Irish Songs
(1975)
    
Songs of love and battle follow the Whisky track that leads the Irish immigrant to America passing from a pub athmosphere to an authentic lyrical expression.

     1 - Rosin the Beau   3.36
     2 - The Moonshiner   3.02
     3 - When I was single   3.15
     4 - Lollytoodam   3.10
     5 - Dance on the Green   2.58
     6 - The rising of the moon   3.42
     7 - The Apprentice   3.00
     8 - Simple Way   2.16
     9 - Greensleeves   3.18
     10 - Early one Morning   1.57
     11 - Simplicity   2.05
     12 - The Praties   1.40
     13 - The Lowlands of Holland   1.40
     14 - The Patriot Game   4.32
Paese Sera, Alberto Bertini, 1976

'...the record has the merit of presenting a group that has adopted arrangements and instrumentations able to get near to our sensibility and to the pleasure we get from listening to the pieces being presented.'

Why Ireland

There is one aspect of Irish experience which interests us in a particular way, it is that of emigration. From a musical point of view it isn't so much the phenomenon of emigration in itself that has stimulated us, but rather the effect brought about by the arrival of Irish music on the American scene. Without wishing to discredit in any way the contribution of other cultures, we may well say that the Irish musical tradition has played a most important role not only in the development of many forms of American folk music, but also, in its encounter with the black culture.
Our intent is not, however, to present a philological exposition of texts and tunes in the Irish tradition, nor to erect a museum to the 'folk song' though of course we have tried to keep to the basic spirit of this music, without betraying its nature. We wish simply to refresh and stimulate our creativity and that of those who listen to a music whose roots lie deep in the fundamental values of a people matured through struggle and hardships.


Antonio Breschi: dulcimer, piano, vocals
Piero Bubbico: drums
Stefano Corsi: 12 string guitar, vocals
Daniel Craighead: tin whistle, accordion, vocals
Pietro Crivelli: guitar, double- bass, mandolin, harmonica
Giulia Lorimer: vocals
Rebecca Miller: vocals

Special thanks to Staff van de Weelthoven for his written introduction and spoons in Rosin the Beau and The Apprentice

All titles are traditional except 5-8 by A.Breschi and 14 by Dominic Behan

Original cover photo by A.Coppitz

Recorded and mixed in Rozzano (Milano) at Sciascia Sound Studios, in September 1975.
Re-mastering and editing in Firenze by Mario Fabiani at Idea Suono Studios, in April 1998.
Editions: Fanzines 1999
 
1. Rosin the Beau

A very popular tune, which has been sung to various texts: "The Robber", "Wrap me in my Tarpaulin"," Wrap me in my old stable jacket". It is mentioned in Barrett's "English folk songs (1891) and Williams "Folk songs of the upper Thames" (1923). In Ireland it has been used as the tune for "Eoghan Choir", a satire written in Gaelic by a certain Barrett of Co. Mayo, around 1800. In the 1920's it was used as the tune for an IRA ballad "The boys of Kilmichael", celebrating a successful ambush at Kilmichael in the County Cork. "Rosin the Beau" may derive from "to rosin the bow", as done by fiddlers, as an euphemism, like "to paint the town red" for excessive drinking.

I travel this wide world all over
And now to another I'll go
For I know that the quarters are waiting
To welcome the Rosin the Beau

To welcome the Rosin the Beau
To welcome the Rosin the Beau
For I know that the quarters are waiting
To welcome the Rosin the Beau

When I am dead and laid out on the counter
A voice it will shout from below
Come and bring down a barrel of whiskey
Let's drink to the Rosin the Beau

And when I am gone I can tell you
That the ladies will all want to know
And they'll lift up the lid of me coffin
For a last look at Rosin the Beau

So get me two barrels of porter
There's one at me head and me toe
And cover the lid of me coffin
For a last look at Rosin the Beau

I see that old tyrant approaching
A cruel and remorseless old soul
And take a glass in his honor
Come and drink with the Rosin the Beau
 
2. The Moonshiner

Moonshine is a kind of homemade whiskey and moonshiner is someone who makes whiskey by himself. So in this song there isn't only the lightheartedness of a rambler, but also the spirit of rebellion of the Irish toward England who had the monopoly on whiskey and exploited in this way Irish people forcing them to pay heavy taxes. The song which was born probably in America among Irish immigrants, returned then to Ireland and has become part of the Irish popular tradition.

I've been a moonshiner for many a year
I spent all my money on whiskey and beer
I'll go to some hollow and set up me still
And I'll make you a gallon for a ten shilling bill.

I'm a rambler I'm a gambler I'm a long way from home
And if you don't like me please leave me alone
I'll eat when I'm hungry and drink when I'm dry
And if moonshine won't kill me I'll live till I die

I'll go to some hollow in this country
Ten gallons of wash and I'll go on a spree
No woman to follow the world is all mine
And I love none so well as I love the moonshine

Oh moonshine oh moonshine oh how I love thee
You killed my poor father but dare you try me
Bless all moonshiners and bless all moonshine
For its breath smells as sweet as the dew on the vine

 
3. When I was single

This song deals ironically with the woman, who, having gotten a husband, has to bear with him. One must realize that the Scots-Irish, try to make a joke in a satirical out of any difficult and even dramatic situation, turning the situation into a farce and drinking a glass of whiskey. The tune has been used to many different words; we can find it in Ireland, later in Australia and in America where it becomes "Sweet Betsy from Pike". The version sung here is one of the most ancient and probably of Scottish origin. The style of singing which permits the participation of all and which is particularly noisy is called in Ireland "sing ye all".

When I was single I had a black shawl
Now that I'm married I've nothing at all
Still I love him I forgive him
I'll go with him wherever he goes

I love an apple and I love a pear
I love a sailor with dark, curly hair
Still I love him...

He gave me a handkerchief red white and blue
But before I could wear it he tore it in two
Still I love him...

He came down our entry and whistled me out
But the tail of his shirt from his trousers hung out
Still I love him...

He took me to an alehouse and bought me some stout
But before I could drink it he ordered me out
Still I love him...

There is cake in the oven and bread on the shelf
If you want anymore you can sing it yourself
Still I love him...
 
4. Lollytoodam

It is not known weather this song originated in Ireland. Alan Lomax includes it in his American book of folk songs, where he connects it with the Southern Apalachians. His somewhat different 5th strophe is of interest:"There's lawyers and doctors and boys from the plow.. Oh, Lordy massy mammy the fit comes on me now' "The fit comes on me now" is a typical example of an Anglo- Irish mixture of English vocabulary with Gaelic syntax, which may confirm an Irish connection.

As I went out one morning to fetch the pleasant air
Lollytoodam toodam lollytoodam day
As I went out one morning to fetch the pleasant air
I spied an old mother a-scolding her daughter fair
Lolly...
Oh get to do them dishes and hush that flattering tongue
Lolly...
You say you want to get married and you're far to young
Lollytoodam...
Oh pity my condition as if it were your own
Lollytoodam...
For fourteen long years I've been living all alone
Lolly ..
Supposing you should marry, where would you get your man
Lolly..
Lordy massy mammy I'd marry me handsome Sam
Lolly...
Supposing he should spite you like you've done him before
Lolly...
Lordy massy mammy I'd marry me fourteen more
Lolly...
There's tinkers and there's tailors and boys from the plow
Lolly...
Lordy massy mammy, I'm getting that feeling now
Lolly...
And now my daughter's married, and well for to do
Lolly...
Gather round young fellers, I'm on the market too
Lolly...
 
5. Dance on the Green instrumental
 
6. The rising of the moon

This song relates to the Fenian movement in the1860's. Even though the uprising planned for 1867 by the Irish Repubblican Brotherhood was abortive, their enemies realized their potential. "Hell is not hot enough, nor Eternity long enough, to punish the Fenians" and it can be said that they left behind the political time bomb that exploded in 1916. Concerned mainly with physical force they left little impact on the literature of their time, but inspired a few good rousing patriotic songs. One of them is "The rising of the moon", written by John Keegan Casey. The melody belongs to a previous period: it originated as "The wearing of the green" in connection with the insurrections of 1798 and 1803.

Oh then tell me Sean O'Farrell
Tell me why you hurry so
Hush Buachail hush and listen
And his cheeks were all aglow

I have orders from the captain
Get you ready quick and soon
For the pikes must be together
By the rising of the moon

By the rising of the moon by the rising of the moon
For the pikes must be together by the rising of the moon

Oh then tell me Sean O'Farrell
Where the gathering is to be
In the old spot by the river
Rightly known to you and me

One more word for signal token
Whistle up the marching tune
And a pike upon your shoulder
By the rising of the moon

Out of many a mud hut cabin
Eyes were watching through the night
Many hearts were strongly beating
Waiting for the morning light

Murmurs were along the valley
Like the banshee lonely croon
And a thousand pikes were flashing
By the rising of the moon

There beside that singing river
That dark mass of men was seen
For above their shining weapons
Hang their own beloved dreams

Death to every foe and traitor
Forward straight the marching tune
And our army fights for freedom
By the rising of the moon
 
7. The Apprentice

This song is thought to be Irish, but its origin and reference to the forced emigration of the Irish is not certain. There was a regular practice of apprentices, mainly silk weavers and tailors, between Dublin and London in the 17th century.

When I was apprentice in London I went to see my dear
The candle light was glowing the moon was bright and clear
I knocked upon her window to ease her of her pain
She rose to let me in then she barred the door again

Your father and your mother, in yonder room they lie
A holding one another so why can't you and I?
A holding one another without a fear or doubt
So roll me in your arms love and blow the candle out

And if I prove successful please name it after me
And hug it neat and keep it sweet and dandle it on your knee
When my three years are over my time I shall redoubt
And I will double my indebtness by blowing the candle out

 
8. Simple Way

For many a night just alone I must stay
I sing to you in a simple way
For that I pray to try again
In a simple way

Together we will begin a new life
Together we we can go and arise
For that I pray to try again
In a simple way

This simple song just to say I am wrong
These simple words just to cry you my love
For that I pray to try again
In a simple way
 
9. Greensleeves

These three songs(9-10-11) are a clear example of how, in the past, there was not yet a barrier between cultured music and folk music. The difference came later. "Greensleves" is a song probably born at court (its origins are not exactly known) and tells about the love of a knight for his courtesan. It appears for the first time in 1726 in Dublin, and since then has become part of the popular Irish tradition. "Early one morning" on the other hand, is a love scene with a setting of clear, limpid spontaneity, also of uncertain origins. "Simplicity" lastly, is a hymn to simplicity, a simplicity so deep as to be almost universal; one notices a learned and classical spirit, and yet with a great affinity to the sincerity of folk expression.

9 Greensleeves

Alas my love you will do me wrong
If you cast me off so discourteously
And I have loved you so very long
And delighting in your winning company
Greensleeves you were all my joy
And you know Greensleeves you were my delight
Greensleeves you are my heart of gold
No one else but my dear Lady Greensleeves.
I have been ready and at your hand
For to grant whatever your heart would crave
And I have waged both my life and land
Your dear love and your goodwill to hold and have.
I bought thee kerchiefs to don thy head
That were wrought so fine and so gallantly
I kept thee well both at board and bed
Which did cost my own purse so well favoredly.
I bought thee petticoats of the best
With a cloth so fine and soft as might be
I gave thee jewels for thine own chest
And yet all of this cost I did spend on thee.
Well I will pray to our God on high
So that thou my constancy mayest see
And that yet one more before I die
Thou so surely wilt vouchsafe to love me
And now Greensleeves farewell, adieu
For to God I pray him to prosper thee
For I am still thy lover true
Come to me once again and do love me.
 
10. Early one Morning

Early one morning just as the sun was rising
I heard a maiden singing in the valley below.
Oh don't deceive me, oh never leave me
How could you treat a poor maiden so?
O gay is the garland and fresh are the roses
I've culled from the garden to bind on thy brow
Oh don't deceive me...
Thus sang the maiden her sorrow bewailing
Thus sang the maiden in the valley below
Oh don't deceive me ecc..
 
11. Early one Morning

'Tis a gift to be simple 'tis a gift to be free
'Tis a gift to come down to where we ought to be
And when we are in the place just right
We'll be in the valley of love and delight
When true simplicity is gained
To bow and bend we will not be ashamed
To turn to turn will be a delight
When by turning turning, we come 'round right
 
12. The Praties

Also referred to as "The famine song". In 1846 the potato crop failed; famine spread over Ireland and the population was reduced practically in half. "Praties" is an Anglicization of the gaelic word for potatoes, "pr?tai".

Oh! the praties they grow small over here over here
Yes the praties they grow small over here
Oh the praties they grow small
And we dig them in the fall
And we eat them skins and all over here over here

Oh I wish that we were geese night and morn night and morn
Yes I wish that we were geese night and morn
Oh I wish that we were geese
And could live our life in peace
Till the hour of our release eating corn eating corn

Now we are down into the dust over here over here
Yes we are down into the dust over here
Now we are down into the dust
But the Lord in whom we trust
Will repay us crumb for crust over here over here
 
13. I paesi bassi d'Olanda (solo whistle)

The deliberate colonialization of Ireland and especially the Cromwellian plantations, dispossessed most of the Irish nobility. Their descendants can still be found roaming the roads of Ireland as "tinkers" or "travelling people". Others went abroad and joined whichever army was fighting the English on the European continent, together with Irish commoners who preferred service abroad rather than live a miserable slave- existence under the penal laws in Ireland.
The fierce anger of these Irish brigades quite often decided the battle, as at Ramillies (1706) where Lord Clare Dragoons (their feat is celebrated in a beautiful Irish ballad "Clare's Dragoons", after the French forces had been practically defeated by the English, made such a fierce charge that the English were routed and ultimately defeated. The later king of England, George, must have said on hearing the news:" May God curse the laws that lost me such citizens!" The fate of those Irish emigrants, commonly known as "Wild Geese", features prominently in Irish balladry, as in "The Lowlands of Holland"
 
14. The Patriot Game

Come all ye young rebels and list while I sing
For love of one's land is a terrible thing
It banishes fear with the speed of a flame
And it makes us all part of the patriot game

My name is O'Hanlon and I am gone just sixteen
My home is in Monaghan and there I was weaned
I was taught all my life cruel England to blame
And so I am a part of the patriot game

'Tis barely two years since I wandered away
With the local battalion of the bold IRA
I read of our heroes and wanted the same
To play up my part in the patriot game

They told me how Connolly was shot in the chair
His wounds from the battle all bleeding and bare
His fine body twisted all battered and lame
They soon made me part of the patriot game

This Ireland of mine has for long been half free
Six counties are under John Bull's tyranny
And still de Valera is greatly to blame
For shirking his part in the patriot game

I don't mind a bit if I shoot down police
They're lackeys of war never guardians of peace
But yet at deserters I never laid aim
Those rebels who sold out the patriot game

And now as I lie with my body all holes
I think of those traitors who bargained and sold
I am sorry my rifle has not done the same
For the "Quizzlings" who sold out the patriot game