More (Mostly) Folk Music

The Black Family   •   The Black Family

image  image  image
  • The Black Family
    • 1986 - Dara DARA 023 LP (IRL)
  • Side One
    1. The Broom Of The Cowdenknowes
    2. Colcannon
    3. The Motorway Song (Leon Rosselson)
    4. Tomorrow Is A Long Time (Bob Dylan)
    5. Donkey Riding
    6. Will Ye Gang Love
  • Side Two
    1. The Bramble And The Rose
    2. The Ploughboy Lads
    3. The Warlike Lads Of Russia
    4. Dark & Roving Eye
    5. James Connolly (Patrick Galvin)
    6. Wheel The Perambulator

  • Credits
    • Produced by Declan Sinnott
    • Engineered by Dan Fitzgerald
    • Song Notes by Shay
    • Sleeve Design and Artwork by Shay Kennedy
    • Photos by Colm Henry
    • Painting by Gerry Lawes

The Broom of the Cowdenknowes — From the border area of Scotland, it has been known and sung for over 200 years. The air dates from the 1650's.
Main Vocal: Michael.

Colcannon — This a favourite family song we learned from our mother's sister, Fran Byrne of Donore Avenue, who has a great voice and a wide repertoire. Every (Oct/Nov/Halloween — ask Mammy) we would eat platefuls of Colcannon — curly kale and mashed potatoes — in the hope of finding a threepenny bit.
Main Vocal: Mary.

The Motorway Song — From the pen of Leon Rosselson, it encapsulates the feelings many people, especially old people, experience at the hands of the planners regarding "improvements" in our city environment. The sentiment is very relevant to us, as a new road has been threatening our house in Charlemont Street for the past 10 years. This has led to uncertainty within the community and decay in the buildings.
Main Vocal: Martin.

Tomorrow is a Long Time — Frances learned this song from a record of Sandy Denny. It was written by Bob Dylan.
Main Vocal: Frances.

Donkey Riding — Stan Hugill reports that this shanty was popular among sailors and dockers in Liverpool and was used when stowing timber and cotton. Much improvisation was given to this song, but this the expurgated version, as sung by "Stormalong John", a shanty crew from Merseyside.
Main Vocal: Shay.

Will Ye Gang, Love — The "sweeter taste of a love that's new" is a common theme and this song expresses the anguish of the forsaken lover in a particularly poignant way. This another song taken from the extensive repertoire of the Fisher family from Glasgow.
Main Vocal: Mary.

The Bramble and the Rose — Michael's stay in San Francisco brought him into contact with Jody Stecher from whom he got this song. Again, this another recurring topic in the tradition, with lovers meeting, often with tragic consequences. However, this song ends on a more positive note.
Main Vocal: Martin.

The Ploughboy Lads — A recurrent story in traditional song is the seduction and exploitation of a young girl who is left literally, "holding the baby". Variations of this song have been documented since 1735, and this text is based on a version as sung by Jeannie Robertson.
Main Vocal: Frances.

The Warlike Lads of Russia — There are many Irish songs which portray Napoleon as a great liberator, rather than the power-crazed imperialist that he was. This song describes the retreat from Moscow in 1812 at the hands of the Russians. That was the beginning of Napoleon's comeuppance.
Main Vocal: Shay.

Dark & Roving Eye — This song enjoyed a new popularity when Guy Mitchell (Remember "She Wears Red Feathers and a Huli Huli Skirt"?) recorded it some years back, but it apparently was widely sung on board ship and in seaport towns at the turn of the century It is a variation of the "Fireship" theme which may have appeared quite risque in the Victorian music hall.
Main Vocal: Michael.

James Connolly — This song is a tribute to Connolly, a great socialist and the founder of the Irish Transport and General Workers' Union. Mary heard this song first from Christy Moore.
Main Vocal: Mary.

Wheel the Perambulator — A once popular music hall ditty, now associated with Bob Davenport, but with verses collected by John Howson in Haughley, Suffolk. Learned from the singing of Dave MacLurg from Magilligan, Co. Derry.