The Good Ship Kangaroo was learned from the singing of the late Mrs. Elizabeth Cronin of Macroom, Co. Cork. In the penultimate verse, 'hottentot' probably means opium.
You Rambling Boys of Pleasure was learned from the singing of Len Graham and the late Joe Holmes from Co. Antrim, and also from Ian Stevenson of Derry, to whom many thanks. This is the song that was half remembered by W.B. Yeats and rewritten by him as 'Down by the Sally Gardens'.
The Rambling Siúler was collected in the North of Ireland by Sam Henry and is obviously Scottish in origin. Once again a fatal fascination for beggars brings ultimate reward to the farmer's daughter (how did they do it?). An unlikely tale, this, but we like the colonel-come-beggar's cunning in the third verse where he feigns interest in the serving girl, presumably to convince the farmer that he wasn't going to try and get off with his daughter.
The Pursuit of Farmer Michael Hayes was learned from several sources: Christy heard versions of it sung by John Lyons, Tom Lenihan, and an unknown singer on Donnacha Ó Dulaing's 'Highways and Byways'. He received written versions from Mike Flynn and Seamus Mac Mathúna and there's another in Zimmerman's Songs of Irish Rebellion (Figgis, Dublin). The air is that of a song that Andy used to sing in early Planxty days. The words of that song were not to our taste but we were glad that the air fitted Michael Hayes so well.
Matt and Liam have been playing together for ten or fifteen years, and most of the tunes are from the mainstream of their repetroire. The version played here of the well-known jig Brian O'Lynn was learned from the fiddle playing of Bobby Casey. Two of the reels, The Lady on the Island and The Gatehouse Maid, were popularised by the great Sligo fiddlers of the forties, Michael Coleman and Paddy Kiloran. Callaghan's is a reel that comes from the Kerry fiddle tradition and was much played by the late Denis Murphy. The Virginia and Lucky In Love (an unusual version) were learned from the playing of the late Willie Clancy, whom Matt and Liam hold in very high regard. Both knew him personally and played with him, and much of Matt's flute style derives from piping techniques. The Virginia is also found in Pat Mitchell's The Dance Music of Willie Clancy.