And the man who doesn't like me,
Can leave his daughter at home,
And young Johnnie will go roving with another.
"The Banks of the Roses" ... a rollicking carefree song, speaks for itself of a young man who cared as much for his bottle as he did for the love of a fair maid. This song came from the County Limerick.
Not far from the area of the Comeragh Mountains lies the town of Clonmel. Even in the days of Cromwell, Clonmel proved to be a town of great resistance. In later years a British stronghold, famous for its trials, and of course the jails were always full, therefore the existence of "The Jail of Clonmel."
Great fun can be got out of singing question and answer songs. "Soldier, Soldier," is only one of several that exist in Ireland. I'm sure there are versions of this song in many countries.
Oh, Willie Grotty didn't I often tell you,
That David Morris would surely sell you.
That he'd come round you while you were sleeping,
You left me here alone achone and weeping.
Willie Grotty like Willie Brennan was a highwayman, except that Grotty was more local and would often frequent the fairs at Carrick-on-Suir on the borders of County Waterford, where he lived in a cave on the Comeragh Mountains. Here he had access to the main road from Carrick-on-Suir to Dungarvan where he would rob the coaches when they passed by. Grotty was eventually betrayed by his friend David Norris, and hanged in Waterford City. This ballad is from the Irish caoine by his widow.
A sly comment on the continual battle of sexes is "The Woman from Wexford," another song heard at a "Fleadh Coel" in Dungarvan, County Waterford.
Fleadh Coel na hEireann (Festival of Irish Music), is held on various weekends in the summertime throughout Ireland. It was at one of these festivals in Milltown Malby. County Clare, in Queally's Pub (where most of the singers gather), that I heard Seán McDonough singing "The Bonny Boy."
"Me Grandfather Died," is a family song, my mother usually sings it, she couldn't remember all of it at first, but later patched it together with some of her own lines.
"I Know Where I'm Going" … comes from the County Antrim and is well known by now.
"I'll Tell My Ma" … can be heard sung by children in most Irish towns and cities. It is used for singing games, like skipping, or bouncing a ball to the rhythm of the song.
"Maderine Rue" (The Little Red Fox), is a translate; children's song; is also considered to be symbolic of the period when Ireland had to be referred to in songs by various other name?. In this song it is the case of England being the "Fox," devouring Ireland the "Goose." Translated by Peg.
But when he came to Moscow,
He was over-powered by the sleet and snow;
And with Moscow all a-blazing,
He lost the "Bonny Bunch of Roses O."
One of the few ballads concerning Napoleon and his dream of conquering the "Bonny Bunch of Roses-O," his poetic name for England, Ireland and Scotland.
"The Cobbler," requires the actions to be done with it to give it the full impact. It is a song of great spirit and humor. Collected from Tommy Makem, Keady, County Armagh.
"I'll sell you a straw according to the law,
And I'll give you a present of a ballad."
This my mother explained to me was the way the ballad sheets were sold in her younger days, in stalls on the main street and on fair days.
Ruling the country at the time, England passed a law banning the sale of ballads in Ireland, therefore these ballad sheets were given away free with a piece of straw a few inches long, for this straw you paid the penny. Thank God the times are changed and we can all relax and sing to our hearts' content.
And the ballad sheets can now be bought in any part of Ireland and the singers can be heard at the fairs in the streets and of course in the pubs. It was in a pub in Inistogue, County Kilkenny, I first heard Ned Brennan singing "Bungle Rye." Ned told me at the time that he had only two songs, "Bungle Rye" and "Lillie Marleine."
A fast and cruel version of the "Loney-O" was recently banned by Radio Eireann. In this slow rendition we have cut out the cruel verses.
"She Didn't Dance," is a well known children's song and can be heard probably anywhere in Ireland.
Love and porter make young men older,
Love and whiskey make them old and gray … .
Death is associated with most Irish drinking songs, but not in this case.
For what cannot be cured love must be endured love. And so we're bound for America.
Collected from singer Dolly McMahon, Dublin.
Bobby and Peg are fast becoming as well known in Ireland as are their brothers, Paddy, Tom and Liam Clancy in this country.
Peg, the youngest girl in the Clancy family, is married to Tom Power, and they have three boys, Kevin, Bobby and Owen. Their house in Carrick-on-Suir, County Tipperary, is high on a bank overlooking the Suir River beneath the foothills of the Commeragh Mountains. Tom works in the office of the local tannery, and he and Peg spend many evenings singing with the family or talking about plays and songs.
Peg has taken leading parts in many of the local dramatic club plays and in 1961 received the award at the Cork Drama Festival. She has recorded for Radio Eireann and the B.B.C., and can be heard on the Tradition records — "The Lark in the Morning" and "So Early in the Morning."
Bobby has worked and roamed in many parts of the world including Greece, Italy, Canada, and the United Slates, He has now settled down among the family in Carrick-on-Suir where he runs the insurance business started by his father. In his spare time he is off about the countryside collecting traditional songs and joining the Fleadhs Coel (song and music festivals). Because of his persuasive ways and relaxed attitude, he can get anyone to sing with him.
Bobby has recorded for Radio Eireann and the B.B.C., and he also sings on the Tradition record — "So Early in the Morning."
Both Peg and Bobby sing with a sense of ease and rhythm rarely to be found. They have been brought up m the midst of a singing family. The countryside around them and the schools in which they were taught all helped to give them a rich background from which to draw a variety of songs. They are equally well able to sing traditionally (unaccompanied) or to harmonize to Bobby's guitar. The arrangements on this record are their own improvisations.