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

Polly Vaughn


h1 March 1st, 2011

Polly Vaughn is an old Irish folk song about a hunter who mistakenly shoots his true love thinking her to be a swan. Click HERE for more details.
Lyrics:
I will tell of a hunter whose life was undone,
By the cruel hand of evil at the setting of the sun,
His arrow was loosed and it flew through the dark,
And his true love was slain as the shaft found its mark;

She’d her apron wrapped about her,
And he took her for a swan,
And it’s oh and alas it was she, Polly Vaughn;

He ran up beside her and found that it was she,
He turned away his face for he could not bear to see,
He lifted her up and he found she was dead,
A fountain of tears for his true love he shed;

She’d her apron wrapped about her,
And he took her for a swan,
And it’s oh and alas it was she, Polly Vaughn;

He carried her off to his home by the sea,
Crying’ “Father, oh Father, I’ve murdered poor Polly!
I’ve killed my fair love in the flower of her life,
I’d always intended that she be my wife;”

“But she’d her apron wrapped about her
And I took her for a swan,
And it’s oh and alas it was she, Polly Vaughn;”

He roamed near the place where his true love was slain,
And wept bitter tears, but his cries were all in vain,
As he looked on the lake, a swan glided by,
And the sun slowly set in the grey of the sky;

“But she’d her apron wrapped about her
And I took her for a swan,
And it’s oh and alas it was she, Polly Vaughn;”

“She’d her apron wrapped about her
And I took her for a swan,
And it’s oh and alas it was she, Polly Vaughn.”

Henry Martin


h1 February 1st, 2011

I remember seeing Joan Baez sing “Henry Martin” at Club 47 in Cambridge MA in 1960. She looked and sounded just like she does in this clip: CLICK HERE
This ballad is sometimes confused with Andrew Barton, because they are similar both in story and sometimes in tune. According to Sharp Henry Martin is probably the older ballad and was recomposed during the reign of James I. However, some scholars feel it is the other way around. Whichever is the case, Henry Martin dates to at least the 1700s.

In the many versions the hero is variously Henry Martin (Martyn), Robin Hood, Sir Andrew Barton, Andrew Bodee, Andrew Bartin, Henry Burin and Roberton. Sharp feels Henry Martin is probably a corruption of the name Andrew Barton.

The ballad is based on a family that lived during the reign of Henry VIII. A Scottish officer, Sir Andrew Barton, was attacked by the Portuguese. Letters of marque were then issued to two of his sons. The brothers, not finding sufficient Portuguese ships, began harassing English merchants. King Henry VIII commissioned the Earl of Surrey to end their piracy. He was given two vessels which he put under the command of his sons, Sir Thomas and Sir Edward Howard. They attacked Barton’s ships, The Lion and the Union, and captured them. They returned triumphant on August 2, 1511.

Child Ballad #250

Click Here for another strong performance of “Henry Martin” by actor Chris Leidenfrost-Wilson

Lyrics:
There were three brothers in merry Scotland,
In merry Scotland there were three,
And they did cast lots which of them should go,
should go, should go,
And turn robber all on the salt sea.

The lot it fell first upon Henry Martin,
The youngest of all three;
That he should turn robber all on the salt sea,
Salt sea, salt sea.
For to maintain his two brothers and he.

He had not been sailing but a long winter’s night
And a part of a short winter’s day,
Before he espied a stout lofty ship,
lofty ship, lofty ship,
Come abibing down on him straight way.

Hullo! Hullo! cried Henry Martin,
What makes you sail so nigh?
I’m a rich merchant bound for fair London town,
London Town, London Town
Will you please for to let me pass by?

Oh no! Oh no! cried Henry Martin,
That thing it never could be,
For I am turned robber all on the salt sea
Salt sea, salt sea.
For to maintain my brothers and me.

Come lower your topsail and brail up your mizz’n
And bring your ship under my lee,
Or I will give you a full flowing ball,
flowing ball, flowing ball,
And your dear bodies drown in the salt sea.

Oh no! we won’t lower our lofty topsail,
Nor bow ourselves under your lee,
And you shan’t take from us our rich merchant goods,
merchant goods, merchant goods
Nor point our bold guns to the sea.

With broadside and broadside and at it they went
For fully two hours or three,
Till Henry Martin gave to her the deathshot,
the deathshot, the deathshot,
And straight to the bottom went she.

Bad news, bad news, to old England came,
Bad news to fair London Town,
There’s been a rich vessel and she’s cast away,
cast away, cast away,
And all of the merry men drown’d.

Barbara Allen


h1 January 1st, 2011

I remember seeing Joan Baez sing this at Club 47 in Cambridge MA in 1960. She looked and sounded just like she does in this clip: CLICK HERE

Source of the following: Mudcat Cafe
Samuel Pepys in his “Diary” under the date of January 2nd 1665, speaks of the singing of “Barbara Allen.” The English and Scottish both claim the original ballad in different versions, and both versions were brought over to the US by the earliest settlers. Since then there have been countless variations (some 98 are found in Virginia alone). The version used here is the English one. The tune is traditional.

Child Ballad #84

Lyrics:
[D] In Scarlet town where I was born,
There was a [G] fair maid [A] dwellin’
[G] Made every youth cry [Bm] Well-a-day,
[A] Her name was Barb’ra [D] Allen.

All in the merry month of May,
When green buds they were swellin’
Young Willie Grove on his death-bed lay,
For love of Barb’ra Allen.

He sent his man unto her then
To the town where she was dwellin’
You must come to my master, dear,
If your name be be Barb’ra Allen.

So slowly, slowly she came up,
And slowly she came nigh him,
And all she said when there she came:
“Young man, I think you’re dying!”

He turned his face unto the wall
And death was drawing nigh him.
Adieu, adieu, my dear friends all,
Be kind to Bar’bra Allen

As she was walking o’er the fields,
She heard the death bell knellin’,
And ev’ry stroke did seem to say,
Unworthy Barb’ra Allen.

When he was dead and laid in grave,
Her heart was struck with sorrow.
“Oh mother, mother, make my bed
For I shall die tomorrow.”

And on her deathbed she lay,
She begged to be buried by him,
And sore repented of the day
That she did e’er deny him.

“Farewell,” she said, “ye virgins all,
And shun the fault I fell in,
Henceforth take warning by the fall
Of cruel Barb’ra Allen.”

Back To Sea


h1 December 1st, 2010

While recording sea chanteys under my painting “The Argonaut” by Roger Chapelet, playing rollicking tunes and researching the capsules of history, I was inspired to pen a new song of the sea. These lyrics trace the adventures of foreign port experiences enjoyed by many sailing ships in the golden age of sail, from Liverpool to Maui.
Lyrics:
[Em] At last we sailed past Rio Grande
A-headed [D] round Cape [Em] Horn
[Em] We’ll make our way to Valpo Bay
Before it’s [D] Christmas [Em] morn

[Am] Pray that we ride a [Em] faithful tide
[G] Our topsail’s blowing [D] free
[Em] We’ve many gifts for them Valpo gals
‘Fore we head [D] back to [Em] sea

We’ll take up loads of good supplies
To the California coast
We’ll bring them miner forty-niners
What they need the most

Pray that we ride a faithful tide
Our topsail’s blowing free
We’ll kiss them California girls
‘Fore we head back to sea

The port of San Francisco is
Now many miles behind
We’re rolling back to Liverpool
A-blowing on the wind

Pray that we ride a faithful tide
Our topsail’s blowing free
Once more we’ll kiss them Valpo gals
‘Fore we head back to sea

And when our sailing is all done
We go back around the Horn
Be sure of your boots and oilskins
Or you wish you’d never been born

Pray that we ride a faithful tide
Our topsail’s blowing free
We’ll say hello to them Liverpool gals
‘Fore we head back to sea

The Bears Went Over The Mountain


h1 November 1st, 2010

“The Bear Went Over the Mountain” is a popular children’s song often sung to the tune of “For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow”. At one time the lyrics were sung to the tune of “We’ll All go Down to Roswer”. The public domain lyrics are of unknown origin.
Lyrics:
[E] The bears went over the mountain,
The [B7] bears went over the [E] mountain,
The bears went over the [A] mountain,
[B7} To see what they could [E] see.
[E] To see what [A] they could [E] see
[E] To see what [A] they could [E] see
The bears went over the [A] mountain,
[B7} To see what they could [E] see.

Saw the other side of the mountain,
The other side of the mountain,
The other side of the mountain,
Was all that they could see.

The bears went over the ocean
The bears went over the ocean
The bears went over the ocean
To see what they could see.

And they saw the sea
And they saw the sea
The bears went over the ocean
To see what they could see.

The bears went over the tundra
The bears went over the tundra
The bears went over the tundra
To see what they could see.

Saw the other side of the tundra
The other side of the tundra
The other side of the tundra
That’s what they did see.

Pay Me My Money Down


h1 October 1st, 2010

Pay Me My Money Down is a work song from the Georgia Sea Islands. The slaves there were in relative isolation from the culture of the Southern United States and retained much of their West and Central African heritage. They speak an English-based creole language containing many African words and using similar grammar and sentence structure to those of African languages.

The melody is much older and is used in other songs.

Lyrics:
[G] I thought I heard the Captain say,
Pay me my [D] money down,
Tomorrow is our sailing day,
Pay me my [G] money down

[G] Oh pay me, oh pay me,
Pay me my [D] money down,
Pay me or go to jail,
Pay me my [G] money down

As soon as the boat was clear of the bar,
Pay me my money down,
The captain knocked me down with a spar,
Pay me my money down

If I’d been a rich man’s son,
Pay me my money down,
I’d sit on the river and watch it run,
Pay me my money down

Well 40 nights, nights at sea
Pay me my money down,
Captain worked every last dollar out of me,
Pay me my money down

Rolling Down To Old Maui


h1 September 1st, 2010

This is a Pacific whaling song. Most whaling songs I know are Atlantic based, sailing to Iceland and Greenland whale fisheries. This is the story of a ship based in Maui that sailed to the Kamchatka_Peninsula where there were many types of whales in the 1800s.

I would encourage you to listen to this with large speakers or earphones, as there some low frequencies that will surely be lost through computer sound systems.

Lyrics:
[Em] It’s a mighty tough [B7] life [Em] full of toil and [B7] strife
  
[Em] We whaler-men [D] under [Em] go
[Em]
And we really don’t [B7] care when the [Em] gale is [B7] done
  
[Em] How hard them [D] winds did [Em] blow

[G] We’re homeward bound from the [D] Arctic Sound
  
With a [C] good ship taut and [B7] free
[Em]
And we’ll have our [B7] fun when we [Em] drink our [B7] rum
  
[Em] With the girls of [D] Old [Em] Maui

CH
[G] Rolling down to Old [D] Maui, me boys
[C]
Rolling down to Old [B7] Maui
[Em]
We’re homeward [B7] bound from the [Em] Arctic [B7] Ground
[Em]
Rolling down to [D] Old [Em] Maui

Once more we sail with a Northerly gale
  
Through the ice, and wind, and rain

Them coconut fronds, them tropical lands
  
We soon shall see again

Six brutal months have passed away
  
On the cold Kam-chat-ka sea

But now we’re bound from the Arctic ground
  
Rolling down to Old Maui

CH

Once more we sail the Northerly gale
  
Going towards our Island home

Our mainmast sprung, our whaling done
  
We ain’t got far to roam

Our stuns’l booms is carried away
  
What care we for that sound

A living gale is after us
  
Thank God we’re homeward bound

CH

How soft the breeze through the island trees
  
Now the ice is far astern

Them native maids, them tropical glades
  
Is awaiting our return

Even now their big, round eyes look out
  
Hoping some fine thing to see

Our baggy sails running ‘fore the gales
  
Rolling down to Old Maui

CH

Whoa Back Buck


h1 August 1st, 2010

I learned “Whoa Back Buck” from Bob Gibson. Lead Belly also did a version of this song. It has a lot of nonsense verses that are interchangeable with those of other folk songs.

Lyrics:
(chorus)
[E] Whoa back Buck gee by the [D] lamb,
[E] Who made the back band [B7] whoa [E] Cunningham.

[E] 18, 19, 20 years [D] ago,
[E] Took my gal to the country [B7] store,
[E] Took my gal to the country [D] store,
[E] Buy m’ pretty little gal [B7] little [E] calico.

Me and my gal walkin’ down the road,
Her knees knock together playin’ Sugar In The Gourd,
Sugar in the gourd and the gourd in the ground,
If you want a little sugar got to roll the gourd around.

Eastbound train on the westbound track
Westbound train on the eastbound track
Both those trains were running fine
But what a terrible way to run a railroad line!

18, 19, 20 years ago,
Took my gal to the country store,
Took my gal to the country store,
Buy m’ pretty little gal little calico.

Me and my gal walkin’ down the road,
Her knees knock together playin’ Sugar In The Gourd,
Sugar in the gourd and the gourd in the ground,
If you want a little sugar got to roll the gourd around.