The Rambles of Spring — A lively song, by the prolific Tommy Makem, to open with. It celebrates the arrival of Spring from the view-point of a wandering musician. The reel at the end is The Fairmoy Lasses.
The Mountain Dew — I learned this one from The McPeake Family, Belfast's answer to The Von Trapp Family Singers. I believe Poteen could be the solution to the world's gasoline shortage!
The Fields of Anthenry — Pete St. John, from Dublin, wrote this gem about the days of the Famine in Ireland, and is based on an actual incident.
The New Doffing Mistress — The Doffing Mistress was in charge of a room of doffers in a spinning mill, where linen-yarn was spun on bobbins. When she left the mill, her doffers escorted her through the streets, shouting and cheering; and outside her house they sang this song, praising her and ridiculing her successor.
Farewell To Sicily — The Air to this song is "Farewell to the Greeks," a pipe march. Scottish folklorist and songwriter Hamish Henderson wrote the Lyrics. The piper here is Pól Mór Ó Stíofáin.
Belfast Town — An atmosphere of desperation and bitterness permeated Belfast a few years ago, but the outlook nowadays is a bit brighter, Thank God.
Leave Her, Johnny, Leave Her — This an old sea-shanty (the purists spell it "chantey" but this my record, so I can spell it any way I want to!) to mark the end of a sea voyage, or in this case, Side One.
The Newry Highwayman — The hero of this song used to hold up stage coaches, until he got a hernia and couldn't do it any more. The fact that he was caught and hanged didn't help much either!
The Ferrybank Piper — Robbie O'Connell wrote this song about a character from his childhood. Nearly every town in Ireland has had a similar figure, who goes round the streets singing or playing an instrument, and is followed by hordes of kids who dream of growing up to become itinerant musicians. Only a few of us were fortunate enough to realise that dream, however. The reel at the end is The Wind That Shakes The Barley.
A Father's Song — At the height of the troubles in Belfast in 1972, Pat MacManus wrote this song for his son Patrick, who (like other 10-year-olds) threw stones at the British soldiers. In a sombre mood, Pat wondered what the future held in store for his son.
The Shame of Going Back — The words of this emotional song are the work of Henry Lawson, the Folk-Poet-Laureate of Australia (1867-1922) and the music is by the very fine singer, Priscilla Herdman.
Bheir Me Ó — Originally a Scots Gaelic song from the Hebrides called "The Eriskay Love Lilt" for those who can't understand Scots Gaelic, I've translated it into Donegal Irish.
The Connemara Rose — A nice old ballad I learned from an album by Tom and Barbara Dayhill.
The Last Tune For The Night — Most performers have had this feeling after a show, when the pub has emptied and the night is now a memory.
In October 1977, when The Clancy Brothers were appearing in Lowell, MA, a young Irish folk group opened the show to great acclaim; they were The Beggarmen, Belfast's Seamus Kennedy, and Dublin's Tom O'Carroll. Over the next few years, The Beggarmen and The Clancy Brothers were thrown together again, on television and in concert. Talent, and a love of Irish music and tradition was evident in Seamus' and Tom's performances. Now, as a solo artist, Seamus has diversified his approach. Though irrepressibly Irish, his music encompasses many styles, from the traditional music of Ireland, to American Bluegrass; and from Scottish tunes to Australian ballads. He plays over half-a-dozen instruments, and on this record he plays them all. Not simultaneously, however.
Seamus gets a lot of pleasure from performing his music, as does his listening audience; so put this record on, sit back, relax, and let his songs "raise your weary hearts."