Tommy Sands has achieved that difficult but wonderful balance between knowing and loving the traditions of his home and being concerned with the future of the whole world.
These songs have an airiness and heartsomeness about them that I find very attractive. Tommy Sands' words fairly "freewheel down the hill" but they also have a great zest to "sow the seeds of justice". You feel you can trust the singer as well as the song - his voice is at ease, it is not trying to draw attention to itself and yet, for that very reason, it demands attention naturally.
THERE WERE ROSES
Our house was always a great "Ceili" House and people of all "persuasions" would come in and sing songs and tell yarns all night. This song is about two Of them. One was a Protestant, the other was catholic. One night in the late Summer, when the roses were out and we could hear the sound of drums, I remember somebody remarking, "No matter how close the troubles get to us, it won't change us, for we're friends and we know each other". In a very sad and ironic way, these two friends remained unchanged. I tried to write a song about the tragedy that befell them and dedicate the song to their families and all the people on the Ryan Road.
ALL THE LITTLE CHILDREN
"Peace" is the easiest flag of all to follow but when you take the word down from the banner and try to fit it into a political context it becomes more difficult.
I'M GOING BACK ON THE BICYCLE
When you consider thetime that we waste trying to save time you may find that the oul' bike isn't so slow after all.
HUMPTY DUMPTY WAS PUSHED
Humpty Dumpty fell off the wall, was the first "fact" that I learned as a child. If all the "truths" that I was inoculated with since, through education, press and media are anything to go by, then Mr. Dumpty probably was pushed off the wall. First performed "live" as part of a play with the same name at Queen's University Festival in Belfast.
MISTY MOURNE SHORE
When the mist comes down on you, it's hard to leave and sure happiness is all in the searching for it. Rostrevor is a lovely place.
THE WOMAN AT THE BANN
The grass is always greener, they say.
I'm delighted to have this old tape, thanks to E.M.I. (Ireland), that features my late brother, 'Dino', singing harmony and playing mandolin. Little did we know at the time that Dino would so soon be joining Peter McArdle in that heavenly session of great musicians. I'd like to dedicate the song to Mark and Maeve McLoughlin who owned the bar where we all played and who were like a mother and father to all the rambling musicians of Ireland and beyond. Also thanks to Brendan Breathnach of the Irish Folklore Commission for the recording of 'Peter on the Fiddle' at the end of the song.
CHILDREN OF THE DOLE
When governments are prepared to spend more money in the art of killing than in the art of keeping people alive, then all sorts of troubles can occur. This is a "live" recording from a concert with the Family in East Berlin.
DAUGHTERS AND SONS
Dedicated to the people who have given so much of their life, trying to make the world a better place to live in.
DON'T CALL ME EARLY IN THE MORNING
I wrote this one while flying home from Canada (in a plane), The man beside me didn't want to talk to me for he was too busy thinking about a promotion or something that would bring him a big retirement pension, he said. I thought it would be a better idea to borrow some retirement time and enjoy a little bit of life while we're still alive. Hope you enjoy it. Thanks to Toshi Seeger for adding a line to this one.