The Sands Family   •   Folk from the Mournes — The Sands Family 1968

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  • Folk from the Mournes — The Sands Family 1968
    • 1978 - Outlet OAS 3004 LP (UK)
  • Side One
    1. Rathfriland On The Hill (Patterson)
    2. Mourne Maggie
    3. We'll Never Go Home (T. Sands)
    4. The Land
    5. Maid Of Ballydoo
    6. I Wish I Was Single
    7. The Praties Are Dug
  • Side Two
    1. Rambling Irishman
    2. Children's Medley
    3. Mourne Rambler
    4. Rocks Of Gibraltar

  • The Sands Family
    • Tom Sands: Vocals, 5-String Banjo, Guitar
    • Benny Sands: Vocals, Tin Whistle, Fiddle, Guitar
    • Colum Sands: Vocals, Double Bass, Guitar
    • Eugene Sands: Vocals, Tenor Banjo, Mandolin
    • Anne Sands: Vocals, Bodhrán
  • Credits
    • Front Photo — Sepia Reproduction from colour print by Bobbie Hanvey
    • All tracks traditional unless otherwise indicated.
  • Other releases include …

Sleeve Notes

The Sands Family were rapidly reaching the top of the world in folk music, when tragedy struck. Eugene, a multi-instrumentalist, and a genius on mandolin and banjo died in a car accident on November 10th, 1975, during a successful concert tour of Germany. He was twenty-one.

Eugene's death was a terrible blow to the rest of the family but somehow, they miraculously managed to pick up the pieces and are ahead of their field once again, in the extremely competitive world of Folk music. Their talent is known universally, and they have played in the United States, Canada, France, Germany, Denmark and Austria. Their record "ALL THE LITTLE CHILDREN", maintained a top position in the East German charts for twelve weeks. Up until the present time, they have released ten LPs in various countries but what makes this LP "FOLK FROM THE MOURNE'S" more special to me than the others, is the fact that this was their first.

I feel that anyone who has heard The Sands Family recently and respects the new life they have given our music, will want to hear this, their first LP. It is a re-release of not only a splendid record of the Sands children, recorded ten years ago but also a charming, ahead of its time, chunk of history to be treasured, listened to and enjoyed.

Bobbie Hanvey — Bobbie's Folk Column
The Mourne Observer Newspaper
Newcastle, Co. Down

THE LAND: We heard this tune first from Fergal McAuliffe of Dublin. Fergal is a fine fiddle player and he has brought manys the good tune up to the north.

MOURNE MAGGIE: No matter where you sing this song around the Mourne area, someone is likely to tell you of a verse that you have left out. And if we had included all the verses we have heard, this would have been a much longer and hair-raising account of the draconic Mourne Maggie. Since the lady in question has also been described in song as "Roarin' Maggie", Colum wrote the last verse to locate Maggie more securely in the Mournes.

RATHFRILAND ON THE HILL: The writer of this song had a great admiration for the town of Rathfriland and its view. Rathfriland is about seven miles from Newry and six miles from where we live. It is built on one of the many little drumlins of South Down and commands a panoramic view of the surrounding area.

ROCKS OF GIBRALTAR: The theme of the young wedded man who leaves his wife to fight in the cruel wars is a well-known one. This is the first time, however, we heard of him going in the Gibraltar direction.

We learned this version from our neighbour and good friend Jamie O'Hara from Crowreagh.

MAID OF BALLYDOO: This is a song about a lovely young girl called McCumskey who lived in the townland of Ballydoo which would be on the left-hand side going from Mayobridge to Hilltown. Although her charms were enchanting and every young man in the area looked her direction, she never in fact got married to anyone according to Charlie Fegan who sings the song and lives just over the ditch from Ballydoo, beside the Seven Sisters.

CHILDREN'S MEDLEY: Just a few songs we learned at school. The "We'll All Vote" part is from the skipping field where Anne is a bit of an expert. At the end of it all we sing a song that our Mother would sing to try and get us to sleep at night.

MOURNE RAMBLER: So many people from our area emigrate every year. This is a song about coming home again. Tom wrote this one.

PRATIES ARE DUG: A song you sing when all the spuds are hopped up in the pit and the diggers and gatherers are heading for their own pit. We learned this song from our father, Mick Sands, who played it on the fiddle and sang it at the same time.

WE'LL NEVER GO HOME: This is a song Tom wrote about a theory on the origin of some of our 'Itinerants'. People say that sometimes the bundles they carry in their arms are not always babies, but a drop of milk is always welcome.

Rathfriland was noted for its cattle fairs and manys the drover, on his way to one of these fairs, was tempted to call in "Johnny Arthurs" the pub mentioned in the last verse.