The Wild Rover

Posted by on Sep 22, 2016 in Lead Sheets | No Comments

This traditional Irish drinking song tells of the return of a gallivanting young man who returns home to settle down and finds that everyone he might have slighted back in the old days when he was a more unscrupulous person is more than willing to forgive him his offenses now that he’s rich. Good thing he had the good sense to earn some money after reforming himself; we all know what would have happened if he had gone back a penniless decent human being.

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The Fields of Athenry

Posted by on Sep 21, 2016 in Lead Sheets | No Comments

A somber ballad by Pete St. John about a man named Michael who was sent off on a prison ship for stealing some corn to feed his children during The Great Hunger. Makes you want to go back in time just to wring Charles Trevelyan’s neck.

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The Bonnie Banks o’ Loch Lomond

Posted by on Sep 20, 2016 in Lead Sheets | No Comments

Finally, a Scottish song! I ran across this version while binging on The Corries and fell in love with it.

There are many theories about the meaning of the song, most of which are connected to the Jacobite Uprising of 1745. One interpretation based on the lyrics is that the song is sung by the lover of a captured Jacobite rebel set to be executed in London following a show trial. The heads of the executed rebels were then set upon pikes and exhibited in all of the towns between London and Edinburgh in a procession along the “high road” (the most important road), while the relatives of the rebels walked back along the “low road” (the ordinary road travelled by peasants and commoners).

Happy, happy, joy, joy!

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Big Strong Man

Posted by on Sep 16, 2016 in Lead Sheets | No Comments

Some might say that the Irish bards are prone to embellishing the tales they tell. If anyone states the contrary, just show them this song.

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I’ll Tell Me Ma

Posted by on Sep 15, 2016 in Lead Sheets | No Comments

Also know as “The Wind” or “The Belle of Belfast City”, this is a popular childrens’ song in Ireland, usually accompanied by a game in which children hold hands forming a circle around another child. At the end of the chorus, when they ask “Please won’t you tell me who they be?”, the one in the center says the initials of another in the group and he or she takes the place at the center of the ring as the rest start the song again.

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Kathleen Mavourneen

Posted by on Sep 14, 2016 in Lead Sheets | No Comments

It’s early morning, a lad is about to set off on a journey that will keep him away from his home and his love Kathleen for years and maybe even forever… and she’s sound asleep, apparently not losing any sleep over his imminent departure. I personally think she’s just fake snoring and waiting for him to finally stop singing and take off once and for all.

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The Irish Rover

Posted by on Sep 13, 2016 in Lead Sheets | No Comments

The Irish Rover is the name of a fabled ship, 27 in masts and with enough storage to a few million hogs, dogs, barrels of porter and, of course, eight million balls of old nanny-goats’ tails. Although enormous in size, it was taken down by a bout of the measels, some fog and a rock. Only the singer survived.

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Home From the Sea

Posted by on Aug 30, 2016 in Lead Sheets | No Comments

A dramatic story of what seems to be a doomed ocean rescue. It also makes a fine sing-along – I found myself singing this on and off during the boatride out to Skellig Michael. I’m still here, so it seemed to have worked.

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Home From the Sea

The Gypsy Rover

Posted by on Aug 29, 2016 in Lead Sheets | No Comments

A tale about a young girl who runs off with her gypsy lover. Her father pursues the two only to find he is “Lord of these lands all over”. Lucky lady.

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The Gypsy Rover

Goodbye Mrs. Durkin

Posted by on Aug 28, 2016 in Lead Sheets | No Comments

Another song about Irish emigrating to the United States, but a bit more on the livelier side than Danny Boy. Originally called Mursheen Durkin, but this is based in the Irish Rovers’ version of the song called Goodbye Mrs. Durkin. The melody is taken from a popular 19th century reel, “Cailíní deasa Mhuigheo”, which means “Pretty Girls of Mayo”.

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Goodbye Mrs Durkin

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