to blast out railroad tunnels. It may mean either to tarry as in delay, or to terrier dogs which dig their quarry out of the ground 
In the early 1960’s, Pete Seeger took the lyrics from an old Ukrainian folk song mentioned in the Russian novel And Quiet Flows the Don (1934) and the music from “Drill, Ye Tarriers, Drill” to create the folk song “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?” with additional lyrics added later by Joe Hickerson.
[E7] There were twenty tarriers drilling at the rock
[Am] The boss comes along and he says, “Keep still
[E7] And bear down heavy on the cast iron drill.”
[Am] And drill, ye [G] tarriers, [Am] drill
[C] Drill, ye [G] tarriers, [Am] drill
For it’s [Am] work all day for the [G] sugar in you tay
[F] Down beyond the [E7] railway
And [Am] drill, ye [G] tarriers, [Am] drill
And blast, and fire.
The boss was a fine man down to the ground
And he married a lady six feet ’round
She baked good bread and she baked it well
But she baked it harder than the holes of …..
The foreman’s name was John McCann
You know, he was a blamed mean man
Last week a premature blast went off
And a mile in the air went big Jim Goff.
And when next payday came around
Jim Goff a dollar short was found
When he asked, “What for?” came this reply
“You were docked for the time you were up in the sky.”