Archive for the 'Irish/british' Category



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

The Riddle Song


h1 Thursday, February 1st, 2001

I wonder if this song from the 17th Century inspired the following poem by Walt Whitman?

A Riddle Song
By Walt Whitman
1819-1892

That which eludes this verse and any verse,
Unheard by sharpest ear, unform'd in clearest eye or cunningest mind,
Nor lore nor fame, nor happiness nor wealth,
And yet the pulse of every heart and life throughout the world incessantly,
Which you and I and all pursuing ever ever miss,
Open but still a secret, the real of the real, an illusion,
Costless, vouchsafed to each, yet never man the owner,
Which poets vainly seek to put in rhyme, historians in prose,
Which sculptor never chisel'd yet, nor painter painted,
Which vocalist never sung, nor orator nor actor ever utter'd,
Invoking here and now I challenge for my song.

Indifferently, 'mid public, private haunts, in solitude,
Behind the mountain and the wood,
Companion of the city's busiest streets, through the assemblage,
It and its radiations constantly glide.

In looks of fair unconscious babes,
Or strangely in the coffin'd dead,
Or show of breaking dawn or stars by night,
As some dissolving delicate film of dreams,
Hiding yet lingering.

Two little breaths of words comprising it,
Two words, yet all from first to last comprised in it.

How ardently for it!
How many ships have sail'd and sunk for it!

How many travelers started from their homes and neer return'd!
How much of genius boldly staked and lost for it!
What countless stores of beauty, love, ventur'd for it!
How all superbest deeds since Time began are traceable to it–and
shall be to the end!
How all heroic martyrdoms to it!
How, justified by it, the horrors, evils, battles of the earth!
How the bright fascinating lambent flames of it, in every age and
land, have drawn men's eyes,
Rich as a sunset on the Norway coast, the sky, the islands, and the cliffs,
Or midnight's silent glowing northern lights unreachable.

Haply God's riddle it, so vague and yet so certain,
The soul for it, and all the visible universe for it,
And heaven at last for it.

Lyrics:
The Riddle Song

[G] I gave my love a [C] cherry that has no [G] stone,
I [D] gave my love a [G] chicken that has no [D] bone,
I gave my love a [G] ring that has no [D] end,
I [C] gave my love a [Am] baby with [C] no [G] crying.

How can there be a cherry that has no stone?
How can there be a chicken that has no bone?
How can there be a ring that has no end?
How can there be a baby with no crying?

A cherry, when it's blooming, it has no stone,
A chicken when it's pipping, it has no bone,
A ring when it's rolling, it has no end,
A baby when it's sleeping, has no crying.

Traditional

Stewball


h1 Monday, January 1st, 2001

Stewball.jpg

This is the original text of Stewball from an early printed version that appeared in an American song book dated 1829.

Sometime around 1790 a race took place on the curragh of Kildare (near Dublin) between a skewbald horse owned by Sir Arthur Marvel and 'Miss Portly', a gray mare owned by Sir Ralph Gore. The race seemed to take the balladmakers' fancies, and must have been widely sung.

Lyrics:
[G] Stewball was a good horse
He wore a high [Am] head
And the mane on his [D] foretop
Was fine as silk [G] thread

I rode him in England
I rode him in Spain
He never did lose, boys
He always did gain

So come all you gamblers
Wherever you are
And don't bet your money
On that little grey mare

Most likely she'll stumble
Most likely she'll fall
But you never will lose, boys
On my noble Stewball

As they were a-riding
'Bout halfway around
That grey mare she stumbled
And fell to the ground

And away out yonder
Ahead of them all
Came a prancin' and a dancin'
My noble Stewball

Twelve Days of Christmas, The


h1 Friday, December 1st, 2000

What is a 'colly-bird' in the context of the traditional English song 'The Twelve Days of Christmas'?

'On the fourth day of Christmas my true love sent to me four colly-birds, three French hens, two turtle doves and a partridge in a pear tree.'

The first edition of the Oxford English Dictionary published the section covering 'colly' in October 1891. It reveals that 'colly' is, or was, an old English word meaning black, from 'coal'. And, it says, a 'colly-bird' is the Blackbird.

Lyrics:
[D] On the (first) day of Christmas my [A] true love sent to [D] me
Twelve lords leaping
Eleven ladies dancing
Ten pipers piping
Nine drummers drumming
Eight maids milking
Seven swans swimming
Six geese laying
[D] Five [E] gold [A] rings
[A] Four colly birds
[A] Three French hens
[A] Two turtle doves and
A [D] partridge [A] in a pear [D] tree

Kilgary Mountain


h1 Monday, May 1st, 2000

Kilgar_Mt.jpg

I first heard this song sung by Bob Gibson in the late 50's. In 1961 I recorded it with the Chad Mitchell Trio. In April 2000, I recorded it again with Tommy Makem for my forthcoming CD 'Roger McGuinn – Treasures from the Folk Den' which will be released on Appleseed Recordings in the spring of 2001. This CD will contain duets featuring Joan Baez, Pete Seeger, Tommy Makem, Jean Ritchie, Odetta, Judy Collins and many more wonderful folk artists, singing the best songs from the Folk Den with me.
Lyrics:
D Bm
As I was a-walkin' over Kilgary Mountain

G D

I met with Capt. Pepper and his money he was countin'

D Bm

I rattled my pistols and I drew forth my saber

G D

Sayin', 'Stand and deliver, for I am the bold deceiver'

A

Musha rig um du rum da

D
Whack fol the daddy o

G
Whack fol the daddy o

D A D
There's whiskey in the jar

I counted out his money, and it made a pretty penny

I put it in my pocket for to take it home to Jenny

She promised and she vowed she never would deceive me

But the devil's in the women and they always lie so easy

When I was awakened between six and seven

The guards all around me in numbers odd and even

I flew to my pistols, but alas I was mistaken

For Jenny's drawn my pistols and a prisoner I was taken

They put me into prison without judge or writin'

For robbing Capt. Pepper on Kilgary Mountain

But they didn't take my fists so I knocked the sentry down

And bid a fond farewell to the jail in Limric town

I wish I'd find my brother, the one that's in the army

I don't know where he's stationed, in Cork or in Kelarny

Together we'd go ramblin o'er the mountains of Kilkenny

I know he's treat me better than my darlin' sportin' Jenny

Now some take delight in fishin' and a-bowlin'

And others take delight in carriages a-rollin'

But I take delight in the juice of the barley

And courtin' pretty maidens in the morning oh so early

Auld Lang Syne


h1 Saturday, January 1st, 2000

Lyrics:
D A
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
D G
And never brought to mind?
D A
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
G D
And days of auld lang syne?
D A
And days of auld lang syne, my dear,
D G
And days of auld lang syne.
D A
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
G D
And days of auld lang syne?

We twa hae run aboot the braes
And pu'd the gowans fine.
We've wandered mony a weary foot,
Sin' days of auld lang syne.
Sin' days of auld lang syne, my dear,
Sin' days of auld lang syne,
We've wandered mony a weary foot,
Sin' days of auld ang syne.

We twa hae sported i' the burn,
From morning sun till dine,
But seas between us braid hae roared
Sin' days of auld lang syne.
Sin' days of auld lang syne, my dear,
Sin' days of auld lang syne.
But seas between us braid hae roared
Sin' days of auld lang syne.

And ther's a hand, my trusty friend,
And gie's a hand o' thine;
We'll tak' a cup o' kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.
For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne,
We'll tak' a cup o' kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.

(c) 2000 McGuinn Music / Roger McGuinn

I Saw Three Ships


h1 Wednesday, December 1st, 1999

3ships.jpg

Lyrics:
G
I saw three ships come sailing in
D
On Christmas day, on Christmas day
G
I saw three ships come sailing in
D G
On Christmas day in the morning.

And what was in those ships all three?
On Christmas Day, etc. And what was in etc. On Christmas day
in etc.

Our Saviour, Christ, and His Lady.

Pray, whither sailed those ships all three?

O, they sailed to Bethlehem.

And all the bells on earth shall ring.

And all the angels in heaven shall sing.

And all the souls on earth shall sing.

Then let us all rejoice and sing.

Tradidional / Arr. Roger McGuinn
(c) 1999 McGuinn Music