ABOUT THE IRISH BALLADEERS…
The Irish Balladeers comprise the three Rogers brothers, Chuck, Bob and John and their brother-in-law Ted Andrews. Accompanying them on the accordion is their father Charles, Sr., and on banjo and guitar Eddie Lennihan popular Scranton musician.
Born into both an Irish and mining family it was only natural that they grew up on a diet of Irish songs and music, as well as the folk songs of the mining area. One of the first songs Chuck remembers singing as a boy was Kevin Barry. As youngsters they had done most things together, as brothers often do, and singing was one of them. With their father playing the Irish style accordion it was a happy musical household. When Bob got out of the Navy, he came home with a guitar, and with Chuck playing the harmonica and John on tambourine, away they went. When Ted Andrews joined the family, it was only natural that he follow suit. The boys enjoyed it immensely with no thought of joining the professional ranks. But one thing led to another and they found that the songs and their style were well received. Engagements came one after the other and they found themselves in show business.
A friend brought the boys to our attention and they submitted an audition tape. We were very impressed. About this time, much publicity was being given to the saga of The Molly Maguires and Chuck felt a recording of the songs of those times would be welcomed. This recording is the result of all our endeavors. We enjoyed doing it and we know you'll enjoy listening to it.
ABOUT THE SONGS…
SONS OF MOLLY
This is a song in memory of three Molly Maguires, Mickey Doyle, Edward Kelly and Alex Campbell. They died by hanging on June 21st, 1877 at Mauch Chunk (recently renamed Jim Thorpe), together with another Molly Maguire. On that same day six more Molly Maguires were to suffer the same fate at Pottsville. For years thereafter, the day was called Black Thursday, ten men in all having been executed.
WHEN THE BREAKERS GO BACK ON FULL TIME
This song is still very popular in the mining area. It was written by one Con Carbon, born into a mining family in Hazleton. He had a sweet tenor voice and exceptional Irish wit. The breaker is where the slate is separated from the coal and many a miner's young son started to work there at the age of seven. Of course, the luxuries listed in the song represent only wishful thinking, for even when the breakers were on full time these were beyond the reach of the average worker. It did, however, express a hope for the future.
THE BLACK LEG MINER
The name applied to the strike breakers. Ironically, the Pinkerton Detectives throughout their early history were employed as strike breakers not only in the coal fields but in other industries as well.
A song in the lighter vein, on the order of Mick McGilligan's Daughter Mary Ann or the six foot four beauty they tried wedding to Patsy McCann.
This song was written by one Daniel Kelly, alias Manus Coll. He called himself a Molly Maguire and was subsequently to become a paid informer. He occupied a cell in Pottsville jail near Thomas Duffy. He composed this song for Duffy and upon release sold it to a reporter for the Shenandoah Herald where it appeared in September 1876. Duffy was found guilty of murder and was hung in Schuylkill County prison courtyard at the age of 25.
DAD'S DINNER PAIL
When Dad went off to the mines in the morning, underneath his arm would be his dinner pail. No matter how bad times were, dad always managed to leave a little something in the pail to bring home as a treat to the children. He was a proud Union man, and the Johnny Mitchell referred to is the famed Union leader.
THE KNOX MINE DISASTER
This was a very recent disaster and is included to show that even a century later with all our modern advancements, nothing has been developed to prevent these terrible mine disasters. In this case greed raised its ugly head. It was winter, snow lay on the ground. The temperatures rose, snow started to melt, but the men in the mines below knew nothing of this. They were instructed to remove a great pillar of coal which supported the roof of the mine holding up the river bed. When it was struck the swollen river came rushing into the mine.
PAT DOLAN or THE SONG OF THE MOLLY MAGUIRES
James McPharlan had a way with an Irish song. It was with this song originating in Ireland that he made his debut among the Molly Maguires singing it with great effect in the barroom of Pat Dormer's Sheridan House in Pottsville one November night in 1873. It came to this country from Ireland where many local versions were to appear but the original version was probably based on the murder of a justice of the peace (an Orangeman) in County Cavan in 1845.
UP WENT O'REILLY
This is a comic song and is a variation of The Start that Casey Got. The original version was written by Bob Quigley an anthracite balladeer and minstrel who later became a famed vaudeville headliner with his brother George. This was before the days of Harry Lauder a Scottish coal miner who was to go from the mines to international acclaim. The song tells of a Wilkes-Barre miner who tired of the hazards of coal mining took what he considered a safe job in a powder mill at Dupont.
The Shoo-Fly was a colliery located between Pottsville and New Philadelphia along the banks of the Little Schuylkill river. It was razed in the nineties. This was written by Felix O'Hare during the depression of the 70's, when the small mine at Valley Furnace was closed. Many of the miners would get jobs at the Shoo-Fly when the Furnace was shut down. But a bad seam had been struck at the Shoo-Fly. The poor people of the area experienced great hardship during this period.
THE TAX MAN AND THE MINER
Also known as The Excise Taxman. It is the story of the tax collector brought down into the mines who thinks he has descended into the regions of Hell with ensuing comic results. McPharlan is reputed to have also sung this song among the Molly Maguires.
A CELEBRATED WORKINGMAN
Known under various titles including Mining in the Barroom and Performing His Manual Labor in the Barroom. This is a satire on the off hour braggert of the coal mines. It was written by famed coal mining minstrel Ed Foley. Foley lived most of his life in the vicinity of Mt. Carmel and with his faithful old fiddle under his arm he would stroll throughout the country side singing his ballads.
THE IRISH EMIGRANT MINER
This is a song typical of the fate of many of the Irish Emigrants. The signs over the doors said no Irish need apply. A pick and a shovel were the tools they could ply. In the cities and in the mines they were given the most menial and lowest paying jobs.
PAT MULLIGAN'S WAKE
We end up our album with a humorous song. The Irish have a great knack of creating comical wake songs such as Tim Finnigan's Wake and Steve O'Donnell's Wake. Well, this is another one to add to the collection. I imagine the fact that the Irish have been able to find humor in all phases of life, from death to English persecution have enabled them to survive lo these many centuries with humour and wit intact.
Notes by ANNE CASHIN © 1968
About The Songs…
Whenever Irish people gather in an atmosphere of congenial conviviality there is sure to develop a song test. If the spirits are flowing the songs will also be sure to include those extolling the virtues or the pitfalls of drinking. In this album The Irish Balladeers present both Irish and Irish-American drinking and humorous songs popular in the pubs of Ireland and the U.S.A. All are traditional favorites with the exception of Flanagan and McGaff which is an original composition by The Balladeers.
If you are looking for a fun album, a good party record, then this recording will surely fill the bill.
ABOUT THE IRISH BALLADEERS…
The Irish Balladeers comprise the Roger brothers: Chuck, who plays mandolin and harmonica; Bob on guitar; John on tambourine - together with brother-in-law Ted Andrews and accomplished Scranton musician and folk singer Eddie Lenihan on guitar and banjo. They are pictured on the front cover with their late father Charles Rogers, Sr., gifted Irish accordion player whose love of Irish music and song was instilled in the boys from their earliest childhood and who was their inspiration and mentor in their rise to national acclaim. He accompanied them in their first Avoca album "The Molly Maguires" and appeared with them on numerous occasions.
It was a great shock to the boys when shortly after the cover picture was taken and before the taping of this album, their father after a short illness, passed away.
The boys had suffered a terrible and inconsolable personal loss. A very close friend of Avoca, John Kenny of Brooklyn, mentioned that he knew a very fine accordionist named Pat Murray, who he thought would fill in for their dad on this recording. Pat, also from a musical family, had a great knowledge of Irish music, songs and dance tunes. He is a past President of the Tom Morrison Club of Brooklyn and is (N.Y.) State Vice-President of the Traditional Irish Musicians Association.
The Balladeers and Pat got together for one days rehearsal and get-together and they hit it off exceptionally well. The result as you can see from this recording is a tribute to the musical talents of a fine Irish accordionist Pat Murray.
ABOUT THE BALLADEERS…
The Irish Balladeers popular singing group from Scranton, Pa. follow-up their two previous hit albums for AVOCA with a selection of Irish Rebel Songs derived in the main from the various eras of some six centuries of Ireland's struggle for a free and united Ireland.
Singing and accompanying themselves they bring to this album new wonderful adaptations of famous and popular Irish Rebel Songs, plus a new original composition of their own The Voices of Ireland, and The Orange, White and Green, written by the writer; as well as a new stirring musical setting of The Bold Black and Tan, a fierce and bitter indictment of England and her infamous Black and Tans.
The Irish Balladeers comprise the three Rogers brothers, Chuck, Bob and John and brother-in-law Ted Andrews. And joining her brothers in a beautiful rendition of The Dying Rebel, their sister and Ted's wife, the lovely Mary Jane Andrews.
With Chuck on harmonica, Bob on guitar and John on tambourine, the group has been augmented for this recording by DON WHITAKER, a very talented Scranton musician, on bass and guitar. Rounding out the musical accompaniment is the Irish accordionist SHEAMUS HENEGHAN.
All together this group has recorded one of the finest albums of Irish patriotic songs and we know you'll agree when you listen to this superb recording.
Notes by Anna M. Cashin
If you're looking for the Irish Balladeers, pick a dark night when the North wind is blowing … sleet and rain about. Up ahead... see that sign swinging above the soft yellow lights. In there … inside it's warm and you're welcome…a snug harbor. After a pint or two you'll feel like a song. Well, there's the Irish Balladeers over there in the corner… instruments up and singing away.
There's Bob and Chuck and John Rogers, Ted Andrews and the newest member of the group Joe Pacini. There's a friend Phil Kocan playing his banjo.  And Mary Jane, Ted's wife whose lovely lilting voice is a pleasant contrast to the rousing style of the Irish Balladeers.
Go on over, pull up a chair, join in. That's the way they like it. Maybe you can't force yourself out into the cold dark night. Then just settle back and listen. You'll hear "The Foggy Dew" that haunting song of the Easter Rebellion. "The Isle of Innisfree" will almost make you feel the pain of exile. A new song "Botany Bay" written by the Balladeers, tells of imprisonment with a twist. "The Kerry Recruit" about a young lad off to the Crimean War. If you close your eyes while listening to this recording, you're in that pub with the Irish Balladeers. All that is missing is the laughter and conversation. And if there is something you want to hear…well they don't mind if they do.
Once upon a time there was a battle fought at Gettysburg and Irishmen fought with the Blue and the Gray.
Once upon a time the brave McDonald fell at Harlaw and men died at Gallipoli.
Once upon a time boats left the harbours of Ireland carrying exiles away to places like Nova Scotia and Australia (where they camped at Lazy Harry's on the road to Gundagai).
And once upon a time we wrote a love song just for you — guess what we called it!
Once upon a time we recorded this album so you could enjoy it now!
The Irish Balladeers
We wish to acknowledge the help of our friends in making this recording — Ed Lenihan on banjo and John Nolan for his fiddle and Bodhrán.
There are no further credits on this album. The line up is that of the originals: Bob, Chuck and John Rogers & Ted Andrews. I believe the fifth member is Joe Pacini.
THE LAST BARNESVILLE WALTZ
A song of longing for something that was, and never will be again.
VOICES OF IRELAND
We felt we had to remake tins song and add some of those names, those voices who have spoken the loudest in Ireland in these troubles
I'LL BE HOME TO YOU
Just goes to show you, love conquers all. Even a world traveler.
Old Irish air, whose orgin reaches into the mist of time.
THE GIRLS OF NEW YORK
Did you ever dance with a New York girl?
There's a little bit of a lot of Charlie in all of us. Don't you think.
NINE FINE IRISHMAN
A true story of triumph. A story-song long overdue. Listen to the words.
DREAMING OF MAGHERY STRAND
A windblown hill in far off Donegal, A stone pile, rubble of a once Irish home. Origins.
NICKEL PLATED RAILROAD
Many are the fabled railroads that are no longer a part of the American scene. The old Nickel Plated to Chicago is one of those.
THE DOORS OF DUBLIN
They stand in silence, but speak of the panorama that is Irish history.
GREEN FIELDS Of SHILOH
A peach orchard in full bloom is a thing of beauty. But in the spring of 1862 in Tennessee, it became a killing field.
MERRILY KISS THE QUAKER/ST. PATRICK'S DAY IN THE MORNING
A spirited version of a tune that dates back to the dark days of Cromwell.
There is a big dancehall in Barnesville, Pa. There was a time, in the warm, golden days of early autumn, the hall would be filled with Irish musicians, dancers, and singers. "Now the old hall is shuttered and bare and only the memories remain."
If you were there, you'll remember. If not — well then — you will have a Barnesville of your own. A special time, a special place. That's what the Irish Jubilee will always be to those who were there, A happy time spent surrounded by friends, of grand singing and dancing.
It will always be that to us.
—The Irish Balladeers
When the Irish Balladeers began playing I was living in County Cork Ireland but I had heard of their first album release, "The Molly Maguires". (Thanks to the late Hugh Connor for introducing them to Avoca records).
When they were introducing innovations to Irish entertainment & other Irish groups i.e. Paddy Noonan, Noel Kingston, Richie O'Shea, the Irish Rovers & Shamus [ sic] Kennedy to N.E. Penn., in their club "The Drops of Brandy", I was living in N.Y. city.
When they appeared on the Mike Douglas show & while they were assisting Frank Guynon with information & introductions which helped Mr. Guynon initiate one of the finest annual Irish festivals at Barnsville, Pa. & subsequently lasted nine years, I was working in N.Y. & learning about my adopted country.
My wife Nora & I, with our two young children, Johnny & Breeda, moved to Scranton a few years ago & found a great deal of Irish activity. This medium restricts mentioning all of the hard workers & leaders who made this possible so out of fear of offending some I'll refrain from naming any. But I think one & all must agree the foundation for this interest originated with this group.
So now I'm proud to introduce this album of ten original numbers by the group that brought you such other original song as "The Sons of Molly" & "Once Upon a Time" — recorded by Dermott Henry & others — & declare it another milestone for the Irish Balladeers & the Irish community at large. This is a great album.
John J. & Nora Cronin