Archive for the 'Irish/british' Category



I Know Where I’m Going


h1 Sunday, June 1st, 2008


Song page from the Old Town School of Folk Music circa 1957

The picture above tells the whole story. I learned this song at the Old Town School of Folk Music in the late 50s. If you right click (ctrl click for Apple) and save the image you’ll have a full scan of the page from the book I got at the Old Town School complete with notes and chords. I’m doing it in the key of F# instead of C. It’s a pretty love song for June.
Lyrics:

I know where I’m going
I know who’s going with me
I know who I love
But Dear Lord knows who I’ll marry

I have stockings of silk
Shoes of bright green leather
Combs to buckle my hair
And a ring on every finger

Feather beds are soft
And painted rooms are bonny
But I would leave them all
For my handsome winsome Johnny

Some say he’s bad
And I say he’s bonny
Fairest of them all
Is my handsome winsome Johnny

I know where I’m going
I know who’s going with me
I know who I love
But Dear Lord knows who I’ll marry

The Coo Coo


h1 Sunday, July 1st, 2007

“The Coo Coo” is a “folk-lyric” style song, where verses are interchangeable with verses from other folk songs such as “The Wagoner’s Lad,” and “East Virginia,” which are otherwise unrelated. The first verse can also be heard in “Way Down The Old Plank Road” sung by Dave Macon. “The Coo Coo” was originally recorded by Clarence “Tom” Ashley in Johnson City TN November 23, 1929.
This song style possibly developed between 1850 – 1875 in Kentucky.

A British version can be found in Cecil Sharp’s collection: “Folk Songs From Somerset.”

Lyrics:
No chords are given because it’s all in A modal tuning.

The Coo Coo

Gonna build me – log cabin on a mountain so high
So I can – see Julie as she goes on by

Aw the Coo Coo is a pretty bird she warbles as she flies
She never hollers coo coo till the fourth day July

I’ve played cards in England I’ve played cards in Spain
I’ll bet you ten dollars that I’ll beat you next game

Jack of diamonds jack of diamonds I’ve known you from old
Now you’ve robbed my poor pockets of silver and gold

I wish I had a good horse and corn to feed him on
I wish I had Julie to feed him when I’m gone

I’ve played cards in England I’ve played cards in Spain
I’ll bet you ten dollars I’ll beat you this game

Aw the Coo Coo is a pretty bird she warbles as she flies
She never hollers coo coo till the fourth day July

The Great Silkie of Sule Skerry


h1 Thursday, March 1st, 2007

This is Child Ballad No.113
“The Great Silkie of Sule Skerry” is one of numerous tales of
the Silkies, or seafolk, known to the inhabitants of the Orkney
Islands and the Hebrides. These enchanted creatures dwell in the
depth of the sea, occasionally doffing their seal skins to pass
on land as mortal men. Legend has it that they then accept human
partners, and some families on the islands actually trace their
ancestry to such marriages. In more complete versions of the
ballad, the Silkie’s forecast of the death of himself and his son
eventually come to pass.
Thanks to Mudcat Cafe for that information
Lyrics:
[G] An earthly [F] nurse sits and [G] sings,
And aye, she [C] sings by [D] lily [G] wean,
And [C] little ken [D] I my bairn’s [G] father,
Far [F] less the land where he [G] dwells in.

For he came on night to her bed feet,
And a grumbly guest, I’m sure was he,
Saying “Here am I, thy bairn’s father,
Although I be not comely.”

“I am a man upon the land,
I am a silkie on the sea,
And when I’m far and far frae land,
My home it is in Sule Skerrie.”

And he had ta’en a purse of gold
And he had placed it upon her knee,
Saying, “Give to me my little young son,
And take thee up thy nurse’s fee.”

“And it shall come to pass on a summer’s day,
When the sun shines bright on every stane,
I’ll come and fetch my little young son,
And teach him how to swim the faem.”

“And ye shall marry a gunner good,
And a right fine gunner I’m sure he’ll be,
And the very first shot that e’er he shoots
Will kill both my young son and me.”

The House Carpenter


h1 Thursday, February 1st, 2007

“The House Carpenter” is a popular name for Child Ballad No. 243. The official names are “James Harris,” or “The Daemon Lover.” This ballad may have been partially inspired by an ancient myth that was a catalyst for Richard Wagner’s operatic masterpiece, “The Flying Dutchman.”
Lyrics:
[Em] “Well met, well met, my own true love,
well met, well met,” cried he.
“I’ve just returned from the salt, salt sea
[D] all for the love of [Em] thee.”

“I could have married the King’s daughter dear,
she would have married me.
But I have forsaken her crowns of gold
all for the love of thee.”

“Well, if you could have married the King’s daughter dear,
I’m sure you are to blame,
For I am married to a house carpenter,
and find him a nice young man.”

“Oh, will you forsake your house carpenter
and go along with me?
I’ll take you to where the grass grows green,
to the banks of the salt, salt sea.”

“Well, if I should forsake my house carpenter
and go along with thee,
What have you got to maintain me on
and keep me from poverty?”

“Six ships, six ships all out on the sea,
seven more upon dry land,
One hundred and ten all brave sailor men
will be at your command.”

She picked up her own wee babe,
kisses gave him three,
Said “Stay right here with my house carpenter
and keep him good company.

Then she putted on her rich attire,
so glorious to behold.
And as she trod along her way,
she shown like the glittering gold.

Well, they’d not been gone but about two weeks,
I know it was not three.
When this fair lady began to weep,
she wept most bitterly.

“I do not weep for my house carpenter
or for any golden store.
I do weep for my own wee babe,
who never I shall see anymore.”

Well, they’d not been gone but about three weeks,
I’m sure it was not four.
Our gallant ship sprang a leak and sank,
never to rise anymore.

One time around spun our gallant ship,
two times around spun she,
Three times around spun our gallant ship
and sank to the bottom of the sea.

Whup Jamboree


h1 Sunday, October 1st, 2006

This is a song I recorded with the Chad Mitchell Trio in 1961. It’s a cotton screwing shanty. There was a time in the 1800s when, with the approach of winter, Irish crews would desert their Western Packet ships to head south to work in the cotton stowing ports like Mobile or New Orleans.
Lyrics:
[Em] Whup Jam [G] boree, whup jambo [D] ree
[Em] Oh a long-tailed sailor man comin’ up [D] behind
[Em] Whup Jam [G] boree, whup jambo [D] ree
[Em] Come an’ get your [D] oats me [Em] son

The pilot he looked out ahead
The hands on the cane and the heavin’ of the lead
And the old man roared to wake the dead
Come and get your oats me son

Whup Jamboree, whup jamboree
Oh a long-tailed sailor man comin’ up behind
Whup Jamboree, whup jamboree
Come an’ get your oats me son

Oh, now we see the lizzard light
Soon, me boys, we’ll heave in sight
We’ll soon be abreast of the Isle of Wight
Come and get your oats me son

Whup Jamboree, whup jamboree
Oh a long-tailed sailor man comin’ up behind
Whup Jamboree, whup jamboree
Come an’ get your oats me son

Now when we get to the black wall dock
Those pretty young girls come out in flocks
With short-legged drawers and long-tailed frocks
Come and get your oats me son

Whup Jamboree, whup jamboree
Oh a long-tailed sailor man comin’ up behind
Whup Jamboree, whup jamboree
Come an’ get your oats me son

Wel,, then we’ll walk down limelight way
And all the girls will spend our pay
We’ll not see more ’til another day
Come and get your oats me son

Whup Jamboree, whup jamboree
Oh a long-tailed sailor man comin’ up behind
Whup Jamboree, whup jamboree
Come an’ get your oats me son

So Early In The Spring


h1 Sunday, May 1st, 2005

early_spring.jpg

This is a sea chantey that got distilled, and transformed into a love ballad in the Appalachian Mountains. The origin is Scottish, but the lyrical style is obviously from the Southern United States. Many settlers to the New World brought their music with them, only to have it subtly changed over time.

Another example of this phenomenon is Jean Ritchie's song 'Nottamun Town,' which only survived by being brought to North America. When, as a Fulbright Scholar she visited Nottingham, England to research the roots of the song, it had completely disappeared in its original form.

Appalachian Traditional Music, A Short History:

http://www.mustrad.org.uk/articles/appalach.htm

Lyrics:
SO EARLY IN THE SPRING

[A] It being early in the spring
I went on board to serve my [E] king
[A] Leaving my dearest [F#m] dear behind
She [E] oftimes swore her heart was[F#m] mine

As I lay smiling in her arms
I thought I held ten thousand charms
With embraces kind and a kiss so sweet
Saying We'll be married when next we meet

As I was sailing on the sea
I took a kind opportunity
Of writing letters to my dear
But scarce one word from her did hear

As I was walking up London Street
I shoved a letter from under my feet
Straight lines being wrote without any blot
Saying seldom seen is soon forgot

I went up to her father's hall
And for my dearest dear did call
She's married, sir, she's better for life
For she has become a rich man's wife

If the girl is married, whom I adore
I'm sure I'll stay on land no more.
Straight lines being wrote without any blot
Saying seldom seen is soon forgot

So come young lads take a warn from me
If in love you'll ever be
For love is patient,love is kind,
Just never leave your love behind

It being early in the spring
I went on board to serve my king
Leaving my dearest dear behind
She oftimes swore her heart was mine

New words and new music by Roger McGuinn (C) 2005 McGuinn Music (BMI)

Gypsey Rover


h1 Tuesday, May 4th, 2004

This is one of the great songs I performed night after night with the Chad Mitchell Trio back in the early 60s. It's a sweet love song for May.
Lyrics:
[A] Gypsy [E7] rover, come [A] over the [E7] hill, [A] down through the valley so [E7] shady
He [A] whistled and he [E7] sang til the [A] green woods [F#m] rang and [A] he won the [D]heart of a [A] lady [E7]

Ah dee doo ah dee doo da day, ah dee doo ah dee day dee
He whistled and he sang til the green woods rang
And he won the heart of a lady

She left her fathers castle gate, she left her own fine lover
She left her servants and her state, to follow the gypsy rover

Ah dee doo ah dee doo da day, ah dee doo ah dee day dee
He whistled and he sang til the green woods rang
And he won the heart of a lady

Her father saddled up his fastest stead, roamed the valleys all over
Sought his daughter at great speed and the whistling gypsy rover

Ah dee doo ah dee doo da day, ah dee doo ah dee day dee
He whistled and he sang til the green woods rang
And he won the heart of a lady

He came at last to a mansion fine, down by the river Clady
And there was music and there was wine, for the gypsy and his lady

Ah dee doo ah dee doo da day, ah dee doo ah dee day dee
He whistled and he sang til the green woods rang
And he won the heart of a lady

He is no gypsy, my father, she said, but lord of these lands all over
And I will stay til my dying day, with my whistling gypsy rover

Ah dee doo ah dee doo da day, ah dee doo ah dee day dee
He whistled and he sang til the green woods rang
And he won the heart of a lady

Wild Mountain Thyme


h1 Tuesday, April 1st, 2003

Wild.jpg

Back in Greenwich Village, in 1963, I experimented by putting this song to a rock beat. The result was the folk rock sound of the Byrds. Now, I thought it would be fun to try this traditional Scottish love song. with a reggae beat.
Lyrics:
[G] O the summer time is coming
And the [C] trees are sweetly [G] turning
And [C] wild mountain [Am] thyme
Blooms [C] around the purple heather
Will ye [G] go, [C] lassie, [G] go?

If you will not go with me
I will surely find another
To pull wild mountain thyme
All around the purple heather
Will you go lassie go?

Chorus:
And we'll all go together
To pull wild mountain thyme
All around the purple heather
Will ye go, lassie, go?

I will build my love a bower
By yon clear and crystal fountain
And on it I will place
All the flowers of the mountain
Will ye go, lassie, go?

Chorus:
And we'll all go together
To pull wild mountain thyme
All around the purple heather
Will ye go, lassie, go?

Roddy McCorley


h1 Friday, March 1st, 2002

Roddy McCorley was a local leader in County Antrim in Ireland during the rebellion of 1798. After being captured by British Soldiers he was executed in the town of Toomebridge.. The song was adapted by the Clancy Brothers from words written by Ethna Carberry who lived from 1866-1902.The Clancy Brothers recorded the song on the 1961 album 'The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem' on Tradition Records. The Kingston Trio also recorded the song. I first heard it performed by the Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem at the Gate of Horn folk club in Chicago around 1961. Happy St. Patrick's Day!
Lyrics:
G] O see the fleet-foot host of men, who [C] march with faces [G] drawn,
From farmstead and from [C] fishers' [G] cot, along the [C] banks of [D] Ban;
[G] They come with vengeance [C] in their [G] eyes. Too late! [C] Too late are
[D] they,
[G] For young Roddy McCorley goes to die on the [C] bridge of Toome
[G] today.

Oh Ireland, Mother Ireland, you love them still the best
The fearless brave who fighting fall upon your hapless breast,
But never a one of all your dead more bravely fell in fray,
Than he who marches to his fate on the bridge of Toome today.

Up the narrow street he stepped, so smiling, proud and young.
About the hemp-rope on his neck, the golden ringlets clung;
There's ne'er a tear in his blue eyes, fearless and brave are
they,
As young Roddy McCorley goes to die on the bridge of Toome
today.

When last this narrow street he trod, his shining pike in hand
Behind him marched, in grim array, an earnest stalwart band.
To Antrim town! To Antrim town, he led them to the fray,
But young Roddy McCorley goes to die on the bridge of Toome today.

The grey coat and its sash of green were brave and stainless then,
A banner flashed beneath the sun over the marching men;
The coat hath many a rent this noon, the sash is torn away,
And Roddy McCorley goes to die on the bridge of Toome today.

Oh, how his pike flashed in the sun! Then found a foeman's heart,
Through furious fight, and heavy odds he bore a true man's part
And many a red-coat bit the dust before his keen pike-play,
But Roddy McCorley goes to die on the bridge of Toome today.

There's never a one of all your dead more bravely died in fray
Than he who marches to his fate in Toomebridge town today;
True to the last! True to the last, he treads the upwards way,
And young Roddy McCorley goes to die on the bridge of Toome today.

Nancy Whiskey


h1 Sunday, July 1st, 2001

Lyrics:
[G] I am a [Em] weaver, a [C] Calton [D] weaver

[G] I am a [Em] brash and a [C] roving [D] blade

[G] I've got [Em] silver [C] in my [D] pouches

[G] And I [Em] follow a [C] roving [D] trade

[G] Whiskey, [Em] whiskey, [C] Nancy [Em] whiskey

[G] Whiskey, [Em] whiskey, [C] Nancy [D] O

[G] Beware of [Em] Whiskey, [C] Nancy [D] Whiskey

[G] Or you'll [Em] have no [C] thing to [D] show

As I walked into Glasgow city
Nancy Whiskey I chanced to smell
I walked in, sat down beside her
Seven long years I loved her well

The more I kissed her, the more I loved her
The more I kissed her, the more she smiled
I forgot my mother's teaching
Nancy soon had me beguiled

Whiskey, whiskey, Nancy whiskey
Whiskey, whiskey, Nancy O
Beware of Whiskey, Nancy Whiskey
Or you'll have no thing to show

I woke early in the mornin'
To take a drink it was my need,
I tried to rise but was not able
Nancy had me by the heid.

Whiskey, whiskey, Nancy whiskey
Whiskey, whiskey, Nancy O
Beware of Whiskey, Nancy Whiskey
Or you'll have no thing to show