The Irish Rovers   •   50 Years

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  • 50 Years
    • 2014 - Rover Records CD [x3] (CAN)
  • CD One
    1. Come In (Adapt. Will Millar)
    2. Mick Maguire (James MacCafferty)
    3. Wind that Shakes the Corn (Adapt. Will Millar)
    4. My Old Man's a Dustman (Beverley Thorn, Lonnie Donegan, Peter Buchanan)
    5. Black Velvet Band
    6. The Orange and the Green (A. Murphy)
    7. The Bog in the Valley (Adapt. Will Millar)
    8. Kellswater (Trad. Arr. & Adapt. W. & G. Millar)
    9. The Bonny Lady (B. Macintosh)
    10. Jigs (Trad. Arr. W. McDowell & M. Crumb)
      1. Sweet Biddy Daly
      2. Tatter Jack Walsh
      3. The Rakes of Kildare
      4. The Rambling Pitchfork
    11. Star Of The Co. Down (Trad. Arr. & Adapt. G. Millar)
    12. Finnegan's Wake (Trad.)
    13. Wild Rover (Trad. Arr. Adapt. G. Millar)
    14. Killiburn Brae (Trad. Arr. & Adapt. W. & G. Millar, W. McDowell)
    15. Little Brigid Flynn (Percy French, Trad. Arr. George Millar)
    16. Brady Of Strabane (Trad. Arr. & Adapt. George Millar & Wilcil McDowell)
    17. Music in The Glen (Trad. Arr. & Adapt. W. McDowell)
      1. Sweet Biddy Daly
      2. The Carraroe Jig
      3. Charlie Mulivihill's Ree
      4. Music in the Glen
    18. The Barleymow (Trad. Arr. & Adapt. G. Millar)
    19. Paddy on the Turnpike (Will Millar, George Millar & Wicil McDowell)
    20. Wasn't That a Party (Tom Paxton)
    21. I'll Tell Me Ma (Trad. Adapt. George Millar)
    22. The Biplane, Evermore (Martin Cooper)
    23. Puff the Magic Dragon (P. Yarrow, L. Lipton)
    24. Marvelous Toy (Tom Paxton)
    25. Morningtown Ride (Malvina Reynolds)
    26. Yes I Can (George Millar)
    27. The Unicorn (Shel Siverstein)
  • CD Two
    1. Boys of Belfast (George Millar)
    2. Bonnie Dundee (Trad. Arr. Adapt. W. Hood)
    3. The Shores of Botany Bay (Trad. Arr. George Millar)
    4. Rolling Home To Ireland (G. Millar)
    5. Reels (Trad.)
      1. Tie the Bonnet
      2. Scotch Mary
      3. The Mountain Road
      4. Maud Miller's 5 Tulla Reel
    6. Down By The Lagan Side (T. Sands)
    7. The Overlanders
    8. The Rake (Trad. Arr. & Adapt. G. Millar)
    9. Jigs (Live in Concert):
      1. Willie Hunter's Jig
      2. The Maid on the Green
      3. The Boys of Tandragee
      4. Denis Murphy's Polka
    10. Dan O'Hara
    11. The Bold O'Donahue (Arr. & Adapt. George Millar & Wilcil McDowell)
    12. A Long Time Ago (George Millar)
    13. The Wild Colonial Boy (Arr. & Adapt. George Millar)
    14. New York Girls (Arr. & Adapt. George Millar & Wilcil McDowell)
    15. Dunluce Castle (George Millar)
    16. The Little Skillet Pot (Arr. & Adapt. George Millar & Seán O 'Driscoll)
    17. Up Among The Heather (Trad. Arr. & Adapt. George Millar & Wilcil McDowell)
    18. Rambling Boys of Pleasure (George Millar)
    19. Boolevogue (Trad. Arr. & Adapt. George Millar & Wilcil McDowell)
    20. Rory Murphy (Trad. Arr. & Adapt. George Millar)
    21. Johnny I Hardly Knew Ye
    22. Reels (Live in Concert):
      1. Pidgeon on the Gate
      2. The Plough and the Stars
      3. The Reconcilliation
    23. Girls of Derry (George Millar)
    24. Dark Island (I. McLachlan)
  • CD Three
    1. Irish Rover
    2. Ireland Boys Hurrah (T. D. Sullivan A. & A. by George Millar)
    3. Patsy Fagan
    4. Gracehill Fair (George Millar)
    5. Rare Ould Mountain Dew
    6. Whistling Gypsy
    7. Lily the Pink
    8. Pheasant Plucker's Son (John B. Taylor, Adapt. George Millar)
    9. Lewis Bridal Song/Mairi's Wedding
    10. She Took Me by the Hand
    11. Whisky in the Jar (Trad. Arr. Adapt. George Millar)
    12. Dear Little Shamrock Shore (George Millar)
    13. Reels (Arr. Wilcil McDowell)
      1. The Clare Reel
      2. The Dawn Reel
    14. Her Wonderful Ass (George Millar)
    15. The Titanic (George Millar)
    16. Come Away with Me (George Millar)
    17. What Would You Do (Trad. Arr. Adapt. George Millar & Wicil McDowell)
    18. Whores and Hounds (George Millar)
    19. Raise a Glass to St. Patrick (C.J. Magee & C. Pettigrew)
    20. The Hermit (George Millar)
    21. Drunken Sailor (Arr. & Adapt. George Millar, Wilcil McDowell)
    22. Rovers' Farewell (George Millar)

  • The Irish Rovers
    • George Millar Guitar & Vocals
    • Wilcil McDowell Accordion
    • Seán O'Driscoll Banjo, Bouzouki & Mandolin
    • Ian Millar Bass, Guitar & Vocals
    • Fred Graham Bodhran, Bones, Drums & Percussion
    • Morris Crum Keyboards and Vocals
    • Geoffrey Kelly Whistle, Flute & Vocals
  • Guest Musicians
    • Patrick Davey Uilleann Pipes, Flute & Whistle
    • Gerry O'Connor Fiddle
    • Billy Antrim Lambeg & Heavy Drums
    • Perry Dickison Piano
    • Camille Miller & Tina Jones Background Singers
  • Credits
    • Produced by George Millar For Rover Records
    • Engineered & Mastered by Rick Salt
    • Mixed by George Millar & Rick Salt
    • Recorded at Lois Lane Studios, Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada & Wilcil Mcdowell Studio, Larne, Northern Ireland
    • All Celtic Art & New Photographs by Hamish Douglas Burgess (Mauiceltic.Com)
    • Album Design & Layout by Jennifer Fahrni
    • Word Processing by Amy Millar
    • Thanks To Universal Music for The Use of Our Early Tracks (1-7)

Sleeve Notes

50 Years a-Rovin'

As of this writing, the Irish Rovers have been travelling the world for close to fifty years and in fact, January 1st of 2015 will be our official 50th Anniversary. Different members have passed through our ranks over the years and all will be represented in this anthology.

The original Irish Rovers formed in Toronto Canada in 1963, shortly after we had all emigrated from Ireland. I met Jimmy Ferguson at an Irish charity concert where we were asked to sing a song together to fill in for an ailing (read drunk) singer. As luck would have it, we both knew the words of the song the Irish rover so that's what we sang — ergo our name — clever what?. We were asked to sing again at the next concert the following week, (no we didn't spike the singer's tea) and so began the frantic efforts to learn more songs together. During the next few months, my cousin Joe immigrated to Canada, and as he stepped off the plane I told him he was in a band.

He had little choice but to accept as he had nowhere else to stay and knew no one in Toronto but us. He thought I was talking about an accordion marching band, so was quite surprised when he found out it was just the three of us. As well as having a great voice, Joe played button-key accordion and harmonica, which added greatly to the young Rover sound. Soon after, Jimmy and I ventured out west to Alberta where my brother Will was performing. His friend, David Wiffen, ran a folk club in Calgary called "The Depression" and kindly booked us in. Will joined us on stage and a new dimension materialized. We were enjoying the new sound with Will on banjo and tin whistle, and immediately sent for cousin Joe to come and join us. He was a bit reluctant to leave as his young family had just arrived from Ireland and he had recently started a "real" job. Luckily for us he came to his senses and decided he'd give it a try. Actually we threatened him with deportation saying we would have to phone the immigration office and tell them that he didn't have the proper papers to be working in this country. He had a few choice words for us that would have made an Irish sailor blush, but he was on the plane the next day to Calgary, and the Irish Rovers were ready to rove.

Wilcil McDowell, in the meantime, was winning the All-Ireland accordion championship in Mullingar, and doing his own roving around Ireland with his ceilidh band. We coaxed him away, and the line-up was complete.

Through the years we've been joined by some very fine musicians and singers in Bob O'Donovan, Wallace Hood, Kevin McKeown, Paul Lawton and John Reynolds. All were greatly appreciated, and all remain good friends. Seán O'Driscoll, a multi-instrumentalist from Cork, has been with us for over 20 years and remains an integral part of us today. Cousin Joe has retired and his son, Ian Millar, has taken his place and become a very important part of the band. Nowadays we're rounded out by Fred Graham from Belfast on drums and bodhran, Morris Crum from Larne, Northern Ireland on keyboards and Geoffrey Kelly on flute and whistles from Dumfries Scotland. Oh, and if you're interested in a more detailed account of the band, refer to the cover of this CD. The piece is called "The Life of the Rover" and contains nearly 40 references to our history! It was painted by Hamish Douglas Burgess, an extremely talented Celtic artist, who created the piece in the style of the Book of Kells, and who also hosts a Celtic radio show from Maui. Read on for a few clues about the piece later in this booklet. Enough about us, on to the music!

We've sung thousands of songs over the years and trying to choose which ones should be included here was about as easy as teaching a chimp how to do an Irish jig, oh wait, they've done that! Oh well … anyway dear fans, here are some early recordings, some children's songs, some from the middle and later years and some new ones, just written. These songs are from us to you, with the deepest heartfelt gratitude for your unfailing support of us all these years. Thank you and please enjoy.

George Millar — December, 2013

Cover Artwork: "The Life of The Rover" by Hamish Douglas Burgess (© 2013).
Created in the style of the 'Book of Kells' (c. 800 ad), combined with a modern twist (Celtic art pun intended) to tell the band's story, from their origins in ireland, through forming the band in canada, with significant songs in their career, and up to the present day. Within the piece there are 26 historical references, and 11 song references. To find out exactly what, and more details on the art, please visit mauiceltic.Com. It is available as an art poster from the irish rovers website, and as a 2' x 2' limited edition giclee print from hamish himself through his website. Booklet cover artwork, "The Unicorn Spiral" (© Hamish Burgess 2013) is a nod, with permission from the band, to the distinctive artwork of our 1967 Album "The Unicorn".