THE BOYS OF TANDRAGEE
Ah good luck to you all now barring the cat,
that sits In the corner a-smelllng the rat.
I wish you philandering girls would behave,
and saving your presence I'll chant you a stave.
I come from the land where the praties grow big
and the girls nice and handy can dance a fine jig,
the boys they would charm your hearts for to see
they're rare and fine fellows round Tandragee.
So here's to the boys who are happy and gay
singing and dancing and tearing away,
rollicksome, frolicsome, frisky and free
we're the rollicking boys around Tandragee.
No doubt you have heard of Killarney I'm sure
and sweet Inishowen from the drop of the pure
Dublin' s the place for the strawberry beds
and Donnybrook fair for the cracking of heads.
Have you ever seen an Irishman dance a poltog
how he faces his partner and turns up his brog
shakes at the buckle and bends at the knee,
they're wonderful dancers round Tandragee.
The oul' jaunting car is an elegant joult
and Derry's the place that is famed for the hoult
among the green bushes that grow in Tyrone
and the County Fermanagh for muscle and bone.
But for feasting and blarney and fun at the fair
there's none to compare with the Rakes of Kildare.
Old Ireland's my country the gem of the sea
but the gem of old Ireland is Tandragee.
And where is the man either Christian or Turk
could equal the bold Robert Emmet or Burke
and where is the lawyer could speak up like Dan
there's divil another bad luck to the one.
And where is the singer could sing like Tom Moore
whose melodies charm every care from your door.
We'll beat them all yet boys and that you will see
the raring fine fellows round Tandragee.
Note: The town of Tandragee is just about 15 miles from home as the crow flies. This song was written In tribute to the rollicking boys that can be seen rollicking about the area at all hours of the night and morning. It is, by the way, a real tongue twister.
What care I for the silvery moonlight
or the leaping bubbling brook.
What care I for the stars above me
or the song-birds' senseless rhyme.
Black smoke rolling, red fires burning
there will be no rest tonight.
Through the dawning, tears and sorrow
I have watched your night of pain.
Belfast, Belfast, where is your laughter.
Can't you see what England's done.
The Gael won't leave you nor deceive you
but will grieve for your lost charms.
White-faced Fenians on moonbeams marching
silver haloes round their heads.
Your proud city hails and mourns you
snow-white lilies in her arms.
Patricia watts in God's bright heaven
listening to her brother's cry
from the ghettos, through dark prisons,
spirit of Ireland will never die.
Note: Belfast is a town that so much wants to live and laugh and love. It hasn't been doing that for a longtime. Fear, frustration, exploitation, Isolation. Ghettos, coloured hats, rags, flags, bad houses, catholics and protestants; Lords & Ladies somewhere at a safe distance drink wine and say "Disgusting" — disgusting. This lament for Belfast was written by Jim Sherry, a very good friend of ours who himself has suffered much down the years for his beliefs and dreams, Including a number of years in her majesty's prison.
This next song is dedicated to anyone In the audience who is thinking of getting married. If you're going to get married then you listen to this next song — even if you' re not going to get married — listen anyway!
WHEN I WAS SINGLE
When I was single I wore a plaid shawl.
But now that I'm married I have none at all.
Ah but still I love him, I'll forgive him I'll go with him wherever he goes.
He came up our alley and he whistled me out. But the tall of his shirt from his trousers hung out.
He bought me a handkerchief red white and blue.
But before I could wear It he tore it in two.
He brought me to an ale house and he asked me for stout.
But before I could drink it he ordered me out.
There' s bread in the oven, there' s cheese on the shelf.
If you want anymore you can stng It yourself.
Note: There are many variations of this song tn Ireland, the story of the straying husband and his forgiving wife. The song obviously dates from the days before Womens' Liberation!
JAIL OF CLUAIN-MEALA
How sad my misfortune, how vain my repining.
The grim rope of fate round my young neck is twining.
My strength has departed, my cheeks sunk and sallow,
while I languish in chains in the jail of Clualn-Meala.
No boy in the village was ever yet milder.
I could sport with a child and my play be no wilder.
I could dance without tiring from morning 'til evening,
and my gold ball I'd strike to the lightning of heaven.
At my bed-foot decaying my hurley is lying.
Through the boys of the village my gold ball is flying.
My horse 'mongst the neighbours, neglected may fallow,
as I languish in chains In the jail of Cluain-Meala.
Next Sunday the pattern at home will be keeping.
And the lads of the village the fields will be sweeping.
And the dance of fair maidens the evening will hallow,
while this heart once so gay lies cold in Cluain-Meala.
Note: This was originally written in the Gaelic language and known as "Prlosin Chluain Meala". The youth in the song was sentenced to be hanged with two fellow victims. Their heads would be severed from their bodies and exhibited on spikes at the gates of the prison, as a warning to others. Their crime was membership of the "Whtteboys", an illegal anti-landlord movement In Munster towards the end of the 18th century. Much of the detail of the original song is lost in the translation by J. J. Callanan but the feeling of despair ts still evident tn the English words.
We're gonna play a couple of jigs. It's Irish dance tunes. The first one's called "The Blarney Pilgrim" and the second one is called "Sixpenny money". So the main thing is to enjoy yourselves. It's right?
BLARNEY PILGRIM/SIXPENNY MONEY (Instrumental)
It's a recruiting song about dates back to the days in Ireland when the sergeant, the recruiting sergeant from the army, went around in different towns and villages trying to convince young men that they should join the army. It's called:
It was on a summer's morning It being our pay-day we
met Sergeant Jenkins at our going away.
He says to Pat Rellly: you are a handsome young man
will you come down to Kelly's where we can have a dram
While we sat there boozing and drinking our dram
he says to Pat Reilly: you are a handsome young man.
I'd have you take the bounty and come along with me
to sweet county Longford, strange faces there you'll see.
No, kind Sir, a soldier's life with me would not agree.
I neither would I bind myself down from my liberty.
I've lived as happy as a prince, my mind does tell me so,
so fare you well, I'm going down my shadow for to throw.
Are you in a hurry or are you going away
I'd have you stop and listen to these words I'm going to say:
Perhaps now, Pat Reilly, you might do something worse
than to leave your native country and enlist in the Black Horse.
'Twas then I took the bounty the reckoning was paid
the ribbons were brought out, my lads, and pinned to my cockade.
And early next morning we all were forced to stand
before our grand general with hats all in our hand.
It's not in the morning that I sing my song
it's in the cold evening as I go marching along
my gun over my shoulder it's bitterly I weep
to think of my true love that now lies fast asleep.
The president falls. Stand back. Given air. World head lines. World crisis. Meanwhile a soldier is blown to bloody meat in a lonely wood in Vietnam. No speeches. No head lines. Just one telegram.
My name is Penny Evans, and my age is twenty-one.
I'm a widow from the war that was fought in Vietnam.
I have two baby daughters and I do the best I can.
They say the war is over but I think it's just begun.
I remember I was seventeen when first I met young Bill.
At his father's grand piano we played both heart and soul.
I only knew the left hand part, he played the right so well.
He's the only boy I slept with and the only one I will.
Well first we had a baby girl and we had two good years.
And then the warning notice came parted without tears.
Then nine months from our last goodbye our second child appeared,
and it's and a telegram confirming all our fears.
So once a month I get a cheque from some army bureaucrat.
And once a month I tear it up and mail the damn thing back.
Do they think that makes it all right, do they think I'll fall for that.
They can keep their bloody money, it won't bring my Billy back.
I never cared for politics, speeches I don't understand.
Like-wise I'll take no charity from any living man,
for tonight there' s fifty thousand gone in that unhappy land,
and fifty thousand hearts and souls being played by just one hand.
So my name is Penny Evans, and my age is twenty-one.
I' m a widow from the war that was fought in Vietnam.
I have two baby daughters, thank God I have no son.
They say the war is over, but for me if s just begun.
There' s a lot of Irish songs about the joys of drink. But this is a song about a man who got too much joy. And he wakened up one morning and he didn11 know what day of the week it was, and he didn't know what month of the year it was and he wasn't very sure who he himself was. It' s called:
MORNING AFTER BLUES
Well I woke up this morning with an awful pain in my head.
And I knew from the way that 1 felt I should have stayed in bed.
A cat walked across the room, each step was like an atom bomb.
Last night was fun, but in the morning sun I wish I was a mummy in a tomb.
Last night I told a pretty girl she should have been in Hollywood.
When I saw her this morning she didn't look quite so good.
Now you may not believe this news, I' m gonna give up that booze
when I get a little drink to chase the morning after blues. . .
I have two shoes on, one' s black and the other is brown.
And I wish that the walls of this room would settle down.
When all is said and done, a fella' s gotta pay for his fun
but I wish I could find the man who said two heads are better than one.
There's a drum beating inside my head that's a-causing this pain.
If I ever get sober I'll never get drunk again.
Now you may not believe this news, I'm gonna give up that booze
when I get a little drink to chase the morning after blues …
Thank you very much. I'm sure at one time or other some of you were in a foreign country. And this is a song which we wrote about the problems of coming to Germany and not knowing the German language.
I'LL HAVE TO LEARN GERMAN
I'll have to learn German, I'll have to learn German
I'll have to learn German before I die.
Please don't boo at my "r"s and my "oo"s
bring me by Hochdeutsch before I die.
When first I landed in high Germany
many many things were new to me
with my banjo on my shoulder, an old denim suit
and under my arm a Taschenworterbuch.
Coming over the water I nearly got sick
with Vokabeln and Grammatlk.
Guten Morgen, hau ab, Amalla.
Wie fühlen Sie sich heute, Wilhelminia?
(You know there are many difficulties, as for
Instance even in Ireland when a dog wants to bark
he says "vou vou", but over here he says "wau wau")
Coming down the Autobahn and doing very well
driving on the right side and reading all the Schilder,
I looked In my atlas but it would not Impart
how to find the large town of AUSFAHRT.
It was great Gaudi In Bavaria
playing Fingerhakeln with Maria.
I said I would like a German Gift
so she gave me E 605.
In Berlin town I was feeling like Herr Abs
talking to a girl and drinking pints of Schnaps
but when I asked her to hold me by the hand
the words that she said I did not understand.
This Is what she said:
Ich kann Sie nicht verstehn, aber lassen Sie
mich meinen Mann fragen, er spricht gut Englisch.
So would somebody tell me and give my mind peace
Was ist ein Dingsbums, oh, was ist dies?
If you teach me your ABC
I'll give you fish and chips for tea.
But although we say things differently the things we say are still the same. We came across a tune recently which we discovered Is played differently in different countries, but it's still the same tune. In Scotland they play it like this: … Over In Ireland they play it this way: … were trying to get some sleep, and this little girl walked Into the room and she started singing this song, and we realised that this song — she sang it a little bit slower than the tunes that we were playing earlier around. It went something like this: