Irish Songs and Dances
(1977)
    
A music that is not only to be listened to or seen as a recapturing of the past but as an expression of the vital needs of our time.

     1 - The Limerick Rake   6.01
     2 - Bonny Boy   3.26
     3 - Rakes of Kildare   3.47
     4 - As I roved out   5.09
     5 - And who are you?   5.08
     6 - The Shepherd's Wife   3.31
     7 - Arthur Mc Bride   4.24
     8 - The Lowlands of Holland   6.26
Keltika, 2000, Gianni Cunich

'...six musician with a full and compact sound...their most significant trait is the effectiveness of the rhythmic section, neither stereotyped nor artificial, and the digital re-mastering has remedied some of the deficiencies of the original recording...'

In assimilating and proposing Irish music our group has chosen a line of action that stems from the current discussion of folk music. If on the one hand it is the actual tendency to remake a traditional piece as it was, on the other hand the folk melodies are adapted to the type of music in vogue to turn them into consumeristic hits. We find in Irish music a perfect field for creativity and for understanding music and rhythmic values. It is largely through Irish music and the forced emigration to America of its people that the white components of jazz came to develop; its rhythms and melodies are accessible today to a greater mass of people living in modern times. We hope there will be a re-valuation of the dance as a free and creative form for a new urban aggregation. The intention of our group is, therefore, to break away from music that is only to be listened to or seen as a recapturing of the past. Our attempt is to express the vital needs of our time in their completeness and up-to-dateness.

Antonio Breschi: piano, accordion, spoons, vocals
Piero Bubbico:drums
Stefano Corsi:mandolin, mandola, mouth organ, 12 strings guitar, banjo
Daniele Craighead: tin whistle, accordion, vocals
Giulia Lorimer: violin, vocals
Pietro Sabatini: electric bass, guitar, vocals


Music and lyrics are traditional.
All arrangements by Whisky Trail
Original cover by G. Tinacci e M.Cassigoli
Recorded in Rozzano (Milano) at Sciascia Sound Studios in May 1997
Re-mastering and Editing in Firenze by Mario Fabiani at Idea Suono Studios, in April 1998
Editions: Fanzines 19991
 
1 The Limerick Rake

This song, a 18th century "street song" has come to us enriched by hundreds of verses, which were added through by the years orally. The rake is a devil-may-care figure, possessed of a cynical view of life, who is often found in street ballads and is a product of a political and social background that created forms of disassociation and detachment from the real problems of life.

I am a young fellow that says he is in bold
In Castletown Connor I am very well known
In Newcastle west I spent many a note
With Kitty and July and Mary
Me father rebuked me for being such a rake
And spending me time in such frolicksome ways
But I ne'er can forget the good nature of Jane
I 'm the greatest old rake of the nation

My parents they reared me to rake and to mow
To plow and to harrow, to reap and to sow
But me heart being to airy to drop it so low
Considers on high speculation
On paper and parchment they taught me to write
Being Irish in grammar they opened me eyes
In multiplication by God I was bright
I'm the greatest old rake in the nation

To quarrel for riches I ne'er was inclined
For the greatest of misers does leave it behind
I'll purchase a cow that will never run dry
And I'll milk her by twisting her horn
John Dernell of Hornell had plenty of gold
And Devin's child treasure is twenty times more
But he's laid on his back between nettles and stones
I'm the greatest old rake in the nation

I chanced for to go to the market of Crown
With a cock in me hat and me pipes in full tune
I am welcome at once and brought up to a room
Where Bacchus is sporting with Venus
There's Peggy and Jane from the town of Browhane
And Biddy from Brough and we're all on a spree
Such a corner of looks as there is about me
I'm the greatest old rake in the nation

There's some say I'm foolish and more say I'm wise
For being fond of women I think is no crime
For the son of King David had ten hundred wives
And his wisdom was highly recorded
I till a good garden and live at me ease
And each woman and child can partake of the same
If there's war in the cabin themselves they can blame
I 'm the greatest old rake in the nation

And now for the future I mean to be wise
I'll send for the women that acted so kind
And I'll marry them all on the morrow by and by
If the clergy agree to the bargain
I'm a-laying on me back and me soul is at peace
Those women will crowd for to cry at me wake
And their sons and their daughters will offer their prayers
To the Lord for the soul of their father
 
2. Bonny Boy

This ballad of uncertain origin, is based on a musical form called "lament", one of the most ancient and characteristic expressions of Irish music. The "lament" was originally sung without the accompaniment of instruments, also because the English used to tax these heavily so as to prevent the Irish people from owning any. The surest news we have of the song dates from the end of the 18th century: at that time it was already known in Ireland though it probably originated in Scotland. The oldest texts treated facts that really happened with time the song came to stand for the social situation in Ireland, which caused marriages of women with men much younger than themselves since all the able-bodied men had emigrated.

The trees they do grow high and the grass it does grow green
And many a day and night have gone since I my love have seen
The winter nights are coming and I must lay alone
For my bonny boy he's young but he's growing

Oh daughter dear daughter don't mind what people say
For he will be a man to you when you are old and gray
For he will be a man to you when I am dead and gone
He is your bonny boy he's young but he's growing

Oh father dear father you have done me great wrong
To marry me to this bonny boy he being so very young
For he is only sixteen years and I am twenty one
He is my bonny boy he 's young but he's growing

Now daughter dear daughter I'll tell you what we'll do
We'll send your boy to college for another year or two
And all around his bonnet we'll tie a ribbon blue
For to tell the ladies all that he is married

Now at the age of sixteen he was a married man
And at the age of seventeen the father of a son
And at the age of eighteen years o'er his grave the grass grew green
Cruel death had put an end to his growing

Now listen to me maidens a warning take from me
Don't ever build a nest on the top of any tree
For the leaves they will all wither and the roots they will decay
And the blushes of your bonny boy will soon fade away
 
3 Rakes of Kildare

This is a rhythmic dance that has no text save for the "doodling", a typical Irish use of the voice, which becomes an instrument.
 
4. As I Roved Out

The Irish famine 1845/47 is the grim background of this melancholy song that deals with two star-crossed lovers who have to leave each other because a piece of land in the terrible reality they live in is more important than true love.

As I roved out on a bright May morning
To view the meadows and flowers gaze
Whom should I spy but my own true lover
As she sat under yon willow tree

I took off my hat and I did salute her
I did salute her most courageously
When she turned around well the tears fell from her
Saying false young man you have deluded me

A diamond ring I own I gave you
A diamond ring to wear on your right hand
But the vows you made love, you went and broke them
And married the lassie that had the land

If I married the lassie that had the land my love
It's that I rue till the day I die
When misfortune falls sure no man can shun it
I was blindfolded I'll ne'er deny

Now at nights when I go to my bed of slumber
The thought of my true love runs in my mind
When I turn around to embrace my darling
Instead of gold sure 'tis brass I find

And I wish the Queen would call home her army
From the West Indies, America and Spain
And every man to his wedded woman
And hopes you and I will meet again
 
5. And who are you?

The brief meeting and sweet adventure of a soldier with a pretty girl is described in this song in terms of beautiful folk poetry; the originality of the tune especially strikes us in dealing with a text so recurrent in popular music.

And who are you me pretty fair maid and who are you me honey?
She answered me quite immodestly well I'm me mother's darling

With me tooray ya fa la diddle da fa la diddle diary oh dairy oh

And will you come into me mother's house and the moon was shining clearly
I'll open the door and I'll let you in and devil the one that hears us

So I went to her house in the middle of the night and the moon was shining clearly
She opened the door and she let me in and the devil the one that hears us

Then she took me horse by the bridle and the bit and she led him to the stable
Saying there's plenty of oats for the soldier's horse eat them if he's able

Then she took me by her lily white hand and she led me to the table
Saying there's plenty of wine for the soldier's boy so drink it if you're able

Then I got up and made the bed and I made it nice and easy
Then I got on and I laid her down saying: "Massy are you able?

And there we lay till the break of day and devil the one that hears us
Then I arose and put on me clothes saying:" Massy I must leave you

And when will you return again and when will we get married?
When broken shells make silver bells we might well get married
 
6. The Shepherd's Wife

We have the first news of this song in the 17th century; it seems to be a Scottish song. The lilting and gay rhythm is enriched by amusing words about the daily life of the times. In the pubs and meeting places where this song was performed, to the encouraging rhythm of the clicking of spoons and the clapping of hands, many verses were extemporaneously added.

The shepherd's wife cries over the lea-come home will ye come home will ye
The shepherd's wife cries over the lea-come home will ye again Jo
What will ye give me for my supper-an I'll come home an I'll come home
What will ye give me for my supper-an I'll come home again Jo
I'll give ye a pan-full plumping porridge-and butter in them, and butter in them
I'll give ye a panfull plumping porridge-an ye'll come home again Jo
Ha ha ho it's nothing that do-I wil'na come home, I can'na come home
Ha ha ho it's nothing that do-I wil'na come home again Jo
I'll give ye a cock well-totlet in the pot-and ye'll come home and ye'll come home
I'll give ye a cock well-totled in the pot-and ye'll come home again Jo
Ha ha ho it's nothing that do-I wil'na come home I can'na come home
Ha ha ho it's nothing that do-I wil'na come home again Jo
I'll give ye a hen well-boiled in the pan-an'ye'll come home and ye'll come home
I'll give ye a hen well-boiled in the pan-and ye'll come home again Jo
A well made bed and a pair of clean sheets-an'ye'll come home an'ye'll come home
A well made bed and a pair of clean sheets-an'ye'll come home again Jo
Ha ha ho that's nothing that do-I wil'na come home I can'na come home
Ha ha ho that's nothing that do-I wil'na come home again Jo
A pair of white legs and a good cogg-wane-an'ye'll come home an'ye'll come home
A pair of white legs and a good cogg-wane-an'ye'll come home again Jo
Ha ha ho that's something that do-I will come home I will come home
Ha ha ho that's something that do-I will come home again Jo
 
7. Arthur McBride

A song without boundaries of time that expresses Irish anti-militarism and their constant refusal of war. The protagonists here have the best over the big English power, which ends by being ridiculed. The words themselves and their rhythmic richness give a sense of freedom that is well in keeping with the text.

I had a first cousin called Arthur McBride
He and I took a stroll down by the sea side
A-seeking good fortune and what might betide
T was just as the day was a-dawning
When after resting we both took a tramp
We met Sergeant Harper and a copper old drunk
Beside the wee drummer who beat up for camp
With his rowdy dow dow in the morning

He says my young fellows if you will enlist
A guinea a-quickly shall have in your fist
Besides a crown to kick up the dust
And drink the King's health in the morning
Had we'd been such fools to take up the advance
The wee bitter morning we had to run chance
Would you think it no scruple to send us to France
Where we would be killed in the morning?

He says my dear fellows if I hear but one word
I instantly now will out with my sword
And into your bodies a strength will afford
So now my gay fellows take warning!
But Arthur and I we tokened the odds
We gave them no chance for to launch out their swords
Our wacking shelelighs came over their heads
And paid them right smart in the morning

As for the wee drummer we rifled his pouch
And we made a football of his rowdy dow dow
And into the ocean to rock and to roll
And part with the flood is returning
As for the old rapier that hung on his side
We flung it as far as we could with the tide
To the devil I pitch you says Arthur McBride
To temper your steel in the morning
 
8. The Lowlands of Holland

The first news we have of this song comes from the second half of the 18th century, though the reference is to the wars fought by England and Holland earlier, for control of the seas. In these wars the Irish were obliged to fight for their English masters. This song which has many versions, has become a symbol of the military exploitation of the Irish by the English

Last night as I was married
And on my marriage bed
Up came a bold sea captain
And stood at my bedside
Arise, arise young married man
And come along with me
To the Lowlands of Holland
To fight the enemy

She held her true love in her arms
Still thinking he might stay
But the captain gave another shout
And he was forced away
Oh it's many a bright young married man
This night must go with me
To the Lowlands of Holland
To fight the enemy

Oh Holland is a wondrous place
And in it grows much green
It's a wild inhabitation
For my true love to be in
There sugar cane grows plentiful
And fruit on every tree
But the Lowlands of Holland
Are between my love and me

But Ireland is a better place
A land of springy turf
And all around McGilligan
Is the thunder of the surf
And I would wish my own true love
In Ireland for to be
But the Lowlands of Holland
Are between my love and me

No shoes nor stockings I put on
Nor comb went in my hair
And neither hole nor candlelight
Shone in my chamber bare
Nor will I wed with any young man
Until the day I die
Since the Lowlands of Holland
Are between my love and me