Eddystone Light


h1 January 1st, 2012

Camilla and I have been sailing on the Queen Mary 2 for the past two weeks. There are posters on board of various light houses. The one depicting the Eddystone Light reminded me of this song. I recorded it in our stateroom and sent it up via satellite.
Lyrics:

[C] Me father was the keeper of the Eddystone Light
And [F] courted a [G] mermaid [C] one fine night
From this union there come three
A [F] porpoise and a [G] porgy and the [C] other was me

[Dm] Yo ho ho, the [G] wind blows free
[F] Oh, for the life on the rolling [C] sea

One night, while I was trimming of the glim
Singing a verse from the evening hymn
A voice from the starboard shouted, “Ahoy”
And there was me mother, a-sitting on the buoy

Tell me what has become of me children of three ?
Me mother she then asked of me
One went on tour as a talking fish
And the other was served on a chafing dish

Yo ho ho, the wind blows free
Oh, for the life on the rolling sea

Then the phosphorous flashed in her seaweed hair
I looked again me mother wasn’t there
Her voice came echoing out of the night
“To the devil with the keeper of the Eddystone Light”

Oh, yo ho ho, the wind blows free
Oh, for the life on the rolling sea

Me father was the keeper of the Eddystone Light
And courted a mermaid one fine night
From this union there come three
A porpoise and a porgy and the other was me

God Rest Ye Merry Gentlmen


h1 December 1st, 2011

God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen as described on Carols.org.uk

God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen was first published in 1833 when it appeared in “Christmas Carols Ancient and Modern,” a collection of seasonal carols gathered by William B. Sandys. The lyrics of God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen are traditional olde English and are reputed to date back to the 15th century although the author is unknown.. It is believed that this particular carol was sung to the gentry by town watchmen who earned additional money during the Christmas season. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen continues to be enjoyed. The lyrics to this simple carol are reputed to be one of the oldest carols.

I recorded the vocals and acoustic guitar at the Lee’s “Farm Niente” over Thanksgiving 2011. When I got home I overdubbed the Rickenbacker 370/12/RM JETGLO which Bill Lee graciously gave me.

Lyrics:

[Dm] God rest ye merry, gentlemen
 let nothing you dismay

Remember, Christ, our Saviour
 was born on Christmas day

[Gm] To save us all from [Dm] Satan’s power 
when we were gone [C] astray

[Dm] O tidings of comfort and joy,
 comfort and [C] joy

[Dm] O tidings of [C] comfort and [Dm] joy



In Bethlehem, in Israel,
 this blessed Babe was born

And laid within a manger
 upon this blessed morn

To which His Mother Mary 
did nothing take in scorn

O tidings of comfort and joy,
 comfort and joy

O tidings of comfort and joy



From God our Heavenly Father
 a blessed Angel came;

And unto certain Shepherds
 brought tidings of the same:

How that in Bethlehem was born
 the Son of God by Name.

O tidings of comfort and joy,
 comfort and joy

O tidings of comfort and joy



“Fear not then,” said the Angel,
” Let nothing you affright,

This day is born a Saviour
 of a pure Virgin bright,

To free all those who trust in Him 
from Satan’s power and might.
“
O tidings of comfort and joy,
 comfort and joy

O tidings of comfort and joy



The shepherds at those tidings
 rejoiced much in mind,

And left their flocks a-feeding
In tempest, storm and wind:

And went to Bethlehem straightway
 the Son of God to find.

O tidings of comfort and joy,
 comfort and joy

O tidings of comfort and joy



And when they came to Bethlehem
 where our dear Saviour lay,

They found Him in a manger,
 where oxen feed on hay;

His Mother Mary kneeling down,
 unto the Lord did pray.

O tidings of comfort and joy,
 comfort and joy

O tidings of comfort and joy



Now to the Lord sing praises,
 all you within this place,

And with true love and brotherhood
 each other now embrace;

This holy tide of Christmas
 all other doth deface.

O tidings of comfort and joy,
 comfort and joy

O tidings of comfort and joy

The Cobbler


h1 November 1st, 2011

This is a traditional Irish song that I first heard at the Chicago folk club The Gate of Horn sung by Tommy Makem and the Clancy Brothers. The lab stone was a stone held in the cobbler’s lap, used for beating materials into shape.

Lyrics:

[D] Oh, his name is [A] Dick Darby, he’s a [D] cobbler
He served his time at the old [C] camp
[D] Some call him an [G] old [D] agitator
But now he’s [A] resolved to [D] repent

Chorus:
With me ing-twing of an ing-thing of an i-doe
With me ing-twing of an ing-thing of an i-day
With me roo-boo-boo roo-boo-boo randy
And me lab stone keeps beating away

Now, his father was hung for sheep stealing
His mother was burned for a witch
His sister’s a dandy house-keeper
And he’s a mechanical switch

It’s forty long years he has traveled
All by the contents of his pack
His hammers, his awls and his pinchers
He carries them all on his back

Oh, his wife she is humpy, she’s lumpy
His wife she’s the devil, she’s cracked
And no matter what he may do with her
Her tongue, it goes clickety-clack

It was early one fine summer’s morning
A little before it was day
He dipped her three times in the river
And carelessly bade her ‘Good day’

Black Is The Color Of My True Love’s Hair


h1 October 1st, 2011

Black Is The Color Of My True Love’s Hair – 3103 in the Roud Folk Song Index is a traditional song that is widely believed to have originated in Scotland. Some versions are addressed to females and others to males. Nina Simone made it popular in the mid 20th century and her version was used in the 1993 Bridget Fonda film “Point of No Return.”

Lyrics:
[Em] Black is the color of my [D] true love’s [Em] hair
Her lips are like some [Am] rosy [D] fair
[Em] The purest [D] eyes and the [Em] neatest hands
I love the ground whereon [D] she stands

I go to the Clyde for to mourn and weep
But satisfied I never can sleep
I’ll write to you in a few short lines
I’ll suffer death ten thousand times

I know my love and well she knows
I love the grass whereon she goes
If she on earth no more I see
My life will quickly fade away

A winter’s past and the leaves are green
The time has past that we have seen
But still I hope the time will come
When you and I will be as one

Black is the color of my true love’s hair
Her lips are like some rosy fair
The purest eyes and the neatest hands
I love the ground whereon she stands

Bury Me Not On The Lone Prairie


h1 September 1st, 2011

“Bury Me Not On The Lone Prairie” is said to be the most famous cowboy song. It was derived from a sea lament called “The Sailor’s Grave” or “The Ocean Burial” which began with the line: “O bury me not in the deep deep sea.”

A number of popular performers have recorded versions of “Bury Me Not On The Lone Prairie” including Moe Bandy, Johnny Cash, Burl Ives, Tex Ritter and Roy Rogers. Some even turn the meaning around by saying “Bury Me Out On The Lone Prairie”

Lyrics:
(Capo on the 4th fret)
[C] “O bury me not on the lone prairie.”
These words came [Dm] low and [G7] [C] mournfully
[C] From the pallid lips of the youth who lay
On his dying [Dm] bed at the [G7] close of [C] day.

He had wasted and pined ’til o’er his brow
Death’s shades were slowly gathering now
He thought of home and loved ones nigh,
As the cowboys gathered to see him die.

“O bury me not on the lone prairie
Where coyotes howl and the wind blows free
In a narrow grave just six by three—
O bury me not on the lone prairie”

“It matters not, I’ve been told,
Where the body lies when the heart grows cold
Yet grant, o grant, this wish to me
O bury me not on the lone prairie.”

“I’ve always wished to be laid when I died
In a little churchyard on the green hillside
By my father’s grave, there let me be,
O bury me not on the lone prairie.”

“I wish to lie where a mother’s prayer
And a sister’s tear will mingle there.
Where friends can come and weep o’er me.
O bury me not on the lone prairie.”

“For there’s another whose tears will shed.
For the one who lies in a prairie bed.
It breaks me heart to think of her now,
She has curled these locks, she has kissed this brow.”

“O bury me not…” And his voice failed there.
But they took no heed to his dying prayer.
In a narrow grave, just six by three
They buried him there on the lone prairie.

And the cowboys now as they roam the plain,
For they marked the spot where his bones were lain,
Fling a handful o’ roses o’er his grave
With a prayer to God his soul to save.

The Coast of Peru


h1 August 1st, 2011

One of my favorite folk albums is “Thar She Blows” with A. L. Lloyd and Ewan MacColl on vocals, Peggy Seeger on banjo/guitar and John Cole on harmonica. I recorded this song in Lloyd’s vocal style, adding mandolin, banjo and guitar.

Here are some notes from A. L. Lloyd:

“The English whaling ship Emilia was the first to inaugurate the Pacific sperm whale fishery in 1788, rounding Cape Horn to fish in the waters of the South Sea islands and the coasts of Chile and Peru. By the 1840s, the days of the South Seamen were numbered, but they left behind a fine memorial in their songs, of which The Coast of Peru is perhaps the most impressive. Tumbez, mentioned in the last verse, is in the far north of Peru, on the Gulf of Guayaquil, near the equator. Its girls are remembered in several whaling songs.

By no means all the old time whaling was done in northern waters. In the 1820s, for example, more than a hundred British ships, mostly out of Hull or London, where fishing in the sperm whale grounds round the Horn off the coast of Chile and Peru and taking the long, long run across the Pacific by way of Galapagos Island and the Marquesas, to Timor. The trip would last three years. The Coast of Peru is the most important ballad of the South-Seamen. Possibly it describes the chase of a southern right whale, not a sperm. Sperms were usually harpooned by running the boat close to the whale. Right whales, who tend to fight with their tail, were more often harpooned with the “long dart” from perhaps ten yards away. Mention of the mate in the “main chains” dates the song before the 1840s.”

Lyrics:

[Dm] Come all you young [C] sailor-men who rounded [Dm] Cape Horn,
Come all you bold whalers who follow the sperm,
Our captain has told us and we hope he says true,
[Dm] There’s plenty of [C] sperm whale on the [Dm] coast of Peru.

It was was early one morning just as the sun rose,
The man on the for-mast sung out: “There she blows!”
“Where away?” says the captain, “and where does she lay?”
“Three points to the east, sir, not a mile away.”

Then it’s lower your boats me boys and after him travel
Steer clear of his flukes or he’ll flip you to the devil
And lay on them oars boys and let your boats fly
But one thing we dread of, keep clear of his eye!”

Well the waist-boat got down, and we made a good start.
“Lay on said the harpooneer for I’m hell for a long dart.”
Well the harpoon it struck and the whale sped away
But whatever he done, me boys, he gave us fair play.

Well we got him turned over and laid alongside
And we over with our blubber hooks to rob him of his hide
We commenced thrusting in boys and then trying out
And the mate in the main chains how loud he did shout

Now we’re bound for old Tumbez in our manly power
Where a man buys a pleasure house for a barrel of flour
We’ll spend all our money on them pretty girls ashore
And when it’s all gone me lads go whaling for more

Come all you young sailor-men who rounded Cape Horn,
Come all you bold whalers who follow the sperm,
Our captain has told us and we hope he says true,
There’s plenty of sperm whale on the coast of Peru.

Paul & Silas


h1 July 1st, 2011

A classic Gospel song, in the picking style I learned from Earl Scruggs.
Lyrics:

[A] Paul and Silas bound in jail
All night long
[D] Paul and Silas bound in jail
All night [A] long
[A] Paul and Silas bound in jail
All night [A] long
Cryin’ He shall [E] deliver [A] me

Jailer come and lock the gate
All night long X3
Cryin’ He shall deliver me

That old jail did reel and rock
All night long X3
Cryin’ He shall deliver me

Paul and Silas prayed to God
All night long X3
Cryin’ He shall deliver me

Paul and Silas bound in jail
All night long X3
Cryin’ He shall deliver me

Leave Her Johnny Leave Her


h1 June 1st, 2011

Liam Clancy sang this in concert. He’d introduce it: “Here’s a song you haven’t heard before but you’ll learn it in a few minutes and when you go home tonight, you’ll have a new song in your repertoire.” He’d get a good laugh on that! “It’s an old sea chantey. There was always a kind of sadness at the end of a voyage, in spite of all the fights and hardship, the sailors were a bit sorry to leave and they’d sing this song.”

The Space Shuttle Endeavour has landed for the last time, I would imagine the astronauts felt the same way as sailors leaving their ship.

The picture is from a video Camilla McGuinn shot at a concert where I performed this with John Sebastian.

Lyrics:

[D] I thought I heard the old man say,
[A] “Leave her, Johnny, [D] leave her,
[G] It’s a long, hard [D] pull to your [A] next [D] payday
[D] And it’s time for us to [A] leave [D] her”.
-Chorus-
[A] Leave her, Johnny, [D] leave her!
[G] Oh, leave her, Johnny, [D] leave her,
Oh the [G] voyage is [D] done and the [A] winds don’t [D] blow,
And it’s time for us to [A] leave [D] her!

Oh, the skipper was bad, but the mate was worse.
Leave her, Johnny, leave her
He’d blow you down with a spike and a curse,
And it’s time for us to leave her.
-Chorus-
Leave her, Johnny, leave her!
Oh, leave her, Johnny, leave her,
For the voyage is done and the winds don’t blow,
And it’s time for us to leave her!

Oh pull you lubbers or you’ll get no pay
Oh, leave her, Johnny, leave her,
Oh pull you lubbers and then belay
And it’s time for us to leave her!
-Chorus-
Leave her, Johnny, leave her!
Oh, leave her, Johnny, leave her,
For the voyage is done and the winds don’t blow,
And it’s time for us to leave her!

And now it’s time to say goodbye
Oh, leave her, Johnny, leave her,
Them pilings they is a-drawing nigh
And it’s time for us to leave her!
-Chorus- X 2

To Welcome Poor Paddy Home


h1 May 1st, 2011

This is a traditional Irish song I learned from the Makem & Spain Brothers. It’s on their latest CD “Up The Stairs.” I appreciate that they’re keeping the old songs alive!
Lyrics:
[C] I am a true born Irishman
I’ll never [G] deny what [C] I am
I was born in a sweet [Am] Tipperary town
[C] Three thousand [G] miles [C] away

-Chorus-

[C] So hurray me [G] boys [C] hurray

No more do I wish for to [F] roam
[C]
For the sun it will shine in the [Am] harvest time
[C]
For to welcome [G] poor Paddy [C] home

Now the girls thay are gay and frisky

They’ll take you by the hand

Saying Jimmy McGuinn would you please come in

To welcome poor Paddy home

-Chorus-

Well in came the foreign nation

And scattered all over the land

The horse and the cow and the goat, sheep and sow

Fell into the stranger’s hand

-Chorus-

Now Scotland can boast of the thistle

And England can boast of the rose

But Paddy can boast of the old Emerald Isle

Where the dear little shamrock grows.

-Chorus-

The Squirrel


h1 April 1st, 2011

A sweet little folk song to celebrate Spring in the Northern Hemisphere!
Lyrics:
[D] Squirrel He’s a funny little thing, carries a bushy [A7] tail
[D] He steals away the farmer’s corn, and he hides it on the rail
And he hides it on the [A7] rail

A partridge she’s a pretty little thing, she carries a speckled breast
She steals away the farmer’s corn, she carries it to her nest
And she carries it to her nest

The Possum he’s a cunning little thing, he travels after dark
He ain’t afraid of any old thing till he hears old Rattler bark
Till he hears old Rattler bark

A raccoon’s tail is ringed all around, possum’s tail is bare
A rabbit ain’t got no tail at all, just a little wee bunch of hair
Just a little wee bunch of hair