Dominic BehanĀ  - The Patriot Game

First performance: 17/05/2005


Bruce soundchecked the song only once: 
During the Devils & Dust Solo Acoustic Tour. The song was played in a pump organ arrangement. It was not played on the regular show that night, or on any other date during that tour. It entered circulation in 2017 on the "Odds and Sods" compilation.


"The Patriot Game" is an Irish ballad with lyrics by Dominic Behan and a melody from the traditional tune "The Merry Month of May". (recorded by Jo Stafford and Burl Ives as "The Nightingale"). The song concerns an incident during the Border Campaign launched by the Irish Republican Army during the 1950s. Like Behan, Bob Dylan used the melody of "The Merry Month of May" for his own song "With God on Our Side". Behan criticized Dylan publicly by claiming the melody as an original composition. He was annoyed because the first two verses of Dylan's song were a parody of his own song.

Bruce on the artist


Come all you young rebels and listen while I sing
For love of one's country is a terrible thing
It banishes fear like the speed of a flame
And it makes you part of the patriot game

My name is O'Hanlon and I just turned eighteen
My home is Wisconsin, yeah there I was weaned
I was taught my whole life to the other to blame
So now I'm a part of the patriot game

Been two years since I wondered away
With the local battalion of the bold IRA
I read of the heroes and I wanted the same
To play out my part in the patriot game

Now ??? my body all holes
And I think of the traitors who bargained and sold
Sorry my rifle hasn't done the same
??? the patriot game